Bible Study Guides – Value of Trials

April 24, 2004 – April 30, 2004

Memory Verse

“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12.

Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 4, 84–89; The Acts of the Apostles, 467, 468, 529–538.


“The trials to which Christians are subjected in sorrow, adversity, and reproach are the means appointed of God to separate the chaff from the wheat. Our pride, selfishness, evil passions, and love of worldly pleasure must all be overcome; therefore God sends us afflictions to test and prove us, and show us that these evils exist in our characters. We must overcome through His strength and grace, that we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. . . . Afflictions, crosses, temptations, adversity, and our varied trials are God’s workmen to refine us, sanctify us, and fit us for the heavenly garner.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 115.

1 What did the Saviour warn the disciples that they would encounter in the world? What exhortation is given? John 16:32, 33.

note: “God sends trials to prove who will stand faithful under temptation. He brings us into trying positions to see if we will trust in a power out of and above ourselves. Everyone has undiscovered traits of character that must come to light through trial. God allows those who are self-sufficient to be sorely tempted that they may understand their helplessness. He suffers the deep waters of affliction to go over our souls, in order that we may know Him and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, in order that we may have deep heart longings to be cleansed from defilement, and may come forth from the trial purer, holier, happier. Often we enter the furnace of affliction with our souls darkened with selfishness; but if patient under the crucial test, we shall come forth reflecting the divine character.” In Heavenly Places, 279.

2 What examples of such trials are recorded? Hebrews 11:36–39.

note: “The history of the early church testified to the fulfillment of the Saviour’s words. The powers of earth and hell arrayed themselves against Christ in the person of His followers. Paganism foresaw that should the gospel triumph, her temples and altars would be swept away; therefore she summoned her forces to destroy Christianity. The fires of persecution were kindled. Christians were stripped of their possessions and driven from their homes. They ‘endured a great fight of afflictions.’ Hebrews 10:32. [Hebrews 11:36 quoted.] Great numbers sealed their testimony with their blood. Noble and slave, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, were alike slain without mercy.” The Great Controversy, 39, 40.

3 How should we relate ourselves to trials? Romans 12:12. Compare Hebrews 10:32–34.

note: “God desires us to be patient in tribulation and affliction, content to rest in His great arms of infinite love, believing that He is working for us all the time. It is our privilege to be joyful in the Lord. Let us praise Him more. By our joyfulness we reveal that our life is hid with Christ in God, that in Him we find the most blessed companionship, and that through His grace we have a living connection with heaven.” In Heavenly Places, 246.

4 What example is left us in this matter? 1 Peter 2:21–23.

note: “Christ submitted to insult and mockery, contempt and ridicule. He heard His message, which was fraught with love and goodness and mercy, misstated and misapplied. He heard Himself called the prince of demons, because He testified to His divine Sonship. His birth was supernatural, but by His own nation, those who had blinded their eyes to spiritual things, it was regarded as a blot and a stain. There was not a drop of our bitter woe which He did not taste, not a part of our curse which He did not endure, that He might bring many sons and daughters to God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 253.

5 To whom is salvation promised? James 1:12; Revelation 2:10.

note: “God’s Word declares, ‘Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried’ (Daniel 12:10). Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life.” That I May Know Him, 282.

6 What exhortation is given to those who are chastened? Why? What promise is given to those who endure? Hebrews 12:5–7.

note: “The Lord can bring victory out of that which may seem to us discomfiture and defeat. We are in danger of forgetting God, of looking at the things which are seen, instead of beholding by the eye of faith the things which are unseen. When misfortune or calamity comes, we are ready to charge God with neglect or cruelty. If He sees fit to cut off our usefulness in some line, we mourn, not stopping to think that thus God may be working for our good. We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service.” The Acts of the Apostles, 481.

7 How is patience, or steadfastness, developed? Romans 5:1–3; James 1:2, 3.

note: “Not in freedom from trial, but in the midst of it, is Christian character developed. Exposure to rebuffs and opposition leads the follower of Christ to greater watchfulness and more earnest prayer to the mighty Helper. Severe trial endured by the grace of God develops patience, vigilance, fortitude, and a deep and abiding trust in God. It is the triumph of the Christian faith that it enables its follower to suffer and be strong; to submit, and thus to conquer; to be killed all the day long, and yet to live; to bear the cross, and thus to win the crown of glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 467, 468.

8 What value is placed on the trying, or proving, of our faith? 1 Peter 1:6, 7.

note: “ ‘Stars shine brightest in the darkest night; torches are the better for beating; grapes come not to the proof till they come to the press; spices smell sweetest when pounded; young trees root the faster for shaking; vines are the better for bleeding; gold looks the brighter for scouring; glowworms glisten best in the dark; juniper smells sweetest in the fire; pomander becomes most fragrant for chasing; the palm-tree proves the better for pressing; chamomile, the more you tread it; the more you spread it. Such is the condition of all God’s children; they are the most triumphant when most tempted, most glorious when most afflicted, most in the favor of God when least in man’s; as their conflicts, so their conquests; as their tribulations, so their triumphs.’—Spencer.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 13.

9 What instruction is given concerning the value of afflictions? Psalm 119:67, 71.

note: “We must not think when we are afflicted that the anger of the Lord is upon us. God brings us into trials in order that we may be drawn near to Him. The psalmist says, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all’ (Psalm 34:19). He does not desire us to be under a cloud. . . . He does not desire us to go in anguish of spirit. We are not to look at the thorns and the thistles in our experience. We are to go into the garden of God’s Word and pluck the lilies and roses and the fragrant pinks of His promises.” That I May Know Him, 278.

“The trials and losses that come to you are to purify and refine you, and fit you for immortality.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 140.

10 What does the Lord minister to us when we are afflicted? Why? 11 Corinthians 1:3–5.

note: “As Paul felt the comfort and warmth of God’s love breaking into his soul, he reflected the blessing upon others. Let us so order our conduct that the pictures hung upon the walls of our memory may not be of such a character that we cannot endure to reflect upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 489.

“It was through suffering that Jesus obtained the ministry of consolation. In all the affliction of humanity He is afflicted; and ‘in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.’ Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 2:18. In this ministry every soul that has entered into the fellowship of His sufferings is privileged to share.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 13.

