Bible Study Guides – The Love of Christ Exemplified, Part II

June 18, 2006 – June 24, 2006

Key Text

“For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.” John 12:8.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 557–568


“The cause of God should not be overlooked that the poor may receive our first attention. Christ once gave His disciples a very important lesson on this point. When Mary poured the ointment on the head of Jesus, covetous Judas made a plea in behalf of the poor, murmuring at what he considered a waste of money. But Jesus vindicated the act, saying, ‘Why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.’ ‘Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.’ Mark 14:6, 9. By this we are taught that Christ is to be honored in the consecration of the best of our substance. Should our whole attention be directed to relieving the wants of the poor, God’s cause would be neglected. Neither will suffer if His stewards do their duty, but the cause of Christ should come first.” Counsels on Health, 229.

1 At Simon’s feast for Jesus in Bethany, what language would imply that the woman who honored Him had not been invited? How was it that she knew Simon? Luke 7:37.

note: “Simon questioned whether Christ was a prophet. Because Christ allowed this woman to approach Him, because He did not indignantly spurn her as one whose sins were too great to be forgiven, because He did not show that He realized that she had fallen, Simon was tempted to think that He was not a prophet. His heart was filled with mistrust and unbelief. Jesus knows nothing of this woman, who is so free in her demonstrations, he thought, or He would not allow her to touch Him. . . .

“Simon’s way was to take no notice of Mary’s penitent service, her humble action. Her act of kissing Christ’s feet and anointing them with ointment was exasperating to Simon. He thought that if Christ were a prophet, He would recognize sinners and rebuke them. . . .

“He [Simon] himself had led into sin the woman he now despised. She had been deeply wronged by him.” Daughters of God, 237.

2 Who was this woman? John 11:1, 2.

note: “Jesus had often found the rest that his weary human nature required at the house of Lazarus, in Bethany. His first visit there was when he and his disciples were weary from a toilsome journey on foot from Jericho to Jerusalem. They tarried as guests at the quiet home of Lazarus, and were ministered unto by his sisters, Martha and Mary. Notwithstanding the fatigue of Jesus, he continued the instruction which he had been giving his disciples on the road, in reference to the qualifications necessary to fit men for the kingdom of Heaven. The peace of Christ rested upon the home of the brother and sisters. Martha had been all anxiety to provide for the comfort of her guests, but Mary was charmed by the words of Jesus to his disciples, and, seeing a golden opportunity to become better acquainted with the doctrines of Christ, quietly entered the room where he was sitting, and, taking her place at the feet of Jesus, drank in eagerly every word that fell from his lips.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 358, 359.

3 Who found fault with Mary? John 12:4–6.

note: “Judas was treasurer for the disciples, and from their little store he had secretly drawn for his own use, thus narrowing down their resources to a meager pittance. He was eager to put into the bag all that he could obtain. The treasure in the bag was often drawn upon to relieve the poor; and when something that Judas did not think essential was bought, he would say, Why is this waste? why was not the cost of this put into the bag that I carry for the poor? Now the act of Mary was in such marked contrast to his selfishness that he was put to shame; and according to his custom, he sought to assign a worthy motive for his objection to her gift. Turning to the disciples, he asked, [John 12:5, 6 quoted]. Judas had no heart for the poor. Had Mary’s ointment been sold, and the proceeds fallen into his possession, the poor would have received no benefit.” The Desire of Ages, 559.

4 In what way did Christ comfort Mary? Matthew 26:10, 13.

note: “Mary heard the words of criticism. Her heart trembled within her. She feared that her sister would reproach her for extravagance. The Master, too, might think her improvident. Without apology or excuse she was about to shrink away, when the voice of her Lord was heard, ‘Let her alone; why trouble ye her?’ [Mark 14:6.] He saw that she was embarrassed and distressed. He knew that in this act of service she had expressed her gratitude for the forgiveness of her sins, and He brought relief to her mind.” The Desire of Ages, 560.

5 In what manner did Christ reprove Judas? John 12:7, 8.

note: “Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ’s life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.

“All may find something to do. ‘The poor always ye have with you,’ (John 12:8), Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ’s love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ’s rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ Matthew 7:12.” The Desire of Ages, 640.

6 What shows that Simon questioned the propriety of Mary’s conduct? Luke 7:39.

note: “Simon the host had been influenced by the criticism of Judas upon Mary’s gift, and he was surprised at the conduct of Jesus. His Pharisaic pride was offended. He knew that many of his guests were looking upon Christ with distrust and displeasure. . . .

“By curing Simon of leprosy, Christ had saved him from a living death. But now Simon questioned whether the Saviour were a prophet. Because Christ allowed this woman to approach Him, because He did not indignantly spurn her as one whose sins were too great to be forgiven, because He did not show that He realized she had fallen, Simon was tempted to think that He was not a prophet. Jesus knows nothing of this woman who is so free in her demonstrations, he thought, or He would not allow her to touch Him.

“But it was Simon’s ignorance of God and of Christ that led him to think as he did. He did not realize that God’s Son must act in God’s way, with compassion, tenderness, and mercy. Simon’s way was to take no notice of Mary’s penitent service. Her act of kissing Christ’s feet and anointing them with ointment was exasperating to his hardheartedness. He thought that if Christ were a prophet, He would recognize sinners and rebuke them.” The Desire of Ages, 566.

7 How did Christ reprove Simon? Luke 7:41, 42.

note: “Christ concealed His home thrust under the veil of a parable. He threw upon His host the burden of pronouncing sentence upon himself. Simon had led into sin the woman he now despised. She had been deeply wronged by him. By the two debtors of the parable, Simon and the woman were represented. Jesus did not design to teach that different degrees of obligation should be felt by the two persons, for each owed a debt of gratitude that never could be repaid. But Simon felt himself more righteous than Mary, and Jesus desired him to see how great his guilt really was. He would show him that his sin was greater than hers, as much greater as a debt of five hundred pence exceeds a debt of fifty pence.

“Simon now began to see himself in a new light. He saw how Mary was regarded by One who was more than a prophet. He saw that with keen prophetic eye Christ read her heart of love and devotion. Shame seized upon him, and he realized that he was in the presence of One superior to himself.” The Desire of Ages, 566, 567.

