Bible Study Guides – The Importance of Charity

August 22 – 28, 2021

Key Text

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Study Help: Counsels on Stewardship, 20–23.


“Learn that Christlike love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.” The Review and Herald, July 21, 1904.



1.a. How is the faithful steward affected by prayerful study and meditation on 1 Corinthians 13? 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 4:19–21.

 Note: “The Lord desires me to call the attention of His people to the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength.” The Review and Herald, July 21, 1904.

“In the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians the apostle Paul defines true Christlike love. … This chapter is an expression of the obedience of all who love God and keep His commandments. It is brought into action in the life of every true believer.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1091.

1.b. What should be deeply considered by all who profess and seek to share the present truth in these last days? 2 Peter 1:10–12.

Note: “How careful we should be, that our words and actions are all in harmony with the sacred truth that God has committed to us! The people of the world are looking to us, to see what our faith is doing for our characters and lives. They are watching to see if it is having a sanctifying effect on our hearts, if we are becoming changed into the likeness of Christ. They are ready to discover every defect in our lives, every inconsistency in our actions. Let us give them no occasion to reproach our faith.” The Review and Herald, June 5, 1888.



2.a. Why is knowledge along with a polished ability to express it insufficient to glorify Christ? 1 Corinthians 13:1.

Note: “If the knowledge of the truth produces no beauty in the soul, if it does not subdue, soften, and recreate the man after God’s own image, it is of no benefit to the receiver; it is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1181.

“It is not the ready speaker, the sharp intellect that counts with God. It is the earnest purpose, the deep piety, the love of truth, the fear of God that has a telling influence. A testimony from the heart, coming from lips in which is no guile, full of faith and humble trust, though given by a stammering tongue, is accounted of God as precious as gold; while the smart speech, the eloquent oratory, of the one to whom is entrusted large talents, but who is wanting in truthfulness, in steadfast purpose, in purity, in unselfishness, are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. He may say witty things, he may relate amusing anecdotes, he may play upon the feelings; but the spirit of Jesus is not in it. All these things may please unsanctified hearts, but God holds in His hands the balances that weigh the words, the spirit, the sincerity, the devotion, and He pronounces it altogether lighter than vanity.” Ibid., vol. 6, 1091.

2.b. What is the warning against a self-centered employment of God’s blessings? James 2:15, 16.

Note: “The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders, is selfishness. There can be no returning to the Lord except by self-denial. Of ourselves we can do nothing; but, through God strengthening us, we can live to do good to others, and in this way shun the evil of selfishness. We need not go to heathen lands to manifest our desire to devote all to God in a useful, unselfish life. We should do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate and with whom we do business. Right in the common walks of life is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 132.



3.a. Although scriptural doctrines, accurate prophetic understanding, and uncompromising courage are essential, what is the warning to all who believe the present truth? 1 Corinthians 13:2, 3.

Note: “No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellow men is not a true disciple of Christ. Though he should possess great faith and have power even to work miracles, yet without love his faith would be worthless. He might display great liberality; but should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the act would not commend him to the favor of God. In his zeal he might even meet a martyr’s death, yet if not actuated by love, he would be regarded by God as a deluded enthusiast or an ambitious hypocrite.” The Acts of the Apostles, 318, 319.

3.b. What are potential besetting dangers? Revelation 3:17; Isaiah 65:5.

Note: “A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice—all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. The one great Offering that has been made is ample for all who will believe. … Look up to God, look not to men. God is your heavenly Father who is willing patiently to bear with your infirmities, and to forgive and heal them.” The Review and Herald, March 20, 1894.

“There is nothing that can so weaken the influence of the church as the lack of love.” Ibid., June 5, 1888.



4.a. What type of service is unacceptable to God, and why? Isaiah 58:4, 5; Jeremiah 2:13. How can we overcome this problem?

Note: “Watch unto prayer. In this way alone can you put your whole being into the Lord’s work. Self must be put in the background. Those who make self prominent gain an education that soon becomes second nature to them; and they will soon fail to realize that instead of uplifting Jesus they uplift themselves, that instead of being channels through which the living water can flow to refresh others, they absorb the sympathies and affections of those around them. This is not loyalty to our crucified Lord.” Counsels on Health, 560.

“It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers. We should forget self in the desire to do good to others.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 132.

4.b. Describe the result of true religion. James 1:27.

4.c. How is the Christian to be a blessing to his fellow man? John 7:37, 38; Compare Isaiah 58:6–11.

Note: “The pure religion of Jesus is the fountain from which flow streams of charity, love, self-sacrifice.

“A Christian is a Christlike man, a Christlike woman, who is active in God’s service, who is present at the social meeting, whose presence will encourage others also. Religion does not consist in works, but religion works; it is not dormant.

“Many seem to feel that religion has a tendency to make its possessor narrow and cramped, but genuine religion does not have a narrowing influence; it is the lack of religion that cramps the faculties and narrows the mind. When a man is narrow, it is an evidence that he needs the grace of God, the heavenly anointing; for a Christian is one whom the Lord, the God of hosts, can work through, that he may keep the ways of the Lord of the earth and make manifest His will to men.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 935.



5.a. What is the highest rung of the ladder of Christian development? 2 Peter 1:4–7. What must we realize in seeking to cultivate all the Christian qualities?

Note: “We are to add to faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. You are not to think that you must wait until you have perfected one grace, before cultivating another. No; they are to grow up together, fed continually from the fountain of charity; every day that you live, you can be perfecting the blessed attributes fully revealed in the character of Christ; and when you do this, you will bring light, love, peace, and joy into your homes.” The Review and Herald, July 29, 1890.

5.b. Explain how we can become imbued with new spiritual life and right motives. Ezekiel 37:1–14; Mark 2:22.

Note: “When self is renounced, then the Lord can make man a new creature. New bottles can contain the new wine. The love of Christ will animate the believer with new life. In him who looks unto the Author and Finisher of our faith the character of Christ will be manifest.” The Desire of Ages, 280.



