Keys to the Storehouse – New Homes

It is sad what the Lord could not fulfill because of sin, but He has opened the door wide through Jesus Christ to a future that is indescribable.

What would have been if there had been no sin

“The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. … The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings—the handiwork of the great Master Artist. In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time—that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and luxury, but in communion with God through His created works. If men would give less attention to the artificial, and would cultivate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering the purpose of God in their creation. Pride and ambition are never satisfied, but those who are truly wise will find substantial and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has placed within the reach of all.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 49.

Our future if we are faithful

“With Jesus at our head we all descended from the city down to this earth, on a great and mighty mountain, which could not bear Jesus up, and it parted asunder, and there was a mighty plain. Then we looked up and saw the great city, with twelve foundations and twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate. We all cried out, ‘The city, the great city, it’s coming, it’s coming down from God out of heaven!’ And it came and settled on the place where we stood. Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the city.

  • There I saw most glorious houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars set with pearls most glorious to behold.
  • These were to be inhabited by the saints.
  • In each was a golden shelf. I saw many of the saints go into the houses, take off their glittering crowns and lay them on the shelf,
  • then go out into the field by the houses to do something with the earth; not as we have to do with the earth here—no, no. A glorious light shone all about their heads, and they were continually shouting and offering praises to God.” The Adventist Home, 546.

What God has prepared for us we just cannot imagine! We all must be faithful in the little things of this life and not get so caught up in the material things of this world that we lose out on eternal life. What a terrible loss it would be not to get to enjoy the miracle of eternal life in homes that will never rot.

Heavenly Father: You have prepared for me a mansion on land that will never fail. Help me not to collect the baubles of this world or get sidetracked by the devil’s temptations to indulge in worldly luxuries that will be burned up when You appear. Oh Lord, keep my eyes turned to Thee and let nothing of this world turn them away from our heavenly future. Remind me always that I am a sojourner here and my home is with Thee, in heavenly places! Amen.


Inspiration – The Power of Song

The melody of praise is the atmosphere of heaven; and when heaven comes in touch with the earth, there is music and song—”thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3).

Above the new-created earth, as it lay, fair and unblemished, under the smile of God, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). So human hearts, in sympathy with heaven, have responded to God’s goodness in notes of praise. Many of the events of human history have been linked with sacred song.

The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul. As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing His word in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.

It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s—the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song—and temptations lose their power, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!

The value of song as a means of education should never be lost sight of. Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure, and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy. Let there be singing in the schools, and the pupils will be drawn closer to God, to their teachers, and to one another.

As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings, and will be more susceptible to their power.

As our Redeemer leads us to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the glory of God, we may catch the themes of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir round about the throne; and as the echo of the angels’ song is awakened in our earthly homes, hearts will be drawn closer to the heavenly singers. Heaven’s communion begins on earth. We learn here its keynote.

The Youth’s Instructor, March 29, 1904.

Current Events – Can The Bible Be Trusted

According to a new lengthy investigation from one of Israeli’s top newspapers, Haaretz, the Bible, the creation of the world and the story of the first man are not true.

The headline reads, “Is the Bible a True Story?” then goes on to say, “Despite feverish searching with Scripture in one hand and cutting-edge technology in the other, evidence backing the Bible remains elusive.”

It goes on: “No evidence of the events described in the Book of Genesis has ever been found. No city walls have been found at Jericho, from the appropriate era, that could have been toppled by Joshua or otherwise. The stone palace uncovered at the foot of Temple Mount in Jerusalem could attest that King David had been there; or it might belong to another era entirely, depending who you ask.”

According to a recent Gallop poll 40 percent say the Bible is the word of God, while 36 percent say it should not be taken literally. Only 24 percent of Americans believe that the holy book was “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word.”

According to the poll it is the first time in forty years that biblical skepticism has surpassed biblical literalism. About half of Americans say the Bible is the inspired word of God but not all of it should be taken literally. There has been a huge decline in Americans who self-identify as Christians and those defining the Bible as mere stories has doubled since the mid-1970s, with much of that change occurring in the past three years.

Excerpts from

We, as inhabitants of this planet, are in trouble. We have lost our true compass and the angels holding back the winds of strife are loosening their hold. We are about to see what life will really be like when God steps back and allows Satan to have full reign.

However, we need not fear for we do have a sure word of prophecy and it is being fulfilled before our very eyes. We read in Revelation the end of the story:

“Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:1–4 NASB).

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 NASB).

So, do not despair, there is still hope if we reach out today to the only One who has the answer to this world’s problems.

Death and Sunset

I once listened to a certain preacher who, when speaking of death, said substantially: “Though the Bible represents that man really dies, as in the expression ‘Abraham is dead’ (John 8:52), yet we are to no more take the statement literally than we are the oft-repeated declarations about the sun’s rising and setting. It, as a matter of fact, does not really rise and set, but only appears to. So man does not really die; the Bible only speaks of appearances when it says, ‘Man dieth’ (Job 14:19). We only appear to die as the sun appears to set. We also hear people continually talking about sunrise and sunset, and we talk about it, and so do astronomers even, who know better; yet we all speak of merely what seems to be, and not of reality.”

