Bible Study Guides – Parable of the Talents, Part I

July 23, 2006 – July 29, 2006

Key Text

“Well done, [thou] 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 25:21.

Study Help: My Life Today, 113.


“It is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service, that wins the divine approval. Every impulse of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God, is noted in the books of heaven, and in the day of God the workers through whom He has wrought will be commended.

“They will enter into the joy of the Lord as they see in His kingdom those who have been redeemed through their instrumentality. And they are privileged to participate in His work there, because they have gained a fitness for it by participation in His work here. What we shall be in heaven is the reflection of what we are now in character and holy service. Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ Matthew 20:28. This, His work on earth, is His work in heaven. And our reward for working with Christ in this world is the greater power and wider privilege of working with Him in the world to come.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 361.

1 What led the Saviour to leave Heaven, endure the cross, and despise the shame of coming to this world? Hebrews 12:2.

note: “Before the universe has been clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man’s behalf. The hour has come when Christ occupies His rightful position and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. It was for the joy that was set before Him—that He might bring many sons unto glory—that He endured the cross and despised the shame. And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, yet greater is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in His own image, every heart bearing the perfect impress of the divine, every face reflecting the likeness of their King. He beholds in them the result of the travail of His soul, and He is satisfied. Then, in a voice that reaches the assembled multitudes of the righteous and the wicked, He declares: ‘Behold the purchase of My blood! For these I suffered, for these I died, that they might dwell in My presence throughout eternal ages.’ And the song of praise ascends from the white-robed ones about the throne: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’ Revelation 5:12.” The Great Controversy, 671.

2 In what joy will all the saved share? Matthew 25:21.

note: “What revelations will be made in the day of judgment! Many who have called themselves Christians will be found to have been not servants of God, but servants of themselves. Self has been their center; self-service has been their lifework. By living to please themselves and to gain all they could for themselves, they have crippled and dwarfed the capabilities and powers entrusted to them by God. They have not dealt honestly with God. Their lives have been one long system of robbery. These now complain against God and their fellow men, because they are not recognized and favored as they think they ought to be. But their unfaithfulness will be revealed in that day when the Lord judges the cases of all. He will return ‘and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.’ [Malachi 3:18.]

“In that day those who think that God will accept meager offerings and unwilling service will be disappointed. God will not put His superscription upon the work of any man, high or low, rich or poor, that is not done heartily, faithfully, and with an eye single to His glory. But those who have belonged to the family of God here below, who have striven to honor His name, have gained an experience that will make them as kings and priests unto God; and they will be accepted as faithful servants. To them the words will be spoken, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ [Matthew 25:21, 23.]” Review and Herald, January 5, 1897.

3 What will be the joy of Christ? Isaiah 53:11.

note: “Ever before Him, Christ saw the result of His mission. His earthly life, so full of toil and self-sacrifice, was cheered by the thought that He would not have all this travail for nought. By giving His life for the life of men, He would restore in humanity the image of God. He would lift us up from the dust, reshape the character after the pattern of His own character, and make it beautiful with His own glory.

“Christ saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He viewed the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. He heard the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the sins of the world were to weigh upon His innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was upon Him; yet for the joy that was set before Him He chose to endure the cross and despised the shame.” The Ministry of Healing, 504.

4 In what will the saints rejoice in glory? 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20.

note: “Where the treasure is, there the heart will be. In every effort to benefit others, we benefit ourselves. He who gives money or time for spreading the gospel enlists his own interest and prayers for the work, and for the souls to be reached through it; his affections go out to others, and he is stimulated to greater devotion to God, that he may be enabled to do them the greatest good.

“And at the final day, when the wealth of earth shall perish, he who has laid up treasure in heaven will behold that which his life has gained. If we have given heed to the words of Christ, then, as we gather around the great white throne, we shall see souls who have been saved through our agency, and shall know that one has saved others, and these still others—a large company brought into the haven of rest as the result of our labors, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet, and praise Him through the ceaseless ages of eternity. With what joy will the worker for Christ behold these redeemed ones, who share the glory of the Redeemer! How precious will heaven be to those who have been faithful in the work of saving souls!” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 90, 91.

5 In the parable of the talents, what had the individuals done which led their Lord to speak such words of commendation? Matthew 25:20, 22.

note: “When the cases of all come in review before God, the question, What did they profess? is never asked, but, What have they done? Have they been doers of the word? Have they lived for themselves? or have they been exercised in works of benevolence, in deeds of kindness, in love, preferring others before themselves, and denying themselves that they might bless others?

“If the record shows that this has been their life, that their characters have been marked with tenderness, self-denial, and benevolence, they will receive the blessed assurance and benediction from Christ, ‘Well done,’ ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ [Matthew 25:23, 34.]

“Christ has been grieved and wounded by our marked selfish love, and indifference to the woes and needs of others.” Review and Herald, July 13, 1886.

6 What did the man do who had one talent? Matthew 25:25.

note: “You are not rich toward God. May the Lord open your eyes to see and your heart to feel, and cause you to manifest Christian zeal. Oh, how few feel the worth of souls! How few are willing to sacrifice to bring souls to the knowledge of Christ! There is much talking, much professed love for perishing souls; but talk is cheap stuff. It is earnest Christian zeal that is wanted—a zeal that will be manifested by doing something. All must now work for themselves, and when they have Jesus in their hearts they will confess Him to others. No more could a soul who possesses Christ be hindered from confessing Him than could the waters of Niagara be stopped from flowing over the falls.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 233.

“Those who bury their talents in this world are not pleasing God. . . .

“What is our position in the world? We are in the waiting time. But this period is not to be spent in abstract devotion. Waiting, watching, and vigilant working are to be combined. Our life should not be all bustle and drive and planning about the things of the world, to the neglect of personal piety and of the service that God requires. While we should not be slothful in business, we should be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The lamp of the soul must be trimmed, and we must have the oil of grace in our vessels with our lamps. Every precaution must be used to prevent spiritual declension, lest the day of the Lord overtake us as a thief. That day is not to be put far off; it is near, and no man should say, even in his heart, much less by his works, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming,’ [Matthew 24:48.] lest for so doing his portion be appointed with hypocrites and unbelievers.” Ibid., vol. 5, 276, 277.

