Bible Study Guides – Solomon’s Testimony

June 19, 2011 – June 25, 2011

Key Text

“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” Proverbs 22:4.

Study Helps: Testimonies, vol. 1, 565, 566; Christ’s Object Lessons, 339–342.


“Even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like him who possesses the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, untouched by the tinsel and show of the world.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.


  • To what heights of worldly wealth and splendor did Solomon reach? Ecclesiastes 2:4–10. What did he finally see, and how can we learn from it? Ecclesiastes 2:11, 12.

Note: “One sad feature of Solomon’s experience was his supposition that massive buildings and magnificent furnishings give character to the work of God. He endeavored to pattern after, and to compete with, the world. He lost sight of the foundation principle underlying the influence that is ever to be exerted by the people of God—obedience to every precept of Holy Writ. The real power of God’s people lies not in numbers, nor in the wealth and worldly prosperity that may be displayed, but in steadfast adherence to His Word.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.

  • Why did Solomon become bitter? Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:14–17. How is this a warning to us? Proverbs 25:26.

Note: “Let no line of work, no institution, bear a name that would divert honor from God to any man or any set of men. Let us remember that the beautiful temple which was erected for the honor of ‘the name of the Lord God of Israel,’ came to be known, through the apostasy of the builder, as ‘Solomon’s temple.’ ” The Review and Herald, January 11, 1906.


  • How was Solomon deluded? Ecclesiastes 4:4; 5:10.

Note: “As Solomon continued to conform to the customs of the world, his pride greatly increased. And the worldly prosperity that attended his apostasy, was regarded by him as a token of God’s favor. So fully had he yielded himself to evil influences, that his spiritual discernment was well-nigh destroyed. He could not see the terrible losses that were sustained by the nation spiritually because he brought into the kingdom an abundance of the gold of Ophir and the silver of Tarshish.

“Today there exists the same danger of mistaking prosperity for the favor of heaven. The prosperity that often for a time attends those who turn from a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to follow a way of their own choosing, is not an assurance of divine approval. Men may interpret it thus, but it is no sign that God’s prospering hand is with them. Let all learn a lesson from Solomon’s experience. Notwithstanding his violation of a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ riches and worldly honor poured in upon him, and seemingly he was greatly blessed. This is in harmony with Job’s declaration that the wicked spend their days in prosperity.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.

  • What better way does God offer? Proverbs 11:17; 14:22.

Note: “How striking is the contrast between Solomon’s ambitious desire to exalt himself, and the life that the Son of God lived upon this earth! The Saviour of mankind was born of humble parentage in a sin-cursed, wicked world. He was brought up in obscurity at Nazareth, a small town of Galilee. He began His work in poverty and without worldly rank. He sought not the admiration or the applause of the world. He dwelt among the lowly. To all appearance he was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus God introduced the gospel in a way altogether different from the way in which many deem it wise to proclaim the same gospel in this age. At the very beginning of the gospel dispensation he taught his church to rely, not on worldly rank and splendor, but on the power of faith and obedience.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.


  • What had Solomon failed to realize? Ecclesiastes 3:17.

Note: “Solomon lost sight of God’s high and holy purpose. He failed of improving the magnificent opportunities for enlightening the representatives of all nations who were continually passing through his territory and tarrying for rest at the principal cities. A selfish use was made of the strategic points along the well-traveled highways. Solomon sought to strengthen his position by building fortified cities at the gateways of commerce. …

“The missionary spirit that God had implanted in the heart of Solomon and in the hearts of many true Israelites, was rapidly supplanted by a spirit of commercialism. … Because of the cupidity and the short-sightedness of those to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God, the countless multitudes that thronged the thoroughfares of travel were allowed to remain in ignorance of the true God.” The Review and Herald, January 25, 1906.

  • How can we redeem the time? Ecclesiastes 11:4–6.

Note: “In these days of travel, the opportunities for coming in contact with men and women of all classes and of many nationalities, are much greater than in the days of Israel. …

“We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light! Let every soul who has received the divine illumination, seek to impart it. Let the workers go from house to house, opening the Bible to the people, circulating the publications, telling others of the light that has blessed their own souls. Let literature be distributed judiciously on the trains, in the street, on the great ships that ply the seas, and through the mails.

“Christians who are living in the great centers of commerce and travel have special opportunities. The believers in these cities can work for God in the neighborhood of their homes. They are to labor quietly and in humility, carrying with them wherever they go the atmosphere of heaven.” The Review and Herald, January 25, 1906.


  • Why was Solomon’s fall so tragic? Proverbs 25:26. How can we avoid his steps of decline? II Corinthians 6:14–18.

Note: “[II Corinthians 6:14–18 quoted.]

“Never was there a time in earth’s history when this warning was more appropriate than at the present time. Many professed Christians think, like Solomon, that they may unite with the ungodly, because their influence over those who are in the wrong will be beneficial; but too often they themselves, entrapped and overcome, yield their sacred faith, sacrifice principle, and separate themselves from God. One false step leads to another, till at last they place themselves where they can not hope to break the chains that bind them.” The Review and Herald, February 1, 1906.

  • What are some important principles that Solomon had to relearn as a result of his apostasy? Proverbs 22:4, 8.

