Bible Study Guides – The Work and the Life

February 17-23, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” John 15:16.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 77–83.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: What we sow, we shall reap.

INTRODUCTION: “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.

Jesus’ Example

1 What did Jesus say was His reason for leaving heaven and coming to this dark sinful world? Luke 19:10.

NOTE: “Christ came to bring salvation within the reach of all. Upon the cross of Calvary He paid the infinite redemption price for a lost world. His self-denial and self-sacrifice, His unselfish labor, His humiliation, above all, the offering up of His life, testifies to the depth of His love for fallen man. It was to seek and to save the lost that He came to earth. His mission was to sinners, sinners of every grade, of every tongue and nation. He paid the price for all, to ransom them and bring them into union and sympathy with Himself.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 603.

“His time, His faculties, and His life were appreciated and used only as the means for working out the salvation of the souls of men. He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and He would not be turned from His purpose. He allowed nothing to divert Him.” Ministry of Healing, 448.

2 What did Jesus manifest in all His dealings with mankind? John 17:6; 14:6–9.

NOTE: “In all the gracious deeds that Jesus did, He sought to impress upon men the parental, benevolent attributes of God. In all His lessons He was seeking to teach men the wonderful truth that ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Jesus would have us understand the love of the Father, and He seeks to draw us to Him by presenting His parental grace. He would have the whole field of our vision filled with the perfection of God’s character. In His prayer for His disciples He says, ‘I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do. I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world.’ Jesus came into the world to illustrate the character of God in His own life, and He swept back the misrepresentations that Satan had originated, and revealed the glory of God. It was only by living among men that He could reveal the mercy, compassion, and love of His heavenly Father; for it was only by actions of benevolence that He could set forth the grace of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 139.

“Ye Are My Witnesses”

3 What witness have God’s faithful children always given? John 5:33.

NOTE: “The testing truth for this time is not the fabrication of any human mind. It is from God. It is genuine philosophy to those who appropriate it. Christ became incarnate in order that we, through belief of the truth, might be sanctified and redeemed. Let those who hold the truth in righteousness arouse and go forth, shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to proclaim the truth to those who know it not. Let them make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 211, 212.

“Oh, that our brethren and sisters might value aright the truth! Oh, that they might become sanctified by it! Oh, that they might realize that upon them rests the responsibility of communicating this truth to others! But they do not feel the importance of living the truth, of being doers of the words of Christ. Many are self-sufficient. They are not filled with the missionary spirit that should animate the disciples of Christ. If they knew what it means to have travail of soul for others, angels of God would work through them to communicate a knowledge of the truth. They would know the truth, and the truth would make them free.” Ibid., 151, 152.

4 Not only are we to be a “witness unto the truth,” but to what other witness are we called? Acts 1:8.

NOTE: “We are to be witnesses for Christ; and this we shall be when we grow up daily into the full stature of men and women in Christ. It is our privilege to grow more and more like Him every day. Then we shall acquire the power to express our love for Him in higher, purer speech, and our ideas will enlarge and deepen, and our judgment become more sound and trustworthy, while our testimony will have more of life and assurance.” Sons and Daughters of God, 72.

“If you truly belong to Christ, you will have opportunities for witnessing for Him. You will be invited to attend places of amusement, and then it will be that you will have an opportunity to testify to your Lord. If you are true to Christ then, you will not try to form excuses for your non-attendance, but will plainly and modestly declare that you are a child of God, and your principles would not allow you to be in a place, even for one occasion, where you could not invite the presence of your Lord.” Messages to Young People, 370. See also Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 243.

The Spirit of Christ

5 Why did Jesus rebuke James and John at the village of the Samaritans? Luke 9:55, 56; Romans 8:9.

NOTE: “It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, that seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas.” The Desire of Ages, 487.

“John and his fellow disciples were in a school in which Christ was teacher.…The lessons of Jesus, setting forth meekness, humility, and love as essential to growth in grace, and a fitness for His work, were of the highest value to John. These lessons are addressed to us as individuals and as brethren in the church, as well as to the first disciples of Christ.” The Sanctified Life, 59.

6 What are we told is the true fruit of Christ’s character? Galatians 5:22, 23.

NOTE: “There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 67, 68.

“When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves; for his life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises to the life of Jesus. Love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’ (Psalm 18: 35).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 336.

“What is the character of the fruit borne?—The fruit of the Spirit is ‘love,’ not hatred; ‘joy,’ not discontent and mourning; ‘peace,’ not irritation, anxiety, and manufactured trials. It is ‘long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 290.

Reaping What We Sow

7 What principle in the natural world is also an absolute principle for the Christian experience? Galatians 6:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 9:6.

NOTE: “By the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unvarying certainty. The reaping testifies to the sowing. Here no pretense is tolerated. Men may deceive their fellow men and may receive praise and compensation for service which they have not rendered. But in nature there can be no deception. On the unfaithful husbandman the harvest passes sentence of condemnation. And in the highest sense this is true also in the spiritual realm. It is in appearance, not in reality, that evil succeeds. The child who plays truant from school, the youth who is slothful in his studies, the clerk or apprentice who fails of serving the interests of his employer, the man in any business or profession who is untrue to his highest responsibilities, may flatter himself that, so long as the wrong is concealed, he is gaining an advantage. But not so; he is cheating himself. The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come.” Education, 108, 109.

“Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life. We all need to sow the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and love; for we shall reap what we sow. Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, every act of self-indulgence, will bring forth a like harvest. He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 84.

8 What is God’s promise to all those who will go and sow the seeds of truth? Psalm 126:6.

NOTE: “The work of the sower is a work of faith. The mystery of the germination and growth of the seed he cannot understand. But he has confidence in the agencies by which God causes vegetation to flourish. In casting his seed into the ground, he is apparently throwing away the precious grain that might furnish bread for his family. But he is only giving up a present good for a larger return. He casts the seed away, expecting to gather it manyfold in an abundant harvest. So Christ’s servants are to labor, expecting a harvest from the seed they sow.” Ibid., 64, 65.

“To every worker for God this thought should be a stimulus and an encouragement. In this life our work for God often seems to be almost fruitless. Our efforts to do good may be earnest and persevering, yet we may not be permitted to witness their results. To us the effort may seem to be lost. But the Saviour assures us that our work is noted in heaven, and that the recompense cannot fail.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 305.

Witnessing at Home

9 After preaching in the temple in Jerusalem at the age of 12, what did Jesus do at home for the next 18 years? Luke 2:51, 52.

NOTE: “Jesus did not ignore His relation to His earthly parents. From Jerusalem He returned home with them, and aided them in their life of toil. He hid in His own heart the mystery of His mission, waiting submissively for the appointed time for Him to enter upon His work. For eighteen years after He had recognized that He was the Son of God, He acknowledged the tie that bound Him to the home at Nazareth, and performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen.” The Desire of Ages, 82.

“He who came from heaven to be our example and teacher spent thirty years as a member of the household at Nazareth. Concerning these years the Bible record is very brief. No mighty miracles attracted the attention of the multitude. No eager throngs followed His steps or listened to His words. Yet during all these years He was fulfilling His divine mission. He lived as one of us, sharing the home life, submitting to its discipline, performing its duties, bearing its burdens. In the sheltering care of a humble home, participating in the experiences of our common lot, He ‘increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.’ Luke 2:52.” The Ministry of Healing, 349.

10 What did Jesus tell the demoniacs to do after they were healed? Mark 5:18, 19.

NOTE: “As Jesus was about to enter the boat, they kept close to His side, knelt at His feet, and begged Him to keep them near Him, where they might ever listen to His words. But Jesus bade them go home and tell what great things the Lord had done for them. Here was a work for them to do,—to go to a heathen home, and tell of the blessing they had received from Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 339.

