Bible Study Guides – Reformation in the Home

February 19, 2017 – February 25, 2017

Key Text

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace” (Psalm 144:12).

Study Help: The Adventist Home, 317–325.


“Children are what their parents make them by their instruction, discipline, and example. Hence the overwhelming importance of parental faithfulness in training the young for the service of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 37.



  • Upon whom has God laid a grave responsibility to begin a work of reformation? Malachi 4:6; Psalm 78:5–7.

Note: “Could parents realize the great responsibility resting upon them when their children are innocent babes in the home, much sin and misery might be averted; temperance would then be taught at the fire-side and the table would afford practical lessons repeated every day. Line upon line, precept upon precept, children should be taught the necessity of self-control and self-denial; and then true reform would make rapid progress.” The Health Reformer, May 1, 1877.

  • Where is the source of the parents’ wisdom? Ephesians 1:17; James 1:5.

Note: “Let parents take their Bibles, and search that they may understand what are the requirements of God in regard to their children. Let them seek to understand what is included in parental duty. The word of God must be our rule in conducting our family affairs.” Christian Education, 230, 231.

“By prayer, by study of the Bible, and by earnest zeal on their part, they [parents] may succeed nobly in this important duty, and be repaid a hundredfold for all their time and care.” Child Guidance, 64.



  • What does the Lord intend to happen with the faith of the parents? Proverbs 22:6; 2 Timothy 1:5.

Note: “As you faithfully do your duty in the home, the father as a priest of the household, the mother as a home missionary, you are multiplying agencies for doing good outside of the home. As you improve your own powers, you are becoming better fitted to labor in the church and in the neighborhood. By binding your children to yourselves and to God, fathers and mothers and children become laborers together with God.” Counsels on Health, 430.

  • What should you do if you have failed to make God first in your life and in your home? 1 John 1:9; James 5:16.

Note: “If you [parents] have failed in your duty to your family, confess your sins before God. Gather your children about you, and acknowledge your neglect. Tell them that you desire to bring about a reformation in the home, and ask them to help you to make the home what it ought to be. Read to them the directions found in the word of God. Pray with them; and ask God to spare their lives, and to help them to prepare for a home in His kingdom. Thus you may begin and continue a work of true reform.” The Review and Herald, April 21, 1904.

  • As we commit ourselves fully to God, what will be the result of our faithfulness? Psalm 51:9–13; Isaiah 60:2, 3; Acts 16:5.

Note: “When the great light that God has given shines forth through human agencies, a great work will be done. In demonstration of the Spirit, and with power, the truth will be revealed in clear, distinct lines. But this work must begin in the home.

“As the right work is done in the home, parents will find their hearts subdued and melted. Strange prejudices that have been cherished by brethren and sisters in the church, prejudices that have borne evil fruit, will be overcome, and will disappear. A spirit of candor will come in, a spirit after Christ’s likeness. God’s people will give up the tenacious desire to have their own way and to urge their own ideas; for they will realize that they are in the presence of God’s Son.” The Review and Herald, July 15, 1902.



  • When reformation takes place in the home, how will this be reflected upon the church? Ephesians 5:27; Titus 2:14; Psalm 144:14, second part, 15.

Note: “In the home the foundation is laid for the prosperity of the church. The influences that rule in the home life are carried into the church life; therefore church duties should first begin in the home.” The Adventist Home, 318.

“He [the Lord] desires that the work of reformation shall begin in the home, with the fathers and mothers, and then the Church will realize the Holy Spirit’s working. The influence of this work will go through the Church like leaven. Fathers and mothers need converting. They have not educated themselves to mold and fashion the characters of their children aright.” The Review and Herald, March 18, 1902.

“God measures church-members by what they are in the home. When Christ’s words are obeyed in the home, the influence extends to the church.” Ibid., July 21, 1903.

  • How does the influence of a man in his home affect his usefulness in the church? 1 Timothy 3:5. How does this affect his hope of eternal life? Matthew 25:21.

Note: “He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that as a father he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. …

“He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd to the flock of God in the church.” Reflecting Christ, 179.

“The life on earth is the beginning of the life in heaven; education on earth is an initiation into the principles of heaven; the lifework here is a training for the lifework there. What we now are, in character and holy service is the sure foreshadowing of what we shall be.” The Adventist Home, 535.

“The great reformative movement must begin in the home. Obedience to God’s law is the great incentive to industry, economy, truthfulness, and just dealing between man and man.” Child Guidance, 489.



  • When our heart is touched by the Spirit of God, how will we respond? Isaiah 6:8.

Note: “When God would have a special work done for the advancement of the truth, He will impress men to work in the mines of truth with prayerful earnestness to discover the precious ore. These men will have Christlike perseverance. They will not fail or be discouraged. They will sink self out of sight in Jesus. Men will go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way for the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is their work to make crooked things straight. Some things must be torn down, some things must be built up. The old treasures must be reset in a framework of truth. They are to preach God’s word; their testimony must not be molded by the opinions and ideas that have been regarded as sound, but by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. They are to lift up Christ and call sinners to repentance, … urging upon all their personal responsibility to be kind and courteous, to do good and to win souls to Jesus.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 169.

  • What will be the living proof of a renewed heart? 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10; Matthew 5:16.

Note: “If the heart has been renewed by the Spirit of God, the life will bear witness to the fact. … A change will be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits. The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are. The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.” Steps to Christ, 57, 58.

“The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of His only-begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness; and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to His love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return? … We need an increase of faith. We must wait, we must watch, we must pray, we must work, pleading that the Holy Ghost may be poured out upon us abundantly, that we may be lights in the world.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 198, 199.



  • In view of Christ’s soon coming, what is the message to be given today? Zephaniah 1:14; Amos 4:12.

Note: “As a people who believe in Christ’s soon appearing, we have a message to bear—‘Prepare to meet thy God’ (Amos 4:12).” Testimonies, vol. 8, 332.

  • How extensive is the work of giving the gospel message? Isaiah 61:10, 11; Matthew 24:14; Revelation 14:6.

Note: “The time has come when the message of Christ’s soon coming is to sound throughout the world.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 24.

  • How is this message to be given? Acts 4:29–31.

Note: “Today we need to speak the truth with holy boldness.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 52.

“The trumpet must give a certain sound, for we are in the great day of the Lord’s preparation.” Evangelism, 218.

“From these chosen men of God [who are His faithful ambassadors] the truth will shine forth. It will be heard from their lips, reflected in their countenances, and demonstrated in their lives. They will be marked by purity and uncorruptness. The grace of Christ has a refining, ennobling influence on the character.” Reflecting Christ, 347.



1 How can parents begin a work of reformation in their homes?

2 As you faithfully fulfill your duties at home, where else will you be able to labor more effectively?

3 How does God measure us?

4 How can we be lights in this world?

5 What is involved in communicating the truth to the world?

Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Where Reformation Begins

February 12, 2017 – February 18, 2017

Key Text

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Study Help: Counsels on Diet and Foods, 15–27.


“Revivals brought deep heart-searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner, by yearning compassion for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Men and women prayed and wrestled with God for the salvation of souls.” The Great Controversy, 462.



  • Where must be our first work when beginning a spiritual reformation? 2 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 8:10.

