Bible Study Guides – Diligence

April 24, 2011 – April 30, 2011

Key Text

“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 176–187; Ibid., vol. 9, 30–48.


“We must labor as does the husbandman, with diligence and patience, that we may be partakers of the fruits.” The Signs of the Times, April 14, 1890.


  • What is causing many people today to be dissatisfied and discontented with life? Proverbs 13:4; 18:9; 11:24.
  • How does God teach us the value of diligent work? Proverbs 10:16; 13:11.

Note: “The parents of Jesus were poor, and dependent upon their daily toil. He was familiar with poverty, self-denial, and privation. This experience was a safeguard to Him. In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. … “Jesus lived in a peasant’s home, and faithfully and cheerfully acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfill His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade, and with His own hands worked in the carpenter’s shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common laborer He walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from His humble work. He did not employ His divine power to lessen His burdens or to lighten His toil.” The Desire of Ages, 72.


  • What are some important observations we can make by studying God’s tiny creatures? Proverbs 6:6–8; 30:25–28.

Note: “The wisest of men may learn useful lessons from the ways and habits of the little creatures of the earth. The industrious bee gives to men of intelligence an example that they would do well to imitate. These insects observe perfect order, and no idler is allowed in the hive. They execute their appointed work with an intelligence and activity that are beyond our comprehension. The ants, which we consider as only pests to be crushed under our feet, are in many respects superior to man; for he does not as wisely improve the gifts of God. The wise man calls our attention to the small things of the earth [Proverbs 6:6–8; 30:25 quoted]. We may learn from these little teachers a lesson of faithfulness. Should we improve with the same diligence the faculties which an all-wise Creator has bestowed upon us, how greatly would our capacities for usefulness be increased. God’s eye is upon the smallest of His creatures; does He not, then, regard man formed in His image and require of him corresponding returns for all the advantages He has given him?” Testimonies, vol. 4, 455, 456.

“The habitations that the ants build for themselves show wonderful skill and perseverance. Only one little grain at a time can they handle, but by diligence and perseverance they accomplish wonders. Solomon points to their industry as a reproach to those who waste their hours in sinful idleness, or in practices that corrupt soul and body. The ant prepares for future seasons. Many who are gifted with reasoning powers entirely disregard this lesson, and fail entirely to prepare for the future life.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 14, 1899.

  • Name some ways in which we may be slothful without realizing it. Proverbs 24:30–34.

Note: “Many waste hours of precious time in bed because it gratifies the natural inclination and to do otherwise requires an exertion. One hour wasted in the morning is lost never to be recovered.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 181.


  • What does the Bible teach on agriculture, and why is it so valuable today? Proverbs 27:18; Ecclesiastes 5:9; 3:1, 2.

Note: “No line of manual training is of more value than agriculture. A greater effort should be made to create and to encourage an interest in agricultural pursuits. Let the teacher call attention to what the Bible says about agriculture: that it was God’s plan for man to till the earth; that the first man, the ruler of the whole world, was given a garden to cultivate; and that many of the world’s greatest men, its real nobility, have been tillers of the soil. … He who earns his livelihood by agriculture escapes many temptations and enjoys unnumbered privileges and blessings denied to those whose work lies in the great cities. And in these days of mammoth trusts and business competition, there are few who enjoy so real an independence and so great certainty of fair return for their labor as does the tiller of the soil.

“In the study of agriculture, let pupils be given not only theory, but practice. While they learn what science can teach in regard to the nature and preparation of the soil, the value of different crops, and the best methods of production, let them put their knowledge to use.” Education, 219.

“The time is not far distant when the laws against Sunday labor will be more stringent, and an effort should be made to secure grounds away from the cities, where fruits and vegetables can be raised. Agriculture will open resources for self-support, and various other trades also could be learned. This real, earnest work calls for strength of intellect as well as of muscle. Method and tact are required even to raise fruits and vegetables successfully. And habits of industry will be found an important aid to the youth in resisting temptation.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 322.

“Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” Selected Messages, Book. 2, 141.

  • What instruction is given regarding sharing the harvest? Leviticus 23:22, 28.


  • Besides reaping the fruits of the soil, in what other type of harvest are we to be engaging? John 4:34–38.

Note: “Christ sees a plentiful harvest waiting to be gathered in. Souls are hungering for the truth, thirsting for the water of life. Many are on the very verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” Temperance, 258.

  • Along with the men, of what are women to be reminded with regard to sowing the seeds of truth? Galatians 3:28.

Note: “The Lord of the vineyard is saying to many women who are now doing nothing, ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle’ [Matthew 20:6]? They may be instruments of righteousness, rendering holy service. It was Mary who first preached a risen Jesus; and the refining, softening influence of Christian women is needed in the great work of preaching the truth now. If there were twenty women where now there is one who would make the saving of souls their cherished work, we should see many more converted to the truth. Zealous and continued diligence in the cause of God would be wholly successful, and would astonish them with its results. The work must be accomplished through patience and perseverance, and in this is manifested the real devotion to God. He calls for deeds, and not words only.” The Signs of the Times, September 16, 1886.

  • How will our heavenly Father be disappointed at us if we neglect this duty and privilege? Proverbs 10:5, 26.
  • What is the result of dwelling on obstacles and hindrances? Ecclesiastes 11:4. How are we encouraged to diligently persevere in our labors? Ecclesiastes 11:6; 7:8.

Note: “You may say, I have tried to save this one and that one, and they have only wounded me, and I am not going to try to help them any more. But do not become discouraged if they do not at once return to the fold. Reach out still for your fellow mortals around you. You shall reap if you faint not.” Our High Calling, 178. [Emphasis author’s.]


  • Describe the depth of God’s persevering love even for the erring. Song of Solomon 8:6, 7. How was this shown in Christ’s attitude toward Judas?

Note: “The narrowing selfishness of Judas’ life, Christ sought to heal through contact with His own self-sacrificing love. In His teaching He unfolded principles that struck at the root of the disciple’s self-centered ambitions. Lesson after lesson was thus given, and many a time Judas realized that his character had been portrayed, and his sin pointed out; but he would not yield. …

“ ‘Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.’ John 6:64. Yet, knowing all, He had withheld no pleading of mercy or gift of love.

“Seeing the danger of Judas, He had brought him close to Himself, within the inner circle of His chosen and trusted disciples. Day after day, when the burden lay heaviest upon His own heart, He had borne the pain of continual contact with that stubborn, suspicious, brooding spirit; He had witnessed and labored to counteract among His disciples that continuous, secret, and subtle antagonism. And all this that no possible saving influence might be lacking to that imperiled soul! [Song of Solomon 8:7, 6 quoted.]

“So far as Judas himself was concerned, Christ’s work of love had been without avail. But not so as regards his fellow disciples. To them it was a lesson of lifelong influence. Ever would its example of tenderness and long-suffering mold their intercourse with the tempted and the erring.” Education, 92, 93.

