Your Feet

You came into this thirsty land and trod upon the sun-baked earth. In your wake you left–not dust, but healing; joy, gladness, song, and hope. God on the move, constantly seeking the one who strayed, running to meet me while I was still far away. You go forward when others turn back.

So tell me: where can I go, that you will not dare go find me? How far is too far for your feet to tread in this crazy–yes, crazy–pursuit of my soul?

I do not know the answer to it. Only this I have found, only until we nailed your feet on that cross you never ceased walking and moving on behalf of the sinner. ‘Til you were pierced for me your feet never stumbled or turned away from me. Yet though you hung bleeding and dying for me, your purpose was still accomplished. and you won back my soul.

*  *  *

I’m so tired of waiting for love to come reach me. I’ve grown weary of seeing life simply pass by. So I’m making some changes and I’ll follow your lead knowing that if I step where you step my footing is surer and my way is made smoother. So teach me to run–not to walk–and meet life with arms open. To dance and to leap and to skip if I want to. To boldly go forward and seek those in need even if it means going against a rushing current. To be on the move; stride with purpose to meet you. And for once not to run–but to fly to your arms.

Yes. Toward the light.

God's name is in the very breath you take

Your Name

Ancient rabbis believed that the letters [that made up God’s name] were kind of breathing sounds and that ultimately the name is simply unpronounceable because the letters together are essentially the sound of breathing. Yod, Heh, Vah, He. –Rob Bell, Breathe

In the morning, still drowsy from all that gentle dreaming, I wake up and sigh your name as I stir under my warm covers and rise to greet the day.


Your name–so overwhelmingly holy and mysterious that it’s become  unutterable–becomes something that is alive and full of meaning when I breathe and think of you. Did you know, Father, that thinking of you first thing in the morning is beginning to come as naturally as breathing? Is it you who is making it so that praying to you is starting to become second nature?

I am breathing, and with it I am saying your name. I am conscious enough to know that life is a miracle, and I am reminded to worship you. My worship rises up in the form of a prayer; an act as simple as thinking, and as necessary as breathing. I squint my eyes and smile when the sun hits my face.

Another beautiful day.

Father, may every word that comes from my mouth today be true to the nature of the Holy Spirit who dwells in me. Because if it is true that that your name is in every breath I take… It would be akin to blasphemy to waste it in speaking idle, hurtful, or profane words. 

And it is when I think this, that the flowing river of worshipful prayer suddenly stops…

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. -Exodus 20:7

Can it be?

Can it be that I have spent most of my life, misusing your name simply by not considering every life-giving breath I take as holy? Can it be that misusing even the air I breathe–misusing the life you’ve given me–is actually taking your name in vain?

Breathe in.

Breathe out.



I am, without a doubt, guilty. And still my heart beats steady. And still my lungs draw air. And yet… and yet…

How could I have thought that I was fulfilling this commandment simply by using some stupid euphemisms whenever I was angry or surprised? How could I have thought that this was one of the easiest–that’s right–EASIEST commandments to keep?

Because now I see, God, that it is the one commandment that holds me accountable for living my life right, without wasting a single word, a single moment, or a single breath. It calls me to make good use of this life, this air, this name that I breathe.

YOUR Holy name.

Journal writing

2014 In Review

Every year I do the same thing.

Sometime around the end of December or beginning of the New Year I write a year-end review in my journal. I reflect on the year’s highs and lows and usually will reflect how my relationship with God progressed or regressed.  The following is an excerpt of this year’s:

* * *

January 2, 2015

About a year ago I rounded up 2013 in a very angry and bitter manner. I know why, and I am ashamed to remember it. I can only say that I am sorry that my lack of faith and my selfishness made me dishonor God in such a way.

2013 was a year of trials, 2014 was a year of…what?

Honestly, I have mixed feelings as I write. The end of 2014 brought an end to something that I’d been holding on for a while. My old love is officially old business; he has really moved on. How do I feel? I am neither bitter not jealous, just a bit… I don’t know… Is it wistful? Sad? Maybe just a bit resigned to the way my heart chooses to work. How did Anne Elliot say it? We women tend to love the longest even when all hope is gone. It’s silly, and to the most experienced I’m sure it’s laughable how in love I’ve always been the one to unreservedly give my heart to someone, and when it doesn’t work out it is the one that always lingers. But I have not been alone all this while, because despite the loneliness, the discouragement, the failed attempts, the uncertainties and the setbacks of this year, I end it in victory.