Note: “True reformation begins with soul cleansing. Our work for the fallen will achieve real success only as the grace of Christ reshapes the character and the soul is brought into living connection with God.” The Ministry of Healing, 180.

  • What inward working power is essential to accomplish an outward reformation? Titus 3:5; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

Note: “It is the still, small voice of the Spirit of God that has power to change the heart.” Prophets and Kings, 169.

“The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed, and always will fail. God’s plan with you is to begin at the very seat of all difficulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principles of righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 35.



  • What do we see in Christ’s example? Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 2:21–23.

Note: “The law condemns all sin, and requires all virtue. It demands of man an outward respect, and it requires purity of soul. ‘Behold,’ writes the psalmist, ‘thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom’ (Psalm 51:6). The law was exemplified in the life of Christ. He is a pattern for all humanity. He lived the law. His purity and beneficence, His devotion to the truth, and His zeal for God’s glory reveal the perfection of the law. His every act was a revelation of the glory of the Father. He was all that the law required Him to be.” The Review and Herald, February 26, 1901.

“Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s law, and in this He set an example for every human being. The life that He lived in this world we are to live through His power and under His instruction.” The Ministry of Healing, 180.

  • In what way does beholding transform us? 2 Corinthians 3:18; Psalm 119:11.

Note: “By beholding Christ we become changed. If the mind dwells upon temporal things constantly, these things become all-absorbing, affecting the character, so that God’s glory is lost sight of and forgotten. The opportunities that are within reach for them to become conversant with heavenly things, are overlooked. Spiritual life dies.” Sons and Daughters of God, 105.

“In order to give such a message as John gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We must behold God, and in beholding Him, lose sight of self.” Gospel Workers, 55.

“The heart preoccupied with the word of God is fortified against Satan. Those who make Christ their daily companion and familiar friend will feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around them; and by looking unto Jesus they will become assimilated to His image. By beholding they become changed to the divine pattern; their character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 616.



  • When we see that a reform is necessary, what is the first step to take? Mark 8:34; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Note: “The teaching of John aroused in the hearts of many a great desire to have a part in the blessings that Christ was to bring, and they received the truth. … Nothing save a vehement desire, a determined will, a fixedness of purpose, could resist the moral darkness that covered the earth as the pall of death. In order to obtain the blessings that it was their privilege to have, they must work earnestly, they must deny self.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 17, 1900.

“When the Spirit of God, with its marvelous awakening power, touches the soul, it abases human pride. Worldly pleasure and position and power are seen to be worthless. … Then humility and self-sacrificing love, so little valued among men, are exalted as alone of worth. This is the work of the gospel, of which John’s message was a part.” The Desire of Ages, 135.

  • How extensive is the work of self-renunciation? Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15; John 3:30.

Note: “Looking in faith to the Redeemer, John had risen to the height of self-abnegation. He sought not to attract men to himself, but to lift their thoughts higher and still higher, until they should rest upon the Lamb of God. He himself had been only a voice, a cry in the wilderness. Now with joy he accepted silence and obscurity, that the eyes of all might be turned to the Light of life.” Gospel Workers, 56.

  • What should be the attitude of a true messenger of God? Romans 14:7, 8; Galatians 2:20.

Note: “Those who are true to their calling as messengers of God, will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. They will recognize that it is their work to proclaim, as did John the Baptist, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).” Gospel Workers, 56.



  • How does diet help toward a more effective work? 1 Corinthians 9:25–27. When and where is this work to be applied? Philippians 2:5; 2 Peter 1:5–8.

Note: “The great work of Temperance Reform, to be thoroughly successful, must begin in the home.” The Review and Herald, August 23, 1877.

“The light of health reform is opened before the people of God at this day, that they may see the necessity of holding their appetites and passions under control of the higher powers of the mind. This is also necessary, that they may have mental strength and clearness, to discern the sacred chain of truth, and turn from the bewitching errors and pleasing fables, that are flooding the world.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 44.

“The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God’s word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ’s second coming.” The Desire of Ages, 101.

  • How should we encourage the youth to control their thoughts? Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:13.

Note: “We have each of us an individual work to do, to gird up the loins of our minds, to be sober, to watch unto prayer. The mind must be firmly controlled to dwell upon subjects that will strengthen the moral powers. The youth should begin early to cultivate correct habits of thought. We should discipline the mind to think in a healthful channel, and not permit it to dwell upon things that are evil. The psalmist exclaims, ‘Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer’ (Psalm 19:14). As God works upon the heart by His Holy Spirit, man must co-operate with Him. 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, if the words of the mouth are to be words acceptable to heaven, and helpful to your associates.” The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.



  • What do we need to understand in order to be successful in winning souls to Christ? Luke 14:8–11; John 3:30.

Note: “Before honor is humility. To fill a high place before men, Heaven chooses the worker who, like John the Baptist, takes a lowly place before God. The most childlike disciple is the most efficient in labor for God. The heavenly intelligences can co-operate with him who is seeking, not to exalt self, but to save souls. He who feels most deeply his need of divine aid will plead for it; and the Holy Spirit will give unto him glimpses of Jesus that will strengthen and uplift the soul. From communion with Christ he will go forth to work for those who are perishing in their sins. He is anointed for his mission; and he succeeds where many of the learned and intellectually wise would fail.” The Desire of Ages, 436.

  • What is needed in the church today? 1 Peter 5:5, 6.

Note: “The precious grace of humility is sadly wanting in the ministry and the church. Men who preach the truth think too highly of their own abilities. True humility will lead a man to exalt Christ and the truth, and to realize his utter dependence upon the God of truth. It is painful to learn lessons of humility, yet nothing is more beneficial in the end. The pain attendant upon learning lessons of humility is in consequence of our being elated by a false estimate of ourselves, so that we are unable to see our great need.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 378.



1 What does it mean to have a change of heart, and how can we have this change?

2 How can we follow Jesus’ example in living a life of perfect obedience to God’s law?

3 When the Spirit of God touches the soul, what happens?

4 How can we control our thoughts, and how will this affect our words?

5 How does humility help us in our ministry for others?

Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Another Elijah

February 5, 2017 – February 11, 2017

Key Text

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5, 6).

Study Help: Counsels on Diet and Foods, 225–247.


“In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. Just such a work as that which John did, is to be carried on in these last days.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1184.



  • What significance is there to the times in which we are now living? Malachi 4:1, 5.

Note: “He [John the Baptist] was a representative of those living in these last days, to whom God has entrusted sacred truths to present before the people, to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ. John was a reformer.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 70.

  • What kind of service is called for as we face the end of time? 2 Peter 3:11; Luke 16:13; 10:27.

Note: “He who would build up a strong, symmetrical character, he who would be a well-balanced Christian, must give all and do all for Christ; for the Redeemer will not accept divided service.” The Acts of the Apostles, 483.

“We must work with one spirit, even with the mind of Christ; and if we do this, new life will come into the church.” The Review and Herald, November 29, 1898.



  • What is the responsibility of a watchman? Ezekiel 33:6–9.

Note: “The watchmen anciently placed upon the walls of Jerusalem and other cities occupied a most responsible position. Upon their faithfulness depended the safety of all within those cities. When danger was apprehended, they were not to keep silent day nor night. Every few moments they were required to call to one another to see if all were awake and no harm had come to any. Sentinels were stationed upon some eminence overlooking the important posts to be guarded, and the cry of warning or of good cheer was sounded from them. This was borne from one to another, each repeating the words, till it went the entire rounds of the city.

