Bible Study Guides – Faithfulness in All Things

April 24, 2016 – April 30, 2016

Key Text

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 272–283.


“If you are faithful in a few things, your faithfulness will testify that you are a student in the school of Christ.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 7, 1895.


  • How can we tell that Joseph always manifested a right attitude, regardless of what happened to him? Genesis 39:2, 23.

Note: “Joseph did not complain at his lot, nor question why the Lord permitted him to suffer for righteousness’ sake. He did not allow any cloud of despondency to settle upon his heart. He believed in God, and patiently waited for his salvation. He determined that this affliction [while in prison] should serve as an occasion to glorify God and benefit his associates.” The Review and Herald, February 21, 1888.

  • What will others see when we have the right attitude in being faithful to God? Genesis 39:3; Matthew 5:16; 2 Corinthians 3:2.

Note: “From the palace of the Pharaohs his [Joseph’s] influence was felt throughout the land, and the knowledge of God spread far and wide.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 332.

“Joseph carried his religion everywhere, and this was the secret of his unwavering fidelity.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1097.

“The good works of God’s people have a more powerful influence than words.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 443.


  • Why did Potiphar promote Joseph to be a ruler over his household? Genesis 39:3, 4.

Note: “The marked prosperity which attended everything placed under Joseph’s care was not the result of a direct miracle; but his industry, care, and energy were crowned with the divine blessing. Joseph attributed his success to the favor of God, and even his idolatrous master accepted this as the secret of his unparalleled prosperity. Without steadfast, well-directed effort, however, success could never have been attained. God was glorified by the faithfulness of His servant.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 214, 217.

  • What are we instructed regarding faithfulness to our duties? Luke 16:10–12; Colossians 3:22, 23.

Note: “The humble, common duties of life are all to be performed with fidelity; ‘heartily,’ says the apostle, ‘as to the Lord’ (Colossians 3:23). Whatever our department of labor, be it housework or field work or intellectual pursuits, we may perform it to the glory of God so long as we make Christ first and last and best in everything.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 459.

“If man will discharge his duties faithfully wherever he may be, he will become a power for good. God gave Joseph favor with the keeper of the prison, and to faithful Joseph was committed the charge of all the prisoners.” The Signs of the Times, January 8, 1880.

“Heart and soul are to be put into work of any kind; then there is cheerfulness and efficiency. … Faithfulness in the discharge of every duty makes the work noble, and reveals a character that God can approve.” “Ellen G. Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1112.

  • How was Joseph’s faithfulness as a lowly servant finally rewarded by God? Genesis 41:41–43; Proverbs 22:29.

Note: “A strong, well-balanced, symmetrical character is built by the thorough and faithful performance of duty. Joseph had an unblemished character, and as he was found faithful in that which was least, he was finally entrusted with the affairs of a nation.” The Signs of the Times, May 25, 1891.


  • How much trust did Potiphar have in Joseph’s integrity of character? Genesis 39:6; I Thessalonians 4:11, 12.

Note: “It was His [God’s] purpose that in purity and uprightness the believer in God should appear in marked contrast to the worshipers of idols—that thus the light of heavenly grace might shine forth amid the darkness of heathenism.

“Joseph’s gentleness and fidelity won the heart of the chief captain, who came to regard him as a son rather than a slave.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 217.

  • What kind of influence will true men and women of God bring to those with whom they associate? Genesis 39:5; 30:27.

Note: “As the ark of God brought rest and prosperity to Israel, so did this God-loving, God-fearing youth bring a blessing to Egypt. This was manifested in so marked a manner that Potiphar, in whose house he served, attributed all his blessings to his purchased slave, and made him a son rather than a servant. It is God’s purpose that those who love and honor His name shall be honored also themselves, and that the glory given to God through them shall be reflected upon themselves.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 11, 1897.

  • How easy will it be to find honest, upright men and women in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1–4. How do we know that the warning in Timothy refers to the professed people of God? 2 Timothy 3:5–9; I Peter 2:1–3.

Note: “The cause of present truth is suffering for men who are loyal to a sense of right and duty, whose moral integrity is firm, and whose energy is equal to the opening providence of God. Such qualifications as these are of more value than untold wealth invested in the work and cause of God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 23.

“When the Lord makes up His jewels, the true, the frank, the honest, will be looked upon with pleasure. Angels are employed in making crowns for such ones, and upon these star-gemmed crowns will be reflected, with splendor, the light which radiates from the throne of God.” Maranatha, 309.


  • What is significant about Joseph becoming the slave of a high-ranking officer of the Egyptian army? Genesis 39:1; 41:33–37.

Note: “Arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, captain of the king’s guard, in whose service he remained for ten years. …

“The youth was brought in contact with men of rank and learning, and he acquired a knowledge of science, of languages, and of affairs—an education needful to the future prime minister of Egypt.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 214, 217.

  • Name some great leaders and their previous occupations. I Kings 19:19–21; Exodus 3:1; Matthew 4:18, 19. Why does God often choose people who are engaged in life’s simple vocations? I Corinthians 1:26, 27.

Note: “As the time comes for it [the message of the third angel] to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open.” Evangelism, 699, 700.

  • How is God’s choice of workers different from a human choice? I Samuel 16:6–13. What is the Lord looking for? Acts 13:22; Psalm 143:10.

Note: “The elder brothers [sons of Jesse], from whom Samuel would have chosen, did not possess the qualifications that God saw to be essential in a ruler of His people. Proud, self-centered, self-confident, they were set aside for the one whom they lightly regarded, one who had preserved the simplicity and sincerity of his youth, and who, while little in his own sight, could be trained by God for the responsibilities of the kingdom.” Education, 266.


  • How faithful is God in His dealings with men and women? Lamentations 3:22, 23; I Thessalonians 5:24; Revelation 19:11.

Note: “Will the Lord forget His people in this trying hour? Did He forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the antediluvian world? Did He forget Lot when the fire came down from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? Did He forget Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget Elijah when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the Baal prophets? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal pit of his prison-house? Did He forget the three worthies in the fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of lions? Christ cannot forsake those who are as the apple of His eye, the purchase of His precious blood.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 445, 446.

  • What should give us confidence in God’s faithfulness to both save and direct our lives? Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

Note: “We lose many precious blessings by failing to bring our needs and cares and sorrows to our Saviour. He is the wonderful Counselor. He looks upon His church with intense interest and with a heart full of tender sympathy. He enters into the depth of our necessities. But our ways are not always His ways. He sees the result of every action, and He asks us to trust patiently in His wisdom, not in the supposedly wise plans of our own making. …

“Every sincere prayer that is offered is mingled with the efficacy of Christ’s blood. If the answer is deferred, it is because God desires us to show a holy boldness in claiming the pledged word of God. He is faithful Who hath promised. He will never forsake the soul who is wholly surrendered to Him.” In Heavenly Places, 74.