1    Why should the faithful steward daily study 1 Corinthians 13?

2    In what ways can the faithful steward be in danger of being as “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal?

3    Why could a martyr professing Christ be lost?

4    When will our attitude and work be pleasing to God?

5    How does charity operate with the other qualities in 2 Peter 1:4–7?

Copyright 2011, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.


Bible Study Guides – Stewardship as a Talent

August 15 – 21, 2021

Key Text

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23).

Study Help: Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 165–170.


“God has committed to each of us sacred trusts, for which He holds us accountable. It is His purpose that we so educate the mind as to be able to exercise the talents He has given us in such a manner as to accomplish the greatest good and reflect the glory to the Giver.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 32.



1.a. What does the Lord Himself give to every faithful steward? 1 Corinthians 12:8–11.

Note: “The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. [1 Corinthians 12:8–11 quoted.] All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 327.

1.b. What does the Giver expect from His stewards? Luke 19:23.

Note: “God bestows various talents and gifts upon men, not that they may lie useless, nor that they may be employed in amusements or selfish gratification, but that they may be a blessing to others by enabling men to do earnest, self-sacrificing missionary work. God grants man time for the purpose of promoting His glory.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 6, 1902.

“Our heavenly Father requires no more nor less than He has given us ability to do. He lays upon His servants no burdens that they are not able to bear. ‘He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust’ (Psalm 103:14). All that He claims from us we through divine grace can render.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 362.



2.a. How should faithful stewards find out, develop, and use their talents? Proverbs 1:7; 2:3–9; James 1:5.

Note: “Many apparently unpromising youth are richly endowed with talents that are put to no use. Their faculties lie hidden because of a lack of discernment on the part of their educators. In many a boy or girl outwardly as unattractive as a rough-hewn stone, may be found precious material that will stand the test of heat and storm and pressure. The true educator, keeping in view what his pupils may become, will recognize the value of the material upon which he is working.” Education, 232.

“God has a great work to be done in a short time. He has committed to the young talents of intellect, time, and means, and He holds them responsible for the use they make of these good gifts. He calls upon them to come to the front, to resist the corrupting, bewitching influences of this fast age, and to become qualified to labor in His cause. They cannot become fitted for usefulness without putting heart and energy into the work of preparation.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 7, 1884.

2.b. How are talents increased? 2 Corinthians 9:6.

Note: “Talents used are talents multiplied. Success is not the result of chance or of destiny; it is the outworking of God’s own providence, the reward of faith and discretion, of virtue and persevering effort. The Lord desires us to use every gift we have; and if we do this, we shall have greater gifts to use.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 353.

“Some of the youth have been diligent and persevering, and they are now making their mark, and are occupying important positions in the cause of God. We often hear persons speak of the talents and ability of these youth as though God had bestowed upon them special gifts; but this is a mistake. It is the use we make of the talents given us, that makes us strong. There are many who might be well qualified to engage in the work of the Lord, who fail to improve upon the ability God has given them.” The Review and Herald, March 25, 1880.



3.a. What should be understood by those who feel they have the least amount of talent? 1 Corinthians 7:20–24; Mark 14:8; Matthew 25:14–30.

Note: “Many of the youth repine because they have not ability to do some large work, and they covet talents by which they might do some wonderful things; but while they are spending their time in vain desires, they are making a failure of life. They are overlooking opportunities which they might improve in doing deeds of love in the path of life in which their feet are set.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 2, 1893.

3.b. How does the Lord evaluate the use of our talents? 2 Corinthians 5:10; Luke 12:47, 48.

Note: “When the Lord takes account of His servants, the return from every talent will be scrutinized. The work done reveals the character of the worker.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 360.

“Those who might have exerted an influence to save souls had they stood in the counsel of God, yet failed to do their duty through selfishness, indolence, or because they were ashamed of the cross of Christ, will not only lose their own souls, but will have the blood of poor sinners upon their garments. Such will be required to render an account for the good that they could have done had they been consecrated to God, but did not do because of their unfaithfulness. Those who have really tasted the sweets of redeeming love will not, cannot, rest until all with whom they associate are made acquainted with the plan of salvation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 511.

“We shall individually be held responsible for doing one jot less than we have ability to do. The Lord measures with exactness every possibility for service. The unused capabilities are as much brought into account as are those that are improved. For all that we might become through the right use of our talents God holds us responsible.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 363.



4.a. What are the responsibilities of those who are strong toward weaker members? Romans 15:1.

Note: “The special gifts of the Spirit are not the only talents represented in the parable [of the talents (Matthew 25:13–32.)]. It includes all gifts and endowments, whether original or acquired, natural or spiritual. All are to be employed in Christ’s service. In becoming His disciples, we surrender ourselves to Him with all that we are and have. These gifts He returns to us purified and ennobled, to be used for His glory in blessing our fellow men.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 328.

“The power of speech is a talent that should be diligently cultivated. Of all the gifts we have received from God, none is capable of being a greater blessing than this. With the voice we convince and persuade, with it we offer prayer and praise to God, and with it we tell others of the Redeemer’s love. How important, then, that it be so trained as to be most effective for good.” Ibid., 335.

“Our time belongs to God. Every moment is His, and we are under the most solemn obligation to improve it to His glory. Of no talent He has given will He require a more strict account than of our time.” Ibid., 342.

“Parents should teach their children the value and right use of time. Teach them that to do something which will honor God and bless humanity is worth striving for. Even in their early years they can be missionaries for God.” Ibid., 345.

“God also entrusts men with means. He gives them power to get wealth. He waters the earth with the dews of heaven and with the showers of refreshing rain. He gives the sunlight, which warms the earth, awakening to life the things of nature and causing them to flourish and bear fruit. And He asks for a return of His own.” Ibid., 351.