Review and Thought Questions

1 What must we understand about common, everyday labor?

2 What can we learn from the bees and the ants?

3 Name some special advantages enjoyed by the farmer.

4 When our missionary efforts seem to be fruitless, what should we remember?

5 What was gained by Christ’s treatment of Judas?

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Our Neighbor

April 17, 2011 – April 23, 2011

Key Text

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17.

Study Help: Education, 84–96; The Desire of Ages, 637–641.


“Many think that it is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves, but it is the only genuine fruit of Christianity.” Welfare Ministry, 49.


  • What is to govern our fellowship among believers? Proverbs 17:17; 30:5; Galatians 6:10.

Note: “He [Christ] should be presented as the Source of all true pleasure and satisfaction, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of every blessing, the One in whom all our hopes of eternal life are centered. In every religious exercise let the love of God and the joy of the Christian experience appear in their true beauty.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 175.

  • What is God’s plan for our relationship with one another in church capacity? James 2:8; John 17:21; Proverbs 18:24.

Note: “He who is conformed to the image of Christ will possess his grace, and will help to strengthen every brother in the faith. No harsh or bitter words that discourage the soul will fall from his lips. ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ ‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.’ ‘Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. … Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ [II Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 12:12–14].” The Review and Herald, February 23, 1897.


  • What principle of service should we keep in mind regarding all our fellowmen? Proverbs 27:10, first part.

Note: “Among the Jews the question, ‘Who is my neighbour’ [Luke 10:20]? caused endless dispute. They had no doubt as to the heathen and the Samaritans. These were strangers and enemies. But where should the distinction be made among the people of their own nation and among the different classes of society? …

“This question Christ answered in the parable of the good Samaritan. He showed that our neighbor does not mean merely one of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary. Our neighbor is every one who is the property of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 376.

  • What can we learn from the way God’s infinite wisdom was manifested in the ministry of Jesus? Proverbs 11:30.

Note: “Jesus looked upon the world in its fallen state with infinite pity. He took humanity upon Himself that He might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as He found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon His throne. But it was written of Him that ‘He shall not fail nor be discouraged’ [Isaiah 42:4], and He went forth in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, giving us an example that we should follow in His steps. We should work as did Jesus, departing from our own pleasure, turning away from Satan’s bribes, despising ease, and abhorring selfishness, that we may seek and save that which is lost, bringing souls from darkness into light, into the sunshine of God’s love. We have been commissioned to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.


  • What are we always to bear in mind regarding the poor? Proverbs 14:21; 19:17, 22. How did Jesus explain His perspective on this matter? Matthew 25:31–46.

Note: “To the rich, God has given wealth that they may relieve and comfort His suffering children; but too often they are indifferent to the wants of others. They feel themselves superior to their poor brethren. They do not put themselves in the poor man’s place. They do not understand the temptations and struggles of the poor, and mercy dies out of their hearts. In costly dwellings and splendid churches, the rich shut themselves away from the poor; the means that God has given to bless the needy is spent in pampering pride and selfishness. The poor are robbed daily of the education they should have concerning the tender mercies of God; for He has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life. They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings. Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.

“But Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison.” The Desire of Ages, 639, 640.

“We should seek to understand the needs of the poor and distressed, and to give them the help that will benefit them most. To give thought and time and personal effort costs far more than merely to give money. But it is the truest charity.” The Ministry of Healing, 195.

  • Describe an example of how the impartiality of our love may be tested. James 2:1–9.


  • What better future can we present to the discouraged? Proverbs 10:28; I Thessalonians 4:13–18.

Note: “We are to bring to the lost the tidings that Christ can forgive sin, can renew the nature, can clothe the soul in the garments of His righteousness, bring the sinner to His right mind, and teach him and fit him up to be a laborer together with God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.

  • What should we remember about wealthy persons who know not God? Ecclesiastes 6:1, 2; Proverbs 11:4; 13:22.

Note: “Riches and worldly honor can not satisfy the soul. Many among the rich are longing for some divine assurance, some spiritual hope. Many long for something that will bring to an end the monotony of their aimless life. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive little benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the heart. Shall we make no special appeal to them?

“God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the gospel to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that the wealthy, world-loving souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor be discouraged.” The Review and Herald, April 6, 1911.

  • How are we to consider those who hate and abuse us? Proverbs 24:17; 25:21. What was Jesus’ example?

Note: “It was to bring the bread of life to His enemies that our Saviour left His home in heaven. Though calumny and persecution were heaped upon Him from the cradle to the grave, they called forth from Him only the expression of forgiving love.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 71.


  • How can we have safety from evil company? Proverbs 2:1–15. How did Enoch maintain his strength in service?

Note: “It was by prayer and communion with God that Enoch was enabled to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are living in the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same Source. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us, for we cannot remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of the faithful Enoch.” In Heavenly Places, 70.

“Enoch faithfully rehearsed to the people all that God had revealed to him by the spirit of prophecy. Some believed his words, and turned from their wickedness to fear and worship God. Such often sought Enoch in his places of retirement, and he instructed them, and prayed for them that God would give them a knowledge of His will. At length he chose certain periods for retirement, and would not suffer the people to find him, for they interrupted his holy meditation and communion with God. He did not exclude himself at all times from the society of those who loved him and listened to his words of wisdom; neither did he separate himself wholly from the corrupt. He met with the good and bad at stated times, and labored to turn the ungodly from their evil course, and instruct them in the knowledge and fear of God. He taught those who had the knowledge of God to serve him more perfectly.

“He would remain with them as long as he could benefit them by his godly conversation and holy example, and then would withdraw himself from all society—from the just, the scoffing and idolatrous, to remain in solitude, hungering and thirsting for communion with God, and that divine knowledge which he alone could give him.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 62, 63.

Review and Thought Questions

1 What is to characterize our Christian fellowship?

2 Name some ways in which we are to follow Jesus.

3 How can we improve our attitude toward the poor?

4 What do we often forget about the wealthy?

5 Describe the balanced life of Enoch.

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – In the Heart and Home

April 10, 2011 – April 16, 2011

Key Text

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4.

Study Help: Education, 259–261; The Ministry of Healing, 356–362.


“His [Christ’s] is a love that fails not nor forsakes.” Education, 90.


  • Name some interesting truths which inspired poetry declares about love. Proverbs 10:12; 15:17.
  • What are we to understand about the source, power, and result of love? I John 4:7–19; Proverbs 7:2.

Note: “By contemplation of God’s matchless love, we take upon us His nature. Christ was a representative before men and before angels, of the character of the God of heaven. He demonstrated the fact that when humanity depends wholly upon God, men may keep God’s commandments and live, and His law be as the apple of the eye.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 226.

  • In view of this great love offered to us, what should be the cry of our soul? Song of Solomon 1:7; Psalms 42:1, 2; 63:1–4.