1 Why is it important to have the right attitude as a Christian?

2 How should we conduct ourselves in whatever line of work we undertake?

3 What is the greatest witness we can give to the world?

4 What is God looking for today in the hearts of men and women?

5 How can we be assured that the Lord will never let us down?

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

Bible Study Guides – The Journey to Egypt

April 17, 2016 – April 23, 2016

Key Text

“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant” (Psalm 105:17).

Study Help: The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 126 –131.


“What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men.” The Desire of Ages, 27.


  • List at least seven acts of providence which God had to arrange before Joseph could be sent to Egypt? Psalm 105:17; Genesis 37:13–28.

Note: “The way of God’s choosing may seem dark, yet it is the surest way to the light. In the midst of apparent disaster and defeat, God’s providence is working out His purposes.” The Signs of the Times, July 26, 1883.

  • Out of all of Jacob’s sons, why did God select Joseph as the one to be sent to Egypt for a great work? Genesis 37:2; 39:6; Acts 7:9.

Note: “Joseph listened to his father’s instructions, and feared the Lord. He was more obedient to his father’s righteous teachings than any of his brethren. He treasured his instructions, and, with integrity of heart, loved to obey God. He was grieved at the wrong conduct of some of his brethren, and meekly entreated them to pursue a righteous course, and leave off their wicked acts. This only embittered them against him. His hatred of sin was such that he could not endure to see his brethren sinning against God. He laid the matter before his father, hoping that his authority might reform them.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 126.


  • In his journey to Egypt as a slave, how might Joseph have felt about God’s leading in his life? Genesis 37:28; Psalms 88:3–5; 73:13, 14.

Note: “As the caravan journeyed southward toward the borders of Canaan, the boy could discern in the distance the hills among which lay his father’s tents. Bitterly he wept at thought of that loving father in his loneliness and affliction. … With a trembling heart he looked forward to the future.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 213.

  • When are we tempted to question God’s leading the most? Job 2:7–10; Exodus 16:2, 3; 17:1–3.

Note: “Many who sincerely consecrate their lives to God’s service are surprised and disappointed to find themselves, as never before, confronted by obstacles and beset by trials and perplexities. They pray for Christlikeness of character, for a fitness for the Lord’s work, and they are placed in circumstances that seem to call forth all the evil of their nature. Faults are revealed of which they did not even suspect the existence. Like Israel of old they question, ‘If God is leading us, why do all these things come upon us?’ ” The Ministry of Healing, 470.

  • Why did God allow lonely times to come upon Joseph? I Peter 4:12, 13; Hebrews 12:5, 6; Romans 8:28.

Note: “What a change in situation—from the tenderly cherished son to the despised and helpless slave! …

“But, in the providence of God, even this experience was to be a blessing to him. He had learned in a few hours that which years might not otherwise have taught him. His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to be corrected. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting. Accustomed to the tenderness of his father’s care, he felt that he was unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him, in the bitter, uncared-for life of a stranger and a slave.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 213.


  • What promise can all God-fearing parents hold onto as they rear their children? Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “[When sold into slavery] then his [Joseph’s] thoughts turned to his father’s God. In his childhood he had been taught to love and fear Him. Often in his father’s tent he had listened to the story of the vision that Jacob saw as he fled from his home an exile and a fugitive. He had been told of the Lord’s promises to Jacob, and how they had been fulfilled—how, in the hour of need, the angels of God had come to instruct, comfort, and protect him. And he had learned of the love of God in providing for men a Redeemer. Now all these precious lessons came vividly before him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 213, 214.

  • Who only could Joseph call upon in his lonely exile? How would this decision change his life? Psalms 27:10; 34:18, 19; Romans 10:13.

Note: “His [Joseph’s] soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God—under all circumstances to act as became a subject of the King of heaven. He would serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 214.

  • When we are tempted to feel forsaken and that all is lost, what should we remember? Psalms 37:25; 33:18, 22; 73:25, 26; Hebrews 12:1–3.

Note: “In every affliction God has a purpose to work out for our good. Every blow that destroys an idol, every providence that weakens our hold upon earth and fastens our affections more firmly upon God, is a blessing. The pruning may be painful for a time, but afterward it ‘yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness’ (Hebrews 12:11). … The very trial that taxes our faith the most severely and makes it seem as though God had forsaken us, is to lead us more clearly to Him. … Let no Christian feel that he is forsaken when the hour of trial comes upon him.” The Review and Herald, April 10, 1894.


  • Despite his youth, what victory did Joseph gain over the circumstances he faced? Genesis 39:1, 2; Psalm 40:1–4.

Note: “God in His great mercy will give to all His believing people efficiency and power for His work and service, even as He gave power to Joseph, Samuel, Daniel, Timothy, and scores of others who availed themselves of His promises. They believed Him and relied upon Him, and this was their righteousness. Men and women have to move by faith. They have to press their way through the cloud of objections which Satan brings up to hinder their progress. When God sees that they will trust Him as their helper and their efficiency, they may pass safely through the great darkness of men’s unconsecration.” The Upward Look, 206.

  • What does the Bible say about those who allow circumstances to override their faith? Numbers 13:32, 33; Hebrews 3:17–19; James 1:8.

Note: “The living Christ demands self-denial and strong faith. Circumstances are not to rule the life. The child of God, the heir of heaven, cannot drift hither and thither.” The Review and Herald, November 9, 1897.

  • What promises are given if we overcome our trials, and how can we overcome? Numbers 14:24; I John 5:4; Revelation 3:21.

Note: “Now is the time to show who are the true Calebs, who will not deny that the walls are high, the giants mighty, but who believe that this very fact will make the victory more glorious. There are great difficulties and trials before us. It will require strong courage and persevering effort to go forward. But all now depends on our faith in the Captain who has led us safely thus far. Shall we let unbelief come in now? Shall we weakly yield to distrust and fear? Shall we compromise with the world, and turn away from the heavenly Canaan?” The Review and Herald, November 29, 1881.

“While the cowards and murmurers perished in the wilderness, faithful Caleb had a home in the promised Canaan. ‘Them that honor Me I will honor,’ saith the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 304.


  • Upon Joseph’s arrival in Egypt, why was it important that he meet Potiphar? Genesis 39:1, 2. How did God use this meeting to further His plan for Joseph? Genesis 37:36; 39:20; 41:9–14.

Note: “Joseph regarded his being sold into Egypt as the greatest calamity that could have befallen him; but he saw the necessity of trusting in God as he had never done when protected by his father’s love. Joseph brought God with him into Egypt, and the fact was made apparent by his cheerful demeanor amid his sorrow. As the ark of God brought rest and prosperity to Israel, so did this God-loving, God-fearing youth bring a blessing to Egypt.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1096.

  • Why is it that God’s plans do not always reflect our personal desires? Proverbs 16:9; Isaiah 55:8, 9; Romans 8:26.

