Bible Study Guides – To a Lost World—Go Ye

February 19, 2006 – February 25, 2006

Key Text

“I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6, last half.

Study Help: Gospel Workers (1915), 24–29; Christ’s Object Lessons, 296–303.


“Men are in peril. Multitudes are perishing. But how few of the professed followers of Christ are burdened for these souls. The destiny of a world hangs in the balance; but this hardly moves even those who claim to believe the most far-reaching truth ever given to mortals. There is a lack of that love which led Christ to leave His heavenly home and take man’s nature that humanity might touch humanity and draw humanity to divinity. There is a stupor, a paralysis, upon the people of God, which prevents them from understanding the duty of the hour. . . .

“With the whole world before them in need of the gospel, professed Christians congregate where they themselves can enjoy gospel privileges. They do not feel the necessity of occupying new territory, carrying the message of salvation into regions beyond. They refuse to fulfill Christ’s commission, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Mark 16:15. Are they less guilty than was the Jewish church?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 303.

1 How does the prophet Isaiah describe the condition of the world? Isaiah 60:2, first part.

note: “We are near the close of time. . . . The Lord has given us warning of the events about to take place. Light is shining from His word; yet darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. ‘When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them; . . . and they shall not escape.’ [1 Thessalonians 5:3.]

“It is our duty to inquire the cause of this terrible darkness, that we may shun the course by which men have brought upon themselves so great delusion. God has given the world an opportunity to learn and to obey His will. He has given them, in His word, the light of truth; He has sent them warning, counsel, and admonition; but few will obey His voice. Like the Jewish nation, the majority, even of professed Christians, pride themselves on their superior advantages, but make no returns to God for these great blessings. In infinite mercy a last warning message has been sent to the world, announcing that Christ is at the door and calling attention to God’s broken law.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 99.

2 In what condition is every soul who has not found the Saviour? Ephesians 2:12.

note: “Those for whom you labor are your brethren in distress, suffering from physical disorders and the spiritual leprosy of sin. If you are any better than they, it is to be credited to the cross of Christ. Many are without God and without hope in the world. They are guilty, corrupt, and degraded, enslaved by Satan’s devices. Yet these are the ones whom Christ came from heaven to redeem. They are subjects for tenderest pity, sympathy, and tireless effort; for they are on the verge of ruin. They suffer from ungratified desires, disordered passions, and the condemnation of their own consciences; they are miserable in every sense of the word, for they are losing their hold on this life and have no prospect for the life to come.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 568.

3 What does Christ desire that His followers should do for the world in its darkness? Matthew 5:14–16. What command was given to the apostles in Paul’s day? Acts 13:47.

note: “While Christ is dwelling in the heart it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence, or for that light to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

“The people of God are His representatives upon the earth, and He intends that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world. Scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, they are God’s witnesses, the channels through which He will communicate to an unbelieving world the knowledge of His will and the wonders of His grace. It is His plan that all who are partakers of the great salvation shall be missionaries for Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 134.

4 While with His disciples in person, what work did the Saviour give them? Matthew 10:1, 5–8.

note: “The Saviour’s commission to the disciples includes all believers to the end of time. All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers with Christ.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 466.

5 How were the disciples to obtain their support while in the field? Matthew 10:9, 10.

note: “On this first tour the disciples were to go only where Jesus had been before them, and had made friends. Their preparation for the journey was to be of the simplest kind. Nothing must be allowed to divert their minds from their great work, or in any way excite opposition and close the door for further labor. They were not to adopt the dress of the religious teachers, nor use any guise in apparel to distinguish them from the humble peasants. They were not to enter into the synagogues and call the people together for public service; their efforts were to be put forth in house-to-house labor. They were not to waste time in needless salutations, or in going from house to house for entertainment. But in every place they were to accept the hospitality of those who were worthy, those who would welcome them heartily as if entertaining Christ Himself. They were to enter the dwelling with the beautiful salutation, ‘Peace be to this house.’ Luke 10:5.” The Desire of Ages, 351, 352.

6 What were the disciples to expect as a part of their experience? Matthew 10:16–24.

note: “They [the disciples] were warned to beware of men, for they should be delivered up to the councils and scourged in the synagogues.

“Men’s hearts are no softer today than when Christ was upon the earth. They will do all in their power to aid the great adversary in making it as hard as possible for the servants of Christ, just as the people did with Christ when He was upon the earth. They will scourge with the tongue of slander and falsehood. They will criticize, and turn against the servant of God the very efforts he is leading them to make. They will, with their evil surmisings, see fraud and dishonesty where all is right and where perfect integrity exists. They lay selfish motives to the charge of God’s servants, when He Himself is leading them, and when they would give even their lives if God required, if by so doing they could advance His cause.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 234.

7 Just before Christ’s ascension, what command did Jesus give to all His disciples? To make the carrying out of this command possible, whose power and presence were promised? Matthew 28:18–20. Where was the disciples’ witness to begin? How far was it to extend? Acts 1:8.

note: “To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to Israel first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. It is to be given to Jews and Gentiles. All who believe are to be gathered into one church.

“Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power. Their testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders. Miracles would be wrought, not only by the apostles, but by those who received their message.” The Desire of Ages, 821.

8 What results followed the first preaching of the gospel by the apostolic church? Acts 2:41; 4:4.

note: “Then the glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost bounds of the inhabited world. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. . . .

“These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fulness by the Holy Spirit’s power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 120, 121.

9 What conditions did God allow to come upon the church? With what result? Acts 8:1, 4.

note: “If those who know the truth would practice it, methods would be devised for meeting the people where they are. It was the providence of God which in the beginning of the Christian church scattered the saints abroad, sending them out of Jerusalem into many parts of the world. The disciples of Christ did not stay in Jerusalem or in the cities near by, but they went beyond the limits of their own country into the great thoroughfares of travel, seeking for the lost that they might bring them to God. Today the Lord desires to see His work carried forward in many places. We must not confine our labors to a few localities.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 330.

10 When Paul was converted, to what work was he set apart by the Lord? What would come to him in connection with this service? Ephesians 3:7, 8; Acts 9:13–16; 20:22, 23.

note: “At the time of Paul’s conversion, the Lord had declared that he was to be made a minister to the Gentiles, ‘to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.’ Acts 26:18. . . . And Paul himself, later in his Christian experience, while praying in the temple at Jerusalem, had been visited by an angel from heaven, who bade him, ‘Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.’ Acts 22:21.

