Bible Study Guides – A Present View of Eternity

March 22, 2009 – March 28, 2009

Key Text

“Since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” Isaiah 64:4.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 261–268; Education, 301–309.


“Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God’s image, may attain.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 61.

1 What should we understand about the plan of salvation and our future? Isaiah 49:15, 16.

Note: “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.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 131.

“How little do the young suffer, or deny self, for their religion! To sacrifice is scarcely thought of among them. They entirely fail of imitating the Pattern in this respect. I saw that the language of their lives is: Self must be gratified, pride must be indulged. They forget the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with grief. The sufferings of Jesus in Gethsemane, His sweating as it were great drops of blood in the garden, the platted crown of thorns that pierced His holy brow, do not move them. They have become benumbed. Their sensibilities are blunted, and they have lost all sense of the great sacrifice made for them. They can sit and listen to the story of the cross, hear how the cruel nails were driven through the hands and feet of the Son of God, and it does not stir the depths of the soul.

“… ‘If such should be ushered into the city of God, and told that all its rich beauty and glory was theirs to enjoy eternally, they would have no sense of how dearly that inheritance was purchased for them. They would never realize the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love. They have not drunk of the cup, nor been baptized with the baptism. Heaven would be marred if such should dwell there.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 155.

2 What aspect of the plan of redemption should we especially keep in mind? Isaiah 63:7–9; I Corinthians 1:18.

Note: “Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death—it is said that ‘His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.’ ‘In all their affliction He was afflicted: … and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.’ Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.” Education, 263.

3 What promises of God, referring to the new world, can have a partial fulfillment even on this earth? Isaiah 35:5–10. On what condition can we claim these promises? Revelation 7:14.

Note: “God will do great things for His people if they will co-operate with Him. He will work upon the minds of men, so that there will be seen in their lives, even in this world, a fulfillment of the promise of the future state.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 78.

“The washing of the robes of character in the blood of the Lamb is a work that we must attend to earnestly while every defect of character is to be put away. Thus are we working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The Lord is working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 81.

4 What privileges will be extended to the redeemed? Isaiah 33:17; 64:4.

Note: “Throughout the unnumbered host of the redeemed every glance is fixed upon Him [Jesus], every eye beholds His glory whose ‘visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ [Isaiah 52:14.] Upon the heads of the overcomers Jesus with His own right hand places the crown of glory. For each there is a crown, bearing his own ‘new name,’ and the inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ [Revelation 2:17; 3:12.]” My Life Today, 347.

“Those who have made the most of their privileges to reach the highest attainments here, will take these valuable acquisitions with them into the future life. They have sought and obtained that which is imperishable. The capability to appreciate the glories that ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,’ [I Corinthians 2:9] will be proportionate to the attainments reached in the cultivation of the faculties in this life.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 49.

5 Mention some of the differences between the old world and the new world. Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 21:4.

Note: “The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

“Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. In the home of the redeemed there will be no tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. … One rich tide of happiness will flow and deepen as eternity rolls on.

“We are still amidst the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities. Let us consider most earnestly the blessed hereafter. Let our faith pierce through every cloud of darkness and behold Him who died for the sins of the world. He has opened the gates of paradise to all who receive and believe on Him. To them He gives power to become the sons and daughters of God. Let the afflictions which pain us so grievously become instructive lessons, teaching us to press forward toward the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 286, 287.

6 What conditions will characterize the eternal home of the redeemed? Isaiah 11:5–9; 32:17, 18; 65:17–19.

7 Describe the lifestyle on the new earth. Isaiah 65:21–25.

Note: “There [in the Holy City] the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together ‘the whole family in heaven and earth’ (Ephesians 3:15)—these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed.” The Great Controversy, 677.

8 What do you know about the religious services that will be held on the new earth? Isaiah 66:22, 23.

Note: “The Sabbath never will be done away; but that the redeemed saints, and all the angelic host, will observe it in honor of the great Creator to all eternity.” Early Writings, 217.

9 What should characterize our daily lives now if we are planning to be there? II Peter 3:13, 14.

Note: “In heaven God is all in all. There, holiness reigns supreme; there is nothing to mar the perfect harmony with God. If we are indeed journeying thither, the spirit of heaven will dwell in our hearts here. But if we find no pleasure now in the contemplation of heavenly things; if we have no interest in seeking the knowledge of God, no delight in beholding the character of Christ; if holiness has no attractions for us—then we may be sure that our hope of heaven is vain. Perfect conformity to the will of God is the high aim to be constantly before the Christian. He will love to talk of God, of Jesus, of the home of bliss and purity which Christ has prepared for them that love Him. The contemplation of these themes, when the soul feasts upon the blessed assurances of God, the apostle represents as tasting ‘the powers of the world to come.’ [Hebrews 6:5.]” My Life Today, 293.

10 What example of the apostle Paul should we ever have in mind? II Corinthians 4:17, 18; 11 Timothy 4:7, 8.

Note: “Let your soul’s burden be, how to secure the better life than this, a title to the mansions prepared for those who are true and faithful to the end. If you make a mistake here, everything is lost. If you devote your lifetime to securing earthly treasures, and lose the heavenly, you will find that you have made a terrible mistake. You cannot have both worlds. ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ [Mark 8:36.]

“These trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit us for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory. But as we pass through these trials, as the fires of affliction kindle upon us, we must not keep the eye on the fire which is seen, but let the eye of faith fasten upon the things unseen, the eternal inheritance, the immortal life, the eternal weight of glory; and while we do this the fire will not consume us, but only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified, bearing the impress of the Divine.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 706, 707.

Additional Reading

“That which will bless humanity is spiritual life. He who is in harmony with God, will constantly depend upon Him for strength. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ [Matthew 5:48.] It should be our life work to be constantly reaching forward to the perfection of Christian character, ever striving for conformity to the will of God. The efforts begun here will continue through eternity. The advancement made here will be ours when we enter upon the future life.

“Those who are partakers of Christ’s meekness, purity, and love, will be joyful in God, and will shed light and gladness upon all around them. The thought that Christ died to obtain for us the gift of everlasting life, is enough to call forth from our hearts the most sincere and fervent gratitude, and from our lips the most enthusiastic praise. God’s promises are rich, and full, and free. Whoever will, in the strength of Christ, comply with the conditions, may claim these promises, with all their wealth of blessing, as his own. And being thus abundantly supplied from the treasure-house of God, he may, in the journey of life, ‘walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing;’ [Colossians 1:10] by a godly example blessing his fellow-men, and honoring his Creator. While our Saviour would guard His followers from self-confidence by the reminder, ‘Without me, ye can do nothing,’ [John 15:5] He has coupled with it for our encouragement the gracious assurance, ‘He that abideth in me … bringeth forth much fruit.’ [John 15:5.]” Sons and Daughters of God, 327, 328.

