Bible Study Guides – God’s Voice in the Church

July 24, 2016 – July 30, 2016

Key Text

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1, 2).

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 188–200.


“God had chosen Israel … to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Saviour. … They were to reveal God to men.” The Desire of Ages, 27.


  • What was the first direction that Jesus gave to Saul of Tarsus after his conversion? Acts 9:6.

Note: “Many have an idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of His recognized followers on earth. Jesus. … respects the means that He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men; He directs sinners to the church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 122.

  • How important is it to hear God’s voice speaking to us through His church and to cooperate with His people? Matthew 18:18–20.

Note: “The Lord has an organized body through whom He will work.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 17.

“The Redeemer of the world does not sanction experience and exercise in religious matters independent of His organized and acknowledged church. … The Saviour placed him [Saul] in connection with His church, and let them direct him what to do. …

“All is done in the name and by the authority of Christ; but the church is the channel of communication.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 31, 32.


  • Three years later, after Jesus had taught him personally, where did Saul (now called Paul) go? Galatians 1:1, 15–19.

Note: “Notwithstanding the fact that Paul was personally taught by God, he had no strained ideas of individual responsibility. While looking to God for direct guidance, he was ever ready to recognize the authority vested in the body of believers united in church fellowship.” The Acts of the Apostles, 200.

“God never designed that one man’s mind and judgment should be a controlling power. He never designed that one man should rule and plan and devise without the careful and prayerful consideration of the whole body.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 16, 17.

“Even the best of men, if left to themselves, will err in judgment. …

“The greater the responsibilities placed upon the human agent, and the larger his opportunities to dictate and control, the more harm he is sure to do if he does not carefully follow the way of the Lord and labor in harmony with the decisions arrived at by the general body of believers in united council.” The Acts of the Apostles, 198, 199.

  • What happened in Old Testament times when God’s chosen leadership was jealously criticized? Numbers 12:1, 2, 9, 10. What can we learn from this?

Note: “Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme are in grave peril. It is Satan’s studied effort to separate such ones from those who are channels of light, through whom God has wrought to build up and extend His work in the earth. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord’s cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown. … Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all the believers will be united.” The Acts of the Apostles, 164.


  • What respect should be given to legitimate church decisions? I Peter 5:5; Hebrews 13:17; Proverbs 11:14.

Note: “I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body.

“At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work. …

“Let us give to the highest organized authority in the church that which we are prone to give to one man or to a small group of men.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 260, 261.

“God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected.” Ibid., vol. 3, 451.

  • What type of attitude does the Lord want the church leaders to have toward their fellow believers? Philippians 2:3–8.


  • Can any member or church officer determine or dictate the individual duty of another member? Matthew 20:25–28.

Note: “Let all who accept human authority, the customs of the church, or the traditions of the fathers, take heed to the warning conveyed in the words of Christ, ‘In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’ (Matthew 15:9).” The Desire of Ages, 398.

“Let your faith and trust be in God. Do not depend on any erring man to define your duty. …

“Every church member should understand that God is the One to Whom to look for an understanding of individual duty. It is right that brethren counsel together; but when men arrange just what their brethren shall do, let them answer that they have chosen the Lord as their counselor. Those who will humbly seek Him will find His grace sufficient. But when one man allows another to step in between him and the duty that God has pointed out to him, giving to man his confidence and accepting him as guide, then he steps from the true platform to a false and dangerous one. Such a man, instead of growing and developing, will lose his spirituality.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 279, 280.

  • What advice given to church leaders should also guide any member tempted to control the behavior of another human being? Matthew 23:8, 10–12.

Note: “Instead of considering it their duty to order and dictate and command, they [all who occupy responsible positions] should realize that they are to be learners themselves. When a responsible worker fails to learn this lesson, the sooner he is released from his responsibilities the better it will be for him and for the work of God. Position never will give holiness and excellence of character. He who honors God and keeps His commandments is himself honored.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 282, 283.

“Men whom the Lord calls to important positions in His work are to cultivate a humble dependence upon Him. They are not to seek to embrace too much authority; for God has not called them to a work of ruling, but to plan and counsel with their fellow laborers.” Ibid., 270.


  • What procedure was used in resolving a conflict in the early church? Acts 15:1–4. What can we learn from this?

Note: “They [certain Jews] asserted with great assurance, that none could be saved without being circumcised and keeping the entire ceremonial law.

“This was an important question, and one which affected the church in a very great degree. … The matter resulted in much discussion and want of harmony in the church, until finally the church of Antioch, apprehending that a division among them would occur from any further discussion of the question, decided to send Paul and Barnabas, together with some responsible men of Antioch, to Jerusalem, to lay the matter before the apostles and elders. There they were to meet delegates from the different churches, and those who had come to attend the approaching annual festivals. Meanwhile all controversy was to cease until a final decision should be made by the responsible men of the church. This decision was then to be universally accepted by the various churches throughout the country.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 63.

  • Summarize Peter’s account of the point in question. Acts 11:2–17. Upon what did the apostle James base his argument? Acts 15:13– 17. Who settled this dispute? Verse 28.


1 How do we know that God works and speaks through an organized body?

2 Why is one human not entrusted with the responsibility of ruling over and planning for God’s church?

3 How should we relate to decisions made by church representatives in session?

4 What does God want us to do regarding our personal duty instead of going to someone in the church for advice? Why?

5 How should we handle controversy in the church?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Ambassadors

July 17, 2016 – July 23, 2016

Key Text

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8).

Study Help: The Adventist Home, 187–194.


