Clouds

Have you ever spent a warm, sunny day laying in the grass, looking up at the sky and the clouds? Have you ever seen a cloud shaped like a dog or a bear or an angel? Have you really given much thought to clouds?

Earlier this year, I told the children’s story during church one Sabbath morning. I made my own cloud—a cumulonimbus storm cloud. I used a bubble umbrella for the base, and then added webbing, a layer of batting, and a layer of polyester fiber fill. I sprayed the fiber fill with dark and light gray paint and completed it all with tiny flashing lights throughout the fiber fill to represent lightning. Blue beads hung from inside the umbrella by fishing line represented raindrops. And I made a flash of lightning from bright yellow cardstock to finish it off. Our sound techs played the sound of thunder and falling rain overhead as I jogged to the front of the church. I am told it was quite a spectacle.

I spent a few minutes naming some of the different, most common types of clouds, and that led into the real subject of my presentation.

The Bible talks about clouds. Here are a few examples.

After the flood, God said, “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13

After God’s fiery display on Mt. Carmel, Elijah prayed for rain. “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea! … the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain.” 1 Kings 18:44, first part, 45, first part

Lucifer wanted to be as exalted as Jesus. He said in his heart, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:14

The Lord led the children of Israel through the desert with pillars of cloud and fire. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way … .” Exodus 13:21, first part

After His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven. “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9

But there is a magnificent event that is soon—very soon—to come that involves clouds.

“Behold, He [Jesus] is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him … .” Revelation 1:7, first part

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” Mark 13:26

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them [the resurrected] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air … .” 1 Thessalonians 4:17

Yes, friends, Jesus is coming soon. And it will be with a shout, the blast of the heavenly trumpet, clouds and fire, majesty and glory and all the host of heaven. Jesus is coming to take His people home at last.

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13, 14

Lord, we long to see You coming in the clouds of glory. Make us ready to meet You.

Where is God?

Year            Disaster                                              Region                   Casualties

1346-1353  Black plague pandemic                         Europe                      75,000,000-200,000,000

1900             Galveston hurricane                              United States           8,000+

1906             San Francisco earthquake and fire      United States           3,000+

1908             Messina earthquake                             Italy                           123,000

1911             Heat wave                                              France                       41,000

1912             Titanic sinking                                       Atlantic Ocean        1,700

1918-1920  Spanish flu                                             Global                       50,000,000-100,000,000

1922             Shantou typhoon                                   China                        50,000-100,000

1931             Flooding (July-November)                   China                        432,000-4,000,000

1941-1945  The Holocaust                                        Europe                      6,000,000+

1959-1961  Famine                                                    China                        11,000,000-40,000,000

1991             Hurricane                                               Bangladesh              139,000

2001             September 11 terrorist attack               United States           3,000+

2004             Earthquake and tsunami                      Indonesia                 228,000

2010             Earthquake                                            Haiti                          100, 000-316,000

2019-2023            Covid-19 pandemic                             Global                    29,000,000

Sources: wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_by_death_toll; wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake; Britannica.com/event/Galveston-hurricane-of-1900; history.com/21st-century/9-11-attacks#how-many-people-died-in-the-9-11-attacks; worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/starvation-deaths-by-country

Where is the God who calmed the sea and stopped the storm? Where is the God who healed the sick and raised the dead? Where is the God who fed 5,000 and more with five loaves of bread and two fishes? Where is the God who opened the Red Sea, providing safe passage for His people, yet utter destruction of the Egyptian army? Where is the God who caused water to flow from a rock in the middle of the desert?

The world asks these questions and many more. How could a God of love and mercy allow such horrible, unspeakable things to happen?

“It is sin that darkens our minds and dims our perceptions.” Sons and Daughters of God, 339

“It is sin in some form that brings variance and disunion.” The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White, 146

“It is sin that brings ruin.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1767

“It is sin that is destroying souls.” Child Guidance, 441

“It is sin that alienates from God.” The Review and Herald, September 27, 1906

“It was sin that crucified the Redeemer of the world.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 157

It is sin that causes death (Romans 6:23).