“The Lord reads the intents and purposes of men. Those who have exalted views of His character will feel it their highest pleasure to have everything which has any connection with Him of the very best work and displaying the very best taste. But those who can grudgingly build a poorer house to dedicate to God than they would accept to live in themselves show their lack of reverence for God and for sacred things. Their work shows that their own temporal concerns are of more value in their eyes than matters of a spiritual nature. Eternal things are made secondary. It is not considered essential to have good and convenient things to use in the service of God, but they are considered highly essential in the concerns of this life. Men will reveal the true moral tone of the principles of their hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 257, 258.

“Shortsighted mortals do not comprehend the ways and works of God. Their eyes are not directed upward to Him as they should be. They do not have exalted views of eternal things. They only look at these things with a clouded vision. They take no special delight in contemplating the love of God, the glory and splendor of heaven, the exalted character of the holy angels, the majesty and inexpressible loveliness of Jesus, our Redeemer. They have so long kept earthly things before their vision that eternal scenes are vague and indistinct to them. They have limited views of God, heaven, and eternity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 258.

Bible Study Guides – Earth’s Final Days

March 15, 2009 – March 21, 2009

Key Text

“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” Isaiah 26:20.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 404–410; Maranatha, 270–274.


“What are the chambers in which they [God’s people] are to hide? They are the protection of Christ and holy angels.” In Heavenly Places, 264.

1 How does Isaiah depict the condition of the earth in the final days? Isaiah 24:1–4.

Note: “The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.

“The Bible, and the Bible only, gives a correct view of these things. Here are revealed the great final scenes in the history of our world, events that already are casting their shadows before, the sound of their approach causing the earth to tremble and men’s hearts to fail them for fear.” Prophets and Kings, 537.

2 What else does the prophet say about the scenes that will be witnessed in those days? Isaiah 24:17–21. What does Christ say on this point? Luke 21:26.

Note: “The whole earth appears like a desolate wilderness. The ruins of cities and villages destroyed by the earthquake, uprooted trees, ragged rocks thrown out by the sea or torn out of the earth itself, are scattered over its surface, while vast caverns mark the spot where the mountains have been rent from their foundations.” The Great Controversy, 657.

3 What is the cause of the fearful condition of the world in the last days? Isaiah 24:5. Whom will Satan blame?

Note: “The great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced.” The Great Controversy, 590.

4 What will happen to the multitudes who have rejected the present truth for these last days? Isaiah 26:21; 28:21.

Note: “The professed Christian world is advancing, as did the Jewish nation, from one degree of sinfulness to a greater degree, refusing warning after warning, and rejecting a Thus saith the Lord, while crediting the fables of men. The Lord God will soon arise in His wrath, and pour out His judgments upon those who are repeating the sins of the inhabitants of the Noachic world. Those whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil, as were the hearts of the inhabitants of Sodom, will like them be destroyed. The fact that God had long forbearance, patience and mercy, the fact that His judgments have been long delayed, will not make the punishment any less severe when it does come.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1144.

“There will be a law against the Sabbath of God’s creation, and then it is that God will do His ‘strange work’ in the earth. He has borne long with the perversity of the race; He has tried to win them to Himself. But the time will come when they shall have filled their measure of iniquity; and then it is that God will work. This time is almost reached. God keeps a record with the nations: the figures are swelling against them in the books of heaven; and when it shall have become a law that the transgression of the first day of the week shall be met with punishment, then their cup will be full.” Ibid., vol. 7, 910.

5 As trials and persecution thicken, what will the faithful be able to declare? Isaiah 25:1, 4.

Note: “The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants.” The Great Controversy, 629.

6 On what assurance can God’s people rely during the time of trouble, and on what conditions? Isaiah 33:15, 16.

Note: “If the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. …

“Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. … It is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.” Early Writings, 56, 57.

7 What has God promised to His people for the time of trouble? Psalm 46:1–3; Jeremiah 30:7.

Note: “When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof.

“The people of God—some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains—still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen.” The Great Controversy, 635.

8 What will be our only shelter in that time? Isaiah 26:20.

Note: “The great crisis is just before us. To meet its trials and temptations, and to perform its duties, will require persevering faith. But we may triumph gloriously; not one watching, praying, believing soul will be ensnared by the enemy. …

“The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejectors of His grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. The pillar of cloud which speaks wrath and terror to the transgressor of God’s law is light and mercy and deliverance to those who have kept His commandments.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 404.

9 For whom only will Christ’s return be the most joyous event, and why? Isaiah 25:8, 9.

Note: “Those only who are holy, those who have followed fully the meek Pattern will, with rapturous joy, exclaim as they behold Him, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us.’ [Isaiah 25:9.] And they will be changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump,’ [I Corinthians 15:52] that wakes the sleeping saints, and calls them forth from their dusty beds, clothed with glorious immortality, shouting Victory! Victory! over death and the grave. The changed saints are caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air, never more to be separated from the object of their love.

“To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and a familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and the glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts.” Sons and Daughters of God, 360.

10 What will be the song of the redeemed, and why will they be qualified to sing that song? Isaiah 26:1, 2.

Note: “That which will make the character lovely in the home is that which will make it lovely in the heavenly mansions.

“If we manifest the character of Christ here, keeping all the commandments of God, we shall be cheered and blessed with glimpses of the pleasant home in the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare.” The Faith I Live By, 279.

Additional Reading

“The Lord has shown me that great interest should be taken by Sabbathkeepers to keep up their meetings and make them interesting. There is great necessity of more interest and energy being manifested in this direction. All should have something to say for the Lord, for by so doing they will be blest. A book of remembrance is written of those who do not forsake the assembling of themselves together, but speak often one to another. The remnant are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Some expect to overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb, without making any special effort of their own. I saw that God has been merciful in giving us the power of speech. He has given us a tongue, and we are accountable to Him for its use. We should glorify God with our mouth, speaking in honor of the truth and of His unbounded mercy, and overcome by the word of our testimony through the blood of the Lamb.