Note: “In his later years, turning wearied and thirsting from earth’s broken cisterns, Solomon returned to drink at the fountain of life. The history of his wasted years, with their lessons of warning, he by the Spirit of inspiration recorded for after generations. And thus, although the seed of his sowing was reaped by his people in harvests of evil, the lifework of Solomon was not wholly lost. For him at last the discipline of suffering accomplished its work.” Education, 153, 154.

“Solomon’s later writings reveal that he realized the wickedness of his course, and sought to warn those who were in danger of going astray.” The Review and Herald, February 8, 1906.

  • In his bitter anguish of remorse over the influence he had cast, what was Solomon constrained to declare? Ecclesiastes 9:18; 10:1, 5, 6. How should this affect us?

Note: “Solomon’s repentance was sincere, but the harm that his example of evil-doing had done the people, could not well be remedied.” The Review and Herald, February 15, 1906.


  • How are we bidden to guard carefully the influence we exert upon others? Luke 14:34, 35; Colossians 4:6; II Corinthians 2:14–16.

Note: “Among the many lessons taught by Solomon’s life, none is more strongly emphasized than the power of influence for good or for ill. However contracted may be our sphere, we still exert an influence for weal or woe. Beyond our knowledge or control, it tells upon others in blessing or cursing. It may be heavy with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of some cherished sin; or it may be charged with the life-giving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. But potent for good or for ill it will surely be.” Prophets and Kings, 85.

  • What is the final summary of the wisdom that God offers us through Solomon? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Philippians 2:5–11.

Note: “We should ask ourselves, For what are we living and working? And what will be the outcome of it all? We need the religion of Jesus Christ daily; for everything we do or say comes under the notice of God. ‘We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.’ What we are at heart, we reveal in life. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, are the result of what we are; and our influence is a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death, according to whether we abide in Christ or not. In the judgment we shall be brought face to face with those whom we have had opportunity to help by directing them, through choice words of counsel, into right, safe paths. If we have a daily connection with God, we shall have a living, abiding interest in the saving of the souls of men, and our influence will be a savor of life unto life.” The Signs of the Times, November 21, 1892.

Review and Thought Questions

1 What triggered the first steps in Solomon’s apostasy?

2 How was Christ’s life a sharp contrast to the king’s?

3 What vital opportunities may we be overlooking today?

4 Explain the most tragic aspect of Solomon’s fall.

5 What are the secrets to exerting a right influence?

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

Bible Study Guides – Life and Death

June 12, 2011 – June 18, 2011

Key Text

“As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” Proverbs 11:19.

Study Helps: The Great Controversy, 544–562; Counsels on Health, 627–630.


“It is a solemn thing to die, but a far more solemn thing to live.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 466.


  • What does God identify as the key to abundant life? Proverbs 4:10–13, 20–22. How do faith and obedience promote our physical well-being? Proverbs 14:30; 19:23.

Note: “Godliness does not conflict with the laws of health, but is in harmony with them. Had men ever been obedient to the law of Ten Commandments, had they carried out in their lives the principles of these ten precepts, the curse of disease that now floods the world would not be.” Counsels on Health, 627.

  • Why does serving God actually make our life easier? Proverbs 13:14, 15; 14:27. What condition results from rebellion against His wisdom? Proverbs 8:32–36; 11:19.

Note: “God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is ‘alienated from the life of God.’ Christ says, ‘All they that hate Me love death.’ Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them.” The Desire of Ages, 764.


  • How does Solomon summarize the major issues of life and death? Ecclesiastes 8:5–13.
  • Even if we do not actively commit sin, how may we still be guilty before God?

Note: “In the great Judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.” The Desire of Ages, 641.

  • What basic sign of humility before God and man can help to protect us from being deceived? Proverbs 28:13.

Note: “It is a close test upon the courage of men and women to be brought to face their own sins and to frankly acknowledge them. To say, ‘That mistake must be charged to my account,’ requires a strength of inward principle that the world possesses in but a limited degree. But he who has the courage to say this in sincerity gains a decided victory over self and effectually closes the door against the enemy.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 336, 337.

“[Proverbs 28:13 quoted.] If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ 11 Corinthians 12:9. ‘Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ Matthew 11:29, 30. Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.” The Great Controversy, 489.


  • What must we know about the solemnity of death—both of ourselves and others? Hebrews 9:27; Proverbs 24:11, 12.

Note: “Among the manifold lessons that we may learn from Solomon’s life, none are more plainly taught than the power of influence for good or for ill. However contracted may be one’s sphere, he exerts an influence. That our influence should be a savor of death unto death, is a fearful thought, yet this is possible. One soul misled—forfeiting eternal bliss—who can estimate the loss! And yet one rash act, one thoughtless word, on our part, may exert so deep an influence on the life of another that it will prove the ruin of his soul! One blemish on the character may turn many away from Christ.” The Review and Herald, February 15, 1906.

  • How are we warned against a major form of deception, especially in the last days? Colossians 2:8, 18, 19.