“Home religion is greatly needed, and our words in the home should be of a right character, or our testimonies in the church will amount to nothing. Unless you manifest meekness, kindness, and courtesy in your home, your religion will be vain. If there were more genuine home religion, there would be more power in the church.” The Adventist Home, 319.

“From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy.” Ibid., 37.

Giving the Three Angels’ Messages

11 With what kind of voice does God command us to give His last message of warning? Revelation 14:7, 9.

NOTE: “The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the Third Angel’s Message. There cannot be a third without the first and second. These messages we are to give to the world in publications, in discourses, showing in the line of prophetic history the things that have been and the things that will be.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 104, 105.

“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the First, Second, and Third Angels’ Messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19.

12 As Christ’s witnesses, how far are we to carry this present truth message? Revelation 14:6; Matthew 28:19, 20.

NOTE: “It is God’s purpose that the truth for this time shall be made known to every kindred and nation and tongue and people. In the world today men and women are absorbed in the search for worldly gain and worldly pleasure. There are thousands upon thousands who give no time or thought to the salvation of the soul. The time has come when the message of Christ’s soon coming is to sound throughout the world.” Ibid., 24.

“My heart is often burdened because so many who might work are doing nothing. They are the sport of Satan’s temptations. Every church member who has a knowledge of the truth is expected to work while the day lasts; for the night cometh, wherein no man can work. Erelong we shall understand what that night means. The Spirit of God is being grieved away from the earth. The nations are angry with one another. Widespread preparations are being made for war. The night is at hand. Let the church arouse and go forth to do her appointed work. Every believer, educated or uneducated, can bear the message.” Ibid., 26.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – Growing Up Into Christ

February 10-16, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 67–75.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,—all depend upon our union with Christ.” Steps to Christ, 69.

INTRODUCTION: “God designs that Christians shall grow continually, grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ. All who do not grow stronger, and become more firmly rooted and grounded in the truth, are continually retrograding.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 556.

Abiding in Christ

1 What does Jesus say we can produce if we abide in Him and He in us? John 15:4, 5.

NOTE: “‘I am the vine, ye are the branches.’ Can we conceive of a more intimate relation to Christ than this? The fibers of the branch are almost identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branch. Such is the true believer’s relation to Christ. He abides in Christ, and draws his nourishment from Him. This spiritual relation can be established only by the exercise of personal faith. This faith must express on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration.” My Life Today, 11. See also Acts of the Apostles, 284.

2 How may we abide in the love of Jesus? John 15:10.

NOTE: “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

“By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, He has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the helps that God has provided—believe and obey all the divine requirements.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 279.

Our Thoughts

3 What must we experience, if we are going to resist every imagination? 2 Corinthians 10:5, last part.

NOTE: “Few realize that it is a duty to exercise control over the thoughts and imaginations. It is difficult to keep the undisciplined mind fixed upon profitable subjects. But if the thoughts are not properly employed, religion cannot flourish in the soul. The mind must be preoccupied with sacred and eternal things, or it will cherish trifling and superficial thoughts. Both the intellectual and the moral powers must be disciplined, and they will strengthen and improve by exercise.…It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest effort on our part, that we can gain the victory.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 544. See also The Ministry of Healing, 491.

4 Upon what six things does Paul admonish us to think? Phillipians 4:8.

NOTE: “The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, the imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God. The thoughts must be bound about, restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean.…The noble powers of the mind have been given to us by the Lord, that we may employ them in contemplating heavenly things. God has made abundant provision that the soul may make continual progression in the divine life.…” Sons and Daughters of God, 107.

Growing in Christ

5 With what does the Bible tell us our knowledge of Jesus must be connected, for us to grow in our Christian experience? 2 Peter 3:18.

NOTE: “It is the Lord’s desire that His followers shall grow in grace, that their love shall abound more and more, that they shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God.…Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace.…There is no point to which we can come and say we have fully attained.…How is it possible that we may grow in grace?
It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be molded after the divine Pattern.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 947. See also Steps to Christ, 68.

6 What is the only spiritual food that God has provided for us whereby we are enabled to grow up into the stature of Christ? Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2.

NOTE: “We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need.…In this communion with Christ, through prayer and the study of the great and precious truths of His word, we shall as hungry souls be fed; as those that thirst, we shall be refreshed at the fountain of life.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 112, 113. See also The Desire of Ages, 390.

Our Words

7 If we are to be ministers of God’s grace, what avenue of the body must we guard? Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6.

NOTE: “Where the heart is purified and refined, and made fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the tongue will be sanctified to the glory of God.…You can surround your souls with an atmosphere that will be like breezes from the heavenly Eden. Open your heart to the Lord Jesus. Guard your tongue. Let not your tongue run at random in jesting and joking. These are signs that your heart needs to be cleansed from its defilement.…Our words index the state of our heart; and whether men talk much or little, their words express the character of their thoughts. A man’s character may be quite accurately estimated by the nature of his conversation. Sound, truthful words have the right ring in them.” Sons and Daughters of God, 180. See also The Desire of Ages, 323.

8 Jesus reveals the importance of our words in the context of what event? Matthew 12:36, 37.

NOTE: “Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. As the features of the countenance are reproduced with unerring accuracy on the polished plate of the artist, so the character is faithfully delineated in the books above. Yet how little solicitude is felt concerning that record which is to meet the gaze of heavenly beings. Could the veil which separates the visible from the invisible world be swept back, and the children of men behold an angel recording every word and deed, which they must meet again in the judgment, how many words that are daily uttered would remain unspoken, how many deeds would remain undone.” The Great Controversy, 486, 487. See also Testimonies to Ministers, 224.

Walking with Christ

9 What does John say we ought to be doing, if we are abiding in Christ? 1 John 2:6.

NOTE: “Our Lord and Saviour laid aside His dominion, His riches and glory, and sought after us, that He might save us from misery and make us like Himself. He humbled Himself and took our nature that we might be able to learn of Him and, imitating His life of benevolence and self-denial, follow Him step by step to heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 170.

“Christ came to do His Father’s will. Are we following in His steps? All who have named the name of Christ should be constantly seeking for a more intimate acquaintance with Him, that they may walk even as He walked, and do the works of Christ. We should appropriate the lessons of His life to our lives.” Ibid., vol. 3, 538.

“Those who walk even as Christ walked, who are patient, gentle, kind, meek and lowly in heart, those who yoke up with Christ and lift His burdens, who yearn for souls as He yearned for them—these will enter into the joy of their Lord.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 949.

10 What two things are necessary for us to experience before we can truly walk with Christ? Micah 6:8.

NOTE: “The words and law of God, written in the soul, and exhibited in a consecrated, holy life, have a powerful influence to convict the world. Covetousness, which is idolatry, and envy, and love of the world, will be rooted from the hearts of those who are obedient to Christ, and it will be their pleasure to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. Oh, how much is comprised in this, walking humbly before God! The law of God, if written in the heart, will bring the mind and will into subjection to the obedience of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 201.

“God desires His people to place themselves in right relation to Him, that they may understand what He requires of them above all things else. They are to reveal to every struggling soul in the world what it means ‘to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly’ with their God.” Testimonies to Ministers, 458, 459.

Our Habits

11 What habit are we told Jesus formed at an early age? Isaiah 7:14, 15.

NOTE: “At a very early age, Jesus had begun to act for Himself in the formation of His character, and not even respect and love for His parents could turn Him from obedience to God’s word. ‘It is written’ was His reason for every act that varied from the family customs.’” The Desire of Ages, 86.

