Bible Study Guides – Consecration

January 20 – 26, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 43–48.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain.” Steps to Christ, 46.

INTRODUCTION: “We are now living in the closing scenes of this world’s history. Let men tremble with the sense of the responsibility of knowing the truth. The ends of the world are come. Proper consideration of these things will lead all to make an entire consecration of all that they have and are to their God.…” Evangelism, 16.

Christ Gave All

1 What did Jesus say He had come to give? Matthew 20:28.

NOTE: “What a theme for meditation is the sacrifice that Jesus made for lost sinners! ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.’ How shall we estimate the blessings thus brought within our reach? Could Jesus have suffered more? Could He have purchased for us richer blessings? Should it not melt the hardest heart when we remember that for our sakes He left the happiness and glory of heaven and suffered poverty and shame, cruel affliction and a terrible death? Had He not by His death and resurrection opened for us the door of hope, we should have known nothing but the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 316.

“Wonderful—almost too wonderful for man to comprehend—is the Saviour’s sacrifice in our behalf, shadowed forth in all the sacrifices of the past, in all the services of the typical sanctuary.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 309.

2 What does the Bible say Jesus’ sacrifice is to us? 1 Peter 2:21.

NOTE: “Do you feel that it is too great a sacrifice to yield all to Christ? Ask yourself the question, ‘What has Christ given for me?’ The Son of God gave all—life and love and suffering—for our redemption. And can it be that we, the unworthy objects of so great love, will withhold our hearts from Him?” Steps to Christ, 45.

“Christ came to do His Father’s will. Are we following in His steps? All who have named the name of Christ should be constantly seeking for a more intimate acquaintance with Him, that they may walk even as He walked, and do the works of Christ. We should appropriate the lessons of His life to our lives. Christ ‘gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’” Testimonies, vol. 3, 538.

“Strive to Enter In”

3 How many ways does the Bible say a man can go in this life? Matthew 7:13-14.

NOTE: “These roads are distinct, separate, in opposite directions. One leads to eternal life, the other to eternal death. I saw the distinction between these roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling them. The roads are opposite; one is broad and smooth, the other narrow and rugged. So the parties that travel them are opposite in character, in life, in dress, and in conversation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 127.

“In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, their dress, and the pleasures in the way. They indulge freely in hilarity and glee, and think not of their journey’s end, of the certain destruction at the end of the path. Every day they approach nearer their destruction; yet they madly rush on faster and faster. Oh, how dreadful this looked to me!” Ibid., 128.

4 What must we do to seek entrance to the narrow way? Luke 13:24.

NOTE: “I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved—not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God’s own appointed way. The way marked out by our divine Lord is too narrow and the gate too strait to admit them while grasping the world or while cherishing selfishness or sin of any kind. There is no room for these things; and yet there are but few who will consent to part with them, that they may pass the narrow way and enter the strait gate.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 445, 446.

“Many ‘will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ Luke 13:24. They desire the good, they make some effort to obtain it; but they do not choose it; they have not a settled purpose to secure it at the cost of all things.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 143.

I Die Daily

5 To follow Jesus, what does He say we must do? Luke 9:23.

NOTE: “The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing,—the giving up of the will to God. Wearing the yoke unites finite man in companionship with the dearly beloved Son of God. Lifting the cross cuts away self from the soul, and places man where he learns how to bear Christ’s burdens. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it after Him. If our will is not in accord with the divine requirements, we are to deny our inclinations, give up our darling desires, and step in Christ’s footsteps.” Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1090, 1091.

“Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 523.

6 What did the apostle Paul do daily? 1 Corinthians 15:31.

NOTE: “The Lord requires us to be submissive to His will, subdued by His Spirit, and sanctified to His service. Selfishness must be put away, and we must overcome every defect in our characters as Christ overcame. In order to accomplish this work, we must die daily to self. Said Paul: ‘I die daily.’ He had a new conversion every day, took an advance step toward heaven. To gain daily victories in the divine life is the only course that God approves. The Lord is gracious, of tender pity, and plenteous in mercy. He knows our needs and weaknesses, and He will help our infirmities if we only trust in Him and believe that He will bless us and do great things for us.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 66, 67. See also Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 143, “The only hope…”.


7 What does God command us to do as a part of the process of becoming His sons and daughters? 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18; 7:1.

NOTE: “The first thirty years of Christ’s life were passed in retirement. Ministering angels waited upon the Lord of life as He walked side by side with the peasants and laborers among the hills of Nazareth, unrecognized and unhonored. These noble examples should teach us to avoid evil influences and to shun the society of those who do not live aright. We should not flatter ourselves that we are too strong for any such influences to affect us, but we should in humility guard ourselves from danger.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 109.

“It is soon to be known who is on the Lord’s side, who will not be ashamed of Jesus. Those who have not moral courage to conscientiously take their position in the face of unbelievers, leave the fashions of the world, and imitate the self-denying life of Christ, are ashamed of Him, and do not love His example.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 287.

8 What startling statement does Jesus give to any who are thinking about becoming His disciple? Luke 14:33.

NOTE: “But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it. God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves.” Steps to Christ, 46.

“Whatever shall divert the affections from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. Its golden chain binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. These are Satan’s snares, set for unwary feet. But these slavish bands must be broken; the flesh must be crucified with the affections and lusts. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s people unless we are such entirely.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 83.

Profession versus Possession

9 What danger did God say would come to the professed church of God in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1, 4, 5.

NOTE: “Divine truth exerts little influence upon the world, when it should exert much influence through our practice. The mere profession of religion abounds, but it has little weight. We may claim to be followers of Christ, we may claim to believe every truth in the word of God; but this will do our neighbor no good unless our belief is carried into our daily life. Our profession may be as high as heaven, but it will save neither ourselves nor our fellow men unless we are Christians. A right example will do more to benefit the world than all our profession.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 383.

“This is the word of the living God. The law is God’s great moral looking glass. Man is to compare his words, his spirit, his actions with the Word of God.…True religion means living the Word in your practical life. Your profession is not of any value without the practical doing of the Word.” Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 935. See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 159, “No outward observances…”.

10 Profession versus possession is markedly illustrated by Jesus in what parable? Matthew 25:7–12.

NOTE: “As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, He told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming. The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 406.

“The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working.” Ibid., 411.

“The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service. All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall.” Ibid., 412.

Abiding in Him

11 What illustration does Jesus use to represent a consecrated Christian life? John 15:4, 5.

NOTE: “There is a wide difference between a pretended union and a real connection with Christ by faith. A profession of the truth places men in the church, but this does not prove that they have a vital connection with the living Vine. A rule is given by which the true disciple may be distinguished from those who claim to follow Christ but have not faith in Him. The one class are fruit bearing, the other, fruitless. The one are often subjected to the pruning knife of God that they may bring forth more fruit; the other, as withered branches, are erelong to be severed from the living Vine.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 228, 229. See also Steps to Christ, 69, “Many have an idea…”.

12 What will be the experience of one who chooses to be a consecrated branch connected to the Vine? 2 Corinthians 5:17.

NOTE: “Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures, it is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’” Acts of the Apostles, 476.

“Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, ‘Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.’ This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.” Steps to Christ, 70.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – Repentance

January 13 – 19, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to
be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 11 Corinthians 7:10.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 23, 24.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Godly sorrow comes only from beholding Jesus at Calvary.

INTRODUCTION: “The Bible does not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28. It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ, that leads to genuine repentance.” Steps to Christ, 26.

A Knowledge of Sin

1 Genuine repentance will involve sorrow for sin. What does the Bible declare sin to be? 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20.

NOTE: “’Sin is the transgression of the law.’ This is the only definition of sin. Without the law there can be no transgression. ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin.’ The standard of righteousness is exceeding broad, prohibiting every evil thing.” Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 951.

“I must speak the truth to all. Those who have accepted the light from God’s Word are never, never to leave an impression upon human minds that God will serve with their sins. His Word defines sin as the transgression of the law.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 115.

2 What did Paul say helped him see that he was a sinner before God? Romans 7:7, 8; 4:15.

NOTE: “Paul says that as ‘touching the righteousness which is in the law’—as far as outward acts were concerned—he was ‘blameless’ (Philippians 3:6); but when the spiritual character of the law was discerned, he saw himself a sinner. Judged by the letter of the law as men apply it to the outward life, he had abstained from sin; but when he looked into the depths of its holy precepts, and saw himself as God saw him, he bowed in humiliation and confessed his guilt. He says, ‘I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.’ Romans 7:9. When he saw the spiritual nature of the law, sin appeared in its true hideousness, and his self-esteem was gone.” Steps to Christ, 29, 30.