“Our money has not been given us that we might honor and glorify ourselves. As faithful stewards we are to use it for the honor and glory of God. Some think that only a portion of their means is the Lord’s. When they have set apart a portion for religious and charitable purposes, they regard the remainder as their own, to be used as they see fit. But in this they mistake. All we possess is the Lord’s, and we are accountable to Him for the use we make of it. In the use of every penny it will be seen whether we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.” Messages to Young People, 310.



5.a. What should be the focus of all our various talents? Philippians 3:7–14.

 Note: “You are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. … Make the most of the golden moments, putting to use the talents God has given you, that you may accumulate something for the Master, and be a blessing to all around you. Let the heavenly angels look down with joy upon you because you are loyal and true to Jesus Christ.” The Youth’s Instructor, July 12, 1894.

“It is the wise improvement of your opportunities, the cultivation of your God-given talents, that will make you men and women that can be approved of God, and a blessing to society. Let your standard be high, and with indomitable energy, make the most of your talents and opportunities, and press to the mark.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 87.

“Are you going to give yourselves to the Lord? Are you ready to engage in the work He has left you to do? Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). In the face of this command, will you appropriate your time and your energies as inclination may dictate, instead of following the counsel of God?” Sons and Daughters of God, 273.

“Here, in this world, in these last days, persons will show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. …

“Young and old, God is now testing you. You are deciding your own eternal destiny.” Maranatha, 43.



1    How can specific talents best be cultivated for the Master?

2    How does the church benefit from talent stewardship?

3    What should I, personally, be considering more seriously about those talents entrusted to me?

4    What must I realize about my accountability before God for my talents?

5    Describe the responsibility of all Christians, regardless of age or ability.

Copyright 2011, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Get Rich Schemes

August 8 – 14, 2021

Key Text

“A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 28:20).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 225, 226.


“All the advantages which God has given are His means to throw ardor into the spirit, zeal into effort, and vigor into the carrying out of His holy will.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 360.



1.a. What will be the result of haste to acquire means? Proverbs 21:5.

Note: “The spirit of gain-getting, of making haste to be rich, of this all-absorbing worldliness, is painfully contradictory to our faith and doctrines.” Counsels on Stewardship, 231, 232.

1.b. What is the blessing in waiting patiently? Psalm 37:7; 1 Peter 2:20.

Note: “Satan watches the peculiar, selfish, covetous temperament of some who profess the truth, and he will tempt them by throwing prosperity in their path, offering them the riches of earth. He knows that if they do not overcome their natural temperament, they will stumble and fall by loving mammon, worshiping their idol. Satan’s object is often accomplished. The strong love of the world overcomes, or swallows up, the love of the truth. The kingdoms of the world are offered them, and they eagerly grasp their treasure and think they are wonderfully prospered. Satan triumphs because his plan has succeeded. They have given up the love of God for the love of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 142.



2.a. Identify wise principles of management and labor in earning and providing for family means. Proverbs 27:23; 28:8; 31:16, 24.

Note: “Many times, when the Lord has opened the way for brethren to handle their means to advance His cause, the agents of Satan have presented some enterprise by which they were positive the brethren could double their means. They take the bait; their money is invested, and the cause, and frequently themselves, never receive a dollar.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 154.

“Every movement … which comes in to excite the desire to get riches quickly by speculation, takes the minds of the people away from the most solemn truths that ever were given to mortals. There may be encouraging prospects for a time, but the end of the matter is failure. The Lord endorses no such movements. If this work is sanctioned, many would be attracted by these speculative schemes that could not in any other way be led away from the work of presenting the solemn truths that must be given to the people at this time.” Counsels on Stewardship, 234, 235. [Emphasis author’s.]

“Work is a blessing, not a curse. Diligent labor keeps many, young and old, from the snares of him who ‘finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.’ Let no one be ashamed of work; for honest toil is ennobling. While the hands are engaged in the most common tasks, the mind may be filled with high and holy thoughts.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 27, 1902.

2.b. What is the problem of engaging in speculative ventures? Proverbs 27:20.

Note: “It is a dangerous experiment for our people to engage in speculation. They thereby place themselves on the enemy’s ground, subject to great temptations, disappointments, trials, and losses. Then comes a feverish unrest, a longing desire to obtain means more rapidly than present circumstances will admit. Their surroundings are accordingly changed, in hope of making more money. But frequently their expectations are not realized, and they become discouraged and go backward rather than forward. … They are backsliding from God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 617.



3.a. Even in the fast-paced era in which we live, what does God mercifully provide—and why? Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Note: “The value of time is beyond computation. Christ regarded every moment as precious, and it is thus that we should regard it. Life is too short to be trifled away. We have but a few days of probation in which to prepare for eternity. We have no time to waste, no time to devote to selfish pleasure, no time for the indulgence of sin.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 342.

3.b. What factors should we take into consideration as we plan our use of time? James 4:13–15.

3.c. In all things, why is it important to be sober and vigilant? 1 Peter 5:8.

Note: “We have no time to lose. The powers of darkness are working with intense energy, and with stealthy tread Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep, as a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now which we may give, a work now which we may do, but soon it will be more difficult than we imagine. God help us to keep in the channel of light, to work with our eyes fastened upon our Leader, and patiently, perseveringly press on till the victory is gained.” The Review and Herald, November 12, 1914.

3.d. What does Inspiration teach about the struggle before us? Ephesians 6:12; Matthew 24:12, 13.

Note: “With intensified zeal and energy we are to carry forward the work of the Lord till the close of time.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 548.



4.a. What should we do with the talents entrusted to us? Luke 19:13.

Note: “The Lord bids us all, ‘Occupy till I come’ (Luke 19:13). By His own wisdom He has given us direction for the use of His gifts. The talents of speech, memory, influence, property, are to accumulate for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. He will bless the right use of His gifts.” Counsels on Stewardship, 116.

