Bible Study Guide – Brotherly Love

August 20 – 26, 2017

Key Text

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 167–177; The Ministry of Healing, 25, 26.


“All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another.” The Desire of Ages, 678.



  •  How much love was demonstrated by Christ and what is its significance for His followers? John 13:1; 15:13.

 Note: “[John 13:34, 35 quoted.] How broad, how full is this love. The new part of that commandment the disciples did not understand. They were to love one another as Christ had loved them. These were their credentials that Christ was formed within, the hope of glory. After the sufferings of Christ, after His crucifixion and resurrection and proclamation over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ (John 11:25), after His words to the five hundred who assembled to see Him in Galilee, and after His ascension to heaven, the disciples had some idea of what the love of God comprehended, and of the love they were to exercise one toward another. When the Holy Spirit rested on them on the day of Pentecost, that love was revealed.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1141.

  • What is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit and what is the evidence that this fruit is being perfected in us? Galatians 5:22, 23; 1John 4:11–13; 3:18.


 2 A NEW COMMANDMENT (continued)

  •  In what sense did Christ refer to brotherly love as a “new commandment”? John 13:34.

 Note: “In this last meeting with His disciples, the great desire which Christ expressed for them was that they might love one another as He had loved them. Again and again He spoke of this. ‘These things I command you,’ He said repeatedly, ‘that ye love one another.’ His very first injunction when alone with them in the upper chamber was, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another’ (John 15:17; 13:34). To the disciples this commandment was new; for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. He saw that new ideas and impulses must control them; that new principles must be practiced by them; through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to love one another had a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice. The whole work of grace is one continual service of love, of self-denying, self-sacrificing effort. During every hour of Christ’s sojourn upon the earth, the love of God was flowing from Him in irrepressible streams. All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another.” The Desire of Ages, 677, 678.

  • How do we show that we are the sons of God and the friends of Christ? Romans 8:14; 1John 3:10.

 Note: “Religion consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn God’s favor, but because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of His love. Christ places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that is made manifest in works of righteousness. Doing, not saying merely, is expected of the followers of Christ. It is through action that character is built. ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’ (Romans 8:14). Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 149, 150. [Emphasis author’s.]



  •  What title does Jesus bestow upon His faithful followers? John 15:15, 14.

 Note: “How did Christ manifest His love for poor mortals? By the sacrifice of His own glory, His own riches, and even His most precious life. Christ consented to a life of humiliation and great suffering. He submitted to the cruel mockings of an infuriated, murderous multitude, and to the most agonizing death upon the cross. Said Christ: ‘This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you’ (John 15:12–14). We give evidence of being the friends of Christ when we manifest implicit obedience to His will. It is no evidence to say, and do not; but in doing, in obeying, is the evidence. Who are obeying the commandment to love one another as Christ has loved them?” Testimonies, vol. 1, 690, 691.

  • For what purpose did Jesus choose us, and what is His command to us? John 15:16, 17.

 Note: “[John 15:14 quoted.] This is the condition imposed; this is the test that proves men’s characters. Feelings are often deceiving, emotions are no sure safeguard; for they are variable and subject to external circumstances. Many are deluded by relying on sensational impressions. The test is: What are you doing for Christ? What sacrifices are you making? What victories are you gaining? A selfish spirit overcome, a temptation to neglect duty resisted, passion subdued, and willing, cheerful obedience rendered to the will of Christ are far greater evidences that you are a child of God than spasmodic piety and emotional religion.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 188. [Emphasis author’s.]

“[John 15:9–17 quoted.] These blessed assurances are for every one who will respect them, and who will, in character, reveal to the world their interpretation. ‘If ye love me,’ Christ said, ‘keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). If we are doers of the Word, we can come to God with full assurance of faith, saying, ‘Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope’ (Psalm 119:49). When we zealously obey God’s word from the heart, we may make that word our plea. The Lord always works in accordance with His word.” The Review and Herald, December 6, 1898.



  •  Why does the world persecute the followers of Christ? John 15:18, 19.

 Note: “[John 13:35 quoted.] This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan. Christ did not mark out for His disciples an easy path. ‘If the world hate you,’ He said, ‘ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me’ (John 15:18–21). The gospel is to be carried forward by aggressive warfare, in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering. But those who do this work are only following in their Master’s steps.” The Desire of Ages, 678.

  • How does the prince of evil respond to the work of Christ’s followers? John 3:19, 20; 15:20, 21.

 Note: “He who came to redeem the lost world was opposed by the united forces of the adversaries of God and man. In an unpitying confederacy, evil men and evil angels arrayed themselves against the Prince of Peace. Though His every word and act breathed of divine compassion, His unlikeness to the world provoked the bitterest hostility. Because He would give no license for the exercise of the evil passions of our nature, He aroused the fiercest opposition and enmity. So it is with all who will live godly in Christ Jesus. Between righteousness and sin, love and hatred, truth and falsehood, there is an irrepressible conflict. When one presents the love of Christ and the beauty of holiness, he is drawing away the subjects of Satan’s kingdom, and the prince of evil is aroused to resist it. Persecution and reproach await all who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ. The character of the persecution changes with the times, but the principle—the spirit that underlies it—is the same that has slain the chosen of the Lord ever since the days of Abel.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 29.



  •  What difficulties would the disciples encounter after the ascension of Christ? John 16:1–3.

  • Even though they would suffer persecution at the hands of the enemies of the truth, what promise did Christ give to the faithful? John 14:18.

  • What difference in the relationship between Christ and His followers would set in after His ascension? John 16:7.

  • What far–reaching work would the Holy Spirit perform in behalf of sinners? John 16:8–11.

  • What is our part in helping the church to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit? John 15:26, 27; 1John 1:1–3.

 Note: “With a loving spirit we may perform life’s humblest duties ‘as to the Lord’ (Colossians 3:23). If the love of God is in the heart, it will be manifested in the life. The sweet savor of Christ will surround us, and our influence will elevate and bless.” Steps to Christ, 82, 83.