“You should help those who stand most in need of help, those who are less favorably situated, who are erring and faulty, and who may have injured you and tried your patience to the utmost. It is just such ones that Jesus pities, because Satan has more power over them and is constantly taking advantage of their weak points and driving his arrows to wound them where they are least protected. Jesus exercises His power and mercy for just such pitiable cases. . . . Jesus did not shun the weak, unfortunate, and helpless, but He helped such as needed help. He did not confine His visits and labors to a class more intelligent and less faulty, to the neglect of the unfortunate. He did not inquire whether it was agreeable for Him to be a companion of the poorest, the most needy. These are the ones whose company He sought, the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 75.

8 What response did Simon make? Luke 7:43.

note: “When Satan comes to tell you that you are a great sinner, look up to your Redeemer and talk of His merits. That which will help you is to look to His light. Acknowledge your sin, but tell the enemy that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ and that you may be saved by His matchless love. 1 Timothy 1:15. Jesus asked Simon a question in regard to two debtors. One owed his lord a small sum, and the other owed him a very large sum; but he forgave them both, and Christ asked Simon which debtor would love his lord most. Simon answered, ‘He to whom he forgave most.’ Luke 7:43. We have been great sinners, but Christ died that we might be forgiven. The merits of His sacrifice are sufficient to present to the Father in our behalf. Those to whom He has forgiven most will love Him most, and will stand nearest to His throne to praise Him for His great love and infinite sacrifice. It is when we most fully comprehend the love of God that we best realize the sinfulness of sin. When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.” Steps to Christ, 35, 36.

9 How did Christ apply His teachings? Luke 7:44–48.

note: “Christ recounted the opportunities Simon had had to show his love for his Lord, and his appreciation of what had been done for him. Plainly, yet with delicate politeness, the Saviour assured His disciples that His heart is grieved when His children neglect to show their gratitude to Him by words and deeds of love. . . .

“Simon’s coldness and neglect toward the Saviour showed how little he appreciated the mercy he had received. He had thought he honored Jesus by inviting Him to his house. But he now saw himself as he really was. While he thought himself reading his Guest, his Guest had been reading him. He saw how true Christ’s judgment of him was. His religion had been a robe of Pharisaism. He had despised the compassion of Jesus. He had not recognized Him as the representative of God. While Mary was a sinner pardoned, he was a sinner unpardoned. The rigid rule of justice he had desired to enforce against her condemned him.

“Simon was touched by the kindness of Jesus in not openly rebuking him before the guests. He had not been treated as he desired Mary to be treated. He saw that Jesus did not wish to expose his guilt to others, but sought by a true statement of the case to convince his mind, and by pitying kindness to subdue his heart. Stern denunciation would have hardened Simon against repentance, but patient admonition convinced him of his error. He saw the magnitude of the debt which he owed his Lord. His pride was humbled, he repented, and the proud Pharisee became a lowly, self-sacrificing disciple.” The Desire of Ages, 567, 568.

Bible Study Guides – The Love of Christ Exemplified, Part I

June 11, 2006 – June 17, 2006

Key Text

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.

Study Help: In Heavenly Places, 300.


“How many have come to Christ, ready to cast their interests in with his, and, like the rich young ruler, earnestly desiring to inherit eternal life! But when the cost is presented to them,—when they are told that they must forsake all, houses and lands, wife and children, and count not their lives dear unto themselves,—they go away sorrowful. They want the treasures of heaven, and the life that measures with the life of God, but they are not willing to give up their earthly treasures. They are not willing to surrender all to obtain the crown of life.” Review and Herald, April 19, 1898.

1 Of what does godliness have promise? 1 Timothy 4:8.

note: “ ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Mark 8:36, 37.

“This is a question that demands consideration by every parent, every teacher, every student—by every human being, young or old. No scheme of business or plan of life can be sound or complete that embraces only the brief years of this present life and makes no provision for the unending future. Let the youth be taught to take eternity into their reckoning. Let them be taught to choose the principles and seek the possessions that are enduring—to lay up for themselves that ‘treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth;’ to make to themselves friends ‘by means of the mammon of unrighteousness,’ that when it shall fail, these may receive them ‘into the eternal tabernacles.’ Luke 12:33; 16:9, R.V.

“All who do this are making the best possible preparation for life in this world. No man can lay up treasure in heaven without finding his life on earth thereby enriched and ennobled.” Education, 145.

2 How much should a man forsake to be a true follower of Christ? Luke 14:33.

note: “In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. . . . Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.” Steps to Christ, 44.

3 How extensive is the promise to all who forsake everything to be true followers of Christ? Mark 10:29, 30.

note: “Here is the reward for those who sacrifice for God. They receive an hundred-fold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many, I [Ellen White] saw, that are first, shall be last, and the last shall be first. I was shown those who receive the truth, but do not live it. They cling to their possessions, and are not willing to distribute of their substance to advance the cause of God. They have no faith to venture and trust God. Their love of this world swallows up their faith. God has called for a portion of their substance, but they heed it not. They reason thus, that they have labored hard to obtain what they have, and they cannot lend it to the Lord, for they may come to want. ‘O, ye of little faith!’ [Luke 12:28.] That God who cared for Elijah in the time of famine, will not pass by one of his self-sacrificing children. He that has numbered the hairs of their heads, will care for them, and in the days of famine they will be satisfied. While the wicked are perishing all around them for want of bread, their bread and water will be sure. Those who will still cling to their earthly treasure, and will not make a right disposition of that which is lent them of God, will lose their treasure in heaven, lose everlasting life.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 243, 244.

4 How long will such followers of Christ be in remembrance? Psalm 112:5, 6.

note: “When a man dies, his influence does not die with him; but it lives on, reproducing itself. The influence of the man who was good and pure and holy lives on after his death, like the glow of the descending sun, casting its glories athwart the heavens, lighting up the mountain peaks long after the sun has sunk behind the hill. So will the works of the pure and the holy and the good reflect their light when they no longer live to speak and act themselves. Their works, their words, their example will forever live. . . .

“But what a contrast to this is the life of those who are earthly, sensual, devilish! The sensual pleasure was indulged. In the light of the judgment, the man appears as he is, stripped of the livery of heaven. He stands before others as he is in the sight of a holy God. Let every one of us think seriously whether the works following us will be the mellow light of heaven or the shadows of darkness, and whether the legacies we bequeath are those of blessings or curses.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 429.

5 In what manner does real devotion manifest itself? Acts 10:1, 2.

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

“Believing in God as the Creator of heaven and earth, Cornelius revered him, acknowledged his authority, and sought his counsel in all the affairs of life. He was faithful to Jehovah in his home life as well as in his official duties, and had erected the altar of God in his home. He dared not attempt to carry out his plans or to bear his responsibilities without the help of God, and for that help he prayed earnestly.” Review and Herald, April 6, 1911.