God allows trial and hardship to perfect character, but He also provides every means to accomplish it. And even if we fall, He is always right there beside us to lift us up, carry us if need be, and to encourage us. God does not abandon those He loves. It is the sinfulness of our nature and the sins we particularly cherish that keep us from Him.

But we can know for certain that there is nothing that God hates more than sin, and nothing He loves more than us. “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

He Knew, and Still

Christ knew that the time had come for Him to depart out of the world, and go to His Father. And having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end. He was now in the shadow of the cross, and the pain was torturing His heart. He knew that He would be deserted in the hour of His betrayal. He knew that by the most humiliating process to which criminals were subjected He would be put to death. He knew the ingratitude and cruelty of those He had come to save. He knew how great the sacrifice that He must make, and for how many it would be in vain. Knowing all that was before Him, He might naturally have been overwhelmed with the thought of His own humiliation and suffering. But He looked upon the twelve, who had been with Him as His own, and who, after His shame and sorrow and painful usage were over, would be left to struggle in the world. His thoughts of what He Himself must suffer were ever connected with His disciples. He did not think of Himself. His care for them was uppermost in His mind.” The Desire of Ages, 643

  • He knew
  • He would be betrayed
  • He would be deserted
  • He would be humiliated and shamed
  • He would be treated with ingratitude and cruelty
  • He would be rejected
  • The Pharisees and Sadducees were plotting His death
  • The sacrifice He was making would, for some, be in vain
  • He must bear the weight of the grief of ages alone
  • The terrible effects of transgressing God’s law
  • He would be separated from His Father
  • The time had come that Satan’s power over the world should be contested

“The Son of God, heaven’s glorious Commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him. But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be redeemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe, there was but One who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law, and bring him again into harmony with heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin—sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and the Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery to rescue the ruined race.

“By His death, Christ would ransom many, and would destroy him who had the power of death.” The Signs of the Times, November 4, 1908

Thank You, Jesus. You knew the personal cost and still You died to be our Saviour, rose from the grave to give us hope, and returned to heaven to be our Mediator.

Even Demons Know

Demons know who Jesus is and believe His word. Can we say the same thing?

“When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’ ” Matthew 8:28, 29

“Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

“Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’

“But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.” Mark 1:21–26

“Satan is the god of the world; his influence is to pervert the senses, control the human mind for evil, and drive his victims to violence and crime. He sows discord and darkens the intellect. The work of Christ is to break his power over the children of men. Yet how many in every department of life, in the home, in business transactions, and in the church, turn Jesus from their doors but let the hateful monster in.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, 317

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” James 2:19

We are sinful, evil by nature. Alone, we have no desire to put Satan out of our lives. But if we study the word of God and pray for Him to give us the willingness to believe and the power to act upon that belief, then we will come off more than conquerors, with Satan thrown out of our lives as surely as his minions were from those the Bible tells us about.

“Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. He does not tell to anyone all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration.” The Signs of the Times, October 25, 1905

“It is faith that connects us with heaven and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out.’ Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ ” Ibid., January 20, 1904

Let this be our prayer:

Dear Lord, I come to You with a humbled heart to ask for Your transforming power to change my life.

Giant Troubles

“Then David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’

“And Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. …’

“Moreover David said, ‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’ ” 1 Samuel 17:32, 33, and 37

We all know the outcome of that battle.

“ ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.’ ” Verses 45, 46

We all know the outcome of that battle—a young boy, a slingshot, a stone, and a confident reliance on God that could not be swayed by size, force, or violence.

Sometimes we have troubles. The Bible says that we will. And sometimes they feel like giant troubles, too big for us to handle. But just as Goliath was no match for David and his reliance on God, your giant troubles can be overcome when you place your full reliance upon God.

God does not always remove our giants, but He does promise to always help us overcome them.

Corrie ten Boom tells of a time when she and her sister Betsie—imprisoned in a German concentration camp for hiding Jews in their home—had been thrown into a pit. While in this pit, Corrie remarked that the pit was very deep. Betsie replied, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

Source: jenniferdukeslee.com/deeperstill

It doesn’t matter how deeply you have sunk in sin; how big your debts might be; what personal hell you may be living in, if you want Jesus Christ in your life, if you want to have complete confidence that He always keeps His promise to help you, He will be there for you.