“However large, however small the possessions of any individual, let him remember that it is his only in trust. For his strength, skill, time, talents, opportunities, and means, he must render an account to God. This is an individual work; God gives to us, that we may become like Him, generous, noble, beneficent, by giving to others. Those who, forgetful of their divine mission, seek only to save or to spend in the indulgence of pride or selfishness, may secure the gains and pleasures of this world; but in God’s sight, estimated by their spiritual attainments, they are poor, wretched, miserable, blind, naked.

“When rightly employed, wealth becomes a golden bond of gratitude and affection between man and his fellow-men, and a strong tie to bind his affections to his Redeemer.” The Review and Herald, May 16, 1882.

4.b. What can we learn from the experience of Solomon? Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11.

Note: “We must turn away from a thousand topics that invite attention. There are matters that consume time and arouse inquiry, but end in nothing. The highest interests demand the close attention and energy that are so often given to comparatively insignificant things.” The Ministry of Healing, 456.

“The energy now concentrated on cheap, perishable goods should be enlisted in the work that is to enlighten the world. Let every energy God has given be used in the work which bears with it the blessed satisfaction that it is for time and for eternity.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 267.

“Let none waste time in deploring the scantiness of their visible resources. The outward appearance may be unpromising, but energy and trust in God will develop resources.” Prophets and Kings, 243.



5.a. How is the attitude of the rich and foolish man with the barns a warning for us? Luke 12:16–21.

Note: “There is a sad withholding from God on the part of His professed people. The means and efforts that should be given to Christ are devoted to self-pleasing. God is robbed of time, money, and service. Self-love, self-gratification, exclude the love of Jesus from the soul, and this is why there is not in the church greater zeal and more fervent love for Him who first loved us. So many indulge selfish ease, while souls for whom Christ died are perishing.” The Signs of the Times, December 22, 1890.

5.b. When considering the price paid for our redemption, what should always remain foremost in our mind? 1 Corinthians 3:23; 6:20.

Note: “Whether or not we give mind, soul, and strength to God, it all belongs to Him. God speaks to each human being, saying: ‘I have a claim on you. Give me your zeal, your capabilities, your energy, your means.’ He has a right to ask this; for we are His, redeemed by His boundless love and by the agony of the cross of Calvary from the service of sin. On no account are we to devote our powers to self-serving. Day by day we are to return to the Lord that which He has entrusted to us.” The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1901.



1    What can be the result of participating in get-rich-quick schemes?

2    How should we gain our wealth?

3    What should give us incentive to work for Christ?

4    Name some ways by which we can be more faithful stewards of our finances.

5    What is too often excluding the love of Christ from our hearts?

Copyright 2011, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Occupation and Service

Faithful Stewardship

August 1 – 7, 2021

Key Text

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Study Help: Education, 262–271.


“Real happiness is found only in being good and doing good. The purest, highest enjoyment comes to those who faithfully fulfill their appointed duties. No honest work is degrading.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 5, 1901.



1.a. What is the purpose of a useful occupation? 2 Thessalonians 3:11, 12.

 Note: “The things of earth are more closely connected with heaven and are more directly under the supervision of Christ than many realize. All right inventions and improvements have their source in Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. The skillful touch of the physician’s hand, his power and nerve and muscle, his knowledge of the delicate mechanism of the body, is the wisdom of divine power, to be used in behalf of the suffering. The skill with which the carpenter uses his tools, the strength with which the blacksmith makes the anvil ring, come from God. Whatever we do, wherever we are placed, He desires to control our minds, that we may do perfect work.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 277.

1.b. What does the Bible teach about idleness? Proverbs 6:6–11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

Note: “One of the surest safeguards against evil is useful occupation, while idleness is one of the greatest curses; for vice, crime, and poverty follow in its wake. Those who are always busy, who go cheerfully about their daily tasks, are the useful members of society.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 275.



2.a. How do our capabilities determine our place in life? Give examples. Matthew 25:14, 30.

Note: “As regards life’s possibilities, who is capable of deciding what is great and what is small? How many a worker in the lowly places of life, by setting on foot agencies for the blessing of the world, has achieved results that kings might envy! …

“The specific place appointed us in life is determined by our capabilities. Not all reach the same development or do with equal efficiency the same work. God does not expect the hyssop to attain the proportions of the cedar, or the olive the height of the stately palm. But each should aim just as high as the union of human with divine power makes it possible for him to reach.

“Many do not become what they might, because they do not put forth the power that is in them. They do not, as they might, lay hold on divine strength. Many are diverted from the line in which they might reach the truest success. Seeking greater honor or a more pleasing task, they attempt something for which they are not fitted. Many a man whose talents are adapted for some other calling, is ambitious to enter a profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an artisan, or a nurse, fills inadequately the position of a minister, a lawyer, or a physician. There are others, again, who might have filled a responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or perseverance, content themselves with an easier place.

“We need to follow more closely God’s plan of life. To do our best in the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for the indications of His providence—these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation.” Education, 266, 267.

2.b. Whatever our talents and calling, what is an important aspect of our lifework? Hebrews 6:10; Galatians 6:9, 10.

Note: “Pure, sanctified love, such love as was expressed in Christ’s lifework, is as a sacred perfume. Like Mary’s broken box of ointment, it fills the whole house with fragrance.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 84.



3.a. What should be our goal with reference to our work? 1 Corinthians 3:12–14; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; Ephesians 6:6–8.

3.b. What is the Christian’s work ethic? Colossians 3:22–24.

Note: “Practical religion is to be carried into the lowly duties of daily life. The greatest qualification for any man is to obey implicitly the word of the Lord.

“Because they are not connected with some directly religious work, many feel that their lives are useless; that they are doing nothing for the advancement of God’s kingdom. But this is a mistake. If their work is that which someone must do, they should not accuse themselves of uselessness in the great household of God. The humblest duties are not to be ignored. Any honest work is a blessing, and faithfulness in it may prove a training for higher trusts.