“Thus the Lord had given Paul his commission to enter the broad missionary field of the Gentile world. To prepare him for this extensive and difficult work, God had brought him into close connection with Himself and had opened before his enraptured vision views of the beauty and glory of heaven.” The Acts of the Apostles, 159.

11 What testimony did Paul give at the close of his years of faithful ministry? 11 Timothy 4:6–8.

note: “Well-nigh a score of centuries have passed since Paul the aged poured out his blood as a witness for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. No faithful hand recorded for the generations to come the last scenes in the life of this holy man, but Inspiration has preserved for us his dying testimony. Like a trumpet peal his voice has rung out through all the ages since, nerving with his own courage thousands of witnesses for Christ and wakening in thousands of sorrow-stricken hearts the echo of his own triumphant joy.” The Acts of the Apostles, 513.

12 What promises are given for the encouragement of all faithful ministers of Christ? Isaiah 43:5–7; 49:6, 10–12.

note: “The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah. At first he beheld only ‘trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish.’ Isaiah 8:22. Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision. He saw the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and, lost in admiration, he exclaimed: ‘The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ Isaiah 9:1, 2. . . .

“Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream;’ and he heard the commission, ‘Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles.’ Isaiah 66:12; 54:2, 3.” Prophets and Kings, 373, 374.

Bible Study Guides – Christ the Way to Sacrifice and Service

February 12, 2006 – February 18, 2006

Key Text

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28.

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 17–28.


“Never was there such an evangelist as Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, but He humbled Himself to take our nature, that He might meet men where they were. To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the covenant, brought the tidings of salvation. His fame as the Great Healer spread throughout Palestine. The sick came to the places through which He would pass, that they might call on Him for help. Hither, too, came many anxious to hear His words and to receive a touch of His hand. Thus He went from city to city, from town to town, preaching the gospel and healing the sick—the King of glory in the lowly garb of humanity.” The Ministry of Healing, 22.

1 What impelled God to send His Son into the world as man’s Saviour? John 3:16. How great was the sacrifice that Heaven made in behalf of humanity in the gift of Christ? 1 John 4:9, 10.

note: “The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin. What line can measure the depth of this love? God would make it impossible for man to say that He could have done more. With Christ He gave all the resources of heaven, that nothing might be wanting in the plan for man’s uplifting. Here is love—the contemplation of which should fill the soul with inexpressible gratitude! Oh, what love, what matchless love! The contemplation of this love will cleanse the soul from all selfishness. It will lead the disciple to deny self, take up the cross, and follow the Redeemer.” Counsels on Health, 222, 223.

“How great was the gift of God to man, and how like our God to make it! With a liberality that can never be exceeded he gave, that he might save the rebellious sons of men and bring them to see his purpose and discern his love. Will you, by your gifts and offerings, show that you think nothing too good for Him who ‘gave His only-begotten Son’?” Review and Herald, May 15, 1900.

2 With what spirit did Christ undertake the great task committed to Him? Philippians 2:5–7. What is the expressed desire of Christ as voiced by the psalmist? Psalm 40:8.

note: “This glorious Being [Christ] loved the poor sinner and took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He might suffer and die in man’s behalf. Jesus might have remained at His Father’s right hand, wearing His kingly crown and royal robes. But He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of heaven for the poverty of humanity, and His station of high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the humiliation and agony of Calvary. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that by His baptism of suffering and blood He might purify and redeem a guilty world.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 121.

3 In coming to this world, what material change came into Christ’s life? 11 Corinthians 8:9.

note: “The Son of God had left His heavenly home, with its riches and honor and glory, and clothed His divinity with humanity—not to live in the palaces of kings, without care or labor, and to be supplied with all the conveniences which human nature naturally craves. In the councils of heaven He had chosen to stand in the ranks of the poor and oppressed, to take His part with the humble workers, and learn the trade of His earthly parent, which was that of a carpenter, a builder. He came to the world to be a reconstructor of character, and He brought into all His work of building the perfection which He desired to bring into the characters He was transforming by His divine power.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1103, 1104.

4 From the teaching of the Master, what do we learn concerning the acceptance of the same spirit of sacrifice? Matthew 19:21.

note: “At the Saviour’s call, John, Peter, Matthew, and their companions ‘left all, rose up, and followed Him.’ Luke 5:28. The same consecration was required of the young ruler. And in this Christ did not ask a greater sacrifice than He Himself had made.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 393.

“Very few realize the strength of their love for money until the test is brought to bear upon them. Many who profess to be Christ’s followers then show that they are unprepared for heaven. Their works testify that they love wealth more than their neighbor or their God. Like the rich young man, they inquire the way of life; but when it is pointed out and the cost estimated, and they see that the sacrifice of earthly riches is demanded, they decide that heaven costs too much. The greater the treasures laid up on the earth, the more difficult it is for the possessor to realize that they are not his own, but are lent him to be used to God’s glory.” Counsels on Stewardship, 150.

5 In His love and willing sacrifice, what did Christ become to mankind? Philippians 2:7; John 13:15–17.

note: “In His life and lessons, Christ has given a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin in God. God does not live for Himself. By creating the world, and by upholding all things, He is constantly ministering for others. ‘He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ Matthew 5:45. This ideal of ministry God has committed to His Son. Jesus was given to stand at the head of humanity, that by His example He might teach what it means to minister. His whole life was under a law of service. He served all, ministered to all. Thus He lived the law of God, and by His example showed how we are to obey it.” The Desire of Ages, 649.

6 While among men, what did Christ seek to do for their welfare? What made this possible? Acts 10:36–38.

note: “Jesus began His work by breaking Satan’s power over the suffering. He restored the sick to health, gave sight to the blind, and healed the lame, causing them to leap for joy and to glorify God. He restored to health those who had been infirm and bound by Satan’s cruel power many years. With gracious words He comforted the weak, the trembling, and the desponding. The feeble, suffering ones whom Satan held in triumph, Jesus wrenched from his grasp, bringing to them soundness of body and great joy and happiness. He raised the dead to life, and they glorified God for the mighty display of His power. He wrought mightily for all who believed on Him.” Early Writings, 159, 160.