“‘He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.’ By unfaithfulness in even the smallest duties, man robs his Maker of the service which is His due. This unfaithfulness reacts upon himself. He fails of gaining the grace, the power, the force of character, which may be received through an unreserved surrender to God. Living apart from Christ he is subject to Satan’s temptations, and he makes mistakes in his work for the Master. Because he is not guided by right principles in little things, he fails to obey God in the great matters which he regards as his special work. The defects cherished in dealing with life’s minor details pass into more important affairs. He acts on the principles to which he has accustomed himself. Thus actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by the character our destiny for time and for eternity is decided.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 356.

“The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. It presents a lesson for all, and especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of God is beneficial to the health of body and mind. In order to reach the highest standard of moral and intellectual attainments, it is necessary to seek wisdom and strength from God and to observe strict temperance in all the habits of life.” My Life Today, 254.

12 What does God say He will eventually do with all our thoughts, words and habits? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.

NOTE: “We shall be individually, for time and eternity, what our habits make us. The lives of those who form right habits, and are faithful in the performance of every duty, will be as shining lights, shedding bright beams upon the pathway of others; but if habits of unfaithfulness are indulged, if lax, indolent, neglectful habits are allowed to strengthen, a cloud darker than midnight will settle on the prospects in this life and forever debar the individual from the future life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 452.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – The Test of Discipleship

February 3- 9, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 57–65.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: True obedience is a service of love.

INTRODUCTION: “True faith, which relies wholly upon Christ, will be manifested by obedience to all the requirements of God. From Adam’s day to the present time the great controversy has been concerning obedience to God’s law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 73.

The Rebirth Experience—How?

1 Jesus declared that men would experience a spiritual rebirth as a result of responding to what heavenly agent? John 3:5.

NOTE: “The office of the Holy Spirit is distinctly specified in the words of Christ: ‘When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ John 16:8. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin. If the sinner responds to the quickening influence of the Spirit, he will be brought to repentance and aroused to the importance of obeying the divine requirements.” Acts of the Apostles, 52.

“The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received.” Steps to Christ, 95.

2 With what is the work of the Holy Spirit always in harmony? 1 Peter 1:22, 23.

NOTE: “Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.” The Desire of Ages, 671.

“The Author of this spiritual life is unseen, and the exact method by which that life is imparted and sustained, it is beyond the power of human philosophy to explain. Yet the operations of the Spirit are always in harmony with the written word.” Acts of the Apostles, 284.

3 Where did Jesus say true sanctification would always begin? Matthew 23:25, 26.

NOTE: “The outward gloss may be put on, and men may be as were the Pharisees whom Jesus describes as ‘whited sepulchres’ full of corruption and dead men’s bones.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 951.

4 Concerning true sanctification, who only can produce a work on the inside? Phillipians 2:13.

NOTE: “The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing. This is our proper work. As soon as we earnestly enter upon the work, God’s grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. Our souls are to be aroused to cooperate. The Holy Spirit works the human agent, to work out our own salvation. This is the practical lesson the Holy Spirit is striving to teach us. ‘For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.’” Testimonies to Ministers, 240.

“God has given us the power of choice; it is ours to exercise. We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God’s service. But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ.” The Ministry of Healing, 176.

Two Errors of Thought

5 On what was the Pharisee relying as evidence of his relationship with God? Luke 18:9–12.

NOTE: “There are two errors against which the children of God—particularly those who have just come to trust in His grace—especially need to guard. The first, already dwelt upon, is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with God. He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy.” Steps to Christ, 59, 60.

6 What does God say to those professed Christians who say, “Believe, only believe”? James 2:14, 20.

NOTE: “They [God’s professed people] profess faith, but it is not a living faith because it is not sustained by works. Faith without works is dead, being alone. Those who profess great faith, yet have not works, will not be saved by their faith. Satan believes the truth and trembles, yet this kind of faith possesses no virtue. Many who have made a high profession of faith are deficient in good works. If they should show their faith by their works they could exert a powerful influence on the side of truth.” Testimonies,
vol. 2, 657, 658. See also Steps to Christ, 60.

Jesus—the Way

7 Through what means has Jesus made a way for us to stand before God justified? Romans 3:24–26.

NOTE: “We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Steps to Christ, 62. See also Sons and Daughters of God, 240.

8 What does God promise to give all those who choose to believe and receive Christ as their personal Saviour? John 1:12.

NOTE: “He opens a way whereby the sinner can be reinstated in God’s favor. Christ bears the penalty of man’s past transgressions, and by imparting to man His righteousness, makes it possible for man to keep God’s holy law.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1092.

“‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to be-come the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.’
John 1:12. This power is not in the human agent. It is the power of God. When a soul receives Christ, he receives power to live the life of Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314.

Obedience—the True Sign

9 What has Jesus said His true disciples will do? John 14:15.

NOTE: “Obedience—the service and allegiance of love—is the true sign of discipleship.” Steps to Christ, 60.

“Christ came to the world with the accumulated love of eternity. Sweeping away the exactions which had encumbered the law of God, He showed that the law is a law of love, an expression of the Divine Goodness. He showed that in obedience to its principles is involved the happiness of mankind, and with it the stability, the very foundation and framework, of human society.” Education, 76.

10 What is the only evidence we can offer the world “that we know” Christ? 1 John 2:3.

NOTE: “Obedience is the test of discipleship. It is the keeping of the commandments that proves the sincerity of our professions of love. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, are manifest in our lives; when the joy of right doing is in our hearts; when we exalt Christ, and not self, we may know that our faith is of the right order. ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.’
1 John 2:3.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 146, 147.

Eden Restored

11 What will God’s people be doing just prior to Jesus’ Second Coming? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God’s law, which is holy, just, and good.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 391.

“The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,—just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,—perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness.” Steps to Christ, 62.

12 Who will have a right to the tree of life and be able to enter the city of God? Revelation 22:14.

NOTE: “Obedience through Jesus Christ gives to man perfection of character and a right to that tree of life. The conditions of again partaking of the fruit of the tree are plainly stated in the testimony of Jesus Christ to John: ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and many enter in through the gates into the city.’” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1086.

“I then beheld the beauty and loveliness of Jesus. His robe was whiter than the whitest white. No language can describe His glory and exalted loveliness. All, all who keep the commandments of God, will enter in through the gates into the city and have right to the tree of life and ever be in the presence of the lovely Jesus, whose countenance shines brighter than the sun at noonday.” Early Writings, 51.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – Faith and Acceptance

January 27- February 2, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 49–55.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’” Steps to Christ, 51.

INTRODUCTION: “A great work is to be accomplished daily in the human heart by the study of the Word. We need to learn the simplicity of true faith. This will bring its returns. Let us seek for decided advancement in spiritual understanding. Let us make the precious Word the man of our counsel. We need to walk carefully every moment, keeping close to the side of Christ. The spirit and grace of Christ are needed in the life, and the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 224, 225.

God’s Desire to Receive Us

1 What is God’s desire for every sinner? 2 Peter 3:9.

NOTE: “The reason why the Bridegroom delays is because He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. O the precious longsuffering of our merciful Saviour!” Sons and Daughters of God, 118.

“God does not desire the destruction of any. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?’ Ezekiel 33:11. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 123. See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 105.

2 In the parable of the prodigal, how did Jesus portray His Father’s willingness to receive the sinner? Luke 15:18–20.

NOTE: “But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by His prophet, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.’ Jeremiah 31:3. While the sinner is yet far from the Father’s house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father’s heart is yearning over him; and every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to his Father’s heart of love.” Steps to Christ, 54.

“This parable was given by Christ to represent the manner in which our heavenly Father receives the erring and repenting.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 103.

Saving Faith Defined

3 What two absolute facts about God does saving faith acknowledge? Hebrews 11:6.

NOTE: “We should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfill His word, but because He will fulfill it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us.” The Desire of Ages, 126.

“You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this because He has promised. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours.” Steps to Christ, 49, 50.