“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. First we should feel needy, and then ask God for the very things we need, believing that He gives them to us, even while we ask; and then our faith will grow, all will be edified, the weak will be strengthened, and the discouraged and desponding made to look up and believe that God is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him.

“Some hold back in meeting because they have nothing new to say and must repeat the same story if they speak. I saw that pride was at the bottom of this, that God and angels witnessed the testimonies of the saints and were well pleased and glorified by their being repeated weekly. The Lord loves simplicity and humility, but He is displeased and angels are grieved when professed heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus suffer precious time to run to waste in their meetings.

“If the brethren and sisters were in the place they should be, they would not be at a loss to find something to say in honor of Jesus, who hung upon Calvary’s cross for their sins. If they would cherish more of a realizing sense of the condescension of God in giving His only beloved Son to die a sacrifice for our sins and transgressions, and of the sufferings and anguish of Jesus to make a way of escape for guilty man, that he might receive pardon and live, they would be more ready to extol and magnify Jesus. They could not hold their peace, but with thankfulness and gratitude would talk of His glory and tell of His power. And blessings from God would rest upon them by so doing.” Early Writings, 114–116.

Bible Study Guides – Our Great Responsibility Today

March 8, 2009 – March 14, 2009

Key Text

“[If] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10.

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 95–107; Testimonies, vol. 6, 305–312.


“It is heartwork that the Lord requires, good works springing from a heart filled with love.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 146.

1 What is our privilege and duty regarding God’s word? Psalm 119:15. Name one chapter that is especially beneficial to us today, and explain why.

Note: “Portions of Scripture, even whole chapters, may be committed to memory to be repeated when Satan comes in with his temptations. The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is a profitable one for this purpose.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 95.

“The whole chapter [of Isaiah 58] is applicable to those who are living in this period of the earth’s history. Consider this chapter attentively; for it will be fulfilled.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1149.

2 Describe the condition of God’s professed people and the task entrusted to the faithful remnant. Isaiah 58:1, 2.

Note: “Though they [the people described in Isaiah 58:1, 2] are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. … Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1149.

3 Describe the contrast between false and true forms of worship. Isaiah 58:3–7; James 1:27.

Note: “In our work we shall find a high profession of piety and much outward exactness bound up with great inward wickedness. The people represented in Isaiah 58 complain that the Lord allows their services to go unnoticed. This complaint is the expression of hearts unsubdued by grace, rebellious against the truth. Those who receive the truth which works by love and purifies the soul are loyal to God, honoring Him by obedience to His law, which is holy, just, and good. The spirit of true fasting and prayer is the spirit which yields mind, heart, and will to God. …

“The house of Jacob, at the time this warning was given to Isaiah, appeared to be a very zealous people, seeking God daily, and delighting to know His ways; but in reality they were filled with presumptuous self-confidence. They were not walking in the truth. Goodness, mercy, and love were not practiced. While presenting an appearance of sorrow for their sins, they were cherishing pride and avarice. …

“There are sins of this same character among us today, and they bring the rebuke of God upon His church. Wherever such sins are found, seasons of fasting and prayer are indeed necessary; but they must be accompanied with sincere repentance and decided reformation.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148–1150.

“In all our work the principle of unselfishness revealed in Christ’s life is to be carried out. Upon the walls of our homes, the pictures, the furnishings, we are to read, ‘Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.’ On our wardrobes we are to see written, as with the finger of God, ‘Clothe the naked.’ In the dining room, on the table laden with abundant food, we should see traced, ‘Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?’ Isaiah 58:7.” The Ministry of Healing, 206.

4 What promises are offered to us as we seek to follow God’s plan? Isaiah 58:8–10.

Note: “Many are in obscurity. They have lost their bearings. They know not what course to pursue. Let the perplexed ones search out others who are in perplexity, and speak to them words of hope and encouragement. When they begin to do this work, the light of heaven will reveal to them the path that they should follow. By their words of consolation to the afflicted they themselves will be consoled. By helping others, they themselves will be helped out of their difficulties. Joy takes the place of sadness and gloom. The heart, filled with the Spirit of God, glows with warmth toward every fellow being. Every such an one is no longer in darkness; for his ‘darkness’ is ‘as the noon day.’ [Isaiah 58:10.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1151.

5 What is Christ’s mission concerning the Law of God? Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17–20; 22:36–40.

Note: “Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505.

6 What work did Isaiah foresee among God’s people, and how can we be part of it? Isaiah 58:12–14; 61:4.

Note: “The work specified in these words is the work God requires His people to do. It is a work of God’s own appointment. With the work of advocating the commandments of God and repairing the breach that has been made in the law of God, we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity. We are to show supreme love to God; we are to exalt His memorial, which has been trodden down by unholy feet; and with this, we are to manifest mercy, benevolence, and the tenderest pity for the fallen race. ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ [Matthew 22:39.] As a people we must take hold of this work. Love revealed for suffering humanity gives significance and power to the truth.” My Life Today, 224.

7 How will God complete the number of His people? Isaiah 11:10–12.

Note: “Those who come out from the world, to stand distinct from worldlings in words and works, those who realize that it is an honor to bear God’s sign, will receive power to become His sons. The Lord will have men who can be depended on. No one will enter the courts above who does not bear the sign of God. Those who in this sin-cursed earth bear this sign in holy boldness, looking upon it as an honor, will be recognized and honored by Christ in the courts above.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 969.

8 What is expected from the remnant church in view of God’s purpose mentioned in the previous question? Isaiah 52:7–10; I Corinthians 4:9.

Note: “The Saviour has given His precious life in order to establish a church capable of ministering to the suffering, the sorrowful, and the tempted. A company of believers may be poor, uneducated, and unknown; yet in Christ they may do a work in the home, in the community, and even in ‘the regions beyond,’ whose results shall be as far-reaching as eternity.” The Ministry of Healing, 106, 107.

“When those who profess to serve God follow Christ’s example, practicing the principles of the law in their daily life; when every act bears witness that they love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, then will the church have power to move the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 340.

9 What missionary program should ever be before our minds? Isaiah 60:3–5; Matthew 28:19, 20.

Note: “It is now time to take a decided stand on the side of truth; and as God has given to every one his measure of influence, he should exert it to the glory of God and for the good of his associates. Not one of the faithful stewards of Christ will be idle in such a time as this, or will be content to live simply for self. Those who are in communion with Christ will realize that there are souls on every side who may be benefited by their help, example, and influence. They will realize that they may be agents through whom Jesus will work to save those for whom He died. This should be the experience of all who profess to believe the third angel’s message. Young and old should have a rich, joyful, abundant experience in the religion of Christ.” Sons and Daughters of God, 269.