11 What did Jesus leave with His children when He left the world? John 14:27. Compare Psalm 85:8.

note: “The peace that Christ gave to His disciples, and for which we pray, is the peace that is born of truth, a peace that is not to be quenched because of division. Without may be wars and fightings, jealousies, envies, hatred, strife; but the peace of Christ is not that which the world giveth or taketh away. It could endure amid the hunting of spies and the fiercest opposition of His enemies. . . . Christ did not for an instant seek to purchase peace by a betrayal of sacred trusts. Peace could not be made by a compromise of principles. . . . It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth. It would be surrendering the peace of Christ in order to make peace or fraternize with the world. The sacrifice is too costly to be made by the children of God to make peace with the world by giving up the principles of truth. . . . Then let the followers of Christ settle it in their minds that they will never compromise truth, never yield one iota of principle for the favor of the world. Let them hold to the peace of Christ.” My Life Today, 77

12 State some promises we should remember when as we experience trials. Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 41:10; Romans 8:28.

note: “When trials come, remember that they are sent for your good. . . . When trials and tribulations come to you know that they are sent in order that you may receive from the Lord of glory renewed strength and increased humility, so that He may safely bless and support and uphold you. In faith and with the hope that ‘maketh not ashamed,’ lay hold of the promises of God. [Romans 5:5.]” My Life Today, 185.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.

Bible Study Guides – Obedience

April 17, 2004 – April 23, 2004

Memory Verse

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 145–155; Christ’s Object Lessons, 272–283.


“Why cannot those who claim to understand the Scriptures, see that God’s requirement under grace is just the same He made in Eden—perfect obedience to His law. In the Judgment, God will ask those who profess to be Christians, Why did you claim to believe in My Son, and continue to transgress My law? Who required this at your hands—to trample upon My rules of righteousness? . . . The gospel of the New Testament is not the Old Testament standard lowered to meet the sinner and save him in his sins. God requires of all His subjects obedience, entire obedience to all His commandments. He demands now as ever perfect righteousness as the only title to heaven. Christ is our hope and our refuge. His righteousness only is imputed to the obedient. Let us accept it through faith, that the Father shall find in us no sin. But those who have trampled on the holy law will have no right to claim that righteousness. O that we might view the immensity of the plan of salvation as obedient children to all God’s requirements, believing that we have peace with God through Jesus Christ, our atoning sacrifice.” Review and Herald, September 21, 1886.

1 How is obedience regarded by the Lord? 1 Samuel 15:22.

note: “The sacrificial offerings were in themselves of no value in the sight of God. They were designed to express on the part of the offerer penitence for sin and faith in Christ and to pledge future obedience to the law of God. But without penitence, faith, and an obedient heart, the offerings were worthless. When, in direct violation of God’s command, Saul proposed to present a sacrifice of that which God had devoted to destruction, open contempt was shown for the divine authority. The service would have been an insult to Heaven. Yet with the sin of Saul and its result before us, how many are pursuing a similar course. While they refuse to believe and obey some requirement of the Lord, they persevere in offering up to God their formal services of religion. There is no response of the Spirit of God to such service. No matter how zealous men may be in their observance of religious ceremonies, the Lord cannot accept them if they persist in willful violation of one of His commands.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 634.

2 What encouraging promise is made to the obedient? Isaiah 1:19.

note: “We cannot overestimate the value of simple faith and unquestioning obedience. It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1137.

3 What great promise was made by the Lord to ancient Israel if they would be an obedient people? Deuteronomy 11:22–28.

note: “Let it be made plain that the way of God’s commandments is the way of life. God has established the laws of nature, but His laws are not arbitrary exactions. Every ‘Thou shalt not,’ whether in physical or in moral law, implies a promise. If we obey it, blessing will attend our steps. God never forces us to do right, but He seeks to save us from the evil and lead us to the good.” The Ministry of Healing, 114.

4 To what does the Lord liken those who obey His words? Matthew 7:24, 25.

note: “Christ set forth the principles of His kingdom, and showed them to be the great rule of life. To impress the lesson He adds an illustration. It is not enough, He says, for you to hear My words. By obedience you must make them the foundation of your character. Self is but shifting sand. If you build upon human theories and inventions, your house will fall. By the winds of temptation, the tempests of trial, it will be swept away. But these principles that I have given will endure. Receive Me; build on My words.” The Desire of Ages, 314.

5 What is said concerning the blessed results of the obedience of Jesus? Romans 5:19.

note: “Because man fallen could not overcome Satan with his human strength, Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior advantages, might have withstood the temptations of Satan, and conquered him. He also knew that it was not possible for man, out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength. In order to bring hope to man, and save him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man’s nature, that, with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where he is. He obtains for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His name they may overcome the temptations of Satan. . . .” Maranatha, 224.

6 What is the terrible result of man’s disobedience? Isaiah 24:4–6.

note: “God would have his people clearly understand that they will be visited according to their obedience or transgression. Wickedness and disease have increased with every successive generation. The land has labored under the curse which man has brought upon it because of continued disobedience.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, 123.

7 In the parable of the two sons, which one did the will of his father? Matthew 21:28–31.

note: “In this parable the father represents God, the vineyard the church. By the two sons are represented two classes of people. The son who refused to obey the command, saying, ‘I will not,’ represented those who were living in open transgression, who made no profession of piety, who openly refused to come under the yoke of restraint and obedience which the law of God imposes. But many of these afterward repented and obeyed the call of God. When the gospel came to them in the message of John the Baptist, ‘Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ they repented, and confessed their sins. (Matthew 3:2.).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 275, 276.

8 What is the moral standard of obedience? James 2:8–12. Compare 1 John 3:4; Ecclesiastes 12:13.

note: “When one surrenders to Christ, the mind is brought under the control of the law; but it is the royal law, which proclaims liberty to every captive. By becoming one with Christ, man is made free. Subjection to the will of Christ means restoration to perfect manhood.” The Ministry of Healing, 131.

9 How only can we be found obedient to the requirements of the Lord? Romans 8:3, 4.

note: “The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 347.

10 To what extent is the indwelling presence of Christ, through the Spirit, able to bring us into obedience? 11 Corinthians 10:3–5.

note: “You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. If you yield to your impressions and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining you will be among the most unhappy of mortals, and your lives will prove a failure.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 310.