Repentance—a Gift from God

3 Who has promised to give us repentance? Acts 5:31.

NOTE: “Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin. And we cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, ‘Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.” The Desire of Ages, 175.

“Through influences seen and unseen, our Saviour is constantly at work to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of sin to the infinite blessings that may be theirs in Him. To all these souls, who are vainly seeking to drink from the broken cisterns of this world, the divine message is addressed, ‘Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Revelation 22:17.” Steps to Christ, 28.

4 Where will we find this most precious gift of repentance? John 3:14; 12:32; Romans 2:4. See also Acts 11:18; 11 Peter 3:9.

NOTE: “Christ must be revealed to the sinner as the Saviour dying for the sins of the world; and as we behold the Lamb of God upon the cross of Calvary, the mystery of redemption begins to unfold to our minds and the goodness of God leads us to repentance. In dying for sinners, Christ manifested a love that is incomprehensible; and as the sinner beholds this love, it softens the heart, impresses the mind, and inspires contrition in the soul.” Steps to Christ, 26, 27.

“We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent.” Christ’s Object Lesson, 189.

“Christ on the cross not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied Justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 341.

Repentance not to be Repented of

5 What kind of sorrow does the Bible say is necessary in order to experience genuine repentance? 2 Corinthians 7:10.

NOTE: “The mourning here [referring to Matthew 5:4] brought to view is true heart sorrow for sin. Jesus says, ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.’ John 12:32. And as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfulness of humanity. He sees that it is sin which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory. He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion. He has forsaken his best Friend and abused heaven’s most precious gift. He has crucified to himself the Son of God afresh and pierced anew that bleeding and stricken heart. He is separated from God by a gulf of sin that is broad and black and deep, and he mourns in brokenness of heart. Such mourning ‘shall be comforted.’ God reveals to us our guilt that we may flee to Christ, and through Him be set free from the bondage of sin, and rejoice in the liberty of the sons of God. In true contrition we may come to the foot of the cross, and there leave our burdens.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 9, 10.

6 In experiencing “godly sorrow” for his sins, what attribute did the publican reveal that the Pharisee did not? Luke 18:13, 14.

NOTE: “It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159, 160.

“It is when we most fully comprehend the love of God that we best realize the sinfulness of sin. When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.” Steps to Christ, 36.

Confess and Forsake

7 What two actions are required in genuine repentance? Proverbs 28:13.

NOTE: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.” Steps to Christ, 37.

“It should be made plain that the violation of God’s law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order…to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken.” Ministry of Healing, 228.

“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin.” Steps to Christ, 39.

8 What is God’s promise to all who will come to Him confessing and forsaking their sins? 1 John 1:9.

NOTE: “If we had to bear our own guilt, it would crush us. But the sinless One has taken our place; though undeserving, He has borne our iniquity. ‘If we confess our sins,’ God ‘is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9. Glorious truth!—just to His own law, and yet the Justifier of all that believe in Jesus. ‘Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy.’ Micah 7:18.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 116.

“True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” Steps to Christ, 38.

A Biblical Example

9 Who has God made a witness of what constitutes true repentance? Isaiah 55:3, 4.

NOTE: “Many have murmured at what they called God’s injustice in sparing David, whose guilt was so great, after having rejected Saul for what appear to them to be far less flagrant sins. But David humbled himself and confessed his sin, while Saul despised reproof and hardened his heart in impenitence. This passage in David’s history is full of significance to the repenting sinner. It is one of the most forcible illustrations given us of the struggles and temptations of humanity, and of genuine repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Through all the ages it has proved a source of encouragement to souls that, having fallen into sin, were struggling under the burden of their guilt. Thousands of the children of God, who have been betrayed into sin, when ready to give up to despair have remembered how David’s sincere repentance and confession were accepted by God, notwithstanding he suffered for his transgression; and they also have taken courage to repent and try again to walk in the way of God’s commandments.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 726.

10 After confessing his sins, what else did David ask God to give him? Psalm 51:10.

NOTE: “God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 114.

“The prayer of David after his fall, illustrates the nature of true sorrow for sin. His repentance was sincere and deep. There was no effort to palliate his guilt; no desire to escape the judgment threatened, inspired his prayer. David saw the enormity of his transgression; he saw the defilement of his soul; he loathed his sin. It was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart. He longed for the joy of holiness—to be restored to harmony and communion with God.” Steps to Christ, 24, 25.

“Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him. Whoever will in faith accept God’s promises, will find pardon. The Lord will never cast away one truly repentant soul. He has given this promise: ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Isaiah 27:5. ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.’ Isaiah 55:7.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 726.


11 What did the convicted Felix tell the apostle Paul after listening to a message of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come”? Acts 24:25.

NOTE: “Beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Here is where thousands upon thousands have erred to their eternal loss. I will not here dwell upon the shortness and uncertainty of life; but there is a terrible danger—a danger not sufficiently understood—in delaying to yield to the pleading voice of God’s Holy Spirit, in choosing to live in sin; for such this delay really is. Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be indulged in only at the peril of infinite loss. What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction.” Steps to Christ, 32, 33.

12 What are we told Esau could not find? Hebrews 12:16, 17.

NOTE: “Every act of transgression, every neglect or rejection of the grace of Christ, is reacting upon yourself; it is hardening the heart, depraving the will, benumbing the understanding, and not only making you less inclined to yield, but less capable of yielding, to the tender pleading of God’s Holy Spirit.” Ibid, 33.

“Christ is ready to set us free from sin, but He does not force the will; and if by persistent transgression the will itself is wholly bent on evil, and we do not desire to be set free, if we will not accept His grace, what more can He do? We have destroyed ourselves by our determined rejection of His love. ‘Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ 11 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7, 8.” Ibid, 34.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – The Sinner’s Need of Christ

January 6 – 12, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 17–22.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Christ connects fallen man in his weakness and helplessness with the Source of infinite power.” Steps to Christ, 20.

INTRODUCTION: “There is but one power that can break the hold of evil from the hearts of men, and that is the power of God in Jesus Christ. Only through the blood of the Crucified One is there cleansing from sin. His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature.” The Ministry of Healing, 428.

The Fall of Man

1 What did Adam and Eve first believe that eventually led them to transgress (disobey) God’s commandment? Genesis 3:1–5; John 8:44; 1 John 2:21.

NOTE: “Ever since the fall of man, Satan has been sowing the seeds of error. It was by a lie that he first gained control over men, and thus he still works to overthrow God’s kingdom in the earth and to bring men under his power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 37.

“Truthfulness and integrity are attributes of God, and he who possesses these qualities possesses a power that is invincible. Never prevaricate; never tell an untruth in precept or in example.…Be straight and undeviating. Even a slight prevarication should not be allowed. The Saviour has a deep contempt for all deception. The stern punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira shows this.” My Life Today, 331. See also Sons and Daughters of God, 196, “We are now…”.

2 How has sin affected man’s relationship with God? Isaiah 59:2; 53:6.

NOTE: “By sin man was shut out from God. Except for the plan of redemption, eternal separation from God, the darkness of unending night, would have been his.” Education, 28.

“Before the entrance of sin, Adam enjoyed open communion with his Maker; but since man separated himself from God by transgression, the human race has been cut off from this high privilege. By the plan of redemption, however, a way has been opened whereby the inhabitants of the earth may still have connection with heaven. God has communicated with men by His Spirit, and divine light has been imparted to the world by revelations to His chosen servants. ‘Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’ 11 Peter 1:21.…” My Life Today, 40. See also Testimonies, vol. 2, 390, “The Lord has given…”.

3 What did man lose as a result of his sins? Romans 3:23.

NOTE: God’s glory is His character, see Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7. “When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. ‘God created man in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator.…But by disobedience this was forfeited. Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death. Yet the race was not left without hope. By infinite love and mercy the plan of salvation had been devised, and a life of probation was granted. To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.” Education, 15, 16. See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 311, “Only the covering…”.

Man’s Hopelessness Without Christ

4 What is impossible for fallen man to do for himself? Jeremiah 13:23; Job 14:4.

NOTE: “It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.’ ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” Steps to Christ, 18.