“Parents … cannot displease Him [God] more than by neglecting to train their children aright. God has given them these children as a sacred trust, to educate for Him. In a sense they stand in the place of God to their children.” The Signs of the Times, September 25, 1901.


  • What is the message of the fifth commandment? Exodus 20:12.

Note: “Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, Who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

  • How are parents to help young children? Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “They [parents] are to work out the salvation of those who are too young to understand the difference between good and evil. They are in no case to think that good will naturally predominate in the hearts of their children. They are to guard carefully the words and actions of their little ones, lest the enemy shall gain an influence over them.” The Signs of the Times, September 25, 1901.


  • How should parents handle the most serious responsibility ever given to humanity? Ephesians 6:4.

Note: “For some reason many parents dislike to give their children religious instruction, and they leave them to pick up in the Sabbath School the knowledge which it is their privilege and duty to impart. … God commands His people to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. What does this mean—the nurture and admonition of the Lord? It means to teach them to order the life by the requirements and lessons of the word; to help them to gain a clear understanding of the terms of entrance into the city of God. Not to all who would enter will the gates of that city be opened, but to those only who have studied to know God’s will, and have yielded their lives to His control.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 109.

“Kindly, earnestly, tenderly, parents are to work for their children, cultivating every good trait and repressing every evil trait which develops in the character.” The Signs of the Times, September 25, 1901.

“You should have no work so important that it will prevent you from giving to your children all the time that is necessary to make them understand what it means to obey and trust the Lord fully.” The Adventist Home, 183, 184.

  • Who taught Timothy in his home, and how did their teaching affect his life as a child and as a youth? 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15.

Note: “Timothy’s father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess. From a child he had known the Scriptures. The piety that he saw in his home life was sound and sensible. The faith of his mother and his grandmother in the sacred oracles was to him a constant reminder of the blessing in doing God’s will. The word of God was the rule by which these two godly women had guided Timothy. The spiritual power of the lessons that he had received from them kept him pure in speech and unsullied by the evil influences with which he was surrounded. Thus his home instructors had co-operated with God in preparing him to bear burdens.” The Acts of the Apostles, 203.


  • What is the purpose of discipline? Psalm 144:12; Proverbs 25:28; 16:32.

Note: “The object of discipline is the training of the child for self-government. He should be taught self-reliance and self-control. … Help him to see that all things are under law, and that disobedience leads, in the end, to disaster and suffering. …

“The true object of reproof is gained only when the wrongdoer himself is led to see his fault and his will is enlisted for its correction. When this is accomplished, point him to the Source of pardon and power.” Child Guidance, 223.

“One child, properly disciplined in the principles of truth, who has the love and fear of God woven through the character, will possess a power for good in the world that cannot be estimated.” Ibid., 163.

  • How should we discipline the children under our care? Proverbs 29:15; Colossians 3:21.

Note: “First reason with your children, clearly point out their wrongs, and impress upon them that they have not only sinned against you, but against God. With your heart full of pity and sorrow for your erring children, pray with them before correcting them. Then they will see that you do not punish them because they have put you to inconvenience, or because you wish to vent your displeasure upon them, but from a sense of duty, for their good; and they will love and respect you.” Child Guidance, 252, 253.

“Great care should be exercised by parents lest they treat their children in such a way as to provoke obstinacy, disobedience, and rebellion. Parents often stir up the worst passions of the human heart because of their lack of self-control. They correct them in a spirit of anger, and rather confirm them in their evil ways and defiant spirit, than influence them in the way of right.” The Review and Herald, November 15, 1892.

“Parents, never act from impulse. Never correct your child when you are angry; for if you do this, you will mould him after your own image—impulsive, passionate, and unreasonable. You can be firm without violent threatenings or scoldings.” Australasian Union Conference Record, September 6, 1909.


  • What command is given to all children about obeying their parents? Ephesians 6:1. What can parents learn from the advice given to teachers?

Note: “The parent’s will, when it is in harmony with the will of God, is to be law.” The Review and Herald, December 18, 1900.

“Heavenly messengers are sent to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation; and these would converse with the teachers if they were not so satisfied with the well-trodden path of tradition, if they were not so fearful of getting away from the shadow of the world. Teachers should beware lest they close the gates so that the Lord can find no entrance into the hearts of the youth.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 161.

  • What should we do as we review those things which we have learned in our childhood? I Thessalonians 5:21.

Note: “In all who have been chosen to accomplish a work for God the human element is seen. Yet they have not been men of stereotyped habits and character, who were satisfied to remain in that condition. They earnestly desired to obtain wisdom from God and to learn to work for Him. … [James 1:5 quoted.] But God will not impart to men divine light while they are content to remain in darkness. In order to receive God’s help, man must realize his weakness and deficiency; he must apply his own mind to the great change to be wrought in himself; he must be aroused to earnest and persevering prayer and effort. Wrong habits and customs must be shaken off; and it is only by determined endeavor to correct these errors and to conform to right principles that the victory can be gained. Many never attain to the position that they might occupy, because they wait for God to do for them that which He has given them power to do for themselves. All who are fitted for usefulness must be trained by the severest mental and moral discipline, and God will assist them by uniting divine power with human effort.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 248.

  • How many generations of our ancestors will have influenced our habits? Exodus 20:5.


  • When Moses was a young man, what choice did he make? How was he able to overcome the effects of his life in Egypt? Hebrews 11:24–27.