No mountain is so high but God is higher still; nowhere so deep but God is deeper still.

“Come to God just as you are, and let Him heal all your infirmities. Press your case to the throne of grace; let the work be thorough. Be sincere in dealing with God and your own soul. If you come to Him with a heart truly contrite, He will give you the victory.” God’s Amazing Grace, 87

Jubilee

“While I was in England, one day there was a great parade in the streets. It was the Queen’s Jubilee. Everyone was talking about it. The shop windows were filled with her pictures, and all were extolling the queen of England.” The Review and Herald, February 11, 1890

The Royal Jubilee is the celebration of a significant milestone in a British monarch’s reign. The Silver Jubilee marks 25 years, Ruby is 40, Golden is 50, Diamond is 60, and Platinum is 70 years. Monarchs rarely lived long enough to reach most of these milestones, but since the early 1800s there have been two: Queen Victoria and her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth.

Mrs. White’s reference to the Queen’s Jubilee is regarding the June 1887 Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. She ruled from 1837 to 1901—64 years—the longest reign of any British monarch, until Elizabeth celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June 2022. Elizabeth would reign for an additional three months until her death on September 8, 2022.

The Royal Jubilee is marked by celebration throughout the Commonwealth—banquets, parades through London, visiting dignitaries, and firework displays. The British public is invited to join in the celebration, lining the streets and cheering for their monarch. It is estimated that $1.4 million was spent on Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee and that over a million of England’s citizenry participated in the event.

“If men can make so much ado over the Queen’s Jubilee, if they can manifest so much enthusiasm over a finite being, can we not speak to the glory of the Prince of Life, who is so soon to come in majesty to take His weary, worn followers to Himself … ?” Ibid.

Hark! The Jubilee is sounding
O the joyful news is come,
Free salvation is proclaimed
In and through God’s only Son.
Now we have an invitation,
To the meek and lowly Lamb,
Glory, honor, and salvation,
Christ the Lord is come to reign.
Now let each one cease from sinning,

Come and follow Christ the Way;
We shall all receive a blessing,
If from Him we do not stray;
Golden moments we’ve neglected,
O the time we’ve spent in vain.
Glory, honor, and salvation;
Christ the Lord is come to reign.

Come, dear children, praise your Jesus,
Praise Him, praise Him evermore.
May His great love now constrain us,
His great name for to adore:
O then let us join together,
Crowns of glory to obtain,
Glory, honor, and salvation;
Christ the Lord is come to reign.

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians, 1803

We Are Not Alone

It was October, 1938. The big question burned even then, almost 100 years ago, “Are we alone in the universe?” In those days, families would gather around the radio in the evening after supper to listen to The Mercury Theatre on the Air program—and others like it—that included an evening of music and news reports.

Orson Welles, a Hollywood actor and director, had adapted H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds to be broadcast on October 30, where he and other actors would perform the adaptation in a live radio broadcast.

The episode began with a clear introduction that what they were about to hear was based on a work of science fiction. The episode then proceeded to its regular programing of live music. The music was occasionally interrupted by news bulletins. These bulletins were fairly forgettable until a report came through that an unknown object had fallen from the sky on a farm in Grovers Mill, New Jersey. From there the live production escalated as it was reported that creatures were emerging from what was then being called an alien spacecraft. Then reports came in of more invaders in Manhattan, New York, saying that citizens were fleeing from the alien war machines as they released poisonous clouds of smoke. The production was so realistic that many in the listening audience, all across America, believed it to be a real “Martian invasion” in spite of the repeated notices throughout the production that it was fiction.

Source: Wikipedia.org/wiki/The-War-of-the-Worlds-(1938-radio-drama)

As Christians, we can with confidence answer the question “Are we alone in the universe?” The Bible tells us that we are not alone, that there are other inhabited worlds out there, but they are not Martians as described or made up in man’s fiction.

These other worlds and those who inhabit them are of God’s creation and though they do not visit our world, they are spectators in the great controversy between God and Satan.

But more than knowing that there are other inhabited worlds, we also know that we are never alone because our gracious, heavenly Father is ever with us.