5 What does the Bible say we will have without Christ? Ephesians 2:12.

6 Who is apparently the most hopeless man in the world? Romans 7:18–24.

NOTE: “It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, ‘I consent unto the law that it is good.’ ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ Romans 7:24, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages. To all, there is but one answer, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29.” Steps to Christ, 19.

The Only Hope for Man

7 What has Jesus declared Himself to be for fallen man? John 14:6; Acts 4:10, 12.

NOTE: “Christ has led the way from earth to heaven. He forms the connecting link between the two worlds. He brings the love and condescension of God to man, and brings man up through His merits to meet the reconciliation of God. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. It is hard work to follow on, step by step, painfully and slowly, onward and upward, in the path of purity and holiness. But Christ has made ample provision to impart new vigor and divine strength at every advance step in the divine life.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 193. See also Steps to Christ, 21. “But in vain …” and My Life Today, 260, “This earth…”.

8 How did Jesus become the Way for man’s redemption? Romans 5:8; Galatians 1:4; Romans 4:25.

NOTE: “No one need say that his case is hopeless, that he cannot live the life of a Christian. Ample provision is made by the death of Christ for every soul. Jesus is our ever-present help in time of need. Only call upon Him in faith, and He has promised to hear and answer your petitions.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 215. See also Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1132, “Our only hope…”.

9 Through Christ’s life and death man can receive not only forgiveness but power to do what? John 1:12; 1 John 2:4; Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “It was to atone for man’s transgression of the law that Christ laid down His life. Could the law have been changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died. By His life on earth He honored the law of God. By His death He established it. He gave His life as a sacrifice, not to destroy God’s law, not to create a lower standard, but that justice might be maintained, that the law might be shown to be immutable, that it might stand fast forever.…‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.’ John 1:12. This power is not in the human agent. It is the power of God. When a soul receives Christ, he receives power to live the life of Christ.

“God requires perfection of His children. His law is a transcript of His own character, and it is the standard of all character. This infinite standard is presented to all that there may be no mistake in regard to the kind of people whom God will have to compose His kingdom. The life of Christ on earth was a perfect expression of God’s law, and when those who claim to be children of God become Christlike in character, they will be obedient to God’s commandments. Then the Lord can trust them to be of the number who shall compose the family of heaven. Clothed in the glorious apparel of Christ’s righteousness, they have a place at the King’s feast. They have a right to join the blood-washed throng.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314, 315. See also The Desire of Ages, 668, “As Christ lived.…”

God’s Invitation to Man

10 To whom among men does God send His invitation of redemption? Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 5:6.

NOTE: “A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God and the longing heart can say, ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.’ Psalm 62:5. If you have a sense of need in your soul, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness, this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, in order that He may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 19. See also The Desire of Ages, 187, “He who seeks…” and Ministry of Healing, 161, “Grace is an attribute…”.

11 What two experiences does Jesus invite us to have with Him? Matthew 11:28, 29.

NOTE: “In these words Christ is speaking to every human being. Whether they know it or not, all are weary and heavy-laden. All are weighed down with burdens that only Christ can remove. The heaviest burden that we bear is the burden of sin. If we were left to bear this burden, it would crush us. But the Sinless One has taken our place. ‘The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53:6. He has borne the burden of our guilt. He will take the load from our weary shoulders. He will give us rest. The burden of care and sorrow also He will bear. He invites us to cast all our care upon Him; for He carries us upon His heart.…

See also Desire of Ages, 328, 329, “The yoke that binds…” and Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 8-9, “All who have a sense…”.

12 When can we receive God’s gracious invitation of mercy? 11 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:15.

NOTE: “The day will come when the awful denunciation of God’s wrath will be uttered against all who have persisted in their disloyalty to Him. This will be when God must speak and do terrible things in righteousness against the transgressors of His law. But you need not be among those who will come under the wrath of God. It is now the day of His salvation. The light from the cross of Calvary is now shining forth in clear, bright rays, revealing Jesus, our Sacrifice for sin. As you read the promises which I have set before you, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity. The great heart of infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. ‘We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.’ Yes, only believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore His moral image in man. As you draw nigh to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw nigh to you with mercy and forgiveness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 634, 635. See also Steps to Christ, 34, “Christ is ready…”.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – The Love of God

December 30 – January 5, 2002

General Introduction- First Quarter—2002

The Christian experience is embodied in the plan of salvation and is indeed to be the fruit of the gospel of Jesus Christ to every believing child of God. Our experience is to be founded in and upon the Word of God. “In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience. ‘Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.’ 11 Timothy 3:16, 17, R.V.” The Great Controversy, vii. God’s Spirit, through Soloman, has aptly illustrated what is to be the experience of all God’s children in this world with these words: “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. “You have watched the rising sun, and the gradual break of day over earth and sky. Little by little the dawn increases, till the sun appears; then the light grows constantly stronger and clearer until the full glory of noontide is reached. This is a beautiful illustration of what God desires to do for His children in perfecting their Christian experience. As we walk day by day in the light He sends us, in willing obedience to all His requirements, our experience grows and broadens until we reach the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.” Messages to Young People, 15. That perfect day is not far away, and we are told that, “we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain.” The Great Controversy, 622. Will God have a people who arise and shine? Yes! If we are willing, He is able! “A deeper and wider experience in religious things is to come to God’s people. Christ is our example. If through living faith and sanctified obedience to God’s word we reveal the love and grace of Christ, if we show that we have a true conception of God’s guiding providences in the work, we shall carry to the world a convincing power.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 274. It is the hope that this quarter’s studies will be one of the means God will use to revive and reform His people unto Himself, that they may indeed be a people who “fear God and give glory to Him.” (See Revelation 14:17.)

MEMORY VERSE: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 9-15.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God has loved you with an “everlasting love.” (See Jeremiah 31:3.)

INTRODUCTION: “Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.” The Desire of Ages, 641.

Creation Testifies of God’s Love

1 Identify one place where God declares His glory to all of humanity. Psalm 19:1-6.

NOTE: “Many are the ways in which God is seeking to make Himself known to us and bring us into communion with Him. Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing. The open heart will be impressed with the love and glory of God as revealed through the works of His hands. The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the things of nature. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the glories of the heavens, speak to our hearts, and invite us to become acquainted with Him who made them all.” Steps to Christ, 85. See also The Ministry of Healing, 411.

2 Through the things of creation, what can the eye of faith clearly see? Romans 1:20.

NOTE: “‘God is love.’ 1 John 4:16. His nature, His law, is love. It ever has been; it ever will be. ‘The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,’ whose ‘ways are everlasting,’ changeth not. With Him ‘is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:6; James 1:17. Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 33. See also Ministry of Healing, 413, “God’s handiwork in nature.…”

3 What has God said concerning the “thorns and thistles” (Genesis 3:17, 18) which are symbolic of the difficulties and trials we experience in this life? Romans 8:28.

NOTE: “All along our pathway God places the flowers of promise to brighten our journey. But many refuse to gather these flowers, choosing instead the thorns and thistles. At every step they weep and mourn, when they might rejoice in the Lord because He has made the road to heaven so pleasant. As we look at the promises of God we find comfort and hope and joy, for they speak to us the words of the Infinite One. Properly to appreciate these precious promises we should study them carefully, examining them in detail. How much joy we might bring into life, how much goodness into the character, if we would but make these promises our own! As we journey in the upward way, let us talk of the blessings strewn along the path. As we think of the mansions Christ is preparing for us, we forget the petty annoyances which we meet day by day. We seem to breathe the atmosphere of the heavenly country to which we are journeying, and we are soothed and comforted.…Let us honor God by weaving more of Jesus and heaven into our lives.” My Life Today, 338. See also Steps to Christ, 116, 117.

The Word Testifies of God’s Love

4 What has God Himself declared His glory or character to be? Exodus 33:18–19; 34:6–7.

NOTE: “It was when Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock that he beheld the glory of God. It is when we hide in the riven Rock that Christ will cover us with His own pierced hand, and we shall hear what the Lord saith unto His servants. To us as to Moses, God will reveal Himself as ‘merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 34:6, 7.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 162.

“The Lord is full of compassion for His suffering ones. What sins are too great for His pardon? He is merciful, and as such is infinitely more ready and more pleased to pardon than to condemn. He is gracious, not looking for wrong in us; He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are but dust. In His boundless compassion and mercy He heals all our backslidings, loving us freely while we are yet sinners, withdrawing not His light, but shining on us for Christ’s sake.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 231.