Note: “To every sincere prayer an answer will come. It may not come just as you desire, or at the time you look for it; but it will come in the way and at the time that will best meet your need. The prayers you offer in loneliness, in weariness, in trial, God answers, not always according to your expectations, but always for your good.” Gospel Workers, 258.

“We all desire an immediate answer to our prayers and are tempted to become discouraged if our prayer is not immediately answered. Now, my experience has taught me that this is a great mistake. The delay is for our special benefit. We have a chance to see whether our faith is true and sincere or changeable like the waves of the sea.” Counsels on Health, 380, 381.


1 Explain how God’s providence works.

2 How can trials cause us to question our faith?

3 Why is our salvation more important to God than our temporal condition?

4 What are we to do when we meet trying circumstances?

5 How should we expect God to answer our prayers?

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

Bible Study Guides – Jacob’s Influence

April 10, 2016 – April 16, 2016

Key Text

“Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Study Help: Child Guidance, 17–25.


“In the formation of character, no other influences count so much as the influence of the home.” Education, 283.


  • Where did Jacob go wrong in rearing his children? Genesis 37:2, 3.

Note: “Parents should show no partiality, but should treat all their children with tenderness, remembering that they are the purchase of Christ’s blood. Children imitate their parents; hence great care should be taken to give them correct models.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 319.

  • How did this mistake affect the rest of the brothers? Genesis 37:4.

Note: “His [Joseph’s] mother being dead, his affections clung the more closely to the father, and Jacob’s heart was bound up in this child of his old age. He ‘loved Joseph more than all his children’ (Genesis 37:3).

“But even this affection was to become a cause of trouble and sorrow. Jacob unwisely manifested his preference for Joseph, and this excited the jealousy of his other sons.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 209.

“Fathers and mothers should carefully and prayerfully study the characters of their children. They should seek to repress and restrain those traits that are too prominent, and to encourage others which may be deficient, thus securing harmonious development. … The ill-balanced mind, the hasty temper, the fretfulness, envy, or jealousy, bear witness to parental neglect. These evil traits of character bring great unhappiness to their possessors.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 66, 67.


  • In what way did Jacob’s wives foster a wrong spirit in their children? Genesis 29:30–32; 30:1–8, 20.

Note: “The sin of Jacob … revealed its bitter fruit in the character and life of his sons. As these sons arrived at manhood they developed serious faults. The results of polygamy were manifest in the household. This terrible evil tends to dry up the very springs of love, and its influence weakens the most sacred ties. The jealousy of the several mothers had embittered the family relation, the children had grown up contentious and impatient of control, and the father’s life was darkened with anxiety and grief.” Conflict and Courage, 72.

“Rachel was ever the one best loved; but his [Jacob’s] preference for her excited envy and jealousy, and his life was embittered by the rivalry between the sister-wives.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 189, 190.

  • How can a wrong spirit manifested by the parents affect the character development of the children? Ephesians 6:4; Ezekiel 16:44; Romans 2:21. How can we set the right example? I Corinthians 9:27; I Peter 2:21–23.

Note: “When fathers and mothers realize how their children copy them, they will watch carefully every word and gesture.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1118.

“How earnestly and perseveringly the artist labors to transfer to canvas a perfect likeness of his model; and how diligently the sculptor hews and chisels out the stone into a counterpart of the copy he is following. So the parents should labor to shape, polish, and refine their children after the pattern given them in Christ Jesus. As the patient artist studies, and works, and forms plans to make the results of his labors more perfect, so should the parent consider time well spent that is occupied in training the children for useful lives and fitting them for the immortal kingdom.” Child Guidance, 476, 477.

“When I have felt roiled and was tempted to speak words that I would be ashamed of, I would keep silent and pass right out of the room and ask God to give me patience to teach these children. Then I could go back and talk with them, and tell them they must not do this wrong again. We can take such a position in this matter that we shall not provoke the children to wrath. We should speak kindly and patiently, remembering all the time how wayward we are and how we want to be treated by our heavenly Father.” Ibid., 254, 255.


  • When is the temptation to tell a lie the strongest? Genesis 37:27–32; 3:11–13; 4:9, 10.

Note: “How true it is that one sin leads to another; and how forcibly is this truth illustrated in the case of Cain! He seemed surprised at the question, ‘Where is Abel thy brother’ (Genesis 4:9)? He had gone so far in sin, had so far yielded himself to the influence of Satan, that he had lost a sense of the presence of God, and of His greatness and knowledge. So he lied to the Lord to cover up his guilt.” The Signs of the Times, December 16, 1886.

“While Satan can employ fraud and sophistry to accomplish his objects, God cannot lie; while Lucifer, like the serpent, can choose a tortuous course, turning, twisting, gliding, to conceal himself, God moves only in a direct, straight-forward line.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 319.

  • How did the brothers’ deceptive trickery bring upon themselves trouble and heartache? Genesis 37:34, 35; 42:36–38.

Note: “‘Know now,’ they [Joseph’s brothers] said, ‘whether it be thy son’s coat or no’ (Genesis 37:32). They had looked forward to this scene with dread, but they were not prepared for the heart-rending anguish, the utter abandonment of grief, which they were compelled to witness. ‘It is my son’s coat,’ said Jacob; ‘an evil beast hath devoured him. Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces’ (verse 33). Vainly his sons and daughters attempted to comfort him. … Time seemed to bring no alleviation of his grief. ‘I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning’ (verse 35), was his despairing cry. The young men, terrified at what they had done, yet dreading their father’s reproaches, still hid in their own hearts the knowledge of their guilt, which even to themselves seemed very great.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 212.

  • Explain why the deceptive deeds under which Jacob was now suffering due to his children’s deceit can be linked to his own misleading ways of the past. Genesis 27:8–38; Galatians 6:7.

Note: “Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 84.


  • What were the sinful passions which Jacob’s sons cherished towards Joseph? Genesis 37:3–5, 11, 23, 24.

Note: “The favor with which Jacob regarded Joseph could not be concealed, and the gorgeous colored coat which he had given him was a clear evidence to his sons of his partiality. This they thought gave them sufficient reason for harboring jealousy, hatred, and revenge in their hearts.” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.

“The law of God takes note of the jealousy, envy, hatred, malignity, revenge, lust, and ambition that surge through the soul, but have not found expression in outward action because the opportunity, not the will, has been wanting.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 526.

  • When you harbor these sinful passions, where can they lead—and who leads us there? Proverbs 27:4; James 1:13–15.

Note: “Envy and jealousy are like two sisters who blend together in their workings. Envy will lead a man to desire some good which another possesses, and will urge him to use every means in his power to bring down and injure the character and reputation of one in whose place he desires to be.” The Signs of the Times, November 2, 1888.

“The love of Jesus in the soul never leads to malice and envy.” Our High Calling, 234.

  • When these sinful passions are cherished in the heart, what are humans capable of doing? Genesis 37:18–20; Proverbs 6:34, 35; I John 3:11–15.