I have returned from my first day at my new job in a position that seems to have been tailored just for me, my skills, and my attention-level. It’s like God himself took that mental checklist I had about the job I needed and led me to it at the perfect time. I have finished December having passed my certification exams, I am planning to buy new gear—and have the funds to get it. I am starting a new business, I have acquired a valuable investor who believes in my vision. My family is healthy (I can hear their laughter outside my room), home is a warm place. I am happy, blessed, and so incredibly favored by my Heavenly Father. Is it presumptuous for me to feel warm and fuzzy when I think that the great King of Heaven loves me—indeed, favors me? Is it insane that at night the last thought I have is a prayer to Him and in the morning my first conscious thought is to breathe His name?

* * *

Unlike all the other years, there will be no resolutions this year.

There will only be a single prayer request every morning and every evening of every single day of the year. Yes, I will batter the gates of heaven every morning and evening with this single request.

Show me your will for my life.

Teach me to be able to discern your voice even in the noise and bustle of everyday life. Once I know your will and once I know that it is you speaking to me, empower me to obey you.

As to my heart—my foolish heart—I’ll leave it with you. I’m really, really sick of dealing with its excesses. So…this year I’ll trust you first to heal it and then to set it to rights, so that my heart will overflow with thankfulness and praise instead of aching from unfulfilled longing. Let it soar like an unfettered bird and let it sing with joy because of the hope that you instill in me.

For now, my heart beats steadily, strong and sure in my breast. My life feels very warm and quiet for now, and I like that just fine, for I’m gearing up for a very busy year.

What I learned in 2014 is that life with God is an adventure.

So with that in mind, Welcome 2015.

Perfection - the ultimate example is God - The example our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even a good Christian, but of God himself. “Be ye therefore perfect”…


“…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:44-48 NIV)

Continue reading

Being alone sucks, especially if you're stuck at home and it is raining outside


There was no greater torment for me than staying at home alone with my thoughts while it rained. I could not read books, I could not watch TV, I couldn’t even do homework—the way Mara interpreted scripture, if one could not actively do good works like hand out tracts, or witness, or volunteer, the least evil activity that one could do in the Sabbath was to nap. I was such a contrary daughter that I couldn’t even do that. Tossing and turning and flopping in bed, it was as if I was ten years old again—a chronic insomniac—fighting alone against the hidden demons of my past those many nights.

Determined to put the past behind me, I pushed away those memories, and threw the covers aside.

I had expected that Tony would call, but he didn’t—and I certainly wasn’t going to call him.

I thought about last Wednesday. He’d called me after prayer meeting, just as I got home and was taking off my shoes at the door Mara shouted from the living room, “There’s a call for you in the phone”

“Ok. I’ll take it in my room” I’d said and had run upstairs before she had the chance to catch a glimpse of my red and blotchy face.



“Who’s this?”

“It’s Tony”

“Tony?” I asked incredulously, “What’s up? How did you get my number?”

“You left your binder at church, kiddo, and I got your number from your student handbook.”

I cursed and threw the phone receiver on my bed while I unzipped my backpack. I glanced inside; no binder. I double checked by dumping its contents in my bed, hoping that he was mistaken. No binder. No notes. No dynamics lab report. No linear algebra homework. No French Literature paper. No student handbook with—

I saw red.

How stupid could I get? How had I left that behind? I thought back. Oh, yes. Zuri had picked me up from work, and I had brought my binder to sketch on while the prayer meeting was going on. Then I’d had my crying fit, and the rest was history.

“I can’t believe I did that.” I spoke into the phone, “Thanks for holding on to it, but what am I gonna do now? I can’t ask Zuri to take me after all the trouble I caused today… and then I don’t see you until Monday….” I calculated my odds of success with Mara. They were not promising.

“Aren’t you going to need it? I can drop it off at your house if you want.”

I sighed, “I’m so sorry…but could you?—I’ve got my lab report there.”

“It’s the same address on the cover of the handbook? Halcyon Drive?”

“Yes—Oh! Do you mind not knocking at the door?” I felt immensely awkward, but in this case necessity was greater than my embarrassment so I pushed on, “Mara—I mean, my mother—will ask me a million questions. Can you honk or something?”

“Ok, I’ll call you up when I’m there. You can save the number on your caller ID, that’s my cell phone.”

And just like that, twenty minutes later he called me saying he was in front of my house. He’d handed me back my binder without any comment, except to ask if I was alright. “I’m fine.” I smiled, relief had made me almost giddy, “Thanks for this—really.”

He nodded, and after considering something for a few seconds he turned the ignition off. “Hey, Tanya?”


“I know how it feels—when in prayer you are confronted with who you are and you realize that it is not the person you want to be.”