11 What great test came to Abraham concerning his son Isaac? Genesis 22:1, 2. Review this story of faith and obedience as recorded in Genesis 22:1–14.

note: “This act of faith in Abraham is recorded for our benefit. It teaches us the great lesson of confidence in the requirements of God, however close and cutting they may be; and it teaches children perfect submission to their parents and to God. By Abraham’s obedience we are taught that nothing is too precious for us to give to God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 368.

12 Because of his obedience, what promise was made to Abraham? Genesis 22:15–18. Compare Genesis 26:2–5.

note: “Abraham’s great act of faith stands like a pillar of light, illuminating the pathway of God’s servants in all succeeding ages. Abraham did not seek to excuse himself from doing the will of God. During that three days’ journey he had sufficient time to reason, and to doubt God, if he was disposed to doubt. He might have reasoned that the slaying of his son would cause him to be looked upon as a murderer, a second Cain; that it would cause his teaching to be rejected and despised; and thus destroy his power to do good to his fellow men. He might have pleaded that age should excuse him from obedience. But the patriarch did not take refuge in any of these excuses. Abraham was human; his passions and attachments were like ours; but he did not stop to question how the promise could be fulfilled if Isaac should be slain. He did not stay to reason with his aching heart. He knew that God is just and righteous in all His requirements, and he obeyed the command to the very letter.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 153.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.

Bible Study Guides – Tests of Discipleship

April 10, 2004 – April 16, 2004

Memory Verse

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 11 Corinthians 7:1.

Suggested Reading: Steps to Christ, 57–65.


“Many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.” Early Writings, 71.

1 What are we by nature? Ephesians 2:1–3.

note: “Today a large part of those who compose our congregations are dead in trespasses and sins. They come and go like the door upon its hinges. For years they have complacently listened to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths, but they have not put them in practice. Therefore they are less and less sensible of the preciousness of truth. . . . While making a profession, they deny the power of godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them. They are unfitting themselves to be members of His family.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 426, 427.

2 How do we become children of God? Galatians 3:26; John 1:12.

note: “To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing. A nominal faith in Christ, which accepts Him merely as the Saviour of the world, can never bring healing to the soul. The faith that is unto salvation is not a mere intellectual assent to the truth. He who waits for entire knowledge before he will exercise faith cannot receive blessing from God. It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power.” God’s Amazing Grace, 140.

3 In becoming sons of God, what change must be wrought in us? 11 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3, 5. Compare Matthew 18:1–3.

note: “Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures, it is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ [Colossians 1:27.]” The Acts of the Apostles, 476.

4 In conversion, what must we put off? Colossians 3:8–10; 1 Peter 2:1, 2.

note: “Those who choose to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, must reveal their choice by bringing their words and actions into harmony with the principles they advocate. My brother, my sister, is the kingdom of God enthroned in your heart by Christ’s presence abiding there? Or is self still a controlling power within? Whose subject are you?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 105.

5 What Christian graces will be seen in the life? Colossians 3:12–14.

note: “The religion of Jesus Christ means progress; it means to be ever reaching upward to a holier and higher standard. The Christian whose heart has been touched with the beauty of the Saviour’s character, is to put into practice that which he learns in the school of Christ. We must be apt pupils in the school of Christ, readily learning that which He teaches us from day to day.” Sons and Daughters of God, 90.

6 What fruit of the Spirit will appear? Galatians 5:22, 23.

note: “Nothing but divine power can regenerate the human heart and imbue souls with the love of Christ, which will ever manifest itself with love for those for whom He died. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves; for his life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises to the life of Jesus. Love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’ (Psalm 18:35).” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 336.

7 What are the works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19–21.

note: “That which Satan plants in the heart—envy, jealousy, evil surmising, evil speaking, impatience, prejudice, selfishness, covetousness, and vanity—must be uprooted. If these evil things are allowed to remain in the soul, they will bear fruit by which many shall be defiled. Oh, how many cultivate the poisonous plants, that kill out the precious fruits of love and defile the soul!” My Life Today, 179.

8 What have those who are born of the Spirit done? Galatians 5:24.

note: “There are many among professed Christians today who would decide that Daniel was too particular and would pronounce him narrow and bigoted. They consider the matter of eating and drinking of too little consequence to require such a decided stand—one involving the probable sacrifice of every earthly advantage. But those who reason thus will find in the day of judgment that they turned from God’s express requirements and set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong. They will find that what seemed to them unimportant was not so regarded of God. His requirements should be sacredly obeyed. Those who accept and obey one of His precepts because it is convenient to do so, while they reject another because its observance would require a sacrifice, lower the standard of right, and by their example lead others to lightly regard the holy law of God. ‘Thus saith the Lord’ is to be our rule in all things.” Counsels on Health, 69, 70.

9 What attitude will the Christian sustain toward one who may be his enemy? Matthew 5:43–48.

note: “We are to love our enemies with the same love that Christ manifested toward His enemies by giving His life to save them. Many may say, ‘This is a hard commandment; for I want to keep just as far as I can from my enemies.’ But acting in accordance with your own inclination would not be carrying out the principles that our Saviour has given. . . . While we were yet enemies of God, Christ gave His life for us. We are to follow His example.” Medical Ministry, 253, 254.

10 What will be the result of cherishing an unforgiving spirit? Matthew 6:14, 15.

note: “One of the most common sins, and one that is attended with most pernicious results, is the indulgence of an unforgiving spirit. How many will cherish animosity or revenge and then bow before God and ask to be forgiven as they forgive. Surely they can have no true sense of the import of this prayer or they would not dare to take it upon their lips. We are dependent upon the pardoning mercy of God every day and every hour; how then can we cherish bitterness and malice toward our fellow sinners!” Testimonies, vol. 5, 170.

11 How complete should be our separation from the world? 11 Corinthians 7:1; Matthew 6:24.

note: “Christ’s followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise. A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates the children of His adoption, the recipients of His grace, the partakers of His great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 441.

12 What purity of life will be found in the children of God? 1 John 3:2, 3.

note: “You must experience a death to self, and must live unto God. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.’ [Colossians 3:1.] Self is not to be consulted. Pride, self-love, selfishness, avarice, covetousness, love of the world, hatred, suspicion, jealousy, evil surmisings, must all be subdued and sacrificed forever. When Christ shall appear, it will not be to correct these evils and then give a moral fitness for His coming. This preparation must all be made before He comes. It should be a subject of thought, of study, and earnest inquiry, What shall we do to be saved? What shall be our conduct that we may show ourselves approved unto God?