1      What are the characteristics of the divine love which     Christ wants to develop in me through the Holy Spirit?

2      What is hindering me from receiving Christ’s unselfish love in its fullness?

3      How is Christ’s commandment to be new to me?

4      Why shouldn’t I be surprised at persecution?

5      What obstacles may be hindering my reception of the Holy Spirit in great power?

 Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guide – The Servant of Servants

August 13 – 19, 2017

Key Text

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 642–651.


“The whole life of Christ had been a life of unselfish service. ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister’ (Matthew 20:28), had been the lesson of His every act.” The Desire of Ages, 642.



  •  After assembling in the Upper Room, when the disciples did not take any initiative, what did Jesus do? John 13:4, 5.

Note: “At a feast it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests, and on this occasion preparation had been made for the service. …

“The disciples made no move toward serving one another. Jesus waited for a time to see what they would do. Then He, the divine Teacher, rose from the table. Laying aside the outer garment that would have impeded His movements, He took a towel, and girded Himself. With surprised interest the disciples looked on, and in silence waited to see what was to follow. ‘After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded’ (John 13:5). …

“So Christ expressed His love for His disciples. Their selfish spirit filled Him with sorrow, but He entered into no controversy with them regarding their difficulty. Instead He gave them an example they would never forget.” The Desire of Ages, 644, 645.

  • How did Peter react when Christ wanted to wash his feet? John 13:6–8, first part.

  • What example did Jesus set with this action? John 13:13–16.



  •  Prior to the last supper, how far had Judas yielded to the temptation of Satan? John 13:2.

 Note: “Before the Passover Judas had met a second time with the priests and scribes, and had closed the contract to deliver Jesus into their hands. Yet he afterward mingled with the disciples as though innocent of any wrong, and interested in the work of preparing for the feast. The disciples knew nothing of the purpose of Judas.” The Desire of Ages, 645.

  • What did Jesus know as He washed the feet of Judas? John 13:10, 11.

  • Besides washing their feet, what did Jesus really desire to do for the disciples? John 13:8, last part.

 Note: “The service which Peter refused was the type of a higher cleansing. Christ had come to wash the heart from the stain of sin. In refusing to allow Christ to wash his feet, Peter was refusing the higher cleansing included in the lower. He was really rejecting his Lord. It is not humiliating to the Master to allow Him to work for our purification. The truest humility is to receive with thankful heart any provision made in our behalf, and with earnestness do service for Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 646.

  • What significant words did Jesus pronounce after the feet washing ceremony? John 13:12–17.

 Note: “By the act of our Lord this humiliating ceremony was made a consecrated ordinance. It was to be observed by the disciples, that they might ever keep in mind His lessons of humility and service.

“This ordinance is Christ’s appointed preparation for the sacramental service. While pride, variance, and strife for supremacy are cherished, the heart cannot enter into fellowship with Christ. We are not prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood. Therefore it was that Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation to be first observed.” The Desire of Ages, 650.



  •  How did Jesus identify Himself, and His relationship with the Father? John 14:5–7.

 Note: “Since the first gospel sermon was preached, when in Eden it was declared that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, Christ had been uplifted as the way, the truth, and the life. He was the way when Adam lived, when Abel presented to God the blood of the slain lamb, representing the blood of the Redeemer. Christ was the way by which patriarchs and prophets were saved. He is the way by which alone we can have access to God.” The Desire of Ages, 663.

  • What great possibilities did Jesus offer His disciples? John 14:12.

 Note: “The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.

“ ‘And greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father’ (John 14:12). By this Christ did not mean that the disciples’ work would be of a more exalted character than His, but that it would have greater extent. He did not refer merely to miracle working, but to all that would take place under the working of the Holy Spirit.” The Desire of Ages, 664.

  • What assurance did Jesus give to the believers? John 14:13, 14.

 Note: “Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.” The Desire of Ages, 667.



  •  Whom did Jesus promise to send to the disciples? John 14:16–18.

Note: “… from the very beginning of the work of redemption He had been moving upon men’s hearts. But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come.” The Desire of Ages, 669.

  • How does Christ “live” in the heart of His disciples? John 14:19–23; 1John 3:24.

 Note: “At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer.” The Desire of Ages, 669, 670.

  • How would the Comforter influence the memory and understanding of the disciples? John 14:26.

  • What else would the Comforter do in behalf of Christ’s true followers? John 16:12–14.

 Note: “If there is a point of truth that you do not understand, upon which you do not agree, investigate, compare scripture with scripture, sink the shaft of truth down deep into the mine of God’s word. You must lay yourselves and your opinions on the altar of God, put away your preconceived ideas, and let the Spirit of Heaven guide you into all truth.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 413.



  • How does the Bible depict our relationship with Christ? John 15:1–3.

  • What condition is essential to a fruitful Christian life? John 15:4–6.

  • How is true discipleship revealed? John 15:14; 8:31; 13:35.

  • On what condition can we abide in Christ’s love? John 15:9, 10; 1John 2:5; James 4:4, 7, 8; Matthew 4:4.

Note: “God desires to manifest through you the holiness, the benevolence, the compassion, of His own character. Yet the Saviour does not bid the disciples labor to bear fruit. He tells them to abide in Him. ‘If ye abide in Me,’ He says, ‘and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you’ (John 15:7). It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers. This is the same vital union that is represented by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The words of Christ are spirit and life. Receiving them, you receive the life of the Vine. You live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). The life of Christ in you produces the same fruits as in Him. Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, you bear fruit after the similitude of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 677.



 1    If I refuse to wash my brother’s feet, what am I actually refusing?

2    What is the inner experience of Judas to me?

3    How am I to be enabled to accomplish the works of Christ?

4    How can I experience more of the peace of Christ?

5    How am I to abide in Christ?

 Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

August 6 – 12, 2017

Key Text

“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:5).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 569–579.


