Bible Study Guides – The Rewards of the Christian Life

March 24-30, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “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

STUDY HELP: Selected Messages, Book 1, 389–400; The Great Controversy, 673–678.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The Christian’s rewards are everlasting!

INTRODUCTION: “Not one who is earnest and persevering will fail of success. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The weakest saint, as well as the strongest, may wear the crown of immortal glory. All may win who, through the power of divine grace, bring their lives into conformity to the will of Christ.…Every act casts its weight into the scale that determines life’s victory or defeat. And the reward given to those who win will be in proportion to the energy and earnestness with which they have striven.” Acts of the Apostles, 313, 314.

Victory over Sin

1 What has God promised to do for us in every temptation? 1 Corinthians 10:13.

NOTE: “Temptation is not sin. Jesus was holy and pure; yet He was tempted in all points as we are, but with a strength and power that man will never be called upon to endure. In His successful resistance He has left us a bright example, that we should follow His steps. If we are self-confident or self-righteous we shall be left to fall under the power of temptation; but if we look to Jesus and trust in Him we call to our aid a power that has conquered the foe on the field of battle, and with every temptation He will make a way of escape.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 426. See also Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 960.

2 What are we promised we, like Jesus, can do by God’s grace? Revelation 3:21.

NOTE: “Those who would overcome must put to the tax every power of their being. They must agonize on their knees before God for divine power. Christ came to be our example, and to make known to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature. How?—By having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Satan did not gain the victory over Christ. He did not put his foot upon the soul of the Redeemer. He did not touch the head though he bruised the heel. Christ, by His own example, made it evident that man may stand in integrity. Men may have a power to resist evil—a power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 409. See also Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 929.

3 If we are abiding in Christ and allowing God’s Word to abide in us, what will we not be doing? 1 John 3:5-9.

NOTE: “It is genuine faith that says, I know that I have committed sin, but that Jesus has pardoned my sin; and hereafter I will resist temptation in and through His might. ‘Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.’ He has an abiding principle in the soul, that enables him to overcome temptation. ‘Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not.’ God has power to keep the soul who is in Christ, when that soul is under temptation. ‘Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.’ That is, every one who is a true believer is sanctified through the truth, in life and character.” Sons and Daughters of God, 297.

Jesus’ Presence in Every Trial

4 What three things does God promise He will do for us in every time of trouble? Isaiah 41:10.

NOTE: “Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by His Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth’s sake. ‘I will love him,’ Christ said, ‘and will manifest Myself to him.’ John 14:21. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of earthly tribunals, Christ stands by his side. When he is confined within prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him and cheers his heart with His love. When he suffers death for Christ’s sake, the Saviour says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul.” Acts of the Apostles, 85.

5 Where has Jesus promised to be with us? Joshua 1:9.

NOTE: “All who are seeking to work in harmony with God’s plan of education will have His sustaining grace, His continual presence, His keeping power. To everyone He says: ‘Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee.’ ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ Joshua 1:9, 5.” Ministry of Healing, 405.

“Talk of Jesus, and let self go; let it be submerged in Christ, and let this be the language of your heart: ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Jesus will be to you a present help in every time of need. He will not leave you to battle with the powers of darkness alone.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 321.

6 How does Solomon describe the close relationship Jesus has with those who love Him? Proverbs 18:24.

NOTE: “Through all your trials…you have had a never-failing Friend, who has said, ‘I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ But how often is the Lord neglected for the society of others, and for things of no value!…We dare not let His name languish on our lips, and His love and memory die out of our hearts. ‘Well,’ says the cold, formal professor, ‘this is making Christ too much like a human being;’ but the Word of God warrants us to have these very ideas. It is the want of these practical, definite views of Christ, that hinders so many from having a genuine experience in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.…Communion with Christ—how unspeakably precious! Such communion it is our privilege to enjoy, if we will seek it. The everlasting assurance shall be yours that you have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Sons and Daughters of God, 167.

Resurrection of the Righteous

7 When He returns, what miracle will Jesus perform for His saints? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

NOTE: “Then Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried, ‘Awake! awake! awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise.’ Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, ‘Alleluia!’ as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” Early Writings, 16.

8 What will be the experience of those raised in the first resurrection? Revelation 20:6.

NOTE: “‘There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust,’ ‘for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth. ‘All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.’ They who have been ‘accounted worthy’ of the resurrection of life, are ‘blessed and holy.’ ‘On such the second death hath no power.’ But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression. Said the angel, ‘Satan is the root, his children are the branches. They are now consumed root and branch. They have died an everlasting death. They are never to have a resurrection, and God will have a clean universe.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 367.

9 What will the resurrected righteous put on at the second coming of Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:51–53.

NOTE: “The earth mightily shook as the voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints. They responded to the call and came forth clothed with glorious immortality, crying, ‘Victory, victory, over death and the grave! O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ Then the living saints and the risen ones raised their voices in a long, transporting shout of victory. Those bodies that had gone down into the grave bearing the marks of disease and death came up in immortal health and vigor. The living saints are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up with the risen ones, and together they meet their Lord in the air.” Early Writings, 287. See also Sons and Daughters of God, 359.

“Heaven Will be Worth it All”

10 What will the redeemed saints nevermore have to experience? Revelation 21:4.

NOTE: “The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. ‘We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’ ‘There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 22:3. There is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, I am sick; there are no burial trains, no mourning, no death, no partings, no broken hearts; but Jesus is there, peace is there. There ‘they shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.’ Isaiah 49:10.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 17, 18. See also Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 988.

11 Where has Jesus prepared a place for every redeemed saint? John 14:1–3.

NOTE: “Long have we waited for our Saviour’s return. But nonetheless sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 254.

“A fear of making the saints’ inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon the new earth as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them. Those who accept the teachings of God’s Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode.” The Story of Redemption, 430.

12 How does Paul sum up the indescribable glories of what God has prepared for them that love Him? 1 Corinthians 2:9.

NOTE: “Paul had a view of heaven, and in discoursing on the glories there, the very best thing he could do was to not try to describe them. He tells us that eye had not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him. So you may put your imagination to the stretch, you may try to the very best of your abilities to take in and consider the eternal weight of glory, and yet your finite senses, faint and weary with the effort, cannot grasp it, for there is an infinity beyond. It takes all of eternity to unfold the glories and bring out the precious treasures of the Word of God.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1107.

“Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering. We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view.” Early Writings, 67.

Bible Study Guides – Rejoicing in the Lord

March 17-23, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 115–126.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: We are to grow in joy, “more and more unto the perfect day.” (See Proverbs 4:18.)

INTRODUCTION: “It is a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged and strengthened as we give them utterance. While words express thoughts, it is also true that thoughts follow words. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have,—the great mercy and love of God,—we should have more faith and greater joy.” The Ministry of Healing, 252.

Rejoicing in the Lord

1 What does Isaiah say will be the response of those who personally, by faith, receive God’s robe of righteousness? Isaiah 61:10; Romans 5:1, 2.

NOTE: “Christ pardons none but the penitent, but whom He pardons He first makes penitent. The provision made is complete, and the eternal righteousness of Christ is placed to the account of every believing soul. The costly, spotless robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has been provided for the repenting, believing sinner.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 393, 394.

2 What does Paul say about our frequency of rejoicing in the Lord? Phillipians 4:4.

NOTE: “Praise the Lord even when you fall into darkness. Praise Him even in temptation.…Will that bring gloom and darkness into your families? No, indeed; it will bring a sunbeam. You will thus gather rays of eternal light from the throne of glory and scatter them around you.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 593, 594.

“From Rome, Paul wrote, unmindful of his fetters as he saw the spread of the gospel, ‘I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.’ Philippians 1:18. And the very words of Christ upon the mount are re-echoed in Paul’s message to the Philippian church, in the midst of their persecutions, ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.’ Philippians 4:4.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 35.

Rejoicing in His Forgiveness

3 What is one of the spiritual benefits we are counseled to remember? Psalm 103:1–3.

NOTE: “Every true turning to the Lord brings abiding joy into the life. When a sinner yields to the influence of the Holy Spirit, he sees his own guilt and defilement in contrast with the holiness of the great Searcher of hearts. He sees himself condemned as a transgressor. But he is not, because of this, to give way to despair; for his pardon has already been secured. He may rejoice in the sense of sins forgiven, in the love of a pardoning heavenly Father. It is God’s glory to encircle sinful, repentant human beings in the arms of His love, to bind up their wounds, to cleanse them from sin, and to clothe them with the garments of salvation.” Prophets and Kings, 668.

“In the consciousness of sins forgiven there is inexpressible peace and joy and rest.” The Ministry of Healing, 267.

4 What two things did Jesus do for the palsied man? Luke 5:18–25.

NOTE: “In the home of the paralytic there was great rejoicing when he returned to his family, carrying with ease the couch upon which he had been slowly borne from their presence but a short time before.…Joy and hope were written in every lineament of his countenance, and an expression of purity and peace had taken the place of the marks of sin and suffering. Glad thanksgiving went up from that home, and God was glorified through His Son, who had restored hope to the hopeless and strength to the stricken one. This man and his family were ready to lay down their lives for Jesus. No doubt dimmed their faith, no unbelief marred their fealty to Him who had brought light into their darkened home.” Ibid., 79.

Rejoicing in Obedience

5 According to the psalmist, what do the “statutes of the Lord,” do to the heart? Psalm 19:8.

NOTE: “When the Spirit of God reveals to man the full meaning of the law, a change takes place in his heart. The faithful portrayal of his true state by the prophet Nathan made David acquainted with his own sins, and aided him in putting them away. He accepted the counsel meekly, and humbled himself before God. [Psalm 19:7–14 quoted.]” Review and Herald, April 5, 1898.

6 In what will those who rejoice in God’s forgiveness also delight? Psalm 119:35, 47.

NOTE: “All your happiness, peace, joy, and success in this life are dependent upon genuine, trusting faith in God. This faith will prompt true obedience to the commandments of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 45.

“For nations as well as for individuals, the path of obedience to God is the path of safety and happiness, while that of transgression leads only to disaster and defeat.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 591.

“Obedience to the law is essential, not only to our salvation, but to our own happiness and the happiness of all with whom we are connected.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 218.

Rejoicing in Labor for Others

7 What will those that soweth and those that reapeth eventually do together? John 4:35, 36.

NOTE: “And the effort to bless others will react in blessings upon ourselves. This was the purpose of God in giving us a part to act in the plan of redemption. He has granted men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature and, in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellow men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men. Those who thus become participants in labors of love are brought nearest to their Creator.” Steps to Christ, 79.

8 For our joy to be full, what did Jesus desire for us? John 15:11; John 17:13.

NOTE: “In view of what Christ has done for us, and what He has suffered for sinners, we should, out of pure, disinterested love for souls, imitate His example by sacrificing our own pleasure and convenience for their good. The joy set before Christ, which sustained Him in all His sufferings, was the salvation of poor sinners. This should be our joy and the spur of our ambition in the cause of our Master. In so doing we please God and manifest our love and devotion to Him as His servants.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 115. See also Prophets and Kings, 172.

Rejoicing in His Works

9 What does the psalmist say our hearts will do when we sing and talk of God’s wondrous works? Psalm 105:2, 3.

NOTE: “Like the Hebrew host, we should praise the Lord with heart and soul and voice for His ‘wonderful works to the children of men.’ Those who dwell upon God’s great mercies, and are not unmindful of His lesser gifts, will put on the girdle of gladness and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. The daily blessings that we receive from the hand of God, and above all else the death of Jesus to bring happiness and heaven within our reach, should be a theme for constant gratitude. What compassion, what matchless love, has God shown to us, lost sinners, in connecting us with Himself, to be to Him a peculiar treasure! What a sacrifice has been made by our Redeemer, that we may be called children of God! We should praise God for the blessed hope held out before us in the great plan of redemption, we should praise Him for the heavenly inheritance and for His rich promises; praise Him that Jesus lives to intercede for us.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 289.