“These watchmen represent the ministry, upon whose fidelity depends the salvation of souls.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 402, 403.

“It is now no time to relax our efforts, to become tame and spiritless; no time to hide our light under a bushel, to speak smooth things, to prophesy deceit. No, no; there is no place for sleepy watchmen on the walls of Zion. Every power is to be employed wholly and entirely for God.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 720.

  • What should we consider as we view the times in which we live today? 1 Corinthians 15:34; Romans 13:11, 12.

Note: “My brethren, we are living in a most solemn period of this earth’s history. There is never time to sin; it is always perilous to continue in transgression; but in a special sense is this true at the present time. We are now upon the very borders of the eternal world and stand in a more solemn relation to time and to eternity than ever before.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 147.

“Enoch had temptations as well as we. … He was unsullied with the prevailing sins of the age in which he lived. So may we remain pure and uncorrupted. He was a representative of the saints who live amid the perils and corruptions of the last days. For his faithful obedience to God he was translated. So, also, the faithful, who are alive and remain, will be translated. They will be removed from a sinful and corrupt world to the pure joys of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 122.



  • Who is to proclaim the final gospel messages? 2 Timothy 4:2; Revelation 14:6, 7; Malachi 3:1.

Note: “[Revelation 14:6, 7 quoted.] This message is declared to be a part of ‘the everlasting gospel’ (Revelation 14:6). The work of preaching the gospel has not been committed to angels but has been entrusted to men. Holy angels have been employed in directing this work, they have in charge the great movements for the salvation of men; but the actual proclamation of the gospel is performed by the servants of Christ upon the earth.” The Great Controversy, 311, 312.

  • What shows that we are to prepare the way for Christ’s second advent, as John the Baptist did for His first advent? Isaiah 40:3; John 1:23; Hebrews 12:13.

Note: “The work of John the Baptist represents the work for these times. His work, and the work of those who go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to arouse the people from their apathy, are the same in many respects. Christ is to come the second time to judge the world in righteousness. The messengers of God who bear the last message of warning to be given to the world are to prepare the way for Christ’s second advent as John prepared the way for His first advent.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 17, 1900.

  • Why is preparation required? Hebrews 12:14; Luke 12:39.

Note: “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 desires His people to prepare for the soon-coming crisis. Prepared or unprepared, they must all meet it; and those only who have brought their lives into conformity to the divine standard will stand firm at that time of test and trial.” The Acts of the Apostles, 431, 432.



  • What is the special work parents are called to do? Luke 1:13–17; Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “An angel from heaven came to instruct Zacharias and Elizabeth as to how they should train and educate their child, so as to work in harmony with God in preparing a messenger to announce the coming of Christ. As parents they were to faithfully cooperate with God in forming such a character in John as would fit him to perform the part God had assigned him as a competent worker. John was the son of their 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. By no careless neglect on their part shall their son fail to become good and wise, [Luke 1:79 quoted].” The Signs of the Times, April 16, 1896.

  • What special personal work is each one called to do? Malachi 4:4–6.

Note: “Fathers and mothers, turn your hearts to seek the Lord; for a great responsibility rests upon you to give your children a correct mold of character. Keep ever before you their eternal interests. Educate them to be refined, pure, noble, revealing the highest traits of character, and before the world and heaven to make known that they have chosen to serve God. …

“Great blessings and spiritual strength will come to the families who will determine to put away those things which are unessential, and will resolutely take up the work of preparation for the coming of the Lord. God has entrusted parents with the work of helping their children to gain a Christlike experience. …

“Reveal in your own lives conformity to the image of Christ. Improve the talents you have; cultivate the powers of mind and body; increase your knowledge of the word of God; improve the gift of speech; by the witness of a godly example uplift before others the power of the Word to transform the character.” The Review and Herald, October 5, 1911.



  • Why was it necessary for John’s parents to bring him up with a strict diet? Luke 1:15; Matthew 3:4.

Note: “The child will be affected, for good or evil, by the habits of the mother. She must herself be controlled by principle, and must practice temperance and self-denial, if she would seek the welfare of her child. …

“God had an important work for the promised child of Zacharias to do; a work that required active thought and vigorous action. He must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and moral strength; and it was to secure for him these necessary qualifications that his habits were to be carefully regulated, even from infancy. … We urge that the principles of temperance be carried into all the details of home life; that the example of parents be a lesson of temperance; that self-denial and self-control be taught to the children and enforced upon them, so far as possible, even from babyhood.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 208, 209.

  • Why is it so important to focus so much of our effort on training our children? Proverbs 22:6; Psalm 127:3.

Note: “More than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life. Youth is the sowing time. It determines the character of the harvest, for this life and for the life to come.” The Desire of Ages, 101.



1 If we love God supremely, how will this affect how we live our life?

2 How should a faithful watchman behave today?

3 How can we prepare for the coming crisis?

4 What is the special work God wants done in families today?

5 How can we teach our children lessons in temperance, and what will this knowledge do for them later in life?

Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – John’s Message

January 29, 2017 – February 4, 2017

Key Text

“John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4).

Study Help: The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 47–57.


“His [John’s] work and ministry pointed back to the law and the prophets, while he, at the same time, pointed the people forward to Christ as the Saviour of the world. He called upon them to ‘behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).” The Southern Watchman, March 21, 1905.



  • To whom did John direct his hearers? Matthew 3:11; Acts 19:4; John 1:29.
  • What was the source of John’s knowledge? Luke 3:2. How should our manner of study be similar to John’s? Hebrews 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Note: “John the Baptist in his desert life was taught of God. He studied the revelations of God in nature. Under the guiding of the divine Spirit, he studied the scrolls of the prophets. By day and by night, Christ was his study, his meditation, until mind and heart and soul were filled with the glorious vision.” Gospel Workers, 54.

“It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.” The Desire of Ages, 83.



  • What was the content of John’s message? Luke 1:17; Matthew 3:1, 2, 8.

Note: “The preaching of John the Baptist created intense excitement. At the beginning of his ministry, religious interest was very low. Superstition, tradition, and fables had confused the minds of the people, and the right way was not understood. Zealous in securing worldly treasure and honor, men had forgotten God. John went forth to herald the Lord’s anointed and call men to repentance.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 17, 1900.

“John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and called the people to repentance. As a symbol of cleansing from sin, he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan. Thus by a significant object lesson he declared that those who claimed to be the chosen people of God were defiled by sin, and that without purification of heart and life they could have no part in the Messiah’s kingdom.” The Desire of Ages, 104.

  • What is the condition of people today? 2 Timothy 3:1–4. What message are we to give them? Acts 17:30; 26:19, 20.

Note: “We must persuade men everywhere to repent and flee from the wrath to come. They have souls to save or to lose. Let there be no indifference in this matter. The Lord calls for workers who are filled with an earnest, decided purpose. Tell the people to be instant in season and out of season. With the words of life upon your lips go forth to tell men and women that the end of all things is at hand.

