Greetings my Friend,

I pray that you are growing closer with each day and hour to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I received an email from a friend of mine in Toronto, who wrote the piece below. His name is Tim Aka, he is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) for a major banking corporation in the area of Managed Investments.

As I have written to you recently about the food issues to come regarding the economy. Many are stocking up, and hoarding food, without regard to the greater t the greater need of buying Christ. When I read Tim’s write up, I was so moved by the insight and inspiration to this, that I asked him permission to send this out, which he has granted.

My friend, stock up on Jesus, so much so, that He will be oozing out of your very character.

I pray that you will receive a blessing from this.

Maranatha!

Pastor Alden J. Ho
Wheel Salt Ministries
www.aldenho.com

“God can not work through you, until you have allowed Him to work in you.”

***************

The Food Crisis

Many people are worried about a food crisis about to hit the planet; crop failures and natural disasters everywhere, water shortages, and not to mention the US Federal reserve printing money like crazy and devaluing the dollar causing hyper-inflation about to explode. I do believe there is a food crisis, but not what you might be thinking. No, the food crisis is not that there is too little food or that food will become very expensive, but that in the western world there is too much food.

Now, I’m not downplaying the plight of the poor around the world who are starving, or those who are on food stamps in US or those who are truly suffering. But for the majority of us, the biggest crisis is that there is too much food. We have more than we can possibly eat, we eat it all day long, at all times of the day and night, in any quantities, and we throw out more food every week from our fridge, than some people may get in a month. We like to go out to eat, we order it in, we get take out,…; we go for coffees with friends, or we enjoy a cup in solitude; we eat to celebrate, we eat when we feel down; One of our greatest pastimes is eating.

Now some of you are about to stop reading, because you’re thinking I don’t have a eating problem… I watch what I eat… I get a bit of exercise…I dutifully eat my fruits and vegetables, as well as Loma Linda vege-links…everything in moderation right?…there are bigger fish to fry (pun intended). Well consider this quote from Ellen White writing about Christ’s experience of fasting for 40 days in the wilderness, “Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured, can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God.” {Counsels on Diets and Foods E.G. White 151.3}

Is what we eat an issue that might determine our salvation? The answer is a definite, YES! Our eating habits can impact our hope of eternal life. This is not about being vegetarian, or simply being moderate in our eating, it is something far bigger. Peoples’ habits are always a touchy subject, and eating is certainly among the touchiest. But if you’ll follow along with me, you’ll see why it is so important.

Christ’s 40 days of fasting

Before He started His ministry on earth, Jesus went on a 40 day fast to prepare. The purpose of the fast was to gain a victory over the most basic human needs so that not even hunger or death could cause Him to be tempted to sin.

In man’s behalf, Christ conquered by enduring the severest test. For our sake He exercised a self-control stronger than hunger or death. And in this first victory were involved other issues that enter into all our conflicts with the powers of darkness…

Christ entered upon the test upon the point of appetite, and for nearly six weeks resisted temptation in behalf of man. That long fast in the wilderness was to be a lesson to fallen man for all time. Christ was not overcome by the strong temptations of the enemy, and this is encouragement for every soul who is struggling against temptation.

Christ has made it possible for every member of the human family to resist temptation. All who would live godly lives may overcome as Christ overcame, by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony. That long fast of the Saviour strengthened Him to endure. He gave evidence to man that He would begin the work of overcoming just where ruin began,–on the point of appetite….

The Redeemer of the world knew that the indulgence of appetite would bring physical debility, and so deaden the perceptive organs that sacred and eternal things would not be discerned. Christ knew that the world was given up to gluttony, and that this indulgence would pervert the moral powers. If the indulgence of appetite was so strong upon the race that in order to break its power, the divine Son of God, in behalf of man, was required to fast nearly six weeks, what a work is before the Christian in order that he may overcome even as Christ overcame! The strength of the temptation to indulge perverted appetite can be measured only by the inexpressible anguish of Christ in that long fast in the wilderness. {Counsel on Diets and Foods, E.G. White pg 186.1}

Food is one of the most basic needs for humans and all animals. It is an instinctive need in our human nature. Christ gained this victory so that we too can rise above this need, and give Him control over our human natures in order to accomplish His will.

So what does this mean for us. Why does this matter today? Does God want us to fast for 40 days like Christ? No. But, there are several reasons why this is so crucial for us today as we prepare for the last days. First of all, Christ wants us have clear minds and sound bodies so we can hear His voice and be better suited to serve Him. For so many of us, our bodies are so clogged and our minds are numb because of the food we eat and our eating habits. We can barely stay awake through church (if we aren’t entertained and stimulated we can’t keep our eyes open). Getting up early for prayer and personal devotions is impossible. God certainly has a higher ideal for us.

But equally important is the experience of gaining victory over our human natures, through the surrendering of our will to Him. I think that we still don’t have a good grasp of what it is to be victorious; to win a battle over our instincts; to really surrender ourselves to His will. We talk about surrendering and giving our will to Him, but have we really experienced it.

Anyone who has tried to diet and lose weight knows how difficult it is to gain a victory over appetite. So God says, “Lets work together, lets figure things out. Experience victory through My power. Lets start with the appetite, because that a tough battle; a key battle ground for a first assault on to the enemy’s territory.” When we learn to be victorious in this battle, we can be ready for other victories. Christ wants us to be victorious Christians.