“Christ came to save Jerusalem with her children; but Pharisaical pride, hypocrisy, jealousy, and malice had prevented Him from accomplishing His purpose.” The Desire of Ages, 577.



  •  When the multitude heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, what did they do? John 12:12, 13.

  • What prophecy was fulfilled on that occasion? Zechariah 9:9; John 12:14, 15.

Note: “Christ was following the Jewish custom for a royal entry. The animal on which He rode was that ridden by the kings of Israel, and prophecy had foretold that thus the Messiah should come to His kingdom. No sooner was He seated upon the colt than a loud shout of triumph rent the air. The multitude hailed Him as Messiah, their King. Jesus now accepted the homage which He had never before permitted, and the disciples received this as proof that their glad hopes were to be realized by seeing Him established on the throne. The multitude were convinced that the hour of their emancipation was at hand. In imagination they saw the Roman armies driven from Jerusalem, and Israel once more an independent nation. All were happy and excited; the people vied with one another in paying Him homage. They could not display outward pomp and splendor, but they gave Him the worship of happy hearts. They were unable to present Him with costly gifts, but they spread their outer garments as a carpet in His path.” The Desire of Ages, 570.



  •  How did some of the Pharisees react to this manifestation? Luke 19:39.

Note: “Many Pharisees witnessed the scene, and, burning with envy and malice, sought to turn the current of popular feeling. With all their authority they tried to silence the people; but their appeals and threats only increased the enthusiasm. They feared that this multitude, in the strength of their numbers, would make Jesus king. As a last resort they pressed through the crowd to where the Saviour was, and accosted Him with reproving and threatening words: ‘Master, rebuke Thy disciples’ (Luke 19:39). They declared that such noisy demonstrations were unlawful, and would not be permitted by the authorities.” The Desire of Ages, 572.

  • What answer did Jesus give them? Luke 19:40.

  • For what purpose did Jesus permit this great demonstration? John 12:16, 23–26.

Note: “Never before in His earthly life had Jesus permitted such a demonstration. He clearly foresaw the result. It would bring Him to the cross. But it was His purpose thus publicly to present Himself as the Redeemer. He desired to call attention to the sacrifice that was to crown His mission to a fallen world. While the people were assembling at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, He, the antitypical Lamb, by a voluntary act set Himself apart as an oblation. It would be needful for His church in all succeeding ages to make His death for the sins of the world a subject of deep thought and study. Every fact connected with it should be verified beyond a doubt.” The Desire of Ages, 571.

  • What did Jesus do and say when He came into full view of the city? Luke 19:41–44.



  •  As the wise men of the East sought Christ at His birth (Matthew 2:1, 2, 10, 11), who sought Him at the close of His earthly ministry? John 12:20; Matthew 8:11.

Note: “These [Greek] men came from the West to find the Saviour at the close of His life, as the wise men had come from the East at the beginning. At the time of Christ’s birth the Jewish people were so engrossed with their own ambitious plans that they knew not of His advent. The magi from a heathen land came to the manger with their gifts, to worship the Saviour. So these Greeks, representing the nations, tribes, and peoples of the world, came to see Jesus. So the people of all lands and all ages would be drawn by the Saviour’s cross.” The Desire of Ages, 621, 622.

  • How did the Greeks express their desire? John 12:21.

  • How did Jesus feel when He heard the petition of the Greeks and what did He declare? John 12:22, 23.

Note: “At this time Christ’s work bore the appearance of cruel defeat. He had been victor in the controversy with the priests and Pharisees, but it was evident that He would never be received by them as the Messiah. The final separation had come. To His disciples the case seemed hopeless. But Christ was approaching the consummation of His work. The great event which concerned not only the Jewish nation, but the whole world, was about to take place. When Christ heard the eager request, ‘We would see Jesus,’ echoing the hungering cry of the world, His countenance lighted up, and He said, ‘The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified’ (John 12:21, 23). In the request of the Greeks He saw an earnest of the results of His great sacrifice. …

“When the request was brought to Jesus, He was in that part of the temple from which all except Jews were excluded, but He went out to the Greeks in the outer court, and had a personal interview with them.” The Desire of Ages, 621, 622.



  •  What prayer did Jesus offer as He thought of His death upon the cross? John 12:27, 28, first part.

Note: “In anticipation Christ was already drinking the cup of bitterness. His humanity shrank from the hour of abandonment, when to all appearance He would be deserted even by God, when all would see Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He shrank from public exposure, from being treated as the worst of criminals, from a shameful and dishonored death. A foreboding of His conflict with the powers of darkness, a sense of the awful burden of human transgression, and the Father’s wrath because of sin caused the spirit of Jesus to faint, and the pallor of death to overspread His countenance.

“Then came divine submission to His Father’s will. ‘For this cause,’ He said, ‘came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name’ (John 12:27, 28). Only through the death of Christ could Satan’s kingdom be overthrown. Only thus could man be redeemed, and God be glorified. Jesus consented to the agony, He accepted the sacrifice. The Majesty of heaven consented to suffer as the Sin Bearer.” The Desire of Ages, 624.

  • What answer was heard coming from heaven? John 12:28, last part.

  • What did the bystanding crowd say? John 12:29.

Note: “As the voice was heard, a light darted from the cloud, and encircled Christ, as if the arms of Infinite Power were thrown about Him like a wall of fire. The people beheld this scene with terror and amazement. No one dared to speak. With silent lips and bated breath all stood with eyes fixed upon Jesus. The testimony of the Father having been given, the cloud lifted, and scattered in the heavens. For the time the visible communion between the Father and the Son was ended.

“ ‘The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to Him’ (John 12:29). But the inquiring Greeks saw the cloud, heard the voice, comprehended its meaning, and discerned Christ indeed; to them He was revealed as the Sent of God.” The Desire of Ages, 625.