10 What did David declare as he thought upon the marvelous creation of man? Psalm 139:14.

NOTE: “The mechanism of the human body cannot be fully understood; it presents mysteries that baffle the most intelligent. It is not as the result of a mechanism, which, once set in motion, continues its work, that the pulse beats and breath follows breath. In God we live and move and have our being. The beating heart, the throbbing pulse, every nerve and muscle in the living organism, is kept in order and activity by the power of an ever-present God.” The Ministry of Healing, 417.

Rejoicing in Hopes of Heaven

11 What are we told was the ultimate focus of God’s people? Hebrews 11:16.

NOTE: “Difficulties will arise that will try your faith and patience. Face them bravely. Look on the bright side. If the work is hindered, be sure that it is not your fault, and then go forward, rejoicing in the Lord. Heaven is full of joy. It resounds with the praises of Him who made so wonderful a sacrifice for the redemption of the human race. Should not the church on earth be full of praise? Should not Christians publish throughout the world the joy of serving Christ? Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 244.

12 The true Christian is looking forward to what wonderful reality? 11 Peter 3:12, 13.

NOTE: “And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.” The Great Controversy, 678.

Bible Study Guides – What to do with Doubt and Unbelief

March 10-16, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 105–113.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Doubts are seeds—if we water them they will germinate and grow.

INTRODUCTION: “While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God’s word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light.” The Great Controversy, 527.

1 What does God say we should not do to His Word? Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32.

NOTE: “Satan works on human minds, leading them to think that there is wonderful knowledge to be gained apart from God. By deceptive reasoning he led Adam and Eve to doubt God’s word, and to supply its place with a theory that led to disobedience. And his sophistry is doing today what it did in Eden. Teachers who mingle the sentiments of infidel authors with the education they are giving, plant in the minds of youth thoughts that will lead to distrust of God and transgression of His law. Little do they know what they are doing. Little do they realize what will be the result of their work.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 108.

2 What does Jesus say we should do to eliminate doubts and unbelief? John 7:17.

NOTE: “Disguise it as they may, the real cause of doubt and skepticism, in most cases, is the love of sin. The teachings and restrictions of God’s word are not welcome to the proud, sin-loving heart, and those who are unwilling to obey its requirements are ready to doubt its authority. In order to arrive at truth, we must have a sincere desire to know the truth and a willingness of heart to obey it. And all who come in this spirit to the study of the Bible will find abundant evidence that it is God’s word, and they may gain an understanding of its truths that will make them wise unto salvation.” Steps to Christ, 111.

3 Against what does Paul say we should guard our hearts? Hebrews 3:12.

NOTE: “There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.

4 How did Zacharias respond to Gabriel’s message of a son to be born to him and his wife? Luke 1:18–20.

NOTE: “Zacharias well knew how to Abraham in his old age a child was given because he believed Him faithful who had promised. But for a moment the aged priest turns his thought to the weakness of humanity. He forgets that what God has promised, He is able to perform. What a contrast between this unbelief and the sweet, childlike faith of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, whose answer to the angel’s wonderful announcement was, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word’! Luke 1:38.” The Desire of Ages, 98.

5 What invitation received and acted upon will banish all doubts and unbelief? Psalm 34:8.

NOTE: “There is an evidence that is open to all,—the most highly educated, and the most illiterate,—the evidence of experience. God invites us to prove for ourselves the reality of His word, the truth of His promises. He bids us ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ Psalm 34:8. Instead of depending upon the word of another, we are to taste for ourselves. He declares, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ John 16:24. His promises will be fulfilled. They have never failed; they never can fail. And as we draw near to Jesus, and rejoice in the fullness of His love, our doubt and darkness will disappear in the light of His presence.” Steps to Christ, 111, 112.

6 After inviting Thomas to touch His recent wounds, what did Jesus say to reprove him for his unbelief? John 20:27–29.

NOTE: “Jesus accepted his acknowledgment, but gently reproved his unbelief:…The faith of Thomas would have been more pleasing to Christ if he had been willing to believe upon the testimony of his brethren. Should the world now follow the example of Thomas, no one would believe unto salvation; for all who receive Christ must do so through the testimony of others.” The Desire of Ages, 807.

7 What did Peter’s lack of faith and doubting spirit cause him to do? Matthew 14:28–32.

NOTE: “When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.” The Ministry of Healing, 250.

8 What consequences did Jesus say our words will eventually have on us? Matthew 12:36, 37.

NOTE: “When Satan tempts you, breathe not a word of doubt or darkness. If you choose to open the door to his suggestions, your mind will be filled with distrust and rebellious questioning. If you talk out your feelings, every doubt you express not only reacts upon yourself, but it is a seed that will germinate and bear fruit in the life of others, and it may be impossible to counteract the influence of your words. You yourself may be able to recover from the season of temptation and from the snare of Satan, but others who have been swayed by your influence may not be able to escape from the unbelief you have suggested. How important that we speak only those things that will give spiritual strength and life!” Steps to Christ, 119.

9 What did the man, who was seeking healing for his son, cry out to Jesus? Mark 9:20–24.

NOTE: “In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ You can never perish while you do this—never.” The Desire of Ages, 429.

10 If we do not have the Holy Spirit to guide us, what does Peter warn can possibly happen? 2 Peter 3:16–18.

NOTE: “There are many things apparently difficult or obscure, which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them. But without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we shall be continually liable to wrest the Scriptures or to misinterpret them. There is much reading of the Bible that is without profit and in many cases a positive injury. When the word of God is opened without reverence and without prayer; when the thoughts and affections are not fixed upon God, or in harmony with His will, the mind is clouded with doubts; and in the very study of the Bible, skepticism strengthens.” Steps to Christ, 110.

11 What kept many of the children of Israel from going into the Promised Land? Hebrews 3:15–19.

NOTE: “For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 69.

12 When Christ returns, what will the redeemed know? 1 Corinthians 13:10–12.

NOTE: “By faith we may look to the hereafter and grasp the pledge of God for a growth of intellect, the human faculties uniting with the divine, and every power of the soul being brought into direct contact with the Source of light. We may rejoice that all which has perplexed us in the providences of God will then be made plain, things hard to be understood will then find an explanation; and where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken purposes, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony.” Steps to Christ, 112, 113.