“Tho Cornelius was a Roman, he had become acquainted with the true God, and had renounced idolatry. He was obedient to the will of God, and worshiped Him with a true heart. He had not connected himself with the Jews, but was acquainted with the moral law, and was obedient to its precepts. He had not been circumcised, nor did he take part in the sacrificial service; he was therefore regarded by the Jews as unclean. However, he made liberal gifts to sustain the Jewish worship, and was known far and near for his charity and beneficence. His righteous life made him of good repute, among both Jews and Gentiles. Cornelius had not an understanding faith in Christ, tho he believed the prophecies, and was looking for the Messiah to come. Through his love and obedience to God, he was brought nigh unto Him, and was prepared to receive the Saviour when He should be revealed to him. It is rejection of the light given that brings condemnation.” The Signs of the Times, April 6, 1904.

6 How is such devotion of mingled almsgiving and prayer regarded by God? Acts 10:3, 4.

note: “Those churches who are the most systematic and liberal in sustaining the cause of God are the most prosperous spiritually. True liberality in the follower of Christ identifies his interest with that of his Master. In God’s dealing with the Jews and His people to the end of time, He requires systematic benevolence proportionate to their income. The plan of salvation was laid by the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. The light of the gospel shining from the cross of Christ rebukes selfishness and encourages liberality and benevolence. It is not to be a lamented fact that there are increasing calls to give. God in His providence is calling His people out from their limited sphere of action to enter upon greater enterprises. Unlimited effort is demanded at this time when moral darkness is covering the world. Worldliness and covetousness are eating out the vitals of God’s people. They should understand that it is His mercy which multiplies the demands for their means. The angel of God places benevolent acts close beside prayer. . . .

“The spiritual health and prosperity of the church is dependent in a great degree upon her systematic benevolence. It is like the lifeblood which must flow through the whole being, vitalizing every member of the body. It increases love for the souls of our fellow men; for by self-denial and self-sacrifice we are brought into a closer relation to Christ, who for our sakes became poor.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 405.

7 What instruction did the angel give Cornelius? Acts 10:5, 6. What do we learn from this circumstance?

note: “The explicitness of these directions, in which was named even the occupation of the man with whom Peter was staying, shows that Heaven is acquainted with the history and business of men in every station of life. God is familiar with the experience and work of the humble laborer, as well as with that of the king upon his throne. . . .

“God gave evidence of His regard for the gospel ministry and for His organized church. The angel was not commissioned to tell Cornelius the story of the cross. A man subject, even as the centurion himself, to human frailties and temptations, was to be the one to tell him of the crucified and risen Saviour.” The Acts of the Apostles, 133, 134.

8 After the healing of Simon from his leprosy, what did he do in honor of Christ? Mark 14:3; John 12:2.

note: “Simon of Bethany was accounted a disciple of Jesus. He was one of the few Pharisees who had openly joined Christ’s followers. He acknowledged Jesus as a teacher, and hoped that He might be the Messiah, but he had not accepted Him as a Saviour. His character was not transformed; his principles were unchanged.

“Simon had been healed of the leprosy, and it was this that had drawn him to Jesus. He desired to show his gratitude, and at Christ’s last visit to Bethany he made a feast for the Saviour and His disciples. This feast brought together many of the Jews. . . .

“Jesus and His friends were invited to Simon’s feast. At the table the Saviour sat with Simon, whom He had cured of a loathsome disease, on one side, and Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, on the other. Martha served at the table, but Mary was earnestly listening to every word from the lips of Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 557–559.

9 What scene transpired while Jesus sat at meat? John 12:3; Luke 7:38; Mark 14:3.

note: “There are gifts that we rightly proportion to the character and necessities of the ones upon whom we bestow them. Not many of the poor would appreciate Mary’s offering, or our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself, which gift was the highest that could be given. That ointment was a symbol of the overflowing heart of the giver. It was an outward demonstration of a love fed by heavenly streams until it overflowed. And that ointment of Mary, which the disciples called waste, is repeating itself a thousand times in the susceptible hearts of others.

“The Lord God is profuse in His gifts to our world. The question may be asked, Why does the Lord show such waste, such extravagance in the multitude of His gifts that cannot be enumerated? The Lord would be so bountiful toward His human family that it cannot be said of Him that He could do more. When He gave Jesus to our world, He gave all heaven. His love is without a parallel. It did not stop short of anything. . . .

“To human reasoning the whole plan of salvation is a waste of mercies and resources. They are provided to accomplish the restoration of the moral image of God in man. The atonement is abundantly able to secure to all who will receive it, mansions in heaven. The supposed prodigality of Mary is an illustration of the methods of God in the plan of salvation; for nature and grace, related to each other, manifest the ennobling fullness of the Source from which they flow (MS 28, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1101.

Bible Study Guides – Gratitude Appreciated, Part II

June 4, 2006 – June 10, 2006

Key Text

“Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:12, 13.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 750–753.


“The house where God is worshiped should be in accordance with His character and majesty. There are small churches that ever will be small because they place their own interests above the interests of God’s cause. While they have large, convenient houses for themselves, and are constantly improving their premises, they are content to have a most unsuitable place for the worship of God, where His holy presence is to dwell. They wonder that Joseph and Mary were obliged to find shelter in a stable, and that there the Saviour was born; but they are willing to expend upon themselves a large part of their means, while the house of worship is shamefully neglected. How often they say: ‘The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’ [Haggai 1:2.] But the word of the Lord to them is: ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?’ [Verse 4.]

“The house where Jesus is to meet with His people should be neat and attractive. If there are but few believers in a place, put up a neat but humble house, and by dedicating it to God invite Jesus to come as your guest. How does He look upon His people when they have every convenience that heart could wish, but are willing to meet for His worship in a barn, some miserable, out-of-the-way building, or some cheap, forsaken apartment? You work for your friends, you expend means to make everything around them as attractive as possible; but Jesus, the One who gave everything for you, even His precious life,—He who is the Majesty of heaven, the King of kings and Lord of lords,—is favored with a place on earth but little better than the stable which was His first home. Shall we not look at these things as God looks at them? Shall we not test our motives and see what kind of faith we possess?

“ ‘God loveth a cheerful giver,’ [11 Corinthians 9:7] and those who love Him will give freely and cheerfully when by so doing they can advance His cause and promote His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 268, 269.