4 What principle of saving faith did Jesus declare when he healed the two blind men? Matthew 9:27–30.

NOTE: “Much of the faith which we see is merely nominal; the real, trusting, persevering faith is rare. Moses realized in his own experience the promise that God will be a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Here is another point in regard to faith which we wish to study: God will reward the man of faith and obedience. If this faith is brought into the life experience, it will enable everyone who fears and loves God to endure trials. Moses was full of confidence in God because he had appropriating faith. He needed help, and he prayed for it, grasped it by faith, and wove into his experience the belief that God cared for him.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 651, 652.

“Pray in faith. And be sure to bring your lives into harmony with your petitions, that you may receive the blessings for which you pray. Let not your faith weaken, for the blessings received are proportionate to the faith exercised.” Ibid, vol. 7, 274.

Focused on God’s Promises

5 To what must our faith be attached in order for our Christian experience to bear fruit? 2 Peter 1:4.

NOTE: “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing and claim it as ours.” Early Writings, 72.

“We must cherish and cultivate the faith of which prophets and apostles have testified—the faith that lays hold on the promises of God and waits for deliverance in His appointed time and way.” Prophets and Kings, 387. See also The Great Controversy, 472.

6 What does Paul say about God’s promises? 2 Corinthians 1:20.

NOTE: “Let these blessed promises, set in the framework of faith, be placed in memory’s halls. Not one of them will fail. All that God hath spoken He will do. ‘He is faithful that promised.’” Testimonies, vol. 5, 630.

“Can you not trust in your heavenly Father? Can you not rest upon His gracious promise? ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Precious promise! Can we not rely upon it? Can we not have implicit trust, knowing that He is faithful who hath promised? I entreat you to let your trembling faith again grasp the promises of God. Bear your whole weight upon them with unwavering faith; for they will not, they cannot, fail.” Ibid., vol. 2, 497.

Biblical Examples of Saving Faith

7 What man, according to his faith, did Jesus forgive and heal? Luke 5:18–26.

NOTE: “Jesus healed the people of their diseases when they had faith in His power; He helped them in the things which they could see, thus inspiring them with confidence in Him concerning things which they could not see—leading them to believe in His power to forgive sins.” Steps to Christ, 50.

“Oh, wondrous love of Christ, stooping to heal the guilty and the afflicted! Divinity sorrowing over and soothing the ills of suffering humanity! Oh, marvelous power thus displayed to the children of men! Who can doubt the message of salvation? Who can slight the mercies of a compassionate Redeemer?” The Desire of Ages, 269.

8 What words of Jesus did the paralytic, beside the pool of Bethesda, believe and act upon whereby he was healed? John 5:1–9.

NOTE: “The poor sufferer was helpless; he had not used his limbs for thirty-eight years. Yet Jesus bade him, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.’ The sick man might have said, ‘Lord, if Thou wilt make me whole, I will obey Thy word.’ But, no, he believed Christ’s word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once; he willed to walk, and he did walk. He acted on the word of Christ, and God gave the power. He was made whole.

“In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it.” Steps to Christ, 51.

Faith Versus Feeling

9 Upon what should our faith not be based? 2 Corinthians 5:7, 4:18.

NOTE: “We should daily dedicate ourselves to God and believe He accepts the sacrifice, without examining whether we have that degree of feeling that corresponds with our faith. Feeling and faith are as distinct as the east is from the west. Faith is not dependent on feeling. We must earnestly cry to God in faith, feeling or no feeling, and then live our prayers. Our assurance and evidence is God’s word, and after we have asked we must believe without doubting.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 243.

“Darkness and discouragement will sometimes come upon the soul, and threaten to overwhelm us; but we should not cast away our confidence. We must keep the eye fixed on Jesus, feeling or no feeling. We should seek to faithfully perform every known duty, and then calmly rest in the promises of God.” Messages to Young People, 111. See also Acts of the Apostles, 51.

10 What did Israel’s zeal not include? Romans 10:2, 3.

NOTE: “Many who profess sanctification are entirely ignorant of the work of grace upon the heart. When proved and tested, they are found to be like the self-righteous Pharisee. They will bear no contradiction. They lay aside reason and judgment, and depend wholly upon their feelings, basing their claims to sanctification upon emotions which they have at some time experienced. They are stubborn and perverse in urging their tenacious claims of holiness, giving many words, but bearing no precious fruit as proof. These professedly sanctified persons are not only deluding their own souls by their pretensions, but are exerting an influence to lead astray many who earnestly desire to conform to the will of God. They may be heard to reiterate again and again, ‘God leads me! God teaches me! I am living without sin!’ Many who come in contact with this spirit encounter a dark, mysterious something which they cannot comprehend. But it is that which is altogether unlike Christ, the only true pattern.” The Sanctified Life, 9, 10.

“In many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God’s word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements.” The Great Controversy, 464.

Faith That Works by Love

11 To what does the Bible say genuine faith is always connected? James 2:17–22.

NOTE: “There are many who fail to understand the relation of faith and works. They say, ‘Only believe in Christ, and you are safe. You have nothing to do with keeping the law.’ But genuine faith will be manifest in obedience. Said Christ to the unbelieving Jews, ‘If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.’ John 8:39. And concerning the father of the faithful the Lord declares, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ Genesis 26:5. Says the apostle James, ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ James 2:17. And John, who dwells so fully upon love, tells us, ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 5:3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 153, 154.

12 God tells us that saving faith will only work if it has what motivating it? Galatians 5:6.

NOTE: “None can depend upon their profession of faith as proof that they have a saving connection with Christ. We are not only to say, ‘I believe,’ but to practice the truth. It is by conformity to the will of God in our words, our deportment, our character, that we prove our connection with Him. Whenever one renounces sin, which is the transgression of the law, his life will be brought into conformity to the law, into perfect obedience. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The light of the word carefully studied, the voice of conscience, the strivings of the Spirit, produce in the heart genuine love for Christ, who gave Himself a whole sacrifice to redeem the whole person, body, soul, and spirit. And love is manifested in obedience. The line of demarcation will be plain and distinct between those who love God and keep His commandments, and those who love Him not and disregard His precepts.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 92.

“The gold mentioned by Christ, the True Witness, which all must have, has been shown me to be faith and love combined, and love takes the precedence of faith. Satan is constantly at work to remove these precious gifts from the hearts of God’s people. All are engaged in playing the game of life. Satan is well aware that if he can remove love and faith, and supply their place with selfishness and unbelief, all the remaining precious traits will soon be skillfully removed by his deceitful hand, and the game will be lost.” Ibid., vol. 2, 36, 37.

By Craig Meeker

Food for Life – Lentil Soup

“That blasts of January would blow you through and through” Shakespeare.

Let us read some hints from our Lord as to the remedies for weather like this.

“I will tell you a little about my experience with charcoal as a remedy. For some forms of indigestion, it is more efficacious than drugs. A little olive oil into which some of this powder has been stirred tends to cleanse and heal. I find it is excellent. Pulverized charcoal from eucalyptus wood we have used freely in cases of inflammation. . . .

“Always study and teach the use of the simplest remedies, and the special blessing of the Lord may be expected to follow the use of these means which are within the reach of the common people. . . .

“On Thursday, Sister Sara McEnterfer was called to see if she could do anything for Brother B’s little son, who is eighteen months old. For several days he has had a painful swelling on the knee, supposed to be from the bite of some poisonous insect. Pulverized charcoal, mixed with flaxseed, was placed upon the swelling, and this poultice gave relief at once. The child had screamed with pain all night, but when this was applied, he slept. Today she has been to see the little one twice. She opened the swelling in two places, and a large amount of yellow matter and blood was discharged freely. The child was relieved of its great suffering. We thank the Lord that we may become intelligent in using the simple things within our reach to alleviate pain and successfully remove its cause.