Bible Study Guides – The Privilege of Prayer

March 3-9, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 93–104.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse.” Steps to Christ, 94.

INTRODUCTION: “If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to lift the thoughts often to God in prayer.” Sanctified Life, 93.

God’s Willingness to Answer

1 How did Jesus illustrate the willingness of our Heavenly Father to give us what we need when we ask? Luke 11:13.

NOTE: “Jesus looked upon those who were assembled to hear His words, and earnestly desired that the great multitude might appreciate the mercy and loving-kindness of God. As an illustration of their need, and of God’s willingness to give, He presents before them a hungry child asking his earthly parent for bread.…No man with a father’s heart would turn from his son who is hungry and is asking for bread. Would they think him capable of trifling with his child, of tantalizing him by raising his expectations only to disappoint him? Would he promise to give him good and nourishing food, and then give him a stone? And should anyone dishonor God by imagining that He would not respond to the appeals of His children?” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 131, 132.

2 In what manner does James say God will answer the prayer of faith? James 1:5, 6.

NOTE: “I saw that every prayer which is sent up in faith from an honest heart will be heard of God and answered, and the one that sent up the petition will have the blessing when he needs it most, and it will often exceed his expectations. Not a prayer of a true saint is lost if sent up in faith from an honest heart.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 121.

Power of Prayer

3 How did Jesus illustrate the limitless power that every believing disciple can receive in answer to prayer? Matthew 21:21, 22.

NOTE: “From the secret place of prayer came the power that shook the world in the Great Reformation.” The Great Controversy, 210.

“Nothing is more needed in our work than the practical results of communion with God. We should show by our daily lives that we have peace and rest in the Saviour. His peace in the heart will shine forth in the countenance. It will give to the voice a persuasive power. Communion with God will ennoble the character and the life. Men will take knowledge of us, as of the first disciples, that we have been with Jesus. This will impart to the worker a power that nothing else can give. Of this power he must not allow himself to be deprived.” The Ministry of Healing, 512.

4 With what power did Jacob prevail at the Brook Jabbok? Genesis 32:24–28.

NOTE: “Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded.” The Great Controversy, 621.

“It was through faith and prayer that Jacob, from being a man of feebleness and sin, became a prince with God. It is thus that you may become men and women of high and holy purpose, of noble life, men and women who will not for any consideration be swayed from truth, right, and justice.” The Ministry of Healing, 511.


5 If we are to be receivers, what are we told is necessary in prayer? Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:4.

NOTE: “Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand.” Education, 257.

“The prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian and will assuredly prevail against Satan. This is why he insinuates that we have no need of prayer. The name of Jesus, our Advocate, he detests; and when we earnestly come to Him for help, Satan’s host is alarmed. It serves his purpose well if we neglect the exercise of prayer, for then his lying wonders are more readily received.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 296.

6 What does John say is necessary if we are going to experience the power of prevailing prayer? 1 John 3:22; 5:14, 15.

NOTE: “Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised. Whatever was given to Christ—the ‘all things’ to supply the need of fallen men—was given to Him as the head and representative of humanity. And ‘whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

Praise in Prayer

7 What does Paul say will always be connected with true prayer? Philippians 4:6.

NOTE: “Our devotional exercises should not consist wholly in asking and receiving. Let us not be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive. We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. We are the constant recipients of God’s mercies, and yet how little gratitude we express, how little we praise Him for what He has done for us.” Steps to Christ, 102, 103.

“The soul may ascend nearer heaven on the wings of praise. God is worshiped with song and music in the courts above, and as we express our gratitude we are approximating to the worship of the heavenly hosts.” Ibid., 104.

8 When Paul and Silas mingled praise with their prayers, what happened? Acts 16:25, 26.

NOTE: “In the prison at Philippi, while suffering from the cruel stripes they had received, their feet fast in the stocks, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praise to God; and angels were sent from heaven to deliver them. The earth shook under the tread of these heavenly messengers, and the prison doors flew open, setting the prisoners free.” My Life Today, 20.

Private and Public

9 What counsel has Jesus given to His disciples in regard to their personal prayer life? Matthew 6:6.

NOTE: “Have a place for secret prayer. Jesus had select places for communion with God, and so should we. We need often to retire to some spot, however humble, where we can be alone with God.…In the secret place of prayer, where no eye but God’s can see, no ear but His can hear, we may pour out our most hidden desires and longings to the Father of infinite pity, and in the hush and silence of the soul that voice which never fails to answer the cry of human need will speak to our hearts.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 84.

10 What other kind of prayer does Jesus endorse with the promise of His presence? Matthew 18:19, 20.

NOTE: “We should not come together to remain silent; those only are remembered of the Lord who assemble to speak of His honor and glory and tell of His power; upon such the blessing of God will rest, and they will be refreshed. If all moved as they should, no precious time would run to waste, and no reproofs would be needed for long prayers and exhortations; all the time would be occupied by short, pointed testimonies and prayers. Ask, believe, and receive. There is too much mocking the Lord, too much praying that is no praying and that wearies angels and displeases God, too many vain, unmeaning petitions.” Early Writings, 115.

Posture in Prayer

11 What example has Daniel and Paul left us in regard to the physical attitude of prayer? Daniel 6:10; Acts 20:36.

NOTE: “Both in public and private worship it is our duty to bow down upon our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. This act shows our dependence upon God.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 312.

“Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor. Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge.” The Ministry of Healing, 510, 511.

12 In what manner has God declared He would have us approach Him in prayer during public worship? Psalm 95:6.

NOTE: “We hope that our brethren will not manifest less reverence and awe as they approach the only true and living God than the heathen manifest for their idol deities, or these people will be our judges in the day of final decision.…Men and women, do not dishonor God by your irreverence and pomposity. Do not stand up in your Phariseeism and offer your prayers to God.…And when you assemble to worship God, be sure and bow your knees before Him. Let this act testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to the Spirit of truth.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1130, 1131.

Bible Study Guides – A Knowledge of God

February 24—March 2, 2002

Memory Verse

“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”  John 17:3.

Study Help:  Steps to Christ, 85–91.

Thought to Remember:  “A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service.  It is the only real safeguard against temptation.  It is this alone that can make us like God in character.”  The Ministry of Healing, 409.