“When tempted to murmur, censure, and indulge in fretfulness, wounding those around you, and in so doing wounding your own soul, oh! let the deep, earnest, anxious inquiry come from your soul, Shall I stand without fault before the throne of God? Only the faultless will be there. None will be translated to heaven while their hearts are filled with the rubbish of earth. Every defect in the moral character must first be remedied, every stain removed by the cleansing blood of Christ, and all the unlovely, unlovable traits of character overcome.

“How long a time are you designing to take to prepare to be introduced into the society of heavenly angels in glory? In the state which you and your family are in at present, all heaven would be marred should you be introduced therein. The work for you must be done here. This earth is the fitting-up place. You have not one moment to lose. All is harmony, peace, and love in heaven. No discord, no strife, no censuring, no unloving words, no clouded brows, no jars there; and no one will be introduced there who possesses any of these elements so destructive to peace and happiness. Study to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 705, 706.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.

Bible Study Guides – The High Calling of the Believer

April 3, 2004 – April 9, 2004

Memory Verse

“God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9.

Suggested Reading: Steps to Christ, 67–75.


“When the truth is received, it will work radical changes in life and character; for religion means the abiding of Christ in the heart, and where He is, the soul goes on in spiritual activity, ever growing in grace, ever going on to perfection. . . .

“It is no real evidence that you are a Christian because your emotion is stirred, your spirit stirred by truth; the question is, Are you growing up into Christ, your living head? Is the grace of Christ manifested in your life? God gives His grace to men, that they may desire more of His grace. God’s grace is ever working upon the human heart, and when it is received, the evidence of its reception will appear in the life and character of its recipient. . . . The grace of Christ in the heart will always promote spiritual life, and spiritual advancement will be made. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 324.

1 What is the condition of the unconverted? Ephesians 4:17–19. What do they love? Why? John 3:19.

note: “It is not a new thing for a man to be deluded by the arch-deceiver and array himself against God. Consider your course critically before you venture to go any further in the path you are traveling. The Jews were self-deceived. They rejected the teachings of Christ because He exposed the secrets of their hearts and reproved their sins. They would not come to the light, fearing that their deeds would be reproved. They chose darkness rather than light. [John 3:19 quoted.] The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying Him they were doing God service. This was the result of their refusing light.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 230.

2 What further description is given regarding the condition of the unconverted? Ephesians 2:11, 12. In Christ what change is effected? Verse 13.

note: “As in the days of Christ, the enemy of God works constantly to lead men to place the will in his control, that God may be forgotten. He knows that if this is done, he can control the whole man. He tempts men in many ways to forget their Creator. To some he offers tobacco and alcoholic drinks. Others he tempts by pointing them to their own degradation and helplessness. Those who yield to his temptations can have no conception of the love of God. The will becomes enslaved, bound to pursue a course which the word of God does not justify. Reason is enfeebled; the power to distinguish between right and wrong is lost; sacred and eternal realities are estimated as of less value than gold, silver, houses, lands, and bank stock. The love of God fades from the mind; and the captives in the tempter’s power live on, ‘having no hope, and without God in the world,’ because they do not behold the Lamb of God. [Ephesians 2:12.]” The Signs of the Times, November 19, 1896.

3 From what has the Christian been delivered? Colossians 1:12, 13. Compare Matthew 4:16.

note: “The light of prophecy still burns for the guidance of souls, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ [Isaiah 30:21.] It shines on the pathway of the just to commend, and on the way of the unjust to lead to repentance and conversion. Through its agency sin will be rebuked and iniquity unmasked. It is progressive in the performance of its duty to reflect light on the past, the present, and the future.

“If those who have received the light will appreciate and respect the testimonies of the Lord, they will see the religious life in a new light. They will be convicted. They will see the key that unlocks the mysteries that they have never understood. They will lay hold of the precious things that God has given them to profit withal and will be translated from the kingdom of darkness into God’s marvelous light.” My Life Today, 42.

4 What admonition is given to those who have thus been brought out of darkness? John 12:35, 36.

note: “The souls who love God, who believe in Christ, and who eagerly grasp every ray of light, will see light, and rejoice in the truth. They will communicate the light. They will grow in holiness. Those who receive the Holy Spirit will feel the chilling atmosphere that surrounds the souls of others by whom these great and solemn realities are unappreciated and spoken against. They feel that they are in the council of the ungodly, of men who stand in the way of sinners, and sit in the seat of the scornful. . . .

“The Spirit of God is departing from many among His people. Many have entered into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received, and have not heeded. They have chosen darkness rather than light, and have defiled their souls.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 90, 91.

5 To what are believers of truth called? 1 Peter 5:10. Compare 11 Thessalonians 2:13.

note: “Do we believe in Christ? Do we believe that he laid aside his glory, his majesty, his high command, his royal robes, to become a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief? Then how can we sin against him? How can we grieve the Holy Spirit of God? How can we bruise Jesus, and put him to an open shame? If you were eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood, you would not do this. Christ has presented before us eternal life, but we can have it only by thorough identification with Christ, by showing that Christ’s life is woven into our experience, that we have passed from death unto life.” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.

6 To what fellowship are believers called? 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 3:10.

note: The true Christian keeps the windows of the soul open heavenward. He lives in fellowship with Christ. His will is conformed to the will of Christ. His highest desire is to become more and more Christlike . . . .

“The only way to gain peace and joy is to have a living connection with Him who gave His life for us, who died that we might live, and who lives to unite His power with the efforts of those who are striving to overcome.” In Heavenly Places, 33.

7 With whom are believers heirs? To what extent? Romans 8:17. Compare John 17:24.

note: “To man is granted the privilege of becoming an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. To those who have been thus exalted, are unfolded the unsearchable riches of Christ, which are of a thousandfold more value than the wealth of the world. Thus, through the merits of Jesus Christ, finite man is elevated to fellowship with God and with His dear Son.” The Sanctified Life, 17.

8 What standard of spiritual experience is set before the believers? 1 Peter 1:15, 16.

note: “The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering.