“Let us keep our souls in the love of God. The note of warning must be given. The truth must not languish upon our lips. We must rouse people to immediate preparation, for we little know what is before us. My faith is as strong as ever that we are living in the last remnant of time. Let every teacher present an open door before all who will come to Jesus, repenting of their sins.” Evangelism, 217.

“Genuine repentance springs from a sense of the offensive character of sin. … There is a vast difference between admitting facts after they are proved, and confessing sins known only to ourselves and God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 997.



  • What claim did the Jewish leaders make? How did John respond to this claim? Matthew 3:7–10.

Note: “John rebuked their [the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’] selfish pride and avarice. He warned them of their unbelief and condemned their hypocrisy. He told them that they had not fulfilled the conditions of the covenant on their part, which would entitle them to the promises God made to a faithful and obedient people. Their proud boasts of being children of Abraham did not make them really such. Their exhibitions of pride, their arrogance, jealousy, selfishness, and cruelty, stamped their characters as a generation of vipers, rather than the children of obedient and just Abraham. Their wicked works had disqualified them to claim the promises God made to the children of Abraham. John assured them that God would raise up children unto Abraham from the very stones, to whom He could fulfill His promise, rather than to depend on the natural children of Abraham who had neglected the light God had given them, and had become hardened by selfish ambition and wicked unbelief. He told them that if they were really the children of Abraham, they would do the works of their father Abraham. They would have Abraham’s faith, love, and obedience. But they did not bear this fruit. They had no claim to Abraham as their father, or the promises God made to the seed of Abraham.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 51.

  • How did Jesus later address this same claim made by the Jews? John 8:39, 40.
  • How can we be considered Abraham’s seed today? Galatians 3:26–29.

Note: “While they were professing to be God’s commandment-keeping people, their works denied their faith, and without true repentance for their sins they would have no part in the kingdom of Christ. Justice, benevolence, mercy, and the love of God would characterize the lives of His commandment-keeping people. Unless these fruits were seen in their daily life, all their profession was of no more value than chaff which would be devoted to the fire of destruction.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 51, 52.



  • What is the strength and foundation of true greatness? Psalm 27:1; Exodus 15:2; Galatians 2:20.

Note: “The strength of nations and of individuals is not found in the opportunities and facilities that appear to make them invincible; it is not found in their boasted greatness. That alone which can make them great and strong is the power and purpose of God. They themselves, by their attitude toward His purpose, decide their own destiny.” Christ Triumphant, 180.

“True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence. With this sense of the Unseen, every heart should be deeply impressed.” Prophets and Kings, 48.

“What you say in the world will be marked with special consequence if it corresponds with what you say in the church. Your attitude, your words, your spirit, are constantly making an impression upon those with whom you associate.” Christ Triumphant, 198.

  • What is more powerful than words in conveying a knowledge of God to others? Matthew 5:14–16; 2 Thessalonians 3:9, last part.

Note: “It is impossible for any of us to live in such a way that we shall not cast an influence in the world. No member of the family can enclose himself within himself, where other members of the family shall not feel his influence and spirit. The very expression of the countenance has an influence for good or evil. His spirit, his words, his actions, his attitude toward others, are unmistakable. If he is living in selfishness, he surrounds his soul with a malarious atmosphere; while if he is filled with the love of Christ, he will manifest courtesy, kindness, tender regard for the feelings of others and will communicate to his associates, by his acts of love, a tender, grateful, happy feeling. It will be made manifest that he is living for Jesus and daily learning lessons at His feet, receiving His light and His peace.” The Adventist Home, 33, 34.

“Let all seek to discover the excellencies rather than the defects. Often it is our own attitude, the atmosphere that surrounds ourselves, which determines what will be revealed to us in another.” Ibid., 105.



  • What drew such a large number of people to the wilderness? Mark 1:4; Luke 3:15.

Note: “Steadfast as a rock stood the prophet of God, faithful to rebuke sin and crime in all their forms, in kings and nobles, as readily as in the unhonored and unknown. He [John the Baptist] swerved not from duty. Loyal to his God, in noble dignity of moral character, he stood firm as a rock, faithful to principle.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 72.

“Multitudes accepted the preaching of John, and followed him from place to place. Many cherished in their hearts the hope that he was the Messiah. But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought to direct their minds to the coming One.” The Review and Herald, November 28, 1907.

  • What marked changes were taking place in people’s lives? Matthew 3:8; Acts 18:24, 25; 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Note: “Salvation … is a living union with Jesus Christ to be renewed in heart, doing the works of Christ in faith and labor of love, in patience, meekness, and hope. Every soul united to Christ will be a living missionary to all around him.” Evangelism, 319.



1 How should our daily study be like that of John the Baptist?

2 How is the message we are to give today similar to that of John?

3 How can we be considered children of Abraham today?

4 What are some ways in which we can exert a positive influence on others?

5 How were people changed by John’s message?

Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Food – An Apple, A Rose

Did you know apples belong to the rose family? The Rosaceae (rose) family, a medium-sized family of flowering plants of approximately 300 known species, includes fruits, herbs, shrubs, and trees. From the Rosaceae come many edible fruits such as the apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, strawberry, raspberry and almond; ornamental trees and shrubs comprise the rose, hawthorn and meadowsweet. Roses make rose hips, which are fruits similar to the apple.

Apples have been grown for several thousand years in Asia and Europe. The apple tree, thought to have originated in the nutrient-rich mountain ranges of Kazakhstan, is considered to be the earliest tree cultivated by humans.

“The long list of health benefits attributed to apples is due to the wealth of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and organic compounds that are found in them. These important nutritional elements include vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and riboflavin, as well as minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Apples are also very good sources of dietary fiber. … The real value of apples lies in its organic compounds. It is packed with phytonutrients and flavonoids like quercetin, epicatechin, phloridzin, and various other polyphenolic compounds.”

Much of the phytonutrient and anthocyanin (the plant antioxidants that give apple skin its color) content is contained in the peel. Through studies there is growing evidence that these plant anthocyanins elevate our own antioxidant systems. Almost half of the apple’s vitamin C level is just under the skin, as well as containing 38% fiber, so to get the greatest amount of benefits, eat the apple with the peel. Try to consume organically grown apples, or scrub nonorganic apples gently with vegetable soap and water to help remove unwanted chemicals.

An important loss of nutrients usually occurs commercially when apples are processed into applesauce, and an even greater loss when they are processed into juice. But in processing whole apples in a home blender or juicer and consuming the resulting cloudy juice, very little if any nutrients are lost.

Regardless of where it first appeared, the apple has been cultivated since the dawn of history in all sorts of climates. Today, the apple is the most widely cultivated fruit, the most popular in terms of consumption, and perhaps the one with the most varieties.

There are over 8,000 varieties of apples grown around the world, 2,500 of which are grown in all states of the U.S. With various color shades of red, green and yellow, flavors ranging from tart to sweet—the shorter the growing season the tarter the fruit—and textures ranging from soft and creamy to firm and crisp, there’s an apple to fit every taste and recipe.

Though the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden is not identified, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her. This origin is found in confusion between the Latin words mālum (an apple) and mălum (an evil), each of which is normally written malum. The larynx in the human throat is also called Adam’s apple because of a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit remaining in the throat of Adam.