I looked down and was silent while I thought back on my prayer, “I don’t know if that’s what happened. I just,” I sighed and hugged the binder tight against my chest “I don’t know if it signifies much, but I just want to start over.”

He nodded, “I know. Take courage, kiddo, I’ll be praying for you.”


He’d driven off in his sleek black Jag, and I’d gone back home wondering about the kind of person Tony was— I couldn’t make him out. He was young, but he obviously had a well-paying job as evidenced by his car and the time I’d seen him dressed in a suit. Yet the image of the successful Tony clashed with the image of the guy who had come in to church one rainy night, soaking wet from the rain in jeans and a hoodie—and that image also contradicted the Jesus freak who would eagerly go to prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Bible studies with a bunch of old people.

But that episode with the binder had led to my overestimating him. I suppose after that I came to think of him as someone I could trust, so that on Friday—faced with the menacing thought of returning to Hilltop Church the next morning—I’d called him. I wanted to be talked out of going. Instead, he encouraged me to follow through with it, even going so far as to offering to meet me there.

“Two are better than one,” he’d quoted, “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow”

Pfft! You sound like a preacher.”


“I mean,” I modified my tone and amended the statement lest I come across as offensive, “sometimes you say things that sound like they came out of the Bible. I’m pretty sure Jesus said that.

He chuckled, though I didn’t for a second imagine he was laughing at me, “I know my Bible pretty well, I guess. Didn’t I ever tell you? My father is a pastor”

“What? You didn’t tell me.”

That was when he told me that he’d been the black sheep of the family. He’d made a run for it the moment he had graduated from High School, and now here he was hundreds of miles away from home trying to return to the straight and narrow. I didn’t get to ask about details because Mara had entered my room to inquire why I was still up and who I was talking to.

“I gotta go now.” I said to him after having evaded a minor quarrel.

“Ok, so tomorrow 9:30, right?”


“See you tomorrow, then.”

He’d said that, but then he’d never showed up.

More than being angry, more than being annoyed—I was disillusioned. Once more I’d gotten my hopes up, and once more I’d seen that there was no one who really cared. It’s so easy for people to talk and say that they’ll be there for you, but when it came down to it, they are always too busy for you. Adults…they are so fake.

And yet, that was not enough for me to give up hope that maybe he would call and say that there had been a fire, an accident, or someone had been taken ill and had kept him from going. I even refrained from going online to the BookNrds chat room in case Tony called (this was back in the AOL dial-up days).

But it was no use hoping—after all, I was just a stupid kid.


Part 22 – If You Only Knew

Cleaning up after a meal


We decided to forgo the weekly potluck and came home immediately after the service. We had a quiet lunch, Mara and I, of vegetable soup and quesadillas, while listening to a guitar concerto in the radio.

As we ate I marveled at my silliness. It hadn’t been as scary as I’d thought; in fact, I had almost enjoyed it. And though my mind had drifted off for long spaces of time during the service, my musings for the most part hadn’t been morbid. The people I’d known before hadn’t chewed me out, either. The biggest surprise, however, was that Mara and I hadn’t killed each other on the drive there and back home. There was a subtle change between us, and I did not know how it had happened. It was just very odd to discover that though neither one volunteered to begin or carry any form of conversation, the air was not tense as it was wont to do whenever my scatter-brained older brother was not around to liven things up.

“Do you want to go back for the afternoon service?” Mara asked as we cleaned up. “Some Gospel singers from out of state are coming to sing.”

I shook my head, “I’ve had enough for today, I think.”

Mara scraped something from the kitchen stove, “Well, I suppose it would be too much to ask.”

I regarded her warily from the sink where I was drying the dishes. Was she trying to start a fight? “What’s that supposed to mean?”

She frowned, “It’s not supposed to mean anything. Calm down, Tanya!”

“Don’t tell me to calm down! It’s not like I’m angry or anything.” The dishes clattered loudly as I stacked them in place as if belying my assertions, “You always think the worst of me,” I muttered.

“Don’t give me that.” Mara threw her cleaning rag on the sink and proceeded to wash it clean, “You are the one who suddenly wanted to go to church, so I took you with me. You didn’t want to stay for potluck, I brought you home. I am way past forcing you to go to church. I was simply offering to take you. Do I get a ‘Thanks’? No. Do I expect it at this point? Not really. Just don’t shoot my head off for trying to be civil.”

Her words stuck me. I didn’t exactly agree with her sentiments—she somehow always managed to verbally outmaneuver me—but the revelation that she wasn’t entirely trying to antagonize me left me speechless for a time.

“I’m sorry,” I said after a while. My tone was subdued from the effort of getting down a huge slice of humble pie, “I didn’t know—I thought…” I sighed, “If you are going I’ll join you. I can drive if you want.”