“The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love.

“The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 102.

9 By what are we as Christian believers justified? Romans 3:20–22; Acts 13:39.

note: “We must center our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because he is our substitute and surety. We have transgressed the law of God, and by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The best efforts that man in his own strength can make, are valueless to meet the holy and just law that he has transgressed; but through faith in Christ he may claim the righteousness of the Son of God as all-sufficient. Christ satisfied the demands of the law in his human nature. He bore the curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ, and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ; for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined.” Review and Herald, July 1, 1890.

10 To what important work are we as Christians called? Luke 24:45–48; Acts 1:8.

note: “God has given us the gift of speech that we may recite to others the dealing of God with us, that his love and compassion may touch their hearts, and that praise may also arise from their souls to him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. The Lord has said, ‘Ye are my witnesses.’ [Isaiah 43:10.] But all who are called to be witnesses for Christ must learn of him, that they maybe efficient witnesses.” Christian Education, 129.

11 What high position do believers occupy? 11 Corinthians 5:20.

note: “Since His ascension, Christ the great Head of the church, has carried forward His work in the world by chosen ambassadors, through whom He speaks to the children of men, and ministers to their needs.” Gospel Workers, 13.

12 What command is given to all Christians? Matthew 5:14–16.

note: “God might have committed the message of the gospel, and all the work of loving ministry, to the heavenly angels. He might have employed other means for accomplishing His purpose. But in His infinite love He chose to make us co-workers with Himself, with Christ and the angels, that we might share the blessing, the joy, the spiritual uplifting, which results from this unselfish ministry.” Steps to Christ, 79.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.

Bible Study Guides – What Jesus Is to Us

March 27, 2004 – April 2, 2004

Memory Verse

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10.

Suggested Reading: Christ’s Object Lessons, 17–27.


“Christ came to bring salvation within the reach of all. Upon the cross of Calvary He paid the infinite redemption price for a lost world. His self-denial and self-sacrifice, His unselfish labor, His humiliation, above all, the offering up of His life, testifies to the depth of His love for fallen man. It was to seek and to save the lost that He came to earth. His mission was to sinners, sinners of every grade, of every tongue and nation. He paid the price for all, to ransom them and bring them into union and sympathy with Himself. The most erring, the most sinful, were not passed by; His labors were especially for those who most needed the salvation He came to bring. The greater their need of reform, the deeper was His interest, the greater His sympathy, and the more earnest His labors. His great heart of love was stirred to its depths for the ones whose condition was most hopeless and who most needed His transforming grace.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 603.

1 For whom did Christ die? Romans 5:6.

note: “The Lord Jesus will receive all who come unto Him. He died for the ungodly and every man who will come, may come. Certain conditions are to be complied with on the part of man, and if he refuses to comply with the conditions, he cannot become the elect of God. If he will comply he is a child of God, and Christ says if he will continue in faithfulness, steadfast and immovable in his obedience, He will not blot out his name out of the book of life but will confess his name before His Father and before His angels.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 149.

2 When did God love us? Romans 5:8. When and by what were we reconciled to Him? By what are we saved? Verse 10.

note: “We are reconciled to God by the death of Christ, but saved by His life. In His life on earth is seen the perfect righteousness which the law demands. By nature we are wholly unrighteous. In our flesh is found no good thing. But through faith we are cleansed from sin, and the righteous life of Jesus is imputed to us. This righteousness is in harmony with the claims of the law, and enables us to stand acquitted in the judgment.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 4.

3 What example has Christ left for us? 1 Peter 2:21–23.

note: “From earliest years to manhood, Christ lived a life that was a perfect pattern of humility and industry and obedience. He was always thoughtful and considerate of others, always self-denying. He came bearing the signature of heaven, not to be ministered unto, but to minister. . . .

“The unselfish life of Christ is an example to all. His character is a pattern of the characters we may form if we follow on in His footsteps.” Evangelism, 636.

4 What was the mission of Jesus in this world? Luke 19:10.

note: “Jesus took upon Himself our nature, laid aside His glory, majesty, and riches to perform his mission, to save that which was lost. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 426.

5 How is man’s helplessness to save himself expressed? John 15:5. Compare Jeremiah 13:23.

note: “Christ . . . has provided the Holy Spirit as a present help in every time of need. 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.

6 By what name does the prophet Jeremiah call Jesus? Jeremiah 23:5, 6.

note: “Reports have reached the rulers in Jerusalem that Jesus is approaching the city with a great concourse of people. But they have no welcome for the Son of God. In fear they go out to meet Him, hoping to disperse the throng. As the procession is about to descend the Mount of Olives, it is intercepted by the rulers. They inquire the cause of the tumultuous rejoicing. As they question, ‘Who is this?’ the disciples, filled with the spirit of inspiration, answer this question. In eloquent strains they repeat the prophecies concerning Christ:

“Adam will tell you, It is the seed of the woman that shall bruise the serpent’s head.

“Ask Abraham, he will tell you, It is ‘Melchizedek King of Salem,’ King of Peace. Genesis 14:18.

“Jacob will tell you, He is Shiloh of the tribe of Judah.

“Isaiah will tell you, ‘Immanuel,’ ‘Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 7:14; 9:6.

“Jeremiah will tell you, The Branch of David, ‘the Lord our Righteousness.’ Jeremiah 23:6.

“Daniel will tell you, He is the Messiah.

“Hosea will tell you, He is ‘the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is His memorial.’ Hosea 12:5.

“John the Baptist will tell you, He is ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29.

“The great Jehovah has proclaimed from His throne, ‘This is My beloved Son.’ Matthew 3:17.

“We, His disciples, declare, This is Jesus, the Messiah, the Prince of life, the Redeemer of the world.

“And the prince of the powers of darkness acknowledges Him, saying, ‘I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.’ Mark 1:24.” The Desire of Ages, 578, 579.

7 What do we have through the blood of Jesus? Ephesians 1:7.

note: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy. [Proverbs 28:13.] This is a precious promise, given to fallen man to encourage him to trust in the God of love and to seek for eternal life in His kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 635.

8 What is Christ made to us? 1 Corinthians 1:30.

note: “We are individually to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. To each one of us He must become wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. When our faith lays hold upon Christ as our personal Saviour, we shall place Him before others in a new light. And when the people behold Christ as He is, they will not wrangle over doctrines; they will flee to Him for pardon, purity, and eternal life.” Colporteur Ministry, 49.

