White: Done and Not Done

God is as concerned with the good we could do as with the wrong we shouldn’t do. Ellen White addresses this in The Great Controversy in the chapter, “The Scriptures a Safeguard.” She argues that too many people

congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts which they do not commit, and forget to enumerate the good and noble deeds which God requires of them, but which they have neglected to perform. It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer His expectation by bearing fruit. He holds them accountable for their failure to accomplish all the good which they could have done, through His grace strengthening them. In the books of heaven they are registered as cumberers of the ground. Yet the case of even this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace, the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads. (pp.601-602)

Reflection Questions

  1. Do I have a sense that I have “slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace”? What is a positive response to this realization?
  2. How has God gifted me? What passions has God given me and refined in me? What experiences have shaped my abilities and sensibilities?
  3. What spiritual gifts has God given me? How can I explore these more?
  4. How can I use all I have and am to best do good in the world–promote peace and justice, demonstrate compassion and mercy, encourage forgiveness and reconciliation, care for God’s created world, nurture health and healing, foster hope and courage, support the next generation?
  5. What internal and external forces hold me back? What tools–like prayer and community support–might God use to “strengthen me with His grace” in order to help me overcome these obstacles? Who benefits when God helps me overcome?
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Brown: “A ‘Boring’ Way to Change the World”

Nathan’s Brown latest installment of his Engage series is now online–A “Boring” Way to Change the World (Adventist World, July 2014).

Brown says that his monthly donations to ADRA aren’t all that exciting, but as he’s learned more about the organization, he sees that this “boring” form of involvement is important. In June of this year, Brown attended ADRA’s annual meeting. He was excited to have “the opportunity to meet and hear the stories of some 140 ADRA leaders and personnel from across the world.” He continues,

I was in awe of this incredible collection of people drawn from every region of the world, many of them serving in countries other than their homelands. As I talked with them and heard their stories, I discovered problems, issues, and tragedies in the world that I didn’t know existed. But in stark contrast to most news reports, I did so in the context of hearing it from people who are working to alleviate suffering, to work against injustice, and to offer hope and better choices in peoples lives. I was humbled, daunted, and inspired.

You can read the entire article here.

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AR: “Vegetarian Diet Is Effective Tool Against Climate Change, Study Finds”

The Adventist Review posted a story yesterday that considers the environmental ramifications of a vegetarian diet–“Vegetarian Diet Is Effective Tool Against Climate Change, Study Finds” (author unknown). The article begins:

A plant-based diet is not only good for you but also an effective way to combat climate change, according to a new study by Loma Linda University Health.

The research, published in the upcoming July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that a vegetarian diet results in nearly a third less greenhouse gas emissions than a diet with animal products.

Read the complete article here.

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Guttschuss: Sectarian Violence in Central Nigeria

Adventist Peace Fellowship has posted a link to a report by Eric Guttschuss on sectarian violence in central Nigeria. Guttschuss wrote the report for Human Rights Watch in December of 2013. Learn more here.

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Brown: “My Favorite Description of Jesus”

In the fifth installment of his ENGAGE series, Nathan Brown writes about his favorite description of Jesus. Excerpt:

Of all the descriptions of Jesus found in the gospels and beyond, my favorite—out of so many profound, beautiful, and challenging descriptions—is probably one of the least quoted, most skipped over of the Jesus pictures. It’s found in Matthew 12:17–21:
“This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: ‘Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world’” (NLT*).

[Feel free to pause and read it again, slowly and meditatively. Let the words echo in your heart and mind. Have you spent much time with this description in the past? How does this description fit with the Jesus you know? Does it change any of your imaginings of Jesus and His ministry?]

Read the entire article here.

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ADRA: World Refugee Day (June 20)

From an ADRA Facebook post:

WORLD REFUGEE DAY: Don’t forget that tonight is our candlelight vigil. We’re looking forward to spending an evening with our wonderful supporters, sharing stories and inspiration. We hope to see you all there!

If you can’t join us tonight, please visit ADRA.org/refugeeday for more ways you can support World Refugee Day.

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Tagert-Paul: “Social Justice, A Christian Duty?”

Kimberley Tagert-Paul asks a provocative question: What is social justice to Christians–a good thing, bad thing, or actual duty. Spoiler alert, she considers it a duty. She writes:

The Bible tells us the answer, the only answer we need. Verse after verse tells us we have a duty to protect others, to defend the poor, to take care of the needy. The Old Testament is full of instructions on how exactly we are to meet the needs of others. Jesus made sure the message was continued in the New Testament, summing up the law in Mathew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (NIV).

Read the entire article here on the Seventh-day Adventist website. The article was originally published in Accent magazine (January-March,  2013).

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