“However lowly, any work done for God with a full surrender of self is as acceptable to Him as the highest service. No offering is small that is given with true-heartedness and gladness of soul.

“Wherever we may be, Christ bids us take up the duty that presents itself. If this is in the home, take hold willingly and earnestly to make home a pleasant place. If you are a mother, train your children for Christ. This is as verily a work for God as is that of the minister in the pulpit. If your duty is in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect cook. Prepare food that will be healthful, nourishing, and appetizing. And as you employ the best ingredients in preparing food remember that you are to give your mind the best thoughts. If it is your work to till the soil or to engage in any other trade or occupation, make a success of the present duty. Put your mind on what you are doing. In all your work represent Christ. Do as He would do in your place.

“However small your talent, God has a place for it. That one talent, wisely used, will accomplish its appointed work. By faithfulness in little duties, we are to work on the plan of addition, and God will work for us on the plan of multiplication. These littles will become the most precious influences in His work.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 359, 360.



4.a. What is the highest work in which a Christian can engage? Matthew 28:19, 20; Psalm 96:3.

Note: “The work above all work—the business above all others which should draw and engage the energies of the soul—is the work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Make this the main, the important work of your life. Make it your special life-work. Cooperate with Christ in this grand and noble work, and become home and foreign missionaries. Be ready and efficient to work at home or in far-off climes for the saving of souls. Work the works of God, and demonstrate your faith in your Saviour by toiling for others. O that young and old were thoroughly converted to God, and would take up the duty that lies next them, and work as they have opportunity, becoming laborers together with God! Should this come to pass, multitudes of voices would show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 4, 1893.

“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” The Desire of Ages, 195.

4.b. Why is the missionary full of joy at his or her labor? Luke 15:6, 7; Psalm 51:12, 13.

Note: “The conversion of souls to God is the greatest, the noblest work in which human beings can have a part. In this work are revealed God’s power, His holiness, His forbearance, and His unbounded love. Every true conversion glorifies Him and causes the angels to break forth into singing.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 52.

“We can have no higher joy than to be laborers together with God, rescuing souls from the slavery of sin; and upbuilding the kingdom of Christ. This joy is Christ’s joy, and every soul who partakes of it has his joy full. Again and again we may drink of this fountain of joy, and rejoice in it, knowing that no other joy can bear any comparison to it.” The Review and Herald, February 13, 1894.



5.a. How can common labor extend the work of saving souls? Ephesians 4:28; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

 1)  Medical Work. “There is no missionary field more important than that occupied by the faithful, God-fearing physician.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 448.

2)  Business. “There is need of businessmen who will weave the grand principles of truth into all their transactions. And their talents should be perfected by most thorough study and training. … He [Daniel] was a sample of what every businessman may be.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 350, 351.

3)  Teachers. “Teachers are needed, especially for the children, who are calm and kind, manifesting forbearance and love for the very ones who most need it.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 201.

4)  Singers. “Those who have the gift of song are needed. Song is one of the most effective means of impressing spiritual truth upon the heart.” The Review and Herald, June 6, 1912.

5)  Other Employment. “Real happiness is found only in being good and doing good. The purest, highest enjoyment comes to those who faithfully fulfill their appointed duties. No honest work is degrading.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 5, 1901.

5.b. Does God condemn wealth honestly gained? Deuteronomy 8:18.

Note: “The Bible does not condemn the rich man because he is rich; it does not declare the acquisition of wealth to be a sin, nor does it say that money is the root of all evil. On the contrary, the Scriptures state that it is God who gives the power to get wealth. And this ability is a precious talent if consecrated to God and employed to advance His cause. The Bible does not condemn genius or art; for these come of the wisdom which God gives. We cannot make the heart purer or holier by clothing the body in sackcloth, or depriving the home of all that ministers to comfort, taste, or convenience.” Counsels on Stewardship, 138.



1    How can we benefit from useful labor?

2    What factors should influence our choice of occupation?

3    How can one use his or her occupation as a blessing?

4    In what lifework can we all have a taste? Why is it such a delight?

5    Give some examples of wonderful opportunities for soul-saving.

Copyright 2011, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Recipe – Raw or Baked Fruit Crisp

Peach—The Perfect Fruit

The peach is a type of stone fruit that encloses a seed within a hard stone or pit inside the fruity flesh. It is a member of the rose family distinguished by its velvety skin, also belonging to the same family of trees as the almond, thus the kernel’s remarkably similar taste to an almond.

Peaches originated in China, were then brought to India and the Middle East where they were introduced to the Europeans. Spaniards brought peaches to South America and the French introduced them to Louisiana. The English took them to their Jamestown and Massachusetts colonies. Columbus brought peach trees to America on his second and third voyages.

Nectarines and peaches are the same species. The skin of the nectarine lacks the fruit-skin trichomes (fuzz) characteristic of a peach, a mutation in a single gene thought to be responsible for the difference.

Peaches are more than a delicious fruit. They are incredibly nutritious, filled with necessary vitamins and minerals. Peaches are a rich provider of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. They are also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B-6, folate, and pantothenic acid. They also offer a rich treasure of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, and copper.

Peaches can be eaten raw, juiced, dried, baked, broiled, sautéed, added to salads, salsas, blended into smoothies, used in desserts.

Recipe – Raw or Baked Fruit Crisp


3 cups chopped fruit [stone fruit and berries (i.e., peaches, blackberries)]

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/8 tsp. coriander

1 drizzle maple syrup or honey

1 drizzle coconut oil (if baking)


1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup almond flour or 1/4 cup coconut flour

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/8 tsp. coriander

sea salt, pinch

1/4 cup raw pecans

2-3 medjool dates, pitted (more for sweetness/texture)

1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey

1-2 Tbsp. drippy coconut butter, optional (blend coconut shreds in high-speed blender until butter-like)

1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil (if baking)


Add fruit of choice to an oven-safe dish (if baking), or to a serving bowl. Top with cardamon, coriander, and maple syrup or honey; toss to combine.