Mara wrung her now clean rag and hung it up to dry. “I wanted to hear the concert, but I had originally thought to spend the day up there. Going back in the rain and then finding a place to park would be an absolute nightmare. Anyway. I thought I’d go see Alma. She’s not doing so well after her surgery.”

“Ok.” I said, as if I had an idea who Alma was.

“You going out today?”

“Pfft! I never go out.”

She looked surprised, and I wondered what it was she thought I did on Saturdays when she was out the whole day. For the sake of our new-found truce I didn’t volunteer any information.

“I think I’m going to do some homework. Or study. I have some big exams coming up.”

“It’s the Sabbath.”

“I’ll take a nap then.”

“Ok. I’ll be back in the evening.”

“Take care.”

Fifteen minutes later Mara left, and I remained at home to listen to the rain.


Part 21 – If You Only Knew

Getting Ready

I got up very early Saturday morning to find that it was raining.

No matter. Off I went to the restroom. I brushed my teeth, ran a brush through my hair and jumped in the shower. Once I’d washed my hair I reached for the soap—there was none.

Dripping wet as I was I stepped out and looked for a bar soap behind the mirror—there was none. Not even hand soap. Oh, well. Shampoo is just another liquid soap, right? I stepped back into the shower and yelped as I slipped and landed on the tile floor with a painful smack.


I stayed on the shower floor a few seconds with rivulets of water running down my body. There, in the heel of my foot, was stuck the thin remnant of a bar of soap. The nasty little culprit had camouflaged against the white tile. I peeled it from my foot and threw it in the toilet bowl before making a gigantic effort to get back on my feet. Somehow I felt much heavier than my full 250 pounds, and it felt like my knee had sustained some serious strain. But I could not blame anyone but myself for this blunder—this was my restroom and my shower. No one else but me would have dropped that tiny little piece of soap that made me slip and fall.

Once I was done showering I carefully stepped out, dried myself, and went to my room to change. I didn’t bother with the hair except blow-drying it and pulling it up in its habitual pony tail. No makeup either. I knew the rules.

As I pulled on my boots, a thought came into my head, and I hurried to pull out my coat. Phone, phone, phone…

I tried to go down the stairs quickly but my knee protested. Just as well. Had it not ached so, I would have laughed at Mara’s face when she saw me come down dressed and ready. I swear, she almost fell from sheer amazement.

“Ready?” she asked, recovering quickly enough

“Just a phone call,”

She arched a brow. Obviously she wanted to know who I was gonna call, but decided against asking. She turned and got the car keys, “There’s toast and jam out. Drink some milk too. I’ll see you in the car. Hurry.”

“Thanks,” I answered as I dialed a number into the phone keypad.

The phone rang three times before he answered it, “Hello?”

“Uh. Hi. Tony?”


“This is Tanya.”

“I know. What’s up, kiddo?”

“Um…” I fidgeted with the phone cord, “You’re coming, right? Just wanted to check…”

“Yeah. I’m still getting ready.” His voice sounded a tad deeper than usual, and I wondered at what stage of “ready” he was at. Had I just woken him up? The thought made me crazy anxious.

“Ok. You got the address, right?”

“Uh-huh. Hey,” He paused, “You ok?”

“Yeah. Just…I’m a little nervous.”


“I told you, right? I haven’t been there for at least two years…”

“I know. But you want to go this time around, don’t you?”

“Yeah. No…I mean, I wish I could be heading to Zuri’s instead…But it’s all the same, right? Zuri said it’s the same God…”

He chuckled, “I know, you told me.”

I felt stupid. Why was I babbling? “So I’ll see you then?”



“Alright, bye,”

“Bye—Oh! And Tony?”


I looked at the phone cord in my hand. I had looped and twisted it round my hand in an impossible number of coils, “Thanks”

I heard the smile in his voice, “No problem, kiddo”

I hung up and ran out to the car as fast as my aching knee let me.

I was going to church.


Part 19 of If You Only Knew


Last week was the last in a month-long series of sermons at my church dealing with the issue of renewal.

We used the analogy of when your computer stops working and it crashes. Nothing you do can make it alright again. The only solution left is to reboot. This is what we need to do in life too.

1. Don’t despair when your life unravels and gets out of control. Because this needs to happen first before you can become the instrument of God. The only people God can use are broken people.

2. There is a beautiful analogy in the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). When, after his resurrection, Jesus met two disciples and walked with them on their way to Emmaus. He was invited for supper, took the bread, blessed it (gave thanks for it), broke it, and gave it to them. This is a metaphor for whAt Jesus does to us.