10 What responsibility has God placed upon us in connection with this program? Isaiah 60:1, 2.

Note: “The evangelization of the world is the work that God has given to those who go forth in His name. … Work, with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of the people. The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving their physical suffering gives you opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.

“The Lord will give you success in this work; for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is the true interpretation of the gospel.” My Life Today, 224.

Additional Reading

“I saw that a thick cloud enveloped them, but that a few rays of light from Jesus pierced this cloud. I looked to see those who received this light, and saw individuals earnestly praying for victory. It was their study to serve God. Their persevering faith brought them returns. The light of heaven was shed upon them; but the cloud of darkness over the church in general was thick. They were stupid and sluggish. My agony of soul was great. I asked the angel if that darkness was necessary. Said he: ‘Look ye!’ I then saw the church begin to rise, and earnestly plead with God, and rays of light began to penetrate this darkness, and the cloud was removed. The pure light of heaven shone upon them, and with holy confidence their attention was attracted upward. Said the angel: ‘This is their privilege and duty.’

“Satan has come down in great power, knowing that his time is short. His angels are busy, and a great share of the people of God suffer themselves to be lulled to sleep by him. The cloud again passed over, and settled upon the church. I saw that it would be only by earnest effort and persevering prayer that this spell would be broken.

“The alarming truths of the word of God had stirred the people of God a little. Now and then they would make feeble efforts to overcome, but they soon tired and sank back into the same lukewarm state. I saw that they did not have perseverance and fixed determination. Let the seeker for the salvation of God possess the same energy and earnestness that he would have for a worldly treasure, and the object would be gained. I saw that the church may just as well drink of a full cup, as to hold an empty one in the hand or at the mouth.

“It is not the plan of God to have some eased and others burdened. Some feel the weight and responsibility of the cause, and the necessity of their acting that they may gather with Christ and not scatter abroad. Others go on free from any responsibility, acting as though they had no influence. Such scatter abroad. God is not partial. All who are made partakers of His salvation here, and who hope to share the glories of the kingdom hereafter, must gather with Christ. Each must feel that he is responsible for his own case, and for the influence he exerts over others. If these maintain their Christian walk, Jesus will be in them the hope of glory, and they will love to speak forth His praise that they may be refreshed. The cause of their Master will be near and dear to them. It will be their study to advance His cause and to honor it by holy living. Said the angel: ‘Every talent God will require with usury.’ Every Christian must go on from strength to strength, and employ all his powers in the cause of God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 178, 179.

Bible Study Guides – Light for the Gentiles

March 1, 2009 – March 7, 2009

Key Text

“Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 23–30; Ibid., vol. 7, 9–24.


“[The prophet Isaiah] saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people.” Prophets and Kings, 374.

1 What encouraging prophecy was revealed to Isaiah, and how was it fulfilled? Isaiah 9:1, 2; Matthew 4:16.

Note: “The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah. At first he beheld only ‘trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish.’ Isaiah 8:22. Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision.” Prophets and Kings, 373.

2 What glorious hope is offered to the literal descendants of Abraham and to all earnest seekers after God? Isaiah 11:9, 10.

Note: “Among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, He sees men and women who are praying for light and knowledge. Their souls are unsatisfied: long have they fed on ashes. See Isaiah 44:20. The enemy of all righteousness has turned them aside, and they grope as blind men. But they are honest in heart and desire to learn a better way. Although in the depths of heathenism, with no knowledge of the written law of God nor of His Son Jesus, they have revealed in manifold ways the working of a divine power on mind and character.

“At times those who have no knowledge of God aside from that which they have received under the operations of divine grace have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. The Holy Spirit is implanting the grace of Christ in the heart of many a noble seeker after truth, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his former education.” Prophets and Kings, 376, 377.

3 What assurances from Isaiah 54 can we claim today, and on what conditions? Isaiah 54:4, 5, 13, 17; I John 3:22; 2:4–7.

Note: “All the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah is applicable to the people of God, and every specification of the prophecy will be fulfilled. The Lord will not forsake His people in their time of trial. … Are these words of comfort spoken to those who are making void the law of God? No, no, the promise is for those who amid general apostasy, keep the commandments of God, and lift up the moral standard before the eyes of the world who have forsaken the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148.

4 In what sense do the promises of Isaiah 54 also involve responsibilities? Isaiah 54:2; 57:14.

Note: “Earnest effort is to be put forth to counterwork the influences that have kept back the message for this time. A solemn work is to be done in a short space of time.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148.

“God’s people have a mighty work before them, a work that must continually rise to greater prominence. Our efforts in missionary lines must become far more extensive. A more decided work than has been done must be done prior to the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s people are not to cease their labors until they shall encircle the world. …

“New territories are to be worked by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. New churches must be established, new congregations organized. At this time there should be representatives of present truth in every city and in the remote parts of the earth. The whole earth is to be illuminated with the glory of God’s truth. The light is to shine to all lands and all peoples. And it is from those who have received the light that it is to shine forth. The daystar has risen upon us, and we are to flash its light upon the pathway of those in darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 23, 24.

“Where there are one or two men struggling to carry forward the different branches of the cause, there should be hundreds at work.” Ibid., 26.

“The home missionary work will be farther advanced in every way when a more liberal, self-denying, self-sacrificing spirit is manifested for the prosperity of foreign missions; for the prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work done in countries afar off. It is in working actively to supply the necessities of the cause of God that we bring our souls in touch with the Source of all power.” Ibid., 27.

5 What prophecy is soon to be fulfilled and how? Isaiah 44:4, 5.

Note: “Our watchword is to be: Onward, ever onward. The angels of God will go before us to prepare the way. Our burden for the ‘regions beyond’ can never be laid down until the whole earth shall be lightened with the glory of the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 29.

6 What does God declare regarding the new souls who accept the present truth? Isaiah 56:2–8. How does this concept apply today?

Note: “Many of these converts from heathenism would wish to unite themselves fully with the Israelites. … None of these were to say, ‘The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people’ (Isaiah 56:3), for the word of God through His prophet to those who should yield themselves to Him and observe His law was that they should thenceforth be numbered among spiritual Israel—His church on earth.” Prophets and Kings, 372.