Raw Applesauce
4 apples, unpeeled, seeded and quartered ¼ tsp. cardamom
1 Tbsp. lemon or orange juice, freshly squeezed pinch of salt
¼ cup medjool dates, pitted, or 2 Tbsp. honey water or raw apple juice, if necessary to process
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients; process until smooth or chunky consistency. Enjoy immediately, warm slightly or refrigerate.


Childrens Story – A Beautiful Dream

William Miller is preaching tonight,” said Ellen’s father one day, as he sat down to dinner, “and we must go to hear him. He is preaching a new and strange doctrine. He thinks that Jesus Himself will soon come to this earth. I want to know whether this is from the Bible.”

That night the Harmon family went to the meeting held by William Miller in the town of Portland, Maine. How stirred they were as the minister told them of the nearness of the coming of Jesus. Mr. Miller made the explanation from the prophecies so clear that although Ellen was only twelve years old even she could understand it.

This minister was a careful student of the Bible. He found that the prophecies in the book of Daniel concerning the different kingdoms had all come true. Then he came to a prophecy which said that at the end of a period of 2300 years the sanctuary would be cleansed.

“Can we tell when these years will begin and end?” he wondered. He found the answer in the book of Daniel, the ninth chapter. Here he found that this period began when the decree was given to restore and build Jerusalem. From history he learned that this decree was given 457 years before Christ.

The other prophecies in this same chapter concerning the work of Christ and His death, had been fulfilled in the exact year it was prophesied that they should be; so Mr. Miller was confident that the next event, the cleansing of the sanctuary, would take place at the end of the 2300 years. The end of the prophecy would come in 1843.

What was meant by the cleansing of the sanctuary? Bible students know now that the sanctuary here spoken of is in heaven, where Jesus pleads with His Father for the forgiveness of our sins. But at that time nearly all Christians believed that the earth was the sanctuary. Mr. Miller felt sure that the cleansing of the sanctuary meant the cleansing of the earth from sin at the coming of Jesus.

What a thrilling thought this was. Jesus was coming in 1843! He felt that he must tell others about it; so he left his home and went out to preach wherever he could find those who would listen to him. Now he had come to Portland, and was telling the people there why he believed that Jesus would come in only three more years.

Everyone in the city was talking of this great event. Many scoffed and laughed, but scores of others believed. Ellen [Harmon] went to these meetings, and when Mr. Miller asked those who wanted especially to seek God in prayer to come to the front of the hall, she went forward, with many others, and knelt, praying that her sins might be forgiven. Of course Jesus answered her prayer, but she did not feel that He had. She had not yet learned that we must trust Jesus to pardon our sins when we confess them and ask Him to forgive them. For the next few weeks she was troubled, for she was not sure that she was ready to meet Jesus.

The following summer the Harmon family went to the Methodist camp meeting. Ellen was glad to have this opportunity to hear more about Jesus. She went fully resolved to seek the Lord in earnest there, and to be prepared for His coming.

Soon after they reached the campground, she heard a sermon preached from the words of Queen Esther, “So will I go in unto the king, … and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). The sermon was especially for those who were longing to be saved yet were afraid they could not make themselves worthy of the love of God. The words of the minister helped Ellen to understand what she must do to be ready to meet her Saviour when He should come. She understood that she could not through her own strength make herself worthy, but that Jesus alone could cleanse from sin.

Soon after this, as she prayed, her heart was filled with happiness and she now felt that Jesus had forgiven her sins. She realized that Jesus was very near to His children, that they could go to Him with their troubles, and that He would take away all sadness, the same as He had blessed and healed those who came to Him when He was here on this earth.

One of the women spoke to her, “Dear child, have you found Jesus?” As Ellen turned to say Yes, the woman exclaimed, “Indeed you have. His peace is with you. I see it in your face.”

About this time Ellen passed by a tent on the campground and saw a little girl who seemed much distressed about something. She held in her arms a little parasol. Her face was pale as she tightly clung to her treasure. Several times she started to lay it down and then she held it closer to her again. After a few minutes the child cried, “Dear Jesus, I want to love You and go to heaven! Take away my sins! I give myself to You, parasol and all.” Then crying, she threw herself into her mother’s arms. “Mother,” she said, “I am so happy, for Jesus loves me, and I love Him better than my parasol or anything else.”

Her face was shining with happiness as she smiled at those about her. Then her mother, with tears in her eyes, explained that her little daughter had received the parasol as a present not long before. She loved it very much. She carried it with her everywhere, even taking it with her when she went to sleep at night. But during the meetings the little girl had heard that we must give all to Jesus. The little parasol was the dearest thing on earth to her, and so she had felt that she must give it to Jesus. What a struggle she had gone through before she was willing to give up her treasure! But now that it was over, and she had given all she had, her face was bright with her new joy.

Then it was explained to the little girl that since she had given up everything to her Savior, and allowed nothing to stand between her and her love for Him it was right for her to keep the parasol and use it.

As Ellen walked on across the campground she said to herself, “How hard it is to give up the parasol! Yet Jesus gave up heaven for our sake, and became poor, that we, through His poverty and suffering, might have heavenly riches.”

Shortly after her return from camp meeting, she asked to be baptized and taken into the Methodist Church, to which her parents belonged. The leaders in the church urged her to be sprinkled, but she felt that she wanted to be baptized as her Saviour had been, by immersion.

Although the day appointed for the baptism was a windy one, and the waves of the ocean dashed upon the shore, Ellen’s heart was happy—happy that she could take up her cross for her Master. Her peace was like a river. She was beginning a new life that was to be a life of service for her Saviour.

Although Ellen became a member of the church and attended the meetings regularly, including the prayer meeting, she had never prayed aloud in public. Now it became impressed upon her mind that she should seek God in prayer in the small prayer meetings. She was very timid, and felt that she could not do this, but whenever she knelt alone to pray, this duty came to her mind.

Then one night she had a dream. She dreamed that she was sitting, sadly thinking, with her face in her hands. “If Jesus were upon earth,” she thought to herself, “I would go to Him, throw myself at His feet, and tell Him all my sufferings. He would not turn from me; He would have mercy upon me, and I would love and serve Him always.”

While she was thinking, the door opened, and a beautiful person came in. He looked at her kindly and said, “Do you wish to see Jesus? He is here, and you can see Him if you desire. Take everything you possess, and follow me.”

She gathered up her little possessions and joyfully followed her guide. He led her to a steep, narrow stairway. As they began to climb the stairs, he warned her to keep looking upward, lest she become dizzy and fall. She saw others climbing the stairs also, who looked down and fell before they reached the top.

Finally Ellen and her guide reached the last step. They stood before a closed door. Her guide told her to leave everything she was carrying. She cheerfully laid her possessions down.

Then he opened the door and told her to go in. In a moment she stood before Jesus. As He looked upon her, she knew that He was acquainted with her and with all her thoughts.

She tried to shield herself from His gaze, but He drew near and laid His hand upon her head. “Fear not,” He said, as He smiled upon her. The sound of His sweet voice filled her heart with happiness. She was overcome with joy and sank to the floor at His feet.

Ellen felt, in her dream, that she had reached the peace of heaven. When at last she rose, the loving eyes of Jesus were upon her, and His beautiful smile filled her soul with gladness. She looked at Him with holy reverence and love.