Note: “I was directed to this scripture as especially applying to modern spiritualism. [Colossians 2:8 quoted.] Thousands … have been spoiled through the philosophy of phrenology and animal magnetism, and have been driven into infidelity. If the mind commences to run in this channel, it is almost sure to lose its balance and be controlled by a demon. ‘Vain deceit’ fills the minds of poor mortals. They think there is such power in themselves to accomplish great works that they realize no necessity of a higher power. Their principles and faith are ‘after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.’ Jesus has not taught them this philosophy. Nothing of the kind can be found in His teachings. He did not direct the minds of poor mortals to themselves, to a power which they possessed. He was ever directing their minds to God, the Creator of the universe, as the source of their strength and wisdom. Special warning is given in verse 18. [Colossians 2:18 quoted.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 297.


  • What has God declared through Solomon regarding the state of the dead? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.

Note: “The teachers of spiritualism come in a pleasing, bewitching manner to deceive you, and if you listen to their fables you are beguiled by the enemy of righteousness and will surely lose your reward. When once the fascinating influence of the archdeceiver overcomes you, you are poisoned, and its deadly influence adulterates and destroys your faith in Christ’s being the Son of God, and you cease to rely on the merits of His blood. Those deceived by this philosophy are beguiled of their reward through the deceptions of Satan. They rely upon their own merits, exercise voluntary humility, are even willing to make sacrifices, and debase themselves, and yield their minds to the belief of supreme nonsense, receiving the most absurd ideas through those whom they believe to be their dead friends. Satan has so blinded their eyes and perverted their judgment that they perceive not the evil; and they follow out the instructions purporting to be from their dead friends now angels in a higher sphere.

“Satan has chosen a most certain, fascinating delusion, one that is calculated to take hold of the sympathies of those who have laid their loved ones in the grave. Evil angels assume the form of these loved ones and relate incidents connected with their lives and perform acts which their friends performed while living. In this way they deceive and lead the relatives of the dead to believe that their deceased friends are angels hovering about them and communing with them. These they regard with a certain idolatry, and what they may say has greater influence over them than the word of God. These evil angels, who assume to be dead friends, will either utterly reject God’s word as idle tales, or, if it suit their purpose best, will select the vital portions which testify of Christ and point out the way to heaven, and change the plain statements of the word of God to suit their own corrupt nature and ruin souls. With due attention to the word of God, all may be convinced if they will of this soul-destroying delusion … [Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6 quoted].” Testimonies, vol. 1, 297, 298.


  • How can we avoid destruction? Proverbs 21:15, 16.

Note: “We cannot wait until the judgment before we consent to deny self and to lift the cross. We cannot then form characters for heaven. It is here in this life that we must take sides with the humble, self-denying Redeemer. It is here that we must overcome envy, strife, selfishness, love of money, and love of the world. It is here that we must enter the school of Christ, and learn of the Master the precious lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind. And here it must be our aim and earnest effort to be loyal and true to the God of heaven by obeying all of His commandments and thus be fitting up for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love God.” The Upward Look, 192.

  • What are some ways to promote true health and happiness in life? Proverbs 3:13–19; I Timothy 4:8.

Note: “There are many amusements that excite the mind, but depression is sure to follow. Other modes of recreation are innocent and healthful; but useful labor that affords physical exercise will often have a more beneficial influence upon the mind, while at the same time it will strengthen the muscles, improve the circulation, and prove a powerful agent in the recovery of health.” Counsels on Health, 627.

“When the mind is free and happy from a sense of duty well done and the satisfaction of giving happiness to others, the cheering, uplifting influence brings new life to the whole being.” The Ministry of Healing, 257.

Review and Thought Questions

1 Name some temporal benefits gained from serving God.

2 What common form of self-deception may be plaguing us?

3 How do many underestimate the solemnity of death?

4 Why is it important to know the doctrine of the state of the dead?

5 How does abundant life involve bearing the cross?

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

Bible Study Guides – Parenting

June 5, 2011 – June 11, 2011

Key Text

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

Study Helps: Fundamentals of Christian Education, 64–70; Testimonies, vol. 5, 36–45.


“Parents, for Christ’s sake do not blunder in your most important work, that of molding the characters of your children for time and for eternity.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 39.


  • How is the childhood of Jesus our example? Luke 2:40.

Note: “As Jesus worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line. He was not willing to be defective, even in the handling of tools. He was perfect as a workman, as He was perfect in character. By His own example He taught that it is our duty to be industrious, that our work should be performed with exactness and thoroughness, and that such labor is honorable. The exercise that teaches the hands to be useful and trains the young to bear their share of life’s burdens gives physical strength, and develops every faculty. All should find something to do that will be beneficial to themselves and helpful to others. God appointed work as a blessing, and only the diligent worker finds the true glory and joy of life. The approval of God rests with loving assurance upon children and youth who cheerfully take their part in the duties of the household, sharing the burdens of father and mother. Such children will go out from the home to be useful members of society.” The Desire of Ages, 72.


  • How does Scripture illustrate the predicament of many busy parents today? Song of Solomon 1:6; Proverbs 29:15.

Note: “Those who feel that they have an imperative call to labor for the improvement of society, while their own children grow up undisciplined, should inquire if they have not mistaken their duty. Their own household is the first missionary field in which parents are required to labor. Those who leave the home garden to grow up to thorns and briers, while they manifest great interest in the cultivation of their neighbor’s plot of ground, are disregarding the word of God. …

“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. This is no light matter. The father may not consider it a great sin to neglect the training of his children; but thus does God regard it. Christian parents need a thorough conversion upon this subject. Guilt is accumulating upon them, and the consequences of their actions reach down from their own children to children’s children. The ill-balanced mind, the hasty temper, the fretfulness, envy, or jealousy, bear witness to parental neglect.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 66, 67.