“The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. It is the knowledge that works transformation of character. This knowledge, received, will re-create the soul in the image of God. It will impart to the whole being a spiritual power that is divine.”  Ibid., 425.

An Essential Knowledge

1    What does God say is the most necessary knowledge for man to know and understand?  Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

note:  “In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.”  Education, 14.

2    What does Jesus tell us is the most essential knowledge to possess in order to receive eternal life?  John 17:3.

note:  “‘This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.’  Oh, do we know God as we should? What comfort, what joy, we should have if we were to learn daily the lessons He desires us to learn! We must know Him by an experimental knowledge. It will be profitable for us to spend more time in secret prayer, in becoming personally acquainted with our heavenly Father.  In our weakness we may come to Him and ask Him to impart to us an understanding of what He will do for us in separating from us everything that is unlike His own character.”  Medical Ministry, 102.

Revealed in His Works

3    What do the heavens declare about God?  Psalm 97:6.

note:  “The beauties of nature have a tongue that speaks to our senses without ceasing. The open heart can be impressed with the love and glory of God as seen in the works of His hand. The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the works of nature. There is a lesson in the sunbeam and in the various objects in nature that God has presented to our view. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, all invite our attention and meditation, and bid us become acquainted with God, who made them all.”  Testimonies, vol. 3, 333.

4    What does the Bible say we can understand about God from the things He has made?  Romans 1:20.

note:  “The beauties in nature are a theme for contemplation. In studying the natural loveliness surrounding us, the mind is carried up through nature to the Author of all that is lovely. All the works of God are speaking to our senses, magnifying His power, exalting His wisdom. Every created thing has in it charms which interest the child of God and mold his taste to regard these precious evidences of God’s love above the work of human skill.”  Ibid., 377.  See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 116.

5    What does God tell us we need to receive before we can understand and find the knowledge of God?  Proverbs 2:1, 2, 5, 6.

note:  “He who has a knowledge of God and His word through personal experience has a settled faith in the divinity of the Holy Scriptures. He has proved that God’s word is truth, and he knows that truth can never contradict itself. He does not test the Bible by men’s ideas of science; he brings these ideas to the test of the unerring standard. He knows that in true science there can be nothing contrary to the teaching of the word; since both have the same Author, a correct understanding of both will prove them to be in harmony.”  The Ministry of Healing, 462.

“God speaks to us in His word. Here we have in clearer lines the revelation of His character, of His dealings with men, and the great work of redemption.”  Steps to Christ, 87.

6    Where did Jesus say we could gain a knowledge of Him?  John 5:39; Luke 24:25–27.

note:  “God designed the Bible to be a lessonbook to all mankind, in childhood, youth, and manhood, and to be studied through all time. He gave His word to men as a revelation of Himself. Every new truth discerned is a fresh disclosure of the character of its Author. The study of the Scriptures is the means divinely ordained to bring men into closer connection with their Creator and to give them a clearer knowledge of His will. It is the medium of communication between God and man.”  The Great Controversy, 69.  See also Steps to Christ, 88.

Revealed In His Son

7    Where did Paul say we could learn of the knowledge of God’s glory?  11 Corinthians 4:5, 6.

note:  “Christ came to teach human beings what God desires them to know. In the heavens above, in the earth, in the broad waters of the ocean, we see the handiwork of God. All created things testify to His power, His wisdom, His love. Yet not from the stars or the ocean or the cataract can we learn of the personality of God as it was revealed in Christ.  God saw that a clearer revelation than nature was needed to portray both His personality and His character. He sent His Son into the world to manifest, so far as could be endured by human sight, the nature and the attributes of the invisible God.”  The Ministry of Healing, 419.  See also Selected Messages, Book 1, 295.

8    Whose life did Jesus’ life reflect perfectly?  John 14:7–9.

note:  “Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,—one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men.  The Son of God came from heaven to make manifest the Father.”  Steps to Christ, 11.  See also Testimonies, vol. 5, 738, 739.

Revealed in His Law

9    With what attributes does Paul define God’s law?  Romans 7:12.

note:  “The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom. The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to the law of the Creator.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 52.

“And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good,’ a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’  ‘I do always those things that please Him.’ John 15:10; 8:29. The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.”  The Great Controversy, 469.

10  What do God and His law have in common?  Compare 1 John 4:8 and Romans 13:10.

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.”  Ibid., 467.

“Jesus, the express image of the Father’s person, the effulgence of His glory; the self-denying Redeemer, throughout His pilgrimage of love on earth, was a living representation of the character of the law of God. In His life it is made manifest that heaven-born love, Christlike principles, underlie the laws of eternal rectitude.”  Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 49.

An Everlasting Knowledge

11  What does the Bible say is the reward of an experiential understanding of God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ?  1 John 5:20.

note:  “Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom.…You must, indeed, look to Jesus, keeping your eyes fixed on the glory at the top of the ladder. Through Christ alone can you make sure of heaven, where all is purity, holiness, peace, and blessedness, where there are glories that mortal lips cannot describe. The nearest we can come to a description of the reward that awaits the overcomer is to say that it is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It will be an eternity of bliss, a blessed eternity, unfolding new glories throughout the ceaseless ages.”  Testimonies, vol. 8, 130, 131.

12  What did John see the redeemed doing on the “sea of glass”?  Revelation 15:2, 3.

note:  “In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their salvation has cost.  The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity.”  The Great Controversy, 651.  See also The Ministry of Healing, 466, and Testimonies to Ministers, 433.

Food for Life – Remedies For Winter

“If February gives much snow A fine summer it doth foreshow.” —English Rhyme

“A brother was taken sick with inflammation of the bowels and bloody dysentery. The man was not a careful health reformer, but indulged his appetite. We were just preparing to leave Texas, where we had been laboring for several months, and we had carriages prepared to take away this brother and his family, and several others who were suffering from malarial fever. My husband and I thought we would stand this expense rather than have the heads of several families die and leave their wives and children unprovided for.