7 After Jesus’ baptism, what message did He give to Israel? What message were the 12 instructed to give? Matthew 4:17; 10:7, 8.

note: “When He [Christ] sent forth the twelve, . . . They were not to settle the temporal affairs of the people. Their work was to persuade men to be reconciled to God. In this work lay their power to bless humanity. The only remedy for the sins and sorrows of men is Christ. The gospel of His grace alone can cure the evils that curse society. The injustice of the rich toward the poor, the hatred of the poor toward the rich, alike have their root in selfishness, and this can be eradicated only through submission to Christ. He alone, for the selfish heart of sin, gives the new heart of love. Let the servants of Christ preach the gospel with the Spirit sent down from heaven, and work as He did for the benefit of men. Then such results will be manifest in the blessing and uplifting of mankind as are wholly impossible of accomplishment by human power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 254.

8 From earliest youth, what was Christ’s attitude toward His mission? Luke 2:49. What does He say He came into the world to do? Matthew 20:28. In thus giving Himself to the service of God, whose will was He carrying out? John 6:38; 4:34.

note: “The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God. If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan’s ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. . . . He said, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. . . . Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.” The Desire of Ages, 329, 330.

9 When the time of His supreme sacrifice drew near, what was Christ’s attitude? John 12:27; Matthew 26:39; Philippians 2:8.

note: “Christ gave His all to the work that He came to do, and His word to us is, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ ‘So shall ye be My disciples.’ [Matthew 16:24; John 15:8.]

“Willingly and cheerfully Christ gave Himself to the carrying out of the will of God. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Shall we feel it a hardship to deny ourselves? Shall we draw back from being partakers of His sufferings? His death ought to stir every fiber of the being, making us willing to consecrate to His work all that we have and are. As we think of what He has done for us, our hearts should be filled with love.” Counsels on Stewardship, 302.

10 According to the prophet Isaiah, how great was the price of Calvary to be? For whom was it paid? Isaiah 53:3–6.

note: “Christ actually bore the punishment of the sins of the world, that His righteousness might be imputed to sinners, and through repentance and faith they might become like Him in holiness of character. He says, ‘I bear the guilt of that man’s sins. Let Me take the punishment and the repenting sinner stand before Thee innocent.’ The moment the sinner believes in Christ, he stands in the sight of God uncondemned; for the righteousness of Christ is his: Christ’s perfect obedience is imputed to him. But he must co-operate with divine power, and put forth his human effort to subdue sin, and stand complete in Christ.

“The ransom paid by Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men; but it will avail for only those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, loyal subjects of God’s everlasting kingdom. His suffering will not shield from punishment the unrepenting, disloyal sinner. . . .

“The price paid for our redemption lays a great obligation upon every one of us. It is our duty to understand what God requires of us, and what He would have us to be.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 429, 430.

11 What reward was to come to the Saviour as the result of His patient endurance of the cross? Hebrews 12:2; Isaiah 53:11.

note: “Before the universe has been clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man’s behalf. The hour has come when Christ occupies His rightful position and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. It was for the joy that was set before Him—that He might bring many sons unto glory—that He endured the cross and despised the shame. And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, yet greater is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in His own image, every heart bearing the perfect impress of the divine, every face reflecting the likeness of their King.” The Great Controversy, 671.

12 What should His disciples learn from His example? 1 Peter 2:21.

note: “Through trial and persecution the glory—the character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The believers in Christ, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. On earth they walk in narrow paths; they are purified in the furnace of affliction.

“They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they can look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576, 577.

Bible Study Guides – Returning Our Children to God

February 5, 2006 – February 11, 2006

Key Text

“Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1:28.

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 395–403.


“Above any other agency, service for Christ’s sake in the little things of everyday experience has power to mold the character and to direct the life into lines of unselfish ministry. To awaken this spirit, to encourage and rightly to direct it, is the parents’ and the teacher’s work. No more important work could be committed to them. The spirit of ministry is the spirit of heaven, and with every effort to develop and encourage it angels will co-operate.” The Ministry of Healing, 401.

1 In the beginning, how did God provide companionship for man? Genesis 2:18, 21–24.

note: “God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided ‘an help meet for him’ [Genesis 2:18]—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” The Adventist Home, 25.

2 What are our children said to be? Psalm 127:3, first half; Genesis 33:5. What picture of a happy home does the psalmist draw? Psalm 128:3, 6.

note: “Children derive life and being from their parents, and yet it is through the creative power of God that your children have life, for God is the Life-giver. Let it be remembered that children are not to be treated as though they were our own personal property. Children are the heritage of the Lord, and the plan of redemption includes their salvation as well as ours. They have been entrusted to parents in order that they might be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, that they might be qualified to do their work in time and eternity.” The Adventist Home, 280.

3 How should parents bring up their children? Ephesians 6:4. What instruction did God give anciently to His people concerning religious training of their children? Deuteronomy 6:6, 7. What results are promised to follow proper early training? Proverbs 22:6.

note: “The children in every family are to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Evil propensities are to be controlled, evil tempers subdued; and the children are to be instructed that they are the Lord’s property, bought with His own precious blood, and that they cannot live a life of pleasure and vanity, have their own will and carry out their own ideas, and yet be numbered among the children of God. The children are to be instructed with kindness and patience. . . . Let the parents teach them of the love of God in such a way that it will be a pleasant theme in the family circle, and let the church take upon them the responsibility of feeding the lambs as well as the sheep of the flock.” Child Guidance, 42.

4 What example of careful instruction is mentioned in Paul’s epistle to Timothy? 11 Timothy 3:15.

note: “From a child, Timothy knew the Scriptures, and his knowledge was a safeguard to him against the evil influences surrounding him and the temptation to choose pleasure and selfish gratification before duty. Such a safeguard all our children need, and it should be a part of the work of parents and of Christ’s ambassadors to see that the children are properly instructed in the word of God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 398.

“Those who study the Bible with a sincere desire to know and do the will of God will become wise unto salvation. The Sabbath school is an important branch of the missionary work, not only because it gives to young and old a knowledge of God’s word, but because it awakens in them a love for its sacred truths and a desire to study it for themselves; above all, it teaches them to regulate their lives by its holy teachings.” Ibid., vol. 5, 389.