5 In what other way does God reveal His love to us in His Word? 11 Corinthians 1:20; 11 Peter 1:4.

NOTE: “As you read the promises, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity.” Steps to Christ, 55.

“My brethren and sisters, plead for the Holy Spirit, God stands back of every promise He has made. With your Bibles in your hands, say: ‘I have done as Thou hast said. I present Thy promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”’ Christ declares: ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’ Matthew 7:7; Mark 11:24; John 14:13.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 23. See also Testimonies to Ministers, 381, “The promises of God…” and Ibid., 490, “Even in the midst…”.

6 God’s love is revealed in His character. Compare 1 John 1:5, Proverbs 6:23, and Romans 13:10 to see where else His love is revealed.

NOTE: “The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable. It is a revelation of the will and the character of its Author. God is love, and His law is love. Its two great principles are love to God and love to man. ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10. The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist: ‘Thy law is the truth;’ ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness.’ Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares: ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ Romans 7:12. Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.” The Great Controversy, 467. See also Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 97, “God’s law is the law of love…”.

Christ Testifies of God’s Love

7 Whose character did Jesus reveal in His life? John 14:7–9. See also John 1:1–3.

NOTE: “Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save. Such is the character of Christ as revealed in His life. This is the character of God. It is from the Father’s heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Saviour, was God ‘manifest in the flesh.’ 1Timothy 3:16.” Steps to Christ, 12.

“Christ Himself is the pearl of great price. In Him is gathered all the glory of the Father, the fullness of the Godhead. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person. The glory of the attributes of God is expressed in His character. Every page of the Holy Scriptures shines with His light. The righteousness of Christ, as a pure, white pearl, has no defect, no stain. No work of man can improve the great and precious gift of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 115. See also Ibid., 69, “Christ is waiting…”.

8 What did Jesus say was the evidence of His oneness with the Father? John 10:25, 37, 38. See also John 14:10, 11; John 5:20, 21.

NOTE: “Every miracle that Christ performed was a sign of His divinity. He was doing the very work that had been foretold of the Messiah; but to the Pharisees these works of mercy were a positive offense. The Jewish leaders looked with heartless indifference on human suffering. In many cases their selfishness and oppression had caused the affliction that Christ relieved. Thus His miracles were to them a reproach.

“That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour’s work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.” The Desire of Ages, 406, 407. See also Sons and Daughters of God, 55, “As a Teacher…” and Testimonies, vol. 9, 31, “Christ’s work is to…”.

9 We are to abide in Jesus’ love the same way Jesus abode in His Father’s love. How did Jesus abide in His Father’s love? John 15:10; 1 John 5:2, 3.

NOTE: “To man in Eden Christ made known the precepts of the law ‘when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7. The mission of Christ on earth was not to destroy the law, but by His grace to bring man back to obedience to its precepts.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 48.

“Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience. We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith.” Steps to Christ, 60, 61. See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 378, “Christ knew…”.

Calvary Testifies of God’s Love

10 What is the Father’s greatest demonstration of His love for fallen man? John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16.

NOTE: “But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.’ John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 11 Corinthians 5:19.” Steps to Christ, 13.

“I exalted before them the infinite sacrifice made by the Father in giving His beloved Son for fallen men, that they might through obedience be transformed and become the acknowledged sons of God. The church and the world are called upon to behold and admire a love which thus expressed is beyond human comprehension, and which amazed even the angels of heaven. This love is so deep, so broad, and so high that the inspired apostle, failing to find language in which to describe it, calls upon the church and the world to behold it—to make it a theme of contemplation and admiration.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 293. See also Ibid., vol. 2, 200, “In order to fully realize…”.

11 What did Jesus’ death at Calvary magnify? Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17, 18; Psalm 40:7, 8.

NOTE: “The cross of Christ testifies to the immutability of the law of God—testifies that God so loved us that He gave His Son to die for our sins; but Christ came not to destroy but to fulfill the law. Not one jot or tittle of God’s moral standard could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. Jesus died that He might ascribe unto the repenting sinner His own righteousness, and make it possible for man to keep the law.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 312.

“There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father’s throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God.” The Great Controversy, 489. See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 63, “The broken law…”.

12 What is required of us in order to follow Jesus who died for us? Luke 9:23; John 14:15.

NOTE: “Christ died that the life of man might be bound up with His life in the union of divinity and humanity. He came to our world and lived a divine-human life, in order that the lives of men and women might be as harmonious as God designs them to be. The Saviour calls upon you to deny self and take up the cross. Then nothing will prevent the development of the whole being. The daily experience will reveal healthy, harmonious action.” Tesimonies, vol. 7, 49.

“Every soul that accepts Jesus as his personal Saviour will pant for the privilege of serving God and will eagerly seize the opportunity to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God’s service. He will long to show his love for Jesus and for His purchased possession. He will covet toil, hardship, sacrifice. He will think it a privilege to deny self, lift the cross, and follow in Christ’s footsteps, thus showing his loyalty and love. His holy and beneficent works will testify to his conversion, and will give to the world the evidence that he is not a spurious, but a true, devoted, Christian.” Testimonies to Ministers, 394. See also Sons and Daughters of God, 69, “Wearing the yoke . . . .”

By Craig Meeker

Food for Life – Oat Date Bar Cookies

December! What a month of festivities! Pagan in origin and still pagan in philosophy, but nevertheless, we are surrounded by this element, and our children are bent to the ways of the world. Can we teach them the proper ways? I think we can. Instead of heaping the presents on them on this holiday, let us carefully keep in mind what Jesus went through while on this earth, and let us faithfully guard our children and their minds away from all earthly things to heavenly things. Let us keep His coffers full, instead of our own. God bless you and keep you during this holiday season.

“I should eat regularly of the most healthful food which will make the best quality of blood, and I should not work intemperately if it is in my power to avoid doing so.

“And when I violate the laws God has established in my being, I am to repent and reform, and place myself in the most favorable condition under the doctors God has provided—pure air, pure water, and the healing, precious sunlight.

“Water can be used in many ways to relieve suffering. Drafts of clear, hot water taken before eating (half a quart, more or less), will never do any harm, but will rather be productive of good.

“A cup of tea made from catnip herb will quiet the nerves.

“Hop tea will induce sleep. Hop poultices over the stomach will relieve pain.

“If the eyes are weak, if there is pain in the eyes, or inflammation, soft flannel cloths wet in hot water and salt, will bring relief quickly.

“When the head is congested, if the feet and limbs are put in a bath with a little mustard, relief will be obtained.

“There are many more simple remedies which will do much to restore healthful action to the body. All these simple preparations the Lord expects us to use for ourselves, but man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. If we neglect to do that which is within the reach of nearly every family, and ask the Lord to relieve pain when we are too indolent to make use of these remedies within our power, it is simply presumption. The Lord expects us to work in order that we may obtain food. He does not propose that we shall gather the harvest unless we break the sod, till the soil, and cultivate the produce. Then God sends the rain and the sunshine and the clouds to cause vegetation to flourish. God works and man cooperates with God. Then there is seedtime and harvest.

“God has caused to grow out of the ground, herbs for the use of man, and if we understand the nature of those roots and herbs, and make a right use of them, there would not be a necessity of running for the doctor so frequently, and people would be in much better health than they are today. I believe in calling upon the Great Physician when we have used the remedies I have mentioned.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 297.

Recipe – Oat Date Bar Cookies

2 cups coconut (unsweetened)

1/4 cup almond butter

l/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup date pieces, finely cut

1 cup chopped walnuts

2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup honey

Combine all ingredients, spread out into pan or form into cookies and bake at 350 degrees until light brown.

Children’s Story – Rescue at Night, Part I

Joan sat at the dining-room table, busy with her homework. Her older brother, Bill, was reading a book in the living room. Four little brothers and sisters were already sound asleep in the large bedroom at the back of the Joan sat at the dining-room table, busy with her homework. Her older brother, Bill, was reading a book in the living room. Four little brothers and sisters were already sound asleep in the large bedroom at the back of the house. The whole house was still and quiet.

Presently Joan finished studying and leaned back in her chair, stretching her arms and yawning widely. She then gathered her work together neatly and stacked her notebook and schoolbooks, ready to take to school the next morning. She got up from the table then shivered and pulled her sweater closer about her shoulders.