Daniel and Others Tested On Appetite

There’s another reason why this issue is so important. Let’s go back to the Bible and think about a few characters, starting with Daniel. You all know about how Daniel and his three friends refused to eat the king’s food and asked to be tested for 10 days. It seems like a small thing, but it was the beginning of the work of one of the greatest prophets of the Bible and arguably one of the greatest statesmen of all time. Who else in history advised several different kings; kings from entirely different countries; in fact kings who invaded and overthrew the previous king wanted Daniel to remain as a key advisor. His character was flawless, his integrity beyond reproach, all because he ‘purposed in his heart to obey God’ about everything, starting with the very food that he would put in his mouth.

Now he was not the only Bible character that faced a test on food. John the Baptist, who was the greatest prophet had a strict diet from when he was born. In fact, the angel Gabriel gave specific instruction to his father, Zachariah, regarding his diet. John had the privilege to prepare the way for the coming of the messiah and also to baptize Jesus. He lived a pure life away from the trappings of the world, following a strict diet and walking closely with God.

How about Ezekiel? God asked him to lay on his side for 390 days and eat simple barley loaves at the start of his ministry. God wanted him to understand the patience and long suffering that He had for His people. As well he wanted Ezekiel to be prepared for the powerful testimony he would be asked to give.

What about Elijah? He relied on God to feed him by ravens by the brook Cherith, in preparation for his battle against Ahab, Jezebel and her 400 prophets of Baal. There’s Gideon and his 300 men taking on a vast army of the Midianites. So many others faced a test on the issue of appetite as a key requisite to be in God’s service.

How about others who were tested and failed? Adam and Eve for starters. They lost their innocence, their home and their relationship with God because of appetite. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentils; a birthright that could have made him the father of a great nation. Then there were the Israelites after the exodus, who were supposed to be Gods special people. God miraculously provided manna for them, but all they could do was complain. They wanted the fleshpots of Egypt, rather than the Manna from Heaven. They lost their chance to go into the promised land as a result. Samson, was supposed to be a Nazarine, but he didn’t follow the strict diet he was supposed to, and squandered his strength on a harlot and lost his freedom, his eyes and almost his eternal life. The son’s of Eli the high priest had uncontrolled appetites which lead the whole nation to despise the ordinances from God. Eventually, their actions caused them to lose the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines.

To all these people to whom God gave special missions, He first gave a test on appetite. Some endured and passed the test to go on to do some of the greatest things in the Bible. Others failed miserably and lost not only their chance to accomplish great things for God, some lost their eternal life.

A Test for the 144,000

If God gave a test of appetite to those in the Bible for whom He had special missions, is it any different today? Could it be that He is going use a test of appetite for those whom He has a special mission in the end times? Could it be that God is looking for a people that have overcome their appetites and human natures in order to do a special work? Is God looking for an army of followers, who cannot be tempted by their appetites or passions; that even their very natures, right down to their imaginations and every thought are in accordance to His will?

Jesus is waiting for His bride to make herself ready, clothed in the righteousness of the saints; people that have step by step gained victories over every besetment that could cause them to stumble; people who have had the experience of overcoming and of learning to trust in Him. He needs the 144,000 to be ready stand in the time of trouble, without an intercessor, who will stand even when everyone else is against them and it seems that even God has forsaken them. Who cannot be swayed by their feelings, their senses or even human instincts, but will stand on the word of God, because they have been trained to do so.

That kind of training doesn’t come easily. And it certainly takes time. Most of us are not ready and we would fail if severe trials came upon us.

Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of Satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.

The “time of trouble such as never was,” is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess, and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. Great Controversy pg 621

I had the privilege to meet Pastor Fujita from Japan, who’s family was one of the early Seventh Day Adventist in Japan. He told the story of his life as a child in post world war II Japan. Food was scarce and was being rationed out by the government. Only problem was that the food was being handed out on Saturdays. The choice was to either stand in line to get food or go to church. His mother made the faithful decision to go to church rather than to stand in line for the rations. None of her neighbours would help her, thinking that she must be getting food from the Americans since she was a Christian. They struggled greatly, but God blessed them for passing this test.

If we had to make such a choice, could we pass the test? If we could not buy or sell, and we were hungry, would we capitulate? How about an even tougher choice: If we had a bit of food and someone else was hungry, would we give our food to them? Christ spoke of the end times, recorded in Matthew 24 and 25. He said that if we give food, drink or clothing to the poor we have done it unto Him. Sounds simple enough, when we have enough to eat right now, but how about if it was our last meal. What if there was a food crisis, with natural disasters everywhere, droughts and crop failures. What if there were laws forbidding anyone to sell food to us. Would we have the grace and strength of character to give our only bit of food to someone else and go hungry. What a powerful testimony of Christian love that would be! A time is coming when we have the chance to shine like a powerful beacon in the darkest world. But also every attempt will be made to coerce our consciences. Only the strong in faith will survive. A faith developed, cultivated and trained by lots of practice. And the Bible tells us that the first step in that training is often on appetite.

If you are up to the challenge, to be victorious over our appetite through Christ, a great book to start reading is Counsels on Diets and Foods (don’t just go on a crazy crash diet). Read the chapters called, “diet and spirituality”, “health reform and the third angel’s message”, “control of appetite”, and “fasting”. God says ‘come, let’s reason together’. He wants to work with you and build a plan for victory, so we can be ready to stand in the crisis.