Wednesday, march 11th

The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever

– The Bible in Busy Times –

By Cindy Escobar

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Ever since sin entered into this world, God has been trying to reestablish man into his first intended nature. God wants to communicate with us in order to help us. He wants to be involved with each of us throughout our daily lives. In order to do this, God provided the Bible as one of the methods to guide us throughout our life in this world. As we read through ancient Bible stories and passages, we may question how the Bible may still be relevant in our lives in the twenty-first century. We wonder how Biblical history may still be applied, when we are constantly comparing the past to our modern world. How we can improve the present by applying the past? The Bible is alive and communicates to us how God’s love should constantly be flowing through this world and how we should go around spreading that love.

A common phrase I heard growing up was “what would Jesus do?” How can we benefit by repeating the same things “Jesus would do” thousands of years later? Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Just as history repeats itself, the need of a never-ending Savior will always be repeating through the centuries. As years and centuries pass, our unworthiness and sinful ways are not getting any better. There is still the same urgent need of a Savior now, as in the past. Where can we learn about that Saviour? In the Bible. As humans, we experience the same emotions and experiences. We have all gone through similar experiences at some point or another, howbeit with different circumstances. In this life, we have all lost something precious to us, and so has Christ. We have all rejoiced at some point in our life, and so has Christ. We have been lonely, and so has Christ. God has given us the Bible as a method of receiving help that is relevant in our modern society. As we continue reading, we will discover how we relate to an ancient Biblical experience that is a struggle to many each day, especially in the twenty-first century. 

Heart-to-Heart Intimacy

Although God gave us the Bible, we become so caught up with this world and the things in it that we lose attraction to the Bible. Throughout these readings on the Bible, I want you to truly ask yourselves, why is it that I am not more attracted to the Bible? Why am I not finding time to read it? Do I feel that the Bible is relevant to my life? Why am I not placing the Bible as a priority in my everyday life? Unfortunately, many view the Bible as a book of rules and conflicting “truths,” so that they lose sight of the real picture. We lose the sight of an unfolding love story—the pursuit of God constantly going after humankind and trying to “love us” into a relationship. Throughout the whole Bible, mankind is pointed to the incomprehensible love of Christ. Satan will always try to keep us away from what we need, and instead distract us with what we temporarily desire. However, when we read the Bible and spend time with God, why does it strengthen my relationship with Him?  “Satan has represented God as selfish and oppressive, as claiming all, and giving nothing, as requiring the service of His creatures for His own glory, and making no sacrifice for their good. But the gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart…. It declares that while God’s hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed. Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift. The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save. Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, He gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, ‘All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness will be found in loving Me.’”1 By reading the scriptures we are shown a new perspective of a better world and a better life. Therefore, when we do not spend time growing a closer relationship with God, we lose our perspective. Instead, we start focusing on the temporal things around us and feel no need of a Savior. By realizing the relevance of the Bible in our daily life, we may discern and recognize God’s voice, despite the chaos in this world. If the word is not read, it is very easy to confuse “His voice” with “all the other voices” all around us. 

A Mary Heart in a Martha World

 “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou are careful and trouble about many things: but one thing is needful.” Luke 10:41, 42 (First part)

One great day, a lady named Martha invited Jesus to her house. As Jesus accepted the invitation, Martha and her sister Mary, started preparing and serving Jesus and His disciples at their home. Martha was a great woman; she knew exactly what to do and how to serve properly on these occasions. I am sure Mary was as great as Martha, but during the time of the visit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit seemed to be touching Mary’s heart. While serving Jesus and His disciples, Mary could not but listen to every single word that came out of Jesus’ mouth. She felt so intrigued that she just stopped serving and left everything to get closer to Jesus and finally sit at His feet. While Mary is having an amazing, life-changing experience, Martha is busy going all over the house serving and preparing everything for her special guests. As she is stressed about presenting the best service she can, she stops and realizes that her sister is not available to help her. Finally, she spots her sister sitting in the feet of Jesus, just listening to Him speak. Martha tried catching Mary’s attention so that she could help her, but everything was of no use. Mary only had her eyes and ears attentive to Jesus. Frustrated by her sister’s “distraction,” Martha goes to Jesus as her last resort. “Lord, doest thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.” (Luke 10:40) She goes to Jesus, thinking He will, of course, readily agree with her. After all, she was concerned about the matters pertaining to work ethic, tradition, and politeness. Yet, surprisingly Jesus softly rebukes her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41, 42) In our daily life and events, we are usually like Martha, busy with everything we have to do and finish for that day. We all wish to be like Mary, but we get so caught up with the daily duties that we lose sight of the most important and nourishing part for that day. Martha was not a bad person, she was doing all the right things, yet she disregarded the most important service. It is very interesting to observe the way Jesus corrected Martha. Notice He did not tell Martha, “why are you not able to be more like your sister, Mary?” Martha and Mary were two different individuals, and when both were faced with the same choice—to work or to worship—Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the better part.” 

The Three Deadly D’s

Just as in the Bible story we read, Satan will try to drive your attention in the wrong direction, especially when you are overly worried about it. One of the methods that he uses might be referred to as the three deadly D’s.

Distraction

When Martha invited Jesus to her home, she was distracted because of her focus and worry about the duties for that day. This is where Satan’s snares begin. Many times, we focus and worry too much about all the things we need to do within a certain time frame. This leads us to become distracted, lose our main focus, and not be able to hear the Savior’s call to come.

Discouragement

Once distracted, discouragement is sure to come. Martha realized everything she had to do, which was too much for her to handle on her own. She felt like she needed help immediately and she was going to get it any way she could. Lastly, she goes to her Redeemer, trying to get Him to support her “wise” suggestion, no matter the cost. Do we feel desperate and discouraged like Martha at times? Discouragement breaks down our perspective and our defenses. Weariness comes in and life seems to overpower us. We may be doing great things for God, but weariness and discouragement tells us that we are useless, hopeless, and forgotten.  

Doubt

When everything else seems to be going downhill and nothing seems to be going right, what happens to faith?  Faith starts going down as well. You start doubting God’s power and usefulness in your life. When we doubt, Satan uses this as his ultimate snare to finalize the decision by doubting whether God even cares. Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care?” God cared! He cared so much, that. He sacrificed everything in heaven and came to die for you.

Jesus fought the same hard winds of distraction, discouragement, and doubt. Psalms 3:3 says “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head.” The Lord wants to show His love to all of us. God wants to be part of your life and help you through its journey. He invites us to cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). When we cast our life’s burdensome doubts, fears, and anxieties upon Him, this will reveal how much He truly does care. 

But how can we hear God’s voice speaking to us? Unfortunately, we are not able to find and truly listen to God with all the distractions and chaos in this world. The only way you will find true joy, peace, and happiness in this life, is by sitting at His feet, listening to His words of life, and completely blocking other “noises” and distractions around you. If you do this, just like Mary, you will hear nothing but His sweet voice- and that will be the sweetest voice you ever heard.

  1. The Desire of Ages, p.  57.