Seven Days of Creation

by Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA   Sometimes it is important to reflect on the world around us. We tend to take for granted so much, but we forget how we started. Do you ever just look around and realize everything we see was made by God? God created the air we breathe, the trees, our pets, the food we eat, our friends, and everything else. Literally anything we think of — any person, object, or creature — was created by God and in His image. When we step outside, we are engrossed by His image. God loves us so much that we walk on this earth and live a life. He protects us from everything. He gives us the air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. We are incredibly blessed! The other day I was waiting in the doctor’s office for my mom and decided to pull out my phone and read Genesis. I thought why not? I got so entranced in the first few chapters. I realized how much I have overlooked those chapters and how much I have forgotten what those chapters contain. Think about it: off the top of your head can you name what happened every day of creation? I’ll admit the fact that I cannot. If you ask me, the first thing I can remember is that God rested on the seventh day…because that’s all I hear about. I’ve made it my goal to look around and just appreciate what God has created. In order to do that, I think it is important to understand and know every day of creation. On the first day God created night and day. Can you imagine, just both night and day are created. The night and day we live in used to not exist and suddenly they do. It’s pretty amazing. On the second day God decided to create the sky and sea. The sky we see every day and take for granted, and the sea that most of us in some way appreciate — they didn’t exist. God saw a purpose for them. Day three God created land and vegetation. God created the fruit and...

Blindfolded Guidance

Blindfolded Guidance

Aug 28, 2017

by Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA   You are now blindfolded and trying to find an object in the room. You are in complete darkness, you don’t know where anything is and you don’t know what the object you are trying to find is. The thing you do know is that there is an object hidden for you to find. Could you find the object? Is there something you could use to help you find this object? A voice has appeared to guide you. It is telling you what directions to go in. It’s told you what you are searching for is a small, round, and gray pebble. You still are in darkness, you wonder if the voice is telling you the correct directions, and you wonder if you really need to find this pebble because the journey so far has been hard. Sometimes we are faced with complicated decisions and feel that we are in complete darkness — but we never are. We have the guidance of God. God has a plan for us. He is the voice behind the blindfold that is encouraging us which direction to choose — but the choice of following the voice is our decision in the end. We are blind in the world without Christ. We must accept His guidance in order to find our pebble. In James 1:5-6 (NIV) it is written, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” It is important to remember that we are not alone, no matter how hard the decision is. God has a plan for us to follow. When we have accepted Christ as our savoir, we have the Bible and other Christians to help lead us. We still may not be able to see everything, but we will have direction. Now the question is, how should we go along with following God’s plan? How do we know what He is trying...

Love Sweet Love

Love Sweet Love

Jun 23, 2017

by Seth Osborn SDB Church of Boulder, CO Have you loved recently? I don’t mean the loves we usually think of: loving God, loving our family, loving a romantic interest… I mean the kind of love that’s hard. Not that those types are always easy, but this kind of love is even harder. This is the hardest love of all of them. It can only be done by deliberate choice: loving those who hate you. In Luke 10, starting in verse 30, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. I know, I know. We have all heard this one before. Just bear with me for a bit. A man is attacked by robbers and of the three men who saw him, only one helped. Neither the priest nor the Levite showed any mercy — though they were men of God, they walked by and left this poor man for dead. No, it was the Samaritan who helped him. The Samaritans and the Jews were hostile towards each other. You could easily (and rightfully) call them enemies. But Jesus says that this is the man who was a neighbor — this is the man who showed love and in doing so obeyed God’s will. I know this story has become hackneyed through many, many years of Christian teachings. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you rolled your eyes when you saw that this was the topic of my article. As someone who was raised in the church from birth, I understand all too well how many times you can hear this story in Sabbath School, VBS, Awana, and other child-focused ministries. I mean, that’s the easy stuff! We’ve had this drilled into our heads over and over again. Love everyone, even your enemies. Why do we need to focus on something we already know forwards and backwards? My answer to that is simply to examine yourself. Think about your recent thoughts and behavior. Are you behaving as Jesus instructed? It could even be something as small as a heated argument on Facebook. Have you been treating the people on the other side as your neighbors? Or have you slung hateful words at them?...