Note: “My soul cries out after the living God. My very being longs after Him. Oh, for to reflect His lovely image perfectly! Oh, for to be wholly consecrated to Him! Oh, how hard it is for dear self to die. We can rejoice in a whole Saviour; one who saves us from all sin. We can be shut in with God where we can daily say, ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me’ [Galatians 2:20] ‘to will and to do of his good pleasure’ [Philippians 2:13].” Reflecting Christ, 350.


  • How does Inspiration describe the way our seasons of devotion should be? Song of Solomon 2:3, 4.

Note: “We need to appreciate more fully the meaning of the words: ‘I sat down under His shadow with great delight.’ Song of Solomon 2:3. These words do not bring to our minds the picture of hasty transit, but of quiet rest. There are many professing Christians who are anxious and depressed, many who are so full of busy activity that they cannot find time to rest quietly in the promises of God, who act as if they could not afford to have peace and quietness. To all such Christ’s invitation is: ‘Come unto Me, … and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 69.

“Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. With hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ’s loving presence, pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher. With their burdens they return to their work. …

“Not a pause for a moment in His presence, but personal contact with Christ, to sit down in companionship with Him—this is our need. Happy will it be for the children of our homes and the students of our schools when parents and teachers shall learn in their own lives the precious experience pictured in these words from the Song of Songs [Song of Solomon 2:3, 4 quoted].” Education, 260, 261.

  • What are we to find through our prayerful study of the Bible? Song of Solomon 4:15; John 4:10.

Note: “The word of God is ‘a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon’ (Song of Solomon 4:15). The heart that has once tasted the love of Christ, cries out continually for a deeper draft, and as you impart you will receive in richer and more abundant measure. Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, ‘More of Thee,’ and ever the Spirit’s answer is, ‘Much more.’ ” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 20.


  • How are we admonished against the dating and courtship practices which commonly prevail today? Proverbs 6:23–29; 5:1–13.

Note: “Courtship, as carried on in this age, is a scheme of deception and hypocrisy, with which the enemy of souls has far more to do than the Lord.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 105.

“The ideas of courtship have their foundation in erroneous ideas concerning marriage. They follow impulse and blind passion. The courtship is carried on in a spirit of flirtation. The parties frequently violate the rules of modesty and reserve, and are guilty of indiscretion, if they do not break the law of God. The high, noble, lofty design of God in the institution of marriage is not discerned; therefore the purest affections of the heart, the noblest traits of character, are not developed.

“Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above.” Medical Ministry, 141.

  • How does Inspiration reveal the beauty of God’s true plan for marriage? Proverbs 5:15–18; Song of Solomon 7:6.

Note: “Love is a precious gift, which we receive from Jesus. Pure and holy affection is not a feeling, but a principle. Those who are actuated by true love, are neither unreasonable nor blind.

“The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes it. By it human love is refined and purified, elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the divine nature and trained to grow heavenward.

“True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. On the contrary, it is calm and deep in its nature. It looks beyond mere externals, and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding.” The Faith I Live By, 255.


  • How does Scripture intertwine the Gospel message with God’s plan for marriage? Song of Solomon 2:16; 4:7; 6:3.

Note: “In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary. ‘Fear not,’ He says; ‘thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.’ ‘Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.’ Isaiah 54:4, 5; Jeremiah 3:14.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 64.

  • How are married couples to reflect Christ’s love in daily life? Song of Solomon 5:10, 16; Ephesians 5:22–33.

Note: “By having a knowledge of Christ—his words, his habits, and his lessons of instruction—we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, and become imbued with the spirit we have so much admired. Jesus becomes to us ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,’ the One ‘altogether lovely’ [Song of Solomon 5:10, 16].” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1887.

“Let each give love rather than exact it. Cultivate that which is noblest in yourselves, and be quick to recognize the good qualities in each other.” The Ministry of Healing, 361.

“Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment. Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.” Ibid., 360.


  • Why should we be especially thankful if blessed with the privilege of having a family? Ecclesiastes 4:8–12.

Note: “That cannot be a happy home where love is not cultivated between husband and wife, between parents and children. If parents have been self-centered, and have trained their children in an atmosphere where love was not manifested in affectionate words and actions, then change the atmosphere of your home as quickly as possible. Let husbands love their wives, and let the wives see that they reverence their husbands. The plan of salvation was devised in order to transform the natural character, and fashion it after the divine image. When the grace of Christ is received in the heart, it will soften whatever is harsh, and subdue that which is coarse and unkind. Courtesy will be expressed in the affairs of home life.” The Signs of the Times, May 7, 1894.

“Hearts that are filled with the love of Christ can never get very far apart. Religion is love, and a Christian home is one where love reigns and finds expression in words and acts of thoughtful kindness and gentle courtesy.

“Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy.

“Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides.” The Faith I Live By, 255.

Review and Thought Questions

1 What does love have to do with God?

2 Why do many fail to benefit much from Bible reading?

3 Why is such great suffering caused by lovesick romance today?

4 Name some ways to improve our marriages.

5 Describe God’s plan for the family circle.

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – A Vital Characteristic

April 3, 2011 – April 9, 2011

Key Text

“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” Proverbs 15:33.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 253, 254; That I May Know Him, 65.


“Humility will be cultivated, because we shall feel our nothingness, and realize our dependence upon God.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1893.


  • In contrast to the anguish of those who reject God’s wisdom (Proverbs 1:20–32), what is promised to all who seek to maintain their heart in faithfulness? Proverbs 1:33.

Note: “In the work of heart-keeping we must be instant in prayer, unwearied in petitioning the throne of grace for assistance. Those who take the name of Christian should come to God in earnestness and humility, pleading for help. The Saviour has told us to pray without ceasing. The Christian can not always be in the position of prayer, but his thoughts and desires can always be upward. Our self-confidence would vanish, did we talk less and pray more.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1157.

  • How do we become eligible to gain heavenly wisdom? Proverbs 3:34; 4:1; 11:2.

Note: “Obtain an experimental knowledge of God by wearing the yoke of Christ. He gives wisdom to the meek and lowly, enabling them to judge of what is truth, bringing to light the why and wherefore, pointing out the result of certain actions. The Holy Spirit teaches the student of the Scriptures to judge all things by the standard of righteousness and truth and justice. The divine revelation supplies him with the knowledge that he needs.” Counsels on Health, 371.


  • What is the key to life’s happiness? Proverbs 3:5–8.

Note: “In our separation from God, in our pride and darkness, we are constantly seeking to elevate ourselves, and we forget that lowliness of mind is power. … Pride and self-importance, when compared with lowliness and humility, are indeed weakness. We are invited to learn of Him who was meek and lowly of heart; then we shall experience that rest and peace so much to be desired.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 477.

  • How can God use us most effectively? Proverbs 15:33; 16:3.

