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We Are Almost There - Message from the President

Eli Tenorio
December 31, 2019
Greetings, encouragement, and appeals from the SDARM General Conference President to you as we welcome a new year.

December 2019

 

At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to my dear church family around the world.

 

One more year has ended, and Jesus has not yet returned. We continue waiting for Him and “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13. But praised be the Lord our God who has been leading His church in this world!

 

It is encouraging to see our Heavenly Father’s providence in bringing His church out of the difficulties faced in different parts of the globe! In some places, our brethren have been persecuted, imprisoned, slandered and falsely accused, but God continues leading and prospering His cause. We are a small and poor church when compared with other denominations, but we are not a minority:

 

“Standing under the broad shield of Omnipotence, we do not feel that we are in the minority; God is a majority.” {BEcho, October 8, 1894 par. 6}

 

God is on the side of those who obey him. God is a majority. Christ is on their side, the angels of heaven are on their side, and all the good are on their side. The doers of the law of God are in the majority. They have access to the power that the world cannot give or take away. Let us not exalt Satan by dwelling upon his power. Let us talk of the power of God. Let us think of the King in his beauty. Let us behold Christ, and by beholding, become changed into his divine image.” {ST, September 30, 1889 par. 12

 

God’s church is not popular, because it carries an unpopular message: “What is the matter? The truth we advocate is not popular; it is unpopular and ever will be, because the Sabbath truth ever involves a cross.” {2SAT 11.3}

 

Despite the trials faced, the church continues its battle, gaining grounds towards the conclusion of the preaching of the Gospel, and it will come out victorious. Each one of us is part of this army. Let us continue to work united, and we will soon see the Gospel work finished.

 

Only as they were united with Christ could the disciples hope to have the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit and the co-operation of angels of heaven. With the help of these divine agencies they would present before the world a united front and would be victorious in the conflict they were compelled to wage unceasingly against the powers of darkness. As they should continue to labor unitedly, heavenly messengers would go before them, opening the way; hearts would be prepared for the reception of truth, and many would be won to Christ. So long as they remained united, the church would go forth "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Song of Solomon 6:10. Nothing could withstand her onward progress. The church would advance from victory to victory, gloriously fulfilling her divine mission of proclaiming the gospel to the world.” {AA 90.2}

 

One more year of battling on this earth is now past, and we are one year closer to our heavenly home. Each one of us can now look back and thank God for the blessings received during the past year because “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” James 1:17.

 

Our Heavenly Father is the one who affectionately provides for all our needs: “You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance,” Psalms 65:11.

 

Even if this past year was not as we expected, even if we suffered disappointments and losses, we can still find comfort in the assurance given to us by our heavenly Father that “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose,” Romans 8:28.

 

Sometimes blessings come in disguise, and we will not understand them now. But one day we will comprehend. “We cannot see the end from the beginning, but Christ has provided sufficient help for every day in the year,” HP 355. In the meantime, we place our trust in God. “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.” Zephaniah 3:12

 

Looking back at the church's journey as presented in the Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and history books, we see that it has been a journey of battle and trials, but with God always intervening and leading the church through its difficulties.

 

In this world, the way of the righteous is not a smooth path. Every child of God has faced trials and hardships. Have you ever felt disappointed during your Christian journey? You are not alone. The disciples also had such experience after seeing Christ being crucified. They exclaimed: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done,” Luke 24:21

 

They had left everything behind for Jesus' sake, and now it seemed they were left alone. Does this feeling resonate with you? 

 

Have you ever been discouraged? You are not alone. Jonah the prophet felt discouraged and depressed to the point of desiring death: “And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, [It is] better for me to die than to live,” Jonah 4:8.

 

But God in His grace gave the disciples and Jonah the strength they needed to rise and continue their journey towards a world better than this one.

 

The same God is your God, and He is willing and always available to help you and me to overcome the trials before us.

 

The New Year that is ahead of us will be one more year of battle and struggle on this earth. Trials, discouragement, and disappointment may still be our lot, but we have nothing to fear:

 

“Jesus lives, my brother. He will go with you over the broad waters. Your faith will be tried; but you must believe, believe, believe. Cling to the arm of infinite power. God's hand will hold you more firmly than you can hold to Him. While you trust in Him, He will never let you go or leave you to perish…” {15MR 267.3}

 

Salvation has not been promised to the strongest or the best, but to those who persevere with Jesus until the end: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved,” Matthew 24:13.

 

Are you holding fast, persevering in your first love, waiting and looking forward to the coming of Jesus?

 

A man died leaving behind his wife and a son. The mother, to comfort the boy, told him: “When Jesus comes, He will wake Daddy up”. When a minister arrived to perform the funeral ceremony, the boy seeing that man well dressed entering the funeral hall, he ran towards the minister and asked excitedly:

- “Are you Jesus?”

Surprised and not quite understanding the reason for the question, the minister replied:

- “No, I am not Jesus”.

Then the boy asked him: “But do you know Jesus?”

After a short pause the pastor answered:

- “Yes, I know him”.

And the boy said: “Please tell Him to come soon. I am waiting for Him, so He can wake my Daddy up!”

 

Are you also anxious for the coming of Christ? Don’t be discouraged. We are not home yet, but we are almost there! The signs are showing clearly that Christ is coming soon, and we will no longer be pilgrims and strangers in this far country!

 

May we all during this New Year read our Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy more than ever before and with an open heart let the Holy Spirit direct us to understand God’s will. We need more than ever the faith that comes from hearing the Word of God.

 

May the Lord bless you day by day in this New Year, giving you the strength you will need to persevere with Christ, faithfully keeping His commandments and growing in your Christian experience.

 

Your brother in the Blessed Hope, Eli Tenorio da Silva