“Br-r-r! I’m cold!” Joan said in a loud whisper to Bill.

“I am too,” Bill replied, looking up from his book. “Dad’s been having trouble with that old furnace in the basement. It doesn’t heat right. He said he’ll have it fixed as soon as we have the money.

“Hope that’s soon,” Joan said, buttoning her sweater. “This old house always seems cold.” She walked to the window and looked out. “Wonder when Mother and Dad will come back from Aunt Jane’s?”

“It should be soon; they never stay late,” Bill answered. Then he sniffed the air and exclaimed, “I smell smoke!”

Joan stepped back from the window and sniffed too. “So do I!” she cried.

“Must be from the furnace in the basement,” Bill said. “I’ll go and check it.” He got up and went quickly down the center hall, where a door opened into steps leading to the basement. As he flung open the door, he looked down into the dark basement. At once strong smoke swept up the stairway and set him to coughing. He slammed the door shut quickly and ran back to Joan.

“The furnace must have started a fire in the basement,” Bill said, trying to keep calm. “Get the little ones out of bed while I call the fire department.”

Joan ran to the back bedroom where their brothers and sisters were sleeping. As she tried to waken them, she could hear Bill’s voice on the telephone, calling the fire department.

Strange crackling sounds could be heard from the basement now, and hot smoke was drifting through all the house. Little tongues of flame were licking up into some of the floor vents.

Joan wakened the sleepy children, who sat up in bed, rubbing their eyes and wondering what the excitement was all about. Trying not to frighten them, Joan finally got all four out of bed and hurried them into the center hall. Bill met her, and they tried to get to the back door, but there was fire in the kitchen. The front of the house was filled with heavy smoke.

“We must get the children back into the bedroom,” Bill shouted above the crackling noise of the fire, as he helped Joan. Then he said quickly, “You run out the front way and get under the bedroom window. I’ll hand the little ones out to you!””

Joan started, then stopped and shouted. “The window’s too high! I can’t reach it from the ground!”

“All right, I’ll go, and I’ll help you out too!” Then he disappeared through the heavy smoke toward the front door.

To be continued…

Restoring the Temple – Cold and Flu Care

Cool weather makes us think of family gatherings, bundling up the children for school, and playing in the snow. Unfortunately, something else comes to mind: flu season. Many of my patients have asked me, “Is there something going around?” I tell them there is always something going around. It is not the cold temperatures that cause infection. Although chilling predisposes us to illness, it does not cause the illness. Ellen White understood the relationship between temperature and illness: “I should be unwise to sit with cold feet and limbs, and thus drive back the blood from the extremities to the brain or internal organs. I should always protect my feet in damp weather.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 302.

Infectious diseases tend to become more epidemic in the winter, because we are inside more and exposed to more people in buildings with poorly circulated, stale air, than we are during the warmer months. Schools, malls, even churches, become ideal ecologies for viruses and bacteria. It has been shown that people isolated on a deserted island do not catch colds until rescued. Ellen White noted the necessity for fresh, circulating air when she wrote: “Sleeping rooms especially should be well ventilated, and the atmosphere made healthy by light and air.…Sleeping apartments should be large and so arranged as to have circulation of air through them day and night. Those who have excluded the air from their sleeping rooms should begin to change their course immediately.” Counsels on Health, 57.

What was possibly the first description of a flu-type illness was first recorded by Hippocrates in 400bc, but viruses—the microbe that causes influenza and colds—were not discovered until 1898. Today many of us are still confused about what makes the difference between colds and influenza (flu). Sometimes people use the terms interchangeably. Sometimes they use the term flu when they have a stomach virus. Both are incorrect. Generally, the distinction between colds and flu is not very significant. Since both are caused by viruses, antibiotics are useless against them. Influenza tends to be more concerning than a cold, because of its potential complications. A cold occasionally leads to a secondary bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection, which is miserable but treatable. Influenza can lead to more serious complications that can have a deadly effect on the elderly and those with weak immune systems. We should be extra careful not to spread our illness to other people.


Though it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to viruses, it is possible to limit their impact on our lives. A strong immune system can destroy a virus before we ever knew it was there or at least limit the length and strength of a cold or flu.

First, follow the laws of health. Diet must be more than merely adequate. It is not as hard as it used to be to get fresh produce in the winter. The immune system needs the prime nutrients found in fresh foods. Activity typically slows down in cold weather, but it is important to make a goal toward getting at least 20–30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, or every day if possible. A brisk walk is excellent. Ellen White writes: “Morning exercise, in walking in the free invigorating air of heaven,…is the surest safe-guard against colds, coughs, congestions of the brain and lungs,…and a hundred other diseases.” Healthful Living, 210. Water is also essential. It works for us by keeping the system working at its optimum and by helping flush microbes and their toxins out of the body.


Remember that the symptoms of a cold or of the flu are signs that the immune system is fighting hard to combat the illness. Fever helps to speed white blood cells to their destination—to kill microbes. Your body makes extra mucus, which produces a runny nose and cough, so the body can attempt to shed the virus out through the nose and the lungs. Over-the-counter medications do not cure illness. Rather, they work against us by suppressing the symptoms. We must work with our bodies to enhance immune function.

As with prevention, following the laws of health are essential. Diet is very important. During illness it is important to listen to what your body is telling you. If you are not hungry, do not eat. It will not harm you or your child (if normally healthy) to fast for a couple of days during illness; fasting may actually be quite beneficial. If hungry, eat only easily digested, nutritive foods. Avoid sugar and dairy products—the former inhibits our immune response, and the latter produces thicker, stickier mucus, which is harder to expel and makes a cozy environment in which microbes can grow.

In our typically hectic lives, we do not give enough value to rest, especially during illness. The immune system uses tremendous energy to wage war against an invading microbe. Do not use up this valuable energy elsewhere. Stay home from work, especially when you have a fever. You may be able to work, but not only are you doing a disservice to your health, you are also exposing others—others who may not be as able to recover from disease as easily as you. Working during an infectious illness is a case of the hero who was not!

Deluge those microbes out of your system with water. Most people are in a chronic state of dehydration, and fever causes even more fluid to leave the body. It is very important to push fluids during your cold or flu. Pure water is best, followed by unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices and herbal teas.

Good anti-viral supplements include Olive Leaf, Echinacea,* Elderberry, Scullcap, and St. John’s Wort. Drinking a ginger/garlic broth throughout the acute stage of illness would also be beneficial.


It is important to replenish the body’s natural resistance after the acute stage of illness. During the recuperation period, start eating lots of fresh and steamed vegetables and brown rice for strength. Consider taking acidophilus and bifidus to replace friendly flora. A massage will help the immune recuperation phase by cleansing the remaining pockets of toxins, and it feels great as a bonus. Continue to avoid sugar and dairy products. Recovery herbs include calendula and astragalus, garlic and dandelion, to help stimulate and cleanse the lymph system.

“But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth.…” Malachi 4:2.

*Echinacea: avoid during pregnancy

Inspiration – What Shall We Render Unto the Lord?

The Lord Jesus Christ came to our world as a helpless babe. He was born in Bethlehem, and the angel announced to the shepherds as they watched over their flocks by night, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

“The Redeemer of the world might have come attended by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels; but instead of this He clothed his divinity with humanity, made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. For it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom all things consist, in bringing many sons and daughters unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.

“Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, submitted to humiliation that we might have hope. For our sake He became poor, that through His merits we might be entitled to imperishable riches. Shall not the story of Christ’s self-denial and self-sacrifice for our sakes, lead us to pour contempt on all our pride and selfishness? The Son of God could make nothing of the human family, save as He submitted to humiliation, and through suffering came in contact with suffering humanity. It was through unutterable woe that Jesus came to reach lost man where he is plunged in sin and degradation. Let us contemplate the life, nature, and purpose of the King of glory. Let us look upon the Majesty of heaven as He shrouded His glory in the form of a child, and was cradled in a manger. But though He was so lowly born, so humbly circumstanced, angels bowed in adoration before the Babe of Bethlehem, without forfeiting their place in the courts of God or marring their allegiance to the Deity.

“The Babe of Bethlehem, though the King of glory, was not entrusted to wealthy parents. His was a lowly lot. When presented in the temple, His parents could not offer anything but the offering of the poor,—a pair of turtle doves or young pigeons. This offering was made in behalf of the child Jesus; yet when Simeon took Him in his arms, the Holy Spirit fell upon him, and he knew the Lord’s Anointed, and he blessed God, and said, ‘Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.’