To a food processor or blender add shredded coconut, almond or coconut flour, cardamom, coriander, salt, pecans, and dates, maple syrup or honey, coconut butter and coconut oil (if baking); pulse until a loose meal is achieved, being careful not to over-blend.

If too dry, add more dates or maple syrup and pulse. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Spoon over raw fruit for baking.

If baking, bake for 20-28 minutes at 325 F. or until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.

Enjoy raw or baked. Top with dairy-free yogurt, ice cream, or whipped topping.

Can We Truly Be Free?

America! Prophecy foretold that this country would be established, a place where the ideal of freedom could exist. Freedom: the “power or right to act, speak or think” what you believe. It is the absence of subjection to a foreign or oppressive government, the state of not being a slave, but instead being unrestricted in what you believe, where and how you worship, what you love, where you work, basically to engage in any activity that does not violate the laws of the land. These rights are guaranteed to us as citizens by the Constitution of the United States.

The Constitution also provides for the establishment of justice, common defense, the promotion of the general welfare, to insure domestic tranquility and secure the blessings of liberty. The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal under God and given certain rights by Him including the assurance of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I think, though, we can agree that this hasn’t always happened. One has only to look around today to see the hatred, distrust, abuse, unfairness and violence, all in the name of freedom. People everywhere ask why is it this way? Why can we not find a way to live together in harmony? I’m not going to wax political here, but let’s talk about why this country and the world are the way they are.

I want to talk about spiritual freedom because without that, we truly are not free. We find this additional definition of freedom in the dictionary as “the power of self-determination attributed to the will.” The Bible also talks about the exercise of the will.

Sin is what keeps us from being free. And if we do not exercise our will to do what is right, then we condemn ourselves to be slaves of sin. Isn’t it interesting that as bad as things have been in this world for its entire history, and they get worse day by day, many will still choose to continue in sin.

“Sin has degraded and corrupted the human family, but Christ did not leave men to perish in their degradation. …” Pamphlet PH078, 54

The Bible tell us there is only one way to be truly free. This can be found in many Scriptures, John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Romans 8:2: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Also “And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts” (Psalm 119:45).

Martin Luther said to John Eck, “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton.

To be truly free, I must submit my will, my desires, all of myself to God. If I do not, then I remain a slave to my own nature, a slave to the one who then has power over me.

“The tempter has no power to control the will or to force the soul to sin.” The Faith I Live By, 327.

“In no case can Satan obtain dominion over the thoughts, words, and actions, unless we voluntarily open the door and invite him to enter.” The Adventist Home, 202.

“The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control.” The Desire of Ages, 125.

“Christ is our tower of strength, and Satan can have no power over the soul that walks with God in humility of mind. The promise, ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me’ (Isaiah 27:5). In Christ there is perfect and complete help for every tempted soul.” My Life Today, 316.

“Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own.  He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness. Christ came to break the shackles of sin-slavery from every soul. ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed’ (John 8:36). ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:22).

“In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.

The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 466.

I have written elsewhere that the reason the world is as it is and has been for so long is because mankind and the universe ultimately must see the heinousness of sin so that no one will want to sin anymore. That is true, but more importantly, sin and the terrible condition of the world has gone on for so long because God is preparing a people. Anyone who will accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour, who will submit fully to Him will be a part of this people. He has given and continues to give to every man, woman and child in every generation the opportunity to choose to turn away from sinning to become one with Him.

Stand fast in the liberty which Christ has made possible for us and do not entangle yourself in the yoke of sin any longer (Galatians 5:1). Instead rejoice in this freedom, having been set free from sin, “and having becomes slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:22).

“Spiritual freedom will come to those who consecrate themselves unreservedly. … The saving influence of truth will sanctify the soul of the receiver.” Letter 108, March 18, 1907, to “Our Brethren in Graysville, Tennessee.”

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). [All emphasis supplied.]

Sermon on the Mount – Have Mercy

Matthew 5:7, gives us the fifth step in the ladder of spiritual progress leading a person to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Another translation reads, “Blessed are the compassionate, for they shall receive compassion.” Of all the beatitudes, this is one that causes us to search our hearts. How many times have I made cutting criticisms of someone? How many times have I passed prejudiced judgments before I had all the facts? How many times have I said or done something that has resulted in wounding somebody else? When we think about it, the prayer of the tax collector seems very appropriate. He said, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13, last part)! But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that there is a certain kind of person who will not be allowed any mercy in the day of judgment.

Without the experience of the first four steps it will be impossible for a person to experience the fifth step, because no person can really be compassionate in his dealings with others until he has first recognized his own spiritual destitution, mourned over his sins, become meek and humble in heart causing him to hunger and thirst for a righteousness outside of himself, which he cannot generate. Only when a person has experienced these things is he able to be compassionate or merciful to others who may be stumbling and making mistakes like himself.

Those who are spiritually blind do not understand their condition or need and they tend to become more unmerciful to those with whom they are dealing. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were destitute of mercy and sympathy because they were proud in spirit. Remember, the beatitudes begin with the declaration, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Having themselves never been humbled by a recognition of their own spiritual poverty, the Pharisees looked with contempt and disdain upon the weaknesses of others. Since they believed that they were perfect (Luke 18), they were harsh and even cruel in dealing with the imperfections of others. This spirit is sure evidence of what the Bible calls a carnal or fleshly mind, an unregenerate heart.

This spirit is characteristic of people who have not been born again for the spirit of Phariseeism is not something foreign to us, but is the natural spirit of human nature. In fact, this same spirit controls everyone who has not been made a new creature and a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3, 4). However, there are given to us promises, “… exceedingly great and precious promises” (verse 4) so that we might be partakers of the divine nature.