Note: “Moses had been learning much that he must unlearn. The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt—the love of his foster mother, his own high position as the king’s grandson, the dissipation on every hand, the refinement, the subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, the splendor of idolatrous worship, the solemn grandeur of architecture and sculpture—all had left deep impressions upon his developing mind and had molded, to some extent, his habits and character. Time, change of surroundings, and communion with God could remove these impressions. It would require on the part of Moses himself a struggle as for life to renounce error and accept truth, but God would be his helper when the conflict should be too severe for human strength.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 248.

  • How can we encourage our children to overcome sin? 2 Peter 1:4; I Corinthians 15:57, 58; Proverbs 24:16, last part.

Note: “Let the child and the youth be taught that every mistake, every fault, every difficulty, conquered, becomes a steppingstone to better and higher things. It is through such experiences that all who have ever made life worth the living have achieved success.” Child Guidance, 255.


1 When are parents’ words to their children as the voice of God?

2 How can we bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

3 What must be gained in order for discipline or reproof to be successful?

4 What great change must we go through to be used by God?

5 How can we overcome bad habits that we have formed in childhood?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Voice in Nature

July 10, 2016 – July 16, 2016

Key Text

“God thundereth marvellously with His voice; great things doeth He, which we cannot comprehend” (Job 37:5).

Study Help: Education, 113–120; The Ministry of Healing, 50–58.


“Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. … The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator’s love.” Steps to Christ, 9.


  • Where in the world would the voice of God in nature be unheard? Psalm 19:1–3.

Note: “Nature speaks to [our] senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all. … The beauty that clothes the earth is a token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48.

  • What message does nature provide to people around the world? Romans 1:20.

Note: “Those who have a true knowledge of God will not become so infatuated with the laws of matter or the operations of nature as to overlook, or refuse to acknowledge, the continual working of God in nature. Nature is not God, nor was it ever God. The voice of nature testifies of God, but nature is not God. As His created work, it simply bears a testimony to God’s power.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 293.


  • What does God teach us through the behavior of the eagle? Isaiah 40:31.

Note: “The eagle of the Alps is sometimes beaten down by the tempest into the narrow defiles of the mountains. Storm clouds shut in this mighty bird of the forest, their dark masses separating her from the sunny heights where she has made her home. Her efforts to escape seem fruitless. She dashes to and fro, beating the air with her strong wings, and waking the mountain echoes with her cries. At length, with a note of triumph, she darts upward, and, piercing the clouds, is once more in the clear sunlight, with the darkness and tempest far beneath. So we may be surrounded with difficulties, discouragement, and darkness. Falsehood, calamity, injustice, shut us in. There are clouds that we cannot dispel. We battle with circumstances in vain. There is one, and but one, way of escape. The mists and fogs cling to the earth; beyond the clouds God’s light is shining. Into the sunlight of His presence we may rise on the wings of faith.” Education, 118, 119.

  • What is another lesson that we can learn by watching the birds? Matthew 6:25, 26.

Note: “The natural world has, in itself, no power but that which God supplies.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 293.

“The birds are teachers of the sweet lesson of trust. Our heavenly Father provides for them; but they must gather the food, they must build their nests and rear their young. Every moment they are exposed to enemies that seek to destroy them. Yet how cheerily they go about their work! how full of joy are their little songs!” Education, 117, 118.

“Let us not mourn and grieve because in this life we are not free from disappointments and afflictions. If in the providence of God we are called upon to endure trials, let us accept the cross and drink the bitter cup, remembering that it is a Father’s hand that holds it to our lips. Let us trust Him in the darkness as well as in the day.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 316.


  • What other lessons of trust does God want to teach us from nature? Matthew 6:27–30. Should we devote more interest, time, and effort to serving God or to meeting our daily temporal needs? Verses 31–33.

Note: “He Who has given you life knows your need of food to sustain it. He Who created the body is not unmindful of your need of raiment. Will not He Who has bestowed the greater gift bestow also what is needed to make it complete?” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 95.

“God’s law is the law of love. He has surrounded you with beauty to teach you that you are not placed on earth merely to delve for self, to dig and build, to toil and spin, but to make life bright and joyous and beautiful with the love of Christ—like the flowers, to gladden other lives by the ministry of love.” Ibid., 97.

  • What lessons can we learn from some of God’s other creatures? Proverbs 6:6–11; 30:25–28 (compare 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Note: “The ants teach lessons of patient industry, of perseverance in surmounting obstacles, of providence for the future.” Education, 117.

“The habitations which the ants build for themselves show skill and perseverance. Only one little grain at a time can they handle, but by diligence and perseverance they accomplish wonders. Solomon presents to the world the industry of the ant as a reproach to those who waste their hours in sinful idleness, in practices which corrupt soul and body. The ant prepares for future seasons. This is a lesson which many gifted with reasoning powers disregard. They fail entirely to prepare for the future immortal life which God has in His providence secured for the fallen race.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1157, 1158.

“Jesus does not release us from the necessity of effort, but He teaches that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything. We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure, that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness in our character and life. Whatever we do is to be done heartily, as unto the Lord.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 99.


  • Why is our study of nature so important? What can we learn about God? Psalm 111:4, 6–8; Isaiah 40:26.

Note: “How much time is spent by intelligent human beings in horse racing, cricket matches, and ball playing! But will indulgence in these sports give men a desire to know truth and righteousness? Will it keep God in their thoughts? Will it lead them to inquire, How is it with my soul? …

“God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them and admire His handiwork. As we study His works, angels from heaven will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from Satan’s deceptions. As you look at the wonderful things that God’s hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 456, 457.

  • To what is the Christian compared? Psalms 1:1–3; 92:12, 13.

Note: “The palm tree well represents the life of a Christian. It stands upright amid the burning desert sand, and dies not; for it draws its sustenance from the springs of life beneath the surface.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1151.