7 How is God’s power to be manifested even in the lives of some of the seemingly most hopeless cases? Isaiah 49:22–25.

Note: “Heaven’s plan of salvation is broad enough to embrace the whole world. God longs to breathe into prostrate humanity the breath of life. And He will not permit any soul to be disappointed who is sincere in his longing for something higher and nobler than anything the world can offer. Constantly He is sending His angels to those who, while surrounded by circumstances the most discouraging, pray in faith for some power higher than themselves to take possession of them and bring deliverance and peace. In various ways God will reveal Himself to them and will place them in touch with providences that will establish their confidence in the One who has given Himself a ransom for all, ‘that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.’ Psalm 78:7.” Prophets and Kings, 377, 378.

8 What call of God is to involve every one of us? Isaiah 60:1–3.

Note: “The missionary spirit needs to be revived in our churches. Every member of the church should study how to help forward the work of God, both in home missions and in foreign countries. Scarcely a thousandth part of the work is being done that ought to be done in missionary fields. God calls upon His workers to annex new territory for Him. There are rich fields of toil waiting for the faithful worker. And ministering angels will co-operate with every member of the church who will labor unselfishly for the Master.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 29.

9 In the grand task before us, how does God take into account the wide variety of resources entrusted to us? Isaiah 6:8; II Corinthians 5:14, 15.

Note: “An American businessman who was an earnest Christian, in conversation with a fellow worker remarked that he himself worked for Christ twenty-four hours of the day. ‘In all my business relations,’ he said, ‘I try to represent my Master. As I have opportunity, I try to win others to Him. All day I am working for Christ. And at night, while I sleep, I have a man working for Him in China.’

“In explanation he added: ‘In my youth I determined to go as a missionary to the heathen. But on the death of my father I had to take up his business in order to provide for the family. Now, instead of going myself, I support a missionary. In such a town of such a province of China, my worker is stationed. And so, even while I sleep, I am, through my representative, still working for Christ.’

“Why should not the members of a church or of several small churches unite to sustain a missionary in foreign fields? If they will deny themselves of selfish indulgences, dispense with needless and hurtful things, they can do this. Brethren and sisters, will you not help in this work? I beseech you to do something for Christ, and to do it now. Through the teacher whom your money shall sustain in the field, souls may be saved from ruin to shine as stars in the Redeemer’s crown.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 29, 30.

10 What thoughts should ever resound in our heart? John 4:34–36.

Note: “Have you so deep an appreciation of the sacrifice made on Calvary that you are willing to make every other interest subordinate to the work of saving souls?” Testimonies, vol. 7, 10.

“There is a picture representing a bullock standing between a plow and an altar, with the inscription, ‘Ready for either,’ ready to toil in the furrow or to be offered on the altar of sacrifice. This is the position of the true child of God—willing to go where duty calls, to deny self, to sacrifice for the Redeemer’s cause.” The Ministry of Healing, 502.

Additional Reading

“It was not alone upon the hills of Judea, not among the lowly shepherds only, that angels found the watchers for Messiah’s coming. In the land of the heathen also were those that looked for Him; they were wise men, rich and noble, the philosophers of the East. Students of nature, the Magi had seen God in His handiwork. From the Hebrew Scriptures they had learned of the Star to arise out of Jacob, and with eager desire they awaited His coming, who should be not only the ‘Consolation of Israel,’ but a ‘Light to lighten the Gentiles,’ and ‘for salvation unto the ends of the earth.’ Luke 2:25, 32; Acts 13:47. They were seekers for light, and light from the throne of God illumined the path for their feet. While the priests and rabbis of Jerusalem, the appointed guardians and expounders of the truth, were shrouded in darkness, the Heaven-sent star guided these Gentile strangers to the birthplace of the newborn King.

“It is ‘unto them that look for Him’ that Christ is to ‘appear the second time without sin unto salvation.’ Hebrews 9:28. Like the tidings of the Saviour’s birth, the message of the second advent was not committed to the religious leaders of the people. They had failed to preserve their connection with God, and had refused light from heaven; therefore they were not of the number described by the apostle Paul: ‘But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.’ I Thessalonians 5:4, 5.

“The watchmen upon the walls of Zion should have been the first to catch the tidings of the Saviour’s advent, the first to lift their voices to proclaim Him near, the first to warn the people to prepare for His coming. But they were at ease, dreaming of peace and safety, while the people were asleep in their sins. Jesus saw His church, like the barren fig tree, covered with pretentious leaves, yet destitute of precious fruit. There was a boastful observance of the forms of religion, while the spirit of true humility, penitence, and faith—which alone could render the service acceptable to God—was lacking. Instead of the graces of the Spirit there were manifested pride, formalism, vainglory, selfishness, oppression. A backsliding church closed their eyes to the signs of the times. God did not forsake them, or suffer His faithfulness to fail; but they departed from Him, and separated themselves from His love. As they refused to comply with the conditions, His promises were not fulfilled to them.

“Such is the sure result of neglect to appreciate and improve the light and privileges which God bestows. Unless the church will follow on in His opening providence, accepting every ray of light, performing every duty which may be revealed, religion will inevitably degenerate into the observance of forms, and the spirit of vital godliness will disappear. This truth has been repeatedly illustrated in the history of the church. God requires of His people works of faith and obedience corresponding to the blessings and privileges bestowed. Obedience requires a sacrifice and involves a cross; and this is why so many of the professed followers of Christ refused to receive the light from heaven, and, like the Jews of old, knew not the time of their visitation. Luke 19:44. Because of their pride and unbelief the Lord passed them by and revealed His truth to those who, like the shepherds of Bethlehem and the Eastern Magi, had given heed to all the light they had received.” The Great Controversy, 315, 316.

Food – Small Intestine Helpers

The liver and gallbladder are organs associated with the digestion that occurs in the small intestine. The liver’s only digestive function is to produce bile, for export to the duodenum. It does this via the common hepatic duct and the common bile duct. The gallbladder is chiefly a storage organ for the bile and lies between these two ducts. It is approximately four inches long and is located to the back and just below the lower right side of the liver. In addition to storing of the bile until needed, the gall bladder concentrates the bile, with it being up to ten times as concentrated when it leaves as when it entered. The primary function of bile is the emulsification or breakdown of fats so that they can be absorbed and used.