If we are unconverted, if we have the spirit of the Pharisees, then we will use human standards to judge all who fail to come up to the standard that we have made. This spirit creates an atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies. Their own ideas and attainments are made the standard of morality by which they judge and condemn their fellow men who are not coming up to the standard that they have set.

If we are unmerciful, then we cannot obtain mercy ourselves. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” In this beatitude, there is restated by Jesus, not something new, but an old truth, an eternal and unchanging law. It is everywhere and always operative in nature and in human society. It has been called the self-acting law of retribution or, in simple language, “we get what we give.” What we give to others eventually comes back in full measure to us. Jesus stated this truth to Peter on the night of His betrayal. Notice in Matthew 26:52: “But Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’ ” If you deal the sword to others, you will receive the sword from others.

How accurately this has been fulfilled in the history of mankind. The great kingdoms of the past have perished by the very weapons they used against others. Those who showed no mercy, received no mercy. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

If I am friendly to others, I will have friends in return. But if I give out enmity to others, I will receive enmity in return. Friendship bestowed upon others brings a reward in friendship. But if I deal out captivity, the sword, death to others, the same will return to me. It’s restated again, many times in the Bible. Revelation 13:10 says, “He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

Proverbs 11:25, literal translation, says, “The liberal soul [one who has a giving spirit] shall be made fat: and he that waters shall also be watered himself.” As Jesus said, even if you only give a cup of cold water to someone, you are not going to lose a reward. What you give to someone else will eventually come back to you.

A stingy person will eventually receive back in the same measure that they give. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

This is a natural, a self-operating law even in this life. And it is the law by which God will measure the reward that will be given to His servants. “And, behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

Jesus said that you will be rewarded for what you work out here, whether good or bad (Matthew 16). The apostle Paul stated the same thing in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Jesus further developed this principle in Matthew 7:12, calling it the golden rule. It is the greatest of all codes of ethics and the basic principle of all true courtesy and genuine culture. Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” If we are merciful to others, we will receive mercy. If we retaliate, we will receive retaliation. If we are unjust with others, we will receive injustice ourselves. If we impart evil to others, that evil will return to us again.

Jesus also stated the golden rule in the negative when He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1, 2).

To be merciful is to show a person compassion, forgiveness, and forbearance. The merciful person does not nurse grudges nor does he brood over wrongs or show a revengeful spirit. He does not go about with a microscope hunting to find the mistake or the flaw in someone else’s character when he knows he has flaws in his own character. If we render judgment before evidence, then we can be sure that we will receive the same kind of judgment in return. In fact, prejudice is simply an abbreviated form for pre-judgment. Pre-judgment is the result of prejudice. This instruction regarding judgment is more evident in the principles of the fifth beatitude when we read Luke 6:36, 37, “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Mercy includes having a spirit of forgiveness. In fact, this is so important that Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14, 15).

To receive mercy and forgiveness from God, I must have the same spirit toward those who have injured me. This law of reciprocity is stated in different ways in several places in the Bible. Paul 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. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God” (Romans 2:1–3)?

Jesus illustrated this in a very striking parable that is hard for many people to read and accept. He said, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:15–20).

Jesus gave His disciples explicit instructions about how they were to deal with someone who was sinning against them. They were to go directly to the person who had sinned against them and talk to them about it in an effort to resolve the matter. If the matter could not be resolved, then they were to take two or three others and talk to this person about the matter that was disturbing the whole church. If they would not listen to them, then the third step was to “tell it to the church.” The church then needs to labor with the brother or sister, but if they will not listen to the church at large and persist in living a sinful life, then let them live outside the church. As Peter was listening to this, he thought, if my brother sins against me, how many times should I forgive him?

In Jesus’ day the Jewish leaders had rules about how many times you needed to forgive someone. Some thought that three times was plenty. Peter thought that he would be very liberal and very forgiving in spirit. The Bible says, “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times’ ”  (verse 21)? Surely, if my brother hasn’t ceased to sin against me after forgiving him seven times, then I shouldn’t have to forgive him anymore, should I?

In response to that request, “Jesus said, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents’ ” (verses 22–24).

This person did not have enough money to pay his debt. The Bible says, “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold [into slavery] with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all’ ” (verses 25, 26). Now actually, he never would be able to pay that big a debt and the master knew it.

And so it says, “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii [that is, just a few dollars]; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison” (verses 27–30).

So this man was thrown into debtor’s prison until he should pay the debt. “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (verses 31–35).

You see, if we do not forgive, then we cannot be forgiven. We must realize just how much we have been forgiven. As a result of my sins, Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary. That was the price that had to be paid to cancel our debt of sin; it is a price that we cannot pay. The only way that we could pay this debt is if we were to die eternally and never wake up. But to make it possible for us to enter the gates of paradise and not have to die eternally, Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary, to pay the price in our behalf and forgive our debt.

And, after having done that, if we do not forgive and exercise mercy toward our fellow servant, then Jesus said, our heavenly Father will not have mercy upon us, either. The Bible is very clear that the Lord is very merciful, even to His enemies because He delights in mercy (Micah 7:18). James 5:11 says, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.

O friend, if you and I want to be forgiven, we must become merciful people ourselves, because the Bible says in James 2:13, that “judgment will be without mercy upon him who has shown no mercy.”

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

Health – Early Warning Signs of a Stroke

Every 40 seconds – according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is how often someone in America has a stroke. At least 80 percent of these strokes are ischemic, which means an area of the brain dies after circulation of blood and oxygen to that area becomes blocked, either due to a clot or narrowing of blood vessels.

Someone dies as a result of a stroke every four minutes in the United States of America. Understanding stroke causes and risk factors is paramount for prevention. But when stroke prevention won’t do and the unthinkable occurs, seek medical help ASAP … and research suggests there may be warning signs of an impending stroke hours or days in advance.