Note: “They [Joseph’s siblings] had observed their father’s strong love for Joseph, and were envious at him. Their envy grew into hatred, and finally to murder.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 127.

“Envy is the offspring of pride, and if it is entertained in the heart, it will lead to hatred, and eventually to revenge and murder.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 651.

“Murder first exists in the mind. He who gives hatred a place in his heart is setting his feet in the path of the murderer, and his offerings are abhorrent to God.” The Desire of Ages, 310.


  • Name some important guidelines for speech within a Christian home. Ephesians 4:21–27, 31, 32; Revelation 14:5.

Note: “There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others.” The Adventist Home, 177.

“If, in their early childhood, children are not perseveringly and patiently trained in the right way, they will form wrong habits. These habits will develop in their future life and will corrupt others. Those whose minds have received a low cast, who have been cheapened by wrong home influences, by deceptive practices, carry their wrong habits with them through life. If they make a profession of religion, these habits will be revealed in their religious life.” Child Guidance, 200, 201.

  • Why is it important that we take warning from the sin of deception manifested in the lives of Jacob and his children? John 8:44; I Peter 2:1–3; Revelation 21:27.

Note: “Truth is of God; deception in all its myriad forms is of Satan, and whoever in any way departs from the straight line of truth is betraying himself into the power of the wicked one. Those who have learned of Christ will ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Ephesians 5:11).” Prophets and Kings, 252.

“The Lord hates all deception, secrecy, and guile. This is Satan’s work; the work of God is open and frank.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 274.


1 Why is it vital to love all our children equally?

2 What should parents be mindful of when rearing their children?

3 Is there any safety in telling lies, even so-called white lies?

4 How can we commit murder in our heart?

5 How can lies and deceit destroy a Christian home?

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

Bible Study Guides – God’s Plan for Joseph

April 3, 2016 – April 9, 2016

Key Text

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12, last part, 13).

Study Help: The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.


“God’s way, not man’s way, is to be taken as the guide of action. He has a plan, well and wisely ordered. He has revealed this plan to us in His Word, and He expects us to take it as our guide in all things, great and small. Man is not to make plans according to his finite judgment. He is to search for and find God’s plan.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 270, 271.


  • Why was it significant that Joseph set off to find his brothers alone? Genesis 37:12–14.

Note: “He [Jacob] … sent Joseph to find them [his brethren], and bring him words as to their welfare. Had Jacob known the real feeling of his sons toward Joseph, he would not have trusted him alone with them; but this they had carefully concealed.

“With a joyful heart, Joseph parted from his father, neither the aged man nor the youth dreaming of what would happen before they should meet again.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 210.

  • Why was it essential for Joseph to meet the man who told him his brothers’ whereabouts? Genesis 37:15–17, 28.

Note: “When Joseph arrived at the place where his father supposed his brethren were, he did not find them. As he was traveling from field to field in search of them, a stranger learned his errand and told him they had gone to Dothan. He had already traveled fifty miles, and, a distance of fifteen more lay before him. This was a long journey for the youth; but he performed it cheerfully.” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.


  • What was the first thing that came to the brothers’ minds when they saw Joseph coming, and why? Genesis 37:18–20.

Note: “At length he [Joseph] saw his brethren in the distance and hastened to greet them. They also saw him coming, his gay colored coat making him easily recognized; but as they beheld it, their feelings of envy, jealousy, and hatred, were aroused. They did not consider the long journey he had made on foot to meet them; they did not think of his weariness and hunger, and that as their brother he had claims upon their hospitality, their tender consideration and brotherly love. The sight of that coat which signalized him in the distance filled them with a Satanic frenzy.” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.

  • How was the devil trying to thwart God’s plan to use Joseph to save His people? Genesis 15:12–14; 37:20; Ephesians 6:11, 12. In the long run, who would the brothers really be killing had they succeeded in their plans against Joseph? Genesis 42:1, 2.
  • In his efforts to spoil God’s plan for Joseph and his family, what ultimate plan was the devil trying to thwart? Genesis 3:15; 22:16–18; Galatians 3:16.

Note: “The murder of Abel was the first example of the enmity that God had declared would exist between the serpent and the seed of the woman—between Satan and his subjects and Christ and His followers.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 77.

“By leading Israel to this daring insult and blasphemy to Jehovah [at Sinai, when Moses found them bowing in adoration before a golden image], Satan had planned to cause their ruin. Since they had proved themselves to be so utterly degraded, so lost to all sense of the privileges and blessings that God had offered them, and to their own solemn and repeated pledges of loyalty, the Lord would, he believed, divorce them from Himself and devote them to destruction. Thus would be secured the extinction of the seed of Abraham, that seed of promise that was to preserve the knowledge of the living God, and through whom He was to come—the true Seed, that was to conquer Satan. The great rebel had planned to destroy Israel, and thus thwart the purposes of God.” Ibid., 335.


  • Upon whom did God’s Spirit move to save Joseph from death, and why did God select this particular brother? Genesis 37:19–22; 29:31, 32.

Note: “They [Joseph’s brothers] would have executed their purpose but for Reuben. He shrank from participating in the murder of his brother, and proposed that Joseph be cast alive into a pit and left there to perish.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 211.

“He [Reuben] plead for Joseph, showing with clear arguments what guilt would ever rest upon them, and, that the curse of God would come upon them for such a crime.” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.

  • What was God’s plan for Joseph at this point? Psalm 105:16, 17. What was Reuben’s plan? Genesis 37:22, last part.

Note: “He [Reuben] proposed to have him cast alive into a pit, and left there to perish, meaning to take him out privately and return him to his father.” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.

  • On which other brother did God then have to work to carry out His plans, and why did God have to ensure that Reuben was not around at the time? Genesis 37:25–30.

Note: “Having persuaded all to consent to this plan, Reuben left the company, fearing that he might fail to control his feelings, and that his real intentions would be discovered. …

“Judah now proposed to sell their brother to these [Ishmaelite] heathen traders instead of leaving him to die. While he would be effectually put out of their way, they would remain clear of his blood; ‘for,’ he urged, ‘he is our brother and our flesh’ (Genesis 37:27). To this proposition all agreed, and Joseph was quickly drawn out of the pit. …

“Reuben returned to the pit, but Joseph was not there. In alarm and self-reproach he rent his garments, and sought his brothers, exclaiming, ‘The child is not; and I, whither shall I go’ (verse 30)? Upon learning the fate of Joseph, and that it would now be impossible to recover him, Reuben was induced to unite with the rest in the attempt to conceal their guilt.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 211, 212.


  • Even though Joseph was outside of the protection of his earthly father, Who was still with him? Genesis 39:2; Psalm 103:13.

Note: “Joseph’s brethren flattered themselves that they were taking a sure course to prevent the fulfillment of Joseph’s strange dreams. But the Lord controlled events, and caused the cruel course of Joseph’s brethren to bring about the fulfillment of the dreams which they were laboring to frustrate.