  • Jesus takes you
  • Blesses you — Do you remember when you first converted and accepted Jesus that great, happy time when you felt so connected to Him? Do you remember how you felt so joyful to be alive, and all around you saw evidences of his love and care for you? Maybe you began writing a blog, or composed happy music to share with others what Jesus has done for you? Yes. That is the blessing stage.
  • Breaks you — Your happy life begins to unravel. God reveals his glory to you and you see how you really are. Sinful, weak, inept. You’ve always been broken, it’s only now that you realize it. You lose your self-sufficiency.
  • Gives you a calling to serve others — Peter’s calling and Isaiah’s calling are just a few examples of this truth. Both were called to serve immediately they recognized how human they were.

3. God uses our messes to reach other people. He uses those things in the past that we had no control over, and those things we willingly walked into, to reach other people. Our scars and old wounds become channels for his grace to touch people whose lives we would not have been able to touch if we had been pristine. Satan’s plans are frustrated because he can’t knock you down.

4. Never forget that it is when you are weak that you are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

God’s grace is enough; it’s all you need.
His strength comes into its own in your weakness.

– – –

Notes from Sermon by Pastor Ritchie Pruehs (1/25/14)

Video by Yours Truly 🙂

Creation and Human Purpose — Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School
SDA Fundamental Beliefs Series — #6: Creation
For: January 11, 2014
Duration: ~40 min

Icebreaker Question

Please state your name and share with us your favorite book or story growing up.


Will be discussing FB#6. Ground rules: Not a Creation/Evolution debate.


Introduction – The statement from the 28 SDA Fundamental Beliefs

God made our world with brilliant creativity and tender care. He created humanity to take care of and take pleasure in the planet, with rest and recreation in perfect balance.

God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity.

In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the Earth” and all living things upon the Earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation,given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (See Supporting Texts at end of entry).

Q1 Within the story of creation are important themes/principles. What are they? / If you were to teach a course Christianity 101 using only the story of Creation, what principles would you be able to share?

1.Six Literal Days; Culmination in the Sabbath as day of rest


[Genesis 1:31] also on 5,8,13,19,23: Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

====> (see APPENDIX for more info on why it matters)


[Genesis 2:1-3] New King James Version (NKJV): Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

2.Human Origins and Purpose

I’m going to pass out some papers. Please take five minutes to read it with your group. Tell me

1. What was the creative force,

2. How and of what humans came to be.

3. What was the motivation (or the purpose—if any) to make humans.

Babylonian  — After a power battle between the gods, Marduk (the leader of the winning side) set the vanquished gods to a variety of tasks, including work in the fields and canals. Soon they complained of their work, however, and they rebelled by burning their spades and baskets. Marduk slew Timant, the general of the rebels, and with his blood, clay from the earth, and with spittle of the other gods humans were created. On them was imposed the labor previously assigned to the gods: to maintain the canals and boundary ditches, to hoe and to carry, to irrigate the land and to raise crops, to raise animals and fill the granaries, and to worship the gods at their regular festivals.

India — The “Self” created itself from the nothing and from the death and hunger of a void universe. Self had no happiness because it was alone, and Self longed for another. He grew as large as two persons embracing, and he caused himself to split into two matching parts: husband and wife. From their union arose the human beings of the earth.

Hopi — Sotuknang, the nephew of the powerful and infinite Creator, created Spider Woman. Spider Woman took some yellow, red, white, and black earth and mixed it with saliva to create human beings as she sang the Creation song. She made four men. Then created four women after her own form. From these men and women humans came to be. Sotuknang instructed them that their duties was to respect the Creator and live in harmony with him. But the people forgot to worship the Creator, so they were destroyed—only a few remained. Four times this happened, until after four creations the true remnant settled in the desert in a desolate land, so that the hardship of their life would always remind them of their dependence on, and link to, their Creator.

Norse — The first god was brought out from the earth. He had a son named Bor, who had three sons, one of whom as Odin, the most powerful of the gods. Odin and his two brothers defeated the rebellious frost giants and created the heavens and the earth with the body parts of their vanquished foes. Later they found at the edge of the sea two logs. The three of them together made people out of them—one man and one woman. From these logs—now people—all humans came. The gods left humans to dwell on earth, leaving only a pathway from earth to heaven: the bridge that appears in the sky as a rainbow. It doesn’t last, however. It breaks whenever someone attempts to cross it.

Mayan — Kukulkan and Tepeu created the world. They decided to preserve their legacy by creating an earthbound species looking like them. The first attempt was man made from mud, but Tepeu and Kukulkan found that the mud crumbled. The two gods summoned the other gods and they decided to make man from wood. However, since these men had no soul, they soon lost loyalty to their creators. The Gods destroyed them with a great torrent of rain. Finally, man was constructed from maize—which, by the way, was the food of the gods.