5 What did God claim from every family in Israel? Numbers 3:13. How did Hannah carry out this instruction with Samuel, her firstborn son? 1 Samuel 1:24–28.

note: “The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner. This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son. He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men.” The Desire of Ages, 51.

“Under the Jewish system the people were taught to cherish a spirit of liberality both in sustaining the cause of God and in supplying the wants of the needy. For special occasions there were freewill offerings. At the harvest and the vintage, the first fruits of the field—corn, wine, and oil—were consecrated as an offering to the Lord. The gleanings and the corners of the field were reserved for the poor. The first fruits of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, were set apart for God. So also were the first-born of all animals, and a redemption price was paid for the first-born son. The first fruits were to be presented before the Lord at the sanctuary and were then devoted to the use of the priests.

“By this system of benevolence the Lord sought to teach Israel that in everything He must be first. Thus they were reminded that God was the proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that it was He who sent them the sunshine and the rain that developed and ripened the harvest. Everything that they possessed was His; they were but the stewards of His goods.” The Acts of the Apostles, 337.

6 What is said to be an essential part of a youth’s training? Lamentations 3:27; Psalm 94:12. What are the youth admonished to do? Ecclesiastes 12:1.

note: “Teach your children that youth is the best time to seek the Lord. Then the burdens of life are not heavy upon them, and their young minds are not harassed with care, and while so free they should devote the best of their strength to God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 397.

“Jesus desires the service of those who have the dew of youth upon them. He wants them to be heirs of immortality. They may grow up into noble manhood and womanhood, notwithstanding the moral pollution that abounds, that corrupts so many of the youth at an early age. They may be free in Christ; the children of light, not of darkness.

“God calls upon every young man and young woman to renounce every evil habit, to be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. They need not remain in indolence, making no effort to overcome wrong habits or to improve the conduct. The sincerity of their prayers will be proved by the vigor of the effort they make to obey God’s commands. At every step they may renounce evil habits and associations, believing that the Lord, by the power of His Spirit, will give them strength to overcome.” Messages to Young People, 369.

7 What results followed the twelve years of godly training given Moses by his mother? Exodus 2:5–10; Hebrews 11:23–26.

note: “The principles of truth, received in his [Moses] youth from God-fearing parents, were never forgotten by him. And when he most needed to be shielded from the corrupting influences attending a life at court, then the lessons in his youth bore fruit. The fear of God was before him. And so strong was his love for his brethren, and so great was his respect for the Hebrew faith, that he would not conceal his parentage for the honor of being an heir of the royal family.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 184, 185.

8 In the time of the judges, what example do we have of children whose home training was neglected? 1 Samuel 2:12–17, 34; 3:11–14.

note: “There is no greater curse upon households than to allow the youth to have their own way. When parents regard every wish of their children and indulge them in what they know is not for their good, the children soon lose all respect for their parents, all regard for the authority of God or man, and are led captive at the will of Satan. The influence of an ill-regulated family is widespread and disastrous to all society. It accumulates in a tide of evil that affects families, communities, and governments.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 579.

“When parents sanction and thus perpetuate the wrongs in their children as did Eli, God will surely bring them to the place where they will see that they have not only ruined their own influence, but also the influence of the youth whom they should have restrained. . . . They will have bitter lessons to learn.

“Oh, that the Eli’s of today, who are everywhere to be found pleading excuses for the waywardness of their children, would promptly assert their own God-given authority to restrain and correct them. Let parents and guardians, who overlook and excuse sin in those under their care, remember that they thus become accessory to these wrongs.” Child Guidance, 275, 276.

9 What early New Testament examples show the value of Christian training upon children? Luke 1:57–60, 80; 2:11, 40, 49–52.

note: “John [the Baptist] was the son of their [his parents] old age, he was a child of miracle, and the parents might have reasoned that he had a special work to do for the Lord and the Lord would take care of him. But the parents did not thus reason; they moved to a retired place in the country, where their son would not be exposed to the temptations of city life, or induced to depart from the counsel and instruction which they as parents would give him. They acted their part in developing a character in the child that would in every way meet the purpose for which God had designed his life. . . . They sacredly fulfilled their obligation.” Child Guidance, 23.

“The physical constitution of Jesus, as well as His spiritual development, is brought before us in these words, ‘the child grew,’ and ‘increased in stature.’ [Luke 2:40, 52.] In childhood and youth attention should be given to physical development. Parents should so train their children in good habits of eating and drinking, dressing, and exercise, that a good foundation will be laid for sound health in afterlife. The physical organism should have special care, that the powers of the body may not be dwarfed, but developed to their full extent. This places the children and youth in a favorable position, so that, with proper religious training, they may, like Christ, wax strong in spirit.” Ibid., 187.

10 That our children may be fully prepared for the Lord’s service, what should we daily be doing? Isaiah 28:9, 10.

note: “Parents should educate their children line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, not allowing any disregard of God’s holy law. They should rely upon divine power, asking the Lord to help them to keep their children true to Him who gave His only-begotten Son to bring the disloyal and disobedient back to their allegiance. God longs to pour upon men and women the rich current of His love. He longs to see them delighting to do His will, using every jot of their entrusted powers in His service, teaching all who come within the sphere of their influence that the way to be treated as righteous for Christ’s sake is to obey the law.” Child Guidance, 81.

11 What should every parent be able to say in the last great day? Hebrews 2:13, last half.

note: “In your work for your children take hold of the mighty power of God. Commit your children to the Lord in prayer. Work earnestly and untiringly for them. God will hear your prayers and will draw them to Himself. Then, at the last great day, you can bring them to God, saying, ‘Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given me.’ [Hebrews 2:13.]” The Adventist Home, 536.

12 What promise is given of a precious experience drawing parents and children together in the last days? How should parents relate themselves through their children to the giving of the closing message? Malachi 4:5, 6.

note: “Every son and daughter of God is called to be a missionary; we are called to the service of God and our fellow men; and to fit us for this service should be the object of our education.

“This object should ever be kept in view by Christian parents and teachers. We know not in what line our children may serve. They may spend their lives within the circle of the home; they may engage in life’s common vocations, or go as teachers of the gospel to heathen lands; but all are alike called to be missionaries for God, ministers of mercy to the world.” The Ministry of Healing, 395.