Uncertainty…

Uncertainty…

Apr 25, 2017

by Rebecca Olson Berlin SDB Church, NY Uncertainty… The end is in sight. On May 13, I will graduate from college. That’s not to say it’s over. I have a national board licensure test to take, a few years of online school to go, and many more steps of continuing education beyond that. But this summer, I will be a Registered Nurse. I will be a bona fide professional at taking care of people. And I have no idea where I am going. ​It seems to me like all my peers in my nursing program have a plan. They have jobs lined up, or at least interviews to go to. They chose a specialty way back in Nursing 2. They know where they are going. On the other hand, I am floundering in the unknown. ​I dread changing floors for my clinical rotations. That’s because each new nurse I meet asks the same question: “What kind of nursing are you interested in?” And they all raise their eyebrows and look away when I reply, “I don’t know.” It’s true. I don’t have much of a plan. It’s not for lack of trying. You should see the spreadsheets I’ve created listing pros and cons. I have lists of places I definitely do not want to work. I also have lists of places that I could see myself working. All my lists and spreadsheets have not yet given me an answer. But that’s okay. I am learning to embrace uncertainty. I am learning to expect God to show up when there is no possible solution or answer that I can see. I expect I will be learning to do those things for the rest of my life. I wanted to write about uncertainty because I know I am not the only young adult in that unpredictable place. In fact, there are probably many not-so-young adults in a state of endless waiting, too. So here’s some encouragement about uncertainty: while we may be uncertain, God never is. As Job asserted in a time of his life that was nowhere near steady, “But He knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out...

Like Little Children

Like Little Children

Mar 23, 2017

by Moses Lyons Toronto SDB Church, Canada As we grow up, we realize and learn certain things about ourselves and our surroundings — certain things such as what we like and dislike, our favorite foods and colors, and what type of person we choose to be. We start to form our own opinions about life and other matters in the world. However, as children, we usually just focus on what’s right in front of us. What are we going to eat when we are hungry? How can we cure this boredom? How fast can I do my chores so that I’ll still have time to go out and play? There’s a sense of innocence we see in that as adults. We look at kids who have those mindsets as if they’ve seen nothing yet and that is true in a sense. They have yet to deal with any real consequence outside of detention time, but there is something we can learn from that type of thinking. Mark 10:13-15 talks about when the disciples rebuked the parents of those who brought their children so that they could touch Jesus. At that moment Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” That scripture is known by many people but it is often taken out of context or not fully understood. Jesus is not telling you to act like a child in the way that you never grow up or take responsibilities because the Bible also speaks about putting away childish things in 1 Corinthians 13:11. Instead, it is saying that we should focus on what is most important — and that is Jesus Christ. When we mature, we also inherit something dangerous — independence. Independence is good in one way and one way only. Be independent of the world and dependent on God. That doesn’t mean exclude yourself from all of your friends and distance yourself from any social activities. But who do you run to when you have...

Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth

Feb 22, 2017

by Karissa Bornemann Milton SDB church, WI   “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” —Matthew 5:13 (NIV) This past January, 35 young adults traveled to Milton, WI, and braved the below-zero temperatures for our Young Adult Retreat. We started on Thursday night with some get-to-know-you games and ended the retreat by breaking off into groups where we were able to pray and talk through questions about what we discussed during the weekend. Our theme this year was “Salt of the Earth.” Pastor Steve Osborn preached about what it means to be the salt in the stew that is our world. He explained that God calls us salt for a reason: if something is missing salt, you notice it. Salt doesn’t do anything sitting in the shaker. As young adults, we are at a really great age when we have great opportunities to meet so many different people. This retreat encouraged us to get out of the shaker and salt up the world around us! We are the salt of the...