  1. The Bible does not set out to teach astronomy. If it did, it certainly would not teach that the sun rises and sets when it does not. It is not a text-book of natural science. Man is its subject, and not the sun, moon, and stars. It tells of his creation—how he came to be, of the place he occupies in creation, of his capabilities and powers, of his nature, of his condition in death, and of his ultimate destiny. It instructs in regard to all this, because it is this that lies in the field of its design, and we must take what we find as a rigid reality. This is not the place for “appearances,” but for realities. The Bible as a revelation has to do with man, and its declarations are to be taken as they stand, without any gloss. The preacher’s idea was that only the body died, the man himself living right on as before; so when the Bible says,Abraham is dead,” “Moses my servant is dead,” “Your fathers did eat manna, and are dead” (John 8:52; Joshua 1:2; John 6:58), and the like, it means that only their bodies died, but their souls did not.
  1. We can but regard this as a piece of thorough, theological quackery, the smallest and most shameful kind of trifling with sacred things. It is taking the whole question for granted. How does he know that only the body dies, and the soul or spirit does not? Not from anything the Bible says, but simply because he thinks so, and is going to have it so anyway, if he does have to ride rough-shod over Scripture, reason, and common sense. The Bible tells us that “man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” In Heaven? No. In hell? No. “Man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep” (Job 14:10–12); the same man “that liveth,” “dieth,” and “lieth down” in death, not the body of man as distinguished from the intelligence, but The difference is he is dead. “Devout men carried Stephen to his burial” (Acts 8:2). Stephen was dead, and they went and buried him. Some say a man cannot be buried, but his body can be. The real man goes into another state of existence; but the Bible tells us that the first Christian martyr was buried—somewhat of a difference.
  1. The Bible informs us that “the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5); that their love and hatred and envy is now perished (verse 6); that “they are extinct” (Isaiah 43:17); that those that have been long dead are in darkness (Psalm 143:3; Lamentation 3:6); that in the day of death the “thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:4); that “the dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psalm 115:17); and that the dead in Christ shall come forth from their graves when the Lord comes to judgment (1 Thessalonians 4:14–16). Then no part of man remains alive from death to the resurrection. In order for man to live again, he must die (Job 14:14; Revelation 20:5). So when the Bible says “Abraham died” (Genesis 25:8), we believe it wholly, not in part.
  1. Men say that the sun rises and sets, yet they know that really it does not. So we say men die, but we know they do not really. Now do we know as precisely that men do not literally die as we know that the sun does not literally rise? No. Science demonstrates that the sun, as related to the earth, is stationary. Every school boy knows that. But does science demonstrate that a part of man remains alive after a part of him dies? No. On the contrary, facts strongly indicate that consciousness is destroyed in death. Men can demonstrate that the sun does not rise and set, but they cannot show that a man is alive when he is dead. [All emphasis author’s.]

The Review and Herald, May 3, 1881.

The Face of Jesus

The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6–12 are God’s last message of warning of mercy to the world. Then John wrote, “I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle” (verses 13, 14).

What is it going to be to see the face of Jesus? Where there is no other message to be given to this world, the message of God’s last mercy is now being sounded and as a result Jesus is going to come. Every predicted ingredient in prophecy that Jesus was to come, and what would take place just before His coming is now occurring before our eyes. Political corruption, financial disaster, fantastic weapons of destruction, a great ecumenical movement producing a false revival in which men claim to be following God but openly defy Him. They are placing tradition above the law of God. They are proclaiming a revival without any repentance, without any transformation of life, without any obedience. They are claiming that all that is necessary is to believe, that all you must have is a faith, which is a presumption that there is no longer any moral standard. These are the things that God told us would happen.

So, in a day just like our day, the day in which we are alive today, when people are buying and selling and building and getting married, a day of uncontrolled crime when men’s thoughts are continually evil, something is going to happen. Suddenly there is going to be a darkness that is going to come to this world. Perhaps it could be best explained like the darkness of old Egypt where no one has ever seen anything quite like it. And in the darkness of night, as it settles, they will also see something they have never seen before, for you have never seen a rainbow without light. But there in the darkness surrounding this world will be a rainbow – not from hill to hill, from valley to valley, but a rainbow that will span the entire world and on every little hill here and there and in the valley, by the sea and over the dale, wherever there is a group of those who have decided to accept the three angels’ messages, there will be a little round circle of a rainbow over their group.

Then we are going to hear something that we have never heard since the day that Christ was on this world, for God is going to speak. We will all hear and understand when that great voice echoes through the universe, “Look up!” and we shall be able to look into heaven itself, for God will part the darkness where we are and there we will see up into the very city of God and there we will behold a great throne and we will see God sitting upon that throne. We will see Jesus coming in His chariot. Man has no conception of the greatness of that throne, miles in width. As Jesus comes we will watch in anticipation as He stands before God the Father and we will hear a conversation that will go like this: “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am” (John 17:24). When we hear those words the saints are going to give a shout that will encircle the world. It will be a shout the likes of which was heard around the Red Sea when Moses lifted his hand and they saw the armies of Pharaoh destroyed. Then there will be signs and wonders. Suddenly the sun will shine even though it is midnight, for the world has been turned upside down. Every law of nature will seem to be turned out of course – the streams will no longer flow, no water will come cataracting down the mountains, the heavens will be filled with angry clouds, but there will be one clear space of indescribable glory, and it is to this that we will keep our eyes glued. Then we will hear God’s voice the second time in which He will answer the request of Jesus when He says, “It is done.”