Bible Study Guides – The Blessing of Physical Health

January 29, 2006 – February 4, 2006

Key Text

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 277–286, 295–310, 237–240.


“Health is a blessing of which few appreciate the value; yet upon it the efficiency of our mental and physical powers largely depends. Our impulses and passions have their seat in the body, and it must be kept in the best condition physically and under the most spiritual influences in order that our talents may be put to the highest use.

“Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind and makes it less capable of discriminating between right and wrong. We become less capable of choosing the good and have less strength of will to do that which we know to be right.

“The misuse of our physical powers shortens the period of time in which our lives can be used for the glory of God. And it unfits us to accomplish the work God has given us to do. By allowing ourselves to form wrong habits, by keeping late hours, by gratifying appetite at the expense of health, we lay the foundation for feebleness. By neglecting physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system. Those who thus shorten their lives and unfit themselves for service by disregarding nature’s laws, are guilty of robbery toward God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 346.

1 What wish concerning our health did the Saviour express through His servant John? 111 John 2.

note: “The Saviour in His miracles revealed the power that is continually at work in man’s behalf, to sustain and to heal him. Through the agencies of nature, God is working, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, to keep us alive, to build up and restore us. When any part of the body sustains injury, a healing process is at once begun; nature’s agencies are set at work to restore soundness. But the power working through these agencies is the power of God. All life-giving power is from Him. When one recovers from disease, it is God who restores him.” The Ministry of Healing, 112, 113.

2 What did God promise to do for Israel if they served Him faithfully? Exodus 23:25; 15:26. Compare Matthew 8:17.

note: “Had they [the children of Israel] been willing to deny appetite in obedience to His [God’s] restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed physical and mental strength. They would have had clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment. But they were unwilling to submit to God’s requirements, and they failed to reach the standard He had set for them, and to receive the blessings that might have been theirs. They murmured at God’s restrictions, and lusted after the fleshpots of Egypt. God let them have flesh, but it proved a curse to them.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 378.

3 To make it possible for Israel to enjoy the best of health, and to insure them against the physical evils of surrounding nations, what provision did God make for them? Leviticus 20:22, 23; Deuteronomy 23:14. (See Leviticus 11–15, 17.)

note: “Their [the children of Israel] obedience to the laws of God would make them marvels of prosperity before the nations of the world. He who could give them wisdom and skill in all cunning work would continue to be their teacher and would ennoble and elevate them through obedience to His laws. If obedient, they would be preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations and would be blessed with vigor of intellect. The glory of God, His majesty and power, were to be revealed in all their prosperity. They were to be a kingdom of priests and princes. God furnished them with every facility for becoming the greatest nation on the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 222.

4 What resulted when Israel did obey God? Psalm 105:37, last half.

note: “Christ had been the guide and teacher of ancient Israel, and He taught them that health is the reward of obedience to the laws of God. The Great Physician who healed the sick in Palestine had spoken to His people from the pillar of cloud, telling them what they must do, and what God would do for them. ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God,’ He said, ‘and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.’ Exodus 15:26. Christ gave to Israel definite instruction in regard to their habits of life, and He assured them, ‘The Lord will take away from thee all sickness.’ Deuteronomy 7:15. When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified to them.” The Desire of Ages, 824.

5 What does the psalmist say the Lord does for His people? Psalm 103:2, 3. While upon earth, what similar work did our Lord do for the people? Matthew 4:23.

note: “Jesus came to ‘destroy the works of the devil.’ ‘In Him was life,’ and He says, ‘I am come that they

might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ He is ‘a quickening spirit.’ 1 John 3:8; John 1:4; 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:45. And He still has the same life-giving power as when on earth He healed the sick, and spoke forgiveness to the sinner. He ‘forgiveth all thine iniquities,’ He ‘healeth all thy diseases.’ Psalm 103:3.” The Desire of Ages, 270.

6 What are our bodies said to be? What are we urged to do? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

note: “God requires all men to render their bodies to Him a living sacrifice, not a dead or a dying sacrifice, a sacrifice which their own course of action is debilitating, filling with impurities and disease. God calls for a living sacrifice. The body, He tells us, is the temple of the Holy Ghost, the habitation of His Spirit, and He requires all who bear His image to take care of their bodies for the purpose of His service and His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 70.

7 What will be the result of defiling God’s temple? 1 Corinthians 3:17.

note: “Israel’s sin at Beth-peor brought the judgments of God upon the nation, and though the same sins may not now be punished as speedily, they will as surely meet retribution. [1 Corinthians 3:17, first half, quoted.] Nature has affixed terrible penalties to these crimes—penalties which, sooner or later, will be inflicted upon every transgressor. It is these sins more than any other that have caused the fearful degeneracy of our race, and the weight of disease and misery with which the world is cursed. Men may succeed in concealing their transgression from their fellow men, but they will no less surely reap the result, in suffering, disease, imbecility, or death. And beyond this life stands the tribunal of the judgment, with its award of eternal penalties.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 461.

8 Whose life and example illustrate the stand every loyal Christian should take relative to physical health? Daniel 1:8–16.

note: “When Daniel was required to partake of the luxuries of the king’s table, he did not fly into a passion, neither did he express a determination to eat and drink as he pleased. Without speaking one word of defiance, he took the matter to God. He and his companions sought wisdom from the Lord, and when they came forth from earnest prayer their decision was made. With true courage and Christian courtesy, Daniel presented the case to the officer who had them in charge, asking that they might be granted a simple diet. These youth felt that their religious principles were at stake, and they relied upon God, whom they loved and served. Their request was granted, for they had obtained favor with God and with men.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 263.

9 For what purpose do men enter into training for athletic contests? How definitely will the one who gives himself to God’s service consecrate his physical powers? What objective did the apostle have in mind in subjecting his body to rigid discipline? 1 Corinthians 9:24–27.

note: “Those who ran the earthly race only ran at a venture. They might do the very best they could, and yet after all not receive the token of honor; for another might be a little in advance of them, and take the prize. Only one received the prize. But in the heavenly race we can all run and all receive the prize. There is no uncertainty, no risk, in the matter. We must put on the heavenly graces, and, with the eye directed upward to the crown of immortality, keep the Pattern ever before us.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 358.