Note: “The Lord can use most effectually those who are most sensible of their own unworthiness and inefficiency. He will teach them to exercise the courage of faith. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to his might, wise by connecting their ignorance with his wisdom.” The Signs of the Times, June 23, 1881.

  • What attitude are we to cultivate from our very youth? Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10; 12:1. How can we promote the grace of humility in the children and youth within our care?

Note: “One of the characteristics that should be especially cherished and cultivated in every child is that self-forgetfulness which imparts to the life such an unconscious grace. Of all excellences of character this is one of the most beautiful, and for every true lifework it is one of the qualifications most essential.

“Children need appreciation, sympathy, and encouragement, but care should be taken not to foster in them a love of praise. It is not wise to give them special notice, or to repeat before them their clever sayings. The parent or teacher who keeps in view the true ideal of character and the possibilities of achievement, cannot cherish or encourage self-sufficiency. He will not encourage in the youth the desire or effort to display their ability or proficiency. He who looks higher than himself will be humble; yet he will possess a dignity that is not abashed or disconcerted by outward display or human greatness.” Education, 237.


  • What is the secret of true strength? Proverbs 10:29; Isaiah 26:3, 4.

Note: “The Lord can work most effectually through those who are most sensible of their own insufficiency, and who will rely upon Him as their leader and source of strength. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to His might, and wise by connecting their ignorance with His wisdom.

“If they would cherish true humility, the Lord could do much more for His people; but there are few who can be trusted with any large measure of responsibility or success without becoming self-confident and forgetful of their dependence upon God. This is why, in choosing the instruments for His work, the Lord passes by those whom the world honors as great, talented, and brilliant. They are too often proud and self-sufficient. They feel competent to act without counsel from God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 553, 554.

  • What is the main difference between the proud, self-sufficient person and the teachable one? Proverbs 9:8, 9. How are those who are teachable blessed? Proverbs 9:10.

Note: “The teachable and trusting ones, having a right purpose and a pure heart, need not wait for great occasions or for extraordinary abilities before they employ their powers. They should not stand irresolute, questioning, and fearing what the world will say or think of them. We are not to weary ourselves with anxious care, but to go on, quietly performing with faithfulness the work which God assigns us, and leaving the result wholly with him.

“If they but preserve their sincerity, their meekness, and humility, the poorest, weakest, and humblest of Christ’s followers, working in love, may start waves of blessing that shall go on widening and deepening, to refresh and bless the world. In order that they may do this, Christ must shine forth in their character. Let the daily life be a reflection of the life of Christ, and the testimony thus borne to the world will have a powerful influence. Heaven alone will reveal the fruits of an unselfish, holy life.” The Signs of the Times, June 23, 1881.


  • What thoughts should we keep in mind, especially during this present era of Laodicea—the antitypical Day of Atonement? Isaiah 53:3; Ecclesiastes 7:2–8; I Peter 5:5, 6.

Note: “Another great need of the church is humility—the deep humility of Christ. Believers need to see the necessity of working as Christ worked. O for that devotion and humility of heart that will lead God’s people to do those things that Christ has commanded, and still in all humility and truth say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done only that which it was our duty to do! But many, many are swelling with pride and importance, who in God’s estimation are lukewarm. Self-gratification is revealed because of a few things accomplished. Where do we hear the testimony of hearts that are broken in repentance and confession before God? Where do we see professed believers wearing the yoke of Christ? How little time is given to fervent prayer, the result of which would be the possession of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” The Review and Herald, September 16, 1909.

  • Throughout history, what has caused both men and churches to either rise or fall? Proverbs 18:12. What must we realize in seeking to follow Jesus? Proverbs 29:23.

Note: “There is too much of self and too little of Jesus in the ministry of all denominations. The Lord uses humble men to proclaim His messages. Had Christ come in the majesty of a king, with the pomp which attends the great men of earth, many would have accepted Him. But Jesus of Nazareth did not dazzle the senses with a display of outward glory and make this the foundation of their reverence. He came as a humble man to be the Teacher and Exemplar as well as the Redeemer of the race. Had He encouraged pomp, had He come followed by a retinue of the great men of earth, how could He have taught humility? How could He have presented such burning truths as in His Sermon upon the Mount? His example was such as He wished all His followers to imitate.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 253.


  • How did Christ illustrate the life of God—and why was He so often misunderstood? Proverbs 13:9; 4:18, 19.

Note: “Our Saviour was the light of the world, but the world knew Him not. He was constantly employed in works of mercy, shedding light upon the pathway of all; yet He did not call upon those with whom He mingled to behold His unexampled virtue, His self-denial, self-sacrifice, and benevolence. The Jews did not admire such a life. They considered His religion worthless, because it did not accord with their standard of piety. They decided that Christ was not religious in spirit or character; for their religion consisted in display, in praying publicly, and in doing works of charity for effect. They trumpeted their good deeds, as do those who claim sanctification. They would have all understand that they are without sin. But the whole life of Christ was in direct contrast to this. He sought neither gain nor honor. His wonderful acts of healing were performed in as quiet a manner as possible, although He could not restrain the enthusiasm of those who were the recipients of His great blessings. Humility and meekness characterized His life. And it was because of His lowly walk and unassuming manners, which were in such marked contrast to their own, that the Pharisees would not accept Him.” The Sanctified Life, 14.

  • How should Christ’s life affect us? Proverbs 4:10–13.

Note: “If Christ had to make so great a sacrifice, if he had to endure such sufferings because of my sin, shall I not bow in humility, and regret that I have inflicted such grief upon his divine soul?” The Signs of the Times, October 28, 1889.

Review and Thought Questions

1 Name one essential key to diligent “heart-keeping.”

2 How can we improve the attitude of our children?

3 Why is a teachable spirit so desirable?

4 What is special about God’s true remnant in any age?

5 Why can the true believer expect to be misunderstood?

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Garden of the Heart

March 27, 2011 – April 2, 2011

The Character of the Wise

Lessons from the Writing of Solomon

Key Text

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

Study Help: This Day With God, 73; In Heavenly Places, 162.


“The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 202, 203.


  • What foundation understood by Solomon should we ever bear in mind? I Chronicles 28:9.

Note: “God is represented as weighing all men, their words, their deeds, their motives, that which determines character. … There is not a thought or motive in the heart that God is not acquainted with. He sees all as clearly as if it stood out registered in living characters, and He weighs individual motives and actions.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 438.

  • What should we consider in seeking to build upon this basic truth? Proverbs 23:7, first part, 12.

Note: “Many thoughts make up the unwritten history of a single day; and these thoughts have much to do with the formation of character. Our thoughts are to be strictly guarded; for one impure thought makes a deep impression on the soul. An evil thought leaves an evil impress on the mind. If the thoughts are pure and holy, the man is better for having cherished them. By them the spiritual pulse is quickened, and the power for doing good is increased. And as one drop of rain prepares the way for another in moistening the earth, so one good thought prepares the way for another.” Messages to Young People, 144.