There will be a mighty earthquake. Those in California know what earthquakes are, but no one has ever seen anything like this one. There will be voices and thunders and lightning and a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. The mountains we love to go to will shake like leaves in the wind. Great jagged rocks weighing tons will be thrown out into the valleys below. The ocean will boil like a pot. Great tidal waves will engulf the cities that are as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah. Even the mountains will sink beneath the surface of the earth. As great hailstones of ice, 57 pounds in weight, come tumbling out of the sky, buildings will crumble. Nothing will stand. The tempests will roar like a hurricane; prisons will open; the saints who have been incarcerated will be set free.

Amid all this that startles and bewilders and wonders, God has another surprise. There will be the special resurrection. Everyone who has died accepting the three angels’ messages since the year 1844 will be brought up out of the graves to see the face of Jesus. I’m looking forward to that moment.

There will also be those there who condemned Jesus. God will bring them forth – Pilate, Herod, the priests, the soldier who thrust the spear, the ones who nailed Him to the cross – to see the face again of Jesus. There will be those raised up out of their graves who have been the most violent oppressors of God’s truth, like Nero, some of the popes of Rome, all brought forth to see the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as sheets of flame envelope the earth, as the lightning goes from one end of the heaven to the other and amid it all God will speak the third time. This time He will declare the doom of the wicked. It will be so frightening, it will be so tremendous, it will be so terrible that there are no words to describe it. Even the demons will be terrified. That is the time spoken of in Isaiah when it tells us that men will go into the streets. “In that day a man will cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He shall arise to shake terribly the earth” (Isaiah 2:20, 21, literal translation). But God will not forget His people.

As He sent the star of Bethlehem to announce that the great event was about to take place, so He will again send a star to give us courage, a star that will be four times brighter than any light you have ever seen in the heavens. When we see it we will know that it is the hope of our lives, that it is Christ coming, that we shall see His face and we shall sing and we shall rejoice and we shall repeat some of the memory gems like the one found in Psalm 46:1–3: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

When God hears His people quoting these promises He will command an angel and say, “Open up the gates.” When the gates are thrown open the glory of the celestial throne of God is going to sweep down onto every little group wherever they are around this world and our faces will light up like the face of Moses.

Then we will behold the greatest theatrical feat that man has ever beheld. As the clouds roll back on a canopy of blue, they will see two hands appear in the sky. In these hands two tables of stone slowly open and there every individual in this world still alive will behold the Ten Commandments. With a finger of fire from the hand of God He will trace every one of the Ten Commandments. Can you see it? Can you see that finger? “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Too late for those who have made gods of their business. We’ll understand that God meant exactly what He said. Too late in this world for those who have made gods of sex. We will understand that God is unchanging.

Those that have made money and all the things of this world their god will see that finger trace, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (verse 4). Oh I’ve seen them bow down to wood, to stone, to iron, to mud to worship, but they will know that God means exactly what He says. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (verse 7). Too late will the world see that God has meant exactly that we are to give reverence when we breathe the name of God.

Then the world will be startled, for it will read, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God …” (verses 8–10).

Seeing this, the people of this world are going to run to their preachers we are told, and ask, “Why did you tell us that the first day is the sabbath? Look!” And they will be set upon by the members of their church.

“Honour thy father and thy mother” (verse 12). Too late will the youth of this last generation realize that God means exactly what He says, that in the Lord we are to give reverence to our parents. We are to honor them. We are to care for them in their old age. We are to love them.

“Thou shalt not kill” (verse 13). There it is, blazing out in letters of fire. The murderer and the men of evil intention will see. Then there will be a great shocker. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (verse 14). Millions will realize then that the pill does not make it right. Millions will understand then that there is no cause for divorce other than adultery.

They will see, “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” “Thou shalt not covet” (verses 15–17), blazing in the sky for all to behold. Then God will speak for the fourth time and He will declare the day and the hour of the coming of Jesus. Our hearts will fill with hope, with joy. Our faces will shine like the face of Moses when he was on the mount and we’ll be watching in anticipation as the hour comes and, finally, the moment.

Suddenly someone will shout out, “I see it! I see it!” and we’ll all see that tiny cloud about the size of a hand, quickly coming towards us, growing in magnitude. First it is so bright that it looks dark and black, but as our eyes become accustomed we see the glory and the beauty and the wonder of it all. And we will begin to see that it is composed of myriads of angels, all the angels of heaven. And there riding on that cloud is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, with a rainbow above and the music – oh, the glorious music, not the trash we hear today – the music of heaven, not the kind that stomps your feet, but the kind that moves your heart.

As we look, we will see the face of Jesus. As we see how holy He is and we see how pure He is and how kind and how loving, how divine, we will automatically cry out, “Who shall be able to stand before Him?” And then the music will stop. The earth will stop its shaking. It will be so quiet. Every eye of the universe will be riveted on the Lord Jesus Christ as He stands and looks upon those who have stood and made their decision for God, deciding not to accept the mark and He will say, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV).

All the angels will lift a note higher and we will join and we will rejoice and we will sing with them as “the heavens roll together like a scroll, … as the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and say to the mountains and the rocks, fall on us; hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand” (Revelation 6:14–17, literal translation)?