Bile is the major means by which cholesterol is excreted from the body. In the event that the bile salts (these constitute part of the liquid called bile) are inadequate or the cholesterol is excessive, the cholesterol may crystallize and form gallstones. These gallstones can pool in the gall bladder—the cystic duct leaving the gall bladder—or the common bile duct which leads to the small intestines. Gallstones are a common disease process and are more common in females, individuals over 40, those who are overweight, and fair skinned people. Gallbladder disease is also increased when the diet is low in fiber, and water is not taken liberally. Common symptoms include fullness and burping after meals, heartburn, chronic upper right-sided abdominal pain to severe pain that radiates to the right shoulder, nausea, vomiting, and even yellowing of the skin. These symptoms are more noticeable several hours after a heavy meal that includes fried or fatty foods.

There are many lifestyle decisions that can help prevent gallstones. These include: decrease saturated fats as found in meat and animal products; consume monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids such as is found in olives, canola, and flax seed; eating nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds); diet high in fiber; consumption of vegetable protein; avoid a high sugar intake; regular exercise; maintain normal weight; avoid rapid weight loss; and liberal consumption of water.

Treatments include a wait-and-see approach with lifestyle changes, medical non-surgical removal of the stones, and surgical removal of gallstones. There are also natural remedies for treatment of gallstones. One is found in Jethro Kloss’s book, Back to Eden. The author has personally administered this treatment to one person with severe symptoms, and it was very successful.

May the Lord guide in our lifestyle decisions that so greatly affect our life, health, and relationship to Him.

Recipe – “Curried” Vegetable Soup

Recipe – “Curried” Vegetable Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 can coconut milk

6 cups water

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. anise seed, ground or whole

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. coriander

1 Tbsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. turmeric

¼ tsp. cayenne (or to taste)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

2 tsp. salt

6 cups Californis Blend Frozen Vegetables, or other vegetables of choice

Directions: Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook until vegetables are slightly tender, but still bright in color. Serve “as is” or over cooked brown rice or noodles.

Children’s Story – The Kitten and the Cobra

It was unusually dark for being just eight o’clock in the evening. A 16-hour power cut had left our small community in India in a thick blackness. Dinner was over and we were congregated on the porch waiting for the electricity to come back on. A kerosene lamp dimly lit the corridor. The evening prayers would be said at nine o’clock. Perhaps the lights would turn on by then. Children gathered in small groups and spoke quietly as the adults lounged sleepily here and there amongst them. Mosquitoes swarmed in the night air creating a strange, quiet hum.

Five year old Johnson, affectionately known as Johnny, had been sitting quietly at my feet playing contentedly with his little black and white kitten. She batted playfully at the finger Johnny twirled in the air just above her tiny, pink nose. Suddenly, the kitten stopped, perked her ears, and went stone still for a moment. Her gaze fixed on something beyond the area illuminated by our small lamp. She hopped gracefully from Johnny’s lap in pursuit of whatever her beady eyes had fallen upon. Johnny gleefully fell in step behind her, despite my warning him to come back.

Johnny was after his kitten and paid me no heed. Finally, I sent Siva after him. Siva was a bright youngster in the sixth grade, and readily obeyed me. She followed in the direction Johnny and his kitten had gone, and was out of sight for just moments before running back to me, obviously panicked. Taking me by the hand, she led me to the scene that caused her fear. As I looked, my heart leaped to my throat and I went rigid. There, coiled in front of me, was a black cobra; its hood flared and head moving hypnotically back and forth, hissing at the kitten, which was moving in circles around it. Terrified and stunned, I stood motionless alongside Siva, peering in the darkness to see what would happen. The next thing we knew, we were blinded by bright light—the electricity was turned back on. As our eyes adjusted, we could see clearly the little kitten as it stared down the cobra, still waving back and forth in the air. Two men cautiously approached the terrible snake from behind and struck it in the head, killing it.

That night as we said our prayers, I knelt beside little Johnny’s bed. Curled in his arms, purring softly, was his kitten. In the darkness we are unaware of what may visit us, and his little kitten had saved us from a very dangerous predator. Yes, God uses not just humans, but animals, too, for His purpose. He used ravens to feed His prophet, a great whale to carry Jonah, a donkey to check a servant—and just tonight, Jesus had used a tiny kitten to warn us of the venomous serpent so that we could sleep safely in His care. God is ever present to safeguard His people, and His mightiest helpers are sometimes the smallest.

Question – What does it mean when the Bible says: you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked? Revelation 3:17.

What does it mean when the Bible says: you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked? Revelation 3:17. I cannot see how a person can be in such a condition as this and not know it.

Physically speaking, in order for a person to be in any one of these conditions and not know it, he would have to be asleep, anesthetized, intoxicated, or in a coma.

In the Bible when it talks about these conditions it is referring to us spiritually. It compares our spiritual condition to conditions in physical life. Physical terminology is being applied to a spiritual condition. This aptly describes the true condition of our present church. Spiritually speaking, many are asleep or blind or unconscious of the seriousness of the times in which we live. Satan has lulled us to sleep. We can hear the most stirring messages about the end of time, and then hear, “Get ready, get ready, get ready,” and then go right on with our life as usual without giving it a second thought to prepare for our last day on earth.

God’s word has described our situation in several different places in the Bible. Paul tells us, “It is high time we awake out of sleep.” Romans 13:11. If we are asleep, we are not aware of our condition. Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14. And in cautioning the Israelites, He said, “Beware lest thou forget the Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:12.

There is a mental blindness that often goes unrecognized. You can be blinded spiritually by looking at so many things of the world that you can no longer see the spiritual. For instance, if you fill your time and mind with novels and fiction, TV and other media, the appreciation of the Bible or other spiritual tools is lost. The desire leans toward temporary thrills or excitement. Spiritual awareness is blinded, and the beauty of the words in the Bible are unseen.

And, as the Bible says, the blind leading the blind causes them both to fall into the ditch. People speak more of the media and other trivial topics than those of a spiritual nature. I’m sure you have seen it—a group of people laughing till there sides hurt, and you find out it is over something they saw on TV, usually of an immoral nature. These are situations where the blind are leading the blind, and unless they open their eyes they will all fall into the ditch.

Spiritually speaking, we can also be anesthetized by the cares of this life, by covetousness for the things of this world, or even just making a living and working too many hours a day, pushing out time for prayer and study. Jesus warned us when He said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.