10 How much does true temperance include?

Diet: Ecclesiastes 10:17.

note: “Those foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice, appetite is not a safe guide. Through wrong habits of eating, the appetite has become perverted. Often it demands food that impairs health and causes weakness instead of strength. We cannot safely be guided by the customs of society. The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.” The Ministry of Healing, 295.

Pure Water: Daniel 1:12.

note: “In health and in sickness, pure water is one of heaven’s choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system and assists nature to resist disease.” Ibid., 237.

Fresh Air: Genesis 2:15. Adam and Eve were placed in a fresh air environment.

note: “Impure air does not afford the necessary supply of oxygen, and the blood passes to the brain and other organs without being vitalized. Hence the necessity of thorough ventilation.” Ibid., 274.

“Air is the free blessing of Heaven; it invigorates the whole system. Deprived of pure air, the body becomes diseased, torpid, and enfeebled.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 160.

Rest: Mark 6:31; Ecclesiastes 5:12, first half; Matthew 11:28.

note: “When the laborer has been under a pressure of work and care, and is overworked in mind and body, he should turn aside and rest awhile, not for selfish gratification, but that he may be better prepared for future duties.” Christian Service, 247.

Exercise: Ecclesiastes 9:10.

note: “Each faculty of the mind and each muscle has its distinctive office, and all must be equally exercised in order to become properly developed and to retain healthful vigor.” Gospel Workers, 238.

“Proper periods of sleep and rest and an abundance of physical exercise are essential to health of body and mind. To rob nature of her hours for rest and recuperation, by allowing one man to do the work of four, or of three, or even of two, will result in irreparable loss.” Ibid., 423.

Dress: 1 Peter 3:3, 4.

note: “Our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming colors, and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display. It should provide warmth and proper protection. . . .

“In all respects the dress should be healthful.” The Ministry of Healing, 288.

Mental Peace: Proverbs 17:22; John 14:27.

note: “Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul.” Ibid., 241.

“When the sunlight of God’s love illuminates the darkened chambers of the soul, restless weariness and dissatisfaction will cease, and satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and energy to the body.” Ibid., 247.

11 What would have been the result had God’s people carefully followed His instructions? Deuteronomy 28:2–6.

note: “The Lord gave His word to ancient Israel, that if they would cleave strictly to Him and do all His requirements, He would keep them from all the diseases such as He had brought upon the Egyptians; but this promise was given on the condition of obedience. Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world’s object lesson of health and prosperity. . . . Like faithfulness today will produce like results.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 165.

12 What are we all admonished to do? 1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 12:1.

note: “Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with everyone should be, How can I invest my life so that it will yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow men? For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these objects. . . .

“Hence that time is spent to good account which is directed to the establishment and preservation of sound physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by overwork or by abuse of any part of the living machinery. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences.” Temperance, 137

Recipe – Walnut Balls

1 cup ground, raw potatoes
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup dry, whole wheat bread crumbs
3 onions, chopped
1 cup walnuts, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 cup soy cream cheese or soy sour cream (optional)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together, then form into balls. Put into a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes. After baking, you may use them with your favorite gravy, sauce, or as “meatballs” with spaghetti. The flavors are enhanced if the balls are allowed to set in the refrigerator for awhile before baking.

Food for Life – Animal Meats and Animal Products

Health reform, like other lifestyle changes, needs to come as a result of a desire in our hearts to serve God. The following quotations are a brief representation of the issue of use of animal meats and animal products. Be sure to look for the upcoming issues that will continue to look at this subject.

“The time has come when we must carry in our lives the influence that the Saviour carried in his life. We are to instruct and educate the suffering ones how to resist disease, by teaching them how to eat and drink and live healthfully, and how to love and fear God. By reading and studying the Word of God, those who in their hearts desire to serve God will learn to discard the habits that are ruining the health of body and soul.” Review and Herald, January 21, 1909.

“In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. . . . Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator.” Child Guidance, 380.

“Therefore light must be given to the best methods of introducing health reform. Meat is the greatest disease breeder that can be introduced into the human system. But you can not touch health reform unless you present the most inexpensive methods of living. The enemy must have no advantage in any line. The Lord can only bless those who are keeping every precept he has given in relation to this life.” Spalding and Magan Collection, 136, 137.

“When flesh food is discarded, its place should be supplied with a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, that will be both nourishing and appetizing. This is especially necessary in the case of those who are weak, or who are taxed with continuous labor.” Child Guidance, 384.

“It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning.” Ibid.

Restoring the Temple – Condiments and Fats

Under the head of stimulants and narcotics is classed a great variety of articles that, altogether, used as food or drink, irritate the stomach, poison the blood, and excite the nerves. Their use is a positive evil. Men seek the excitement of stimulants, because, for the time, the results are agreeable. But there is always a reaction. The use of unnatural stimulants always tends to excess, and it is an active agent in promoting physical degeneration and decay.

“In this fast age, the less exciting the food, the better. Condiments are injurious in their nature. Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and other things of a like character, irritate the stomach and make the blood feverish and impure. The inflamed condition of the drunkard’s stomach is often pictured as illustrating the effect of alcoholic liquors. A similarly inflamed condition is produced by the use of irritating condiments. Soon ordinary food does not satisfy the appetite. The system feels a want, a craving, for something more stimulating. . . .

Spices Irritate the Stomach and Cause Unnatural Cravings

“Our tables should bear only the most wholesome food, free from every irritating substance. The appetite for liquor is encouraged by the preparation of food with condiments and spices. These cause a feverish state of the system, and drink is demanded to allay the irritation. . . . Food should be prepared in as simple a manner as possible, free from condiments and spices, and even from an undue amount of salt. . . .

“You have perhaps seen a picture of the stomach of one who is addicted to strong drink. A similar condition is produced under the irritating influence of fiery spices. With the stomach in such a state, there is a craving for something more to meet the demands of the appetite, something stronger, and still stronger. . . .

Their Use a Cause of Faintness

“Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the natural sensitiveness of this delicate membrane. The blood becomes fevered, the animal propensities are aroused, while the moral and intellectual powers are weakened, and become servants to the baser passions. The mother should study to set a simple yet nutritious diet before her family. . . .