“Joseph was greatly afflicted to be separated from his father, and his bitterest sorrow was in reflecting upon his father’s grief. But God did not leave Joseph to go into Egypt alone. Angels prepared the way for his reception.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 130, 131.

  • What do we always need to keep in mind regarding God’s control and jurisdiction over all human life? Job 2:3–6; Psalm 56:11.

Note: “Study the history of Joseph and of Daniel. The Lord did not prevent the plottings of men who sought to do them harm; but He caused all these devices to work for good to His servants, who amid trial and conflict preserved their faith and loyalty.” Gospel Workers, 477.

  • What assurance can a believer in Christ have in God’s care for him or her? John 10:27–29; I Peter 5:6, 7.

Note: “Christ says to man, You are mine. I have bought you. You are now only a rough stone; but if you will place yourself in My hands, I will polish you, and the luster with which you shall shine will bring honor to My name. No man shall pluck you out of My hand. I will make you My peculiar treasure. On My coronation day, you will be a jewel in My crown of rejoicing.” In Heavenly Places, 267.

“The present and eternal security of men is their surety, Jesus Christ the righteous. No man will be able to pluck the believing soul out of His hands. … By keeping the love of God in the heart, the love of the world is kept out, and we become built up in the most holy faith.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 17, 1898.


  • To those who put their trust in God as Joseph did, what is the promise? Psalm 37:4, 5; Proverbs 3:5, 6.

Note: “Spread every plan before God with fasting, [and] with the humbling of the soul before the Lord Jesus, and commit thy ways unto the Lord. The sure promise is, He will direct the paths. He is infinite in resources. The Holy One of Israel, Who calls the host of heaven by name, and holds the stars of heaven in position, has you individually in His keeping. …

“I would that all could realize what possibilities and probabilities there are for all who make Christ their sufficiency and their trust. The life hid with Christ in God ever has a refuge; he can say, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’ (Philippians 4:13).” Country Living, 28.

  • In the Christian journey, what are we to work out and how? Philippians 2:12, 13.

Note: “No man can of himself work out his own salvation, and God cannot do this work for him without his co-operation. But when man works earnestly, God works with him, giving him power to become a son of God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 372.

“God and the human being are to cooperate. All are to work out that which God works in.” To Be Like Jesus, 120.

“It means everything to us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. God works in us, to will and to do of His good pleasure. If we let Him work, He will work. Our reward in heaven above depends on our daily walk and conversation here below. We can be Christians here. And to be a Christian, it is not necessary that we live in depression, mourning because we cannot have our own way. If we are Christians indeed, Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.” The Upward Look, 204.


1 Explain why seemingly small decisions can be life-changing.

2 In what kind of warfare are Christians involved?

3 How can the Spirit of God influence us to allow God’s will to be done?

4 Why should we not fear what man can do to us?

5 Is it God or humanity that is to work for our salvation?

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

Bible Study Guides – Joseph the Dreamer

March 27, 2016 – April 2, 2016

Key Text

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 2, 96–100.


“Faith, patience, forbearance, heavenly-mindedness, trust in your wise, heavenly Father, are the perfect blossoms which mature amidst clouds and disappointments and bereavements.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 934.


  • Who was Joseph, and what did he dream about? Genesis 30:22–24; 37:1–7.

Note: “There was one [of Jacob’s sons] … of a widely different character—the elder son of Rachel, Joseph, whose rare personal beauty seemed but to reflect an inward beauty of mind and heart. Pure, active, and joyous, the lad gave evidence also of moral earnestness and firmness. He listened to his father’s instructions, and loved to obey God.” Conflict and Courage, 72.

“The angel of God instructed Joseph in dreams which he innocently related to his brethren.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 138.

  • How did Joseph’s brothers understand the meaning of his dream with reference to themselves? Genesis 37:8.

Note: “Joseph dreamed that while they were all engaged binding sheaves of grain, his sheaf arose and stood upright, and the sheaves of all the rest stood round about and bowed before his sheaf. No sooner was his dream related than they all understood its significance. His brothers exclaimed with indignation, ‘Shalt thou indeed have dominion over us’ (Geneses 37:8)?” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.


  • In which way was the second dream different from the first dream? Genesis 37:9.

Note: “Soon the Lord gave Joseph another dream of the same import, but more strikingly significant. This dream he also related to his father and his brethren.” The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.

  • How did Joseph’s father react to his dream? Genesis 37:10.

Note: “Soon he [Joseph] had another dream, of similar import, which he also related: ‘Behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.’ This dream was interpreted as readily as the first. The father, who was present, spoke reprovingly—‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth’ (Genesis 37:9, 10)?” Patriarchs and Prophets, 210.

  • How was Jacob’s reaction to the dream different from Joseph’s brothers’ reaction? Genesis 37:11.

Note: “Jacob appeared to regard the dreams of his son with indifference. But he had been often instructed by the Lord in dreams himself, and he believed that the Lord was teaching Joseph in the same manner. He reproved Joseph, that his true feelings might not be discovered by his envious brothers.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 139.

“Notwithstanding the apparent severity of his words, Jacob believed that the Lord was revealing the future to Joseph.

“As the lad stood before his brothers, his beautiful countenance lighted up with the Spirit of inspiration, they could not withhold their admiration; but they did not choose to renounce their evil ways, and they hated the purity that reproved their sins.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 210.

“The Lord works in His own way, and according to His own devising. Let men pray that they may be divested of self, and may be in harmony with heaven.” The Review and Herald, May 5, 1896.


  • Many years later, how would Joseph eventually recognize the fulfillment of his first dream about the sheaves of grain? Genesis 42:6–9.

Note: “[During the famine, Jacob’s sons] were directed to the king’s deputy, and with other applicants they came to present themselves before the ruler of the land. And they ‘bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.’ ‘Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him’ (Genesis 42:6, 8). His Hebrew name had been exchanged for the one bestowed upon him by the king, and there was little resemblance between the prime minister of Egypt and the stripling whom they had sold to the Ishmaelites. As Joseph saw his brothers stooping and making obeisance, his dreams came to his mind, and the scenes of the past rose vividly before him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 224.

  • How many years passed before the first dream would be fulfilled? Genesis 37:2; 41:46, 53, 54; 42:6; 45:6.
  • Why did God allow such a length of time to pass before the vision would be fulfilled? 2 Peter 3:8, 9; compare Genesis 37:4, 11 with Genesis 45:15.

Note: “Many who have never been placed in positions of trial appear to be excellent Christians, their lives seem faultless; but God sees that they have traits of character that must be revealed to them before they can perceive and correct them. … In the providence of God we are placed in different positions to call into exercise qualities of mind calculated to develop character under a variety of circumstances. … Professed Christians may live unexceptionable lives so far as outward appearance is concerned; but when a change of circumstances throws them into entirely different positions, strong traits of character are discovered, which would have remained hidden had their surroundings continued the same.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 55, 56.