  • What are some other practical lessons we can learn from nature?

Note: “Many are the lessons that may thus be learned [from nature]. Self-reliance, from the tree that, growing alone on plain or mountainside, strikes down its roots deep into the earth, and in its rugged strength defies the tempest. The power of early influence, from the gnarled, shapeless trunk, bent as a sapling, to which no earthly power can afterward restore its lost symmetry. The secret of a holy life, from the water lily, that, on the bosom of some slimy pool, surrounded by weeds and rubbish, strikes down its channeled stem to the pure sands beneath, and, drawing thence its life, lifts up its fragrant blossoms to the light in spotless purity.” Education, 119.


  • Whose guidance is essential in order for us to understand nature? John 16:13; 14:26.

Note: “Teach them [the children] to notice the evidences everywhere manifest in nature of God’s thought for us, the wonderful adaptation of all things to our need and happiness.

“He alone who recognizes in nature his Father’s handiwork, who in the richness and beauty of the earth reads the Father’s handwriting—he alone learns from the things of nature their deepest lessons, and receives their highest ministry. Only he can fully appreciate the significance of hill and vale, river and sea, who looks upon them as an expression of the thought of God, a revelation of the Creator.” Education, 119, 120.

  • What event teaches us the messages of nature most clearly? John 1:4.

Note: “Only in the light that shines from Calvary can nature’s teaching be read aright. Through the story of Bethlehem and the cross let it be shown how good is to conquer evil, and how every blessing that comes to us is a gift of redemption.

“In brier and thorn, in thistle and tare, is represented the evil that blights and mars. In singing bird and opening blossom, in rain and sunshine, in summer breeze and gentle dew, in ten thousand objects in nature, from the oak of the forest to the violet that blossoms at its root, is seen the love that restores. And nature still speaks to us of God’s goodness.” Education, 101.


1 What is God trying to tell you through nature today?

2 How can the birds teach us lessons of trust in God?

3 What can we learn from the ant, one of the smallest of creatures?

4 What are some object lessons that trees give us?

5 How does God explain nature’s messages to us today?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Practical Listening

July 3, 2016 – July 9, 2016

Key Text

“O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart” (Proverbs 8:5).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 521–544.


“The voice of duty is the voice of God—an inborn, heaven-sent guide. Whether it be pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies directly in our pathway.” The Review and Herald, December 29, 1910.


  • What is a common way that God reveals His will to us? Luke 17:10. Can we safely ignore this method of God’s communication?

Note: “No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 396.

“While living in neglect of a known duty, he [Moses] would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 256.

“Duty admits no rival, enters into no compromise with any opposing powers. The most precious friends and relatives must not step in between your duty and your God. The voice of duty is the voice of God in our souls.” The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.

  • Why was the Master displeased with the servant to whom He had given one talent? Matthew 25:26, 27; Luke 16:10.

Note: “By unfaithfulness in even the smallest duties, man robs his Maker of the service which is His due.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 356.


  • Why didn’t the rich young ruler want to do what Jesus had asked him to do? Matthew 19:21, 22. What two tools does God use to teach us our duty?

Note: “The man or woman that leaves the place that God has given him or her, in order to please inclination, and acts on his own devised plan meets with disappointment, because he has chosen his way instead of God’s way.” Sons and Daughters of God, 175.

“There are persons who would understand their duty clearly, if their duty was in harmony with their natural inclinations. Reason and circumstances may point out their duty clearly; but when the path of duty is not in line with their inclinations, these evidences are frequently set aside. Then these persons will presume to go to God to learn their duty. But God will not be trifled with. He will permit such persons to follow the desires of their own hearts.” The Watchman, September 1, 1908.

“Those who disregard the requirements of God in this life would not respect His authority were they in heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 312.

  • Why does God sometimes choose to refrain from teaching us His will? Isaiah 59:1, 2; Psalm 81:11, 12; John 7:17.

Note: “There is no help for man, woman, or child, who will not hear and obey the voice of duty; for the voice of duty is the voice of God. The eyes, the ears, and the heart, will become unimpressible if men and women refuse to give heed to the divine counsel, and choose the way that is best pleasing to themselves.” Sons and Daughters of God, 175.

  • What is usually the reason for not listening to God? Deuteronomy 1:43; I Samuel 15:23.


  • Do we need to wait for anyone else to teach us God’s will? James 1:5, 6.

Note: “We are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others, and wait for them to tell us what to do. We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. If we come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

  • What are we promised when we ask God for guidance? Proverbs 3:5–7.

Note: “When perplexities arise, and difficulties confront you, look not for help to humanity. Trust all with God. The practice of telling our difficulties to others only makes us weak, and brings no strength to them. It lays upon them the burden of our spiritual infirmities, which they cannot relieve. We seek the strength of erring, finite man, when we might have the strength of the unerring, infinite God. …

“We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 146.

“Has not God said He would give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? and is not this spirit a real, true actual guide? Some men seem afraid to take God at His word as though it would be presumption in them. They pray for the Lord to teach us and yet are afraid to credit the pledged word of God and believe we have been taught of Him. So long as we come to our heavenly Father humbly and with a spirit to be taught, willing and anxious to learn, why should we doubt God’s fulfillment of His own promise?” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1155, 1156.


  • What did Christ say to reveal God’s willingness to teach us His ways, personally? Matthew 7:7–11.