7 How did the servant feel because his Lord asked him to invest the talent where it would increase? Matthew 25:24.

note: “Brethren and sisters, I wish to excite in your minds disgust for your present limited ideas of God’s cause and work. I want you to comprehend the great sacrifice that Christ made for you when He became poor, that through His poverty you might come into possession of eternal riches. Oh! do not, by your indifference to the eternal weight of glory which is within your reach, cause angels to weep and hide their faces in shame and disgust. Arouse from your lethargy; arouse every God-given faculty, and work for precious souls for whom Christ died. These souls, if brought to the fold of Christ, will live through the ceaseless ages of eternity; and will you plan to do as little as possible for their salvation, while, like the man with the one talent, you invest your means in the earth? Like that unfaithful servant, are you charging God with reaping where He has not sown, and gathering where He has not strewed?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 271.

8 To whom did the servant’s talents belong? Luke 19:23.

note: “The Lord has given to every man his work. His servants are to act in partnership with Him. If they choose, men may refuse to connect themselves with their Maker; they may refuse to give themselves to His service, and trade upon His entrusted goods; they may fail to exercise frugality and self-denial, and may forget that the Lord requires a return of what He has given them. All such are unfaithful stewards.

“A faithful steward will do all he possibly can in the service of God; the one object before him will be the great need of the world. He will realize that the message of truth is to be given, not only in his own neighborhood, but in the regions beyond. When men cherish this spirit, the love of the truth and the sanctification they will receive through the truth, will banish avarice, overreaching, and every species of dishonesty.” Review and Herald Supplement, December 1, 1896.

9 How did this servant’s Lord judge him? Luke 19:22, 24.

note: “He who embezzles his Lord’s goods not only loses the talent lent him of God, but loses eternal life. Of him it is said: ‘Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.’ [Matthew 25:30.] The faithful servant, who invests his money in the cause of God to save souls, employs his means to the glory of God and will receive the commendation of the Master: ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ [Matthew 25:21, 23.] What will be this joy of our Lord? It will be the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of glory.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 387.

10 What was the final sentence of the unprofitable servant? Matthew 25:30.

note: “In the great judgment day those who have not worked for Christ, those who have drifted along, carrying no responsibility, thinking of themselves, pleasing themselves, will be placed by the Judge of all the earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 365.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Promises, Part II

July 16, 2006 – July 22, 2006

Key Text

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

Study Help: Counsels on Health, 16–18.


“In Satan’s temptations it is his purpose to make the world very attractive. Through love of riches and worldly honor he has a bewitching power to gain the affections of even the professed Christian world. A large class of professedly Christian men will make any sacrifice to gain riches, and the better they succeed in their object the less love they have for precious truth and the less interest for its advancement. They lose their love for God and act like insane men. The more they are prospered in securing riches the poorer they feel because they have no more, and the less will they invest in the cause of God.

“The works of those men who have an insane love for riches show that it is not possible for them to serve two masters, God and mammon. Money is their god. They yield homage to its power. They serve the world to all intents and purposes. Their honor, which is their birthright, is sacrificed for worldly gain. This ruling power controls their minds, and they will violate the law of God to serve personal interests, to increase their earthly treasure.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 478, 479.

1 To what extent was the church of Macedonia liberal in their giving to support the work of the apostles? 11 Corinthians 8:1–3.

note: “Nearly all the Macedonian believers were poor in this world’s goods, but their hearts were overflowing with love for God and His truth, and they gladly gave for the support of the gospel. When general collections were taken up in the Gentile churches for the relief of the Jewish believers, the liberality of the converts in Macedonia was held up as an example to other churches.” The Acts of the Apostles, 343.

“There is a lesson for us in the experience of the churches of Macedonia, as described by Paul. He says that they ‘first gave their own selves to the Lord.’ [11 Corinthians 8:5.] Then they were eager to give their means for Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 734.

2 How does God regard such sacrifices? Philippians 4:19.

note: “Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God, and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 395.

3 In what manner can we lend to the Lord with the assurance that he will repay? Proverbs 19:17.

note: “[Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 41:1, 2; Proverbs 19:17 quoted.] He who makes this investment lays up double treasure. Besides that which, however wisely improved, he must leave at last, he is amassing wealth for eternity,—that treasure of character which is the most valuable possession of earth or heaven.” Education, 141.

“The piety and advanced spiritual knowledge and growth of a church is proportionate to the zeal, piety, and missionary intelligence that has been brought into it, and carried out of it to be a blessing to the very ones who need our assistance the most. Again I [Ellen White] urge you to consider Isaiah 58, which opens a wide and extensive vineyard to be worked upon the lines which the Lord has pointed out. When this is done there will be an increase of moral sources and the church will no more remain almost stationary. There will be blessing and power attending their labor. The selfishness that has bound up their souls they have overcome, and now their light is being given to the world in clear, bright rays of a living faith and godly example. The Lord has His promises for all who will do His requirements. [Psalm 41:1–3; 37:3; Proverbs 3:9, 10; 11:24, 25; 19:17; Isaiah 58: 10, 11 quoted.]

“The Word of God is full of precious promises, as the above (MS 14a, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, 1148.

4 What special promise does the Lord make to those who consider the poor? Psalm 41:1–3.

note: “There is sweet peace for the compassionate spirit, a blessed satisfaction in the life of self-forgetful service for the good of others. The Holy Spirit that abides in the soul and is manifest in the life will soften hard hearts and awaken sympathy and tenderness. You will reap that which you sow. . . . [Psalm 41:1–3 quoted.]

“He who has given his life to God in ministry to His children is linked with Him who has all the resources of the universe at His command. His life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises with the life of God. The Lord will not fail him in the hour of suffering and need. ‘My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:19. And in the hour of final need the merciful shall find refuge in the mercy of the compassionate Saviour and shall be received into everlasting habitations.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 23, 24.

5 To whom should we not give? Proverbs 22:16.

note: “These are principles [numerous texts from Proverbs previously quoted] with which are bound up the well-being of society, of both secular and religious associations. It is these principles that give security to property and life. For all that makes confidence and co-operation possible, the world is indebted to the law of God, as given in His word, and as still traced, in lines often obscure and well-nigh obliterated, in the hearts of men.

“The psalmist’s words, ‘The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver’ (Psalm 119:72), state that which is true from other than a religious point of view. They state an absolute truth and one that is recognized in the business world. Even in this age of passion for money getting, when competition is so sharp and methods are so unscrupulous, it is still widely acknowledged that, for a young man starting in life, integrity, diligence, temperance, purity, and thrift constitute a better capital than any amount of mere money.

“Yet even of those who appreciate the value of these qualities and acknowledge the Bible as their source, there are but few who recognize the principle upon which they depend.

“That which lies at the foundation of business integrity and of true success is the recognition of God’s ownership. The Creator of all things, He is the original proprietor. We are His stewards. All that we have is a trust from Him, to be used according to His direction.” Education, 137.