9 For what purpose did God set forth His Son Jesus? Romans 3:24, 25. Of whom is Christ the justifier? Verse 26.

note: “Abundant grace has been provided that the believing soul may be kept free from sin; for all heaven, with its limitless resources, has been placed at our command. We are to draw from the well of salvation. Christ is the end of law for righteousness to everyone who believeth. In ourselves we are sinners; but in Christ we are righteous. Having made us righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ, God pronounces us just, and treats us as just. He looks upon us as His dear children. Christ works against the power of sin, and where sin abounded, grace much more abounds. ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God’ (Romans 5:1, 2).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 394.

10 What Christian experience is described in Galatians 2:20? Whom did Jesus love? For whom did He give Himself?

note: “By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us.” The Desire of Ages, 25.

11 To what extent is Jesus able to save those who seek His help? Hebrews 7:25.

note: “Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. [Hebrews 7:25.] He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ’s righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions. These are the terms of our election. Man’s salvation depends upon his receiving Christ by faith. Those who will not receive Him lose eternal life because they refused to avail themselves of the only means provided by the Father and the Son for the salvation of a perishing world.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 931.

12 What is the Lord desirous of being to every sinner? Isaiah 30:18.

note: “His commandment-keeping people are to be one. Satan will invent every device to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. But the Lord will reveal Himself as a God of judgment. We are working under the eyes of the heavenly host. There is a divine Watcher among us, inspecting all that is planned and carried on.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 165.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.

Food for Life – Mushroom Burgers

One reason why we do not enjoy more of the blessing of the Lord is, we do not heed the light which He has been pleased to give us in regard to the laws of life and health.

“God is as truly the author of physical laws as He is author of the moral law. His law is written with His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty, which has been entrusted to man.

“The Creator of man has arranged the living machinery of our bodies. Every function is wonderfully and wisely made. And God pledged Himself to keep this human machinery in healthful action if the human agent will obey His laws and cooperate with God. Every law governing the human machinery is to be considered just as truly divine in origin, in character, and in importance as the word of God. Every careless, inattentive action, any abuse put upon the Lord’s wonderful mechanism, by disregarding His specified laws in the human habitation, is a violation of God’s law. We may behold and admire the work of God in the natural world, but the human habitation is the most wonderful.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 16, 17.

Recipe – Mushroom Burgers

1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 1/2 cups finely ground oatmeal

1 cup cooked lentils

1/2 cup tomato-vegetable juice

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon egg replacer

2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 teaspoons carob powder

Salt to taste

Grind all ingredients in food processor; adding mushrooms last. Be careful not to puree. Let mixture rest for 20 minutes. Form patties and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, turning once.

Cathy Summers Timmons, a Steps to Life staff member and a member of LandMarks’ editorial staff, writes from her home in Wichita, Kansas. She may be contacted by e-mail at:

Nature Nugget – Bears

The bear family consists of eight species. Although some species are reputed to be fierce and aggressive, bears are typically peaceful, solitary creatures that prefer to roam areas undisturbed by humans. Most bears are omnivores, feeding on both plant and animal matter. All eight species are threatened by habitat loss and from poaching, due to a demand for bear parts, such as gall bladders and paws.

The American Black Bear is native only to North America and is found in a variety of habitats. Black Bears are not always black! They may be cinnamon, blond, or bluish-gray in color, and about 25 percent of them have a white chest blaze.

Found throughout Southern Asia, the Asiatic Black Bear, or Moon Bear, is similar to its American cousin but has longer fur and is predominately black with a white, often V-shaped, patch of fur on its chest.

Brown Bears (including Grizzly Bears) are native throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. With home ranges as large as 500 square miles, they require vast, remote areas of habitat to survive. Because of this, they have been eliminated from much of their historic range. Their fur may be colored white, black, or various shades of brown. Brown Bears have a slightly dished face and a distinctive hump over their shoulders. The largest Brown Bear ever recorded stood 14 feet tall and weighed over 1,600 pounds.

Long thought to be part of the raccoon family, the Giant Panda has been officially classified as a bear since 1995. Native only to China, pandas subsist almost entirely on bamboo. To protect them from bamboo splinters while feeding, the panda’s esophagus has a tough, horny lining and its stomach has a thick, muscular lining.

Polar Bears are the largest of the bear species, weighing up to 1,700 pounds. They are found circumpolar in the Artic, where their white fur helps them blend into their environment. With their partially webbed paws, they are excellent swimmers and can swim for long distances.

The Sloth Bear, found in the forests and grasslands of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan, has a black, shaggy coat with a cream-colored, U- or Y-shaped patch of fur on its chest. Adult Sloth Bears lack upper incisors, which creates a gap in their mouths through which they are able to extend their long, lower lips, forming a tube for feeding. They use this tube to suck up termites and ants, making loud sucking noises that can be heard over 350 feet away. They are also able to close their nostrils at will to prevent ants and termites from getting in and to help create more vacuum while they are sucking.

The Spectacled Bear inhabits the Andes Mountains of South America. Their fur is brown or black, and they get their name from distinctive cream-colored bands that encircle their eyes. They are excellent tree climbers and build nests in trees for sleeping.

Found in the lowland rainforests of Southeast Asia, the Sun Bear is the smallest of all bears, weighing only 60 to 145 pounds. Its coat is made of short, sleek, black hairs. It has a golden- or white-colored crescent shape on its chest and the same coloring also around its eyes.

In the Bible, God used two she-bears to bring judgment upon 42 youths who mocked and ridiculed Elisha. (See Prophets and Kings, 235, 236.) It is a serious thing to speak against God’s chosen servants who are called upon to do a work for Him. “To accuse and criticize those whom God is using is to accuse and criticize the Lord who has sent them.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 466.

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

Ask the Pastor – Observing the Feast Days?


Should Christians today be observing the feast days that were commanded in the Old Testament?


It is indeed true that, as recorded in Leviticus 23, the Lord commanded that certain feast days and holy convocations should be kept. There were seven in all. Three of them were the great festivals of the year—the Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

The two words used to denote “feasts” and “holy convocations” differ considerably in their meaning. Hag, which belongs especially to the three feasts named, means “a joyous occasion, a festival, a feast.” Mo‘ed has reference to appointed times, stated observances, holy convocations, or solemn meetings. An example of Mo‘ed would be the Day of Atonement, which was not a feast or festival in any sense of the word, but a holy convocation.