As the wicked are scurrying into their holes, attempting to hide, Jesus is going to speak to the wicked. This will be the sixth time the voice of God is heard. He will say something like this, found in Proverbs 1:24 and 25: “I called, and ye refused; I stretched out My hand, but you would not regard; ye have set at nought all of my counsel, and would have none of My reproof” (literal translation). Can you picture Pilate? Oh, what he wouldn’t give at that moment, if only when he asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), he had waited for Jesus to answer. There will be the haughty Herod. He will remember how he smote the Lord, how he jeered. Oh, what he wouldn’t give in that moment; if only he had done what his heart had told him to do.

There will be the men who placed the robe upon His body; there will be those mocking soldiers, the one who drove the nails, the soldier who pierced His side. Once again they will look into the face of Jesus and the priests, the rulers who cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him” (Luke 23:21)! They will all try to run and to hide as they will be consumed by the brightness of His coming until there is none alive except the righteous.

Amid the reeling of the earth, the lightning and the thunder and the sobs of the dying wicked, then Christ will speak for the seventh and last time. His voice will ring out as He looks upon the graves of the sleeping saints throughout the ages and His voice calls, “Awake! Awake! Ye that sleep in the dust of the earth, arise” (Ephesians 5:14, literal translation)! And the whole earth will ring with the tread of an exceeding army from every nation and kindred and tongue and people.

The living righteous will give a mighty shout as they see the saints come forth. And those who are resurrected will give a mighty shout and together we will praise the God of heaven, the God of life. Oh, wonderful redemption, for “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52), we will be given immortal, glorious bodies like unto His, never to have an ache again, never to have a pain, never to know a sorrow. Together those that have just been risen and those of us which are alive will find ourselves leaving this earth. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Don’t you like that? Oh, brother, sister, I long for that. Never to be parted, always to behold His face.

For seven days we are going to take that glorious trip past the moon. Let man have his rockets. Past the stars, past the galaxies by the millions and the billions. We are going to get a preview of what we shall be able to see throughout eternity. Somewhere along the way we are going to keep the Sabbath. That’s going to be the greatest Sabbath. Here we talk about it, but then “we shall know” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Then we shall realize redemption; then we shall feel redemption; then in our immortal bodies we shall know what salvation really is and we will know that the Sabbath is a sign of the power of God that He has recreated us. Oh, what a glorious Sabbath it will be.

Then we will find ourselves moving to that sea of glass outside the city. There, in the company of Jesus Christ, whose countenance is as bright as the noonday sun, with seven crowns upon His head, He is going to call us each by name. He is going to give us each a crown. On that crown is going to be a new name.

Then He will give each of us a harp. And though you may never have sung in this world, perhaps not even able to carry a note or play an instrument, the angel who took the place of Lucifer, will lift his baton and we will all play the harp and sing. We will all praise Him as we behold His face. I think one of the songs we will sing with the celestial music will be –

“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am.”

Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It! Fanny Crosby, 1882.

Glorious redemption! 

Then Jesus is going to say, “Follow Me.” With His own right hand He is going to open up that pearly gate. For the first time we are going to look down the street of gold straight to the center of that great city, and, oh, what a city – three hundred and fifty miles square. Nothing in the world can compare. We are going to look right straight down to that great throne. When we come up there Jesus is going to introduce us to the Father. Oh, what a moment. Perhaps He will look around and choose you and say, “Come with Me,” and you won’t be afraid. Together you will ascend the steps to the throne. Can you see yourself climbing higher and higher, miles into the air? You will finally reach the top and Jesus introduces you to the Father. What a moment!

The plan of redemption is beyond comprehension, that God can take a sinner and someday allow him to sit on the throne. Oh, lift your eyes, my dear beloved, to what is coming. Don’t get discouraged in this world! Keep your eye on the message! Keep your eye on Jesus Christ!

What a throne it is. The Bible says that the river of life flows forth from it. That is no little stream. In Ezekiel the 47th chapter you will find that the prophet began to measure it and as you measure it you will find it is over two miles wide. And then I read of the tree of life which has a trunk on this side and over there over two miles is the other side. That tree must be, for God does everything symmetrical, perhaps seven miles in height? After all, it grows 12 manner of fruits (Revelation 22:2) for the redeemed to have one every month. The redeemed are as the stars of the heavens. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Oh, what a wonderful, thrilling experience. Don’t miss it friend!

Then the greatest of all is going to take place. The two Adams are going to meet. Adam, our first grandfather. Can you see him there? Inspiration tells us he was more than twice as tall as any man alive today – 15, 16 feet in height. I don’t suppose you could put your arms around those biceps. A giant. Then we behold the lovely Jesus head and shoulders above him. As they meet each other, Jesus takes him by the hand and shows him the flowers from the Garden of Eden. Jesus takes him to the tree of life. He plucks it. He gives it to him.

When Adam looks around and sees all of his children, sees heaven, when he comprehends now what fully has come and he looks into the face of Jesus whom he crucified with his sin, he’s going to take that crown off his head, put it down at the feet of Jesus, and fall down and worship His Redeemer. Jesus will reach down and put the crown back on Adam’s head. With His mighty arm, He lifts that mighty giant to his feet, then puts his arms around him and hugs him. That is love.

I want to tell you my friend, I don’t want to miss that for anything in the world. I want to be there. By God’s grace, through His marvelous provision He has made it possible that all may be saved. Take courage friend. Keep your eye focused on that which will happen soon. It is not a long way off. Keep your eye on Jesus Christ. In the book of Jude, we are told in those wonderful verses, 24, 25: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.”