  • What lessons from nature reveal how our spiritual life can flourish? Proverbs 27:18; 16:24.

Note: “The garden of the heart must be cultivated. The soil must be broken up by repentance. The evil growths that choke the good grain must be uprooted. As soil once overgrown with thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor, so the evil tendencies of the heart can be overcome only by earnest effort in the name and strength of Christ.” Education, 111.

“Silence the evil word, put away the unholy thought; for the True Witness weighs every word, sets a value on every action, and declares, ‘I know thy works.’ Then let love, truth, kindness, and forbearance be the precious plants that you shall cultivate in the garden of the heart.” The Signs of the Times, November 14, 1892.

  • What must we understand about the human heart? Proverbs 16:2; Jeremiah 17:9; II Corinthians 13:5, 6.

Note: “It is for the eternal interest of everyone to search his own heart and to improve every God-given faculty. …

“Let all remember that there is not a motive in the heart of any man that the Lord does not clearly see. The motives of each one are weighed as carefully as if the destiny of the human agent depended upon this one result. We need a connection with divine power, that we may have an increase of clear light and an understanding of how to reason from cause to effect. We need to have the powers of the understanding cultivated, by our being partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let each one consider carefully the solemn truth: God in heaven is true, and there is not a design however intricate, not a motive however carefully hidden, that He does not clearly understand. He reads the secret devising of every heart. Men may plan out crooked actions for the future, thinking that God does not understand, but in that great day when the books are opened, and every man is judged by the things written in the books, those actions will appear as they are.” The Upward Look, 53.


  • How can we fortify our life in Christ? Proverbs 10:8, 9.

Note: “The very first step in the path of life is to keep the mind stayed on God, to have His fear continually before the eyes. A single departure from moral integrity blunts the conscience, and opens the door to the next temptation. [Proverbs 10:9 quoted.] We are commanded to love God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves; but the daily experience of life shows that this law is disregarded. Uprightness in deal and moral integrity will secure the favor of God, and make a man a blessing to himself and to society; but amid the varied temptations that assail one whichever way he may turn, it is impossible to keep a clear conscience and the approval of heaven without divine aid and a principle to love honesty for the sake of the right.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1158.

  • What type of attitude pleases God? Proverbs 23:15–17.

Note: “The heart must be renewed by divine grace, or it will be in vain to seek for purity of life. He who attempts to build up a noble, virtuous character independent of the grace of Christ is building his house upon the shifting sand. In the fierce storms of temptation it will surely be overthrown. David’s prayer should be the petition of every soul: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10. And having become partakers of the heavenly gift, we are to go on unto perfection, being ‘kept by the power of God through faith.’ I Peter 1:5.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 460.

  • What should be our constant focus? Proverbs 7:1–3.

Note: “Double your diligence to make your calling and election sure. Keep God’s commandments, and live, and His law as the apple of your eye. Tax every moment to the utmost in laboring for your own eternal interest and for the salvation of souls around you.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 353.


  • With what description does the apostle Peter confirm the relationship we are to have with Christ? 11 Peter 1:4. How does he explain it further? I Peter 1:13–16.

Note: “Let everyone who desires to be a partaker of the divine nature appreciate the fact that he must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There must be a constant, earnest struggling of the soul against the evil imaginings of the mind. There must be a steadfast resistance of temptation to sin in thought or act. The soul must be kept from every stain, through faith in Him who is able to keep you from falling.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1145.

  • Why is our mind—as the governing center (or heart) of our soul—so important? Proverbs 4:23.

Note: “Diligent heart-keeping is essential to a healthy growth in grace. The heart in its natural state is a habitation for unholy thoughts and sinful passions. When brought into subjection to Christ, it must be cleansed by the Spirit from all defilement. This can not be done without the consent of the individual.

“When the soul has been cleansed, it is the duty of the Christian to keep it undefiled. Many seem to think that the religion of Christ does not call for the abandonment of daily sins, the breaking loose from habits which have held the soul in bondage. They renounce some things condemned by the conscience, but they fail to represent Christ in the daily life. They do not bring Christlikeness into the home. They do not show a thoughtful care in their choice of words. Too often, fretful, impatient words are spoken, words which stir the worst passions of the human heart. Such ones need the abiding presence of Christ in the soul. Only in His strength can they keep guard over the words and actions.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1157.


  • What comes as we cultivate the beauty of a Christlike character? Proverbs 22:11; 16:7; II Corinthians 3:18; Matthew 5:8.

Note: “The affections should center upon God. Contemplate His greatness, His mercy and excellences. Let His goodness and love and perfection of character captivate your heart.” Sons and Daughters of God, 99.

“We are to make determined efforts to overcome as Christ overcame. From this warfare no one is excused. If for us the gates of the holy city swing ajar, if we behold the King in His beauty, we must now overcome as Christ overcame.” Ibid., 371.

“We have only a little while in which to prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have not a moment to lose. We need to begin at once to gain a preparation to enter the courts above. God will help all who will help themselves. But if you sit down under Satan’s shadow, and let him tempt you to look on the objectionable side, and to weaken the hands of those who are trying to carry forward the work of the Lord, how can you hope to gain the victory over temptation? You can not be a joint heir with Christ unless you have his spirit, and are determined to gain heaven at any cost. Those who regardless of all else, place themselves in God’s hands, to be and do all that he would have them, will see the King in his beauty. They will behold his matchless charms, and, touching their golden harps, they will fill all heaven with rich music and with songs to the Lamb.” The Review and Herald, June 15, 1905.

Review and Thought Questions

1 Why are our moment-by-moment thoughts so important?

2 What should we realize about the tendency of our mind?

3 How only can we maintain a connection with Christ?

4 What is the duty of everyone who professes Christ?

5 How is it possible to see the King in His beauty?

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Vegetable Spaghetti Medley

8 oz. pkg. whole wheat spaghetti

1 bag fresh vegetable medley or vegetables of choice

½ cup smooth peanut butter

2 Tbsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 ½ tsp. chile-garlic sauce

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

Slightly undercook the pasta until el dente; then add the vegetables and cook until the vegetables are just tender. Drain mixture, reserving 1 cup of liquid. Whisk peanut butter, Braggs, garlic, chile-garlic sauce and ginger in a large bowl. Add the reserved cooking liquid, pasta and vegetables. Toss well to coat. Serve warm or chilled.

Food – Obesity, A Growing Epidemic

Problems ensue when temperance, one of the eight laws of heath, is not followed in every area of our life. One of the more obvious ways in which intemperance is displayed is obesity. The statistics related to obesity in the United States of America are shocking. There are 58 million people overweight, 40 million obese, and three million morbidly obese. Eight out of every ten Americans over 25 years of age are overweight. Metropolitan weight tables show the “ideal” weight for longevity. A Google search will find the BMI, body mass index. Weighing in excess of your ideal weight with a BMI greater than 25 can be an indication of future health problems and decreased longevity. Contributing factors to obesity may include medical problems, such as a low thyroid level, what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat, how we burn calories, and our heredity. Of these, only our heredity is something over which we have no influence.