“The glory of the first temple, the splendor of its service, could not recommend them [the Israelites] to God; for that which is alone of value in His sight, they did not offer. They did not bring Him the sacrifice of a humble and contrite spirit.” Prophets and Kings, 565.

1 With what reception did David meet when he went to make his sacrifice, the atonement for his sin against God of following customs of the surrounding heathen nations? 11 Samuel 24:20–23.

note: “The threshing-floor of Araunah is offered him freely, where to build an altar unto the Lord; also cattle, and everything needful for the sacrifice.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

2 How did David respond to Araunah’s offer? 11 Samuel 24:24.

note: “David tells him who would make this generous offering, that the Lord will accept the sacrifice which he is willing to make, but that he would not come before the Lord with an offering which cost him nothing. He would buy it of him for full price. He offered there burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

3 How did God accept David’s offering? 11 Samuel 24:25.

note: “God accepted the offerings by answering David in sending fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. The angel of the Lord was commanded to put his sword into his sheath, and cease his work of destruction.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

4 What important lesson may be drawn from David’s experience? Consider Mark 12:41–44; Acts 5:1–5.

note: “If all were devoted to God, a precious light would shine forth from them, which would have a direct influence upon all who are brought in contact with them. But all need a work done for them. Some are far from God, variable and unstable as water. Some have no idea of sacrifice. When they desire any pleasure, or any article of dress, or any special indulgence, they do not consider whether they can do without the article, or deny themselves of the pleasure, and make a freewill offering to God. How many have considered that they were required to make some sacrifice? Although it may be of less value than that of the wealthy man in possession of his thousands, yet that which really costs self-denial would be a precious sacrifice, and an offering to God. . . .

“Your stinted offerings are brought to God almost unwillingly, while in self-gratification means are spent lavishly. How much of the wages earned finds its way into the treasury of God to aid in the advancement of his work in saving souls? They [the youth] give a mite each week, and feel that they do much. But they have no sense that they are each stewards of God over their little, as are the wealthy over their larger possession. God has been robbed, and themselves indulged, their pleasures consulted, their tastes gratified, without a thought that God would make close investigation of how they have used their Lord’s goods. While they unhesitatingly gratify their supposed wants (which are not wants in reality), and withhold from God the offering they ought to make, he will no more accept the little pittance they hand in to the treasury than he accepted the offering of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who purposed to rob God in their offerings.” Review and Herald, August 10, 1886.

5 What did David do after he was forbidden to build the temple? 1 Chronicles 29:1–3.

note: “The first temple had been erected during the most prosperous period of Israel’s history. Vast stores of treasure for this purpose had been collected by King David, and the plans for its construction were made by divine inspiration. 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19. Solomon, the wisest of Israel’s monarchs, had completed the work. This temple was the most magnificent building which the world ever saw.” The Great Controversy, 23.

6 What did King David ask of the others? 1 Chronicles 29:5, last part.

note: “David’s exhortation to Solomon, and his appeal to the burden-bearers of the nation, should be kept in mind by those who are in positions of trust in the Lord’s cause today. In this our day God’s people will prosper only so long as they keep His precepts; and those who bear responsibilities are called upon to consecrate their service to the Lord. . . . Laborers in the field at home and abroad,—all are to render faithful service by using their talents wholly for God. The Lord is not pleased with half-hearted service. To Him we owe all that we have and are.” Review and Herald, September 14, 1905.

7 What effect did David’s call for consecrated service have on the leading men in Israel? How did the people show their interest? 1 Chronicles 29:6–8.

note: “With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 752, 753.

“The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle and the erection of the temple illustrates a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by Christians of any later date. They had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt and were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses, saying: ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering.’ [Exodus 25:2.]

“His people had small possessions and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them—to build a tabernacle for God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey His voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord, and pleased Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender His own?

“No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required, and were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated. Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly. They rejoiced in the prospect of a building being erected for the worship of God, and donated more than enough for the purpose.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 77, 78.

8 How were the people affected by their actions? 1 Chronicles 29:9.

note: “David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love could realize that their silver and gold are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that He has lent His creatures. All that they possess is His.

“There are high and holy objects that require means, and money thus invested will yield to the giver more elevated and permanent enjoyment than if it were expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to Him and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth cannot corrupt, that fire cannot consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes; it is secure.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 78, 79.

9 Whom did David acknowledge as the real owner of all the gifts that they had made? 1 Chronicles 29:14–16.

note: “David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king’s efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.

10 What was the design of God’s providence in bringing about circumstances where means were required of the people to build God’s house? 1 Chronicles 29:17.

note: “All that man receives of God’s bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them—to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.’ [1 Chronicles 29:14.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.

Bible Study Guides – Gratitude Appreciated, Part I

May 28, 2006 – June 3, 2006

Key Text

“He hath showed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 606–608.


“Call to mind your former wretchedness, your spiritual blindness, and the darkness which enshrouded you before Christ, a tender, loving Saviour, came to your aid and reached you where you were. If you let these seasons pass without giving tangible proofs of your gratitude for this wonderful and amazing love which a compassionate Saviour exercised toward you, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, there is reason to fear that still greater darkness and misery will come upon you. Now is your sowing time. You will reap that which you sow. Avail yourselves while you may of every privilege of doing good.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 330.

1 What does God require of us all? Micah 6:8.

note: “The words and law of God, written in the soul, and exhibited in a consecrated, holy life, have a powerful influence to convict the world. Covetousness, which is idolatry, and envy, and love of the world, will be rooted from the hearts of those who are obedient to Christ, and it will be their pleasure to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. Oh, how much is comprised in this, walking humbly before God! The law of God, if written in the heart, will bring the mind and will into subjection to the obedience of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 201.

“[Isaiah 61:8; Deuteronomy 25:14–16; Micah 6:8 quoted.] One of the very highest applications of these principles is found in the recognition of man’s right to himself, to the control of his own mind, to the stewardship of his talents, the right to receive and to impart the fruit of his own labor. Strength and power will be in our institutions only as in all their connection with their fellow men they recognize these principles,—only as in their dealing they give heed to the instruction of the word of God.” Ibid., vol. 7, 179, 180.

2 What is of more value than burnt offerings and sacrifices? Mark 12:33.

note: “It is a sacred duty that we owe to God to keep the spirit pure, as a temple for the Holy Ghost. If the heart and mind are devoted to the service of God, obeying all His commandments, loving Him with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we shall be found loyal and true to the requirements of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 33.