6 What words of Christ did the apostle’s life exemplify? Acts 20:34, 35.

note: “Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life. Toward the close of his ministry, on the occasion of his farewell talk to the elders of Ephesus, at Miletus, he could lift up before them his toilworn hands . . . .” The Acts of the Apostles, 352.

7 What is the effect of the love of money? 1 Timothy 6:10.

note: “In no way could the Lord be better glorified and the truth more highly honored than for unbelievers to see that the truth has wrought a great and good work upon the lives of naturally covetous and penurious men. If it could be seen that the faith of such had an influence to mold their characters, to change them from close, selfish, overreaching, money-loving men to men who love to do good, who seek opportunities to use their means to bless those who need to be blessed, who visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and who keep themselves unspotted from the world, it would be an evidence that their religion was genuine. Such would let their light so shine that others seeing their good works would be led to glorify their Father which is in heaven. This fruit would be unto holiness, and they would be living representatives of Christ upon the earth. Sinners would be convicted that there is in the truth a power to which they are strangers. Those who profess to be waiting and watching for the appearing of their Lord should not disgrace their profession by bantering in deal and standing for the last penny. Such fruit does not grow upon the Christian tree.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 239.

8 With what challenge do the rich contend? Matthew 19:24.

note: “A rich man, as such, cannot enter heaven. His wealth gives him no title to the inheritance of the saints in light. It is only through the unmerited grace of Christ that any man can find entrance into the city of God.

“To the rich no less than to the poor are the words of the Holy Spirit spoken, ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. When men believe this, their possessions will be held as a trust, to be used as God shall direct, for the saving of the lost, and the comfort of the suffering and the poor. With man this is impossible, for the heart clings to its earthly treasure. The soul that is bound in service to mammon is deaf to the cry of human need. But with God all things are possible. By beholding the matchless love of Christ, the selfish heart will be melted and subdued. The rich man will be led, as was Saul the Pharisee, to say, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Philippians 3:7, 8. Then they will not count anything their own. They will joy to regard themselves as stewards of the manifold grace of God, and for His sake servants of all men.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 394, 395.

9 To what are riches compared? Proverbs 23:5.

note: “The word of God has much to say in regard to sacrificing. Riches are from the Lord and belong to Him. ‘Both riches and honor come of Thee.’ ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.’ ‘For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.’ ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ [1 Chronicles 29:12; Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:10; 24:1.] It is the Lord thy God that giveth thee power to get wealth.

“Riches are in themselves transient and unsatisfying. We are warned not to trust in uncertain riches. ‘Riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away.’ ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.’ [Proverbs 23:5; Matthew 6:19.]

“Riches bring no relief in man’s greatest distress. . . .

“What provision, Brother P, have you made for eternal life? Have you a good foundation against the time to come, that will secure to yourself eternal joys? Oh, may God arouse you! May you, my dear brother, now, just now, commence to work in earnest to get some of your gain and riches into the treasury of God. Not a dollar of it is yours. All is God’s, and you have claimed for your own that which God has lent you to devote to good works. Your time is very short. Work with all your might. By repentance you may now find pardon. You must loosen your grasp of earthly possessions and fasten your affections upon God. You must be a converted man. Agonize with God. Do not be content to perish forever, but make an effort for salvation before it shall be everlastingly too late.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 549.

10 In view of these things, what is true wisdom for the child of God? 1 Timothy 6:8; Proverbs 30:8, 9.

note: “Let not the poor think that the rich are the only covetous ones. While the rich hold what they have with a covetous grasp, and seek to obtain still more, the poor are in great danger of coveting the rich man’s wealth. There are very few in our land of plenty who are really so poor as to need help. If they would pursue a right course, they could in almost every case be above want. My appeal to the rich is, Deal liberally with your poor brethren, and use your means to advance the cause of God. The worthy poor, those who are made poor by misfortune and sickness, deserve your special care and help. ‘Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.’ [1 Peter 3:8.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 481.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Promises, Part I

July 9, 2006 – July 15, 2006

Key Text

“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 335–345.


“God declares, ‘Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.’ Isaiah 32:20. A continual imparting of God’s gifts wherever the cause of God or the needs of humanity demand our aid, does not tend to poverty. ‘There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.’ Proverbs 11:24. The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away. So it is with those who are faithful in distributing God’s gifts. By imparting they increase their blessings. ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you,’ God has promised; ‘good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.’ Luke 6:38.” The Acts of the Apostles, 345.

1 Whom does God love? 11 Corinthians 9:7.

note: “All our offerings should be presented with cheerfulness; for they come from the fund which the Lord has seen fit to place in our hands for the purpose of carrying forward His work in the world, in order that the banner of truth may be unfurled in the highways and byways of the earth. If all who profess the truth would give to the Lord His own in tithes and gifts and offerings, there would be meat in the house of the Lord. The cause of benevolence would no longer be dependent on the uncertain gifts of impulse, and vary according to the changing feelings of men. God’s claims would be welcomed, and His cause would be considered as justly entitled to a portion of the funds entrusted to our hands.” Counsels on Stewardship, 199, 200.

2 What is necessary on our part in order that God may accept the gift we make? 11 Corinthians 8:12.

note: “The church of God is made up of vessels large and small. The Lord does not ask for anything unreasonable. He does not expect the smaller vessels to hold the contents of the larger ones. He looks for returns according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. Do your best, and God will accept your efforts. Take up the duty lying nearest you, and perform it with fidelity, and your work will be wholly acceptable to the Master. Do not, in your desire to do something great, overlook the smaller tasks awaiting you.” Messages to Young People, 96.

3 How will liberality affect the soul? Proverbs 11:24, 25.

note: “Divine wisdom has appointed, in the plan of salvation, the law of action and reaction, making the work of beneficence, in all its branches, twice blessed. He who gives to the needy blesses others and is blessed himself in a still greater degree.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 253.

“The Christian is to be a benefit to others. Thus he himself is benefited. ‘He that watereth shall be watered also himself.’ Proverbs 11:25. This is a law of the divine administration, a law by which God designs that the streams of beneficence shall be kept, like the waters of the great deep, in constant circulation, perpetually returning to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the power of Christian missions.” Ibid., vol. 7, 170.