“When Hezekiah was sick, the prophet of God brought him the message that he should die. The king cried to the Lord, and the Lord heard him, and sent the promise that fifteen years should be added to his life. One word from God, one touch of the divine finger, would have been enough to cure Hezekiah instantly. But instead, he was given directions to make a poultice of figs, and lay it upon the part affected. This was done, and Hezekiah was restored to health. It would be well to treasure this prescription which the Lord ordered to be used, more than we do.

“I am very sorry to learn that Sister C is not well. I cannot advise any remedy for her cough better than eucalyptus and honey. Into a tumbler of honey put a few drops of the eucalyptus, stir it up well, and take whenever the cough comes on. I have had considerable trouble with my throat, but whenever I use this I overcome the difficulty very quickly. I have to use it only a few times, and the cough is removed. If you will use this prescription, you may be your own physician. If the first trial does not effect a cure, try it again. The best time to take it is before retiring.…” Selected Messages, Book 2, 298–301.

January Recipe – Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons distilled water 

1 large onion, chopped 

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 

1-1/2 cups lentils

3 quarts of water

1 large carrot, finely cut

1 stalk of celery, finely cut

1 large potato, diced

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup cooked rice

1 teaspoon sea salt

Place distilled water into a soup pot, and gently sauté the onion and garlic for two minutes. Stir continually. Wash and rinse lentils and add them to the soup pot. Add the water, cut vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the salt and rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly for about one hour. Add the sea salt and let soup simmer a short while longer. Add cooked rice. Serve.

Children’s Story – Rescue at Night, Part II

Joan closed the door to the back bedroom to keep out the smoke. There was not too much in there, yet, but smoke was beginning to creep through the closed vent from the basement.

The children were coughing and crying, as Joan led them to the window. “Hold on to me,” she cautioned, and they clutched her skirt as she reached up to open the window. She took a deep breath of fresh night air and looked outside for Bill. “Sh-h-h!” she said to the children. “You’ll be outside in a minute.” It was hard to be calm, with smoke rapidly filling the room.

Bill finally appeared under the window, and Joan first picked up little two-year-old Johnny and reached far out of the window to hand him to Bill. Then came three-year-old Betsy. Joan was coughing from the smoke now, and her eyes were smarting so that she could hardly see. She turned back inside and felt for five-year-old Ralph and lifted him out the window. Then the next was seven-year-old Jane, who was able to help herself through the window, and Joan held her arms while Bill set her on the ground.

Smoke was everywhere, even pouring out the window, and Joan was choked by it. Tears filled her burning eyes, and she doubled over in a fit of coughing. She heard Bill’s voice calling, “Come on, Joan! Get out!” It seemed that he sounded so far away, as she groped to find the window again. But, oh, the smoke was choking her, and her eyes were smarting so! Then she felt herself falling, falling, down, down.

“Joan! Joan!” It was Bill’s voice again, much closer this time. “Can you hear me, Sis?” he said urgently.

Then Joan heard another voice, a deeper, stronger voice. “She’s all right, Son. Just a little too much smoke.” It was Dad’s voice! Joan opened her eyes and looked up to see her father leaning over her. She could see Mother there, too, standing behind him. And there were all sorts of shouts and strange noises. They were coming from the men of the fire department, trying to save the burning house. Joan then realized that she was lying on a blanket on the ground, under the cold night sky, with Dad’s overcoat covering her.

“What happened?” she asked groggily, trying to sit up.

“You didn’t come out after handing me the children,” said Bill, “and just then Mother and Dad came home. Dad put a wet handkerchief over his face and went into the house and got you.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Joan said to her father, smiling weakly.

“I’m so glad we came home right then,” Dad said, laying his hand gently on her shoulder. “We think you were very brave to stay inside to help the little ones out.”

Joan looked to see Mother standing close by, holding little Johnny and with the other three children clinging to her. “I’m so glad they’re safe,” Joan said. Then she looked past her father to the burning house, which was still smoking and smoldering. “Can they save our house?” she asked, with tears in her eyes.

“Not completely,” Dad answered, “but we do have some fire insurance. And even if our home was burned, God was still good to us, because all of our family is safe. We must be thankful for that.” Dad put his arm around Bill and said, “We’re proud of you both for your bravery and quick thinking. We’ll go to Aunt Jane’s house till we decide what to do about our house.”

Then Bill and Joan looked straight at each other and said a silent prayer of thanks that God had helped them save their brothers and sisters from the fire.

Taken from Lost in the Desert and Other Stories, Pacific Press Publishing Assoc., 1972.

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

When we catch a cold, we say that we are “fighting a bug.” But did you know that our bodies are constantly fighting “bugs”? Moment by moment we are under attack by thousands of different kinds of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Our powerful immune systems wipe out the invaders before they ever knew what hit them. Only when a microbe launches a particularly strong invasion (or the microbe itself is particularly virulent) does our immune system put its entire arsenal into play, stimulating symptoms such as tiredness, fever, runny nose, and coughs. It is often only then that we pay any attention to the health of our immune systems.

We each have billions of microbes on our skin and in our gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. These microbes are called our normal flora. The vast majority of our normal flora do not cause disease and are either completely passive or actually help us maintain health. For instance, certain bacteria in our GI tracts produce vitamin K for us, an important factor in the ability to clot blood and stop bleeding. We actually have more bacteria in us than we have human cells! When certain internal or environmental changes occur, the delicate balances of our bodies falter and opportunistic microbes begin their invasion. We are exposed to more people and stale air in the cool months and therefore provide more opportunities for the wily microbial invader. Fortunately, our immune system was created to be an incredibly complex powerhouse that ever-vigilantly sweeps the body for enemies and destroys them. It is important, therefore, that we know both what is harmful to the immune system and what strengthens it.

Toxic Chemicals

Those who know the health message do not have to worry about the destruction done by smoking, alcohol and drug use, but toxic chemicals are present elsewhere and are harmful to our immune systems. Avoiding second-hand smoke is essential. Also important is the amount of non-organic foods you ingest. This is particularly true for children, because the EPA’s guidelines for safe pesticide levels are standardized for a large adult human male, not for children who are not only smaller but who metabolize chemicals at a different rate.


Refined sugar is nothing but pure carbohydrate stripped of any nutritional value. It is what we call empty calories. Like a recreational drug or alcohol, sugar affects the brain first, is addictive, and causes your energy to bottom out. Sugar depresses the immune response and is toxic to immune cells. Sugar lowers our resistance. Think of sugar as lowering the walls of our fortress, letting the invading army march over the top. One teaspoon of sugar can inhibit natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages for up to six hours. “Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine.” Counsels on Diets and Foods, 327.


Avoid saturated and polyunsaturated fats and oils. They help form free radicals which damage the immune system. Fats are also known to irritate the lining of blood vessels, making a less than optimal environment for the immune cells to do their work.


By-products of metabolizing protein can irritate the immune system. Vegetarians benefit from a naturally lower protein diet. Animal products contain residues of steroids and antibiotics that lead to an impaired immunity. Not only is milk protein a common immune system irritant, it increases mucus production, which makes the body’s systems slow to respond and slow to heal.

Lack of Exercise

The cells that comprise the immune system—NK cells, macrophages, B-cells, T-cells, etc.— rely on a well functioning, strong circulatory and lymphatic system. A sedentary lifestyle leads to lethargic blood and lymph flow. “Exercise, and a free, abundant use of the air and sunlight—blessings which heaven has bestowed upon all—would in many cases give life and strength to the emaciated invalid.” Ibid., 302. “By neglecting to take physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system. Those who thus shorten their lives by disregarding nature’s laws are guilty of robbery toward God. We have no right to neglect or misuse the body, the mind, or the strength, which should be used to offer God consecrated service.” Counsels on Health, 41.