Her guide opened that door and they went out. He told her to take up again the possessions she had laid down. Then he handed her a green cord tightly coiled. He told her to place it next to her heart, and when she wanted to see Jesus take the cord out and stretch it as far as she could. “Do not let it remain coiled very long at a time,” the angel said, “or it will become knotted and hard to straighten.”

Ellen placed the cord next to her heart and joyfully began her journey back down the narrow stairs. As she went she praised the Lord and told everyone she met where he could find Jesus.

When Ellen awakened she was happy. This dream gave her hope that she could go to God in prayer whenever she desired. To her, the green cord represented faith in God, and she understood how simple it was to trust in Him. She was sure now, that Jesus loved her.

“His Messenger” by Ruth Wheeler, 13–19.

Sermon on the Mount Series – Love not Force

He who is guilty of wrong is the first person to suspect wrong in someone else. When human beings start accusing, they are not satisfied with simply pointing out the supposed defect in somebody else. They will resort to compulsion to force others to comply with their ideas about what is right. The Jews did this in the time of Christ. Do we still do this today?

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). When men begin seeking to earn salvation by their own works, it inevitably leads them to pile up human exactions as a barrier against sin. When they see that they fail to keep the law, they devise all manner of rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. This then turns the mind away from God and toward self, resulting in the love of God dying out in the heart and with it, love for our fellow men. A system of human intervention designed to guarantee that people are good, with its multitudinous exactions, always leads its advocates to judge all who come short of the prescribed human standard.

This judging causes a development of an atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism that stifles the noble and generous emotions and causes men to become self-centered, judges, and petty spies. Such were the Pharisees in Christ’s day. They came out from their religious services, not humbled with a sense of their own weakness, nor grateful for the great privileges that God had given them, but rather, they came forth filled with spiritual pride. Their thoughts centered on themselves, their feelings, their knowledge, and their ways which were better than others.

The Pharisee’s own attainments became the standard by which all others were judged. By putting on, what you might call, the garment of self-dignity and self-righteousness, they mounted the judgment seat to criticize and condemn others. Jesus recorded the prayer of the Pharisee who was just like this in Luke 18:11, literal translation, where he said, “Lord, I thank You that I am not like other men are … .”

The people partook of this very same spirit, which intruded upon the province of the conscience. People began to judge one another in matters that lay between the soul and God alone. It was in reference to this spirit and practice of judging in matters of conscience that Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” In other words, do not set yourself up as the standard. Do not make your opinions, your views of duty and your interpretations of Scripture, the criteria for everybody else in the world. Do not condemn others because they do not come up to your standard of ideals. Do not criticize and pass judgment upon others conjecturing their motives, which you really don’t know.

Notice what the apostle Paul said about this in 1 Corinthians 4:5: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”

There is coming a time when everyone in the world will be judged. The apostle Paul says, “… we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ … to receive a reward for deeds done in the body …” (2 Corinthians 5:10, literal translation).

Jesus said a time was coming when nothing will escape from being revealed (Matthew 10:26). That is God’s providence – the One who alone knows the hearts of mankind and the secret motives that impel them to do what they do and say what they say. But we, as human beings, cannot read the heart. We are faulty ourselves and are not qualified to sit in judgment upon others because we are only able to judge from the outward appearance, which is often deceiving.

God knows the secret springs of action. The Bible says that He will judge righteously and with compassion. In Romans the apostle Paul again brings a rebuke to those who are entering on the judgment seat as human beings. Notice what he says: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (Romans 2:1).

Those who condemn or criticize others are also guilty themselves because they do the same things. In condemning others, we pass sentence upon ourselves, and God declares that this sentence that we pass is just and He accepts our own verdict against ourselves. The sin that leads to the unhappiest results is the cold, unforgiving, critical spirit that characterizes Phariseeism. When our own religious experience lacks love, Jesus is not there; the sunshine of His presence is absent. No matter how busy we are in activity for Christ, our zeal cannot supply the lack of love.

Whoever possesses a wonderful keenness of perception in discovering the defects of others is nothing but a hypocrite. The admonishment is to first cast out the log from your own eye and then you will be able to see clearly to take out the splinter from the other person’s eye (Matthew 7:5). You see, it is the one who is guilty of wrongdoing himself who is the first to suspect wrong. When men indulge in this accusing spirit, they are not satisfied with pointing out what they suppose is the defect in somebody else. If milder means fail of making that person what they think he ought to be, they will resort to compulsion. Just as far as lies in their power, they will force other men to comply with their ideas of what is right.

This is exactly what the Jews did in the days of Christ and the apostles and is also what the Christian church has done ever since whenever she has lost the grace of Christ. When the church finds herself destitute of the power of love, which actually is the most powerful thing in the universe, then she has reached out for the strong arm of the state to enforce her dogmas and execute her decrees. When you understand that, then you understand the secret behind all religious laws and legislation that have ever been enacted and the secret of all persecution from the days of Abel to our own time.

Jesus Christ never uses these methods to draw men to Him or to make them righteous. He does not drive men, but He draws them to Himself. The only compulsion that Jesus uses is the constraint of love. The apostle Paul says, “… the love of Christ constrains us …” (2 Corinthians 5:14). In other words, it impels us; it forces us to act. When the church begins to seek for the support of the state, the support of secular power, it is thereby plainly evident that that church is devoid of the power of Christ, the constraint of divine love.

What we need worldwide in Christianity today is to be constrained by the love of Christ, to have His character inside which will impel us to activity for Christ and to do what is right. When we take upon ourselves His yoke, the yoke of obedience and service, there will be no need for someone to crack the whip over us to make us do what is right. Jesus said, if we need something, then we need to go to the Lord and ask for it.

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:7–11)!

No specific condition is mentioned here. If you feel your need enough to ask, the Lord will hear. Do you hunger for His mercy? Do you desire His counsel? Do you long for His love? Then ask in faith and you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word and it cannot fail. If you come with true contrition, you need not feel that you are presumptuous in asking the Lord for what He has promised. When you ask for the blessings that you need in order that you might perfect a character after Christ’s likeness, the Lord assures you that you are asking according to a promise that will be fulfilled. If you know that you are a terrible sinner, that is sufficient ground for you to come and ask for His mercy and compassion.

The condition that you can come to God is not that you have to be holy or that you have to fulfill some obligation first. There is no condition. You can come just the way you are. Although you are not holy, when you come to Him, desiring that He cleanse you from your sin and purify you from all iniquity, then that is the argument that you may come with and plead. We can always come with our great need for deliverance from our sins. Our utterly helpless state makes His redeeming power a necessity and so, if we come presenting our need, our need will be fulfilled.

Notice what the Bible says about this in Job 22:21 KJV: “… acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” Just before his death David told his son, Solomon, “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9, last part). So, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father … give good things to them that ask Him” (Matthew 7:11, literal translation).

Notice the way this passage is put in the gospel of Luke: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13)! The Holy Spirit is the greatest of all gifts that God can give you. All good things are comprised in this gift. In fact, the Creator Himself cannot give you anything any better or any greater. When we ask the Lord that we might receive the Holy Spirit, we are asking for a gift that with it will bring to us every other gift from God that we need.