4 Upon what principle should man always give? 1 Corinthians 16:2.

note: “God has devised a plan by which all may give as He has prospered them, and which will make giving a habit without waiting for special calls. Those who can do this, but will not because of their selfishness, are robbing their Creator, who has bestowed upon them means to invest in His cause to advance its interests. Until all shall carry out the plan of systematic benevolence, there will be a failure in coming up to the apostolic rule. Those who minister in word and doctrine should be men of discrimination. They should, while they make general appeals, become acquainted with the ability of those who respond to their appeals, and should not allow the poor to pay large pledges. After a man has once consecrated a certain sum to the Lord, he feels that it is sacred, consecrated to a holy use. This is true, and therefore our preaching brethren should be well informed of whom they accept pledges.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 411.

5 How much of a man’s possession does God sometimes require? Mark 10:21.

note: “I saw that God could carry on his work without any of man’s help; but this is not his plan. The present world is designed as a scene of probation for man. He is here to form a character which will pass with him into the eternal world. Good and evil are placed before him, and his future state depends upon the choice he makes. Christ came to change the current of his thoughts and affections. His heart must be cut off from his earthly treasure, and placed upon the heavenly. By his self-denial, God can be glorified. The great sacrifice has been made for man, and now man will be tested and proved to see if he will follow the example of Jesus, and make a sacrifice for his fellowman. Satan and his angels are combined against the people of God; but Jesus is seeking to purify them unto himself. He requires them to advance his work. God has deposited enough in this world among his people to carry forward his work, without embarrassment, and it is his plan that the means which he has entrusted to his people be used judiciously. Sell that ye have and give alms, is a part of God’s sacred word. The servants of God must arise, cry aloud, and spare not, ‘Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ [Isaiah 58:1.] The work of God is to be more extensive, and if his people follow his counsel, there will not be much means in their possession to be consumed in the final conflagration. All will have laid up their treasure where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and the heart will not have a cord to bind it to earth.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 37, 38.

“Christ left His riches and glory, and became poor, that man through His poverty might be made rich. He now requires him for the sake of these riches to yield earthly things and secure heaven. Christ knew that while the affections were upon worldly treasure, they would be withdrawn from God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 49.

6 What notice does the Saviour take of the smallest gift in the Lord’s treasury? Luke 21:1–3.

note: “The poor widow who cast her two mites into the Lord’s treasury little knew what she was doing. Her example of self-sacrifice has acted and reacted upon thousands of hearts in every land and in every age. It has brought to the treasury of God gifts from the high and the low, the rich and the poor. It has helped to sustain missions, to establish hospitals, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and preach the gospel to the poor. Multitudes have been blessed through her unselfish deed. And the outworking of all these lines of influence she, in the day of God, will be permitted to see.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 310.

“Men act out the true character of the heart. There are about us those who have a meek and lowly spirit, the spirit of Christ, who do many little things to help those around them, and who think nothing of it; they will be astonished at last to find that Christ has noticed the kind word spoken to the disheartened, and taken account of the smallest gift given for the relief of the poor, that cost the giver some self-denial. The Lord measures the spirit, and rewards accordingly, and the pure, humble, childlike spirit of love makes the offering precious in His sight.” Review and Herald, July 3, 1894.

7 Upon what principle did the poor widow give more than all the rich? Luke 21:4.

note: “It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour’s commendation.

“Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.” The Desire of Ages, 615.

8 What encouragement is given to those who do all they can? Proverbs 13:7.

note: “The offerings of the poor, given through self-denial to aid in extending the precious light of saving truth, will not only be a sweet-smelling savor to God, and wholly acceptable to Him as a consecrated gift, but the very act of giving expands the heart of the giver, and unites him more fully to the Redeemer of the world. He was rich; but for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. The smallest sums given cheerfully by those who are in limited circumstances are fully as acceptable to God, and even of more value in His sight, than the offerings of the rich who can bestow their thousands, and yet exercise no self-denial and feel no lack.” Review and Herald, October 31, 1878.

“Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. He was our example, and God has apportioned to us our work, to minister to the necessities of others, according to the ability He has given us. As we use this ability to the best account, it will increase. Those who do all they can on their part with what God has entrusted to them, and bear their whole weight upon Him, He will strengthen them just when strength is required. In thus doing, we give God room to work for us; to teach and lead and impress us, and make us channels through which His light can be communicated to many who are in darkness.” Ibid., January 5, 1869.

9 What church contributed to the apostles while in Thessalonica? Philippians 4:15, 16.

note: “Paul’s letter to the Philippians, like the one to the Colossians, was written while he was a prisoner at Rome. The church at Philippi had sent gifts to Paul by the hand of Epaphroditus, whom Paul calls ‘my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.’ [Philippians 2:25.] . . .

“By Epaphroditus, Paul sent the Philippian believers a letter, in which he thanked them for their gifts to him. Of all the churches, that of Philippi had been the most liberal in supplying Paul’s wants.” The Acts of the Apostles, 479.

“In order that the gospel may go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, self-sacrifice must be maintained. Those in positions of trust are in all things to act as faithful stewards, conscientiously guarding the funds that have been created by the people. There must be care to prevent all needless outlay. In erecting buildings and providing facilities for the work, we should be careful not to make our preparation so elaborate as to consume money unnecessarily; for this means in every case inability to provide for the extension of the work in other fields, especially in foreign lands. Means are not to be drawn from the treasury to establish institutions in the home field, at a risk of crippling the advancement of truth in regions beyond.

“God’s money is to be used not only in your immediate vicinity, but in distant countries, in the islands of the sea. If His people do not engage in this work, God will surely remove the power that is not rightly appropriated.” The Publishing Ministry, 31, 32.

10 Why did the apostle encourage them to give? Philippians 4:17.

note: “Many who profess to be Christians provide abundantly for themselves, supplying all their imaginary wants, while they give no heed to the wants of the Lord’s cause. They have thought it gain to rob God by retaining all, or a selfish proportion, of His gifts as their own. But they meet with loss instead of gain. Their course results in the withdrawal of mercies and blessings. By their selfish, avaricious spirit, men have lost much. If they had fully and freely acknowledged God’s requirements and met His claims, His blessing would have been manifest in increasing the productions of the earth. The harvests would have been greater. The wants of all would have been abundantly supplied. The more we give, the more we shall receive.” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

Bible Study Guides – God Requires Faithfulness, Part II

July 2, 2006 – July 8, 2006

Key Text

“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.” Deuteronomy 23:21, 22.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 72–76.


“A church is responsible for the pledges of its individual members. If they see that there is a brother who is neglecting to fulfill his vows, they should labor with him kindly but plainly. If he is not in circumstances which render it possible for him to pay his vow, and he is a worthy member and has a willing heart, then let the church compassionately help him. Thus they can bridge over the difficulty, and receive a blessing themselves.