Chinese (one of the many versions) — The earth was a wild and lonely place. There was a goddess named NuWa who roamed it. She was lonely. She gazed into a pond and realized when she saw her reflection, that there was no one in all the world  who looked like herself. She resolved to make something like herself for company. She took some mud and shaped it in the form of a human being. She made many such humans in two days, but she was tired. To solve the problem of making more and more humans after they died, she separated them into male and female so they could reproduce on their own and save her the trouble of being so lonely.

Islam — Adam was created by God out of clay, earth, sand, and water and placed in Paradise. God taught Adam  the names of all of the creatures, and then commanded all the angels to bow down before Adam. All of them bowed but Iblis, who refused to obey. Iblis was a jinni, a spirit of fire, and claimed that his fiery nature was superior to Adam’s flesh which consisted of clay. This resulted in his expulsion from Paradise. Iblis then vowed to separate Adam and Eve from God and corrupt them. Sure enough, after they sinned, Adam and Eve were cast down to the earth away from God, to populate the empty world.

Australian — The Sun Mother was awakened by the Father of All Spirits. Her task was to awaken the sleeping spirits who dwelled in the new earth and give them forms. She created the animals, but they envied each other and argued. The Sun Mother was forced to come down from her home in the sky to mediate their bickering. She gave each creature the power to change their form to whatever they chose. She was appalled when she saw winged rats (bats), giant freak lizards, and a beaver with a duck bill who could lay eggs (platypus).  The Sun Mother looked down upon the Earth and thought to herself that she must create new creatures because otherwise the Father of All Spirits would be angered by what she now saw. She gave birth to two gods: the Morning Star (male) and the Moon (female) and sent them to earth, where they because our human ancestors. She made them superior to the animals because they had part of her mind and would never want to change their shape.


[LETS ALL READ: Genesis 1:26-28]

[26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

1. What was the creative force,

2. How and of what humans came to be.

3. What was the motivation (or the purpose—if any) to make humans?

 Q2 Where can we find the account of Creation?

At the very beginning Genesis 1, 2

Q3 Why do you think the Bible begins with the story of creation? /  What do you think is the advantage of  the Bible establishing our origins early on? / What more do we gain from the account of creation other than where we came from?

Understanding God’s work of creation is essential. It is the basis of a Christian worldview and helps us make sense out of life. All the truth in the Bible relates back to the basic truths taught in the creation accounts of Genesis 1 – 2.

 Q4 What implications are there in the fact that you are a precious creature and not a “mistake” or made on a whim?

  • Legitimacy—do you guys know how terrible life could be      for someone who was illegitimate? Historically it has ever been a stigma,      a great disgrace.
      • [Deut 32:6] Do you thus        deal with the Lord, O foolish        and unwise people? Is He        not your Father, who        bought you? Has He not made you and established you?
  • Purpose:
    • to inhabit and enjoy the world he created
      • [Isaiah 45:18].        For        thus says the Lord, Who created        the heavens,
        Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it,        Who has established it,
        Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it        to be inhabited:
        “I am        the Lord, and there        is no other.
    • stewardship.
      • [psalm 8:4-6] 4 What is man that You are        mindful of him,
        And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made        him a little lower than the angels,[a] And You have crowned him with glory        and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the        works of Your hands;
        You have put all things        under his feet,
    • do good works
      • [Ephesians        2:10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good        works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • Self worth —if we are made in the image of God, that      fact alone should give us a real idea of how much an individual is worth.      There is no room for feelings of inferiority or superiority
      • [Malachi 2:10] Have we not all        one Father? Has not one God created us?
        Why do
        we deal treacherously with one        another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?

There is a great deal at stake in the issue of human origins. Not merely a question of how our species arrived on this planet. It involves the larger issues of purpose and destiny, as well as the principles that should guide our lives. It is the power and purpose of a personal God that accounts for our existence. Therefore, we cannot ignore his wishes for us as we attempt to understand the meaning and purpose of our existence.—Rice, Reign of God

3. In his image—Getting to the heart of who God is (Closing remarks)

Q4 What do you guys understand by the phrase “Created in his image”?

Q4.5 If God created us in his image, what aspect of human life does that encompass? / What makes you YOU? / Imagine that some scientists want to make a robot in your image, is it enough for it to just look like you for it to BE a convincing likeness and have your friends thinking “Oh, it’s very much like “so and so”? What else besides how you look like physically is necessary to produce a faithful likeness?