“Two or three were taken in a large spring wagon on spring mattresses. But this man who was suffering from inflammation of the bowels, sent for me to come to him. My husband and I decided that it would not do to move him. Fears were entertained that mortification had set in. Then the thought came to me like a communication from the Lord to take pulverized charcoal, put water upon it, and give this water to the sick man to drink, putting bandages of the charcoal over the bowels and stomach. We were about one mile from the city of Denison, but the sick man’s son went to a blacksmith’s shop, secured the charcoal, and pulverized it, and then used it according to the directions given. The result was that in half an hour there was a change for the better. We had to go on our journey and leave the family behind, but what was our surprise the following day to see their wagon overtake us. The sick man was lying in a bed in the wagon. The blessing of God had worked with the simple means used.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 299.

“‘My herb drink.—We need not go to China for our tea, or to Java for our coffee. Some have said: ‘Sister White uses tea, she keeps it in her house,’ and that she has placed it before them to drink. They have not told the truth because I do not use it, neither do I keep it in my house.…If you will come to my house I will show you the bag that contains my herb drink. I send to Michigan, across the mountains, and get the red-clover top.…

“I did not use tea when you were with us. I have always used red-clover top, as I stated to you. I offered you this, and told you it was a good, simple, and wholesome drink.…

“I do not preach one thing and practice another. I do not present to my hearers rules of life for them to follow while I make an exception in my own case.…

“I am not guilty of drinking any tea except red-clover-top tea, and if I loved wine, tea, and coffee, I would not use these health-destroying narcotics, for I prize health and I prize a healthful example in all these things. I want to be a pattern of temperance and of good works to others.” Ibid., 301, 302.

RECIPE – French Fruit Toast

¾ cup date rolls (chopped)

2 bananas

½ cup chopped coconut

¼ cup cashews (chopped)

1 teaspoon vanilla (non-alcoholic)

1 tablespoon whole wheat flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

20 oz. can of crushed pineapple

1 loaf homemade bread

Place all ingredients (except bread) in blender and beat until smooth. Add any liquid, if mixture is too dry. Dip bread in the above mixture and place on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 300–325 degrees for 30–45 minutes until lightly browned.

Children’s Story – The Birthday Card, Part I

Pam pushed her chair back from the table. She was glad it was Helen’s turn to help with the dishes. But Helen stood up and said, “Come on, Mother. We have to go or we will be late.”

“Go where?” Daddy asked.

“It’s Helen’s orchestra practice tonight,” Mother told him.

Mr. Young looked at his wife with concern. “You’re tired enough now to call it a day,” he said. “If I didn’t have that man coming—”

Mother got up from the table and picked up a few of the dishes. “No, I can take her,” she said. “I’ll go on to Aunt Nona’s and wait there until Helen is through.”

Pam slipped out of her chair and went quickly to her room while the rest of the family was talking.

The next day was Mother’s birthday, and Pam was painting a card for her. She had finished the design in art class at school. It was a picture of a vase of beautiful red roses, Mother’s favorite flower. Tonight Pam must do the gold lettering.

As Pam worked in her room, she heard the car go out of the driveway. Mother must have stacked the dishes in the sink. She and Helen hadn’t had time to wash them. Pam shrugged and turned to her painting. The dishes were not her responsibility for that night. It was Helen’s turn to help with them. “I LOVE” painted slowly and carefully.

A tapping on the window startled her. But it was only her girl friend, Leslie, who lived across the driveway.

“Come on out,” she urged when Pam opened the window. “I have something to show you.”

“I can’t. I have to finish the card I’m painting for my mother’s birthday tomorrow.”

“Please, Pam. Just for a minute,” Leslie pleaded.

“W–well—just for a minute,” Pam finally consented.

Leslie had a new bike. She let Pam ride it to the end of the block. When Pam came back, they sat on the front steps and talked until Pam said she must go in and finish her card.

She was settled at her desk again when the doorbell rang. “Not another interruption,” she thought impatiently. “I’ll never get this card finished.”

But this time it was only the man who had come to see her father.

“YOU” she painted. Then she held the card at arm’s length from her to be sure it looked right. She wished the man visiting her father would go home so she could show the card to her father. She had to sign her name, and then the card would be finished. She shouldn’t have talked to Leslie so long. She was really getting tired and sleepy. Maybe a glass of orange juice would wake her up.

Pam went to the kitchen. In the sink and on the stove were the unwashed dishes and pans. She really had forgotten about them. Of course Mother would do them when she got home, for she would not leave them until morning. There was always too much of a rush then. Instead of getting the orange juice, Pam turned and went slowly back to her room.

At her desk she picked up the card for her mother and read the words she had painted, “I LOVE YOU.” Her mouth drew into a troubled pucker, and she frowned as she read the words again, aloud, “I LOVE YOU.”

To be continued…

Restoring the Temple – To Arms with Your Immune System, Part II

“Both riches and honour come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”—1 Chronicles 29:12.

How important is your immune system? Consider this scenario. A woman with the flu boards a plane. During the flight from New York to London, 150 passengers are exposed, and 80 of them consequently come down with the flu. What was the difference between the people who got the flu and those who did not? Strong immune systems.

After years of the public’s overuse of antibiotics, many strains of bacteria have mutated and become resistant to those same antibiotics, which makes it ever so much more important to strengthen our immune systems. Here we briefly examine what we can do to make a more powerful army. The key is that immune-boosting must be an ongoing process, not merely popping a few extra vitamin C tablets when a cold hits.

As we learned in Part 1 of this article, our bodies are constantly on the watch, ready to squelch any invasion. How can you make your immune system more powerful and vigilant? Let us explore what you can do to help yourself.


Nutrition is what fuels our fighter cells. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are all part of a diet complete in essential vitamins and minerals. Since pesticides and fungicides can inhibit immune function, try to choose organic foods whenever possible. Nutrient-dense, pure foods are important for us all, but are especially essential for growing children.

Vegetarians do not have to worry about one health-damaging food—animal products. Meat and dairy products carry residues of antibiotics and steroid hormones that can weaken immunity (not to mention diseases that tax the immune system). Dairy products also contain milk protein which is a common irritant of the immune system. Milk products are especially harmful to an individual who is prone to allergies or autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Daniel understood that eating the king’s meat and other rich foods would weaken his physical powers and decrease his mental capability. (Daniel 1:8–20).