“God would have the members of His church consider their obligations to Him as binding as their indebtedness to the merchant or the market. Let everyone review his past life and see if any unpaid, unredeemed pledges have been neglected, and then make extra exertions to pay the ‘uttermost farthing,’ for we must all meet and abide the final issue of a tribunal where nothing will stand the test but integrity and veracity.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 476.

1 Under what circumstances do men usually make vows? Psalm 66:13, 14.

note: “The Lord permits circumstances to come that call for the exercise of the passive graces, which increase in purity and efficiency as we endeavor to give back to the Lord His own in tithes and offerings. You know something of what it means to pass through trials. These have given you the opportunity of trusting in God, of seeking Him in earnest prayer, that you may believe in Him, and rely upon Him with simple faith. It is by suffering that our virtues are tested, and our faith tried. It is in the day of trouble that we feel the preciousness of Jesus. You will be given opportunity to say, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him’ (Job 13:15). Oh, it is so precious to think that opportunities are afforded us to confess our faith in the face of danger, and amid sorrow, sickness, pain, and death. . . .” Selected Messages, Book 1, 117, 118.

2 When God delivers His people from trouble, are they not under obligation to honor their vows to Him? Psalm 56:12, 13.

note: “It is for our own benefit to keep every gift of God fresh in our memory. Thus faith is strengthened to claim and to receive more and more. There is greater encouragement for us in the least blessing we ourselves receive from God than in all the accounts we can read of the faith and experience of others. . . . Like the people of Israel, let us set up our stones of witness, and inscribe upon them the precious story of what God has wrought for us. And as we review His dealings with us in our pilgrimage, let us, out of hearts melted with gratitude, declare, ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people.’ Psalm 116:12–14.” The Desire of Ages, 348.

3 In the Old Testament, when a vow or promise was made to give unto God, what was the offering called? Deuteronomy 23:21–23.

note: “It should be our first care to render our freewill offerings to God. Every manifestation of His mercy and love toward us should be gratefully acknowledged, both by acts of devotion and by gifts to His cause.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 106.

“Christ and angels are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. The Lord bears long with His erring people. The truth will be brought to bear closer and closer, and will cut off one idol after another, until God reigns supreme in the hearts of His consecrated people. I [Ellen White] saw that God’s people must bring to Him a freewill offering; and the responsibility should be left wholly upon the individual, whether he will give much or little. It will be faithfully recorded. Give the people of God time to develop character.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 237, 238.

4 When a man questions the vow he has made, and appropriates it otherwise, what does it become to him? Proverbs 20:25.

note: “If the Lord has blessed you with means, do not look upon it as your own. Regard it as yours in trust for God, and be true and honest in paying tithes and offerings. When a pledge is made by you, be sure that God expects you to pay as promptly as possible. Do not promise a portion to the Lord, and then appropriate it to your own use, lest your prayers become an abomination unto Him. It is the neglect of these plainly revealed duties that brings darkness upon the church.” Review and Herald, December 17, 1889.

5 When such promises are not regarded, what is such a sacrifice called? Ecclesiastes 5:1, 2.

note: “Now they [selfish men] draw back, they murmur, they complain of the Lord’s message and His messengers. They say things that are not true, claiming that they pledged under excitement, that they did not fully understand the matter, the case was overstated, their feelings were moved, and this led them to make the pledge. They talked as though the precious blessing they received was the result of a deception practiced upon them by the minister to secure money. They change their minds, and feel under no obligation to pay their vows to God. There is most fearful robbery of God, and flimsy excuses are made for resisting and denying the Holy Spirit. Some plead inconvenience; they say they need their money—to do what? To bury in houses and lands, in some money-making scheme. Because the pledge was made for a religious object, they think it cannot be enforced by law, and the love of money is so strong upon them that they deceive their own souls, and presume to rob God.” Counsels on Stewardship, 313, 314.

6 What judgment is threatened against those who disregard such vows? Ecclesiastes 5:4–6.

note: “[Ecclesiastes 5:4–6 quoted.] Here the matter is presented in its true light. Your work was done before the angel of God. Your words were not only heard by men, but the angel of God listened to them, and can you be surprised that God was angry with you? Can you wonder that He has not blessed you and made you able to pay your pledges? When you have grumbled and murmured and withdrawn your pledges and felt that God’s servants had deceived you and extorted from you pledges that were not just, the enemy has exulted. Could you see your course as it is you would never make one semblance of an excuse for it. . . .

“The Lord will not accept an offering that is made unwillingly, grudgingly. With your present feelings there would be no virtue in making more pledges. When you recover from this snare of the enemy, when you heal the breach that you have made, and realize that the wants of God’s cause are as continual as are His gifts to the children of men, your works will correspond with your faith, and you will receive a rich blessing from the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 284, 285.

7 Who among the apostles made a consecration of his possessions? Acts 4:36, 37.

note: “As the disciples proclaimed the truths of the gospel in Jerusalem, God bore witness to their word, and a multitude believed. Many of these early believers were immediately cut off from family and friends by the zealous bigotry of the Jews, and it was necessary to provide them with food and shelter.

“The record declares, ‘Neither was there any among them that lacked,’ [Acts 4:34] and it tells how the need was filled. Those among the believers who had money and possessions cheerfully sacrificed them to meet the emergency. Selling their houses or their lands, they brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet, ‘and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.’ [Verse 35.]

“This liberality on the part of the believers was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The converts to the gospel were ‘of one heart and of one soul.’ [Verse 32.] One common interest controlled them—the success of the mission entrusted to them; and covetousness had no place in their lives. Their love for their brethren and the cause they had espoused, was greater than their love of money and possessions. Their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of higher value than earthly wealth.

“Thus it will ever be when the Spirit of God takes possession of the life. Those whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ, will follow the example of Him who for our sake became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. Money, time, influence—all the gifts they have received from God’s hand, they will value only as a means of advancing the work of the gospel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 70, 71.

8 What shows that 26 years later Barnabas labored with his hands to support himself? 1 Corinthians 9:6, 7, 12; 11 Thessalonians 3:8, 9.

note: “Among the Jews physical toil was not thought strange or degrading. Through Moses the Hebrews had been instructed to train their children to industrious habits, and it was regarded as a sin to allow the youth to grow up in ignorance of physical labor. Even though a child was to be educated for holy office, a knowledge of practical life was thought essential. Every youth, whether his parents were rich or poor, was taught some trade. Those parents who neglected to provide such a training for their children were looked upon as departing from the instruction of the Lord.” The Acts of the Apostles, 346, 347.