  •  Notwithstanding the many miracles that Jesus had performed, how did the majority of the Jews receive Him? John 12:37–41.

Note: “ ‘But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him’ (John 12:37). They had once asked the Saviour, ‘What sign showest Thou then, that we may see, and believe Thee’ (John 6:30)? Innumerable signs had been given; but they had closed their eyes and hardened their hearts. Now that the Father Himself had spoken, and they could ask for no further sign, they still refused to believe.” The Desire of Ages, 626.

  • How did some rulers act who were convinced that Christ’s mission was real? John 12:42, 43.

Note: “They [many chief rulers] loved the praise of men rather than the approval of God. To save themselves from reproach and shame, they denied Christ, and rejected the offer of eternal life. And how many through all the centuries since have been doing the same thing! …

“Alas for those who knew not the time of their visitation! Slowly and regretfully Christ left forever the precincts of the temple.” The Desire of Ages, 626.



 1    How did Christ’s entry into Jerusalem fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9?

2    How can I ensure that I would have been among those few who discerned the voice of God instead of mistaking it for thunder?

3    What fears and concerns of the Jewish leaders should I be careful to avoid?

4    What was significant about the search for Christ by the wise men from the East and the Greeks from the West?

5    What might be causing my Saviour to weep for me now as He did for Jerusalem?

 Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Lazarus

July 30 – August 5, 2017

 Key Text

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death” (John 8:51).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 524–536; My Life Today, 208.


“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. … The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.



  •  What disciples did Jesus have in Bethany? John 11:5.

Note: “At the home of Lazarus, Jesus had often found rest. The Saviour had no home of His own; He was dependent on the hospitality of His friends and disciples, and often, when weary, thirsting for human fellowship, He had been glad to escape to this peaceful household.” The Desire of Ages, 524.

  • In whose homes is Christ present with His blessings? Proverbs 3:33, last part.

 Note: “Our Saviour appreciated a quiet home and interested listeners. He longed for human tenderness, courtesy, and affection. Those who received the heavenly instruction He was always ready to impart were greatly blessed.” The Desire of Ages, 524.

  • What happened to Lazarus? John 11:1.

  • What message did Lazarus’ sisters send to Jesus and what response did they receive? John 11:3, 4.



  •  How much longer did Jesus remain away from Bethany, and what thoughts began troubling the minds of the disciples? John 11:6.

 Note: “When Christ heard the message, the disciples thought He received it coldly. He did not manifest the sorrow they expected Him to show. Looking up to them, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby’ (John 11:4). For two days He remained in the place where He was. This delay was a mystery to the disciples. What a comfort His presence would be to the afflicted household! they thought. His strong affection for the family at Bethany was well known to the disciples, and they were surprised that He did not respond to the sad message, ‘He whom Thou lovest is sick’ (verse 3).

“During the two days Christ seemed to have dismissed the message from His mind; for He did not speak of Lazarus. The disciples thought of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. They had wondered why Jesus, with the power to perform wonderful miracles, had permitted John to languish in prison, and to die a violent death. Possessing such power, why did not Christ save John’s life? This question had often been asked by the Pharisees, who presented it as an unanswerable argument against Christ’s claim to be the Son of God. The Saviour had warned His disciples of trials, losses, and persecution. Would He forsake them in trial? Some questioned if they had mistaken His mission. All were deeply troubled.” The Desire of Ages, 526.

  • Describe the reaction of the disciples when Jesus proposed His next course of action. John 11:7, 8.

Note: “After waiting for two days, Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Let us go into Judea again’ (John 11:7). The disciples questioned why, if Jesus were going to Judea, He had waited two days. But anxiety for Christ and for themselves was now uppermost in their minds. They could see nothing but danger in the course He was about to pursue. ‘Master,’ they said, ‘the Jews of late sought to stone Thee; and goest Thou thither again’ (verse 8)?” The Desire of Ages, 526, 527.



  •  What did Jesus reveal to the disciples, and what did they understand? John 11:11, 12.

  • What did the words of Christ mean? John 11:13, 14.

Note: “Christ represents death as a sleep to His believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and until the last trump shall sound those who die will sleep in Him.” The Desire of Ages, 527.

  • Why did Jesus stay away from Bethany even after knowing that Lazarus had died? John 11:15.

  • What events took place in Bethany before the arrival of Jesus? John 11:17–19.

  • Of whom else was Jesus thinking when He decided to perform the miracle in Bethany?

Note: “In delaying to come to Lazarus, Christ had a purpose of mercy toward those who had not received Him. He tarried, that by raising Lazarus from the dead He might give to His stubborn, unbelieving people another evidence that He was indeed ‘the resurrection, and the life’ (John 11:25). He was loath to give up all hope of the people, the poor, wandering sheep of the house of Israel. His heart was breaking because of their impenitence. In His mercy He purposed to give them one more evidence that He was the Restorer, the One who alone could bring life and immortality to light. This was to be an evidence that the priests could not misinterpret. This was the reason of His delay in going to Bethany. This crowning miracle, the raising of Lazarus, was to set the seal of God on His work and on His claim to divinity.” The Desire of Ages, 529.



  • Upon hearing that Jesus was coming to Bethany, what did Martha do and what conviction did she manifest? John 11:20–22.

  • What did Jesus assure Martha, and what did she understand by this? John 11:23, 24.

  • With what words did Jesus confirm Martha’s conviction? John 11:25.

Note: “Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life’ (John 11:25). In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life’ (1 John 5:12). The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.

  • What promise is the basis of our hope beyond the tomb? John 5:25; 11:26, first part.

  • How did Martha’s conviction relate to Christ’s miracle? John 11:26, last part, 27.