  • In what peril could many of our youth find themselves—and why? Proverbs 15:19; 18:9; 21:25; 26:13–16.

Note: “Parents have neglected to train their sons and daughters to the faithful performance of domestic duties. Children are permitted to spend their hours in play, while father and mother toil on unceasingly. Few young persons feel that it is their duty to bear a part of the family burden. They are not taught that the indulgence of appetite, or the pursuit of ease or pleasure, is not the great aim of life.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 65.


  • What is the first duty of parents? Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “Let the foundation of a strong constitution be laid in early life. Parents should be the only teachers of their children, until they are eight or ten years of age. … The fields and hills—nature’s audience chamber—should be the schoolroom for little children. Her treasures should be their textbook.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 61.

“The school in the home should be a place where children are taught that the eye of God is upon them, observing all that they do. If this thought were deeply impressed upon the mind, the work of governing children would be made much easier. In the home-school our boys and girls are being prepared to attend a church-school when they reach a proper age to associate more intimately with other children.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 5.

  • What should parents teach their children in regard to appetite? Proverbs 23:1–3. Why is it so important to begin this instruction as early as possible?

Note: “Parents who have taught their children to eat unhealthful, stimulating food all their lives—until the taste is perverted, and they crave clay, slate pencils, burned coffee, tea grounds, cinnamon, cloves, and spices—cannot claim that the appetite demands what the system requires. The appetite has been falsely educated, until it is depraved. The fine organs of the stomach have been stimulated and burned, until they have lost their delicate sensitiveness. Simple, healthful food seems to them insipid. The abused stomach will not perform the work given it, unless urged to it by the most stimulating substances. If these children had been trained from their infancy to take only healthful food, prepared in the most simple manner, preserving its natural properties as much as possible, and avoiding flesh meats, grease, and all spices, the taste and appetite would be unimpaired. In its natural state, it might indicate, in a great degree, the food best adapted to the wants of the system.” Child Guidance, 381, 382.


  • What should we consider about many of the philosophies in the secular schools of today? Proverbs 6:28.

Note: “Can we … expect the youth to develop Christian character while their education is molded by the teaching of those who set at defiance the principles of the law of God?” The Ministry of Healing, 443.

“In planning for the education of their children outside the home, parents should realize that it is no longer safe to send them to the public school, and should endeavor to send them to schools where they will obtain an education based on a Scriptural foundation.” Child Guidance, 304.

  • Besides guarding their scholastic influences, of what else must we be watchful for our young? I Corinthians 15:33.

Note: “With what care parents should guard their children from careless, loose, demoralizing habits! Fathers and mothers, do you realize the importance of the responsibility resting on you? Do you allow your children to associate with other children without being present to know what kind of education they are receiving? Do not allow them to be alone with other children. Give them your special care. Every evening know where they are and what they are doing.” Child Guidance, 114.

  • Name one problem plaguing many youth. Proverbs 7:6–27.

Note: “The young are bewitched with the mania for courtship and marriage. Lovesick sentimentalism prevails. Great vigilance and tact are needed to guard the youth from these wrong influences. Many parents are blind to the tendencies of their children. Some parents have stated to me, with great satisfaction, that their sons or daughters had no desire for the attentions of the opposite sex, when in fact these children were at the same time secretly giving or receiving such attentions, and the parents were so much absorbed in worldliness and gossip that they knew nothing about the matter.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 60.


  • What should we keep in mind when our youth need to be corrected? Proverbs 3:11, 12; 12:25; 15:23, 24.

Note: “Children are what their parents make them by their instruction, discipline, and example.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 37.

“Parents must see that their own hearts and lives are controlled by the divine precepts, if they would bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are not authorized to fret and scold and ridicule. They should never taunt their children with perverse traits of character, which they themselves have transmitted to them. This mode of discipline will never cure the evil. Parents, bring the precepts of God’s word to admonish and reprove your wayward children. Show them a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for your requirements. A reproof which comes as the word of God is far more effective than one falling in harsh, angry tones from the lips of parents.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 67, 68.

  • What environment is most conducive to the happiness and industry of our families? Song of Solomon 6:11, 12; Isaiah 65:21.

Note: “Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits to take the place of flesh-meat, which is so corrupting to the lifeblood coursing through the veins. On such places the children will not be surrounded with the corrupting influences of city life. God will help His people to find such homes outside of the cities.” Medical Ministry, 310.

Review and Thought Questions

1 Where did Jesus go to school, and what did He learn?

2 Why do many parents need to change their priorities?

3 In what areas should we be living up to greater light?

4 What challenges may be overwhelming our youth today?

5 How can we improve our relationship with our youth?

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

Bible Study Guides – Lessons from the Writings of Solomon – Little Things in Life

May 29, 2011 – June 4, 2011

The Character of the Wise

Key Text

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15.

Study Helps: The Signs of the Times, October 22, 1885; Christ’s Object Lessons, 355–360.


“Great truth can be brought into little things; practical religion must be carried into the lowly duties of daily life.” Our High Calling, 228.