Eighty percent of Type 2 diabetes is related to obesity, as is 70 percent of cardiovascular disease. Forty-two percent of diagnosed breast and colon cancer are among obese individuals; 30 percent of all gallbladder surgery is related to obesity, and 26 percent of obese people have high blood pressure.

Our children are not immune to this growing epidemic. According to pediatric endocrinologist, David S. Ludwig, early childhood obesity may produce changes in metabolism, hormones, or the brain that oppose weight loss. Adolescents who are obese have seven times the risk of being morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40) than adults. Obese teens are increasingly steered toward riskier measures to prevent future health problems, including various weight loss surgeries. The severely obese are now rising faster in the United States population than those who are moderately obese. It is therefore critical that childhood weight problems are addressed before poor lifestyle habits are deeply ingrained.

These health issues have an untold effect on the lives of the individuals, families, and society. This problem needs to be addressed not only as a health problem but as a spiritual problem, because we are told whether we eat, drink, or whatever we do, we are to glorify God (I Corinthians 10:31). The Bible has very specific counsel regarding moderation and diet. “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:5. “Put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Proverbs 23:2.

Please know that this problem goes much deeper than the social stigma associated with appearance and poor health. It is related to many problems in our world. “And yet with scarcely a thought or care, men and women of the present generation indulge intemperance by surfeiting and drunkenness and thereby leave, as a legacy for the next generation, disease, enfeebled intellects, and polluted morals.” The Adventist Home, 173.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1.

Children’s Story – Have a Nice Weekend

Have a nice weekend!” were wishes given us by family, neighbors and coworkers. Frank and I decided that we were not too old to actually car camp—that means taking a tent and sleeping bags in the trunk of the car, not an RV! It was early August and very hot in our hometown of Yuma, Arizona, so we thought of places not too far away that might be a little cooler for our weekend get away. Prescott, Arizona, was the chosen spot, so after saying a prayer for safety, as we always do before traveling, we set off on our journey. On arrival we selected campsite #1 at Yavapai Campground, just outside of Prescott, by Granite Mountain. We set up camp, had supper and went to bed; bed was a sleeping bag on a thin air mattress. Charlie, our little Terrier mix, who looks somewhat like the infamous Benji, lay at my feet. After tossing and turning and getting little sleep, we awoke to the pleasant, cool mountain air, chirping birds and beautiful surroundings of rock formations. It was so relaxing and enjoyable to sit in our folding lounge chairs, watching through binoculars the different species of birds and being able to identify them using the bird book that we had brought with us.

That evening we went into town to pick up a few forgotten supplies and decided that sunflower seeds would help attract more birds. Back at the camp we scattered sunflower seeds on the nicely landscaped retaining wall at our campsite. As we were putting things away and washing out our new pan, I went to dump the water on the other side of the retaining wall when I saw something move. I thought it must be Charlie, but what was he doing down there? When I took a second look, I saw that it was a black and white creature munching on sunflower seeds! I called to Frank, “Get in the car; it’s a skunk!” He fumbled around looking for the keys, and we finally made it to safety. But after a few minutes, Frank, who didn’t believe that I actually saw a skunk, went out to look. Yes, he confirmed that it really was a skunk! (And no, he didn’t get sprayed!)

We didn’t know that skunks like sunflower seeds but decided that maybe the sunflower seeds were not such a good idea, so I borrowed a broom from the camp host to sweep them up. It was dark by then, and on the way to the trash can to dispose of the seeds, our headlamps shined through the bushes ahead. All of a sudden there were two golden eyes staring back at us. That’s as far to the trash can as the sunflower seeds got, and we hightailed it back to the “safety” of our tent. The skunk was gone when we got back, so we settled down for the night, in our “half dome” tent, which is too low to stand up in.

We all three fell asleep in a short while, but I was awakened at about 3:00 a.m. to a low-pitched, deep growl outside the tent (on my side)! I tapped Frank and whispered to him that there was an animal outside, but he just kept snoring. I looked at Charlie and Charlie looked at me, and we both lay as still and quiet as two mice. When Frank finally woke up at about 4:00 a.m. we heard another loud snarl (still on my side of the tent). Frank yelled, “Get out of here!” and we never heard anything more.

By then it was impossible to go back to sleep, so at 5:00 a.m. we got up for the day and looked around the tent, but nothing was to be seen. The sun was up, and the weather was fresh and cool so we cooked our breakfast and talked about the events of the night. We guessed it might have been a bobcat, but when telling a ranger what happened he informed us that it was more than likely a mountain lion. It was so beautiful up there we had thought we would take one more day to enjoy it and had made arrangements to stay another night, but the closeness of skunks and a possible mountain lion encounter changed our minds. We packed our gear and arrived back home in Yuma safe and sound.

Our prayers for safety reminded us that, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.

History – Herod the Great

Herod’s Desert Fortification—The Herodium

King Herod the Great was one of the most powerful men and greatest builders of all time. Yet, he was so despised that at his death he ordered the death of many prominent Jews, so there would be weeping in Jerusalem. He was buried at his desert palace, the Herodium.

“Two hundred steps of purest white marble led up to it. Its top was crowned with circular towers; its courtyard contained splendid structures.” Jewish Wars, Flavius Josephus.

Herod the Great

For 40 years, Jewish history was dominated by Herod the Great. He was born about 73 B.C., the son of Antipater, who was an Idumean. The Idumeans were a tribe who had been forced by the Nabatean Arabs westward into southern Judea, where they had been forcibly converted to Judaism by the Hasmonean rulers of Palestine. The Idumeans were for this reason Jews of a recent and suspect background. At the same time they were shrewd and had no problem with making political deals with the Romans for their own advantage.

King Herod’s father, Antipater, governed them from about 47 B.C. He also served as an advisor to Hyrcanus, and gained the confidence of Pompey. When Julius Caesar was besieged in Alexandria in 48 B.C., it was Antipater who persuaded the Jews to aid Caesar. In gratitude Caesar gave the Jews important privileges.

Antipater’s son, Herod the Great, was an opportunist of the highest order. During the tumultuous years of the Roman civil wars he skillfully shifted his allegiance from Pompey to Caesar to Antony to Octavian (Augustus). Because he was such an able soldier the Romans valued his services. Rome needed a shrewd and capable agent in Palestine, and in Herod the Great they felt they had found such a man.

Herod Appointed King

Herod was appointed king of Judea by Marc Antony in 40 B.C., and was supported by Roman soldiers in his fight to gain control of Judea in 37.