Recent research has found that plant fats, particularly sterols, help immunity. Plant sterols help perform a balancing act by boosting an underactive immune system and decreasing an overactive one. Sterols increase the amount of natural killer cells and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. A vegetarian diet contains more plant fats than does the average American diet.

Interferons (IFNs) are important chemicals our bodies produce that play a complex part in our immune systems. IFN stimulates a cell to resist viral invasion, induces production of antibodies, and makes infected cells more recognizable to leukocytes (white blood cells). IFN is also very important in keeping a healthy cell from turning into a cancer cell. Recent research has shown that certain mushrooms—particularly reishi and shiitake—help the body with IFN production. Health care practitioners in China and Japan have been aware of the immune-enhancing properties of these mushrooms for a long time. Western medicine is focused on development cell-killing drugs to fight cancer—hoping that more tumor cells will be destroyed than healthy cells. Western scientists are just beginning to research other models of medicine in exploring therapies that work by strengthening the host’s defenses instead. What a novel concept!

Vitamins A, C, E, and B complex are among the immune-enhancing nutrients. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that work by protecting against infection and neutralizing free radicals that damage cells. A diet low in vitamins A and E increases the risk of infection.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are known to enhance the immune system. Zinc increases the size of the thymus gland, an important immune organ, and improves the function of certain immune cells. When a diet is low in zinc, wounds take longer to heal. Low iron intake increases the risk of infection and disease, so it is important to eat foods with lots of iron. A mineral deficiency will suppress the immune function.

A Positive Mental Attitude

Our emotions play a critical part in immunity. As noted in Part 1, stress increases the likelihood that we will become ill. Our attitudes alone may mean the difference between getting sick twice a season and four times a season. Healthier people have been found to have a positive mental attitude, being health-focused—and seeing illness as merely a hitch in an otherwise healthy life—than being illness-focused. “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15. Both rest and exercise work toward keeping the mind relaxed. Ellen White stated:

“By the beauty of flower and field, their minds will be diverted from themselves, from their aches and pains, and they will be led to look from nature to the God of nature, who has provided so abundantly the beauties of the natural world. The convalescent can lie in the shade of the trees, and those who are stronger can, if they wish, work among the flowers, doing just a little at first, and increasing their efforts as they grow stronger. Working in the garden, gathering flowers and fruit, listening to the birds praising God, the patients will be wonderfully blessed. Angels of God will draw near to them. They will forget their sorrows. Melancholy and depression will leave them. The fresh air and sunshine, and the exercise taken, will bring them life and vitality. The wearied brain and nerves will find relief. Good treatment and a wholesome diet will build them up and strengthen them.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 255, 256.

Inspiration – Conversation, Part II

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13–16.

“The apostle Peter here gives instruction for believers to gird up the loins of their minds. We are to have special care over the thoughts of the mind. We are not to allow our minds to be diverted and allured by different things, because there is something more important for us. If we would allow the mind to take its natural turn, it might dwell upon unimportant things and we receive no benefit thereby.

“Here is presented before us the one great event—the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when the graves are to be opened and the dead be raised, and we are to be changed. This event should fill our mind and crowd out everything else. We want to make the most of the privileges and opportunities we have to prepare for the future immortal life.

“The truth of God has taken us out of the quarry of the world to fit us up for the heavenly temple of God. We may look upon one another and think, ‘There is a great work to be done for that brother and for that sister,’ but we may not take into consideration the work that is to be done for ourselves. And if Satan can get in among the people [and produce] a spirit of criticism, then he is satisfied, for a root of bitterness springs up in these [members] wherewith he will be satisfied. We are not all of the same character, but we are brought together in church capacity and we count ourselves as children of God, and we talk of having a home in the city of God.

“Our faith is that if we perfect a Christian character we shall be numbered as the family of God in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. Now, our heavenly father brings us together in church capacity that we may gain in knowledge and be fitting up for the community of heaven. ‘Well,’ some may say, ‘All I want is that everyone should see eye to eye.’ But there are those who want everyone to see just as they do. They do not consider that they have traits of character that must be changed. Then, what is the work before us in order to be ready to be among those who are waiting for their Lord to come in the clouds of heaven? It is for us to be in a position of humility before God. ‘Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

“The Lord has not placed before one individual the trade of becoming a church tinker, but we want individually to feel that we have a responsibility before God to be a blessing to everyone with whom we associate. And we are to consider that every brother and sister is the purchase of the blood of Christ. Here we are, living stones out of the quarry, and we are to be chiseled and fitted for the new Jerusalem. Do not let any of us think that we are all right. As soon as we are taken out of the quarry, we have a work to do for ourselves. ‘The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,’ and we want to be considering those things that will give us solidity of character. We do not want to have a high estimate of ourselves, but we want to esteem others better than ourselves. We want that our souls shall be uplifted to God every moment for help, for fear we shall fall. And while some are so diligent to look after others, they will forget the work there is for their own soul.

“We are to heed the exhortation of the apostle, that we are to be holy in all manner of conversation. And as we separate those things from us which will be a hindrance to our advancement, the Holy Spirit will come in. We want to be filled with the spirit of Jesus, and if you are not closely connected with Christ, then the thoughts of your mind will be upon unimportant things; but if you are connected with Jesus, you will just as surely be a channel of light as Jesus is light, for Jesus has said to His followers, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’

“Now, we are by living faith to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith. ‘As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.’

“Before we become acquainted with Jesus, the conversation is upon the dress, and what shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and what shall we wear? And we find fault with one another. But as soon as we become acquainted with Christ, our conversation changes.

“Here we are, objects of His love. Has the change taken place in us? Namely, have we passed from death unto life? Have we died indeed to self? Have we fastened our hearts and affections upon the great God? He is all light and power.

“Every provision has been made for us that can be made by our precious Saviour, that we may have that abundant grace so that we may overcome every defect in our character. And we cannot afford to satisfy ourselves in this life, but we want the fullness that is in Jesus, and we must train ourselves to talk of those things which will bring to us peace and light. As we have our conversation upon heaven and heavenly things, the angels of God are all around us; and when we are, in our thoughts and with our hearts, drawing near to God, then He is drawing nigh to us. His love is in our hearts, and then we speak it from our lips.