One way the immune system relies on water is the same as for exercise. Dehydration causes the blood to become concentrated and torpid—not optimal conditions for immune cells to rush the invader. Furthermore, water helps regulate temperature—essential during fever—and flushes microbes and toxins out of the body. Remember, thirst is an indicator that you are already dehydrated.

“Thousands have died for want of pure water and pure air who might have lived. And thousands of invalids, who are a burden to themselves and others, think that their lives depend upon taking medicines from the doctors. They are continually guarding themselves against the air and avoiding the use of water. These blessings they need in order to become well. If they would become enlightened and let medicine alone, and accustom themselves to outdoor exercise and to air in their houses, summer and winter, and use soft water for drinking and bathing purposes, they would be comparatively well and happy instead of dragging out a miserable existence.” Ibid., 55, 56.

Lack of Sleep

Interleukins are chemical messengers that are produced by certain white blood cells. During a microbial invasion, interleukins are released, mobilizing the immune cell army. Immune cells rely on these chemical messages in order to know when to “go to arms.” Interleukins also stimulate the hypothalamus, which is the body’s thermostat, to increase body temperature, thereby providing an unpleasant atmosphere for the “bugs” and speeding up the immune response. Interleukins also contribute to the feeling of sleepiness that you have when you get sick, prompting you to get more healing rest. Studies have shown that sleep increases natural immune system modulators, such as interleukin, and even a modest sleep deficit impairs immunity. Your body’s response to illness appears partly dependent upon the quality of sleep you got before the illness set in.


Ever notice that when you are stressed you become more prone to catching a cold? One of the reasons is a hormone called cortisol that the body produces when we are under stress. Cortisol causes several responses in the body. Inflammation is increased; calcium is pulled from the bones, and autoimmune disorders are exacerbated. Conversely, reducing stress reduces cortisol which alleviates these symptoms. You can then see how it is paramount to over-all health to reduce daily stress.

Our bodies were created to be wonderfully complex. Fortunately, God has given us much insight into how we can avoid certain behaviors that cause the body and its interconnected systems to falter. With a little care, each one of us will be able to build up our health instead of fighting against our own army.

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.” Isaiah 58:8.

Inspiration – The Old Year and the New

Already has the new year been ushered in; yet before we greet its coming, we pause to ask, What has been the history of the year that with its burden of records has now passed into eternity? The admonition of the apostle comes down the lines to every one of us, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” God forbid that at this important hour we should be so engrossed with other matters as to give no time to serious, candid, critical self-examination! Let things of minor consequence be put in the background, and let us now bring to the front the things which concern our eternal interests.

Christian brethren, as Christ’s ambassador I entreat you to inquire into the character of your thoughts, tempers, purposes, words, and works during the past year. What has been the nature of your experience? Compare the records of your religious life with the Bible standard, and pass judgment upon yourselves. Have the fruits of righteousness testified that you are in the faith, or have the fruits that you have borne, witnessed against you? This is a subject worthy of earnest, careful thought. Be thorough and impartial in your examination of the past year’s record. Do you see the defects in your character, and are you compelled to admit that you have made no decided advance in overcoming these unholy traits? Remember that if not overcome, these will surely separate you from the presence of a pure, holy, sin-hating God, and close the doors of the heavenly mansions against you.

How many have, in the past year, cherished heart-burnings and bitterness toward their brethren and sisters in the church? How many have thought and spoken unkindly of those who, like themselves, profess to be followers of Jesus? We may think we had an excuse for this; but is there any provocation of sufficient weight to excuse us in harboring unkindness and malice in our hearts? Said Jesus, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” If we do not in our daily life exemplify these principles, we cannot be accepted before God. We must earnestly seek his grace to kill every fiber of the root of bitterness, and must let the love of Jesus take possession of our souls and reveal itself in our words and works, or we are not of Christ but of the wicked one.

The Church militant is not the church triumphant, and earth is not Heaven. The church is composed of erring, imperfect men and women, who are but learners in the school of Christ, to be trained, disciplined, educated for this life, and for the future, immortal life. No one of us can in our own strength represent the character of Christ; but if Jesus lives in the heart, the spirit dwelling in Him will be revealed in us; all our lack will be supplied. Who will seek at the beginning of this new year to obtain a new and genuine experience in the things of God? Make your wrongs right as far as possible. Confess your errors and sins one to another. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be put away; let patience, long-suffering, kindness, and love become a part of your very being; then whatsoever things are pure and lovely and of good report will mature in your experience. Another year with its spotless record is before us; what shall that record be?

As a people we have not realized the work which should have been done in the last days of the old year, and much of it is left undone. The excitement of the Christmas holiday is now in the past, and what has been the record that has passed up to God? As we have professed to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, have our hearts been filled with gratitude for the infinite gift of God’s dear Son? Have our thoughts and affections been such as God can accept? Has Jesus been revered and honored? Has He been made prominent in our thoughts and plans? and have our gifts flowed into His treasury? Is it not true that in many instances Christ and His claims have been forgotten in the feasting and merriments, and that the honor due to Him has been given to man? Have not the thoughts, the labor, and the means been diverted from the proper object, and turned into a channel to please, honor, and exalt the human, rather than the divine?

I have felt most keenly our danger as a people on these occasions. I have feared that selfishness would be strengthened, that idolatry would be encouraged, and the love of God be crowded from our hearts; that the record borne to the heavenly courts would show that Christ was made of less consequence than earthly friends. I have feared that feasts and social gatherings would prove to be a snare of Satan to divert the mind from Christ and His great sacrifice in our behalf; that the very associations which should lead us to contemplate the work of redemption would be lost sight of in the observance of worldly customs, and that there would be less thought of Jesus and the mansions He has gone to prepare for those who love Him, than upon common occasions.

I see no objection to placing even in our churches a Christmas or New Year tree bearing fruit in gifts and offerings for the cause of God. We may thus take advantage of the occasion to turn the customary gifts of the season into the right channel. And such a holiday celebration is a useful lesson to our children, teaching them to bestow their gifts in a manner to honor their Redeemer. But when we devote our means and labor to feasting ourselves, we fail to render to God that honor which is His due.

I have resolved from this time to make Christ first and last and best in everything. I will not sanction feasts made to celebrate birthday or marriage anniversaries, but will bend all my energies to lift up Jesus among the people. I will seek to impress upon the minds of my brethren and sisters the great necessity of preparation of heart, by confession and humiliation, to be accepted of God and acknowledged as His dear children. My heart has ached as I have seen men honored, while Jesus was neglected and almost forgotten,—liberal gifts for earthly friends, but poor and meager offerings for Him to whom we owe our all.

Christ opened before us the bright path of peace, of joy, of Heaven; and what have we done for Him on these occasions when every word and act should express our gratitude for His wondrous love? How stands the record of the past Christmas? Have we given to Jesus all that there is of us? Have we denied self that we might show our affection for our best friend? Have we made a record that we shall not be ashamed to meet in the day of final accounts? If all realized as they should the shortness of time, the backslidings of our people, the perils which beset our pathway, the deceptions of Satan, and his victories over unguarded souls, there would be no feasting, no mirthful gatherings to pay honor to the human; but there would be a great humbling of heart before God, and earnest prayer for pardoning and sanctifying grace.

Peter, who once denied his Lord, was afterward forgiven by our Saviour, and entrusted with the work of feeding the flock of God. Yet when condemned to death, and about to suffer for Christ’s sake, the apostle begged that he might not be crucified in the same position as his Lord and Master, but that he might be nailed to the cross with his head downward. He felt that it was too great an honor for him to be put to death in the same manner as his Saviour whom he had denied. Would it not be well if our consciences were more sensitive? if we could possess more of the same spirit of contrition and humility? At a time when we are professedly celebrating Christ’s birth, should we not keep self in the background? Would it not be more appropriate to abase self and to exalt Jesus?