“With all the precious light that has continually been given to us in the health publications, we cannot afford to live careless, heedless lives, eating and drinking as we please, and indulging in the use of stimulants, narcotics, and condiments. Let us take into consideration the fact that we have souls to save or to lose, and that it is of vital consequence how we relate ourselves to the question of temperance. It is of great importance that individually we act well our part, and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink, and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether we will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence. . . .

Soda and Baking Powder

“The use of soda or baking powder in breadmaking is harmful and unnecessary. Soda causes inflammation of the stomach, and often poisons the entire system.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 339–342.


“Do not eat largely of salt, avoid the use of pickles and spiced foods, eat an abundance of fruit, and the irritation that calls for so much drink at mealtime will largely disappear.

“Food should be prepared in such a way that it will be appetizing as well as nourishing. It should not be robbed of that which the system needs. . . .

“I use some salt, and always have, because from the light given me by God, this article, in the place of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood. The whys and wherefores of this I know not, but I give you the instruction as it is given me.” Ibid., 344.

Pickles and Vinegar

“The blood-making organs cannot convert spices, mince pies, pickles, and diseased flesh meats into good blood. . . .

“The salads are prepared with oil and vinegar, fermentation takes place in the stomach, and the food does not digest, but decays or putrefies; as a consequence, the blood is not nourished, but becomes filled with impurities, and liver and kidney difficulties appear.” Ibid., 345.


“Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth.

“God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things. Let our people discard all unwholesome recipes.

“Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking; but, as a rule, it is better to dispense with it altogether.

Replacing With Olives and Nuts

“Olives may be so prepared as to be eaten with good results at every meal. The advantages sought by the use of butter may be obtained by the eating of properly prepared olives. The oil in the olives relieves constipation, and for consumptives, and for those who have inflamed, irritated stomachs, it is better than any drug. As a food it is better than any oil coming secondhand from animals.” Ibid., 349.

Allow Others Their Convictions

“The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded. There are poor families whose diet consists largely of bread and milk. They have little fruit, and cannot afford to purchase the nut foods. In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet.

“We must remember that there are a great many different minds in the world, and we cannot expect every one to see exactly as we do in regard to all questions of diet. Minds do not run in exactly the same channel. I do not eat butter, but there are members of my family who do. It is not placed on my table; but I make no disturbance because some members of my family choose to eat it occasionally. . . .

“Those who love and serve God should be allowed to follow their own convictions. We may not feel justified in doing as they do, but we should not allow differences of opinion to create disunion.” Ibid., 351, 352.

Nature Nugget – Brood Parasitism

About one percent of the 9,000 plus bird species on this planet does not construct nests and raise their own young. These birds pawn this job off onto birds of other species. They do this by laying their eggs in other birds’ nests, letting them do the incubating and rearing for them.

In North America, the three species of cowbirds are well known for this behavior. Bronzed Cowbirds are found in the southwestern United States and along the Gulf Coast as far east as Louisiana. The Shiny Cowbird is native to the Caribbean area and is currently expanding its range through Florida and along the Gulf Coast as far west as Texas. The Brown-headed Cowbird is found throughout the United States and most of Canada. It is known to parasitize the nests of more than 200 bird species and lay up to 40 eggs per year.

When a cowbird parasitizes a nest, it removes one of the host species’ eggs and replaces it with one of its own eggs. The cowbird egg has a shorter incubation period, which means it will usually hatch before the other eggs do. The cowbird young also grows faster than the host species’ young and will dominate the food brought to the nest. If there is a plentiful supply of food, all the young will survive. If not, only the cowbird young will survive.

Brown-headed Cowbirds are birds of open country, preferring to feed around livestock. In spite of being an open country bird, they will penetrate dense forested areas a short distance to lay their eggs in the nests of birds living there. But woodland birds living deep in the forests far from open areas are safe from the cowbirds. Before the settling of North America, the eastern part of this country was heavily forested, and the Brown-headed Cowbirds were found only on the Great Plains where they followed buffalo herds around and were not very common.

Most species of birds that occurred with the cowbirds on the Great Plains were used to the cowbirds parasitizing their nests and were not easily fooled by a strange egg showing up in the nest. They would usually respond by either abandoning the nest, removing the cowbird’s egg, or building a new nest layer over the top of the cowbird egg. Enough birds were fooled to keep a small population of cowbirds surviving.

With the settling of eastern North America, the vast forests were opened up and fragmented for farming and livestock. This allowed the cowbird to invade the area, where it quickly adapted to feeding around livestock in place of buffalo. The eastern forest birds in this area were not used to the cowbird’s nest parasitism and were easily fooled by them, resulting in a population explosion for the cowbirds and a decrease in the host species populations. Only the birds that lived deep in the few large, unfragmented-forested areas left were safe from the cowbirds. Most of the eastern host species are slowly adapting to the cowbirds, but a few species are not and are threatened or endangered because of habitat loss and cowbird brood parasitism.

Just as the only birds that are safe from the cowbird’s attack are the ones living deep in the forests out of their reach, so the only people who are safe from Satan’s attacks are those who dwell in the arms of Jesus. “Dangers and perils surround us; and we are only safe when we feel our weakness and cling with the grasp of faith to our mighty Deliverer.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 473. “Our only safety is in keeping fast hold of Jesus. Never are we to lose sight of Him.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 59.

David Arbour writes from his home in DeQueen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

The Pen of Inspiration – Thoughts for the New Year

A new year has dawned upon us. What is the character of the history that has been recorded in heaven, as day by day has glided by with its burden of good or evil? Have not many of you, my brethren and sisters, a spotted record to meet? Have you not failed to improve many of the opportunities which the old year afforded you for forming correct habits and building right characters? Have you made of yourselves all that God designed you should? Do you know more of the truth than you did one year ago? Have you practiced self-control, seeking daily to be sanctified through the truth, that your life might reflect light upon the pathway of others?

God has left each one a work to do for himself. Have you been faithful in this work? Have you studied to conform your character in every particular to the law of God? Have you sought to discover and remedy every defect in yourselves that would have a tendency to lead others from the path of strict rectitude? Has your life been so molded by the word and Spirit of God as to make you a blessing to all with whom you associate?