Note: “God wants His children to ask for those things that will enable Him to reveal His grace through them to the world. He wants them to seek His counsel, to acknowledge His power. Christ lays loving claims on all for whom He has given His life; they are to obey His will if they would share the joys that He has prepared for all who reflect His character here. It is well for us to feel our weakness, for then we shall seek the strength and wisdom that the Father delights to give to His children for their daily strife against the powers of evil.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 284.

  • How patient is God as He seeks to communicate with us? Romans 14:5, second part; 2 Peter 3:9.
  • How patient should we be with others in their understanding of God’s ways? Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:2; Luke 6:37.

Note: “As God’s free agents, all should ask wisdom of Him. When the learner depends wholly upon another’s thoughts, and goes no further than to accept his plans, he sees only through that man’s eyes and is, so far, only an echo of another. God deals with men as responsible beings. He will work by His Spirit through the mind He has put in man, if man will only give Him a chance to work and will recognize His dealings. He designs that each shall use his mind and conscience for himself. He does not intend that one man shall become the shadow of another, uttering only another’s sentiments. …

“Men are individually accountable to God, and each must act as God moves upon him, not as he is moved by the mind of another.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 724, 725.

“No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions. … No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another.” The Desire of Ages, 550.


  • In addition to guiding us through the voice of duty, what is another way that God speaks to us? Isaiah 30:21. How did God guide Mary through the impressions of the Holy Spirit?

Note: “Mary knew not the full significance of her deed of love. She could not answer her accusers. She could not explain why she had chosen that occasion for anointing Jesus. The Holy Spirit had planned for her, and she had obeyed His promptings. Inspiration stoops to give no reason. An unseen presence, it speaks to mind and soul, and moves the heart to action. It is its own justification.” The Desire of Ages, 560.

“Another way in which God’s voice is heard is through the appeals of His Holy Spirit, making impressions upon the heart, which will be wrought out in the character.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 512.

“Conscience is the voice of God, heard amid the conflict of human passions; when it is resisted, the Spirit of God is grieved.” Ibid., 120.

“God speaks to us through His providential workings and through the influence of His Spirit upon the heart.” Steps to Christ, 87.

  • Against what standard should we evaluate our impressions? Isaiah 8:20.

Note: “The Bible … marks out the duty of man in every circumstance of life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 312.

“If you are in doubt upon any subject you must first consult the Scriptures.” Ibid., vol. 5, 512.


1 If we neglect a known duty, what is our spiritual condition?

2 How are we to determine our duty?

3 What must we do in order to learn our duty?

4 What is the relationship between duty and individuality?

5 How does God use impressions? How can we abuse them?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – May I Have Your Attention?

June 26, 2016 – July 2, 2016

Key Text

“What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it” (Isaiah 5:4)?

Study Help: The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1889.


“The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift. The Saviour’s life and death and intercession, the ministry of angels, the pleading of the Spirit, the Father working above and through all, the unceasing interest of heavenly beings—all are enlisted in behalf of man’s redemption.” Steps to Christ, 21.


  • Does God want to communicate with humans? Acts 17:27; Isaiah 65:1.

Note: “What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.” Steps to Christ, 94.

  • With how many of us does God want to communicate personally? Hebrews 8:11; Psalm 4:3, last part.

Note: “The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His own blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing.” The Desire of Ages, 517.


  • How did God talk with Moses? Exodus 33:11, first part. What kind of person was Moses when God talked face-to-face with him? Numbers 12:3; Hebrews 3:1, 2.

Note: “ ‘Come up to Me into the mount’ (Exodus 24:12), God bids us. To Moses, before he could be God’s instrument in delivering Israel, was appointed the forty years of communion with Him in the mountain solitudes. Before bearing God’s message to Pharaoh, he spoke with the angel in the burning bush. …

“We, too, must have times set apart for meditation and prayer and for receiving spiritual refreshing. We do not value the power and efficacy of prayer as we should. Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish.” The Ministry of Healing, 508, 509.

  • What kind of person was Samuel when God first talked with him? I Samuel 3:1, first part. Why didn’t Samuel recognize God when He first called him? Verses 4, 5, 7.

Note: “He [Samuel] was kind, generous, obedient, and respectful. … [He] was helpful and affectionate.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 573.

  • What kind of person was Cornelius when God spoke to him in vision? Was he a church member at that time? Acts 10:1, 2. How did Cornelius respond to God’s message? Verses 7, 8.

Note: “Cornelius was a Roman centurion. He was a man of wealth and noble birth, and his position was one of trust and honor. A heathen by birth, training, and education, through contact with the Jews he had gained a knowledge of God, and he worshiped Him with a true heart, showing the sincerity of his faith by compassion to the poor. He was known far and near for his beneficence, and his righteous life made him of good repute among both Jews and Gentiles. His influence was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact.” The Acts of the Apostles, 132, 133.


  • What kind of person was Cain when God talked with him? Genesis 4:3–5, 8.

Note: “Notwithstanding Cain’s disregard of the divine command, God did not leave him to himself; but He condescended to reason with the man who had shown himself so unreasonable. And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?’ Through an angel messenger the divine warning was conveyed: ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door’ (Genesis 4:6, 7). The choice lay with Cain himself. If he would trust to the merits of the promised Saviour, and would obey God’s requirements, he would enjoy His favor. But should he persist in unbelief and transgression, he would have no ground for complaint because he was rejected by the Lord.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 74.

  • What kind of woman was Hagar at the time that God talked to her? Genesis 16:1–9.
  • What kind of person was the unnamed woman whom the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Christ? John 8:3, 4. What was she like after her conversation with Him? Verses 10, 11.