“Well may the question be asked with earnest, anxious heart, ‘Is envy cherished, is jealousy permitted to find a place in my heart?’ If so, Christ is not there. ‘Do I love the law of God, is the love of Jesus Christ in my heart?’ If we love one another as Christ has loved us then we are getting ready for the blessed heaven of peace and rest. There is no struggling there to be first, to have the supremacy; all will love their neighbor as themselves. Oh, that God would open the understanding and speak to the hearts of our churches by arousing the individual members. . . .” Selected Messages, Book 2, 382.

3 What called forth these words (Mark 12:33)? Mark 12:28–31.

note: “Wherever there is union with Christ there is love. Whatever other fruits we may bear, if love be missing, they profit nothing. Love to God and our neighbor is the very essence of our religion. No one can love Christ and not love His children. When we are united to Christ, we have the mind of Christ. Purity and love shine forth in the character, meekness and truth control the life. The very expression of the countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the soul exerts a transforming power, and the outward aspect bears witness to the peace and joy that reign within. We drink in the love of Christ, as the branch draws nourishment from the vine. If we are grafted in Christ, if fiber by fiber we have been united with the Living Vine, we shall give evidence of the fact by bearing rich clusters of living fruit. If we are connected with the Light, we shall be channels of light, and in our words and works we shall reflect light to the world. Those who are truly Christians are bound with the chain of love which links earth to heaven, which binds finite man to the infinite God. The light that shines in the face of Jesus Christ shines in the hearts of His followers, to the glory of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 337, 338.

4 Because the scribe of Mark 12:28 discerned these principles, what did the Saviour say to him? Mark 12:34.

note: “The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father’s law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man’s duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.” The Desire of Ages, 608.

5 What sacrifice must be the foundation of all other sacrifices? Psalm 51:17.

note: “The only reason that we have not remission of sin is that we have not acknowledged to Him [Jesus] whom we have wounded by our transgressions, whom we have pierced by our sins, that we are at fault, and in need of mercy. The confession that is the outpouring of the inmost soul will find its way to the heart of infinite pity; for the Lord is nigh unto him that is of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 326.

6 In whose heart has God promised to dwell? Isaiah 57:15.

note: “The life in which the fear of the Lord is cherished will not be a life of sadness and gloom. It is the absence of Christ that makes the countenance sad, and the life a pilgrimage of sighs. Those who are filled with self-esteem and self-love do not feel the need of a living, personal union with Christ. The heart that has not fallen on the Rock is proud of its wholeness. Men want a dignified religion. They desire to walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of popularity and love of praise, exclude the Saviour from their hearts, and without Him there is gloom and sadness. But Christ dwelling in the soul is a wellspring of joy. For all who receive Him, the very keynote of the word of God is rejoicing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 162.

7 How will God’s Word affect a contrite and humble heart? Isaiah 66:2.

note: “To know ourselves is to be humble. Self-knowledge will take away all disposition to entertain the Most High with a recital of our own excellent qualities. Realizing our sins and imperfections, we shall come to the feet of Jesus with earnest supplication, and our petitions will not be passed by unheard. Ezra had the true spirit of prayer. Presenting his petition before God for Israel, when they had sinned grievously in the face of great light and privileges, he exclaimed, ‘I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.’ [Ezra 9:6.] Ezra remembered the goodness of God in again giving his people a foothold in their native land, and he was overwhelmed with indignation and grief at the thought of their ingratitude in return for the divine favor. His language is that of true humiliation of soul, the contrition that prevails with God in prayer. Only the prayer of the humble enters into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1885.

8 How does the prophet speak of those who cannot discern the sacredness of divine things? Isaiah 66:3, 4.

note: “God has not changed toward His faithful servants who are keeping their garments spotless. But many are crying, ‘Peace and safety,’ while sudden destruction is coming upon them. Unless there is thorough repentance, unless men humble their hearts by confession and receive the truth as it is in Jesus, they will never enter heaven. When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 250.

9 Can these things (Isaiah 66:3, 4) be in the heart and not be seen in the life? Matthew 7:16–20.

note: “The good tree will produce good fruit. If the fruit is unpalatable and worthless, the tree is evil. So the fruit borne in the life testifies as to the condition of the heart and the excellence of the character. Good works can never purchase salvation, but they are an evidence of the faith that acts by love and purifies the soul. And though the eternal reward is not bestowed because of our merit, yet it will be in proportion to the work that has been done through the grace of Christ.

“Thus Christ set forth the principles of His kingdom, and showed them to be the great rule of life. . . . It is not enough, He says, for you to hear My words. By obedience you must make them the foundation of your character.” The Desire of Ages, 314.

10 What did David say when he saw the judgment of God upon the people on account of his sin of numbering Israel and proposing to increase the military? What response did God make to his repentance? 11 Samuel 24:17, 18.

note: “David, in his prosperity, did not preserve that humility of character and trust in God which characterized the earlier part of his life. He looked upon the accession to the kingdom with pride, and contrasted their then prosperous condition with their few numbers and little strength when he ascended the throne, taking glory to himself. He gratified his ambitious feelings in yielding to the temptation of the devil to number Israel, that he might compare their former weakness with their then prosperous state under his rule. This was displeasing to God, and contrary to his express command. It would lead Israel to rely upon their strength of numbers, instead of the living God.

“The work of numbering Israel is not fully completed before David feels convicted that he has committed a great sin against God. He sees his error, and humbles himself before God, confessing his great sin in foolishly numbering the people. But his repentance came too late. The word had already gone forth from the Lord to his faithful prophet, to carry a message to David, and offer him his choice of punishments for his transgression. David still shows that he has confidence in God. He chooses to fall into the hands of a merciful God, rather than to be left to the cruel mercies of wicked men.

“Swift destruction followed. Seventy thousand were destroyed by pestilence. David and the elders of Israel were in the deepest humiliation, mourning before the Lord. As the angel of the Lord was on his way to destroy Jerusalem, God bade him stay his work of death. A pitiful God loves his people still, notwithstanding their rebellion. The angel, clad in warlike garments, with a drawn sword in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem, is revealed to David, and to those who are with him. David is terribly afraid, yet he cries out in his distress, and his compassion for Israel. He begs of God to save the sheep. In anguish he confesses, ‘I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.’ [11 Samuel 24:17.] God speaks to David, by his prophet, and bids him make atonement for his sin. David’s heart was in the work, and his repentance was accepted.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 385, 386.

Food for Life – Nature’s Penicillin

During February 2006, Dr. Thomas Jackson, from Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee, led in a health and nutrition community outreach in Wichita, Kansas.