You are in danger from corruption within and temptation without. There are evil habits and traits of character which are constantly inclining you to selfishness and weakness of principle. During the past year, Satan has been diligent in his efforts to turn you away from beholding yourselves; and many of you have erred in leaving God’s own established standard to follow an imperfect one of your own devising. But none need err from the way, for God has given his own beloved Son to be our guide to Paradise. We are to copy his pure, spotless, and holy life; and through his grace we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Year by year increasing light is shining upon our pathway. . . . If that light has been faithfully improved, we may look for still greater light in the year that is before us. Dear brethren and sisters, the increased light that you receive places you under greater obligation to God. Your Christian growth should be in accordance with the privileges you enjoy. Each day as it passes should find you better prepared to meet new trials and bear new responsibilities. Do you appreciate this fact? Do you realize your duty to others? Consider the influence that every word and act of your life may have upon those around you. A lasting impression may be made, which will react upon yourself in blessing or in cursing. This thought gives an awful solemnity to life, and should drive us to God in humble prayer that he will guide us by his wisdom.

If all could realize this subject as it has been presented to me, many would live much more carefully than they now do. It is easy for professed Christians to extol Jesus, his perfections and his loveliness, while, under the appearance of great devotion, they are very exacting toward others, exercising over them an iron rule. It is easy for them to talk of the truth, and the importance of keeping the commandments of God, when they have never made a practical application of the principles of truth in their every-day life. They have not made a success of serving God, and so have lost the precious comfort and support which is derived from communion with him.

We belong to Jesus. He has bought us with his precious blood; and we owe him a debt of gratitude which we can never repay, but which we should daily acknowledge by willing, unselfish service. If we realize this as we should, we shall be Christlike. Like him, we shall deny self that we may do others good. But during the past year, how much time has been devoted to self-serving that ought to have been given to the Lord. How much money has been needlessly expended on trifles to gratify taste and please the eye. How much has been spent for the gratification of appetite, when plain, simple food would have been better and more nourishing, giving greater physical and mental strength.

Some have failed to present to God the tithes and offerings which belong to him. Such should awaken to a sense of their duty. The words of the prophet Malachi apply to them: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:8–12.]

Wherever there has been any neglect on your part to give back to the Lord his own, repent with contrition of soul, and make restitution, lest his curse rest upon you. Many are in a cold, backslidden state on account of their robbery of God; and now the Lord calls upon them to redeem the past. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,” he says, “and prove me now herewith.” When you have done what you can on your part, withholding nothing that belongs to your Maker, you may ask him to provide means to send the message of truth to the world. The work of God would have been much farther advanced than it now is, had each member of the church suitably expressed his gratitude to God for the priceless gift of eternal life through Christ.

To each of us some work is assigned in the vineyard of the Lord. There is enough for all to do; none need stand idle. Have you been faithful in your appointed task, doing what you could to win others to the truth? How many have been led to the cross of Christ through your individual efforts? Have you by precept and example pointed your fellowmen to the Lamb of God, or have you, by assimilating to the world, directed their thoughts and affections into a wrong channel?

Many of you have made great mistakes the last year; will you repeat these mistakes during the year upon which you have just entered? Human judgment is finite; and men in their blind self-will often trust to their own opinion, and take a course that cuts directly across the path of God’s providence, and defeats his ends. You need to examine yourself carefully to see what is the tendency of your course. The Spirit of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and it will reveal to you your standing and the nature of your work.

God alone can tell what will transpire during the year . . . . It may be in our lives and in the history of our cause more eventful than any that has preceded it. . . . Evidences that the Lord is at work should not lead us to settle down satisfied and at ease. The light of truth is to go into remote and darkened corners of the earth. Each unfolding of his providence, each token that his hand is in the work to move it forward with power, is designed to arouse us to greater zeal and earnestness, while we look for still more wonderful and glorious triumphs of the truth in the future.

Will each of you who believe present truth earnestly inquire, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” His Spirit is at work upon minds, preparing them to receive the truth. Let your efforts be fully up with the openings of his providence. Do something, do it now; and let the record of the new year be one that you will not be ashamed to meet.

Review and Herald, January 20, 1885.

Ask the Pastor – Can you please explain the last two verses of John 14?


Can you please explain the last two verses of John 14?


John 14 was the last effort Jesus put forth to explain to His disciples what was going to take place to finalize the plan of salvation. These last two verses unfold the deep commitment of Jesus and express the surety of victory over the devil who had brought so much woe, misery, and death to God’s creation.

The context of these verses centers in the promise of the Holy Spirit, who would be sent by the Father to teach them right and those things they did not understand and to instruct them continually in what was essential for their salvation and victory. (Verses 25, 26.)

In addition to the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus also promised them peace—a peace which would far surpass anything that the world was capable of giving. (Verses 27, 28.) The two promises Jesus had just spoken to them, of the Holy Spirit and of peace, are followed by a command of not being troubled or being afraid. If we somehow could just grasp these truths, then obeying this command would be a very simple matter.

Jesus then repeats to them what He had already told them earlier in the chapter about going away. The reason for this was to establish the truth of His word prophetically. Once the prophetic word has been established in the heart, the mind is set on fire to tell others what is true.

Coming now to the last two verses, Jesus says that He is not going to speak much longer with them, because the prince of this world is coming. Here Jesus is saying that He has already given them all the information necessary to make it through to the end. Nothing more, essentially, can be added at this point. The devil is on his way to bring the final test. What the important question now is, Have they learned the lessons that He has taught them? Jesus has learned and is able to go through, because He has been obedient to His Father.

His obedience has come because He loves His Father. This is the only place in Scripture where Jesus declares His love for the Father. The Father has stated in other texts that He loves the Son, but this is the only one where Jesus says this. Love produces obedience to the Father. If there is no love, there will be no will to do the Father’s wishes. Jesus is saying that He has done exactly what the Father has asked of Him, because He loves the Father.

This is an important aspect that many people do not learn. They may say that they love God or that they love their parents, but they do not do what is asked of them. As a result, they are always falling into trouble, which the devil brings, and have no defense, because they are not obedient to God or to their parents. This text spells out for us just how important it is to learn obedience, first to our parents’ wishes and then to God’s wishes, as we grow and mature in life. If we fail in this, then our whole life will end up in chaos. We may think everything is okay, but if we are not obedient to the Father, we will suffer loss. That is the point Jesus is making as He closes this section of Scripture.

Pastor Mike Baugher is a retired minister of the gospel. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.