Note: The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone’ (John 8:7), had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face, but silently awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded; then those words of hope fell upon her ear, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more’ (verse 11). Her heart was melted, and she cast herself at the feet of Jesus, sobbing out her grateful love, and with bitter tears confessing her sins.

“This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to the service of God. … This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she repaid His forgiving mercy.” The Desire of Ages, 462.


  • Why wouldn’t Jesus talk to Caiaphas during part of His trial? Matthew 26:62, 63; Isaiah 53:7.

Note: “Caiaphas was a proud and cruel man, overbearing and intolerant.” The Desire of Ages, 539.

“Caiaphas had regarded Jesus as his rival. The eagerness of the people to hear the Saviour, and their apparent readiness to accept His teachings, had aroused the bitter jealousy of the high priest. But as Caiaphas now looked upon the prisoner, he was struck with admiration for His noble and dignified bearing. A conviction came over him that this Man was akin to God. The next instant he scornfully banished the thought. Immediately his voice was heard in sneering, haughty tones demanding that Jesus work one of His mighty miracles before them. But his words fell upon the Saviour’s ears as though He heard them not.” Ibid., 704, 705.

“The Lord reads the hearts of all and understands their motives and purposes.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 534.

  • Would God talk to King Saul near the end of his life? I Samuel 28:5, 6. Why did God treat him this way? I Samuel 15:22, 23.

Note: “The Lord never turned away a soul that came to Him in sincerity and humility. Why did He turn Saul away unanswered? The king had by his own act forfeited the benefits of all the methods of inquiring of God. He had rejected the counsel of Samuel the prophet; he had exiled David, the chosen of God; he had slain the priests of the Lord. Could he expect to be answered by God when he had cut off the channels of communication that Heaven had ordained? He had sinned away the Spirit of grace, and could he be answered by dreams and revelations from the Lord? Saul did not turn to God with humility and repentance. It was not pardon for sin and reconciliation with God, that he sought, but deliverance from his foes. By his own stubbornness and rebellion he had cut himself off from God. There could be no return but by the way of penitence and contrition; but the proud monarch, in his anguish and despair, determined to seek help from another source.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 676.


  • How has God tried to get the attention of various people in the past?

Moses: Exodus 3:2, 3

Elijah: I Kings 19:9–13

Balaam: Numbers 22:27, 28

  • Under what conditions will God speak to us today? Psalm 46:10.

Note: “All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God. In them is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices; and they need to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). This is the effectual preparation for all labor for God. Amidst the hurrying throng, and the strain of life’s intense activities, he who is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. He will receive a new endowment of both physical and mental strength. His life will breathe out a fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men’s hearts.” The Ministry of Healing, 58.

“He who is made complete in Christ must first be emptied of pride, of self-sufficiency. Then there is silence in the soul, and God’s voice can be heard.” The Signs of the Times, April 9, 1902.


1 How do we know that God wants to talk with each of us personally?

2 How do we know that God talks to people who are devoted to Him?

3 How do we know if God talks to those who are not walking with Him?

4 To whom does God refuse to speak, and why?

5 How is God trying to get our attention today?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Eggplant and Broccoli Stir Fry

Recipe – Eggplant and Broccoli Stir Fry

1 eggplant, diced 1/4 tsp. paprika
2 cups broccoli, chopped 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 small red bell pepper, diced, optional 3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sauté the eggplant, broccoli, red pepper and garlic in the olive oil over high heat for 3–5 minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned. Add salt, cayenne and paprika and stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium low. Add water and cover. Allow to cook another 5–7 minutes, until broccoli is tender. Eat as is or serve over rice.


Food – The Purple Eggplant

Many of the foods in which nature has put beautiful colors protect us against things in the environment, such as free-radicals generated from the rays of the sun, and which also protect our cells from damage when we eat them. An interesting fact about eggplant is that it is considered a fruit even though botanically it is actually a berry and as a member of the nightshade family is related to the potato and tomato.

“The Nutritional Power of Purple: A substance called nasunin has been isolated from that deep purple pigment. Nasunin, a member of the anthocyanin category, is a powerful antioxidant. Studies show that it literally eats up free radicals, rogue molecules in your body that can cause serious damage to your cells and your DNA and are partly responsible for aging. In addition, nasunin protects against what’s called lipid peroxidation—that means it helps keep fats from turning rancid, including the fats in your body (like LDL cholesterol). The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage, and studies have shown that anthocyanins in general are highly protective of animal brain tissue. Other studies show that nasunin binds to iron, which is a very good thing, as too much iron in the system can cause all kinds of problems.

“Eggplant isn’t a nutritional superstar, but it’s a really nice vegetable with 2.5 g of fiber in a cup that only costs you 34 calories. Plus it’s filling. …” 150 healthiest Foods on Earth, by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. 2007, page 38.

Eggplant is also a good source of fiber, and is rich in vitamins B1, B3 and B6. B vitamins play an essential role in the proper function of the central nervous system, energy production, hormone balance and healthy liver function. Eggplant is also rich with nutrients while offering only 19 calories per cup.

Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. Their skin should be smooth and shiny, and free of discoloration, scars, and bruises, which usually indicate that the flesh beneath has become damaged and possibly decayed. To test for the ripeness of an eggplant, gently press the skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, the eggplant is ripe, while if an indentation remains, it is not. Do not cut eggplant before you store it as it degrades quickly once its skin has been punctured or its inner flesh exposed.

Place uncut and unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator crisper where it will keep for a few days. If it is too large for the crisper, do not try to force it in; this will damage the skin and cause the eggplant to spoil and decay. Instead, place it on a shelf within the refrigerator.