The perfection of our Saviour’s character awakens the admiration of angels and of men. Here is an exhaustless theme for thought. The brightest and most exalted of the sons of the morning heralded His glory at creation, and announced His birth with songs of gladness. They veil their faces before Him as He sits upon His throne; they cast their crowns at His feet, and sing His triumphs as they behold His resplendent glory. Our souls are cold and dull because we do not dwell upon the matchless charms of our Redeemer. If we occupy our thoughts in contemplating His love and mercy, we shall reflect the same in our life and character; for by beholding, we become changed. Oh, the mysteries of redemption! Only by exalting Jesus and abasing self can we celebrate aright the birth of the Son of God.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, there is need of an impartial examination of our hearts to dispel the pleasing illusions of self-love. Our condition is helpless and hopeless unless infinite mercy is granted us daily, and pardon is written against our names in the heavenly records. Those only who see and feel their spiritual necessities will go to Jesus for that help which they so much need, and which He only can give. He alone can cleanse us from all sin. He alone can place upon us the robe of righteousness.

What fruit have we borne during the year that is now past? What has been our influence upon others? Whom have we gathered to the fold of Christ? The eyes of the world are upon us. Are we living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men? Do we follow the example of Jesus in self-denial, in meekness, in humility, in forbearance, in cross-bearing, in devotion? Will the world be compelled to acknowledge us to be the servants of Christ? What is our past record? What will be our future record? If we cannot without pain trace the workings of our own hearts and review the record of our lives, how can we stand before the Judge of all the earth, who is infinitely pure and holy, and who will determine our cases by the unerring standard of His perfect law?

Shall we not in this new year seek to correct the errors of the past? It behooves us individually to cultivate the grace of Christ, to be meek and lowly of heart, to be firm, unwavering, steadfast in the truth; for thus only can we advance in holiness, and be made fit for the inheritance of the saints in light. Let us begin the year with an entire renunciation of self; let us pray for clear discernment, that we may understand our Saviour’s claims upon us, and that we may always and everywhere be witnesses for Christ.

Our time and talents belong to God, to be used for His honor and glory. It should be our earnest, anxious effort to let the light shine through our life and character to illumine the pathway Heavenward, that souls may be attracted from the broad road to the narrow way of holiness. Oh, that the followers of Christ had less desire to devote labor, time, and money, to feasts and celebrations in honor of earthly friends, and a greater desire to honor Jesus! I entreat you to bring to Him your gifts and offerings, and withhold not yourselves. Strong men are needed in the church, successful workers in the Lord’s vineyard, men and women who will labor that the church may be transformed to the image of Christ, rather than conformed to the customs and practices of the world. We have everything to gain or to lose. Let us see that we are on the side of Christ—the gaining side; that we are making sure work for Heaven.

Signs of the Times, January 4, 1883.

False Revivals – Angels of Light Personated

The enemy is preparing to deceive the whole world by his miracle-working power. He will assume to personate the angels of light, to personate Jesus Christ.” Maranatha, 207.

“Satan…comes as an angel of light…by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit.”
Early Writings, 261.

“God’s people will not endure the test unless there is a revival and a reformation.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 285. “The Lord calls for a revival among His people, an acknowledgment of the peculiar obligations He places upon them.” Review and Herald, August 5, 1909.

“Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the Word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. . . . God calls for a revival and a reformation.” Prophets and Kings, 626.

God sends a Revival of Primitive Godliness The Holy Spirit is Poured Out

“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children.” Maranatha, 33. “The baptism of the Holy Ghost as on the day of Pentecost will lead to a revival of true religion and to the performance of many wonderful works.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 57.

The Old Truths, the Law of God is Restored

“God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform.…” Conflict and Courage, 269. “It is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and godliness among His professed people. ‘Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein…’ Jeremiah 6:16.” The Faith I Live By, 326. “In the last days knowledge shall be increased. There are new truths to be revealed to the humble seeker. The teachings of God’s Word are to be freed from the errors and superstition with which they have been encumbered.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 186. “Great reforms are to be made. Many changes will be required as we strive to advance the cause of reform.” The Health Food Ministry, 50.

True Worship is Restored

“A great religious awakening…is foretold in the prophecy of the First Angel’s Message of Revelation 14.” The Great Controversy, 355. “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7.

“The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” John 4:23. “Unless correct ideas of true worship and true reverence are impressed upon the people, there will be a growing tendency to place the sacred and eternal on a level with common things, and those professing the truth will be an offense to God and a disgrace to religion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 500.

“[After] the Babylonish captivity the Israelites…gave much attention to religious instruction and to the study of that which had been written in the book of the law and in the prophets concerning the worship of the true God.” Prophets and Kings, 705.

Satan Counterfeits the “Work” of Christ

“Whenever and wherever the Lord works in giving a genuine blessing, a counterfeit is also revealed, in order to make of none effect the true work of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 142.

“Satan has ever been ambitious to counterfeit the work of Christ, and establish his own power and claims. He does not generally do this openly and boldly. He is artful, and knows that the most effectual way for him to accomplish his work is to come to poor fallen man in the form of an angel of light.” Messages to Young People, 57. “The devil has as much power to imitate and counterfeit the work of God as he did in Moses’ time.…” Ellen G. White: The Early Years, vol. 1, 77.

“…pray for divine enlightenment …that when the wonderful miracle-working power of Satan shall be displayed, and the enemy shall come as an angel of light, you may distinguish between the genuine work of God and the imitative work of the powers of darkness.” Review and Herald, December 24, 1889.

A False (Counterfeit) Revival Comes First

“At every revival of God’s work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures.” The Great Controversy, 593.

“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times.…The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing [Holy Spirit] is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest.…There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God’s Word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements.” Ibid., 464.

False Revival—Reforms of Error not Truth

“I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase, and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth; but from bad to worse.…” Review and Herald, August 1, 1849.

“In many of the revivals…There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived.…Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God’s blessing
is not bestowed.” The Great Controversy, 464.

False Revival (Celebration)—Counterfeits True Worship

“An enemy has been at work to destroy our faith in the sacredness of Christian worship.” Child Guidance, 541. “Whenever and wherever the Lord works in giving a genuine blessing, a counterfeit is also revealed, in order to make of none effect the true work of God. Therefore we need to be exceedingly careful, and walk humbly before God, that we may have spiritual eyesalve that we may distinguish the working of the Holy Spirit of God from the working of that spirit that would bring in wild license and fanaticism.” Review and Herald, February 6, 1894.

False Excitement, Strange Forms of Worship

“New and strange things will continually arise to lead God’s people into false excitement, religious revivals, and curious developments.…Fanaticism will take the place of well-regulated, well-disciplined, heaven-ordained efforts to carry forward the work to its completion.…” “People should not be educated to think that religion of an emotional order, bordering on fanaticism, is the only pure religion.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 17, 21.

Strange Performances—Drama, Theatrics

“I am instructed that we shall meet with all kinds of experiences and that men will try to bring strange performances into the work of God.…In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical performances in connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden.…The light given me was, ‘Give this no sanction.’ These performances, which savored of the theatrical, were to have no place in the proclamation of the solemn messages entrusted to us.” Evangelism, 137.

Satan (Counterfeits) Personates the Holy Spirit

“I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and the Son.…Before the throne I saw the Advent people—the church and the world. I saw two companies, one bowed down before the throne, deeply interested, while the other stood uninterested and careless. Those who were bowed before the throne would offer up their prayers and look to Jesus; then He would look to His Father, and appear to be pleading with Him.…I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and most of those who were bowed down arose with Him. I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after He arose, and they were left in perfect darkness.…I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, ‘Father, give us Thy Spirit.’ Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace.” Early Writings, 55, 56.