When we ask the Lord to pity us in our distress and to guide us by His Holy Spirit, He will never turn away from our prayer. The Bible is very clear that it is possible for a parent to turn away from his hungry child. Everyone who has done very much reading has read awful cases of children who have been abandoned, but God will never abandon those who have a longing and needy heart.

The Lord told people who have felt in their distress that God was not mindful of their need, that they did not really understand His love for them. Notice what He says to them in Isaiah: “Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands’ (Isaiah 49:14–16, first part). (Humanity was inscribed on the palms of His hands when they were nailed to the cross.) Your walls are continually before Me” (verse 16, last part). Jesus said that even though a human parent may forget, He will never forget. Every promise in the word of God, therefore, brings us subject matter for prayer and shows us what we may pray for. If God has promised it and we ask with an honest heart, we are going to have it.

It is our privilege to claim these promises and have our sins forgiven when we come to Him in faith and confess them. And He has promised to forgive them as recorded in 1 John 1:9. We may also state to Him not only our need for forgiveness of sins, our need for spiritual help, and strength, and salvation, but we are perfectly free to come to Him with any temporal concern or matter – our financial difficulties, our need for food and clothing, for shelter. Whatever our need is, we are invited to come and ask for it.

We must not forget that when we come and ask for these things from the Lord, as our Father, we are acknowledging that we are His children. If we are His children, then we are going to have our petitions. If we claim to be His children, we have given ourselves to His work. It was those to whom Jesus had said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …” (Matthew 6:33), that Jesus gave the promise, “… Ask, and you will receive …” (John 16:24).

In summing up His instruction in Matthew 7:12, literal translation, Jesus said, “… whatever you desire that men should do to you, you do even so to them.” This text has been called “The Golden Rule.” In this text Jesus teaches us that our anxiety should not be how much are we going to receive, but rather, how much are we going to give. The standard of our obligation to others is found in what we ourselves would regard as their obligation to us if our situation were reversed. So, in our association with others, we need to attempt mentally to put ourselves in their place, to enter into their feelings, their difficulties, their disappointments, their joys and sorrows. We need to identify with them and then do to them the same way that we would want them to do to us if the situation were reversed. This is the true rule of honesty and courtesy.

In Matthew 22:39 KJV Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is the real expression of the law. This, of course, is the substance of the teaching of the prophets. It is a principle of heaven and it will be developed in everyone who is fitted for the holy companionship of heaven and allowed to go there. The Golden Rule is the genuine principle of true courtesy. Its truest illustration is seen in the life and character of Jesus Christ. When we study His life we see not only softness, not only firmness, but beauty and sweetness that flowed from His very presence. Even the children loved to be around Him and to climb up in His lap.

The same spirit is to be seen in His children. When Jesus dwells in the heart, a divine atmosphere will surround us with a fragrance of purity. No man who really understands what constitutes a true Christian character will fail to manifest the sympathy and the tenderness of Jesus Christ, because the influence of His grace is to soften our hard hearts and to give us a heaven-born sense of delicacy and a true sense of propriety. As with all gifts and blessings of this life, whatever we have that our fellows do not have, places us in debt to that degree that others are less favored. There are people around us who are sick. Some are widowed. Others are orphaned and fatherless. We need to treat them the way that we would like them to treat us if our situations were reversed.

The Golden Rule teaches by way of implication the very same truth that Jesus taught in Luke 6:38, where He said that “… with what measure you mete, it will be measured to you again” (literal translation). Simply stated, whatever we do to others, whether good or evil, will surely react upon ourselves, whether in blessing or curse. Whatever we give, we are going to receive again.

The earthly blessings that we give to others are often repaid in kind. What we give often does come back to us even in this world, sometimes in four-fold measure. But, besides this, all gifts are repaid in God’s eternal time of reckoning, both the good and evil. If I impart evil, that evil will return to me again. Any person who has been free to condemn or discourage or bring hardship upon others will, sooner or later, in his own experience, be brought over the same ground where he has caused others to pass. He will feel the same that he has caused others to feel.

The standard of the Golden Rule – whatever you wish that men would do to you, you do to them – is the standard of Christianity. Anything short of that is not true Christianity, but a mere deception. A religion that leads men to place a low estimate upon other human beings, human beings whom Jesus estimated to be of sufficient value to give His life for, is a spurious religion and not Christianity. If we slight the claims of the poor, the suffering, and the sinful, we prove ourselves to be traitors of Jesus Christ. When men or women take upon themselves the name of Christ, calling themselves Christians while denying His character, they have little power in the world and the name of the Lord is blasphemed because of these things.

Friend, we need to ask ourselves a question, especially if we call ourselves Christians. Is my religion real? If my Christianity is real, am I manifesting in my life and practice the principle of the Golden Rule?

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – Remember History and Praise God for His Health Laws

In the 1800s doctors really believed that if you had a fever, you had too much vitality and so they would then remove some of your blood!

Dr. Kellogg stated in 1876: “Twenty years ago, when a man had a fever, the doctors thought he had too much vitality—too much life—and so they bled him, and purged him, and poisoned him with calomel, and blue mass, and sundry other poisons, for the purpose of taking away from him a part of his vitality—his life—in other words, killing him a little. If a man was extraordinarily tough, he survived in spite of the killative influence of both disease and doctors …”—J.H. Kellogg, M.D., in The Health Reformer, January, 1876. (Battle Creek, Michigan.)

No cooling allowed! No sunshine allowed! No water allowed!

Those were the prescriptions for patients in the 1800s along with mercury, arsenic and other drugs. In the same history, we are told:

“During the mid 19th century, physicians had no knowledge of physics, chemistry, or physiology. A common treatment was to take one half to one liter of blood from the patient (bleeding), and sometimes more than once per day. If someone had a fever they were put in a hot, dark place without fresh air, fluids or water. The physician used a variety of toxic substances such as mercury, arsenic, antimony, nicotine, strychnine, opium, digitalis and others. …

“In 1777, many sailors on a long voyage became ill with typhus. It was customary to put sick sailors in the bottom of the ship and deprive them of water or other fluids. They were given drugs that were not helpful and often worsened the disease. The sick sailors were denied fresh air and body cooling measures were avoided. So many became ill that there was no room for them in the bottom of the ship. Therefore, those who were not expected to live were placed on deck. These sick men were so miserable they asked the crew to pour water over them. Since they were not expected to live, the ship’s doctor granted their requests. Surprisingly, they recovered. This experience was passed on to other ships’ physicians and, when duplicated, the same good result was seen. Due to the prejudice and disbelief of physicians this enlightenment did not prevail and the old methods continued.” Spiritualistic Deceptions in Health and Healing, page 18, by Edwin A. Noyes, M.D., M.P.H. 2007, Homeward Publishing, Monrovia, CA.

Tobacco a remedy for lung issues!

“A Dr. Chapman is quoted as recommending the use of tobacco as a remedy for the infections of the lungs, ‘the vapor to be produced by smoking a cigar,’ and advising ‘that the patient should frequently draw in the breath freely, so that the internal surface of the air vessels may be exposed to the action of the vapor.’ ” The Story of Our Health Message, page 22, D.E. Robinson, Southern Publishing Association, 1965.

Poor little one with the croup!