“God designed that he [Joseph] should obtain an experience by temptations, adversity, and hardships, to prepare him to fill an exalted position.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1097.


  • Discuss some other reasons why God allows certain experiences to last longer than we would like. Psalm 26:2; Hebrews 12:11; James 5:7–11; Revelation 14:12, first part.

Note: “None who receive God’s word are exempt from difficulty and trial; but when affliction comes, the true Christian does not become restless, distrustful, or despondent. Though we can not see the definite outcome of affairs, or discern the purpose of God’s providences, we are not to cast away our confidence. Remembering the tender mercies of the Lord, we should cast our care upon Him, and with patience wait for His salvation.

“Through conflict the spiritual life is strengthened. Trials well borne will develop steadfastness of character and precious spiritual graces. The perfect fruit of faith, meekness, and love often matures best amid storm clouds and darkness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 60, 61.

  • What is the greatest challenge to our faith during a prolonged trial? Hebrews 10:35–39; Psalm 27:14.

Note: “Because circumstances change and disappointments come, because you do not have as much help as you hoped to receive for the building up of the work, you are not therefore to become disheartened. Lay every care at the feet of the Redeemer. ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’ (John 16:24). Do your best, and then wait, patiently, hopefully, rejoicingly, because the promise of God cannot fail. Christ’s life of untiring effort has been recorded for our encouragement. He did not fail nor become discouraged. In time of trial, be patient. Patience is a precious jewel. It will bring health to heart and mind. Wait on the Lord until He sees that you are ready to receive and appreciate the blessings for which you ask. Exercise faith, even though the trials are severe. ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1). Of faith hope is born.

“It requires self-control to accept disappointment meekly; but Jesus understands your needs. Every prayer offered to Him in sincerity and faith will be answered. Having done your best, refuse to give way to discouragement and despair. When hedged about with apparently insurmountable difficulties, then is the time above all others to trust in the Lord.” The Review and Herald, May 30, 1912.


  • How did Joseph ultimately believe that these particular dreams were divine revelations, despite his brothers’ prior rejections? Genesis 40:8; 41:15, 16.

Note: “Joseph did not take the glory to himself. He pointed Pharaoh to God, saying, ‘It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace’ (Genesis 41:16).

“Through the wisdom given him of God, Joseph could see the true meaning of the dream. He saw the wonderful workings of God, and he laid the whole matter distinctly before Pharaoh.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 11, 1897.

“Joseph’s reply to the king reveals his humility and his faith in God. He modestly disclaims the honor of possessing in himself superior wisdom. ‘It is not in me.’ God alone can explain these mysteries.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 220.

  • What is God’s purpose in giving certain dreams and visions in the last days? Joel 2:28–31; Acts 10:9–28.

Note: “I recommend to you, dear reader, the word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the ‘last days’; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth. Thus God dealt with Peter when He was about to send him to preach to the Gentiles (Acts 10).” Early Writings, 78. [Emphasis author’s.]


1 Why should we be careful not to mock someone who has had a dream?

2 Explain why human nature doesn’t like to bow to another in authority.

3 What is the purpose of trials in the Christian’s life?

4 Which characteristic of our faith will trials help us develop?

5 Should we expect more dreams and visions to come in the future?

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

Recipe – Yummy Banana Oat Bars


Yummy Banana Oat Bars

Serves: 8

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant) 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 3/4 cup finely chopped apple
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Press into a 9-by-9-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, cut into squares or bars.


Food – Wonderful World of Oats

Oats are such a simple grain but yet so filled with wonderful nutrition for our bodies. The following is a little bit of history you might find interesting about simple oats.

“If it weren’t for horses, we probably wouldn’t even know about oats, to say nothing of the great health benefits they provide. When horses were introduced in various parts of the world, oats went along as their feed. Not surprisingly, however, humans were a bit reluctant to take a taste. Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary of the English Language defined oats as ‘a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people.’ It seems the Scotts were ahead of their time.

“Oats are a very healthy grain. For one thing, unlike wheat, barley, and other grains, processed oats retain the bran and germ layers, which is where most of the nutrients reside. … Studies show that getting more oats in the diet not only lowers total cholesterol but, more encouragingly, lowers the bad low-density lipoprotein (LD) cholesterol while leaving the beneficial high-density lipoprotien cholesterol alone. …

“Although all grains contain a little fat, oats contain quite a bit. For example, a half-cup serving of oatmeal has a little more than 1 gram of fat … while oats are somewhat high in fat, almost 80 percent of the fat is the heart-healthy, unsaturated kind. …

“An additional benefit is the soluble fiber in oats. Because it soaks up lots of water, it creates a feeling of fullness. This means that when you eat oats, you feel satisfied longer and so are more likely to eat less, which is good news for anyone who’s trying to lose weight.

“Eat for convenience. Unlike many foods, in which the processed versions are often the least nutritious, oats retain their goodness in different forms. So when time is an issue, go ahead and enjoy quick oats. They provide just as many vitamins and minerals as the traditional, slower-cooking kind. Keep in mind, however, that quick oats do contain more sodium than their slower-cooking kin.

“For protein, take your pick. Both rolled oats and oat bran are good sources of protein. One cup of cooked oat bran contains 7 grams, 14 percent of the Daily Value (DV), while a serving of rolled oats has 6 grams, 12 percent of the DV.”

Excerpts from The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, Prevention Health Books, Rodale, 374-378.


Yummy Banana Oat Bars

Serves: 8

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant) 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 3/4 cup finely chopped apple
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Press into a 9-by-9-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, cut into squares or bars.


Children’s Story – Lord Cornwallis’ Knee Buckles

This is a story about the Revolutionary War. This war was fought between England and the United States, when George Washington lived. At the close of the war, the United States became a free country and George Washington was its first President.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, in 1777, a brave little American girl, named Anne Randolph lived on a farm not so far from Philadelphia. Her father and her two brothers had joined the American army under the command of George Washington; so Anne and her mother were left alone to take care of the farm.

Two years before the time of this story, Anne’s father had given her a beautiful calf as a pet, and the two had become great friends. Whenever Anne went into the field, the young cow came to be petted.

At one time during the war, the English army was in Philadelphia. The soldiers, as they marched through the country, took the wheat and the corn of the farmers, and their horses and cattle as well.

One day, the soldiers came to the farm of Mr. Randolph and took Anne’s pet cow. They tied a rope about her horns and drove her away. In great grief Anne begged for her pet, but without success.

It did not take long for Anne to think what to do. She ran to the stable, saddled her pony, and then rode at full speed to see Lord Cornwallis, the general of the English army. It was a very brave thing for a little girl only twelve years old to do.

A soldier was marching back and forth in front of the general’s camp.

“What do you want?” he asked Anne, as she galloped up.