-personality, emotions, character, habit, human intelligence

Q5 So then, what does it mean to be created in God’s image? What else besides the proportions of our physical being are we supposed to reflect?

Can it be that our character and our inclinations towards good and love were part of the original plan?


I want to revert to the original beauty that is God’s image. Millenia’s worth of sin has taken its toll on the human race. We’re shorter, short-lived, or ill, but with the help of the almighty God who created heaven and earth, we can still aspire to have the likeness of God in our character. Not to BE God, but to be LIKE God and reflect his character wherever you go. If this is your wish too, then please stand up and join us in our closing prayer

Closing prayer

– – –


One of the issues that the SDA church has been contemplating in recent years is adding “six literal 24-hour days” on the Fundamental Beliefs statement.

Q – What are the inherent issues at stake in defining the length of the days in which God created the world? What would be different about your Sabbath belief if we allow for the interpretation that each day was symbolic and was actually thousands of years for each “day”?

The last few years have shown that theistic evolution has gained entrance into our church. Should it become more and more accepted, we will be in danger of losing the biblical foundation for the Sabbath and our understanding of salvation. Without the creation week, the Sabbath becomes a Jewish institution; and if death existed long before the appearance of man, then there was no Fall in Eden and therefore really no need for salvation. And if there was no Fall, then Paul was in error when he wrote:

Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Rom 5:12)

Gerhard Pfandl, Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute

– – –


(See the Ruling Principle)

* * * *

Supporting Texts

Ex. 20:8-11 –8 i“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 jSix days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the kseventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the lsojourner who is within your gates. 11 For min six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Psalm 19:1-2 1 iThe heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above1 proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Psalm 33:6 6  By pthe word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Psalm 104:24, 27-30  –O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. . . .27 These all look to you to give them their food in due season; 28 when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit,[g] they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

Hebrews 11:3 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

God the Father and the Character of God — Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School

Seventh Day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs Series — #3: God the Father

For: December 14, 2013

Duration: ~40 Minutes


How did you see God manifest himself in your life this week?


INTRO – The Statement from the 28 Fundamental Beliefs:

God the Father is the source of all love and life. He sent His Son to save us from our sin and ourselves, and to show us what He is like.

God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father.

Q1 Oftentimes however we view our father is how we also tend to view God the father. What are some common ways people tend to do this? How has your view of your father affected your view of God?

 Q2 The concept people have of God generally changes as they grow. How is the view of God you have now different from the one you had as a child or as an adolescent?


One of this section’s particular concern is to establish the character of God. Now, there is much—much written and said out there on the topic—I looked up some books and things online and found some statements of famous writers and thinkers.

Let’s do a quick exercise. Break into groups of three, and the quote I will pass out. With your group discuss: do you agree/disagree, why? And any other thoughts on this.

“God is a metaphor. He is a dream, a hope, . . . a father, a city, a mother, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you—even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all. . . ” ― Neil Gaiman

“When I saw my Father lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way we’re on our own.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

 “A father has to be a provider, a teacher, a role model, but most importantly, a distant authority figure who can never be pleased. Otherwise, how will children ever understand the concept of God?” ― Stephen Colbert, I am America

 “I always wondered why God was supposed to be a father,” she whispers. “Fathers always want you to measure up to something. Mothers are the ones who love you unconditionally, don’t you think?”― Jodi Picoult

 “Blessed be God’s name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because he kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end up in the furnaces?“ ― Elie Wiesel, Night

 “We want not so much a Father but a grandfather in heaven, a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

 I am persuaded that God has more the quality of a “presence” than of a nonpersonal “energy” or “force”…God has more the quality of a “you” than of an “it,” I see this sense of God as a presence, as a “you,” as grounded in experience

Like flies to us are we to the gods. The kill us for their sport

Never accept a view of the Fatherhood of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive sin. Cannot stand it. Cannot tolerate it. He would contradict his nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement. God’s forgiveness is only natural in the supernatural domain. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace.—Oswald Chambers

[After groups have shared]

As we can  see, there is such a wide opinion of God, his role in our universe, and his character. Even we tend to have such different opinions.

Think. Is your God (or your idea of God)

Primarily concerned about personal virtue?

Primarily a lawgiver and judge, somebody you need to measure up to?

A God of requirements and rewards?

Mostly “nice”?

Mostly indifferent?

A God of compassion?

A God of social justice?

Q3 Why do you think it is necessary for us to understand the true nature, and character of God? / Will our experience with God be any different if we hold this or that view of him? / e.g. Will believing that God is mostly “nice” produce a different result or experience from believing that God is a “wrathful” God?