Do the commands of Leviticus 23 still apply to us today? No, they do not, because their fulfillments were met in an event in the past.

Although each of the feast days had its meaning, they related only to the ceremonial services of the sanctuary. The feast days were not kept before the time of Moses, yet animal sacrifices were offered before Moses’ time. This tells us something very important: The feast days were introduced for the purpose of helping corporate Israel focus on the work of redemption, which had its center in the Lamb of God.

These services went on for hundreds and hundreds of years. Each time the children of Israel kept these days, it was to prepare them for the plan of redemption made possible by Jesus. During this period of time, the feast days were an integral part of Israel’s life. They looked with a great deal of affection on the celebration of these feast days. Many considered them much as we in the United States view our holidays of Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Rather than teaching the people the lessons that they needed to prepare them for Jesus, the feast days came to be observed by many from a traditional point of view, much as we see the fun rather than the meaning in the observance of our holidays now.

Colossians 2:16 gives us some good insight as to how we should relate to these days: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days].”

Paul made it very clear to the new Christians, upon whom judaizing teachers were attempting to impose the yoke of the ceremonial law, that these things—all the offerings and the observances of feast days (which were called sabbath days)—should not come under anyone’s criticism for nonobservance, because they were shadows of Christ to come. All these had been nailed to the cross and were no longer of moral obligation. With the cross of Christ came the passing away of the commands to keep these days.

It is the record, however, that the pressure to keep the ceremonial laws continued to be used to stir up strife and contention. The devil will use certain tactics to sidetrack God’s people. If one tactic works well, he will use it again to his best advantage. This is true concerning the feast days. It stirred up the early church and worked to separate brethren, so he brings this same idea around again. It is working to separate brethren today instead of binding them together, as God would want to have happen. We need to rise above these elementary arguments, unite on the truth, and spread that to the ends of the earth, not those factors that separate.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

Restoring the Temple – Fiber

Each year, nutritional research discovers more about the chemistry of food and the intricate ways in which it is utilized by the body to keep us healthy and strong. Only in recent years have we begun to understand fiber and the important role it plays in preserving our health. Researchers have observed that the fashionable, highly refined diet of the West that has become so popular over the years is often lacking in this necessary element. As a result, they have seen a corresponding increase in health problems, particularly relating to colon disease.

Many Diseases Linked to Low-Fiber Diet

Constipation, colon cancer, diverticulitis, varicose veins, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries are a few of the common conditions that are suspect as having a correlation to the fiber intake. Second only to lung cancer in incidence, each year approximately 155,000 cases of cancer of the large bowel are diagnosed in the United States. Approximately 93 percent of these cases occur in men and women over the age of 50. It has been observed that dietary fiber, largely found in fruits, vegetables, and bran, appears to have a protective effect. When populations of people who eat diets high in fiber were studied, they were found to have many fewer incidents of colon problems. Some researchers believe that one of the most beneficial results of a high fiber diet is that there is a much shorter transit time than there is with a diet of highly refined food, thus cutting down on the time that carcinogens are in contact with the colon.

High Fiber Usually Means Less Calories

Another benefit of a diet high in fiber, especially for those who desire to lose weight, is its relatively low caloric value. Fiber, often referred to as roughage or bulk, is found only in plant foods. Because humans lack the enzymes to digest fiber, it characteristically passes through the digestive system without being digested and absorbed into the blood stream. Reducing the volume of concentrated foods in the diet—meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and eggs—as well as refined foods, which contain no fiber, and increasing the intake of natural, unrefined foods, will provide a larger volume of food with a decreased concentration of calories. Practically speaking, because fiber cannot be digested, the more fiber a food has, the fewer calories it will contain.

Blueberries, for example, have one-tenth of the calories of chocolate bars, ounce for ounce. This means that you could eat ten ounces of blueberries compared with one ounce of chocolate to get the same number of calories. For the same calories that you would get from one doughnut, you could eat ten cups of popcorn!

Eating the higher fiber foods means that you will chew longer, eat a larger volume, and therefore tend to feel more filled and satisfied on far fewer calories than might otherwise be expected. Such a revitalized diet, combined with a regular fitness program, can play a significant role in resolving a person’s weight problem.

Solves the Problem of Irregularity

In recent years, a whole segment of industry has developed producing products to relieve constipation. Many of these products help to increase the quantity of fiber ingested as an effective way to promote regularity. People with chronic constipation are generally benefited by increasing the fiber in their diets. It should be noted, however, that people often think of themselves as being constipated because they do not have bowel movements on a regular basis. If, however, they eat low-fiber foods, there is actually very little waste, and this is the reason for the apparent irregularity. People, who for years have been unable to achieve regularity, have been able to eliminate the need for laxatives by just adding more fiber to their diets.

Dieting Increases the Need for Fiber

Those who are dieting generally decrease the volume of food that they eat. Under such circumstances, constipation can very quickly become a problem for most dieters. By eating high-fiber foods, they can maintain or actually increase their total volume of intake while cutting down on calories, thereby avoiding this problem.

While cooking reduces some nutrients in food, especially vitamins, it does not reduce the fiber content. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, there is 1 gram of fiber in 100 grams of raw carrots. The same amount of cooked carrots still has 1 gram of fiber.

It is good to remember, however, that you do lose vitamins in cooking, which is why many people steam their vegetables.

The most common problem that people experience when they change to a higher fiber diet is an increase in “gas.” This full, bloated feeling usually goes away in a few days, but if it does not, it may help to cut back a bit on the fiber intake and then slowly increase it. Most health food stores have products available that assist in eliminating this problem.

Remember, also, that fiber absorbs water as it passes through your body. It would be well, therefore, to increase the amount of water that you drink as you increase your fiber intake.

Fiber in the diet is nothing new. Our great-grandparents lived on diets that were naturally very high in fiber. Even today, in lesser-developed countries, the diets tend to be higher in fiber content. As people become more affluent, a larger portion of their food supply tends to consist of meat, fat, and dairy products. At the same time, fewer bean dishes and ethnic foods are being eaten, all of which are naturally high in fiber.