Herod’s Pathological Character

Though successful in politics, Herod was bitterly unhappy in his private life. He married ten wives, including the beautiful Hasmonean princess, Mariamme, the granddaughter of both Hyrcan and Aristobulus. Though he loved her passionately, he suspected her of infidelity and had her executed along with her mother. Later, in 7 B.C., he had her two sons killed. Herod kept an uneasy peace by dealing ruthlessly with suspected rivals and troublemakers. He systematically killed off all living claimants to the Hasmonean kingship, including his young brother-in-law, the high priest Aristobulus. When he found that his favorite son, Antipater, had been plotting against him, he had him executed along with two of their brothers—just five days before his own death in 4 B.C.

The Roman Emperor Augustus said about Herod: “I would rather be Herod’s pig than Herod’s son.” It is easy to imagine such a man ordering the massacre of all male infants in Bethlehem for no better reason than a vague rumor that one had been born “King of the Jews.” This event vividly reflects the pathological character of the king. He murdered members of his own family, yet scrupulously observed Mosaic dietary laws and would eat no pork. …

The Death of Herod

Herod died in 4 B.C. at the age of 69. …

The historian, Josephus, describes the death of Herod at great length. I will summarize the event:

When Herod’s health began to fail him rapidly, he was moved to his winter capital in Jericho. From there he was carried by stretcher to the hot springs on the shores of the Dead Sea. The springs did no good; Herod returned home. Racked by despondency, Herod attempted suicide. Rumors of the attempt caused loud wailing throughout the palace. Herod’s son, imprisoned by his paranoid father, mistook the cries to mean his father was dead. Immediately, he tried to bribe his jailers, who reported the bribery attempt to Herod. The sick king ordered his son executed on the spot. Now Herod plunged deeper into depression. He was only days away from his own death—and he knew it. What pained him most was the knowledge that his death would be met with joy in Judea. To forestall this, he devised an incredible plan.

“Having assembled the most distinguished men from every village from one end of Judea to the other, he ordered them to be locked in the hippodrome at Jericho.” Jewish Wars, Flavius Josephus.

Herod then gave the order to execute them at the very moment he, himself, died. His sick mind reasoned that their death would dispel any joy in Judea over his own death. The order was never carried out. After Herod’s death, his body was carried in procession from Jericho to the Herodium outside Bethlehem for burial. Herod’s body was adorned in purple, a crown of gold rested on his head, and a scepter of gold was placed in his hand. The bier bearing his body was made of gold and studded with jewels that sparkled as it was carried along under the desert sun. Following the bier was Herod’s household and hundreds of slaves, swinging censers. Slowly, the procession inched its way up the mountainside to the Herodium, where it was laid to rest.

The Herodium

Herod the Great built this fortification in the desert in 37 B.C. Looking like a volcano, the Herodium is one of several fortress-palaces built by Herod the Great. It was artificially shaped, with everything placed inside its protected craterlike top.

Josephus wrote of this astounding complex, the Herodium:

“Herod built round towers all about the top, and filled the remaining space with costly palaces … he brought a mighty quantity of water from a great distance, and raised an ascent of two hundred steps of purest white marble that led up to it. Its top was crowned with circular towers; its courtyard contained splendid structures.” Jewish Wars, Flavius Josephus., November 16, 2010.

Health – How Important is Calcium?

No element is less understood and more ignorantly applied than calcium and its compounds. Calcium is the great builder of the structural parts of the body, not only of the bones and ligaments, but the walls of the arteries, the heart, the walls of the veins, the teeth, the epithelial, and connective tissue. It is also an integral and necessary element in both blood and lymph. We know that many malnutrition diseases are usually the results of a deficiency of calcium.

At the same time, an excess of calcium is responsible for arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries); also for scleroma (sclerosis of tissue, liver, skin, eyes and so forth). In fact, old age itself is brought about by a gradual hardening of the whole structural system through deposition of calcium compounds that are insoluble and inorganic.

While the young growing organism can use relatively large amounts of calcium, a fully matured and solidified body requires less. For middle age, comparatively less than half the amount is necessary. The older age requires a very small amount, above which calcium becomes a very dangerous thing to use, often bringing about most disastrous results, and yet never being thought of as the cause of the chronic suffering, and sometimes death of the patient.

The type of calcium that causes the trouble is inorganic. Inorganic calcium cannot be used in the life process of the cell, but forms instead the greatest number of obstructions to the normal life processes of the human organism.

Organic calcium, as found in some foods and herbs, is distinctly alkaline in reaction, such as lemons, limes, oranges, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, string beans and onions. Others have an acid reaction upon certain fluids and tissues such as milk, cheese, peas, beans, lentils, cucumbers, radishes, fish, meat, and potatoes.

Green and leafy vegetables contain calcium chloride, as do many berries and herbs. Organic calcium chloride is found in red clover, wheat bran, rhubarb, yellow dock, watercress, blue vervain, motherwort, cactus, hawthorn berries, comfrey root, marshmallow, and many others.

When we see how important calcium is in body action, we should never use something that will counteract its power. When using refined sugar, we are using a substance that is known as a calcium destroyer.

Dr. Bernard Jensen, D.C., N.D., in his book, You Can Master Diseases, (Bernard Jensen Publishing Division, California, 1984), states: “White sugar has been called a leacher of calcium.”

As soon as sugar enters the body, it goes directly into the bloodstream and commences removing the calcium it comes into contact with and robs the cells of the calcium, from the arteries, veins, capillaries, tissue, muscles, and bones.

It is crucial for a woman carrying a fetus to have adequate calcium for both herself and also the baby. The baby, by nature, will draw from the mother’s body any calcium it can get for its own survival, drawing from the veins, arteries, muscles, teeth and bones of the mother. This is the reason for so much varicosity and loss of teeth during pregnancy.

The more sugars and starches (which turn to sugar) the mother consumes, the faster the drainage of calcium from her body, and trouble from weakened areas.

Forearm and Hip Fractures Most Common

“The principal clinical manifestation of osteoporosis is fracture,” Dr. B. E. C. Nordin, professor of mineral metabolism at the University of Luds, points out, “and three osteoporotic fracture syndromes can be defined: the lower forearm fracture, which predominantly affects women between the ages of 50 and 65; the fracture of the proximal femur (the hip), which affects both sexes over the age of seventy; and the relatively rare vertebral crush fracture syndrome, which may be present at any age, but is most common in elderly women.” (British Medical Journal, March 13, 1971).

Osteoporosis characteristically occurs in women after menopause and is presumably related to low estrogen output—the female hormone that dwindles when ovulation and the monthly periods cease. In men, fragile porous bones typically develop considerably later in life and disorder is less severe. However, although the disease is associated with late middle age and old age, the process probably begins many decades earlier.