“We are never alone. Whether we choose Him or not, we have a Companion. Remember that wherever you are, whatever you do, God is there.” The Ministry of Healing, 490

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7–10

“We can never find a solitude where God is not.” The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881

“Never feel that Christ is far away. He is always near. His loving presence surrounds you.” The Faith I Live By, 62

“Even if we are compelled to stand apparently alone, we are not alone, for Christ is with us to encourage and strengthen and bless us. He is acquainted with every desire of your heart, with every purpose of your soul. He says, ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you’ (John 14:18). Let us believe that God will do just as He has promised.” That I May Know Him, 203

Thank you, Father, that we can rest in the knowledge that You are but a breath or prayer away. With humbled and grateful hearts, we praise You as we are bound to Your side once again, with “ties that can never be broken.”

Longing to See the Light

At the end of June 2018, a soccer coach and his 12 players in Thailand went into the Tham Luang Nang Non cave for an hour-long excursion after practice. They took a rope, a flashlight, and some batteries. The young men ranged in age from 11–16, and their coach was just 25 years old. Their adventure was meant to be of short duration so they did not prepare for a long trip. But as it turned out, it became an 18-day nightmare when the entrance to the cave unexpectedly flooded due to monsoon rains and they were trapped with no food or warm clothing. The oxygen in the cave began to run low and eventually the light from the flashlight went out. They kept themselves alive only by drinking fresh water that dripped from stalactites in the cave.

Ultimately, over the course of three days—July 8, 9, and 10—all of the boys and their coach were rescued. During their rescue each boy was led out of the cave by two experienced divers: one leading the way and the other following behind. They emerged from the cave hungry and cold, but safe and longing to see the light.

This brought to mind the scripture found in John 8:12, where Jesus said, “ ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ”

We live in a world of darkness and sin—a darkness so deep that sometimes it is impossible to believe that we will ever see the light again.

“A large number of precious souls are groping in darkness, yet longing and weeping and praying for light.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 65

“Light means revelation, and the light is to shine amid moral darkness. … Apart from Christ there is no light at all. There need not be a cloud between the soul and Jesus. … His great heart of love is longing to flood the soul with the bright beams of His righteousness.” Lift Him Up, 221

Dear Father, as Your people, You have given us great light and the opportunity to take truth and life to a world in darkness. Help us to be faithful to that charge.

Stand Firm

The Caliga “was a heavy-duty, thick-soled openwork boot, with hobnailed soles” worn by low-ranking Roman soldiers and cavalrymen. They are similar to the cleats we see today on the athletic shoes worn by baseball and football players. These hobnailed-soled sandals were designed to provide optimal grip and foot support. The sandal was secured to the foot by straps that crisscrossed and tied above the ankle, often up the calf to the knee. Not only did the sandal provide sure-footedness, but they made a horrific noise. Imagine the thunderous sound made by the thousands of feet as the Roman legions marched toward their enemy.

Lorica segmentata was the most common armor of the Roman army. It consisted of metal plates that overlapped one another, using leather straps to secure it around the soldier’s torso, covering the shoulders, chest, stomach, and back. A later form of armor the Lorica hamata or mail armor, was made using iron or bronze rings linked together, alternating closed washer-like rings with riveted rings. This made the armor very flexible, reliable, and strong. Mail armor was worn like a shirt and covered the torso from mid-back and down the front, often to the thighs. With proper maintenance, this armor could be used for several decades. Both of these types of armor were effective in repelling arrows and other sharp tools of war.

The scutum shield was used by soldiers of ancient Rome. A large, semi-cylindrical shield, rectangular in shape, with a hand-hold in the center, the shield surrounded the soldier, from approximately the shoulders to the knees (about 37”–42” tall).

The Cassis (combat helmet) was made of iron that covered the head, cheeks, and sometimes with a strip of iron fashioned to cover the nose.

In combat, Roman soldiers carried a long, double-edged sword (either a Gladius or Spatha), a Pugio dagger (a large, leaf-shaped dagger) and either a spear (Hasta) or javelin (Pilum).

Sources: Wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligae; Wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_military_personal_equipment; Wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Roman_ridge_helmet

Standing firm in a fight, dressed in the armor that can save your life, can be the difference between winning and losing a battle.