Then there are people who are intoxicated or who are in a state of drunkenness. When we pay heed to vain philosophy and so-called “science,” we are actually drunk with nonsense and can no longer comprehend the simple truths of the Bible. As to how this wonderful earth could be created in six days … you cannot reason that out. It has to come by faith. But science tries to show that that was impossible, not bearing in mind that they are contending with the creator of science. They are drunk with vain philosophy. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8.

Health – Skin: Dam, Filter, or Sponge

There is most assuredly a creative power behind all we see. The human mind has not yet, in the six thousand years of its existence, scratched the surface of the mysteries of life and nature. And what knowledge has been unfolded to us we have been unable to duplicate. The human body is the only thing in all of creation that God did not speak into existence. Rather, He molded the first humans and made their bodies come alive with His own hands. Humans cannot even create perpetual motion, not to mention life, both of which we see everywhere in creation. Every organ is a miracle of operation, created to be perpetual. Though, since Adam and Eve’s fall, the perpetuation has been limited, the body does operate independent of our aid—repairing, replenishing, and supporting; just as God designed.

The human body, the final touch of God’s creation, is an amazing piece of work. In addition to being called as caretakers of God’s creation, we must also care for the incredible machines that we live in. Unfortunately, the human race has done a very poor job of taking care of the earth, and the ensuing pollution has caused our bodies to be exposed to innumerable toxins—some inhaled, some ingested, but almost all are seeped into our bodies through the largest organ: the skin. Prior to the mid-19th century, the skin was seen as an impenetrable barrier. It is now well established, however, that the same construction of proteins and lipids that make the skin waterproof also make it vulnerable to certain agents, both non-toxic and toxic.

The skin is made up of three different layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutis. Each of these layers is further categorized by their respective layers. The epidermis is the outermost layer and consists of three sub-layers: the stratum corneum, keratinocytes, and the basal layer. The stratum corneum is the skin that meets the eye and the environment. It consists of dead keratinocytes, or keratin, which protects the skin from our environment. Keratinocytes are a layer of squamous cells which provide the skin with what it needs to keep pathogens out and water in. The dermis is the middle layer of the skin, and consists of blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, and sweat glands. This layer is held together by a protein called collagen. It is also the locale for pain and touch receptors. The subcutis, or subcutaneous layer, is the innermost layer of the skin, and consists of collagen and fat cells that help to conserve body heat while protecting other organs from injury by acting as a shock absorber.

Because of its permeability and the proximity of the bloodstream, the skin has been found by the medical world to be an ideal portal for drug administration. Transdermally administered drugs are becoming choice in many instances due to the almost immediate bioavailability which the numerous blood vessels in the skin makes possible. Unfortunately, many, many other things are becoming far too available through the skin. Some of these things we apply in hopes of reaping some benefit; other things we are exposed to without choice and are completely unaware of.

In her book, Silent Spring, which spawned the environmental movement in the early 1960s, Rachel Carson wrote: “For the first time in earth’s history, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death. In less than two decades, toxins have been so thoroughly distributed throughout the animate and inanimate world that they occur virtually everywhere.” She goes on to elaborate on the harmful effects of the DDT sprayings on farmland, farm animals, streams and their ecosystems.

Since the environmental craze began, we have become progressively more concerned with what we ingest. We wash our fruits and vegetables before consumption, we buy “organically grown” produce, and bottled water has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Of course, being conscious of what we put into our bodies is important, but given the knowledge of the skin’s ability to absorb its environment, it makes sense that we would be just as concerned with what we expose our bodies to externally. Though it is impossible to evade poisons altogether, eliminating what we are able of these toxins has become more and more imperative.

What are these toxins? Where do they come from? What are they found in? What effect do they have on our bodies? The list is far too long to go over each (they number in the thousands), but some key poisons which have been targeted specifically in the last 50 years are DDT, arsenic, soot (which has been under scrutiny for over two centuries), 24-D (an herbicide), maelic hydrozid (proven as a powerful mutagen), phelon, urethane, and mustard gas. These toxins are related primarily to environmental control, and used or emitted by industrial plants. Now, in mentioning these toxins, it is not through inhalation only that they find their way into the blood stream. Simply taking a walk in the “great outdoors” brings your external body into contact with these hazardous chemicals, which then enter the blood stream immediately through pores in the skin. When people who live in cities wear surgical masks outdoors to protect themselves from the pollution of the area in which they live, unbeknown to them, they are preventing little; the portal of entry that is by far more effective is still quite exposed to harm.

These chemicals—alias toxins, alias carcinogens, alias mutagens, alias poisons—are precisely what their many names imply. No matter which chemical is in the spotlight, the effect on the body is damaging, and, in many cases, severely so. Each one, in addition to thousands more not mentioned, interfere with the body’s natural cell cycles, which creates mutant cells, in turn increasing the potential for cancer. Port Neches, Texas, is one example of many. The high school in this town was turning out alarming rates of leukemia, so many incidences, in fact, that the school was nicknamed “Leukemia High.” The town was founded around the production of rubber and synthetic rubber during World War II. These plants exposed the residents of the town to high levels of butadiene. Depending on the chemical, our cells are targeted in different ways, and thus different ailments are resulting; among those ailments are a wide range of cancers, birth defects, mental illnesses (again a wide range) and diabetes.

We do not expose ourselves only indirectly through our environment, but also directly in the products we use in personal and household hygiene. Most of the products that we use, from the shower to the kitchen sink, contain harmful chemicals, all of which have more direct contact with our bodies and in greater quantities. Too many of the toiletries and cosmetics we use are carcinogenic cocktails of hazardous waste. Most of the chemicals which go into our toiletries are no different from the harsh toxic chemicals used in industry. Far from enhancing health, they pose a daily threat to it. For example, propylene glycol (PG) is a wetting agent and solvent used in makeup, hair care products, deodorants, and aftershave. It is also the main ingredient in antifreeze and brake fluid. Similarly, polyethylene glycol (PEG), a related agent found in most skin cleansers, is a caustic used to dissolve grease … the same substance you find in oven cleaners. Isopropyl, an alcohol used in hair rinses, hand lotions and fragrances, is also a solvent found in shellac.