Q4 What do we stand to lose if we have the incorrect view of God? / What do we gain when we glimpse the true nature? / What is at stake in this question?

POINT 1 – What’s at stake in the question of God’s character is our image of the Christian life.

Is Christianity about requirements?  Here’s what you must do. Check off the list.

Is Christianity about relationship and transformation? Here’s the path: Jesus. Follow him.


POINT 2 – Bible’s OT and NT are united and present a consistent view of God—in particularly God the Father

Q5 What are some of the ways we can get to know God? How can we know not only about God, but know God?

Q6How does the Bible describe God the Father to us? What are some Bible passages or stories that are helpful in describing God the Father?

What do you think about the view some people have of the Bible seeming to contradict itself in how it describes God in the Old Testament and the New Testament?

Someone once told me that Christians themselves are to blame for the confusion of the “Two Gods” in the Bible. Many Christians—myself included at one point—seem to differentiate between the God of the OT and of the NT, and have placed an incorrect emphasis on one and the other.

There are other characteristics of God the Father all over the Bible. It is very important to keep in mind that OT alludes to the 3 personas of the trinity—but doesn’t clearly differentiate between them. The NT makes clear the roles they take. –Marcus Borg

That is why in this discussion, it is important to establish the one defining characteristic of God: LOVE.

The OT and NT are full of accounts of God’s love for us

1 John 4:7-8 7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Hosea 2:19-20 19 I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. 20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.

Isaiah 43:4 Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

The prophets in the bible use the language of love to speak of God’s relation to Israel. God is the lover, Israel is the beloved, ALSO note that Song of Songs has been understood as an allegory of the God-human relationship, or the Christ-church relationship.

 Why do you think it is so important to nail down and to get this down right?

[If no one answers, continue:]

How many of You are married? Engaged?

As we said before, being in a deep and lasting relationship with God can be rightly compared to being married. Wouldn’t you agree that it is important to know your future spouses character before tying the knot? What happens to the relationship if there is no real knowledge of who you are marrying? 


I’m going to pass out some quotes. Form groups again, read, share, discuss

Never build your preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and he will forgive us because he loves us. It is untrue to Christ’s revelation of God, making the Cross absolutely unnecessary…anything that belittles or obliterates the holiness of God by a false view of the love of God, is untrue to the revelation of God given by Jesus Christ. Never allow the thought that Jesus stands with us against God (against himself!) out of pity and compassion; that he became a curse for us out of sympathy with us.—Oswald Chambers

 This is one way to look at it: God’s Love makes him willing to forgive, sinners, but his holiness requires him to punish sin; the atonement provides a way to meet the demands of both attributes. The problem with this way of looking at it, is that this equates wrath with vengeance and love with indulgence. A better way to interpret their relationship is to see God’s wrath as the expression, not the antithesis, of his love. –Rice

God’s wrath is his loving response to sin. He finds it repulsive, disgusting. It distresses him to see the ones he loves destroying themselves –Rice

Whosoever comes to me I will never cast out, for I have come down from heaven…that everyone who looks on to the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:37,40)

 They are very deep passages. What is one thought that it produces. Do you agree? Disagree? What strikes you more?


The God of love isn’t just a “nice God.” Author Marcus J. Borg states that The God of love is also the God of justice. The two are related, for in the Bible justice is the social form of love. Love that has an edge—and a passion for justice. God loves everybody and everything, and we need to take seriously that side of love—prolonged injustice has consequences.

What happens to human beings is the outcome of their own choices. They bear responsibility for their destiny. (rice)

As a moral being, God is more concerned with the way his followers treat other people than he is with the forms of worship they employ…Rituals are worthless, offensive, in God’s eyes if people abuse the weak and ignore the needs of the poor. (R. Rice)

YANCEY: What good is God? Why doesn’t God do something about wicked people? Why doesn’t God take a more active role in human history?

According to the OT, God did take an active and foreceful role in the past yet it failed to produce lasting faith among the Israelintes. And, as eartly powers have learned, force and freedom make uneasy partners and an emphasis on one always diminishes the other; God consistently tilts towards human freedom. In the end, though, we have to sure answer and only fleeting glimpses of God’s ultimate plan.—Phillip Yancey, What Good Is God?


Briefly refer to Conclusion of: –MY STORY IN ALMOST CRASHING THE CAR– and what I learned about love. 


Your life and my life is to vindicate the name of God. Wherever you go, or in your social media, or blog, or wherever your walk of life takes us, we are called on to represent the truth of the God we serve. God the Father, is love.


Ask so that this week, as we draw near to God and seek him in scripture, we may have a clearer revelation of his character.