For more than fifty years, Lawrence Nelson served the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a church pastor, evangelist, and then in Conference, Union, and General Conference leadership. When God laid upon him the responsibility to “tell it like it is” to alert the people how the church was leading them into the worldwide ecumenical movement, he was forbidden to preach in any church within the Oregon Conference. Elder Nelson passed to his rest on April 18, 2012.

The Reason Why We Sin

When I was in the world, it was very easy for me to sin while still believing that I was a good person. It was only when I came to Jesus and looked at the cross that I began to see who I really was. After I was baptized and gave my heart fully to Jesus, I realized something even more strange: I realized that I was more wicked than I ever realized before. The closer I came to Jesus, the worse my condition became.

Suddenly I was struggling with evil thoughts. I could not understand why, because I had just given my heart to the Lord. As Jesus went into the wilderness of temptation after His baptism, so I went into my own wilderness of temptation. I began to see that, depending on myself, I was uncontrollable and in continuous sin. The difference was that as a Christian I could now see my condition. So I prayed to God to tell me the reasons why it is so easy to sin.

To fully appreciate what Jesus has done in making salvation possible, we must first understand and accept our true condition. First, let’s define what sin is. John wrote, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

In James 2:9–11, James explains which law is being referred to: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”

This law is the ten commandments and Scripture tells the consequences of breaking that law. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The Bible says, “… when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).

The result of sin is death. Sin is not merely a concept. It is an action and power. Sin is contrary to the law. The question must be asked, Can sin be present in a person without the person actually committing sin?

Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” From the womb, this is our true condition. A baby has not committed sin, but can a baby die? Death only occurs because of the presence of sin. Though a baby has not committed any sin and can die means there is sin present, even in the nature of the child. This is the condition in which all human beings were born, hence the struggle and battle with sin. Because we were shaped and conceived in sin, it is impossible to overcome by ourselves. We need help from above.

To discover the way out, we first must come face to face with who we really are.

Isaiah 48:1–8 says, “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is His name. I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

“Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.

“Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.”

God says, I knew you were a transgressor from the womb, right from the beginning.

In Psalm 58, notice what it says in verse 3 regarding why we sin. The Bible says, “The wicked are estranged.” In defining the wicked, the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked … .”

That includes you and me. When God says “wicked,” He is talking about us. “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”

This was no surprise to Jesus. He knew from the beginning that we would deal very treacherously. Treacherously is the Hebrew bagad which means to deal deceitfully, unfaithfully, to transgress. Jesus said, I knew that you would be very deceitful. I knew that you would be very unfaithful to Me and transgress My law.

He gives the reason for knowing that we would eventually commit these things: “Thou wast called a transgressor from the womb.” I knew you were going to do it because this is who you are. The Hebrew word for transgressor is pasha. This verb means to rebel, to revolt, to break away from just authority, to apostatize, to be in transgression, a transgressor.

So, Jesus says we broke away from His just authority and were in rebellion to the law of God from the womb. We have been transgressors before we were born. We are trapped.

To find out why we are in this condition, we must go back to the beginning. Genesis 2:16, 17 says, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” A command was given that, if broken, would result in death.

Adam and Eve were created pure and holy. God was their Father and their teacher. While they listened and obeyed all that He said, they would absorb the attributes of their Master. When a master tradesman takes on an apprentice and he copies all that his master teaches him, he will reflect the attributes of his master.

Notice what happened next: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made, And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1–5).

Our first parents knew what “good” was. They had experienced it in their relationship with God in the garden, but they had no experience of “evil” apart from the knowledge of the consequences if they chose to disobey. They knew the result of evil – death­­.

The devil said, If you disobey God, you will be as God, knowing good and evil. The word know means to know it intimately like when the Bible says, Adam knew his wife – intimately. The devil said, Do not worry about what God says. You can disobey and still be all right. You can intimately know good and intimately know evil at the same time. There is no punishment for that. This same lie is deceiving many young people today.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (verse 6).

They chose to obey another master. The Bible says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16)? By choosing a new master they developed his attributes—sin.

Adam was the father of us all. We share the genes which he has passed on throughout all generations. Before Adam sinned, his nature was holy, after the divine nature of God, his Creator. However, after he sinned his nature became sinful or corrupt. That which corrupts will eventually die.

The nature of corruption is that it constantly weakens to the point where it can no more exist, thus the result of sin is death. The question for us now as Adam’s descendants is, Did Adam have children when his nature was holy or when his nature was sinful? That is going to determine how we are.

The Bible says, “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:9–12). So, they sinned!

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord” (Genesis 4:1). Because we are all Adam’s descendants and we came on the scene after his nature changed, after he sinned, that means we are now in trouble.

The Bible says, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: … For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:12, 19).

By one man’s [Adam’s] offence, death reigned by one and judgment came upon all men to condemnation. Therefore, as the descendants of Adam and Eve, sin, or the transgression of the law, must be in our genes from the womb. The Bible says, “… one sinner destroyeth much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18). This is called the law of heredity.

From the book, Patriarchs and Prophets, 118, we note: “As a rule, children inherit the dispositions and tendencies of their parents, and imitate their example; so that the sins of the parents are practiced by the children from generation to generation.”

We are in trouble. No one should ever think that they are high and above anyone else. Because of our inherited sin, we are all in the same boat. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9)?

The devil tempted, saying, Listen, you are going to be like God. The devil could not even tell what was going to happen because he did not even know how this would play out. Sin is so strong, so powerful, that the devil himself could not overcome it. Sin is more powerful than Satan himself. Sin is not to be played with—this is the condition of the unrenewed heart.

Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21).

Again, we are in trouble, for this is our true state. In this condition, there can be no victory over sin. Without victory, you cannot do anything but sin. Even if we try to do good of ourselves, we are still evil. Look at what Jesus said: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children …” (Matthew 7:11). Even if we do good, we are still evil.

Notice what it says in Job 15:14–16: “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He [God] putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” God says, We drink sin as if it is water. We are in a bad state.

We have found thus far that we are guilty of sin from conception. We are transgressors from the womb because of the law of heredity. Without committing even one sin, we are still sinners.

In James chapter 4, we found out who we really are, but will God charge us before we understand what is right or wrong, and choose wrong? Notice what it says in James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Praise God. He winks at our ignorance and sin is not charged on us until we understand what is right or wrong, and then choose the wrong.

How does sin have so strong a hold on us? In Romans 7:14, 15, notice what Paul wrote: “For we know that the law [God’s law] is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin [by Adam]. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

Paul is being tricked. The things that I hate, that I do not want to do anymore, I find myself doing. Have you ever experienced that before? The things that you want to do – Lord, I want to do this, I want to be holy – you find that you just do not do it. Have you said, Lord, I am not going over there to that place. I am just not doing it, and then you find yourself at that place. Notice what he goes on to say in verse 16: “If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.”

He says, Look, if I find myself looking at those ten commandments and say I cannot keep this thing, I cannot. That thing must be good, and I must be evil.

Then, in verse 17, he says, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” He says, Lord, I want to do the right thing, but I find myself not doing the right thing. Therefore, it must be a power within me that is causing me to do the wrong thing.

There is a monster within. We want to do right, but that thing that is in the flesh pushes us to do that which we would not. It is a monster within—sin. Paul goes on to say. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (verse 18). He said, I can see clearly now. For to will is present with me, I want to do the right thing, I will to do the right thing, but how to perform that which is good, I do not know how to do it. This is often our experience. Notice verse 19: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” What is wrong with me?

“Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin [the evil presence] that dwelleth in me” (verse 20). I am controlled by a power within. I do not want to be, but I cannot help it. If you do not receive any help, outside from you, you will automatically sin and sin, and you will not be able to control yourself.

Paul continues,  “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man [I want to do the law of God. I love it. I want to keep it]: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (verses 21–23).

Paul says, I have finally figured it out, sin is a law and a law is a principle. That is why you cannot beat a principle – it is a law.

Notice his conclusion to this dilemma: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (verses 24, 25).

In recapping, He said, The Lord showed me that sin is a law within me and why I just keep sinning, even though I do not want to. It is within my body, within my flesh. I need a power outside of myself to save me from myself.

Therefore, it is impossible to save yourself. All your good works do not mean anything. In fact, the Bible describes them as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). We need a power outside of ourselves, to save us from ourselves. Remember, the wages of sin is death. Because we have sinned we are already under a death sentence. The only way out is if Someone dies in our place and lives again, that we might be able to live and not die. Do not let anybody tell you that you are somebody without Jesus.

Colossians 1:20–22 states, “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now  hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh [not ours] through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.”

”But Thou art He that took me out of the womb: Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon Thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly” (Psalm 22:9, 10).

Yes, friends, there is hope, even from the womb. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

“For he [John the Baptist] shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from His mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15).

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14).

This is our hope! The only way we can take hold of it is by faith and believing in Jesus, our Deliverer. We cannot pay for our past sins. We are already guilty. Our own works mean nothing. Jesus is our only Mediator. Jesus takes our prayers and presents them to our heavenly Father who answers, not because of our worthiness, but because of Jesus’ worthiness.

Jesus is the only way. He pleads with us to follow Him, trust Him, and rest in His victory.

Marlowe Parks was a guest speaker at the 2017 Steps to Life Camp Meeting.

The Rule of the Judgment

When I was a boy, there was a very popular magazine that I used to read just about every month called The Reader’s Digest. This magazine consisted of summarized articles from many other magazines and newspapers. At the back of the magazine there was always a condensed book for quick reading. However, when summarizing, a lot of details were left out that may have been important to the story. 

The Bible has many summary statements in which huge amounts of information are summarized in just a few sentences. For example, Matthew 22:37–40 contains in two or three sentences a summary statement by Jesus Christ. Jesus said that on these two things, the whole law and the prophets – everything – hangs. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave an even shorter summary that is often referred to as the golden rule. He said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

I have tried for many years to understand that sentence. There is an interesting paragraph from the book, The Desire of Ages, 640, that states, “Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ’s love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire for them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ’s rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ (Matthew 7:12).” 

This is the golden rule that will determine each person’s eternal destiny in the judgment. It is unfortunate that Christians spend so much time fighting with each other over differences of understanding about theology. However, that is reality. Some years ago, back in the 1990s, a huge controversy arose about whether Jesus died the first death or the second death on the cross of Calvary. The prophecy concerning what the Messiah would suffer for the human family is recorded in Psalm 18:4, 5. It says, “The pangs of death encompassed Me, the floods of ungodliness made Me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded Me; the snares of death confronted Me” (literal translation).

