Another furlough past. I’m glad to be home and living normal life again. Don’t misunderstand. I enjoyed every moment with family, and I was also encouraged by interest several friends from homeschooling days expressed in God’s work overseas. But life in America is so disconnected from my reality that I can’t help feeling relieved to be back where we’re overworked, under helped, and buffeted on all sides by the enemy of good.
Yet I left America discouraged – discouraged by apathy, excuses, and distracted lives of those claiming to believe and hasten Jesus’ second coming. How does pursuing higher and still higher levels of education, securing quality Christian-friendly jobs, building self-sufficient dream homes in the countryside, seeking the perfect relationship as our duty and right, and all the other cares of this world help finish God’s work? I thought those pursuits were to be mere tools, used or abandoned according to the Lord’s guidance, not to take the place of His work. So many of us are trapped by our American Dream worldview without even realizing it while believing we’re accomplishing God’s will for our lives. We study and proclaim the signs of the times and “knowest not” that we are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17.
Over and over God brings me back to the same themes, with a burden to share. I’ve read about my duty to arouse the church, but after all I’ve tried since coming overseas three years ago, I sometimes despair of ever succeeding. I’m tired of being another good report – mere entertainment – when the work languishes for people willing to sacrifice this life to save souls for the next.
“The work is to be done. It should be done now. You should volunteer to enter this field. Before very long the last opportunity will have been given Seventh-day Adventists to do this work. God will then turn to men in the byways and hedges, and we idle Seventh-day Adventists will be passed by forever.
“Let us heed the parable of the Last Supper. Those who were invited began to make excuse. One offered one reason, another had another reason for not doing what the Lord asked. When the supper was set, not one of those first invited sat at the table. Will it be thus with you?” – PH012 4.7 & 8
“What can I say to arouse our churches? What can I say to those who have acted a prominent part in the proclamation of the last message? ‘The Lord is coming,’ should be the testimony borne, not only by the lips, but by the life and character; but many to whom God has given light and knowledge, talents of influence and means, are men who do not love the truth and do not practice it. They have drunk so deeply from the intoxicating cup of selfishness and worldliness that they have become drunken with the cares of this life. Brethren, if you continue to be as idle, as worldly, as selfish as you have been, God will surely pass you by, and take those who are less self-caring, less ambitious for worldly honor, and who will not hesitate to go, as did their Master, without the camp, bearing the reproach. The work will be given to those who will take it, those who prize it, who weave its principles into their everyday experience. God will choose humble men who are seeking to glorify His name and advance His cause rather than to honor and advance themselves. He will raise up men who have not so much worldly wisdom, but who are connected with Him, and who will seek strength and counsel from above.” – Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 461.1
“I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people.
” The testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it will obey it and be purified.” – Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 181.1 & 2
I challenge you to consider chapter 52 of Testimonies, vol. 5. Take time – at least two weeks, as I did. Don’t rush. Ask yourself not if it applies to you, but what God is challenging you to surrender and change so you can be perfectly united with Him in His work. When we do this, then He can pour out His Spirit with latter rain power, His work will be rapidly completed…