Thirty plus years ago, Dr. Jackson discovered the secret of health through his study of the Bible. He confirmed his findings scientifically as well as through his own personal experience. For ten years, beginning at the age of 17 years, he waged a seemingly hopeless battle against the number one crippling disease—arthritis. He was told that medically there was no cure for his condition and that he would just have to live with it for the rest of his life. However, he began to apply the Bible’s secret of health to his own life, and, by God’s grace, he was freed from the devastating effects of arthritis. Although his condition kept him from pursuing his career as a professional basketball player, God had something better for him to do!

Dr. Jackson is the Director of M.E.E.T. Ministry and has a Ph.D. in Naturopathy (Natural Medicine). He is a Christian Hygienic Practitioner, a Gospel-Health Evangelist, Christian Health Educator, Lecturer, and Lifestyle Consultant. His wife, Dr. LaVerne Jackson, is the Associate Director of M.E.E.T. Ministry and has a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science. They have been involved with Christian health education for over 25 years. From a small beginning in their home, M.E.E.T., a full time health ministry, has grown until it is now located on 30 acres of land and is staffed by committed men and women.

This month’s featured recipe, Nature’s Penicillin, is a recipe from Dr. Jackson’s book, God’s Farmacy. Nature’s Penicillin can be used as a general immune system strengthener as well as to effectively combat colds, flu, sore throat, infections, and respiratory problems. It is simple and inexpensive to make.

If you are interested in hosting a community outreach in your area, would like any of the material Dr. Jackson has available, or are interested in medical missionary training, you may contact M.E.E.T. Ministry by telephone at: 731-986-3518, or via e-mail at:

Nature’s Penicillin

1 grapefruit

1 orange

2 lemons

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 large onion

3 drops peppermint oil

Cut fruit and onion into pieces. Place in a blender with enough water so the mixture turns in the blender. You may need to add more water, but do so just a little at a time. Mix well. Add peppermint oil at the last. For an adult, drink a total of 1 cup a day. For a child, drink a total of 1/2 cup a day. This amount should not be consumed all at once, but taken a spoonful at a time periodically throughout the day. Pour remaining mixture into a glass jar, cover with a lid, and keep refrigerated. When ready to use, warm to room temperature in a saucepan or in hot water before serving. This is not recommended for children under 5 years of age.

Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you are willing to share with LandMarks’ readers? Send it to us with a photo of you, if available, and a two or three line bio. We will consider all submissions. Send to the address below or by e-mail at:

LandMarks Recipes
Steps to Life Ministry
PO. Box 782828
Wichita, KS 67278

Nature Nugget – The Fat Sleeper

Sleepers are goby-type fishes that are members of the family Eleotridae, but they differ from most gobies by having widely spaced pelvic fins that are never joined or modified into a sucking disk. Sleepers are named such because most have eyes that tend to have a “glassy” look, as if the fish is unconscious, and because the behavior of many is to lie still on the bottom or in vegetation waiting to ambush prey.

Sleepers are found in habitats varying from pure freshwater to seawater (marine) and in numerous brackish habitats in-between. They can move or be moved between these varying degrees of salinity without showing any indications of stress. This ability of sleepers to live in and move between freshwater, brackish, and marine water is linked to an enzyme in the fishes’ gill epithelium called “sodium-potassium-activated ATPase,” the activity of which is triggered by immersion in salt-containing water. The enzyme promotes the discharge of sodium ions from the gills, allowing the fish to maintain osmotic balance in seawater. The enzyme activity turns off when the fish moves into freshwater.

There are several species of sleepers in the United States coastal areas, the most common one being the Fat Sleeper (Dormitator maculatus). Fat Sleepers are common in vegetated fresh, brackish, and occasionally marine habitats along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from North Carolina to Brazil and including the Bahamas and West Indies. Their preferred habitats are freshwater ponds, fresh and brackish marshes, low salinity tide pools, and coastal mangrove swamps. Adaptation to variations in coastal habitats has made this fish very resistant to low oxygen and changing water quality. The Fat Sleeper is large—up to 12 inches—and stocky (hence its name). It is mostly benthic (bottom dwelling) where it occurs in weed beds and areas of debris where it feeds on aquatic invertebrates such as copepods, ostracods, and insects.

Fat Sleepers will only breed in freshwater. When it comes time to breed, they undergo a change in body color, and after a complex mating “dance,” they spawn and lay eggs on a flat surface such as a rock. Both parents guard the eggs until they hatch. The eggs hatch within 24 hours and the young travel to saltwater to spend the first stage of their lives.

Does the name Fat Sleeper describe many of us today who claim to be a part of God’s last day church? The first part of this name certainly describes many of us. What about the second part of this name? Are we asleep? “Many have been altogether too long in a sleepy condition.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 206. “Men and women are in the last hours of probation, and yet are careless and stupid, and ministers have no power to arouse them; they are asleep themselves. Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 337. Fortunately, there is hope for us that are in this condition. “Yet the case of even this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace, the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads. Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” The Great Controversy, 601, 602. “We are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The hours of probation are fast passing. We have no time—not a moment—to lose. Let us not be found sleeping on guard. Let no one say in his heart or by his works: ‘My Lord delayeth his coming.’ [Matthew 24:48.] Let the message of Christ’s soon return sound forth in earnest words of warning.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 252.

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

Restoring the Temple – Beverages

In health and in sickness, pure water is one of Heaven’s choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system, and assists nature to resist disease.

“I should eat sparingly, thus relieving my system of unnecessary burden, and should encourage cheerfulness, and give myself the benefits of proper exercise in the open air. I should bathe frequently, and drink freely of pure, soft water.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 419.

Right and Wrong use of Water

“Many make a mistake in drinking cold water with their meals. Taken with meals, water diminishes the flow of the salivary glands; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice water or ice lemonade, drunk with meals, will arrest digestion until the system has imparted sufficient warmth to the stomach to enable it to take up its work again. Hot drinks are debilitating; and besides, those who indulge in their use become slaves to the habit. Food should not be washed down; no drink is needed with meals. Eat slowly, and allow the saliva to mingle with the food. The more liquid there is taken into the stomach with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must first be absorbed. Do not eat largely of salt; give up bottled pickles; keep fiery spiced food out of your stomach; eat fruit with your meals, and the irritation which calls for so much drink will cease to exist. But if anything is needed to quench thirst, pure water, drunk some little time before or after the meal, is all that nature requires. Never take tea, coffee, beer, wine, or any spirituous liquors. Water is the best liquid possible to cleanse the tissues.” Ibid., 420.