“I would advise women to start calcium and vitamin D supplements at age 30, or perhaps 25,” says Dr. Jennifer Jowsey of the Mayo Clinic. With the average American diet, there’s apparently a long-term gradual loss of bone mineral exceeding the rate of mineral uptake and bone formation. In later years, when hormonal changes increase the susceptibility to osteoporosis, the skeleton has already lost a good deal of its substance. By then, because of previous loss, the rate of bone formation must not only equal the rate of bone demineralization (the normal condition) but must exceed it if bone strength is to be restored.

It is far more difficult, Dr. Jowsey warns, to induce new, compensatory bone formation than it is simply to slow down bone demineralization. Adequate calcium and vitamin D in the diet will go far to accomplish the latter. But preliminary finds, the Mayo scientist says, indicate that lost bone will not be automatically restored by such dietary correction.

Osteoporisis, Puff by Puff

We can believe from what Dr. Jowsey says that long-term marginal deficiency in calcium and vitamin D is the principle villain in the tragedy of osteoporosis. However, other factors, too, influence bone health. We now know, for example, that cigarettes contribute to bone demineralization and that we should swear off smoking, supposing we are still hooked on this altogether harmful habit.

In a letter appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 31, 1972), Dr. Harry W. Daniell reports his findings that heavy cigarette smoking appears to be a prominent factor in inducing osteoporosis. Dr. Daniell, who practices in Redding, California, was prompted to undertake his study when he realized that most of his under 65 patients suffering from osteoporosis were habitual heavy smokers. (When it occurs before 65, osteoporosis is considered “premature.”) The west coast physician and his associates then studied records from the three small hospitals in the area, coming up with the cases of 17 women who have had at least one characteristic osteoporotic bone fracture prior to age 65. Follow-up interviews with the patients of surviving relatives revealed that of the 17, only one was a nonsmoker; one smoked less than 20 cigarettes a day; and 15 of the 17 had smoked 20 or more cigarettes daily for many years. An 88 percent correlation between heavy smoking and early incidence of osteoporosis is “statistically significant!”

As to how cigarette smoking could so affect the bones, Dr. Daniell points out that bone minerals (mostly calcium and phosphorus, responsible for the bone’s hardness) are “known to be strikingly more soluble in acid solutions,” and cigarette smoking is known to increase the acidity of bone tissue. Thus the bone minerals could be expected to dissolve and be absorbed into the bloodstream at a much faster rate when smoking provides the acid environment.

Studies have shown, Dr. Daniell says, that three consecutive cigarettes cause a prompt transient hypercalcemia—or high content of calcium in the blood. This finding, he explains, suggests that the act of smoking is associated with rapid calcium loss from bone structures.

Still other factors can influence the onset of osteoporosis. Writing in the British Medical Journal (June 2, 1973), Dr. P. E. Belchotz and colleagues suggest that taking your calcium supplement just before going to bed might make a difference in preventing excess mineral loss.

Here’s the rationale: regular meals during the day constantly provide at least some calcium to the bloodstream. But calcium absorption from the gut continues only three to five hours after eating, and therefore from about midnight on, the lack of incoming calcium from the intestinal tract triggers the action of the parathyroid hormone (parathormone), which stimulates bone demineralization or “resportion.” The female hormone, estrogen, the authors note, to some extent, desensitizes bones to the action of parathormone. But in postmenopausal women, this protection has been reduced.

Initial clinical studies by the investigators tend to confirm their hypotheses.

Another factor that triggers the action of parathormone, according to Dr. Jowsey and her associates at the Mayo Clinic, is a mineral imbalance, with phosphorus intake grossly exceeding calcium intake. (Postgraduate Medicine, October 1972.) Heavy meat eaters are at risk of this condition because meat, while very poor in calcium, has a high phosphorus content. It is meat eater’s unbalanced high phosphorus intake, in Dr. Jowsey’s opinion, that accounts for the now established fact that longtime vegetarians are less susceptible to osteoporosis than are omnivores.

Bones that are osteoporotic are like beams in a frame house that have been eaten away for years by termites. But instead of termites, what’s eating away the calcium from the bones of an osteoporotic person is their own blood. That happens because every nerve in the body—including those that cause the heart to beat and the brain to function—needs a precise amount of calcium to carry out its job. Our bodies are strictly programmed to keep this calcium at the required level. If there is not enough of this mineral coming in from dietary sources, complex metabolic machinery immediately removes the required amount from the legs, hips, spine, ribs and arms.

Ordinarily this is a slow but relentless undermining process, but with cortisone administrations, it is swift and relentless. There are usually no symptoms produced until the patient discovers that a minor bump or fall results in a broken arm, leg, or worse still, a hip.

Increased Risk of Fractures

An article on the subject of calcium was published in the newsletter (February, 1974) of the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, Missouri. It began by pointing out that cortisone and its derivatives are being administered to several million patients in the United States who suffer from a number of chronic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis being just one of them. It warns that however useful these compounds may be in alleviating these disorders, they result in a number of serious side effects, including the production of often severe bone loss with an increasing risk of bone fractures.

It is not unusual for patients to have a loss of 30–50 percent of their bone mass after several years of high-dose cortisone treatment.

Dr. Theodore Hahn, a spokesman for a bone research team at the Jewish Hospital, says it appears that cortisone directly blocks the activity of the bone forming cells and at the same time decreases intestinal absorption of calcium. As if these two effects weren’t bad enough, the calcium deficiency in turn can produce “secondary hormonal changes which increases bone breakdown.”

But Dr. Hahn and his coworkers have some good news for people who have been taking cortisone drugs. Large but carefully controlled doses of vitamin D, along with calcium supplements, can reverse this severe degeneration of the skeleton. The article, “Preliminary Results from a Group of 30 Patients Treated with this Regimen”, states indirectly that bone mass can be increased by as much as 25–30 percent over a six-month period, thereby greatly decreasing the risk of bone fracture in cortisone treated patients.

Activity Fortifies the Bones

In 1970, at the annual meeting of the Swedish Medical Society held in Stockholm, Drs. Nils Westlin and Bo Nilsson of Malmo, Sweden, reported that when they measured bone densities in young men they found that 64 athletes had significantly higher bone density than 39 nonathletes of the same age. Density was found to rise with increases in physical activity. (Medical Tribune, February 6, 1970.)

Dr. Carlton Fredericks said that women with bones weakened by osteoporosis should, if they are capable of doing it, skip rope as a means of therapeutic exercise. The impact on the spine, vertically exerted, generates the electrical forces that drive calcium to the bone areas requiring reinforcement. (The Carlton Fredericks Newsletter of Nutrition, July 1, 1972.)

Obviously, an elderly man or woman is not likely to take up jumping rope after having not exercised for several years. But much the same effect could be gained from walking. A brisk walk at least, for those unable to perform more vigorous exercise, is essential if bones are to stay healthy.

Dr. John R. Christopher, Excerpts from School of Natural Healing Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue Eleven.