  • In what ways are the smaller matters in life worthy of our attention? Proverbs 15:16; Song of Solomon 2:15.

Note: “Faithful in little things, the Christian pays strict attention to the smallest matters, and thus forms a character that will lead him to be faithful in great matters. He possesses the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. God has made us his own by creation and redemption, and if we are willing to occupy a lowly position in this life, are content to be little and unknown, we shall have full recognition in the future life. Our Redeemer will say, ‘Child, come up higher.’ God has caused the sun to bless with its light not only the mountain heights, but the lowly valleys and plains, and he will cause the beams of the Sun of Righteousness to fill the souls of those who are humble and contrite, whose spirit is meek and lowly.” The Review and Herald, October 8, 1895.

  • What watchfulness is needed? Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 14:12.

Note: “It is for the eternal interest of every one to search his own heart, and to improve every God-given faculty. Let all remember that there is not a motive in the heart of any man that the Lord does not clearly see. The motives of each one are weighed as carefully as if the destiny of the human agent depended upon this one result.” The Review and Herald, March 8, 1906.


  • Of what types of small things should we cultivate keen discernment—and what other kinds are best ignored? Luke 6:41, 42.

Note: “It does not behoove those from whom Jesus has so much to bear, in their failings and perversity, to be ever mindful of slights and real or imaginary offense. And yet there are those who are ever suspecting the motives of others about them. They see offense and slights where no such thing was intended. All this is Satan’s work in the human heart. The heart filled with that love which thinketh no evil will not be on the watch to notice discourtesies and grievances of which he may be the object. The will of God is that His love shall close the eyes, the ears and the heart to all such provocations and to all the suggestions with which Satan would fill them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1160.

“Some will be ready to ask, ‘How can I get out of the worries in which I find myself involved? How shall I ever be understood and appreciated? I have no confidence in this one’s religion or honesty, and that one has done me wrong.’ Be careful how you sin against your brethren by misjudging them, and speaking evil of them. God has not given you permission to climb upon the judgment-seat, and pronounce one good because he praises, pets, and favors you, and denounce another because he is not your particular friend. This selfish, narrow, bigoted spirit does harm to those with whom you associate. It is not the spirit of Christ, but of him who has been from the beginning the accuser of the brethren. Instead of misjudging others, examine your own conduct. Place the most favorable construction on the words and actions of others, and you will thus be exercising the mercy that is becoming to those who are the holy and beloved of God, members of the royal family. Seek the meekness of Christ. He suffered wrong, and did not attempt to avenge himself.” The Signs of the Times, October 22, 1885.

  • From what small beginning is sin conceived? James 2:13–16; Proverbs 4:27.


  • What factors concerning one’s reputation are often not fully understood? Proverbs 18:19; Ecclesiastes 7:1, 8.

Note: “We must give others an example of not stopping at every trifling offense in order to vindicate our rights. We may expect that false reports will circulate about us; but if we follow a straight course, if we remain indifferent to these things, others will also be indifferent. Let us leave to God the care of our reputation. And thus, like sons and daughters of God, we shall show that we have self-control. We shall show that we are led by the Spirit of God, and that we are slow to anger. Slander can be lived down by our manner of living; it is not lived down by words of indignation. Let our great anxiety be to act in the fear of God, and show by our conduct that these reports are false. No one can injure our character as much as ourselves. It is the weak trees and the tottering houses that need to be constantly propped. When we show ourselves so anxious to protect our reputation against attacks from the outside, we give the impression that it is not blameless before God, and that it needs therefore to be continually bolstered up.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1160, 1161.

  • How does the Bible illustrate the importance of controlling our temper? Proverbs 25:28; 16:32.

Note: “There is a noble majesty in the silence of the one exposed to evil-surmising or outrage. To be master of one’s spirit is to be stronger than kings or conquerors. A Christian leads one to think of Christ. He will be affable, kind, patient, humble and yet courageous and firm in vindicating the truth and the name of Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1160.

  • How does God view dishonest trade? Proverbs 11:1; 16:11.

Note: “Fraud in any business transaction is a grievous sin in God’s sight.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1160.

“Our character building will be full of peril while we underrate the importance of the little things.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 356.


  • What advice given through Solomon is applicable to the Laodicean condition? Proverbs 28:25, 26. How does it also encompass the apparently small matter of appetite?

Note: “Adam and Eve persuaded themselves that in so small a matter as eating of the forbidden fruit there could not result such terrible consequences as God had declared. But this small matter was the transgression of God’s immutable and holy law, and it separated man from God and opened the floodgates of death and untold woe upon our world.” Steps to Christ, 33.

  • Explain one reason why God refrains from bringing more new souls to our midst. How can we remedy this situation? Luke 17:1, 2; I Corinthians 8:13.

Note: “Some have felt at liberty to criticize and question and find fault with health reform principles of which they knew little by experience. They should stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with those who are working in right lines.

“The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received. The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God. If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith. The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?

“Let all examine their own practices to see if they are not indulging in that which is a positive injury to them. Let them dispense with every unhealthful gratification in eating and drinking.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 370, 371.


  • Upon what kinds of small gestures does heaven smile? Matthew 10:42. How do such things reveal our heart? Proverbs 4:23.