Eggplant can be baked, roasted in the oven, or steamed. If baking it whole, pierce the eggplant several times with a fork to make small holes for the steam to escape. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 25 minutes, depending upon size. You can test for its readiness by gently inserting a knife or fork to see if it passes through easily.


Eggplant and Broccoli Stir Fry
1 eggplant, diced 1/4 tsp. paprika
2 cups broccoli, chopped 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 small red bell pepper, diced, optional 3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sauté the eggplant, broccoli, red pepper and garlic in the olive oil over high heat for 3–5 minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned. Add salt, cayenne and paprika and stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium low. Add water and cover. Allow to cook another 5–7 minutes, until broccoli is tender. Eat as is or serve over rice.


Sermon on the Mount Series – Mercy Triumphs

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that a time is coming when the world will be judged and the mercy that has been offered for many centuries will no longer be available.

In Matthew 5 is described a ladder of spiritual progression that will lead a person to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said in verse 7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Another translation puts it like this: “Blessed are the compassionate, for they shall receive compassion.” Of all the beatitudes, this one on the fifth wrung of the ladder, is the one that causes us to search our hearts and examine ourselves. How many times have I said too much and made cutting criticisms of someone? How many times have I passed prejudiced judgments before having all the facts? Have my impetuous words resulted in wounding somebody else? When we really think about how we may have affected others, the prayer of the publican in the synagogue seems very appropriate. He said in Luke 18:13, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

It is impossible for us to be merciful unless we have first experienced the other steps in our spiritual growth. It is impossible to be compassionate in our dealings with others until we have a recognition of our own spiritual destitution, mourned over our past sins and become meek and humble in heart, hungering and thirsting for a righteousness outside of self which we cannot generate. When we have had that experience, then we will be compassionate and merciful to others who may be stumbling and making similar mistakes.

Those who are spiritually blind have no understanding of their own condition and as a result tend to become more unforgiving and more unmerciful to those they are dealing with day-to-day. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were a prime example. They were destitute of mercy and sympathy because of their proud spirit. Remember, Jesus began His sermon with the declaration, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Having never been humbled in themselves by a recognition of their own spiritual poverty, the Pharisees looked with contempt and disdain upon the weaknesses of others. They believed that they were perfect, as you can read in the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke 18, and were harsh and even cruel in dealing with the imperfections of others. This harsh, cruel spirit is sure evidence of and an absolute guarantee that that person has a carnal and fleshly mind, an unregenerate heart, and has never been converted.

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

If we are unconverted, if we have the spirit that the Pharisees had in the days of Christ, then we will tend to erect human standards based on our own ideas and attainments. We will become the standard of morality and subsequently 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.

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 that is everywhere and always operative in nature and in human society. It has been called the self-acting law of retribution, or putting it into 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. “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish with the sword’ ” (Matthew 26:52, literal translation).

If you deal the sword to others, you are going to receive the sword from others. How accurately this has been fulfilled in history. The great kingdoms of the past have perished by the very weapons they used against others. Those who showed no mercy, received no mercy. The Bible talks about this principle in the book of Proverbs: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

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 myself. It’s restated again in Revelation 13:10: “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.”

Concerning the liberal person, the person who has a giving spirit, Proverbs 11:25 KJV tells us: “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also 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 somebody else will eventually come back to you.

The penurious, the stingy person, is going to eventually receive in the same measure that they give. Jesus stated this principle even further: “Give, and it will be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and 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, literal translation).

A natural, self-operating law is that the same measure that you give out will be measured back to you, even in this life; it the law by which God will measure the reward that He will give 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).

When Jesus was here on earth, He stated in Matthew 16:27 that you are going to be rewarded according to whatever you do in this life, whether good or bad. The apostle Paul also stated the same thing in 2 Corinthians 5:10. What we give out, will be received by us again.

Jesus further developed the principles of this 5th beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” in Matthew 7. This verse of Scripture has been called the golden rule and it is the greatest of all codes of ethics and the basic principle of all true courtesy and genuine culture. Matthew 7:12 states, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This is another way of saying that what we give to others will be given back to us. 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 said in Luke 6:38, last part, “For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” The same measure that you give out will be given back to you again. In Matthew 7:1, 2, this golden rule was also stated in the negative: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

To be merciful is to show a person compassion, forgiveness, and forbearance. The merciful person does not nurse grudges. He does not 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 somebody 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. That this instruction regarding judgment might be further unfolded, in the principles of this beatitude, is evident when we read from 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 if we do not forgive others who have trespassed against us, then our heavenly Father will not forgive us. Matthew 6:14, 15 says, “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.”

If I want to receive the mercy and forgiveness of God, then whether I will receive it or not is determined by whether I have the same spirit toward those who have injured me or done something against me. This law of reciprocity is stated in different ways in several places in the Bible. Romans 2:1–3 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?”

Paul says that if you’re passing judgment on others, do you think that you will escape being judged yourself? Will you escape the judgment of God yourself? So, what we give to others is what we will receive. Jesus illustrated this in a very striking parable that is hard for many people to read and accept.

Jesus instructed His disciples how to deal with a sinning brother. In Matthew 18:15–20, 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.”

Here He gave them explicit instructions about how they were to deal with someone who was sinning against them. They were not to go and talk to the neighbors or any third party about it but go directly to the person who had sinned against them. If after following the prescribed method the person still refused to be corrected, he or she was to be left alone outside to live as they pleased. As Peter listening to this instruction, he thought, how often should I do this? If my brother sins against me, how many times should I forgive him?