“I wish to see Lord Cornwallis,” she said.

The soldier let her pass, thinking, no doubt, that she had very important news to tell. Lord Cornwallis and some of his friends were at dinner when little Anne rushed into the room.

“What do you want, my child?” asked the general kindly.

“I want my cow, Sir. Your soldiers have taken her away, and I have come to get her. Oh, please, Sir, you must let me have her.”

“And who are you, my little girl?” asked the general kindly.

“I am Anne Randolph, and I live three miles from here with my mother. Have you seen my cow, sir?”

“Have you no father or brothers, Anne?”

“Yes, Sir, but they are in the army.”

“In which army?”

“In the American army, Sir.”

“Oh! So they are rebels, are they?”

“Oh yes, Sir; we are all rebels about here, Sir.”

“And you are a bit of a rebel yourself?”

“Yes, indeed, I was born so.”

The general threw back his head and laughed. “And your cow is a rebel too, I suppose.”

“I think so, Sir. She is the best cow I ever knew.”

“Look here, my little rebel,” said Lord Cornwallis soberly. “Don’t you know that we are here to fight the rebels?”

“Yes, Sir. But oh, Sir, I raised my cow myself. She has always been mine. She can’t belong to you. I would never steal your cow, Sir.”

The general arose. “Come here, my child. You are a brave little girl, and I promise you that you shall have your cow. And here, take these,” he said, unfastening a pair of silver knee buckles. “Keep them to remember that Lord Cornwallis can appreciate courage and truth even in a young rebel. And if the solders trouble your cow again, come to me at once.”

Then, calling a guard, he told him to go with the child through the camp in search of the cow; and when he should find the animal, to send a man to drive her home again. So Miss Anne returned home in triumph with her cow. And those sparkling knee buckles are treasured by her descendants, in memory of Lord Cornwallis and the Revolution.

“Gentlemen,” said Lord Cornwallis to his officers, after Anne had left, “this country is certain to be free, with such brave little rebels in it as this.”

May we all be as brave to stand for what we know to be right and true!

Adventure Stories from History, Harvestime Books, Altamont, Tennessee. Pages 39–41.

Sermon on the Mount Series – Inconsolable Sorrow

If a saying is self-contradictory, we often say it is an oxymoron. However, many of the greatest truths that Jesus taught seem to be self-contradictory, like the beatitude that says, “Happy are those that mourn.” In other words, happy are the sad!

The second beatitude says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). It sounds just as strange and paradoxical as does the first beatitude that says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). It is seemingly contrary to the accepted views of all mankind in every age of human history, for it is not our custom to envy those who weep or to congratulate the broken-hearted. We usually pity them and offer them our sympathy. We write them letters of condolence and are thankful that we have escaped their terrible situation. But Jesus pronounces a blessing on the mourners. He declares them to be happy and sets them apart as a special, privileged class. This beatitude does not have universal application or is it all-inclusive. It does not embrace every person in the world who mourns, regardless of the cause, because there is a mourning that will know no comfort. There are burning tears that will never be wiped away and there is a bitter anguish that will never be appeased.

Jesus was very, very clear about this. Notice what He said in Matthew 8:12: “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In Matthew 13:42 He says the very same thing: “There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Again in verse 50 He says there is going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Over and over again Jesus warned that there was coming a time when there would be a sorrow for which there would be no healing. There would be a sorrow that would have no consolation. Notice what He says in Matthew 24:50: “The master of that servant who will come in a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In Matthew 25:30 the same warning is repeated: “Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It is predicted in Jeremiah that there is coming a time when some people in the world will make this comment: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20)! Those who are finally lost will have a sorrow that has no comfort. There will be no alleviation for their bitter anguish. There can be no real, lasting comfort for the person who refuses to separate from sin by refusing all the overtures of the God of heaven for mercy if they would repent. If you grieve away the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, there is no way for you to be comforted.

Notice what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:10 concerning a sorrow for which there is no comfort: “… godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

So, there is a sorrow of this world for which there is no comfort. This sort of sorrow does not bring comfort; it brings death. And there are millions of people, today in our world whose sorrow is borne of remorse, not because of their conduct, not because of their sins, but because of the personal loss that has resulted from their conduct. They do not hate the sin but instead they love the sin and just hate the results. Our jails, prisons, and penitentiaries are filled with mourners of this sort. But this mourning does not lead to any blessed results.

There is a large class of pessimistic people who mourn. One Christian writer describing them said there are people who glory in gloom and misery. There are those who are veritable gluttons for wretchedness. They search for despair as bees search for honey. They are never so happy as when they feel that they have a perfect right to be miserable. They are never so miserable as when they feel duty-bound to be happy. The Bible is very clear; we read it from the words of Jesus about the wailing and weeping that there will be in the last days. The apostle Paul says the same things.

If there is a sorrow that won’t produce any good result, then what kind of sorrow will produce a good result? What kind of mourning is Jesus talking about that brings comfort and happiness? You cannot study the beatitudes and understand them until you understand that they are inseparably connected. Each one is an advanced step on the path that leads to the kingdom of heaven. They form links in a chain of spiritual growth. They constitute the steps of a ladder that lead to the kingdom of blessedness. Blessed mourning is that which comes as a result of a person’s recognition of his spiritual poverty. Remember, the first beatitude says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is to those people who recognize their spiritual poverty and see their sinful condition, and say like the apostle Paul said one time in Romans 7:24 literal translation, “… wretched man that I am! Who is going to deliver me from this body of death?”

If you realize your condition and have true heart sorrow for the condition that you are in, if you are poor in spirit and you recognize that in a spiritual sense you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, and mourn over this condition, the Lord says, you are going to be comforted. The apostle Paul also describes this sorrow that brings comfort and happiness in 2 Corinthians 7:8–12: “… even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; although I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner. What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

Godly sorrow is sorrow for the sins that have destroyed our peace and which have caused the indescribable sufferings of the One Who paid the redemption price. Comfort is needed only where there has been grief. There can be no comfort if there has not first been discomfort. There can be no healing until a person recognizes that he or she has been wounded. Heart sorrow is the essential spiritual preparation for pardon. And pardon is the prerequisite for comfort and happiness. Whom Christ pardons He first makes penitent, and penitence is a heart sorrow for sin, a brokenness of spirit because of conscious failure.

The Bible gives many examples of godly and ungodly sorrow. For instance, the patriarch Job, when he ceased trying to justify himself and began to recognize his sins and to mourn over them, his captivity was turned and he was blessed above anything he had ever experienced before. The same is true in regard to Isaiah the prophet. In his agony of soul, over the sins of his life, he talks of himself as being a man of unclean lips, dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5).