9 What other persons consecrated a certain possession? Acts 5:1.

note: “Ananias and Sapphira had made a pledge to give to the Lord the proceeds from the sale of certain property.” The Acts of the Apostles, 72.

10 In keeping back part of the price, what sin did Ananias and Sapphira commit? Acts 5:2–4.

note: “Afterward, Ananias and Sapphira grieved the Holy Spirit by yielding to feelings of covetousness. They began to regret their promise and soon lost the sweet influence of the blessing that had warmed their hearts with a desire to do large things in behalf of the cause of Christ. They thought they had been too hasty, that they ought to reconsider their decision. They talked the matter over, and decided not to fulfill their pledge. They saw, however, that those who parted with their possessions to supply the needs of their poorer brethren, were held in high esteem among the believers; and ashamed to have their brethren know that their selfish souls grudged that which they had solemnly dedicated to God, they deliberately decided to sell their property and pretend to give all the proceeds into the general fund, but really to keep a large share for themselves. Thus they would secure their living from the common store and at the same time gain the high esteem of their brethren.” The Acts of the Apostles, 72.

11 What was the result of Ananias and Sapphira’s sin? Acts 5:5–10.

note: “Desiring to gain a reputation for self-sacrifice, liberality, and devotion to the Christian faith, Ananias and Sapphira sold their property, and laid part of the proceeds at the feet of the apostles, pretending they had given it all. They had not been urged to give all they had to the cause. God would have accepted part. But they desired it to be thought that they had given all. Thus they thought to gain the reputation they coveted, and at the same time keep back part of their money. They thought they had been successful in their scheme; but they were cheating the Lord, and He dealt summarily with this, the first case of deception and falsehood in the newly formed church. He slew them both, as a warning to all of the danger of sacrificing truth to gain favor.” Medical Ministry, 126, 127.

12 What will give us confidence to ask God to deliver us in the time of trouble? Psalm 50:14, 15.

note: “Often when placed in a trying situation we doubt that the Spirit of God has been leading us. But it was the Spirit’s leading that brought Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. When God brings us into trial, He has a purpose to accomplish for our good. Jesus did not presume on God’s promises by going unbidden into temptation, neither did He give up to despondency when temptation came upon Him. Nor should we. [1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 50:14, 15 quoted.]” The Desire of Ages, 126, 127.

Bible Study Guides – God Requires Faithfulness, Part 1

June 25, 2006 – July 1, 2006

Key Text

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 4, 463–476.


“Oh, that every soul would prostrate himself before God, and yield self unreservedly, and solemnly vow that with Heaven’s help he would henceforth keep his lips from all guile, and sanctified; that he would keep the life and the course of action sanctified; that soul, body, and spirit should ever be sanctified unto the Lord. If thorough work were done, what a missionary company we should have with which to work these cities! Oh, what numbers we could have to send into places where the people have never heard the third angel’s message!” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 370.

1 For what purpose did Christ sanctify himself? John 17:19.

note: “It [Bible sanctification] is not merely a show or outside work. It is sanctification received through the channel of truth. It is truth received in the heart, and practically carried out in the life.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 339.

“Jesus came to bring moral power to combine with human effort, and in no case are His followers to allow themselves to lose sight of Christ, who is their example in all things. He said, [John 17:19 quoted]. Jesus presents the truth before His children that they may look upon it, and by beholding it, may become changed, being transformed by His grace from transgression to obedience, from impurity to purity, from sin to heart-holiness and righteousness of life.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 262.

2 By what means are we to be sanctified? John 17:17.

note: “We must be sanctified through the truth, be wholly consecrated to God, and so live out our holy profession that the Lord can shed increasing light upon us, and that we may see light in His light, and be strengthened with His strength. Every moment that we are not on our watch we are liable to be beset by the enemy and are in great danger of being overcome by the powers of darkness. Satan commissions his angels to be vigilant and overthrow all they can; to find out the waywardness and besetting sins of those who profess the truth, and throw darkness around them, that they may cease to be watchful, take a course that will dishonor the cause they profess to love, and bring sorrow upon the church. The souls of these misguided, unwatchful ones grow darker, and the light of heaven fades from them. They cannot discover their besetting sins, and Satan weaves his net about them, and they are taken in his snare.” Early Writings, 105.

3 What is it to sanctify anything? Exodus 19:23, 12, 13.

note: “The oil so much needed by those who are represented as foolish virgins [Matthew 25:1–13], is not something to be put on the outside. They need to bring the truth into the sanctuary of the soul, that it may cleanse, refine, and sanctify. It is not theory that they need; it is the sacred teachings of the Bible, which are not uncertain, disconnected doctrines, but are living truths, that involve eternal interests that center in Christ. In Him is the complete system of divine truth. The salvation of the soul, through faith in Christ, is the ground and pillar of the truth.” Ye Shall Receive Power, 16.

“All our capabilities, all our powers, are the purchased possession of Christ. Our intellectual and moral powers are capable, when not misapplied, of honoring and glorifying God. The tongue is to be educated to speak right words, the eye to discern right things; the heart is to be surrendered to Christ, that he may purify, refine, and sanctify it through the truth, in order that from its treasures we may bring forth good things. We may, if we choose, abuse our faculties; for God will not compel any one to do righteousness. We are free moral agents; and yet let us bear in mind that we are the property of Christ both by creation and by redemption. The talents we have are his gifts, and whether we have few or many talents, we are to devote them to God.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 11, 1894.

4 When a person is thus sanctified, what work will be wrought in him? 11 Corinthians 10:5.

note: “The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words ‘flesh’ or ‘fleshly’ or ‘carnal lusts’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.” The Adventist Home, 127.

5 Upon what will the sanctified person’s mind dwell? Philippians 4:8.

note: “You need to be sanctified through the truth. . . . Will you see the work to be done for you and take hold of it without delay, that your influence may be saving? Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. . . .

“There are enough profitable subjects upon which to meditate and converse. The conversation of the Christian should be in heaven, whence we look for the Saviour. Meditation upon heavenly things is profitable, and will ever be accompanied with the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Our calling is holy, our profession exalted. God is purifying unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. He is sitting as a refiner and purifier of silver. When the dross and tin are removed, then His image will be perfectly reflected in us. . . . When the truth has a sanctifying influence upon our hearts and lives, we can render to God acceptable service and can glorify Him upon the earth, being partakers of the divine nature and having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 317.