It is the same in spiritual warfare.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13–17

“Our battle will not be with men, although it may appear so; we war ‘not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places.’ …

“To every soul will come the searching test, Shall I obey God rather than man? The decisive hour is even at hand. Satan is putting forth his utmost efforts in a last despairing struggle against Christ and His followers. In this closing scene, false teachers are employing every possible device to stimulate the hardened sinner in his rebellious daring, to confirm the questioning, the doubting, the unbelieving, and by misrepresentation and falsehood to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect.

“Who are prepared to stand firmly under the banner on which is inscribed, ‘The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus’?” The Signs of the Times, February 22, 1910

“Do not fear to stand firm for the right under any and all circumstances. Do not think it uncourteous to meet with a decided ‘No,’ those who would suggest evil thoughts, or would urge you to any act which God would not approve.

“ ‘When sinners entice thee, consent thou not.’ Do they sneeringly call you a coward, tell them that if it is cowardly to fear to do wrong, then you are a coward.” Ibid., August 23, 1883

“God wants everyone to stand with the whole armor on, ready for the great review.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, 263

“We must put on every piece of the armor, and then stand firm. The Lord has honored us by choosing us as His soldiers. Let us fight bravely for Him, maintaining the right in every transaction. Rectitude in all things is essential to the welfare of the soul. As you strive for the victory over your own inclinations, He will help you by His Holy Spirit to be circumspect in every action, that you may give no occasion for the enemy to speak evil of the truth. Put on as your breastplate that divinely protected righteousness which it is the privilege of all to wear. This will protect your spiritual life.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 12, 1901

I’ve Waited My Whole Life

I turned to him and said, “I’ve waited my whole life to meet you.” It was 2003, and I was visiting a popular theme park for the first time. Standing there between the park’s two most famous characters to have my picture taken, I felt something was happening that I would remember forever.

And I have remembered it, and though I do remember how I felt in that moment, I now see the experience in light of something far more important.

Recently, what I said that day back in 2003 came to my mind, and I thought, there is a day coming when I should be able to look up and say to our returning Lord, “I’ve waited my whole life to meet You.”

I wish that I could meet Jesus with those words, but sadly, I—maybe you, too—have spent too much of my life involved in, busy with, enamored by the world. It was not my life’s work, early on, to develop the relationship with Jesus that would result in the formation of the character needed to meet Him on that not-so-distant morning.

There are no do-overs in this life. Time wasted with worldly things is time lost, never to be recovered, leaving less time to spend with Jesus. I have a picture of me with that theme park character, but am I ready to meet Jesus when He comes? We all have something that is part of this world that is special to us—a job, a home, family, friends, sports, internet games, social media, a picture with someone famous, or even being famous—but are we working toward the one thing we need most, a perfected character?

“If we would at last share the reward of the righteous, we must wisely improve the time of our probation. Moments are more precious than gold. …

“The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. We have but a little time in which to make ready. … We need a close connection with God. We are not safe a moment unless guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. …

“Life, with its marvelous privileges and opportunities, will soon be ended. The time for improvement in character will be past. …

“Life is short. The things of the world must perish with the using. Let us be wise, and build for eternity. We cannot afford to idle away our precious moments, or engage in busy activities that will bring forth no fruit for eternity. Let the time hitherto devoted to idleness, frivolity, worldliness, be spent in gaining a knowledge of the Scriptures, in beautifying our life … .” Our High Calling, 187

“God has not revealed to us the time when this message [the third angel’s] will close, or when probation will have an end. …

“When Jesus rises up in the most holy place, and lays off His mediatorial garments, and clothes Himself with the garments of vengeance in place of the priestly attire, the work for sinners will be done. …

“The case of every soul will have been decided. …

“We have no time to lose. We know not how soon our probation may close. … Christ is soon to come.

“When probation ends, it will come suddenly, unexpectedly—at a time when we are least expecting it. But we can have a clean record in heaven today, and know that God accepts us; and finally, if faithful, we shall be gathered into the kingdom of heaven.” The Faith I Live By, 215

Lord, help us to see our desperate need of Your transforming power. Give us a sense of urgency, to be made ready for heaven.