“His divinity veiled in humanity, Jesus grew up as a child, and it is written of Him that ‘the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.’ At twelve years of age He accompanied His parents to Jerusalem to attend the feast, and, forgetful of their charge, they returned, not missing the child Jesus, who had tarried in the city. ‘But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him.’ After three days of sorrowful searching, they found Jesus in the temple, sitting among the doctors both hearing and asking them questions. ‘And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?…And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.…And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.’

“The story of the birth and childhood of Jesus never loses its fragrance and interest, and it should be often repeated to the children and youth. Jesus was ever in sympathy with all phases of the life of childhood and youth. When the mothers brought their children that Jesus might place His hands upon their heads and bless them, the disciples looked with disfavor upon the tired mothers and their little ones, and sternly forbade them to come to Jesus to trouble Him with so unimportant a matter; but Jesus did not look upon them with disapprobation. His compassionate voice was heard saying, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ He took the children in His arms, and blessed them, and spoke words of encouragement and sympathy to the mothers, and both mothers and children returned to their homes strengthened and blessed by the divine love of the Master. They loved Jesus, and often repeated to others the story of their visit. They told how the disciples had forbidden them, but how the Lord had had compassion upon them.

“The story of Jesus blessing the children should encourage all mothers to seek the Lord, and bring their little ones to Him. He is as verily a personal Saviour today as He was in the days when He walked a man among men. He is as verily the helper of mothers today as He was when He gathered the children to His breast in Judea. He identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity, and the children of our hearths are as much the purchase of His blood today as were the children of long ago. The Lord will give to the praying mother the wisdom and grace she needs to instruct and interest her little ones in the precious old story of the babe born in Bethlehem, who is indeed the hope of the world.

“Jesus is our Saviour, our Redeemer, our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness. Let mothers make it their first interest to teach their children of the great love wherewith God has loved us, that led Him to give His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It is the first duty of parents to make the precious truths of salvation very plain and simple and attractive to their children. They should ever seek for the best way in which to lead their children to trust in Jesus as their personal Saviour, to love Him, to deny self for His sake, and to do good to those around them in His name. The first precept from their earliest years should be, Give your heart to Jesus; live to please Him. Do not live simply to amuse and gratify yourself; but live to honor Jesus, who has loved you, and given Himself for you. Were parents in earnest in thus educating their little ones, there would be a great company of children in the army of the Lord. They would then make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake, and desire to give, not only their little gifts of love, but their whole hearts to Jesus.

“We should bring gifts to Jesus, as did the wise men when they found the Lord of glory. They had been studying the prophecies, and they knew that the time was fulfilled, and that Jesus had come to be the Saviour of men. Guided by a star, they journeyed to Jerusalem, and all along the way they were inquiring, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.’ ‘And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.’

“The wise men have left us an example of what we should do. Jesus should be the object of our adoration, the recipient of our gifts. It is not man, but our Redeemer, that should be honored. To Him we should offer our praise and gifts and treasures; but instead of this, the world sets its treasures flowing in the channel of self-gratification, and to the honor of men. Christmas gifts are bestowed on our children, on our friends and relatives, and few think of what they can do to show their love and gratitude to God for His great love and compassion upon them.

“In celebrating Christmas, fathers, mothers, children, and friends are diverted from the great object to which the custom is attributed. They give their whole attention to the bestowal of gifts upon one another, and their minds are turned away from the contemplation of the Source of all their blessings both spiritual and temporal. In their attention to gifts and honors bestowed upon themselves or their friends, Jesus is unhonored and forgotten. Parents should seek to teach their children to honor Jesus. They should be instructed how He came to the world to bring light, to shine amid the moral darkness of the world. They should be impressed with the fact that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’

“We are dependent upon Christ for both spiritual and temporal blessings, we should especially remember the world’s Redeemer, on those days in which others forget Him in pleasing one another, in festivity and careless mirth. We should show special honor to Him in whom our hope of eternal life is centered. Through all the year parents should be educating their children as to how they may honor Jesus in their gifts. They should instruct them that Christ came to the world to save perishing sinners, and that instead of spending money for needless ornaments, for candies and knick-knacks to gratify the taste, they should deny themselves for Christ’s sake, that they may offer to Him an expression of their love. The theme of Christ’s amazing love can be so presented to your children that the little ones will be lost in wonder and love, and their hearts will be melted at the story of Calvary. Tell the children and youth that Jesus died to save them, that He wants them to give to Him their young lives that they may be His obedient children, and be saved from ruin.

“Christ will be pleased to see that the children and the youth, whom He loves, also love Him, and He will accept their gifts and offerings to be used in His cause. From the denial of self in children and youth, many little streams may flow into the treasury of the Lord, and missionaries may be sent out through their gifts to bring light to the heathen, who bow down to gods of wood and stone. Home missionaries also may be assisted, and there are poor who are suffering and needy, who may be blessed with the gifts of the children. Christ identifies His interest with that of His children. He says, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’

“Brethren and sisters, what are you going to bring to Jesus as an offering of love? What will you render unto the Lord for all His benefits? Will you show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, or will you devote your time and money to self and to pleasure seeking, as though self were the great object of attraction? O, may the coming Christmas be the best one you have ever enjoyed, because you have brought gifts to Jesus, and given yourselves and your all without reservation to Him who has given all for you.”

The Bible Echo, December 15, 1892.

A Time to Weep

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose. . .
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up. . .
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.…”
–Ecclesiastes 3:1–4

Have you been troubled and confused over the Bible verses about dancing? What do these verses mean? Many are using these verses to bring in celebration. Do you understand these verses? Can you give a reason for your faith?

The first point we need to understand, in this study, is that the type of dancing we have today and the type of dancing in Bible times do not compare at all. Look at what Ellen White says in Adventist Home, 517: “David’s dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument.…The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him.”

Now, laying aside that the style of dancing today is not what is represented in the Bible, we will go forward to look at the time and place of dancing in the Bible.

A Time to Dance—After a Day of Victory

In Exodus 15, Miriam sang and danced to the Lord after the destruction of the wicked. In Judges 11, Jephthah’s daughter sang and danced after the Lord delivered them in battle. In 1 Samuel 21:11, the people sang and danced, “saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?” In these verses the time for dancing is clearly after a day of deliverance or victory. We can conclude that dancing is symbolic of the joy of the redeemed after salvation and deliverance.

Dancing— After the Destruction of the Wicked

“As the Hebrews witnessed the marvelous work of God in the destruction of the Egyptians, they united in an inspired song of lofty eloquence, and grateful praise. Miriam, the sister of Moses, a prophetess, led the women in music.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 236. “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, ‘Sing ye to the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.’” Exodus 15:20–21.

David’s Dancing a Song of Deliverance

And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto His place, which He had prepared for it.…Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw King David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.” 1 Chronicles 15:3, 28, 29.

Victory—After Destruction of the Enemy

“So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.” Judges 11:32–34.

“And the servants of Achish said unto him, ‘Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’” 1 Samuel 21:11. “Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?” 1 Samuel 29:5.

A Time to Mourn Day of Atonement

In the timeline of the Sanctuary, the Day of Atonement was a day to mourn, a day to sigh and cry.

“…on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.” Leviticus 16:30, 31.

“It shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls.” Leviticus 23:27.

In What Day Do We Live?

“Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” James 4:8, 9.

“…pine away for your iniquities, and mourn.…” Ezekiel 24:23.

“…they…shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.” Ezekiel 7:16.

“We are now living in the solemn period of the antitypical Day of Atonement. In the type, the sins of the people were, on the atonement day, to be called to mind and repented of. It was a time of humiliation and affliction of soul.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 5.

This tells us it is time to sigh and cry, the time to mourn, not dance.

Is This a Day to Celebrate?

Ezekiel 9:4–6 tells us those who sigh and cry are sealed for salvation and those who are not sighing and crying are slaughtered with the sword.

Does This Sound Like a Day to Celebrate?

“Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth?…Cry and howl, son of man…terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon My people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.” Ezekiel 21:9–12. “Son of man…prophesy against the land of Israel, And say…Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth My sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.…Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.” Ezekiel 21:2–6.

Celebrate Now— Mourn Later— at the Wrath of God

“In that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: And behold joy and gladness.…” Isaiah 22:12, 13.

Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.” Luke 6:25.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that…I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head.…Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.…” “The Lord GOD of hosts is He that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn.…” Amos 8:9–11; 9:5.

“The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musik. The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head…Thou hast utterly rejected us; Thou art very wroth against us.” Lamentations 5:14–16, 22.

Mourn and Cry in Repentance

“We are now living in the solemn period of the antitypical Day of Atonement. In the type, the sins of the people were, on the atonement day, to be called to mind and repented of. It was a time of humiliation and affliction of soul.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 5.

Mourn That God’s Wrath May Be Turned Away

“Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent Him of the evil that He hath pronounced against you.” Jeremiah 26:13.

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness.…” “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.…Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation.…Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare Thy people, O LORD, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.…’”
Joel 2:1, 2, 12–17.

“Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD.” Joel 1:13, 14.

Go Not to the House of Feasting—Celebration

“Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.” Jeremiah 16:8, 9.

“It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting.…Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:2–4.

A Time to Celebrate

In the Sanctuary service, the Feast of Tabernacles comes after the Day of Atonement. A time of sighing and crying comes first, then comes the day of celebration.

Celebration Comes After We Are in Heaven

“The feast of tabernacles was the great holiday of the nation. This feast was preceded by a day of atonement…when every one was to afflict his soul by confessing his sins.…This humiliation was to prepare the way for the celebration of the feast of tabernacles.” Review and Herald, July 7, 1896. “The Feast of Tabernacles…celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering.…The people of Israel praised God at the Feast of Tabernacles, as they called to mind His mercy in their deliverance.…They rejoiced also in the consciousness of pardon and acceptance, through the service of the day of atonement, just ended.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 541, 542.

In Heaven Our Mourning is Turned to Joy—Dancing

The Bible tells us God’s people will first mourn, then He will deliver His people and turn their mourning into joy. It is in heaven that we will celebrate. It is in heaven that we will experience the joy the Bible dance represents.

“Behold, I will…gather them from the coasts of the earth,…a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble.…Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,…and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:8, 9, 12, 13.

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” Psalms 30:11. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11.

A Time to Dance

In Psalms 149 and 150, David talks about dancing in the sanctuary. Many are using these verses as proof to bring dancing into the church services. What do these verses mean? Can you give a reason for your faith? We have already clarified that dancing in the Bible is much different than the dancing we have today. Dancing in the Bible represents the joy of the redeemed in the day of their salvation. Now we will look at the time and place of David’s dancing in the Psalms.

“Sing unto the Lord a new song.” Psalm 149:1. Does the Bible give us a time and place to sing “a new song“? We are told the 144,000 sing “a new song,” the song of Moses.

“Upon the crystal sea before the throne…are gathered the company that have ‘gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image’…And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb,—a song of deliverance.” The Great Controversy, 648, 649.

This song is sung in heaven, after the great day of deliverance and victory. Now we can understand David’s song of dancing in Psalms 149 and 150. The “new song” that David is talking about is after the great day of victory, the great day of judgment upon the wicked.

Song of Moses—Heaven’s Victory Song

“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for He hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten Him the victory. The LORD hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.…Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalms 98:1, 2, 4.

“Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all His saints. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 149.

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 150.

In this last chapter of Psalms, David sings praises to God for the final destruction of the wicked. The dance here does not apply to the Day of Atonement. The time and place here is when the wicked are destroyed. Do not let anyone fool you into thinking we are in the day of Celebration.

A Time to Clap Your Hands

Is the clapping of hands to be a part of worship? The Bible speaks of God’s people clapping their hands. Are these verses literal, or are they also symbolic of the joy of the redeemed? Isaiah 55:12 says, “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

“The psalmist calls upon the trees to praise the Lord; and the prophet Isaiah declares that all the trees of the field shall clap their hands in that day when the word of the Lord shall have accomplished its work of salvation among men.” Signs of the Times, February 2, 1882.

This clearly shows that the clapping of hands is symbolic of joy, the joy of the redeemed in the day of their salvation. Just like the verses about dancing, this shows the time and place is clearly after the day of victory and deliverance.

“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us…God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King.…” “Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.” Psalms 47:1–6; 48:11.

Lift Your Hands to the Lord

Are we to lift our hands and sway our bodies in song to praise the Lord? What does the Bible say is the time and place to lift our hands?

“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2.

“The LORD is good unto them that…quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence.…Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” Lamentations 3:25, 26, 28, 40, 41.

These verses are about prayer, not about singing with your hands up in the air.

“And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head.…” Ezra 9:5, 6.

“And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” Nehemiah 8:6.

Based on this verse, if you want to follow the Biblical lifting of hands you must do it on your knees with your face to the ground.

“Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD, in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven.”

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying…he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.” 1 Kings 8:22, 54.

Praise the Lord, that, from His Word, we can find the answer!

Dancing Fanaticism—A False Spirit

“I am telling you these experiences, in order that you may know what we have passed through.…
Some fanatics after 1844 would dance up and down, singing, ‘Glory, glory, glory, glory, glory, glory.’ Sometimes I would sit still until they got through, and then I would rise and say, ‘This is not the way the Lord works. He does not make impressions in this way. We must direct the minds of the people to the Word as the foundation of our faith.’

“I was but a mere child at that time, and yet I had to bear my testimony repeatedly against these strange workings. And ever since that time I have sought to be very, very careful lest something of this sort should come in again among our people. Any manifestation of fanaticism takes the mind away from the evidence of truth—the Word itself.

“You might take a consistent course, but those who would be influenced by you might take a very inconsistent course, and, as a result, we should very soon have our hands full of something that would make it almost impossible to give unbelievers the right impression of our message and work. We must go to the people with the solid Word of God; and when they receive that Word, the Holy Spirit may come, but it always comes, as I have stated before, in a way that commends itself to the judgment [reasoning, not emotions] of the people. In our speaking, our singing, and in all our spiritual exercises, we are to reveal that calmness and dignity and godly fear that actuates every true child of God.

“There is constant danger of allowing something to come into our midst that we may regard as the workings of the Holy Spirit, but that in reality is the fruit of a spirit of fanaticism. So long as we allow the enemy of truth to lead us into a wrong way, we cannot hope to reach the honest in heart with the Third Angel’s Message. We are to be sanctified through obedience to the truth. I am afraid of anything that would have a tendency to turn the mind away from the solid evidences of the truth as revealed in God’s Word. I am afraid of it; I am afraid of it. We must bring our minds within the bounds of reason, lest the enemy so come in as to set everything in a disorderly way. There are persons of an excitable temperament who are easily led into fanaticism; and should we allow anything to come into our churches that would lead such persons into error, we would soon see these errors carried to extreme lengths, and then because of the course of these disorderly elements, a stigma would rest upon the whole body of Seventh-day Adventists.

“I have been studying how to get some of these early experiences into print again, so that more of our people may be informed, for I have long known that fanaticism will be manifest again, in different ways. We are to strengthen our position by dwelling on the Word, and by avoiding all oddities and strange exercisings that some would be very quick to catch up and practice.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 42–44.

“Ellen White recounts early experiences. . . . She told incident after incident connected with her early labors shortly after the passing of the time in 1844.…As Sister White continued, she told of some who had strange exercisings of the body and of others who were governed largely by their own impressions. Some thought it wrong to work. Still others believed that the righteous dead had been raised to eternal life. A few sought to cultivate a spirit of humility by creeping on the floor, like little children. Some would dance, and sing ‘glory, glory, glory, glory, glory, glory,’ over and over again. Sometimes a person would jump up and down on the floor, with hands uplifted, praising God; and this would be kept up for as long as half an hour at a time. Among those who took part in these extraordinary forms of fanaticism were some who had once been faithful, god-fearing brethren and sisters. The strange exercisings of body and mind were carried to such lengths that in a few places the officers of the law felt compelled to restrain them by casting them into prison. The cause of God was thus brought into disrepute and it took years to outlive the influence that these exhibitions of fanaticism had upon the general public.” Ibid., Book 3, 370, 371.

“Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 38.

[All emphasis added.]

The Grace of Love

Located within the pages of the Spirit of Prophecy is the heartbreaking story of a lonely soul who was neglected and forsaken by the professed people of God. This soul, precious in the sight of Jesus, was left to languish and perish in a hostile environment because the love of many had grown cold. Her name was Hanna More, and her story can be found in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 666–680. If you have not read this story, you should. In it you will see the work of a people whose hearts are void of the love of God and the adverse affects such a people can have in the lives of those whom God has sent to them.