They Believe the Holy Spirit is Blessing Them

“The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing.…And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.…the Lord showed me that erroneous theories and methods would be brought into our camp meetings, and that the history of the past would be repeated.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 36, 37.

Signs and Lying Wonders

“Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, [they who reject the First Angel’s Message] offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare.…He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit.” Early Writings, 261.

“I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches…and before the loud cry of the Third Angel is given, he [Satan] raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them. He hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches.” Ibid.

Rejecting the Cleansing (Sanctuary) Message Prepares the Way for the False Revival

“Those who rejected the first [angel’s] message could not be benefited by the second; neither were they benefited by the midnight cry, which was to prepare them to enter with Jesus by faith into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. And by rejecting the two former messages, they have so darkened their understanding that they can see no light in the Third Angel’s Message, which shows the way into the most holy place.…Therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare.…He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit.” Early Writings, 260, 261.

“If we are firmly fixed upon the present truth, and have our hope, like an anchor of the soul, cast within the second veil, the various winds of false doctrine and error cannot move us. The excitements and false reformations of this day do not move us, for we know that the Master of the house rose up in 1844, and shut the door of the first apartment of the heavenly tabernacle; and now we certainly expect that they will ‘go with their flocks,’ ‘to seek the Lord; but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself (within the second veil) from them.’ The Lord has shown me that the power which is with them is a mere human influence, and not the power of God” The Present Truth, March 1, 1850.

False Revival—Moves the Emotions Not the Heart

“The character and tendency of modern revivals…have given no evidence of the work of the Spirit of God.…Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by pandering to the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have no more desire to listen to Bible truths, no more interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles, than has the novel-reader. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions for them.” Spirit of Prophecy, Book 4, 294.

“There are two extremes to be avoided: one is the shunning to declare the whole counsel of God, and running into the spirit of revivalists in this age…and weaving into the labors an element which moves the feelings but leaves the heart unchanged. A sensational religion is to be dreaded, for it is hard work…to ever make the individuals feel that they must go deeper than mere emotional exercise; that they must practice true godliness.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 101.

False Revivals—Produce False Conversions

“How much I have thought upon the popular revivals.…Advantage is taken of the impulses of the moment…Reformation in life is needed, but the reformation made under excitement will seldom outlast the excitement in which it originated. Conversions made by moving the feelings by the relation of anecdotes and sensational stories, do not bear the impress of Heaven. Heart work is needed. The sinner needs to have a clearly defined understanding of what sin is, and that he must repent of sin, which is the transgression of the law of God. When this is understood the seed is sown for a true and thorough conversion.” Signs of the Times, August 12, 1875.

“Some open revival meetings, and by this means call large numbers into the church. But when the excitement is over, where are the converted ones? Repentance and confession of sin are not seen. The sinner is entreated to believe in Christ and accept Him, without regard to his past life of sin and rebellion. The heart is not broken. There is no contrition of soul. The supposed converted ones have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 27.

“The reason there are so many spurious conversions in these days is that there is so low an appreciation of the law of God. Instead of God’s standard of righteousness, men have erected a standard of their own by which to measure character.…The kindest thing that can be preached to the sinner is the truth of the binding claims of the law of God.” Faith and Works, 96.

True Success is in Preaching the Word of God

“‘Preach the word.’ Compared with the Word, everything else is weakness itself. The Word of God is the weapon of our warfare. Educate, train the people to be doers of the Word.…” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 188. “In the truth there is a power which no outward appearance or display can give, which no worldly suppositions or opinions can change or alter.” Medical Ministry, 161. “We do not want a sensational religion; but we want a religion founded on intelligent faith. This faith plants its feet on the eternal rock of God’s word.” Review and Herald, April 9, 1889. “We must not have a sensational religion, which has no root in truth.” Gospel Workers, 228.

Those Who Feed on the Sensational are Led Away by Satan’s Temptations

“Educate the people to have a sound, solid experience, and do not create in them an appetite for something new and strange and startling. These are the very things which those who are weak in moral power crave as the liquor drinker craves liquor, and the result is that they are not sound in the understanding of the Word. They have not root in themselves, and when the masterly working of Satan shall be made manifest, and he shall perform miracles to testify that he is Christ, those who have been controlled by feeling, who have fed on the sensational, and have been seeking for strange things, will be carried away, because they are not feeding on Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 188.

“The season of distress before God’s people will call for a faith that will not falter. His children must make it manifest that He is the only object of their worship, and that no consideration, not even that of life itself, can induce them to make the least concession to false worship. To the loyal heart.…truth will be obeyed though the result be imprisonment or exile or death.” Prophets and Kings, 512.

[All emphasis supplied.]

From Death to Life

I do not know how often I have searched the Spirit of Prophecy to find answers, but it has been many. I have never been disappointed. In fact, it has been a treasure. One of the most revealing excerpts I found focused on tobacco.

Looking for Answers

I was not looking for a specific answer the day I scanned the health magazine, but it came, for a question I had asked five years earlier. At the time, I lived in the world, and my entire behavior exposed a careless mind. I was the father of a new baby boy, and I took him for granted. I smoked the toxic weed, even while I assumed the role of parent.

Then, on Father’s Day, I awoke to find my son, Isaac, had died. I tried to breathe life into his little body, but it did not help. He was only six weeks old. Apparently he had died of crib death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as S.I.D.S. The reason for his passing could not be explained, but I always wondered why.

Ironically, tragedy became the pivot of my search for life in Jesus Christ. I did not know how Isaac had become a key toward true surrender to God, nor did I realize how soon my question of “Why, God, why?” would be answered.

Brought to My Knees

I wish I could say that these horrifying circumstances meant instant conversion, but God knew the hardness of my heart. However, in a short time, providence brought me to my knees in prayer, and I claimed the promises of His Word. Within a year I gave Him my so-called life, and He removed my desire for all chemicals, including tobacco.

Only afterwards did I discover the true health message in Testimonies to the Church and in Counsels on Diet and Foods. Cooperating with Jesus meant a clean mind, which paved the way to endless knowledge. Through my surrender and my diligent reading of Scripture, He kept His promise, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. I became a new man, always ready for more wonderful truth. That is why I was reading the health magazine.

Slow Poison

The article made reference to Selected Messages, Book 2, 467. “The infant lungs suffer, and become diseased by inhaling the atmosphere of a room poisoned by the tobacco-user’s tainted breath. Many infants are poisoned beyond remedy by sleeping in bed with their tobacco-using fathers. By inhaling the poisonous tobacco effluvia, which is thrown from the lungs and pores of the skin, the system of the infant is filled with poison. While it acts upon some as a slow poison, and affects the brain, heart, liver, and lungs, and they waste away and fade gradually, upon others it has a more direct influence, causing spasms, fits, paralysis, palsy, and sudden death. The bereaved parents mourn the loss of their loved ones, and wonder at the mysterious providence of God, which has so cruelly afflicted them, when Providence designed not the death of these infants. They died martyrs to the filthy lust of tobacco. Their parents ignorantly, but none the less surely, kill their infant children by the disgusting poison.…”

I read it several times and realized the grim responsibility of my actions. At that moment, the impact and consequences of my ignorance loomed in my mind. My selfish, narrow existence and temporary gratification carried an enormous price. I knew what I was, and the proof lay in the grave.

Dear readers, I still tremble, because it is only part of a bigger story. The only way I can tolerate such failure is to remember God’s mercy and His promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteous-ness.” 1 John 1:9.

If You Want Freedom

I know that there are many others searching for answers. If you want freedom, do not wait for tragedy to happen before you fall down to your knees in prayer. “Ask, and it shall be given you…” Matthew 7:7. Then remember, “The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character…If studied and obeyed, the Word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute.” The Faith I Live By, 116.