“Pity the poor youngster who had croup in those days, and whose parents consulted another authority on the subject on home treatment. He would find by sad experience that for this affliction ‘the remedies principally relied on are bleeding, emetics, and calomel.’ … ‘Let the little patient be bled very freely at the commencement of the case. Then give to the child of three years old or upwards a teaspoonful of antimonial wine [made by dissolving a scruple of emetic tartar in a pint of sherry wine], and repeat it, if necessary, in half an hour. If the second dose does not cause vomiting, double its quantity, unless the case be very mild. … The vomiting should be encouraged by warm drinks, and the nausea should be continued for a few hours.’—Dr. J. Boyd, in Family Medical Adviser, p. 118, Philadelphia: 1845.” Ibid., 22, 23.

What Elder Loughborough saw when his father died.

“… At the age of eight he peered one day through the thick blankets that curtained and covered the tall posts of the bed on which his father lay dying of typhoid fever. The sufferer had been faithfully and lovingly dosed with drugs, and then had been forbidden by his attending physician the comfort of a drink of cold water or even a refreshing breath of pure air.” Ibid., 23.

George Washington’s Death:

“On Friday 13, December 1799, the sixty-seven-year-old hero of the American Revolution and former President, George Washington, woke up in the night at his home in Mount Vernon, not feeling very well. He had been soaked by rain the day before, and now he felt first chilled to the bone and then feverish, with a painfully constricted sore throat and labored breathing. He decided that a bleeding might give him some relief and alerted his household: they at once sent for a bleeder in the neighborhood who took twelve or fourteen ounces of blood from Washington’s arm. But although the General’s family was extremely anxious, he refused to allow them to trouble his doctor in the middle of the night, and the whole household returned to an uneasy sleep.

“Next morning Washington was no better, and Dr. James Craik, his personal physician, arrived at 11 o’clock. It was the start of a grim medical marathon. Dr. Craik, alarmed by Washington’s condition, promptly sent for two other physicians to join him in consultation. Meanwhile, he ordered two more ‘copious’ bleedings; a blister was applied to Washington’s throat; two doses of mercury were given him; and a cathartic injection was forced up his rectum – all to no avail: Washington’s breathing grew more painful and labored. The consultant physicians arrived in the afternoon, and Dr. Craik suggested yet another bleeding. In this suggestion he was seconded by Dr. Brown, but vigorously opposed by Dr. Elisha Dick, who pointed out that they had already drawn perhaps three pints of blood from a sick and aging man. ‘He needs all his strength,’ he argued, ‘bleeding will diminish it.’ He was overruled … and a fourth bleeding was ordered. This time, no less than thirty-two ounces of blood were drawn off – ‘without the smallest apparent alleviation of the disease’ – the doctors later reported.

“A third huge dose of calomel – ten grains – was now given him, followed by several doses of tartar emetic (antimony); vapours of water and vinegar were blown around his throat; to the fiery blister on his throat was added a bran-and-vinegar poultice, and more blisters were strapped to the soles of his feet. After hours of this torture, and several vain struggles to speak, Washington at last managed to make known to his doctors his desire to be left to die in peace. Late on Saturday night – a bare twenty-four hours after he had woken with a chill and a sore throat – he breathed his last.

“It was calculated that over four pints of blood – about half his total bodily content – were removed from Washington. A blood loss of this order would today be considered a major medical emergency, necessitating immediate blood transfusions and intensive care, to avert the otherwise inevitable death from lowered blood pressure, collapse and acute shock … .” Green Pharmacy, The History and Evolution of Western Herbal Medicine, pages 148, 149, by Barbara Griggs, 1997.

These are just a few of the reasons God shared with us the health message along with its laws: nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest and trust in divine power. These health laws were unknown and because of this, many people suffered and died from something which may have been prevented or they may have been restored to health with their use.

Remember history and praise God for His Health laws!

Q & A – Who is represented by the Mother of Harlots in Revelation 17:5?

Babylon is said to be ‘the mother of harlots’ (Revelation 17:5). By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world. The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the judgment, it must be given in the last days; therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Furthermore, in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation the people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God’s people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel. … But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel—the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly. ‘Thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown.’ Ezekiel 16:14, 15.” The Great Controversy, 382, 383. [Emphasis author’s.]

“The fallen denominational churches are Babylon. Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches, and thus the Scriptures are fulfilled that say, ‘For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ (Revelation 18:3). It is a wrath which is created by false doctrines, and when kings and presidents drink this wine of the wrath of her fornication, they are stirred with anger against those who will not come into harmony with the false and satanic heresies which exalt the false sabbath, and lead men to trample underfoot God’s memorial.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 61, 62.

Inspiration – Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

In the days of Christ the religious leaders of the people felt that they were rich in spiritual treasure. The prayer of the Pharisee, “God, I thank Thee, that I am not as the rest of men” (Luke 18:11, R.V.), expressed the feeling of his class and, to a great degree, of the whole nation. But in the throng that surrounded Jesus there were some who had a sense of their spiritual poverty. When in the miraculous draft of fishes the divine power of Christ was revealed, Peter fell at the Saviour’s feet, exclaiming, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8); so in the multitude gathered upon the mount there were souls who, in the presence of His purity, felt that they were “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17); and they longed for “the grace of God that bringeth salvation” (Titus 2:11). In these souls, Christ’s words of greeting awakened hope; they saw that their lives were under the benediction of God.

Jesus had presented the cup of blessing to those who felt that they were “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17), and had need of nothing, and they had turned with scorn from the gracious gift. He who feels whole, who thinks that he is reasonably good, and is contented with his condition, does not seek to become a partaker of the grace and righteousness of Christ. Pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of such a person. Those who are rich and honorable in their own eyes do not ask in faith, and receive the blessing of God. They feel that they are full, therefore they go away empty. Those who know that they cannot possibly save themselves, or of themselves do any righteous action, are the ones who appreciate the help that Christ can bestow. They are the poor in spirit, whom He declares to be blessed.

Whom Christ pardons, He first makes penitent, and it is the office of the Holy Spirit to convince of sin. Those whose hearts have been moved by the convicting Spirit of God see that there is nothing good in themselves. They see that all they have ever done is mingled with self and sin. Like the poor publican, they stand afar off, not daring to lift up so much as their eyes to heaven, and cry, “God, be merciful to me the sinner” (Luke 18:13, R.V., margin). And they are blessed. There is forgiveness for the penitent; for Christ is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). God’s promise is: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “A new heart also will I give you. … And I will put My Spirit within you” (Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:26, 27).

Of the poor in spirit Jesus says, “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This kingdom is not, as Christ’s hearers had hoped, a temporal and earthly dominion. Christ was opening to men the spiritual kingdom of His love, His grace, His righteousness. The ensign of the Messiah’s reign is distinguished by the likeness of the Son of man. His subjects are the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The kingdom of heaven is theirs. Though not yet fully accomplished, the work is begun in them which will make them “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12).

All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden” (Matthew 11:28). He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His grace. We are not worthy of God’s love, but Christ, our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of His own character. He pleads before God in our behalf, saying: I have taken the sinner’s place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on Me. Does Satan plead loudly against our souls, accusing of sin, and claiming us as his prey, the blood of Christ pleads with greater power.

“Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. … In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Isaiah 45:24, 25).

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 6–9.