Meeting Cold and Indifference

Hannah More, who died near the age of ninety, had served the Lord as a missionary in Central Africa. It was there that she received the light of the Bible Sabbath and embraced it. Because of this, her services were no longer desired, and she returned to America, hoping to find employment and to find a home among the people who shared her newfound faith. Her journey brought her to Battle Creek, Michigan, but the reception which she received there was cold and indifferent. In need of a home and employment, Hannah was forced to travel to northern Michigan, where she secured both with acquaintances from her missionary work in Africa. It was in their company that this precious soul died.

Her last days, however, were spent sharing her new faith with her acquaintances and attempting to find a home with people who shared her faith. Though her heartfelt desires were never to be realized, neither her faith in God nor her love for His people wavered.

She resigned herself into the hands of God and sought to bring Him honor, either in life or by her death. Even the poor treatment shown her by the professed people of God could not dampen her love and desire for them. She died, as it were, in the wilderness, separated from the company of God’s supposed remnant people. It was not because of anything she did, but because this supposed remnant people had not the love of Jesus in their hearts.

Shame Brought Upon the Name of Jesus

It is the principle of this love which they violated, bringing shame upon the name of Jesus and contempt upon the name of His professed remnant church. Had they possessed the love of God in their hearts, they could not have rejected this child of God. They would have clothed her with the embrace of brotherly love and welcomed her into their homes and into their hearts. They would have rejoiced with her in her joy over the new light which she had received. This poor soul should have found among them the warmth she sought, and then perhaps she would have been spared the chill of winter which took her life. But it was not to be. This woman of God, for whom Jesus had given His life and to whom God had revealed light regarding the Bible Sabbath, who was anxious to prepare people for the Lord’s coming and referred to her new faith as “our faith,” considering herself a member of God’s remnant people, was in fact, rejected—just as Christ was rejected by those people whom He came to bless and save. Love was not to be found among them, and the records of heaven will speak out against them in the time of judgment.

Though this sad experience took place many years ago, the heart wherein the love of God dwells cannot but be moved with a deep sense of shame and sadness. When our very work, as a people of God, is to proclaim the Three Angels’ Messages, how can we not embrace and care for those who have received it? “In our benevolent work special help should be given to those who, through the presentation of the truth, are convicted and converted. We must have a care for those who have the moral courage to accept the truth.…Those who take their position on the Lord’s side are to see in Seventh-day Adventists a warmhearted, self-denying, self-sacrificing people, who cheerfully and gladly minister to their brethren in need.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 85.

History Repeats Itself

Yet history often repeats itself, and some say now, as many did then, “I do not see the need for making such a big fuss about Sister More.” But the voice of Sister White echoes down through the annals of time, saying, “It is much worse than we then supposed.” Ibid., vol. 1, 677.

It is much worse, because as a people, while we profess godliness, we have not the zealous love for Jesus and for our neighbor which is to distinguish His remnant people from those who worship the god of this world. We profess with our lips, but our hearts are divided. We compromise the commandments of God and fall into the snares which Satan has laid for us. If we refuse to love our neighbor, we cannot keep the commandments of God. “We need to guard against the first deviation from righteousness; for one transgression, one neglect to manifest the spirit of Christ, opens the way for another and still another, until the mind is overmastered by the principles of the enemy.” Ibid., vol. 6, 265.

It is the device of Satan to prevent us from having this divine principle at work in our hearts and lives. We must not be too busy to tend to the needs of those whom God has sent into our lives. We cannot let the things of this world steal away our affection for what is right and good and holy. We must not think it too much of an inconvenience to sacrifice that others might be relieved of their burden. We must discharge that duty which is before us and not let go by the opportunity for good. Jesus Christ is our standard. He has shown us how it is to be done. He did not think it an inconvenience to leave heaven and die upon the cross. No, His heart was filled with love for a perishing world, and He did what love demanded that He do. How can we, who profess to be His disciples, do any less? “Those who claim to believe in Christ are to represent Christ in deeds of kindness and mercy. Such will never know until the day of judgment what good they have done in seeking to follow the example of the Saviour.” Letter 140, 1908.

Have You Met Your Hannah More?

In every life there is a Hannah More. God has sent her to us, that by loving her and providing for her needs, we may grow in His love. It is the use of this holy grace that purifies the soul wherein it dwells. We must be in possession of it, or rather be possessed of it, if we are to enter heaven. “It is in the providence of God that widows and orphans, the blind, the deaf, the lame, and persons afflicted in a variety of ways, have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 511.

It is the wisdom of God which calls us into the service of ministering to others. It is to perfect us for heaven, and we cannot afford to look the other way. Sin has extinguished the love that God placed in the heart of man, and sin will continue to strive against the love which is in the Christian heart. God knows that if we do not put to use the graces which He has given us, we will lose them. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” says the Lord of hosts. Jeremiah 31:3. It is this love, as manifested on the cross of Calvary, which seeks to perfect us. It will not hold back that thing which is for our own good. We, in perfect trust, must obey the word of God and the impression of His Spirit upon our heart, for they work together for our good.

Who Is My Neighbor?

We must learn to love the unlovable, those who appear to be destitute of any hope. It is not our duty to choose whom we shall love. We cannot see the heart as God does. We know not what work has gone before us to prepare this soul for the love of God. We must not ask, as that lawyer, “Who is my neighbor?” (See Luke 10:29.) We must not seek for ways to escape our duty, for this is not acceptable to God. “To become a toiler, to continue patiently in well-doing which calls for self-denying labor, is a glorious work, which Heaven smiles upon. Faithful work is more acceptable to God than the most zealous and thought-to-be holiest worship.…Prayers, exhortation, and talk are cheap fruits, which are frequently tied on; but fruits that are manifested in good works, in caring for the needy, the fatherless, and widows, are genuine fruits, and grow naturally upon a good tree.” Ibid., vol. 2, 24.

As children of God, this is the fruit that we will bear in our lives. Being rooted and grounded in the Lord, Jesus Christ, we cannot but bear good fruits which are manifest in good deeds unto others. “‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.…’” John 15:5. (NKJV) So we see if we do not bear fruit, it is because we are not abiding in Jesus. And Jesus warns, “‘Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [God] takes away.…’” John 15:2. (NKJV) Those branches which are taken away are cast into the fire, and they are burned.

So what is it that keeps us from abiding in Christ? What disease prevents us from bearing fruit? While God prunes us, it is for the purpose of bearing more fruit of a better quality. But if a branch is so diseased as to bear no fruit, He has no choice but to remove it, lest it infect the other branches. The work of pruning is accomplished through circumstances that manifest the selfishness which still indwells our hearts. We must go to God in true humility and “Pray that He will give you a heart of flesh, a heart that can feel the sorrows of others, that can be touched with human woe. Pray that He will give you a heart that will not permit you to turn a deaf ear to the widow or the fatherless. Pray that you may have bowels of mercy for the poor, the infirm, and the oppressed. Pray that you may love justice and hate robbery, and make no difference in the bestowal of your favors, except to consider the cases of the needy and the unfortunate.…” Letter 24, 1889. We must cooperate with the pruning process, or we will be taken away. We must give up self that the love of God may flow freely through us. This is the great work which is before us. But it is a work which will bring many blessings to those around us. We must be about our Father’s business and work while it is yet day. The end of probation will soon come upon us, and we must be ready. And unless our hearts are filled to over-flowing with the love of God, we cannot expect to receive the Latter Rain. We must have victory, complete victory over sin. This can only be accomplished by a complete surrender to God’s love. For it is love that “will gain the victory.…” Testimonies, vol. 2, 135.

Infinite Mercy and Love

“We should meditate upon the Scriptures, thinking soberly and candidly upon the things that pertain to our salvation. The infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should seek to comprehend the meaning of the plan of salvation. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins. By constantly contemplating heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger.” Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.

Love, that heavenly perfume which sweetens the lives of all who come within its holy fragrance, is the basis of all godliness; it only abounds in the heart when the entire self is merged with Christ. Then it will spring forward naturally, and then we shall know the perfect will of God. We must not let self corrupt that good thing which is in us through Jesus Christ. We must surrender all to God and we shall have success. Then on that marvelous day, when Jesus returns to claim His own, we shall be among them.