Many people have heard of the acronym BE FAST as a way to remember the sudden warning signs of stroke. The earlier a stroke victim receives medical care, the better chances they have of recovery, so everyone should be aware of these warning symptoms:

  • Balance difficulties
  • Eye blindness (sometimes accompanied by a severe headache)
  • Face drooping
  • Arm or leg weakness
  • Speech and communication problems (words are garbled or slurred)
  • Time (call 911)

Amazingly, research published in 2005 by the American Academy of Neurology found that these warning signs may present in some ischemic stroke sufferers up to a week before their actual stroke occurs!

The phenomenon is due to something known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. TIAs are considered “mini-strokes” because they can lead to similar symptoms, but only last about five minutes and cause no permanent injury to the brain.

Researchers of the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology, determined that out of 2,400 stroke sufferers, over one in five had TIAs before their stroke actually happened. In most cases, the mini-strokes happened within a week prior.

Strokes are incredibly common, and with the aging of our population many health experts expect we will only see more people suffer their life-changing effects in the future. The good news, however, is that many of the major stroke causes are preventable.

Here are five key things you can do, according to the CDC and other organizations, for reducing your risk of stroke:

  1. Get enough sleep – anywhere from 7 to 9 hours per night on average. One study found that getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night significantly increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart disease.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Don’t smoke. Someone who smokes 20 cigarettes per day is six times more likely to have a stroke than someone who doesn’t smoke at all, according to the UK’s Stroke Association.
  4. Stay physically active. Regular exercise is considered an independent risk factor of stroke, but it also reduces other stroke causes such as obesity, high blood pressure, and chronic stress.
  5. Maintain a healthy diet. Avoid processed foods, eating plenty of fruits and veggies.

In addition, many integrative healthcare providers emphasize the importance of increasing your intake of antioxidants like, vitamin C to protect the health of your circulation.

Excerpts from

Question – How Can I Know When Jesus Will Come?


How Can I Know When Jesus Will Come?


“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

Matthew 24:36

 The above verse is what Jesus said to His disciples regarding the second coming and He repeated in verses 42–44 that the hour of His coming is unknown to man, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Jesus Himself was very clear on the subject of the time of His second coming. Ellen White writes just as clearly regarding the danger of trying to determine the specific time, be it day, month and/or year, for Jesus’ return. We find one of these very clear statements in Selected Messages, Book 1, page 188: “Again and again have I been warned in regard to time setting. There will never again be a message for the people of God that will be based on time. We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.” [Emphasis supplied.]

Here is what matters: Are you in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, today? God decides the number of heartbeats a man has, as well as the number of days allotted to him. And when that point has been reached, there is no more time. Do you want to know when Christ will come? For me, for you, it could be today. It will be the last day of your life on this earth.

That is why Ellen White says, “I was pointed to the remnant on the earth. The angel said to them … ‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have. … Sacrifice all to God. Lay all upon His altar—self, property, and all, a living sacrifice. It will take all to enter glory.’

“Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. … To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. … They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts.

“If you are right with God today, you are ready if Christ should come today.” Maranatha, 98.

Nature – The Woodpecker

The woodpecker is a creature that breaks the rules of evolution in such a way that it could not possibly have evolved. Consider these nine unique features that together declare the Creator of woodpeckers.

The first is its industrial-strength beak which was designed to hammer into the hardest of trees. Secondly, its feet have two toes at the front and two in the back. This feature allows it to crawl on a tree all directions and positions. Thirdly, its unique tail feathers are spongy, yet strong and tough and able to spread out and bend so that they can be used, along with its feet, to tripod on a tree and stabilize itself for drilling into wood.

Now you have to ask, why don’t woodpeckers have terrible headaches from all the drilling? The answer is the fourth and fifth unique feature. Between the beak and skull is a special cartilage that absorbs the pressure of drilling. The skull is the thickest bone per body weight of any creature and its brain is tightly encased within the skull. In fact, brain surgeons study this anatomy to see how best to prevent brain trauma in humans.

Even with all of these unique features, the woodpecker would still have another problem if it were not for its amazing design. Once the hole is drilled, how does it get the larva out of the tree? Unlike most birds, the woodpecker’s tongue does not end at his beak, which brings us to the sixth feature. Its tongue can extend up to ten inches past its beak allowing it to reach the larva, but how does he get it out? On the end of its tongue, the woodpecker has a spear like tip and little barbs that point rearward on the body of the tongue allowing it to literally stab the larva, sinking the barb into it. It also has a little factory, feature seven, that coats its tongue with a glue-like substance so the larva is held in place until it reaches the beak. To prevent it from swallowing its tongue with the bug, which is glued on, and strangling itself, amazingly feature eight kicks in. Another chemical that is manufactured in its mouth dissolves the glue allowing the bug to be swallowed alone and the woodpecker survives to get another bug.

The ninth feature is its eyes and eyelids. Woodpeckers open their eyes with each peck to the tree, focus on the drilling spot, aim, then close their eyes and drill 15 to 16 times a second! Closing its eyes each time allows its especially strong eyelids to protect its eyes from any wood chips and the force of drilling. The drilling impact has been measured and is so powerful that without these special features, the eyes would literally pop out of its head. The woodpecker never forgets to close its eyes.

Lastly, let’s look at the tongue of the European green woodpecker. Dr. Martin thinks this may be unique from any other creature in our world. Its tongue starts in the back of the throat, goes down the neck and into the back of the neck, up over the top of the head, comes out a little hole between the eyes, down into one nostril and then out the beak. Dr. Martin has asked evolutionists how and where this came from. They say it came from another creature, but no other creature has a tongue like this. In reality, they actually have no idea. Dr. Martin believes that God made this woodpecker to challenge the evolutionary community who know that this tongue could not have just evolved.

Praise God for this wonderful creation He has given us the privilege to explore and by which we learn more about Him.

Adapted from materials by Dr. Jobe Martin, D.M.D., TH.M.