Some people have a rather shallow view of the cross of Christ, seeing Christ as only somebody who died as a martyr. But Jesus did not die on the cross of Calvary the death of the martyr. When the martyrs died, they died having a great hope. They knew that although other men put them to death, they would be raised again to eternal life. It is recorded as one man was being led to his martyrdom, a clergyman said to him, “We are going to cut you off from the church militant.” The martyr replied, “But not from the church triumphant. You might cut me off now, but you can’t cut me off forever because I’m going to be in the resurrection.”

Martyrs died with that hope. In fact, if you have ever studied a book such as Martyr’s Mirror or Foxes Book of Martyrs, you will know that there were many martyrs. Two examples were John Huss and Jerome. Both were burned at the stake. When the fire was lit and their bodies burned there was no screaming. Witnesses reported that as the flames arose around them they sang and the vehemence of the fire could scarcely stop their voices, and they died singing. Just before they died their lips were seen moving in prayer. They died singing and praying, because in their death they had hope. They knew it was temporary. By contrast, in recent years there have been a number of people who have lit themselves on fire and burned to death in terrible screaming agony. 

Life in this world, whether you are killed or martyred or not, is very temporary. One time there was a family that was brought before the judges for their faith. One of the youngest boys said, When we have family worship, we always pray for the government and the leaders for the government. The judges were deeply moved by this testimony, that this was a family that not only prayed, but they prayed for their enemies and the government, the people who were leading the government. However, because of their prejudice, they said that the father and the oldest son had to be burned at the stake anyway. As they were tied to the stake and the fire was lit, the son said to the father, Look up! I see the heavens opened and I see an innumerable company watching us. Angels were always present on those occasions. If you are one of God’s children, the Bible says angels accompany you everywhere you are, whatever you are doing, and they protect and guard God’s children from the innumerable dangers of which we are unaware.

A clergyman that was present said, Oh no. You’re not seeing angels from heaven, you are seeing the devil’s angels. The boy replied, No. I’m not seeing the devil’s angels. I’m seeing angels from God. They are watching us. It was by divine power those people died praying and singing with great joy, knowing that very soon, it would be to them, almost instantaneous, they would meet the Lord again when He returns in the clouds. 

Jesus Christ did not die the death of a martyr. In Matthew 27:46 it tells us the kind of death that Jesus died on the cross. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ ” Jesus died the death that a fallen sinful man will die if he does not accept the gospel – the plan of salvation. 

Jesus endured the pains of the second death – a death with no hope of a future. It is a death forsaken by God where the penalty of sin is paid by the sinner. Jesus endured that death so that you could be set free. 

“The great sin of God’s people at the present time is, we do not appreciate the value of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We serve God with a divided heart. We cherish some idol and worship at its shrine.” This Day With God, 50. 

What does this divided heart mean? Suppose a suitor came to a young woman and told her, “I love you with half of my heart.” Would she respond, “That is wonderful, that is what I always wanted”? If he got it up to three quarters would she be completely satisfied? Never.

Dear friend, do you realize that we have a habit of doing this to the Lord all the time? We say we love Him and choose to follow Him, but our heart is divided. The book of James explains why there are so many people claiming their prayers are not answered. James 1:8 says, “… he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Verse 7 says that person is not going to receive anything in answer to his prayers and becomes discouraged with the Christian religion, believing he has tried it and found it doesn’t work. His prayer was unanswered because of his divided heart. 

The very first commandment and basic principle of the Christian religion is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17). The devil is expert in luring people by the love of those three things.

Modern advertising has captured the minds of people with lewd suggestive displays in store front windows, magazine ads, internet pop-ups, and on billboards. Everywhere the eye turns are pictures designed to appeal to the lust of the flesh. One must be diligent to make a covenant with their eyes to keep their minds pure. 

If the devil cannot trap you that way then he tries the lust of the eyes, your possessions. With some people, it is clothes and with others it is houses. With a lot of young men, in my generation, it was cars. I remember when I was in high school one young man’s father decided to buy his son a new car. This man came over with this new car to show it to all of us. It was a new type of Ford, a two-door hardtop convertible that the roof came down, one of the first ones made. It made a huge impression on the young men of my generation. I do not know whether the young men were impressed with girls more or cars, but they were impressed with the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. 

If the devil cannot get you with either the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes he will try to get you with pride, which is one of the most fundamental problems with humanity. The apostle warned not to love those things that the rest of the world loves because they are all temporary. 

Do you appreciate what God has done for you, and do you tell Him so? Do you live like you appreciate it or is your heart divided? James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

Every good gift, whether it comes through father or husband or daughter or anyone, comes from God, the ultimate Source of every good gift. For that reason, He deserves appreciation. 

“As the Giver of every blessing, God claims a certain portion of all we possess. This is His provision to sustain the preaching of the gospel. And by making this return to God, we are to show our appreciation of His gifts. But if we withhold from Him that which is His own, how can we claim His blessing? If we are unfaithful stewards of earthly things, how can we expect Him to entrust us with the things of heaven? It may be that here is the secret of unanswered prayer.” Prayer, 309.  

A problem for God’s professed people for thousands of years is that many do not appreciate Him. In the book of Malachi, it says, “ ‘For I am the Lord, I do not change … from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘But you said,  “In what way shall we turn?” ‘Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say,  “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try [prove] Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’ ” (Malachi 3:6–10).

I have met many people during my ministry who have told me that they cannot afford to pay tithe. But in reality, are you sure that you can afford not to pay tithe? 