While fruit juices may be a fairly concentrated source of vitamins, and certainly taste good, they do not have the fiber that occurs naturally in the fruit itself. Tomato juice, on the other hand, retains a higher level of pulp and is, therefore, a reasonably good source of fiber.

While most high-fiber foods tend to be lower in calories, it should be remembered that there are exceptions to this general rule. Nuts, olives, and peanuts are all high-fiber foods but are also quite high in naturally occurring fat and calories and should, therefore, be eaten in moderation. Nut butters retain the fiber but can also be a concentrated source of calories and fat. It is wise to always read the labels on nut butters, as many of them have fat and sugars added. Jam, which does not have a fat content but is a high source of fiber, can also be high in calories.

In choosing foods, there are a few rules that generally apply and are good to remember. Meat, fish, seafood, poultry, dairy products, and eggs all share one thing in common—they have no fiber. Also, juices, oils, margarine, pasta, white bread, and most pastries have very little or no fiber content. However, these foods are generally a concentrated source of calories.

Always Read Labels

It is wise to always read the labels on any store-bought baked goods. Be sure that it indicates that whole flour was used, not just wheat flour. Remember, too, that you cannot tell how much fiber a bread contains by its color. Various things are added to bread that can contribute to its dark color, including raisin juice, caramel coloring, and artificial dyes, making it appear to be whole grain, but these ingredients do not add fiber.

Some people equate crunchy with fiber. While this is a natural assumption to make, it is not a valid one. French bread can have a crunchy crust, but it is still white bread and has no more fiber than regular white bread.

Good Sources of Fiber

For those who are interested in assuring themselves of an adequate fiber intake, there are two food groups, in addition to fruits and vegetables, that should find a prominent place in your meal menu—cereals or grains and legumes.

Beans, like most other high-fiber foods, are inexpensive and an excellent way to add fiber to the diet. Many ethnic foods are made from beans. A good start to your new menu might be to add bean dishes, such as tacos with refried beans, or even soup that includes beans. Garbanzo beans added to salad will increase its fiber value. Though beans do create an objectionable amount of gas for some people, there are products available that will generally take care of this problem.

Wheat bran can be added to many foods to increase the fiber content. Try adding it to homemade granola or cookies, or even sprinkling a little on a salad.

Not All Fiber Is the Same

Not all fiber is the same. The fiber found in bran is different from that found in vegetables. Although bran fiber will help with constipation, the fiber found in vegetables and beans helps the body to manage fats and cholesterol in a healthful way.

While they can be expensive when not in season, topping your cereal with fresh fruits will increase the fiber content. Strawberries and raspberries are good sources of fiber. Raisins are a good source of fiber, and if they do not come in the cereal box, try sprinkling a few on top of your bowl of cereal. Though somewhat lower in fiber value than berries, bananas and applesauce also contain fiber.

There are a number of other side benefits to eating many of the high-fiber foods. A University of Kentucky study has shown that eating a cupful of cooked beans a day lowers blood cholesterol levels by an average of ten percent! Other research suggests that regular servings can improve the ratio of good to bad cholesterol by 17 percent.

While providing a fiber that helps to lower the risk of several forms of cancer, beans have the benefit for diabetics of having been shown less likely than rice or bran cereals to raise blood glucose levels. At the same time, beans provide a rich source of iron, magnesium, and zinc, which make them a good choice for someone who is cutting back on meat.

In a study conducted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, volunteers who ate seven ounces of carrots a day for three weeks saw their cholesterol levels fall an average of 11 percent. Other research has shown that the higher levels of beta-carotene in the blood stream also help to prevent heart attacks. And, by protecting cells from damage, beta-carotene and other antioxidants may reduce the risk of lung tumors and other forms of cancer.

In addition to providing a source of fiber, apples are loaded with pectin, a water-soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that another benefit of eating apples is that pectin-rich foods may also act to lower the risk of colon cancer.

The best longevity advice is very clear. By increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, you will not only add valuable fiber but you will be eating foods that are loaded with substances that actively fight cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.

Children’s Story – Personalized Promises

The Power that created the whole world is in the Word of God. You can get to know the Power. The Power is Jesus. There is a way to read your Bible that will make Jesus real to you. You will find thousands of promises in your Bible. To really know Jesus, you must think of His promises as being especially for you. Practice putting your own name into every promise in the Bible.

A sea captain, who had never given his heart to Jesus, was stricken with a fatal disease in mid-ocean. The ship’s doctor said, “Captain, you cannot live more than 24 hours.” The old captain was terrified. He was not ready to die. He demanded that someone from his crew come and read the Bible to him and pray for him.

After a time, the cook’s boy, little Willie Platt, quietly entered the captain’s quarters. The captain said, “Willie, I want you to read something about God having mercy on a sinner like me.”

At first the boy did not know what text to read, but after searching, he finally found a verse that he could use. His mother had marked it before she had died. Willie read, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

The captain said, “That sounds like what I need. Read it again.”

Encouraged by the captain’s response, Willie said, “Captain, I would like to read this verse the way my mother taught me to read it.”

“That will be fine, Willie,” said the captain.

Slowly and reverently Willie read, “Jesus was wounded for Willie Platt’s transgressions, Jesus was bruised for Willie Platt’s iniquities: the chastisement of Willie Platt’s peace was upon Jesus; and with Jesus’ stripes, Willie Platt is healed.”

By this time, the captain was halfway over the edge of the bed. He said, “Son, read it again and put your old captain’s name in there.”

Then Willie again reverently read, “Jesus was wounded for John Clout’s transgressions, Jesus was bruised for John Clout’s iniquities: the chastisement of John Clout’s peace was upon Jesus; and with Jesus’ stripes Captain John Clout is healed.”

The captain fell back upon his pillow and repeated over and over again this beautiful text, putting his own name into it every time. Finally, light from heaven broke in upon his darkened soul. He gave his heart to Jesus.

I want to put my name into this text, don’t you? Let’s read Hebrews 13:5 and insert our names in it. Jesus says, “I will never leave [your name], nor forsake [your name].” What a wonderful promise! We will never be alone, because Jesus will be with us!

Take time daily for your own Bible reading and prayer. This is best done first thing in the morning, because then you can carry the blessing with you all day.

Reprinted from