Spirituality


My God loves without restraint…

Many have tried to determine what constitutes the essential human endeavor. For some it is to be known and for others it is to be loved. For many it is to make a lasting mark on the world so that the impact of ones life continues to have significance.

At the heart of each pursuit is the sense that human life, no matter how frail or fleeting, is of great value and this value is appreciated when one life becomes truly aware of another.

Every heart wants to be cherished, every mind understood and every voice heard.

In the pages of Holy Scripture we hear God saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and “I have loved you with an everlasting love” and we realize that we are known more completely and loved more deeply by our Creator than in any human experience.

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It is divine love.

Although not every gesture of love demands a response, our Creator loves us and then invites us to respond.

What response does God want to divine love?

God wants to be known and to be loved. Moreover, God wants to live in our hearts but this invitation must come from us. Ultimately God wants to make an imprint on our lives that will last for eternity.

You are invited to discover for yourself the rich resources that Seventh-day Adventists have found on the journey in response to God’s invitation.

SABBATH

sabbath

A weekly date with God

Seventh-day Adventists believe God gave us the secret to performing our best when He asked us to, “Remember the Sabbath day… on [the seventh day] you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:8-10).

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A weekly date with God

Even though “I’m too busy!” has become the catch phrase of the twenty-first century, which is often “a boast disguised as a complaint”[1], scientists are discovering that we perform better and achieve more if we take a break[2], [3]. For Adventists like Natalie Nawaikalou, Sabbath is the day they look forward to all week. “It’s the day when I don’t have to get up at 5 a.m. and rush off to work, consumed by traffic and busyness,” says Natalie Nawaikalou, a full-time primary teacher who spends three hours each day commuting for work. “It is the day I can take as much time to hang out with God, His Word, His creation and His people, and not feel guilty because I’m not off doing something else I’m supposed to.” Every week, Adventists have a special date with God-a guilt-free break from work and a whole day to deepen our friendship with the Creator of the universe.


[1] Tim Kreider, “The ‘busy’ trap” in The New York Times, June 30, 2012. [2] Nicky Phillips, “Taking a break is secret to success” in Sydney Morning Herald, August 16, 2012. [3] Adam Gorlick, “Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows” in Stanford Report, August 24, 2009.

BIBLE-STUDY

In love with God’s word

The Bible isn’t merely an international best seller. It’s a love letter, storybook, history lesson, self-help guide and collection of inspirational quotes all rolled into one.

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Not your average novel

It’s the world’s best-selling book and yet it is generally the least read in any household. Written several thousand years ago, it could certainly seem irrelevant at first glance. The fact that it is a tome can also be an enormously daunting prospect, especially when you are time-poor. But the Bible isn’t just your average novel. It’s a love letter, storybook, history lesson, self-help guide and collection of inspirational quotes all rolled into one. Research done by Baylor University found that Christians who read the Bible are more likely to actively seek social and economic justice; believe it’s important to consume or use fewer goods; and are less likely to view religion and science as incompatible, among other moral and political issues. Then there’s another study published in the Mental Health, Religion and Culture journal, which showed that “Bible reading makes a small but unique contribution to promoting a sense of purpose in life among [13-15-year-olds].” And yet, those aren’t the main reasons why Adventists study the Bible. We read the Bible to get to know the God who loves us; to learn from the stories and experiences of others; to discover the history of our origins; to be amazed by prophecy; to gain insight on how to live our lives; and to read God’s many promises that give us hope, peace and confidence. In a nutshell, Adventists study the bible because they are in love with the Word, “and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

PRAYER

The direct connection to God

Prayer is the simple act of having a conversation with God. It’s about talking with the Creator of the Universe: whether aloud or in our thoughts, during special or ordinary moments, when we’re on the move or before we go to bed. It’s the privilege we get as His children—a direct connection to God. No voicemail messages, no call waiting.

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The direct connection to God

Prayer is the simple act of having a conversation with God. It’s about talking with the Creator of the Universe: whether aloud or in our thoughts, during special or ordinary moments, when we’re on the move or before we go to bed. It’s the privilege we get as His children—a direct connection to God. No voicemail messages, no call waiting. Some may see prayer as a one-way conversation, or even worse, a conversation with ourselves, but studies have shown that not only does it improve our quality of life (1), it actually has the power to heal. Scientists say interactions with God through prayer give us the ability to better manage our negative emotions (2) and reduce our aggression towards others (3). According to researchers Marek Jantos and Hosen Kiat (4), “[Prayer] should be recognized as an important resource for coping with pain and illness and improving health and general well-being.” The Bible even promises that when we pray, we will experience “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).” But Seventh-day Adventists don’t just pray for the sake of our health and well-being. As Christian author Ellen White wrote, “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.” It is what fuels and develops our relationship with Him, and when we take time to speak directly with God, we discover that He takes the time to reply and transform us with His love. [1] University of Cincinnati, “Integrative Medicine, Spirituality Improves Outcomes in Urban Adolescents With Asthma,” April 14, 2011. [2] Shane Sharp, “How does prayer help manage emotions” in Social Psychology Quarterly, December 2010. [3] Ryan Bremner, “Pray for those who mistreat you: effects of prayer on anger and aggression” in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 18, 2011. [4] Marek Jantos and Hosen Kiat, “Prayer as medicine: how much have we learned?” in The Medical Journal of Australia, 2007.

PROPHECY

God’s continuing conversation

Our human nature made it impossible to for us to see God face-to-face. But just because we have to keep our distance does not mean He must remain silent.

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God’s continuing conversation

Globalization and increased means of travel make it easier for loved ones to live apart from each other. Long distance relationships are on the rise, be it partners stationed overseas for work or a child moving interstate to study. Unsurprisingly, Skype has become one of the most popular Internet tools in the world. In May last year, the company announced a milestone: 35 million concurrent users on Skype—a mere week after announcing a milestone of 34 million users [1]. When it comes to the people we love, we want to keep in touch, regardless the distance. While Seventh-day Adventists believe prophecy is a “prediction of what will happen in the future,” [2] we also know that it has to do with much more—it has to do with God’s deep desire to stay in contact with the people He loves—us. Throughout history, God used prophets to provide His beloved children with comfort, guidance, instruction and correction. When they lost their way, He sent “prophets to the people to bring them back to him.” [3] When they started to despair, He sent prophets to encourage. [4] And when they needed someone to talk to, God listened and replied through his prophets.[5] God’s prophets are His messengers, appointed to speak His words. [6] Our human nature made it impossible to for us to see God face-to-face. But just because we have to keep our distance does not mean He must remain silent. Adventists believe prophecies are God’s way of continuing his conversation with us. And ultimately, “it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus” [7], the epitome of God’s message of love—that He would die for us to save our souls.

  1. blogs.skype.com/2012/03/05/35-million-people-concurrently/
  2. www.oxforddictionaries.com
  3. 2 Chronicles 24:19
  4. 2 Chronicles 15:1-8
  5. The Book of Habakkuk
  6. Deuteronomy 18:18
  7. Revelation 19:10