May 16 – 22, 2021
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Study Help: Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 755–762; The Review and Herald, June 2, 1910.
“If you feel yourself to be the greatest sinner, Christ is just what you need, the greatest Saviour.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 452.
1 GOD SEES ALL
1.a. What seven things are especially offensive to God? Proverbs 6:16–19.
Note: “God does not regard all sins as of equal magnitude; there are degrees of guilt in His estimation, as well as in that of man; but however trifling this or that wrong act may seem in the eyes of men, no sin is small in the sight of God. Man’s judgment is partial, imperfect; but God estimates all things as they really are. The drunkard is despised and is told that his sin will exclude him from heaven; while pride, selfishness, and covetousness too often go unrebuked. But these are sins that are especially offensive to God; for they are contrary to the benevolence of His character, to that unselfish love which is the very atmosphere of the unfallen universe. He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of his shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give.” Steps to Christ, 30.
1.b. What is promised to those who confess their sins? Proverbs 14:16; 1 John 1:9.
Note: “No one is ever made better by denunciation and recrimination. To tell a tempted soul of his guilt in no way inspires him with a determination to do better. Point the erring, discouraged one to Him who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. Show him what he may become. Tell him that there is in him nothing that recommends him to God, but that Christ died for him that he might be accepted in the Beloved. Inspire him with hope, showing him that in Christ’s strength he can do better. Hold up before him the possibilities that are his. Point him to the heights to which he may attain. Help him to take hold upon the mercy of the Lord, to trust in His forgiving power. Jesus is waiting to clasp him by the hand, waiting to give him power to live a noble, virtuous life.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 453.
2 PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF EMOTIONS
2.a. Contrast the effects of emotions that tend to break down the life forces with those that build them up. Proverbs 17:22.
Note: “Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life-forces and to invite decay and death. … Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life.” The Ministry of Healing, 241.
“Sadness deadens the circulation in the blood vessels and nerves and also retards the action of the liver. It hinders the process of digestion and of nutrition, and has a tendency to dry up the marrow [interior substance] of the whole system.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 458.
2.b. How are we encouraged to obtain peace? Isaiah 27:5; 26:3.
Note: “We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. [Isaiah 27:5 quoted.] Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.” The Ministry of Healing, 248, 249.
3 LIFE’S BURDENS
3.a. What is the effect of anxiety on the mind? Proverbs 12:25. What is the recommended remedy? Philippians 4:6, 7.
Note: “We are in a world of suffering. Difficulty, trial, and sorrow await us all along the way to the heavenly home. But there are many who make life’s burdens doubly heavy by continually anticipating trouble. If they meet with adversity or disappointment, they think that everything is going to ruin, that theirs is the hardest lot of all, that they are surely coming to want. Thus they bring wretchedness upon themselves and cast a shadow upon all around them. Life itself becomes a burden to them. But it need not be thus. It will cost a determined effort to change the current of their thought. But the change can be made. Their happiness, both for this life and for the life to come, depends upon their fixing their minds upon cheerful things. Let them look away from the dark picture, which is imaginary, to the benefits which God has strewn in their pathway, and beyond these to the unseen and eternal.” The Ministry of Healing, 247, 248.
3.b. Compare and contrast the worst sources of comfort with the best ones. Job 16:2–4; Psalms 13:5, 6; 21:1; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.
Note: “Those who have borne the greatest sorrows are frequently the ones who carry the greatest comfort to others, bringing sunshine wherever they go. Such ones have been chastened and sweetened by their afflictions; they did not lose confidence in God when trouble assailed them, but clung closer to His protecting love. Such ones are a living proof of the tender care of God, who makes the darkness as well as the light, and chastens us for our good. Christ is the light of the world; in Him is no darkness. Precious light! Let us live in that light! Bid adieu to sadness and repining. Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 274.
4 HUMAN EXPERIENCE
4.a. Discuss the human experience of separation from God and how Christ experienced this in our behalf in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:44.
Note: “It was the anguish of separation from His Father’s favor that made Christ’s sufferings so acute. … His terrible anguish, caused by the thought that in this hour of need God had forsaken Him, portrays the anguish that the sinner will feel when, too late, he realizes that God’s Spirit is withdrawn from him.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 464, 465.
4.b. How can we obtain healing from the anxiety so often associated with physical illness? Psalms 33:18, 22; 34:17–22.
Note: “When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name, and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son. Because God’s love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better.” The Ministry of Healing, 229.
5 CONCERN OVER THE FUTURE
5.a. What is to be our view of the near and distant future? Matthew 6:25–33.
Note: “Though their present needs are supplied, many are unwilling to trust God for the future, and they are in constant anxiety lest poverty shall come upon them, and their children shall be left to suffer. Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter, instead of leading them to seek help from God, the only Source of strength, separate them from Him, because they awaken unrest and repining.
“Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293, 294.
5.b. What is the best preparation for tomorrow’s trials? Matthew 6:34.
Note: “The faithful discharge of today’s duties is the best preparation for tomorrow’s trials. Do not gather together all tomorrow’s liabilities and cares and add them to the burden of today.” The Ministry of Healing, 481.
“One day alone is ours, and during this day we are to live for God. For this one day we are to place in the hand of Christ, in solemn service, all our purposes and plans, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 101.
“Let us not make ourselves miserable over tomorrow’s burdens. Bravely and cheerfully carry the burdens of today. Today’s trust and faith we must have. But we are not asked to live more than a day at a time. He who gives strength for today will give strength for tomorrow.” In Heavenly Places, 269.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What things are especially offensive to God? What is the remedy?
2 How do negative feelings and emotions break down the life forces?
3 How is life made more difficult by the choices we make? Who are often the best ones to comfort others?
4 Discuss the common situations which trigger human anguish and how Christ experienced this in our behalf in Gethsemane. How are we to obtain relief from such anguish?
5 How ought we to view the future, and what is the best preparation for tomorrow?
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