“It is not only our duty to train our minds upon heavenly things, but we are to talk of these things, for it is our duty to bind about our mind, to gird up the loins of our mind, and say, ‘I will not think of these things.’ Then it is our duty to guard our conversation.

“We would think, from the shadow that many walk in, that they had no Saviour. But I want to speak to those, and say ‘Christ is risen! He is not in Joseph’s new tomb, but He has arisen and has ascended up on high to make intercession for us!’ We have a risen Saviour interceding for us, and we must walk in harmony with God. He is seeking to ‘purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ If we seek with all our hearts to be obedient children, conforming our will to the will of God, then the work can go forward in us without interruption. Let us not forget for one moment that we are living for the future immortal life, and let us put away from us everything like complaint and faultfinding. Let our words, our conversation, reveal to the world that we have a hope that is big with immortality.

“We want that His will shall be our will. We do not want that our will shall be such that it will control all that around us.…

“God wants us to go through the mill. Here this man’s sharp character must be burnished off, and here is one who has taken hold of the truth who has always been coarse in his conversation, and he must overcome that. This is the very thing the apostle means when he says, ‘You must overcome in order to have a home in heaven.’ Jesus must be in my whole work to transform my character. We must accept the truth as it is in Jesus, and then how kind will we be to one another, how courteous, for this was the work of my Master. We shall see the precious mold of Jesus upon the character, and when we learn the precious lessons He has for us to learn, we will be like Jesus. ‘Come unto Me,’ says He, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’

“Here you are with your variances and differences. Now, ‘Come to Me,’ says He, ‘and learn of Me.’…”

Sermons and Talks, Book 1, 40–43.

The Ringing of the Bell

Creeping silently over the eastern hills, a big red moon rose up into the night sky. Higher and higher it rose, its shafts of light dancing from place to place as the landscape began to slip away into the darkness of the coming night. From a bunch of bamboo trees came the chatter of hundreds of sparrows gathered there for the night, holding their evening meeting to discuss the happenings of the day.

Suddenly the chatter would stop and all became quiet for a moment, as something interrupted them. Then, far away over the bush covered hills to the west, came the ringing of a bell, loud and clear. Soon the sparrows started chattering again, but the bell continued its clang…clang…clang.

To me, at three or four years of age, it seemed very eerie, especially when my father remarked that it was only the curfew bell being rung at the Maori Pa (Village) about a mile or so from us, as the bird flies, beyond the hills. The hair stood up on the back of my neck as I imagined a band of Maori warriors charging out of the bush that covered the hills, and down towards us in the gathering dusk.

It did not ring every night, only at certain times, and then we could only hear it when the air was still and clear. Why did they ring that bell just as the darkness began to settle on the land? The ringing of that bell at dusk made a big impression on me as a boy, and to this day I can hear it as clearly as if I were still there on the old home farm.

Not until just before my 19th birthday did I realize the significance of the ringing of that bell.

The Story of the Bell

One night, 100 or so years before, an old Maori chief had a dream. In that dream he was shown, among other things, that Sunday was not the true Sabbath, but Saturday, the seventh day of the week, was God’s Holy Day.

From that day on he kept Saturday as the Sabbath and he taught the rest of the tribe to do likewise. Then, in true missionary fashion, he visited other villages and told them about his dream and led them to keep the seventh day Sabbath also. In these villages he also built churches in which they could worship.

At some time he visited the Maori village situated not far from where we lived. It was after I became a Seventh-day Adventist that I realized that the bell only rang on Friday nights, just as it was starting to get dark. It was the curfew bell, which rang each week at the start of the Sabbath, calling all the villagers home for the night to keep the Sabbath.

When I was a boy they were still very strict about not working on Sabbath. Sometimes a local farmer would offer the young fellows a very high wage to come and help him stack his hay on Saturday. If these young men gave in and went, as they sneaked back into the village that night they would be hauled before the tribal committee and fined for breaking the Sabbath.

They called their church the Ringatu church, and no Maori who belonged to it would work on Saturday. Also, for some reason I never was able to find out, they kept the 12th day of every month as holy and would not work on that day either. They would gather in their meetinghouse and stay there for 24 hours. They took turns, going around the room, as one would pray, another sing, another read from the Bible, another give a talk, and so on, throughout all the hours of the 12th of every month.

To a little boy, that bell ringing every Friday night just as it was getting dark, had an eerie feeling about it, and the hair would stand up on the back of my neck. I have been a Seventh-day Adventist for over 50 years, yet every Friday night I have rallied to the call of that bell in my mind. All of those years, in my mind, that bell has rung the curfew and brought my attention to the start of the Sabbath.

Just by Chance?

Coming in for breakfast one Sunday morning when I was six years old, my mother asked me which I would like to do. Go with her and my father to church at 11am, or go with my two older brothers to drive some pigs down from their farm to ours, ready for a truck to take them to market the following day. Now driving pigs between the farms was the most exciting thing a small boy could become involved in. For the first half mile after leaving their farm the road wound its way down through patches of bush with no fences on either side.

Just imagine what six big, fat pigs would do, who do not want to leave home. Every now and then they would dive off the road into the bush and scatter and there would be dogs barking, and pigs squealing, and men yelling and one little boy waiting on the road nearly dying of laughter. When the pigs emerged from the undergrowth back onto the road I was waiting to see if they turned down hill again. But if a big pig came charging towards me I would say “shoo,” and if he did not stop I would dive over the bank out of his way. Then I would get abused for not stopping him, and men and dogs would rush up the road to bring him back, by which time the others would have disappeared into the bush again. To me, this was too good to miss.

Unpredictably, I chose to go to church. I had no reason for going, but I believe I know why I was led to make that decision. When we got to church some of my mates from school rushed over and asked me to go with them to Sunday School, which I did. That was the one and only time in my whole life I ever went to Sunday School, and that day the teacher was teaching the Ten Commandments.

That is how I learned what the Ten Commandments were. We went over and over them until we all knew them by heart. From that day on they became the standard for my life.