I was born and raised in a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) family. I lived in a major SDA community and only attended SDA schools. However, when I was about 17 years old, my interest in playing on a women's hockey team took me out of my little "fishbowl" and put me in contact with the Christian women on my team.
As I got to know these ladies I thought that I was better than them or somehow closer to God because I bought into the SDA idea that "we" had the real true interpretation of the Bible and that all the other Christians were poor, deceived souls who would eventually be lost if they continued to reject SDA beliefs, namely that of keeping Saturday Sabbath.
They would out of honest curiosity ask me what I believed as an Adventist, and why. Of course I always shot out the "correct" textbook answers that I had been taught everyday at school, and church. They were not into debating, just asking honest questions.
But something inside of me was left unsettled. They seemed to have something that I didn't. A joy... a peace. They went to church because they actually wanted to. I was still working on that one. I served God because I didn't want to be lost. Not even so much out of desire to heaven, but more from fear of being cast into "outer darkness", condemned to die with the devil, while watching my family and friends being taken away to heaven without me.
I thought to myself, "Why can't I muster up the kind of joy they have? If their joy really is from God, then how come they have it and I don't? After all, I know God better than they do. I have the [SDA] 'truth'. They don't even go to Church on the right day. So if anybody here should have a better or closer relationship with God, it should be me... right?"
One day when a Christian friend asked me about the Sabbath, I gave the textbook answer of how we must prove our allegiance to God by keeping the Sabbath as it is taught in the Law. But then my friend asked what at that time I thought was a strange question: "Wasn't that nailed to the cross when Jesus died?" With horror, I replied, "Of course NOT!" And explained how (according to SDA) the Sabbath was a perpetually binding observance that would identify and separate the true from false Christians in the last days. But although I gave my pat answer, that same question kept echoing around in my mind. That phrase, "nailed to the cross" haunted me until I had to do something about it.
I wanted to know, why do they believe what they believe? Why do they go to church on Sunday? I was always taught that they did not even know themselves why they went to church on Sunday, but that they were deceived by the devil. According to SDA theology, the Roman emperor Constantine changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, therefore worshiping on Sunday was the Mark of the Beast because it signified one's allegiance to Man rather than to God.
I couldn't help but to peek at Christian information on websites, go to the library and peruse history books, and look through Christian commentaries. I found that Christians went to church on Sunday because they were celebrating the resurrection of Christ. That was interesting to me. Then I found that there was good documentation that many Christians met together on Sundays long before Constantine's edict, even from the very beginning of the Church.
Trying to make sense of it all, I was trying to look for answers in both Christian and Adventist material. But when both sources would cite the same scripture and come up with completely contradictory conclusions, I thought, "Okay, SOMEBODY'S lying here. Either that or you're BOTH wrong."
My frustration grew with my insuppressible curiosity about this mystery. Finally, when I'd become so frustrated and cynical that I was ready to give up on religion altogether, I told God, "Look, I know what this person says and that person says... but I want to know what YOU say. I just want to know the TRUTH!"
After that point, it was like having a fresh pair of eyes. I read the Bible the same way I had been doing for years before, but now it was Alive. God caused verses that I'd never truly understood before jump out at me (particularly Romans 7, 8, 14; II Cor. 3:7-18; the entire book of Galatians; Eph. 1:13-14, 2:15, 4:30; Colossians 2:13-23), showing me that it's His blood that saves me, not my works. It's His Holy Spirit that seals me, not the Sabbath. That I could be secure in Him and not be afraid. For the first time I finally got a glimpse of what REALLY happened on that cross. It was as if the finality of Christ's work on the cross had previously been hidden behind a veil, but now the veil was being lifted, allowing me to see it clearly. Touched by the realization of what Christ did for me, I felt compelled to do something about it. Alone in my bedroom, it must have been the Holy Spirit that prompted me to pray a prayer to accept Jesus into my heart, and asked Him to be not only my Savior, but also my Lord.
Since I accepted the Lord in 1997, my life now has meaning, clarity, color, and most importantly, the real Truth.
"Heaven's Burning" is the intensity of God's presence (Hebrews 12:29). It is the name given to the band in which I play guitar, a vehicle to minister and witness to the lost. If the Lord brings us to your remembrance, please pray for our ministry.
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