Note: “ ‘He that believeth in Me,’ said Jesus, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this’ (John 11:25, 26)? Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death. The miracle which Christ was about to perform, in raising Lazarus from the dead, would represent the resurrection of all the righteous dead. By His word and His works He declared Himself the Author of the resurrection. He who Himself was soon to die upon the cross stood with the keys of death, a conqueror of the grave, and asserted His right and power to give eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.



  •  Describe the actions and words of the grief-stricken Mary. John 11:28–32.

  • What did Jesus do when He saw Mary and some of the Jews weeping? John 11:33–35.

Note: “It was not only because of His human sympathy with Mary and Martha that Jesus wept. In His tears there was a sorrow as high above human sorrow as the heavens are higher than the earth. Christ did not weep for Lazarus; for He was about to call him from the grave. He wept because many of those now mourning for Lazarus would soon plan the death of Him who was the resurrection and the life.” The Desire of Ages, 533.

  • What did Jesus do next, even in the midst of accusations against Him? John 11:37–39.

  • What prayer did Jesus offer beside the sepulcher? John 11:41, 42.

  • What words did Jesus utter, and what happened when those words were spoken? John 11:43, 44.



 1    Why didn’t Jesus immediately comply with the request of Lazarus’ sisters?

2    How should death be regarded by the followers of Christ?

3    For what purpose did Christ allow Lazarus to die?

4    Why did Jesus weep?

5    Describe the actions of Lazarus upon the call of Jesus.

 Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Cran-Date Oat Muffins



Cran-Date Oat Muffins

1 ½ cups canned crushed pineapple, drained, or fresh, diced 2 cups quick oats
1 banana, mashed ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup almond butter ½ cup coconut, shredded
¼ cup coconut nectar or raw agave nectar 1 cup dates, chopped
½ tsp. salt 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved
1 tsp. coriander
Mix ingredients. Spray muffin tin or use cupcake liners. Lightly fill with mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. Delish!

Food – Fiber

Back in the 1940s, Dr. Denis Burkitt began to notice the correlation of diet and good health. Working as a surgeon in East Africa, he rarely saw conditions like constipation, hemorrhoids and appendicitis that were widespread in the Western world. He came to believe the amount of fiber or roughage in a diet could explain why.

Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that your body cannot digest. There are two kinds of fiber, both important in keeping healthy. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and becomes a soft gel in the intestines. Insoluble fiber remains unchanged as it speeds up the food’s passage through the digestive system.

Bumping up the fiber in your diet can help you avoid these conditions or deal with them in a healthier way:

Diabetes. Fiber helps improve the way your body handles insulin and glucose. That means you can lower your risk of diabetes by eating whole grains rather than refined carbohydrates. Whole grain bread and crackers, bran muffins, navy beans, Brussels sprouts and zucchini are good choices.

Heart attack and stroke. The soluble fiber in foods like oatmeal, okra, and oranges helps eliminate much of the cholesterol that can clog your arteries and cause a stroke or heart attack.

Constipation and hemorrhoids. “If fiber intake were adequate, laxatives would seldom be required,” said Burkitt. Apples, sweet potatoes, barley, and pinto beans provide this roughage.

Appendicitis. “Keeping bowel content soft,” said Burkitt, “seems to provide the best safeguard against the development of appendicitis.” Treats like apricots, peaches, pears and figs are a tasty way to do this.

Diverticulitis. As the body processes fibrous foods like peas, spinach, corn, and artichoke it tones up the intestinal muscles. This helps prevent pouches, called diverticula, which can cause abdominal pain if they become inflamed.

Weight gain. The best way to lose weight is to eat low-fat, low-calorie vegetables and grains. “The more bulky fiber-rich foods you eat,” said Burkitt, “the less unhealthy fat you will be consuming.” And since fiber swells, you’ll feel satisfied faster. If feeling the need of dessert, choose fruits like plums or strawberries.

Cancer. Burkitt believed a high-fiber diet defends against colon and rectal cancers in two ways. His cultural studies showed the more animal fat in a diet, the higher incidence of bowel cancer.

A healthy portion of fiber speeds cancer-causing compounds out of the digestive system more quickly, before they have a chance to make trouble. Burkitt also considered fiber a protector against other conditions such as gallbladder disease, varicose veins, and hiatal hernia.

Start the day with a whole-grain cereal. Top it off with raisins, dates, sliced banana or chopped apple. Eat raw vegetable salads, munch on carrot and celery sticks. If cooking, steam only until crisp tender. Enjoy fruit salads and fruits. Eat the skins. Substituting brown rice for white will triple the fiber. Add legumes to soups and stews, use in whole grain burritos or with rice. Consume at least 20 to 35 grams a day.

Excerpts from Eat and Heal, Frank W. Cawood and Associates, Inc., Copyright 2001, 10–13.



Cran-Date Oat Muffins

1 ½ cups canned crushed pineapple, drained, or fresh, diced 2 cups quick oats
1 banana, mashed ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup almond butter ½ cup coconut, shredded
¼ cup coconut nectar or raw agave nectar 1 cup dates, chopped
½ tsp. salt 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved
1 tsp. coriander
Mix ingredients. Spray muffin tin or use cupcake liners. Lightly fill with mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. Delish!


Children’s Story – Pansy Faces

What I liked most about living in our little brown house was that we were near my Grandpa Willie’s family and near my great-grandma Ellen White. If I walked out our front gate and turned to the right, it took about five minutes to walk up the hill to Grandpa Willie’s big white house. But if I went out the gate and turned left, I could walk across the wooden bridge over the creek, past the big barn, and in only three or four minutes, I could be at Grandma Ellen’s house. She named it Elmshaven.

One morning, my mother helped me pick a handful of our prettiest pansies from our flower garden. Then she let me take them to Grandma Ellen and visit her all by myself. I felt very grown up. Auntie Sara, who lived with Grandma Ellen and helped take care of her, opened the door for me. Sara McEnterfer wasn’t really our aunt, but that’s what we all called her. She let me go through the front room and up the beautiful red-carpeted stairs. At the top of the stairs, I ran down the long hall and into Grandma’s writing room.