Note: “He who cherishes pride and selfish feelings will show that he is seeking self-exaltation in the little and larger things of life. Those who are really worthy of attention and preference will never be found putting themselves forward, but will leave the best and highest places for some one else, esteeming others better than themselves. Yet this very modesty and humility of character cannot be hid. The person who is willing to be little and unknown will be esteemed, for his life will be fragrant with unselfish actions. He will not be ostentatious, and seek to impress upon others in a lower position that he is vastly their superior.” The Review and Herald, October 8, 1895.

  • How can we reflect Christ more often than we may think? Proverbs 19:22; 16:1.

Note: “Things will go wrong with every one; sadness and discouragement press every soul; then a personal presence, a friend who will comfort and impart strength, will turn back the darts of the enemy that are aimed to destroy. Christian friends are not half as plentiful as they should be. In hours of temptation, in a crisis, what a value is a true friend! Satan at such times sends along his agents to cause the trembling limbs to stumble; but the true friends who will counsel, who will impart magnetic hopefulness, the calming faith that uplifts the soul—oh, such help is worth more than precious pearls.” Sons and Daughters of God, 161.

Review and Thought Questions

1 How does God view the little and the lowly?

2 What is too often the real cause of church troubles?

3 In what ways might our character be tested?

4 How can our own habits hinder successful evangelism?

5 What kind of Christian would you like to see—and be?

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

Recipe – Wild Rice Salad

3 cups water

2 cups uncooked wild rice

2 cups finely chopped dried apricots

2 cups dried cherries

1 cup chopped walnuts

½ cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 ½ tsp. salt


In a large saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl; cool completely. Meanwhile, place apricots in a small bowl; cover with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes; drain. Stir the apricots, cherries, and walnuts into rice. In small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt, Pour over rice mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Food – The Optimal Diet

In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I have given you every herb yielding seed, … and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ Genesis 1:29, A.R.V. Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ Genesis 3:18.

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.

“In order to maintain health, a sufficient supply of good, nourishing food is needed.

“If we plan wisely, that which is most conducive to health can be secured in almost every land. The various preparations of rice, wheat, corn, and oats are sent abroad everywhere, also beans, peas, and lentils. These, with native or imported fruits, and the variety of vegetables that grow in each locality, give an opportunity to select a dietary that is complete without the use of flesh meats.” Counsels for the Church, 221, 222.

When eating healthy is mentioned, many ideas come to mind. Some people think eating healthy involves foods that resemble twigs and taste like sawdust. Others think it is limited to just vegetables and fruits. You may be surprised to discover that the optimal diet is full of foods that taste good and are good for you.

The optimal diet has many reasonable benefits, including a longer life span and greater quality of health. The key to optimal diet is optimal nutrition. Consider the following slogans to help you know how to improve your nutrition.

Welcome whole grains—They are a good source of insoluble fiber, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates.

Vote for vegetables—Deep-green and other deeply colored vegetables offer an array of disease-fighting nutrients and water-soluble vitamins.

Focus on fruit—Color-dense fruits contain impressive amounts of plant chemicals, vitamins, and minerals.

Load up on legumes—Legumes provide soluble fiber, protein, and B vitamins.

Power up with nuts and seeds—Nuts and seeds contain fat-soluble health fats such as omega-3, omega-6, vitamin E, and protein.

Eliminate meat and dairy—Simply put, meat-based diets are not as healthy as plant-based. In addition to soy milk, a variety of plant equivalents, from almond milk to rice cheese, are available.

For your optimal diet, each day choose a variety of foods from these food groups. For example, each week eat something from each food group: dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables. Also, instead of white rice, breads, and cereals that rob nutrients from the diet, choose from several of the whole grains, including whole-wheat, oatmeal, yellow cornmeal, brown or red rice, barley, whole rye, millet, quinoa, or teff.

Children’s Story – Almost

The dictionary defines the word almost as “very nearly, but not exactly or entirely.” As strange as it may sound at first, almost is a word that we are trying to curtail from our family’s vocabulary. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the word itself; the almost mindset is the focus of our curtailing campaign.

Puzzled? I should probably illustrate our reasoning with an example.

We are blessed to be able to homeschool our two children in Montana. Homeschooling, though such a blessing, isn’t without its challenges. Some days they seem to have the perfect disposition. They seem to fly right through their schoolwork and can be finished by noon. Other times, we are forced back into … well, reality.

A few weeks ago, we were having one of those kinds of “real” days. The classes were needlessly dragging on due to lack of determined effort. Subjects that normally should take no more than thirty minutes were dragging on well past an hour. Instead of completing all the assignments, most were given just a half-hearted effort. When asked if they were finished yet, the regular reply from both children was “almost.”

Almost, almost, almost was repeated all the way until 5:00 p.m. when I needed to check out a house for rent in our area. The children had wanted to go with me all day, and now the moment had finally arrived. However, there was one big, glaring problem—their schoolwork still wasn’t finished!

“Can we go too, Dad?”

I thought, “Now is my opportunity to teach that lesson I’ve only inadequately conveyed during the day. Lord, help!”

“Well, it depends. Have you finished your schoolwork yet?”

“Almost,” was the duo’s expected response.

Without missing a beat, I said, “Good! Then you can almost go with me. Bye!”

I got in my car praying the whole way that the lesson would be understood. It was.