The Lord promises those who honor Him that He will pour out a blessing on them so abundant that they will not even be able to receive it. Those who know and refuse are under a curse. A tithe is a tenth. Many can testify that 90% of your increase with God’s blessing stretches much further than 100% with God’s curse. 

Those in greatest need of God’s blessing on their finances are often those who say they can’t afford to do it. Accept that as a perfect opportunity to put the God of heaven to the test. In fact, He says, “Try Me now in this” (Malachi 3:10). 

When my wife and I took a leave of absence and went to Southern California to graduate school we got into a situation where our expenses were more than our income for several months, so I know what it’s like to be financially tried. However, we did not stop paying tithe. In giving back a part of what God has given to us we are not enriching God, but we simply showed that we appreciated what the Lord Jesus has done for us.

Another way to show appreciation for what God has done for you is to consider others in their need. Remember Jesus said to do for others what you would want men to do for you, for this is the law and the prophets. He points us to people around us, to the poor, the suffering and the oppressed. 

In Matthew 25:31–33 it says, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”

Verses 34–36: “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ ”

They say, Lord, when did this ever happen? We don’t know when that ever happened. We don’t remember doing any of those things. 

Look at verse 40: “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ”

Notice, Jesus identifies Himself with those who are in trouble – the people who need food, the people who need clothing, the people who are sick, the people who are in prison, as will those who identify with Him. 

Paul wrote, “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated (became Christians) you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (Hebrews 10:32–34). 

Too often it is considered that people in trouble have caused it themselves and they should be left to suffer the consequences. Adam and Eve made a conscious choice to do the wrong thing, but they were given help to recover from the consequences. 

Remember Jesus’ rule, Whatever you want men to do to you, you do to them. Ask yourself, what would I want if I were in the hospital, or in jail? What if I didn’t have enough food or money to buy the clothes that I needed? Would I want somebody to say, Well, it’s your own fault because you made these mistakes back there. After all, don’t we all make some bad decisions at times?

The best illustration of appreciation is recorded in all four of the gospels. “Then one of the Pharisees asked Him (Jesus) to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, ‘This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’ ” (Luke 7:36–39).

She was looked down on by everybody in that society because of the terrible sins that she had committed. It was common knowledge throughout that region who this woman was and what she had done. And how arrogant of Simon, who had been cured by the Lord Jesus of leprosy and saved from a living death himself, to criticize this woman who he, himself would not touch. 

“And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ So he said, ‘Teacher, say it.’ ‘There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?’ 

“Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom He forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have rightly judged.’ Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’ ” (verses 40–50).

Notice. There are still both types in the world today, those who, like the Pharisee, look down on “big sinners,” considering them unworthy, and the truly repentant ones who know they are sinners and accept the forgiveness of Jesus.

This woman, considered one of the worst sinners in town, accepted the grace offered her by her Saviour. To show her appreciation she bought an alabaster box containing oil of spikenard, one of the most expensive perfumes that has ever been developed or made. The oil she used in anointing Jesus does not wash off and the fragrance remains for approximately 30 days. 

As horrible as it was when Jesus went to the cross, He knew from the fragrance poured on His body six days earlier that there was at least one person in the world who appreciated what He was doing, making it possible for her sins to be forgiven. Jesus told His disciples that anywhere in the whole world that they would preach the gospel, they were to tell this story. 

Everyone wants a response from those they love. Jesus’ love for you is greater than any human love and He also would appreciate a response. The way you live, the way you treat your fellow men, how you support His work is evidence of how much you appreciate what He has done for you.

Thank Jesus Christ for what He has done for you. In the way that you support His work, in the way that you treat and relate to your fellow men, you will show to the whole universe your appreciation for the gift of salvation. 

 (Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – The Crisis Issue at the End of the World

When Jesus came to our world to become our Savior and Redeemer, the second table of the law of God—the last six commandments—were often ignored, while God’s professed people exalted in their keeping of the first four commandments and avoiding idolatry, which had been the plague of God’s professed people up until the time of the Babylonian captivity. This can be seen over and over in the gospels (see for example Mark 3:1–6).

But in the last days, the situation is reversed. We know this from studying Revelation 13. There will be great emphasis on loving your fellow man but there will be a rebellion against the first table of the law, which commands us to love God with all our heart and mind. If I do love God with all my heart, I will never commit idolatry. However, according to Revelation 13 we will be commanded to worship an image.

Does the Bible emphasize the fact that law-keeping versus law-breaking will be the issue in the last days and that the special issue will involve the first four commandments? It does. Here is a little of the evidence:

  1. The difference which distinguishes God’s children from the rest of the world in the last days is that God’s children in the last days will be commandment keepers in contrast with those who worship the beast and the image to the beast and who receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9–12; 13:14–17). Worshiping any image is a violation of the second commandment.
  2. The saved from the last generation will be those who do not worship the beast, the image, and receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 15:2; 20:4).
  3. Nobody can be saved who is a violator of the second commandment unless he repents and is converted and forsakes that sin. Notice the warnings about this in 1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8; 22:15.
  4. A deliberate attempt to change God’s times and His law is a special identifying mark of the apostasy of the latter days according to Daniel 7:25. The only times in God’s law are the times mentioned in the fourth commandment, the longest commandment of the ten and the one that has been almost universally broken since ancient times. And yet this commandment for thousands of years has been the sign that distinguishes God’s true people from all others. (See Exodus 31:12–17. Compare Ezekiel 20.)