6 What was the law respecting the sanctifying of a man’s substance to the Lord? If he chose to exchange that which he had sanctified, how much was he to add to it? Leviticus 27:14–19.

note: “According to the amount bestowed will be the amount required. The larger the capital entrusted, the more valuable is the gift which God requires to be returned to Him. If a Christian has ten or twenty thousand dollars, God’s claims are imperative upon him, not only to give his proportion according to the tithing system, but to present his sin offerings and thank offerings to God. The Levitical dispensation was distinguished in a remarkable manner by the sanctification of property. When we speak of the tithe as the standard of the Jewish contributions to religious purposes, we do not speak understandingly. The Lord kept His claims paramount, and in almost every article they were reminded of the Giver by being required to make returns to Him. They were required to pay a ransom for their firstborn son, for the first fruits of their flocks, and for the first gathering of the harvest. They were required to leave the corners of their harvest fields for the destitute. Whatever dropped from their hands in reaping was left for the poor, and once in every seven years their lands were allowed to produce spontaneously for the needy. Then there were the sacrificial offerings, the trespass offerings, the sin offerings, and the remission of all debts every seventh year. There were also numerous expenses for hospitalities and gifts to the poor, and there were assessments upon their property.

“At stated periods, in order to preserve the integrity of the law, the people were interviewed as to whether they had faithfully performed their vows or not. A conscientious few made returns to God of about one third of all their income for the benefit of religious interests and for the poor. These exactions were not from a particular class of the people, but from all, the requirement being proportioned according to the amount possessed. Besides all these systematic and regular donations there were special objects calling for freewill offerings, such as the tabernacle built in the wilderness and the temple erected at Jerusalem. These drafts were made by God upon the people for their own good, as well as to sustain His service.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 467, 468.

7 Could that which had been sanctified be taken back, and no equivalent given? Leviticus 27:28, 29.

note: “The Lord declared that he required his husbandmen to give him the returns of his vineyard. Men are not to use their possessions as their own, but only as intrusted to them. The Lord’s portion is to be faithfully returned to him. ‘All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. And if a man will at all redeem aught of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.’ [Leviticus 27:30–33.]

“The statutes regarding the Lord’s portion were often repeated that the people might not forget them. They were to return to God his rental money. This he claimed as his portion. Their physical and mental powers as well as their money were to be used for him. His vineyard was to be faithfully cultivated, so that a large income could be returned to him in tithes and offerings. A portion was to be set apart for the sustenance of the ministry, and was to be used for no other purpose. Gifts and offerings were to be made to relieve the necessity of the church. Means was to be appropriated for the relief of the poor and suffering.” Review and Herald, July 17, 1900.

8 Does the Lord require men to devote their substance to His service, and make offerings to Him? Psalm 76:11.

note: “God has given man a part to act in accomplishing the salvation of his fellow men. He can work in connection with Christ by doing acts of mercy and beneficence. But he cannot redeem them, not being able to satisfy the claims of insulted justice. This the Son of God alone can do, by laying aside His honor and glory, clothing His divinity with humanity, and coming to earth to humiliate Himself and shed His blood in behalf of the human race.

“In commissioning His disciples to go ‘into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ [Mark 16:15.] Christ assigned to men the work of spreading the gospel. But while some go forth to preach, He calls upon others to answer to His claims upon them for tithes and offerings with which to support the ministry and to spread the printed truth all over the land. This is God’s means of exalting man. It is just the work which he needs, for it will stir the deepest sympathies of his heart and call into exercise the highest capabilities of the mind.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 472.

9 Under what circumstances do men usually make vows? Psalm 66:13, 14.

note: “Christ says, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing,’ and He has provided the Holy Spirit as a present help in every time of need. [John 15:5.] But many have a feeble religious experience because, instead of seeking the Lord for the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, they make flesh their arm. Let the people of God be educated to turn to God when in trouble and gain strength from the promises that are yea and amen to every trusting soul. . . .

“The promises of God are full and abundant, and there is no need for anyone to depend upon humanity for strength. To all that call upon Him, God is near to help and succor. And He is greatly dishonored when, after inviting our confidence, we turn from Him—the only One who will not misunderstand us, the only One who can give unerring counsel—to men who in their human weakness are liable to lead us astray.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 381, 382.

Recipe – Toasted Millet Breakfast Slices

1 cup hulled millet

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups water

1/2 cup macaroon coconut

1/2 cup chopped dates

In a slow cooker, place millet, flax seed, salt, and water. Cook until water is gone. Add coconut and dates to taste. Place in a square container and cool. Cut in 1/2 inch slices and toast on both sides under broiler. Serve with fresh fruit and thickened coconut cream or fruit sauce.

Food for Life – Grains

I am not sure who actually originated the saying, “the rest of the story,” but it is interesting that we search, dig, and go to many extremes to find “the rest of the story.” It is equally interesting that when “the rest of the story” is known in regard to nutrition, we often ignore it.

Many western countries, America included, have adopted the practice of refining many of the grains. It is a well-known nutritional fact that we need to eat whole-grain foods to receive the maximum benefits from our food. With the refining of grains, much of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals are lost. Often this refined food is then fortified or enriched by putting vitamins and minerals back into it. The principle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” applies here. Clearly our Creator has the knowledge and ability to give us whole foods that will meet our needs, if we will just follow His plan.

If we really want optimum health, we must eat whole grains, not processed and refined grains. “In the study of hygiene, students should be taught the nutrient value of different foods. . . . Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, in proper combination, contain all the elements of nutrition; and when properly prepared, they constitute the diet that best promotes both physical and mental strength.” Education, 204, 205.

The recipe this month features whole grains.

Children’s Story – The Secret of Happiness

The old man shuffled slowly into the restaurant. With head tilted and shoulders bent forward, he leaned on his trusty cane with each unhurried step.

His tattered cloth jacket, patched trousers, worn-out shoes, and warm personality made him stand out from the usual Sunday morning breakfast crowd. Unforgettable were his pale blue eyes that sparkled like diamonds, large rosy cheeks, and thin lips held in a tight, steady smile.

He stopped, turned with his whole body, and winked at a little girl seated by the door. She flashed a big grin right back at him. A young waitress named Mary watched him shuffle toward a table by the window.

Mary ran over to him, and said, “Here, Sir. Let me give you a hand with that chair.”

Without saying a word, he smiled and nodded a thank you. She pulled the chair away from the table. Steadying him with one arm, she helped him move in front of the chair and get comfortably seated. Then she scooted the table up close to him, and leaned his cane against the table where he could reach it.

In a soft, clear voice he said, “Thank you, Miss. And bless you for your kind gestures.”

“You are welcome, Sir,” she replied. “My name is Mary. I will be back in a moment, but if you need anything at all in the meantime, just wave at me!”