Effects of Tea and Coffee

“Tea is poisonous to the system. Christians should let it alone. The influence of coffee is in a degree the same as tea, but the effect upon the system is still worse. Its influence is exciting, and just in the degree that it elevates above par, it will exhaust and bring prostration below par. Tea and coffee drinkers carry the marks upon their faces. The skin becomes sallow, and assumes a lifeless appearance. The glow of health is not seen upon the countenance.” Ibid., 421.

“Coffee is a hurtful indulgence. It temporarily excites the mind to unwonted action, but the aftereffect is exhaustion, prostration, paralysis of the mental, moral, and physical powers. The mind becomes enervated, and unless through determined effort the habit is overcome, the activity of the brain is permanently lessened. All these nerve irritants are wearing away the life forces, and the restlessness caused by shattered nerves, the impatience, the mental feebleness, become a warring element, antagonizing to spiritual progress. Then should not those who advocate temperance and reform be awake to counteract the evils of these injurious drinks? In some cases it is as difficult to break up the tea-and-coffee habit as it is for the inebriate to discontinue the use of liquor. . . .

“Those who resort to tea and coffee for stimulation to labor, will feel the evil effects of this course in trembling nerves and lack of self-control. Tired nerves need rest and quiet. Nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies. But if her forces are goaded on by use of stimulants, there is, whenever this process is repeated, a lessening of real force. For a time more may be accomplished under the unnatural stimulus, but gradually it becomes more difficult to rouse the energies to the desired point, and at last exhausted nature can no longer respond.

“The habit of drinking tea and coffee is a greater evil than is often suspected. Many who have accustomed themselves to the use of stimulating drinks, suffer from headache and nervous prostration, and lose much time on account of sickness. They imagine they cannot live without the stimulus, and are ignorant of its effect upon health. What makes it the more dangerous is, that its evil effects are so often attributed to other causes.

Effects on Mind and Morals

“Through the use of stimulants, the whole system suffers. The nerves are unbalanced, the liver is morbid in its action, the quality and circulation of the blood are affected, and the skin becomes inactive and sallow. The mind, too, is injured. The immediate influence of these stimulants is to excite the brain to undue activity, only to leave it weaker and less capable of exertion. The aftereffect is prostration, not only mental and physical, but moral. As a result we see nervous men and women, of unsound judgment and unbalanced mind. They often manifest a hasty, impatient, accusing spirit, viewing the faults of others as through a magnifying glass, and utterly unable to discern their own defects.

“When these tea and coffee users meet together for social entertainment, the effects of their pernicious habit are manifest. All partake freely of the favorite beverages, and as the stimulating influence is felt, their tongues are loosened, and they begin the wicked work of talking against others. Their words are not few or well chosen. The tidbits of gossip are passed around, too often the poison of scandal as well. These thoughtless gossipers forget that they have a witness. An unseen Watcher is writing their words in the books of heaven. All these unkind criticisms, these exaggerated reports, these envious feelings, expressed under the excitement of the cup of tea, Jesus registers as against Himself. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’ [Matthew 25:40.]” Ibid., 421–423.

Nervous Excitement

“Tea has an influence to excite the nerves, and coffee benumbs the brain; both are highly injurious. You should be careful of your diet. Eat the most wholesome, nourishing food, and keep yourself in a calm state of mind, where you will not become so excited and fly into a passion.

“Tea acts as a stimulant, and, to a certain extent, produces intoxication. The action of coffee and many other popular drinks is similar. The first effect is exhilarating. The nerves of the stomach are excited; these convey irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart, and short-lived energy to the entire system. Fatigue is forgotten, the strength seems to be increased. The intellect is aroused, the imagination becomes more vivid.

“Because of these results, many suppose that their tea or coffee is doing them great good. But this is a mistake. Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. Their effect is produced before there has been time for digestion and assimilation, and what seems to be strength is only nervous excitement. When the influence of the stimulant is gone, the unnatural force abates, and the result is a corresponding degree of languor and debility.

“The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils, for they wear away the life forces. Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork. Nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies. When her forces are goaded on by the use of stimulants, more will be accomplished for a time; but as the system becomes debilitated by their constant use, it gradually becomes more difficult to rouse the energies to the desired point. The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control, until the will is overborne, and there seems to be no power to deny the unnatural craving. Stronger and still stronger stimulants are called for, until exhausted nature can no longer respond.” Ibid., 423, 424.

Ask the Pastor – Archaeology and the Bible


Have the discoveries of archaeology verified the reliability of the Bible, or are we still to take the Bible only on faith?


Over the centuries, there have been many criticisms brought against the Bible concerning its historical reliability. These criticisms are usually based on a lack of evidence from outside sources to confirm the biblical record. Since the Bible is a religious book, many scholars take the position that it is self-endorsing and cannot be trusted unless there is some kind of validating evidence from non-biblical sources. In other words, the Bible is always questioned unless proven reliable, and, as a result, a lack of outside evidence places the biblical account in doubt.

This standard seems to be really different from that applied to other ancient writings, even though many of them, if not most, have a religious element. They are considered to be accurate, unless there is evidence to show that they are not. Although it is not possible to verify every inci-dent in the Bible, the discoveries of archaeology since the mid-1800s have revealed the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible narrative. Following are some examples: The discovery of the Ebla archive in Northern Syria in the 1970s has revealed that the Bible’s story about the Patriarchs is true. These documents, written on clay tablets from around the year 2300 b.c., demonstrate that personal names and places in the Genesis account are genuine. The name Canaan was in use in Ebla—a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word tehom (“the deep”), in Genesis 1:2, was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. However, it has been found that it was part of the vocabulary at Ebla and was in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs in Genesis have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.

The Hittites were once thought to be a biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey. Many thought the biblical references to Solomon’s wealth were greatly exaggerated. But recovered records from the past show that the king indeed was extremely wealthy and that indeed his prosperity was as the Bible said. It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon, as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. In addition to this, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.

Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, the king of Babylon named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon in recorded history was Nabonidus. But tablets have been found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’ son who served as coregent in Babylon. Again the Bible record comes through by showing that Belshazzar could in fact offer to make Daniel the third highest ruler in the kingdom for reading the handwriting on the wall. (Daniel 5:16.)

These are only a few of the many accounts of the Bible that have been verified by the archeological spade of time. If you are ever tempted to question the accuracy and truth of the Bible, just remember that it has been tested and questioned over the centuries, and has passed every test brought upon it. Because Jesus said, “I am coming again,” we can have full confidence that He will, based upon the trustworthiness of His Word.