We don’t want our children to almost do their schoolwork and chores. Almost doesn’t count in any worldly activity. We get no points for almost making a soccer goal; there’s no presidency for almost winning an election.

This situation caused us to ponder—are we almost on the right path with God? Almost certainly isn’t good enough with God either!

Children, do you almost always obey your parents? Parents, are you almost always patient with your children? Are you almost all God’s, almost His completely? If that’s the case, then you will only almost be saved. Perhaps you might want to curtail the almost mindset in your family too.

Inspiration – What was Secured by the Death of Christ?

It became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in the redemption of the world to save sinners by the blood of the Lamb. The great sacrifice of the Son of God was neither too great nor too small to accomplish the work. In the wisdom of God it was complete; and the atonement made testifies to every son and daughter of Adam the immutability of God’s law. The value of the law of Jehovah is to be estimated by the immense price that was paid in the death of the Son of God to maintain its sacredness.

The law of God is a transcript of his character; it portrays the nature of God. As in Christ we behold the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, so also in the law the attributes of the Father are unfolded. Although the law is unchangeable, his having provided a means of salvation for the law-breaker does not in the least detract from the dignity of the character of God, since the penalty of man’s transgression was borne by a divine Substitute. The Father himself suffered with the Son; for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” [II Corinthians 5:19]. Man, with his human, finite judgment, cannot safely question the wisdom of God. Hence it is unbecoming for him to criticise [sic] the plan of salvation. Before the theme of redemption, let man lay his wisdom in the dust, and accept the plans of Him whose wisdom is infinite.

God grants men a probation in this world, that their principles may become firmly established in the right, thus precluding the possibility of sin in the future life, and so assuring the happiness and security of all. Through the atonement of the Son of God alone could power be given to man to establish him in righteousness, and make him a fit subject for heaven. The blood of Christ is the eternal antidote for sin. The offensive character of sin is seen in what it cost the Son of God in humiliation, in suffering and death. All the worlds behold in him a living testimony to the malignity of sin, for in his divine form he bears the marks of the curse. He is in the midst of the throne as a Lamb that hath been slain. The redeemed will ever be vividly impressed with the hateful character of sin, as they behold Him who died for their transgressions. The preciousness of the Offering will be more fully realized as the blood-washed throng more fully comprehend how God has made a new and living way for the salvation of men, through the union of the human and the divine in Christ.

The death of Christ upon the cross made sure the destruction of him who has the power of death, who was the originator of sin. When Satan is destroyed, there will be none to tempt to evil; the atonement will never need to be repeated; and there will be no danger of another rebellion in the universe of God. That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God. The plan of salvation, making manifest the justice and love of God, provides an eternal safeguard against defection in unfallen worlds, as well as among those who shall be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him (Hebrews 7:25). The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in his beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honor of his law, and still save the transgressor. Why should man not study the theme of redemption? It is the greatest subject that can engage the human mind. If men would contemplate the love of Christ, displayed in the cross, their faith would be strengthened to appropriate the merits of his shed blood, and they would be cleansed and saved from sin. There are many who will be lost, because they depend on legal religion, or mere repentance for sin. But repentance for sin alone cannot work the salvation of any soul. Man cannot be saved by his own works. Without Christ it is impossible for him to render perfect obedience to the law of God; and heaven can never be gained by an imperfect obedience; for this would place all heaven in jeopardy, and make possible a second rebellion.

God saves man through the blood of Christ alone, and man’s belief in, and allegiance to, Christ is salvation. It is no marvel to angels that the infinite sacrifice made by the Son of God was ample enough to bring salvation to a fallen race, but that this atoning sacrifice should have been made is a wonder to the universe. It is a mystery which angels desire to look into. The angels are amazed at the indifference and coldness manifested by those for whom so great a salvation has been provided. They look with grief and holy indignation upon those who do not seek to appreciate the unspeakable gift of God. Instead of offering adoration to God, finite men think themselves capable, without divine unction, of determining what is worthy of praise or blame in their fellow-men. But to be glorified by man is no glory. We should learn to value the praise of man at what it is worth. The Lord says, “Them that honor me I will honor” [I Samuel 2:30]. Let every breath of praise, every word of exaltation, flow to him who is worthy, flow to Jesus, the Prince of life, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Elevate the cross of Christ. Elevate the Mediator. Lift up Jesus. In him is everything noble. Contemplate God in Christ. He is surrounded with angels, cherubim and seraphim continually behold him. Angelic voices day and night cry before him: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to comecome. … Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before thee” [Revelation 4:8, 11; 5:12; 15:3, 4]. But although God only is holy and worthy to be praised, human tongues are perverted to praise and glorify man rather than God.

The greatest gift that God could bestow upon men was bestowed in the gift of his beloved Son. … There was nothing held in reserve. No second probation will ever be provided. If the unspeakable gift of God does not lead man to repentance, there is nothing that ever will move his heart. There is no power held in reserve to act upon his mind, and arouse his sensibilities. The whole character of God was revealed in his Son, the whole range of the possibilities of heaven is displayed for the acceptance of man in the Son of the Infinite One. The way for man’s return to God and heaven has no barriers. The matchless depths of the Saviour’s love have been demonstrated; and if this manifestation of God’s love for the children of men does not prevail to draw men to himself, there is nothing that ever will.