After he had finished a hearty meal of pancakes and hot lemon tea, Mary brought him the change from his ticket. He left it lay. She helped him up from his chair, and out from behind the table. She handed him his cane, and walked with him to the front door.

Holding the door open for him, she said, “Come back and see us, Sir!”

He turned with his whole body, winked a smile, and nodded a thank you. “You are very kind,” he said softly.

When Mary went to clean his table, she almost fainted. Under his plate, she found a business card and a note scribbled on a napkin. Under the napkin was a one hundred dollar bill.

The note on the napkin read: “Dear Mary, I respect you very much, and you respect yourself too. It shows by the way you treat others. You have found the secret of happiness. Your kind gestures will shine through those who meet you.”

The man on whom she had so lovingly waited was the owner of the restaurant where she worked! This was the first time that she or any of his employees had ever seen him in person.

“Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy [is] he.” Proverbs 16:20. “If we educated our souls to have more faith, more love, greater patience, a more perfect trust in our heavenly Father, we would have more peace and happiness as we pass through the conflicts of this life. The Lord is not pleased to have us fret and worry ourselves out of the arms of Jesus. He is the only source of every grace, the fulfillment of every promise, the realization of every blessing. . . . Our pilgrimage would indeed be lonely were it not for Jesus. ‘I will not leave you comfortless,’ (John 14:18) He says to us. Let us cherish His words, believe His promises, repeat them by day and meditate upon them in the night season, and be happy.” Our High Calling, 120.

Nature Nugget – The Strangler Fig

Although most people are familiar with the Old World edible fig (Ficus carica), the vast majority of fig species grow wild in exotic tropical regions of the world. The Ficus genus consists of close to a thousand different species that are found in every major rainforest and other tropical habitats. In some forests, up to 70 percent of its wildlife depend on the fruit of the fig trees for survival. Several different species of fig trees often grow side by side in the same forest, each producing fruit at a different time of the year so that there is always a supply of food for fruit-eating animals. Hundreds of birds and animals, such as pigeons, parrots, hornbills, toucans, monkeys, and fruit-eating bats, feed on the sweet fruit of the fig tree. Each species of fig tree has a symbiotic relationship with its own species of tiny pollinator wasps. This enables the different species of fig trees to co-exist without hybridization.

A certain group of fig trees are known as “stranglers” because of their unusual way of growth. Strangler figs start life as epiphytes on other tree species—their sticky seeds being deposited there after passing unharmed through the digestive tracts of birds and mammals. This is advantageous, because the floor of the tropical forests has little light and there is great competition for water and nutrients. The epiphytic seedlings grow slowly at first, getting their nutrients from the sun, rain, and leaf litter that has collected on the host trees. The young stranglers, as they grow, send down many thin roots that snake along the trunks of the host trees or dangle as aerial roots from their branches.

When the roots reach the ground, they dig in, and the stranglers put on a growth spurt, competing with the host trees for nutrients and water. They then send out an additional network of roots that encircle the host trees, forming a latticework that slowly fuses together. As the roots grow thicker around the host trees’ trunks, they squeeze them, cutting off their flow of nutrients. At the same time, up in the canopies, the stranglers’ crowns are growing foliage that soon overshadows the host trees, robbing them of sunlight. Eventually the host trees die from a combination of strangulation, insufficient sunlight, and root competition, leaving the strangler figs standing on their own.

The host tree soon rots, leaving a hollow center to the strangler fig’s trunk, providing an important home for thousands of invertebrates, rodents, bats, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Some strangler figs grow aerial roots from their branches that, when they reach the ground, dig in to form another trunk on the same tree. One particular strangler fig in India is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records (1985) as the world’s largest tree, having 1,000 prop roots and covering an area of four acres!

In order for the strangler fig to grow into a giant so it can produce fruit, it must put down roots to reach the ground where the soil will nourish it, and it must reach its branches up into the sunlight. Likewise, the Christian, in order to grow into a spiritual giant and bear spiritual fruit, must be rooted in Christ and receive spiritual light from His Word. “Let everyone who would reveal Christ by being a doer of His Word, become rooted in Christ Jesus, rooted and grounded in the truth. Put away all self-assertion. Let living and acting the lessons of Christ Jesus speak of your perfect obedience to Jesus Christ. . . .

“The formation of the character must go on day by day, hour by hour. The inward working of the Holy Spirit is revealed outwardly in the appearance of fruit, ripening and perfecting to the glory of God.” That I May Know Him, 133.

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

Ask the Pastor – Hatred


I have a problem with hatred. I have gained the victory over anger, for the most part, but I have a real problem with hatred. Is there any help for me at my old age?


Hatred and anger are very closely related to each other. Usually the same circumstance will give rise to both of these emotions. We can define them differently by using the word anger or hatred, but they really arise from the same center of our being. Anger and hatred arise because of what someone does or says—either what we do to ourselves or what someone does or says to us or about us. Both of these can be overcome completely through the grace and power of God.

What we need to work on, by faith, is our perspective of what is happening. While we are to hate sin, we are to love the sinner, so we must change our perspective from the sinner to the sin. If the sinner makes us angry and we hate him, we are not working within the will of God. Leviticus 19:17 tells us that, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart.” There is an opposite side to this, and that is hating evil. We can hate evil because we love the Lord. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10.

The interesting thing about all of this is that we are never commanded to hate the devil! We are to hate the evil and the sin, but not bring it into a personalized form. That places us in a position where we begin to judge a person’s motives and heart. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Romans 2:1.

So, if we can come to understand things this far, then the next step in getting over hatred is to understand 11 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This is a transition that comes through faith. The New Testament makes it very clear that the burden of our life now becomes one of faith overshadowed by the grace of God that then moves us into an ever-changing pattern of living. This can only come through faith. It cannot come through any effort of our own in trying to overcome either anger or hatred. The more we exercise faith—which comes by hearing the Word—the more we become changed.

I know that this all seems like a lot of platitudes that sound good, but that do not really work. This is really not the case. If faith, which can bring change in the life, did not work, then the Christian way would have died out a long time ago. But because faith does work and it has been experienced by hundreds of millions over the centuries, Christianity survives today. The forces of evil try in every way possible to make of non-effect the Word of God, but it lives on. It is the continuous exercise of faith that counts and gives the victory. God has not left us to fall. He has promised to keep us from falling, which includes hatred of any kind and anger of any kind. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy . . . .” Jude 24. Faith is that element which is able to make the spirit of forgiveness a workable commodity in the life. Forgiveness can take the anger and the hatred away and still leave life with meaning in the Lord, which is the only thing that makes life meaningful anyway.

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