The methods employed by the body by which to eliminate toxins are few. When the liver, kidneys, and lungs have been exhausted by chronic exposure and cannot keep up with the intake, the remaining toxins lodge in fat and muscle tissue and become what is called “toxic” or “chemical body burden.” (Today, studies show that most of us have between 400 and 800 chemical residues stored in the fat cells of our bodies. See JAMA, AMA, ACS for reference.) Fortunately for us, the dermis is an excellent warrior on our behalf; though it may not be able to prevent all harmful materials from entry, it does manage to do some damage control through perspiration—yes, sweat. Perspiration is recognized in the medical field worldwide as perhaps the most effective method of removing heavy metals and toxins from our bodies. Most of the time we are completely unaware that we are perspiring because of evaporation, but we are actually losing an average of 1.5 liters per day! (Depending on temperature. In higher temperatures the rate of expulsion can reach 3.5 liters.) It is estimated that the body eliminates about 30% of bodily waste through perspiration. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the “third kidney.”

Because of the decline in the quality of our environment, it is more imperative than ever that we are aware of what we are exposed to and the consequences of this exposure. The Bible refers to our bodies as temples for Christ, and as a temple we want to do our utmost to maintain our health. Exposure to toxins cannot be avoided completely; however, consciousness of the products that we use daily, our geologic environment, and even our career choices can improve the wellness of our bodies and greatly decrease the probability of serious illnesses. God was aware of the damage that the human race would cause to the earth, and, in His mercy, created our bodies to battle against what we ourselves have created.

The Self-Recrimination of a Mother

My daughters often give me tokens of their love and appreciation. As I write this article I have a lovingly-made, hand-crafted piece of art hanging on my refrigerator that says, “Mom, you are the best mother in the whole world!” My two-year-old son has a multi-sensory approach to sharing his love—smiles, giggles and kisses.

Not only do I have devoted admirers in my children, but my husband has told me that I am the best wife and mother in the world. Being the honest soul that he is, he did qualify his statement. He said that it is theoretically possible that there could be a better wife and mother somewhere in the world, but he certainly did not know who it would be. And if there were someone, or even a few women who might be better, I would certainly be in a very select group.

Imperfect and Inadequate

One would expect that with such affection from my loving family (who clearly wear rose-colored glasses), I would be quite confident of my abilities to be a successful wife and mother. But often I find myself painfully aware of my inadequacies and defects.

Likely, not a day goes by that I do not wish I were better able to fulfill my duties as a wife and mother. My thoughts run along the lines of: “If only I could better organize our home. If only I had more time for Bible study. If only I were more patient. If only I could be a better example for my children. If only I would bring a more cheerful atmosphere into the home. If only I were more efficient. If only. Yes, if only I could be a better wife and mother.”

There are days I do not experience feelings of accomplishment or success. Survival seems to be the sought-after achievement of these “if only” days. Endeavoring to train my children for the service of God; trying to keep up with feeding, clothing, bathing, educating, and loving my children; as well as managing our money, trying to be a good wife, helping at church, trying to be a good neighbor and witnessing in the community sometimes feels like plugging the leaks in a breaking dam! Why is it that I cannot seem to do it all and do it well? Is this really what Christian motherhood is supposed to be like? Why do I never feel good enough no matter what my children and husband say?

The Cause of Self-recrimination

Recently, I read from a chapter about teachers out of the treasured volume, Education. I thought I should read it, due to the fact that I homeschool our children; because I am not only their mother, but also their teacher. After reading about the qualities and characteristics of the ideal teacher, my heart sank. It presented such a high ideal, one that I do not come close to reaching. At the end of the chapter, however, I read an insight that helped me understand why I struggle with self-recrimination. It is written for teachers, but it is just as applicable to mothers, who, after all, are a child’s first teacher.

“The deeper the sense of responsibility, and the more earnest the effort for self-improvement, the more clearly will the teacher perceive and the more keenly regret the defects that hinder his usefulness. As he beholds the magnitude of his work, its difficulties and possibilities, often will his heart cry out, ‘Who is sufficient for these things?’ ” Education, 281, 282.

Why are we, as mothers, so acutely sensitive of our faults and imperfections? The answer is that we feel so keenly because we care so deeply. We crave to be the best for our children.

My fellow mother, if you are intensely aware of your shortcomings, if you struggle with self-recrimination, take heart. God knows the desires of your heart. He knows how much you want to please Him. He knows how you long to do better work and how you want to lead your children into a saving relationship with Him.

The Cure for Self-recrimination

I continued reading in Education and found that God not only understands the cause of my feelings of inadequacy, but He also longs to give me His power to look past those feelings. He wants me to continue my earnest endeavor for self-improvement, but He wants me to look outside of myself, beyond my faultiness, to Him and the power in His promises.

“… As you consider your need of strength and guidance,—need that no human source can supply … consider the promises of Him who is the wonderful Counselor.” Education, 282.

I have found the most valuable and practical instruction regarding motherhood in the Spirit of Prophecy. I believe in studying Bible prophecy and Bible doctrines. I enjoy reading from devotionals. But as mothers, we should regularly be studying what the inspired writings teach about motherhood. God knows the challenges of mothers. The role of mothers is the most important in the world. And because it is so important, God has left specific counsel just for mothers. From that counsel, we should glean the precious promises. They will cheer our hearts and give us courage.

There is power in God’s promises. It is real power. It is physical power to accomplish a day’s work. It is mental power to think and work efficiently. It is spiritual power to overcome our character defects. It is transferable power that works through us to mold and shape the hearts and minds of our children. In short, it is power to reflect the character of Jesus.

Results of Using the Cure

The chapter in Education that gave me insight into the cause of self-recrimination, as well as the cure, closes with a wonderful promise of secret power to those who implement the sure remedy.

“… As the highest preparation for your work, I point you to the words, the life, the methods, of the Prince of teachers. I bid you consider Him. Here is your true ideal. Behold it, dwell upon it, until the Spirit of the divine Teacher shall take possession of your heart and life.

“ ‘Reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord,’ you will be ‘transformed into the same image.’ II Corinthians 3:18, R.V.

“This is the secret of power over your pupils [children]. Reflect Him. …” Education, 282.

Mothers, I challenge you to implement the cure for self-recrimination. In the daily struggle of motherhood, take time to focus on the promises of God and less on your defects and unworthiness. Claim God’s promises as your own. Trust Him with all your shortcomings. Dwell on Jesus’ perfect character. As you trust Him, as you dwell on His character, your children will see Jesus’ power working through you. A secret power will come over them—a power that will work to fulfill your greatest desire—the salvation of your children.

Teresa Grosboll writes from her home in Camas, Washington, where she lives with her supportive husband, their two loving daughters and energetic two-year-old son. She may be contacted via e-mail at