The Jewish leaders in those days had some rules about how many times you needed to forgive somebody. Some thought that three times was plenty. Peter thought that he would be very liberal and very forgiving in spirit and he said this to the Lord: “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times’ ” (Matthew 18:21)? Surely, if my brother hasn’t reformed and quit His sinning against me by the time he’s done it seven times, that should be enough. I shouldn’t forgive him anymore, should I?

In response to Peter’s request, should I forgive my brother seven times before I decide he’s gone too far and reached the limit, Jesus said in Matthew 18:22–24: “… 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.” Jesus doesn’t say whether it was talents of silver or talents of gold. Either way, even if it was just 10,000 talents of silver, it would be worth many millions of dollars, today.

This person did not have enough to pay. It says in verses 25, 26, “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold,” that is, 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.’ ” The master knew that there was no possible way he was ever going to be able to pay that big a debt, even though he promised that he would if only his master would have patience with him.

It says, in verses 27–30: “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 (equivalent to 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.”

This man was thrown into debtor’s prison because he couldn’t 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).

Those who do not forgive others cannot be forgiven by God. A good question to ask yourself is, How much have I been forgiven? The Bible is very clear. As a result of my sins, Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary. That was the price to pay, to cancel, my debt and your debt of sin.

That was the price that we cannot pay. The only way that you could pay it since the wages of sin is death, is if you were to die eternally and never wake up. But to make it possible for you to enter the gates of paradise, Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary to forgive you the debt, to pay the price in your behalf.

After He has done that, if I will not forgive, if I will not exercise mercy upon my fellow servant, then Jesus said, your heavenly Father will not have mercy upon you, either. The Bible’s very clear that the Lord is very merciful, even to His enemies. You can read in Micah 7:18 that He delights in mercy. In James 5:11 it 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.”

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

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

Health – Save that Garlic Sprout

What do you do with that garlic bulb that has begun to sprout and looks like it has passed its prime? You may be surprised to find out that that little sprout has more nutritional value than the original bulb, even though it was loaded with nutrition and healing powers.

“ ‘Sprouted’ garlic – old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves – is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting in ACS’s (American Chemical Society) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.

“Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues note that people have used garlic for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today, people still celebrate its healthful benefits. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer. But those benefits are for fresh, raw garlic. Sprouted garlic has received much less attention. When seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim’s group reasoned that the same thing might be happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic. Other studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have increased antioxidant activity, so the team set out to see if the same is true for garlic.

“They found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs, and it had different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances. Extracts from this garlic even protected cells in a laboratory dish from certain types of damage. ‘Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic,’ they conclude.”

The study’s author Jong-Sang Kim PhD, says, “Plants are very susceptible to attack from bacteria, viruses, and insects during sprouting. This causes them to produce a variety of chemicals called phytoalexins to defend themselves. Most of these are toxic to microorganisms and insects, but beneficial to human health.”

Here is another interesting tidbit on garlic sprouts.

“Although garlic (Allium sativum) has been extensively studied for its health benefits, sprouted garlic has received little attention. We hypothesized that sprouting garlic would stimulate the production of various phytochemicals that improve health. Ethanolic extracts from garlic sprouted for different periods had variable antioxidant activities when assessed with in vitro assays, including the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity assay and the oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay. Extracts from garlic sprouted for 5 days had the highest antioxidant activity, whereas extracts from raw garlic had relatively low antioxidant activity. Furthermore, sprouting changed the metabolite profile of garlic: the metabolite profile of garlic sprouted for 5–6 days was distinct from the metabolite profile of garlic sprouted for 0–4 days, which is consistent with the finding that garlic sprouted for 5 days had the highest antioxidant activity. Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic.”

We now understand that garlic sprouted for five days has been found to have higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs. Sprouting your garlic might be a useful way to improve its antioxidant potential. This really makes sense when you consider the nutritional changes that occur in plants when they sprout. Don’t throw out those sprouts—eat them!

Q & A – What does it mean to ” succor ” (Hebrews 2:18)?

“ Succor ” means to relieve; it is help rendered in danger, difficulty, or distress.

“In the wilderness, when all means of sustenance failed, God sent His people manna from heaven; and a sufficient and constant supply was given. … The Saviour now practiced the lesson He had taught to Israel. By the word of God succour had been given to the Hebrew host, and by the same word it would be given to Jesus. He awaited God’s time to bring relief. He was in the wilderness in obedience to God, and He would not obtain food by following the suggestions of Satan. In the presence of the witnessing universe, He testified that it is a less calamity to suffer whatever may befall than to depart in any manner from the will of God.” The Desire of Ages, 121.

“In all ages, God has wrought through holy angels for the succor and deliverance of His people. Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared clothed in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come as men in the garb of wayfarers. Angels have appeared in human form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes. They have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They have, with their own hands, kindled the fires at the altar. They have opened prison doors and set free the servants of the Lord. Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they came to roll away the stone from the Saviour’s tomb.” The Great Controversy, 631.

Here is an illustration of the effects of being succored by the Lord.

“Violent storms were encountered on the passage, and John Wesley, brought face to face with death, felt that he had not the assurance of peace with God. The Germans, on the contrary, manifested a calmness and trust to which he was a stranger.

“ ‘I had long before,’ he says, ‘observed the great seriousness of their behavior. Of their humility they had given a continual proof, by performing those servile offices for the other passengers which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired and would receive no pay, saying it was good for their proud hearts, and their loving Saviour had done more for them. And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown about, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the mainsail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Were you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.” ’ ” Ibid., 255.

These dedicated Christians had peace in calm as well as in trials having no fear, content in their lot knowing they were succored by the Lord Who is in charge of every situation.