Those who will be saved in the kingdom of God will be those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). The image of Christ will be perfected in every soul who accepts the gift of his grace, and those who are perfected through his grace, will stand before God equal in elevation, in power and purity, to the angels, and will be honored with them before the eternal throne. The angels of heaven will love those whom Christ has loved, and has bought with his own precious blood.

The attention of all the inhabitants of all worlds will be directed to the cross of Christ, around which will cluster the exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The imagination becomes exhausted in its stretch to comprehend the wonderful work of redemption. The plan of salvation is too high to be fully reached by human thought. It is too grand to be fully embraced by finite comprehension. The apostle says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” [I Corinthians 2:9]. Can we wonder that Heaven is amazed because men act as though the gift of God were valueless? What will be the eternal loss of those who reject so great a salvation, offered freely through the merits of God’s only-begotten and well-beloved Son!

The Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.

Keys to the Storehouse – Danger of Shadows

The word light has always fascinated me. What is that light that is so important that Jesus tells us to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”? Matthew 5:16.

We need to identify it, because “Satan is working with all his hellish power to quench that light which should burn brightly in the soul and shine forth in good works.” Ellen G. White Comments, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179.

That light must be very important for Satan to want to quench or smother it! Once we know exactly what he is attacking, we can pray and enlist divine help to preserve it.

“What is light? It is piety, goodness, truth, mercy, love; it is the revealing of the truth in the character and life. … Every soul is to be a bright and shining light, showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).” Christian Service, 21.

That light is the principle of righteousness, transplanted into our hearts and radiating forth in bright beams from within. Darkness is that earthy character, which is eradicated wherever light is radiating and shining forth.

“True character is not shaped from without, and put on; it radiates from within. If we wish to direct others in the path of righteousness, the principles of righteousness must be enshrined in our own hearts. … The consistent life, the holy conversation, the unswerving integrity, the active, benevolent spirit, the godly example—these are the mediums through which light is conveyed to the world.” The Desire of Ages, 307.

That light is our consistent Christlike life, our holy conversation, and our unswerving integrity, that godly example that shines through us to touch the lives of others. This is what Satan wants to quench and to shadow.

Impatience, discontentment, sadness and gloom all are Satan’s shadows blocking out the light shining through us to others.

As we bask in the light of the Word, we learn to recognize these shadows that do not represent Christ! Resist the devil’s shadows that he may not quench the light that reflects through us to others, the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Satan does all in his power to quench the spirit so the light will go out, leaving the people in darkness. “Trials patiently borne, blessings gratefully received, meekness, kindness, mercy, and love, habitually exhibited, are the lights that shine forth in the character before the world.” Conflict and Courage, 59.

This heavenly light is the target of Satan’s attack. He failed in his attempt to destroy Jesus and all those who cling to His cross and receive power from Him will overcome him in the strength of Jesus Christ and will be conquerors reflecting the light of love and truth and mercy to all around.

“The life of Christ in the soul, His love revealed in the character, would make them the light of the world.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 39, 40.

Father, Open my eyes that I may recognize the shadows of darkness that I have allowed to destroy Your marvelous light. I pray for the character of Jesus to be revealed in my life every moment of every day. Put a song of praise into my heart so that when the trials or shadows appear and try to cover my life, they will not find a home. Thank you Jesus that I can put on the whole armour of God that will protect me from Satan and allow Your light to shine brightly through me without any shadows so that others may be blessed. Amen.

Lifestyle – Temperance – Marriage

No discussion of temperance would be complete without a discussion of sexual passion. God created man with sexual desires and desires for intimacy. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24-25. Let us analyze this well-known, but not always well followed, verse.

The first prerequisite for marriage is that the man is to leave his father and mother. So, before the man marries, he is to leave his family home and establish a home of his own. Many youth are looking for relationships and intimacy before they meet the first requirement of marriage, to be established themselves and able to maintain a household. The next step is to cleave unto his wife, not his girlfriend, boyfriend, an acquaintance, or family of orgin. Once this marriage relationship is begun, the couple should then cleave to each other and look to no one else for intimacy. It is then that God allows intimacy in the form of nakedness and sexual relationship. Much of our world today has lost the shame of nakedness (Revelation 16:15), as often the way we dress leaves more and more of the body exposed for all to see. Could this also be part of why sexual intimacy is no longer seen as something that is not exclusive to marriage?

Once a man and a woman have committed to marriage, the Lord says, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9. Divorce has become rampant both in and out of the church with divorce occurring in nearly 50 percent of marriages. Not only has society rejected that marriage is a lifelong commitment made in the presence of a holy God, but it seems that we have forgotten that to remarry, when the cause of divorce is not fornication, is committing adultery. It is important to remember to, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” I Corinthians 6:18.

In the Old Covenant, the punishment for adultery was severe, “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10. In the New Covenant, the punishment is eternal death (Revelation 22:15).

Through the ministry of Jesus, we learn that we are also to keep the law with our inward thoughts. In Matthew 5:28 the Lord says, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Therefore, the seventh commandment of the Decalogue, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” begins with modest, Godly dress that does not reveal our nakedness, circumspect behavior, appropriate courtship, and then purity, maintained by each partner in the marriage relationship.

“Let your moderation [abstinence from that which is harmful and moderation of that which is good] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:5.