When Grandma Ellen saw me, her face turned into one big smile. She pushed her flat writing board to the side of her chair and held out her arms. I ran straight into them.

Grandma Ellen spent time every day writing down the things God showed her and told her. She was a messenger for God. He gave her wonderful dreams called visions. Sometimes, angels came and spoke to her.

This morning, she hugged me tightly and thanked me as she took the flowers from my grimy little hand. She smiled like I had given her the biggest bouquet of flowers from a real flower shop!

“Look at all these smiling pansy faces!” Grandma Ellen said with a laugh. “That’s why pansies are one of my favorite flowers. They make me happy. Look, Mabel! Every pansy is smiling at you.”

I had never thought of pansies having faces. Suddenly, I could see their faces too!

“Mabel,” Grandma Ellen said, “point to a pansy face that looks sad or mean.”

I looked carefully at each flower. “Grandma, there are no sad faces. Every pansy is smiling.”

Grandma Ellen smiled. “That’s why I like pansies. They make me happy, because they are happy.” She pulled me closer. “Jesus wants us to be like pansies. He wants us to bring happiness to everyone around us.”

I liked talking with my Grandma Ellen. “Mabel,” she asked, “do you know what pansies do the very first thing in the morning?”

I shook my head. “No. What do they do?”

“The first thing a pansy does in the morning is turn its face toward the sun,” she said. “It needs light and warmth to make it grow. All day long, that pansy keeps its face toward the sun as the sun slowly crosses the sky. Then when the sun sets and it gets dark, the pansy rests all night, trusting that the sun will wake it up again the next morning.”

“Mabel, Jesus wants us to be like pansies,” she said. “He keeps us safe all night and wakes us up in the morning. Jesus is our bright, warm, loving Sun. ‘Thank You, dear Jesus,’ we say when we wake up and think about Him. ‘Thank You for Your love and care. I give myself to You this morning. Help me be happy and obedient all day.’ ”

Grandma squeezed my hand. “All your life, Mabel, remember to talk with Jesus the moment you wake up and start a new day. Ask Jesus to be with you all that day. He loves you so much that He will never leave you. If you’re tempted to do something wrong, remember that He is only a whisper away. You can say, ‘Dear Jesus, please help me to be true and loyal to You.’ Never forget, Mabel, that He can even hear the prayers you whisper in your own mind.”

And I have remembered what my Grandma Ellen told me that day. It was more than eighty years ago now, but whenever I see a pansy, I remember to smile. And I have learned that during the years of my life what Grandma Ellen said is true. If I talk to my Heavenly Father when I first wake up, and ask Him to help me do the right things through the day, He always does. He helps me grow more and more like Jesus.

Grandma Ellen and Me, Mabel R. Miller, 13–17.

Life Sketches – Stephen the Deacon

You and I do not see things the way God sees them. Very often what appears to us to be nothing but defeat is something that is going to bring victory in God’s cause in the end. That has been the experience many times throughout religious history. What appeared to bring defeat and disaster to Christianity often ended up being a great triumph of the Christian faith and recorded in sacred Scripture.

As believers were added to the church, the sick were brought into the street on stretchers in the hope they would be healed. The priests and rulers were filled with indignation and threw the apostles into prison, forbidding them to speak anymore in the name of Jesus. They were scheduled to come before the Sanhedrin for trial the next morning, but during the night, an angel from heaven came and released them and told them, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). They were brought before the council again, and told, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name” (verse 28)? But Peter and the other apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (verse 29). They became so angry when Peter told them that they were the ones responsible for crucifying Jesus, that they decided to kill them on the spot.

But Gamaliel, who was one of the learned rabbis among them, cautioned them and said, “Be careful: for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (verses 38, 39). Unable to disagree with Gamaliel’s advice, it says in verses 40–42, “They agreed with him and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

Ever since the beginning, the devil has constantly sought to stir up trouble among Christians so that Christ’s prayer for His church to be in unity and harmony would not be fulfilled. This was another attempt by the devil to destroy the church by arousing within it controversy and infighting. Resulting from these events was that from the ranks of those opposing the Christian faith, their most active and successful champion in persecuting Christians, came a man who would become the greatest champion of the Christian faith and write more than half of the books in the New Testament.

The early believers had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and believed that He had been raised from the dead. They were in Jerusalem at the time; so they could check the evidence, check the tomb where He had laid, and talk with those who were eyewitnesses. Paul says there were over 500 that had seen Christ after the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). These people were all in Jerusalem. So if you wanted to confirm the evidence that Jesus had been raised from the dead, you could easily find someone who had seen Him. The number of Christians was continually increasing, not only among those who were Hebrews, but also among people who were living there from other nations that spoke not Hebrew but the lingua franca of those days, the Greek language.

These early believers had been cut off from their family and friends. Jesus had said in Matthew 10:34–36, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household,” because some would accept the gospel and some would not.

Because of zealous bigotry many of the converts to Christianity had been thrown out of business  and exiled from their homes. Their relatives refused to allow them to stay at home because they were Christians. For espousing the cause of Christ they were destitute. They had no business, they had no source of livelihood, they had no place to stay. So it became necessary to provide this large number that were congregated in Jerusalem with homes and sustenance. Those who had money and those who had possessions cheerfully sacrificed them to meet the existing emergency. They sold their things and brought them to the apostles so that the rest of the Christians could be sustained.

Among the believers there were those who were Jews by birth, and also those who did not speak the Hebrew tongue. They were residents of other countries who used the Greek language. Between these two classes in the past there had existed distrust and even antagonism, but now, even though their hearts were softened and united by Christian love, yet the old jealousies were easily rekindled. Acts 6:1 says, “In those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists” that is, the Greeks, “… because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution” (literal translation).