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

The Pen of Inspiration – Our Failure to Fulfill the Saviour’s Commission, Part I

Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” [Luke 24:45–53.]

What has prevented this promise of the gospel from being fulfilled in all who believe in Christ? Why has not the truth of the living God filled the hearts of the church-members with power, that it may be carried to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples? Why has not the plan of divine benevolence, with its saving, restoring qualities, brought a much larger number to the standard of loyalty to God? The reason is the unfaithfulness of those who have a knowledge of the truth. They have not fulfilled the commission given them by Christ. They have not taken the truth to those who are in the darkness of error. Their selfishness has placed the candlestick of truth under a bushel.

As in the Days of Noah

The condition of the world today is represented by the condition of the world in Noah’s day. Then, we read, “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. . . . Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” [Genesis 6:11, 12, 5, 6, 13, 17, 18.]

The forms of wickedness existing in Noah’s day are current in the world today. God’s word declares: “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37–39.]

Noah was given a message to give to the antediluvians. But they scorned his warning. So today the message that God has sent to be given to the world will be rejected. But this message must be given. The people of God are to make every other interest secondary to its proclamation.

Every Provision Made

Every provision has been made for the salvation of the fallen race. All power has been given to Him who offered himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of every son and daughter of Adam. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.]

Christ came to this world and stood before men with the hoarded love of eternity. The whole ocean of divine love was flowing forth from its great center. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were working in behalf of man. Every power in the heavenly universe was put into activity to carry forward the plan of redemption. The cross of Calvary was erected, and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The Just suffered for the unjust, that He might become the justifier of all who believe in Him. He took human nature upon himself, that He might be a partaker with us in all our temptations. He clothed His divinity with humanity, that by enduring the agony of the cross, He might make His soul an offering for sin.

Christ died to save a selfish world from the sure consequences of selfishness. He has opened His heart in love and pity and sympathy for the whole world. He invites fallen beings to come to Him and receive full and free forgiveness. His character stands before the heavenly universe free from every taint of selfishness. He has made a complete sacrifice to bring to men and women that benevolence which dwells in His own heart. He has sent His Holy Spirit to impress the mind and heart, to lead men to love their fellow men as Christ has loved them.

Infinite benevolence is pouring out all its treasures for the saving of souls from sin, that man may be made one with God. God calls upon human agencies to co-operate with Him in the carrying out of His great purpose. The Lord has given to His people the privilege of carrying forward in the earth the work which He did while here. He calls upon us to co-operate with Him in restoring and saving our fellow men. Christ desires, by the fullness of His power, so to strengthen His Church that the whole world will be encircled with an atmosphere of grace.

Unite with Christ

God wants those who have accepted the truth and have identified themselves with His chosen people, elect and precious, to unite with Christ in His work of drawing men, women, and children to the cross of Calvary. Behold the Man who said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” [John 10:11.] He arose from the dead, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. I was dead, but behold, I am alive for evermore.”

The cross teaches the lesson of self-sacrifice. As by faith men behold the royal Sufferer, the conviction comes to them that the sure result of sin is death. Let the believing soul stand beside the cross of Calvary, and with a heart swelling with grateful love, cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” [John 1:29.] Behold Him! Say it with heart and soul and voice. Induce the sinner to look. When his gaze is arrested, amazed at such wonderful condescension, he steps nearer, and learns of the Saviour the lesson all must learn,—the lesson of meekness and lowliness. The believing soul sees Jesus as He is, and beholding, is changed into His image. The experience of those who are truly converted testifies that God is the author of eternal salvation, and that the grace of Christ is wisdom and power.

To be concluded . . .

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender.

Children’s Story – The Lord Will Provide, Part II

The Story to Now: A family of three living in Communist Cuba had only a small amount of food rations remaining to eat during the weekend. Accustomed to opening their home to guests on Sabbath, they vowed to not invite anyone for lunch on this Sabbath, but the Lord sent them five visitors!

When we arrived home after church, the visiting lady graciously offered her help in the kitchen. “You are on vacation,” I said. “It is time for you to rest. I will take care of everything in no time!”

Going into my kitchen, I knelt in front of the stove on which sat those two little pots with almost no food in them. I told my Lord and Provider, “Lord, here are my fishes and my loaves. It is all I have, and You have asked me to feed these people as You asked your disciples to do that day long ago. I give you what I have. You do the rest.”

While the rice and the plantain balls were warming on the stove, I went to my china cabinet to get a bowl for the small head of lettuce and one tomato. I reached in to take out a small salad bowl, but it was as if the Lord was talking to me. “Where is your faith? Have you not asked Me to multiply your food? You need a larger bowl—enough for all the people and some left over.”

“Forgive me, Lord,” I said, taking out the largest salad bowl I had. As I took off leaves of lettuce, washed them, and cut them into my salad bowl, I did not see the leaves multiplying, but it seemed that the head of lettuce was always the same size; more and more leaves were coming off it. When I finally got to the last leaf, the bowl was completely full. Then I began to cut the tomato, and it remained the same size until I had enough to combine with the lettuce into a nice tossed salad.

The same thing happened with the small piece of bread! Always I was able to cut another slice until I had filled a basket. By now my faith was very strong, so I took out a big serving dish for the rice. I had to laugh when I saw that big dish beside the small pot, but I knew what the Lord was doing. I began scooping the rice into the serving dish, and always the same amount was left in the pot until the dish was completely full. And there was still the same amount of rice left in the pot! “Lord,” I said, “You are providing not only for these people today, but You are providing also for us tomorrow!”

Then came the plantain balls. When I turned on the stove to warm the food, I saw that there were only four plantain balls left. Now, I had a big bowl in my hand, and I smiled, in spite of myself. When I took the pot lid off, the pot was full of plantain balls! I filled the big bowl full, and there were still enough balls left in the pot for the next day!

When lunch was ready, I went into the living room. To my husband, I said, “Honey, I know you were planning to fast today, but since we have these beloved brethren with us, why not join us for dinner? You can fast at any other time, if you want.” Hugo looked at me as if to say, “Are you out of your mind?”

As our visitors went into the bathroom to wash their hands, I led my husband to the dining room table. He could not believe his eyes, and two big tears rolled down his cheeks while he whispered, “Thank you, Lord!”

That Sabbath dinner was the best dinner of our lives. Though a very simple meal, it was provided directly by the Lord. Yes, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.