When he recognized his condition and said that he was undone, that brought to him the dawn of a new day, the doorway to happiness. He was anointed as a messenger of the Lord. Then there is the example of King Saul. King Saul mourned over his sin of rebellion, not because he repented because of his sin, but because it cost him his throne. So, he made a forced confession when there wasn’t any other course open to him. But a forced confession does not bring forgiveness. His mourning over his rejection as King brought him no comfort. His was not a sorrow for sin, but like many who have broken the law, he was only sorry for the results of his sin. Saul had a successor, David, who also committed sins. Looking at their two lives, it appears that David committed sins just as great as Saul did, but with a difference. David was sorry, not just for what he had done, but he realized his total wretchedness, and that there had to be a re-creation or he could never be saved. He was afraid he had committed the unpardonable sin, and this is what he said about it in Psalm 51:

“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness” (verse 14). “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (verses 10, 11). David recognized that he was all wretched, miserable, undone and unless the Lord created within him a new heart, a new spirit, he was lost. His repentance was accepted. The consciousness of the enormity of his sin caused him to suffer very keenly and in brokenness of heart he cried out, “O Lord, give me a new heart.”

That’s what Jesus talked about with Nicodemus. He said to the man who was one of the leaders of the Jews in those days that unless you are born of the Holy Spirit, there is no chance for you to enter the kingdom of heaven. In other words, unless you have a new heart, a new spirit, you cannot be saved. (See John 3:3, 5.)

Judas was another mourner. Judas’ mourning was over the great sin of betraying his Lord and Master. His remorse was so terrible that it drove him to murder himself. However, it was not of the godly sort that brings comfort. It was the sorrow of the world that ends in death. He was sorry for the consequences of what he had done. He never repented for the sin himself. True repentance for sins, sorrow for sin, can come only as a gift of the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 5.)

Peter sinned almost as grievously as did Judas. He betrayed Jesus Christ the same night, but his remorse was great and his grief led to genuine repentance, repentance not just for the consequences, but repentance for the sin itself and he was comforted and blessed. Jesus is the only Source of true comfort. If you want to really be comforted, you must go to Him with repentance, and ask for the gift of repentance. Ask that the Holy Spirit will give your heart repentance and a desire to be born again.

It is sorrow for our sinful condition that will be comforted. Jesus is the only Source of comfort, and therefore all mourning should lead us to Him. In fact, Jesus has given an invitation to people who are mourning because of bereavement over the loss of a loved one. Maybe you have lost your father or your mother or your wife or your husband or a child, and you are bereaved and mourning. Jesus wants to relieve your mourning.

In Isaiah there is a prophecy of the work of the Messiah, the Christ. Messiah is a Hebrew word, Christ is from the same Greek word, meaning the Anointed One. Jesus applied this prophecy to Himself. Notice what it says the work of the Messiah would be. Isaiah 61:1–3 says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Notice, the work of the Messiah was to bind up the broken-hearted, to comfort all that mourn, to give them that mourn in Zion beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. That is what Jesus still wants to give to the world today. The problem is that there is a lack of consciousness of sin. This healing can only be brought about by a consciousness of sin and a vision of the character of Christ. Recognition of sin is a result of recognition of God. But this must be followed by genuine heart-sorrow and repentance. The present generation is but little disturbed or concerned over sin. Multitudes of people have so far lost their sense of right and wrong that they are virtually amoral or non-moral. They have trampled all moral and spiritual standards under foot until, to them, nothing is wrong anymore. Such an attitude always produces a spirit of pride and self-appreciation, making its possessors feel they are rich and in need of nothing.

Today we are living in a world that is actually similar to the world that Jesus lived in, in that there are few people who feel their poverty of spirit enough to mourn over it. There are many who feel that somehow they lack something. But a mere recognition of a lack is not enough. The blessing is for the person only who is a convicted sinner and who takes the matter seriously and grieves over the situation until the remedy is applied. His godly sorrow must turn his footsteps toward Him who is anxiously awaiting to supply all of his needs. The knowledge of our need is valueless unless it leads us to the One Who can provide the solution. There is comfortless sorrow rampant in the world today, because godly sorrow over sin has almost disappeared from among men. Comfort in sorrow of any kind and for any cause is awaiting those who renounce sin. The heavenly blessing embraces all the sorrows that afflict mankind, provided that the comfort comes as a result of mourning over sin, which must be first experienced.

Those who realize their spiritual poverty are in a condition that if they mourn over it and are sorry and come to the Lord, He said, “I am willing to heal you. I am willing to provide comfort for your sorrow.”

The ultimate fulfillment of the comfort to mourners will come in that blessed realm where sin and all of its results are no more. We read in the Bible about what Jesus came to do. The purpose, the reason that He came, was so that He could redeem His people and take them to a better land that is described in Isaiah 35, verse 10: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

We read also about that land in the book of Revelation. There will come a time when there is no more sorrow at all. Notice what it says in Revelation 21:4 literal translation: “And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Why is it that in the future there will come a time when there will be no more sorrow, no pain, no suffering, no crying out and no funerals? It is because at that time, sin has been done away. You can read about how sin will finally be totally abolished from our universe in Revelation the 20th chapter.

The time is coming when sin and sinners will be no more. And when that time comes, then in God’s universe, everything will be clean. There will be no more pain, no more suffering, and no more sorrow. But if you are going to be in that place, you must be cleansed from your sins, not only forgiven, but you must be cleansed from all unrighteousness as you read in I John 1:9. It says in Revelation 21:27, concerning that place, “There shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

The ultimate fulfillment of that promise that the mourners will be comforted will be in that better land when all sorrow will be done away. In order for sorrow to be completely done away, sin has to be completely done away. And if you are sorry for the situation you are in, and want to be cleansed from your sins, the Lord says there is comfort for you.

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

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

Health – Dangers in Processed Meats

Many have been following all updated studies on the danger of meat eating. There have been many little warnings along the way. These warnings are getting stronger for God’s people to awake to the dangers of eating flesh meats. In the following report the experts concluded that each 50 gram [2 oz.] portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Consumption of processed meat is also linked with pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. This should be of interest to all. This information comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organization, Press Release – October 26, 2015.

Lyon, France, 26 October 2015 – The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, has evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.

Red meat

After thoroughly reviewing the accumulated scientific literature, a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect.

This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

Processed meat

Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.

Meat consumption and its effects

The consumption of meat varies greatly between countries, with from a few percent up to 100% of people eating red meat, depending on the country, and somewhat lower proportions eating processed meat.

The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” says Dr Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Programme. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

The IARC Working Group considered more than 800 studies that investigated associations of more than a dozen types of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries and populations with diverse diets. The most influential evidence came from large prospective cohort studies conducted over the past 20 years.

Public health

“These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat,” says Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC. “At the same time, red meat has nutritional value. Therefore, these results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments, in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.”

IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat …

Red meat refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat.

Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood.

Examples of processed meat include hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.

A summary of the final evaluations is available online in The Lancet Oncology, and the detailed assessments will be published as Volume 114 of the IARC Monographs. [All emphasis added.]

“Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health.” Counsels on Health, 575.