Inequality would have been contrary to the spirit of the gospel. There was an alleged neglect of these Greek widows in the distribution of funds and food set aside for the poor. So, prompt measures were taken to remove all cause of dissatisfaction and the apostles summoned all the believers together for a meeting. They said that the time had come when they needed to be relieved from the task of apportioning food and sustenance to the poor and other similar burdens so that they could spend their full time preaching Christ. Verse 2 says, “The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ ”

This saying pleased everybody and seven people were appointed as deacons. The word deacon comes from a Greek word diaconas which simply means a middle-class servant. So they appointed seven people to be the servants of the church, to take care of, to visit those that were poor, those that were sick, those that had financial difficulties, and any other need. After they had set these seven men before the apostles, they prayed and laid hands on them. It says in verse 7, “The word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Not only was there a growing number of people who believed the doctrines taught by the apostles and had checked the evidence and found out Jesus had risen from the dead, they also said that He is in heaven, and we have the evidence. We’ve talked to people who have seen Him and talked with Him after the resurrection. The number of Christians was multiplying very rapidly, not only among the Greeks and the Hebrew people, but among the priests, even the leaders of the Jewish religion. It says in verse 7, last part, “A great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

This turn of events caused more trouble. The leading priests and rulers witnessed the wonderful ministration of the power that attended the deacons and especially the leader, the one in first place, whose name was Stephen. Stephen made it plain that he was a student of the prophecies. He had also done great wonders and miracles among the people (verse 8). He was a Jew by birth but he could speak the Greek language and was familiar with the customs and manners of the Greeks. So he found opportunity to proclaim the gospel in the synagogue of the Greek Jews. There were learned rabbis and doctors of the law who engaged in public discussion with Stephen and tried to show that he was wrong, but it says in verses 10, 11, “They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ ” Some of the leaders had decided to figure out a way to kill him.

First of all, they hired false witnesses to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against the temple and against God.” They were filled with bitter hatred against this man because they couldn’t show in a public debate that he was wrong. Remember, the last resort of every false religion is force. If you cannot show that your opponent is wrong intellectually, the only way to win is to kill him.

Instead of yielding to the weight of evidence presented, they decided that they would silence his voice by putting him to death. They did not doubt that they could pursue such a course, since they had previously bribed the Roman authorities to ignore their nefarious deeds. They determined that they were going to risk the consequences at all events. So Stephen was seized and brought before the Sanhedrin council. Jews were brought in from surrounding countries to refute his arguments. There was a young man, also present, by the name of Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a theologian, trained at the feet of Gamaliel and one of the leading rabbis in Jerusalem. Saul took a leading part against Stephen. He brought the weight of eloquence, the logic, and the reasoning of the rabbis, to bear on the case, to convince the people that Stephen was preaching delusive and dangerous doctrines.

When Saul of Tarsus met Stephen at his trial before the Sanhedrin, he met somebody that he found out was as highly educated as himself, someone who had a full understanding of the purpose of God in the spreading of the gospel to other nations. Neither Saul of Tarsus, nor the council, nor anybody, was able to prevail anything against the clear, calm wisdom of Stephen. But even though they couldn’t win the argument by debate, they were vehement in their opposition and determined that they were going to make an example of him. They decided to satisfy their revengeful hatred by putting Stephen to death, hoping that would prevent other people, through fear, from accepting the doctrines he was teaching.

This fate has befallen thousands, if not millions of individuals since. False witnesses were hired and testified that they had heard Steven speak blasphemous words against the temple, saying we have heard him say that the customs are going to be changed.

Verse 15 says, “All who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.” He was there to answer for the crime of blasphemy, but a holy radiance shown on his face, and those that exalted Moses could have seen in the face of the prisoner the same holy light that radiated from the face of Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai. Many who saw this lighted countenance of Stephen trembled and veiled their faces, but their stubborn unbelief and prejudice never faltered.

Stephen was questioned as to the truth of the charges brought against him and he began to take up his defense in a clear thrilling voice that rang through the council hall (see Acts 7). He proceeded to rehearse the history of the chosen people of God in words that held that assembly spellbound. He showed a thorough knowledge of the Jewish economy, and explained the spiritual interpretation of it that was now made manifest through Christ. He made plain that his own loyalty to God and to the Jewish faith was still intact.

But he showed that the law in which they trusted for salvation had not been able to preserve them from idolatry. He connected Jesus Christ with all of Jewish history. He referred to the building of the temple by Solomon in Acts 7:47–50: “But Solomon built Him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?’ ”

When Stephen reached that point, there was a tumult among the people, and the prisoner read his fate in the countenances of those before him. He perceived the resistance that met his words that were spoken under the dictation of the Holy Spirit. He knew that He was giving his last testimony. When he connected Jesus Christ with the prophecies and spoke of the temple as he did, they pretended to be horror-stricken. This was an evidence to Stephen, a signal to him, that his voice would soon be silenced forever. Even though he was just in the middle of his remarks, of his defense, he abruptly concluded it by suddenly breaking away from the chain of history and turning upon his infuriated judges. Acts 7:51, 52 says, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murders, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”

When he spoke those words, the priests and the rulers were beside themselves with rage. They became so infuriated with anger that they became more like wild beasts of prey than human beings. They rushed upon Stephen, gnashing their teeth, but he was not intimidated. He had expected this. His face was calm. He was ready for whatever they might do. The infuriated priests and the excited mob took him out of the temple, and as he was brought out from the place where they were going to kill him, Stephen looked up into the heavens and said, “ ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul” (verses 56–58).

The rulers could not stand to hear what he had to say so they “stopped their ears.” They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit.”

“Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (verses 57, 59, 60).

The people who had accused him were required, according to their custom, to cast the first stones. These persons who cast the first stones laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul of Tarsus who had also taken an active part in the disputation and consented to the death of Stephen.

The martyrdom of Stephen made a deep impression upon all who witnessed it. It was a terrible trial to the church, but it resulted in the conversion of Saul. The faith that Stephen manifested, the constancy that he showed, the glorification of the martyr at the very time when the religious leaders were angry at him and were killing him, could not be effaced from the memory of Saul of Tarsus. Whole nights he spent struggling with this. How is it that at the very time when this man is being stoned to death, dishonored by men, a blasphemer teaching dangerous doctrines, he gives evidence that he has the signet of God upon his face. His words reach to the very soul of those who heard them, and remained in the memory of all the beholders, testifying that what he was saying was the truth.

Similar incidences have happened thousands or maybe even millions of times where force was used to get rid of someone whose arguments could not be refuted. The weight of evidence was too great; the only way to win the argument was to kill them. There had been no legal sentence passed on Stephen, but the Roman authorities could be bribed and they were bribed, by large sums of money to make no investigation of the case.

God’s way of dealing with people is to give evidence and then ask you to make your decision on the evidence. What is the weight of evidence? Are you making decisions on the weight of evidence? Or are you making decisions on the weight of money?

We live in a world where bribery has been used in order to get one’s way in courts of justice. This is a terrible thing when it happens even in Christian nations, because, if we do not make our decisions based on the weight of evidence, someday we will have to give an account of what we have done and why we have done it. Romans 14:12 says, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Friends, that means you, that means me. We are each going to have to give an account of ourselves to God. Saul of Tarsus started having a hard time. He could not forget the scene of Stephen’s trial and subsequent death and he seemed to be angry at his own secret convictions that Stephen was honored of God at the very time when he was dishonored of men. In order to put this out of his mind he began more than ever before to persecute the church of God. He hunted them down, seized them in their houses and delivered them up to the authorities to be imprisoned and even killed. He became the terror of the Christians in Jerusalem. The Roman authorities made no special effort to stay the cruel work. They secretly aided the Jews, trying to pacify them. That has been the case in our world, over and over again for thousands of years. But soon unbeknown by Saul, everything was going to change in his life.

If you come to Jesus, everything will change in your life.

(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 – Breathe Through the Nose

The nostrils are the proper channels for the breath of life. The mouth is designed for other important purposes; and when it is not opened for some good purpose, it were better that it remain closed. Some fifteen or twenty years ago I read an article on this subject, and since then have been trying to reduce to practice the advice to keep the mouth shut, with some progress, I think, and certainly with some benefit. Many a cold, sore throat, toothache, etc., can be prevented by keeping the mouth closed, when going out in cold weather. I have held evening meetings in stormy, winter weather, where the good people were afraid to have the house properly ventilated, and as the result, the close of the meeting would find me in perspiration. When obliged to go out, I would keep my mouth so strictly closed till I reached my quarters that I feared I should give the impression that I was unsociable; and in this way, I would escape colds almost entirely while almost all others would be very much afflicted with them. But this is not the sole cause of the difference; something must be credited to my different manner of living in other respects. Hygienic living in general is the best preventive of this difficulty, as well as of others.

Think of the cases of those of your acquaintance who, attending singing school, have ruined their voices, contracting a bronchial affection for life. After singing two hours in a heated and unventilated house, they would get into sleighs and go singing on their way home. The throat, irritated and inflamed, suddenly exposed to the frosty air of a northern winter! It was a wonder that any could live through such an ordeal. Think of it, friends. When going out, especially after having been using your voice, keep your mouth shut. On going to bed, shut your mouth carefully, and thus go to sleep, being covered well and not fearing to have your room well ventilated.

The Health Reformer, February 1876.

Question and Answer – What would you consider “strange fire” in today’s world?

“Cheap, earthly, unchristian words may be represented as ‘strange fire,’ and with this God can have nothing to do. The loud, boisterous laugh is a denial of God in the soul, for it reveals that the truth is not ruling in the heart. … By our vain words and unchristian example we dishonor God, and imperil not only our own souls but also the souls of those with whom we associate.” That I May Know Him, 138.

“But strange fire has been offered in the use of harsh words, in self-importance, in self-exaltation, in self-righteousness, in arbitrary authority, in domineering, in oppression, in restricting the liberty of God’s people, binding them about by your plans and rules, which God has not framed, neither have they come into His mind. All these things are strange fire, unacknowledged by God, and are a continual misrepresentation of His character.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 357, 358.

“A failure to study and obey God’s word has brought confusion into the world. Men have left the guardianship of Christ for the guardianship of the great rebel, the prince of darkness. Strange fire has been mingled with the sacred.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 440.

“… the spirit of selfishness is strange fire which should not be mingled with God’s sacred service.The Home Missionary, June 1, 1897.

“We must keep the way of the Lord, and speak and act as standing in His sight, living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, that no strange fire shall mingle with that which is holy. Light and darkness cannot be mingled and harmonize. Many act partly as children of time, and partly as children of eternity, and this course God abhors. ‘If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him’ (1 Kings 18:21). If you believe the word of God, submit your ways to its guidance in all things, even though your own inclinations are crossed. Believe the truth heartily. Do not stand as many of you have done, apparently wavering between dependence upon the righteousness of Christ, and dependence upon your own righteousness. Deception has come upon some minds until they have thought that their own merits were of considerable value. Their minds are confused and perplexed where all is clear and plain. The end is near! We have no time to halt between two opinions.” The Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.

“As the searcher for truth advances in his investigation, he sees that inferences and traditions and the suppositions and sayings of men, have baptized Sunday as a Sabbath. The more earnestly and candidly this question is canvassed, the more clearly will men who are judgment-bound see that there is not a particle of Scriptural evidence to sustain Sunday. God never placed his sanctity upon that day. Those who observe it offer God strange fire in place of sacred. …”  Ibid., July 13, 1897.

“Your words are not always wise. When you allow your own spirit to have sway, you lose the spirit of God, and then it is that the strange fire is offered.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 313.