Health – Potential Hydrogens (pH) – Important for Health

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14.

Any imbalances in our bodies causes dis-ease. Any failure to follow the health laws causes an imbalance in one or more areas. That imbalance or dis-ease may not be experienced right away, but it will manifest itself in one way or another sooner or later. It gives God the glory to continually learn about our bodies to gain a deeper understanding of this intricate piece of machinery in which we live.

One important aspect of health is the body’s pH balance. There are many articles written on this very complicated subject. But I would like to share with you an excerpt from the book, Beating Cancer with Nutrition, by Patrick Quillin, PhD, R.D., CNS., with Noreen Quillin, Nutrition Times Press, Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma, 234, 235. This particularly refers to cancer patients; however, this information is interesting to learn a little more about pH balance. He says:

“Acid alkaline balance (7.41 ideal in human veins) brought about by:

  • Proper breathing
  • Exercise (carbonic buffer from carbon dioxide in blood)
  • Diet (plant foods elevate pH, animal foods and sugar reduce pH)
  • Water (adequate hydration improves pH)
  • Other agents, such as cesium chloride, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate

“Cancer is acidic (low pH) tissue. [Newell, K, et al., Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, vol. 90, no. 3, p. 1127, February 1993.] It is clear from all human physiology textbooks that pH in the blood, saliva, urine and other areas is a critical factor for health. Blood pH is usually 7.35-7.45 with 7.41 thought to be ideal. Acceptable pH for saliva is 6.0-7.5, stomach 1.0-3.5, colon 5.0-8.4 and urine 4.5-8.4. Most foods influence pH—pushing toward either acid or alkaline. Clinicians will spend much time adjusting parenteral feedings to achieve a proper pH in the blood. [Parenteral is a route of administration that involves piercing the skin or mucous membrane.] Meanwhile, there have been many alternative health books that attempt to treat various diseases by adjusting the body pH via the diet.

“Potential hydrogens, or pH, refer to the acid or alkaline nature of a chemical. If you mix a mild acid, like vinegar, with a mild alkaline substance, like baking soda, then the resulting reaction produces a salt—they neutralize one another by exchanging hydrogens. Just about everything that goes in your mouth can alter pH, including oxygen. The acidic pH of cancer cells also decreases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the surrounding blood so that tissue can become somewhat anaerobic—which are perfect conditions for cancer to thrive. Deep breathing has an alkalizing effect on the blood. An alkalizing diet of lots of plant food also helps to encourage removal of toxic heavy metals.

“The macrobiotic book claims that pH adjustment is one of the more crucial objectives of their diet. [Aihara, H., ACID & ALKALINE, Macrogiotic Foundation, Oroville, CA, 1971.] Yet, I have worked with a few cancer patients who got worse on the macrobiotic program. … Not everyone will thrive on the same diet. … It appears that some people are prone toward extreme acid or alkaline metabolism. For these people on the edge of acceptable biological pH, diet provides a counterbalance to bring serum pH back toward normal. Think of sailing a small boat where you may have to use your body as a counterbalance to prevent the boat from being tipped over by the wind. If your metabolism is in jeopardy of ‘tipping over’ toward extreme pH, then diet and breathing become your counterbalances that keep metabolism upright.

“While this area may be absolutely essential for some cancer patients, a trial and error method may be the only way to find out which direction your pH needs adjusting. If your condition improves on the macrobiotic program, then you are pushing your pH in the right direction. If your condition worsens on the macrobiotic program, then you must push your pH in the opposite direction.

“About 8 percent of the population must have acid forming foods to counterbalance their extremely alkalotic pH. Some people can eat anything they want and their internal mechanisms compensate to find an acceptable pH. For many people, an alkalizing diet (toward the left) will help to neutralize their acidifying tendencies, which can invite cancer.

“Venous pH is the most accurate indicator of your overall body pH. Yet blood tests are invasive, expensive and not practical for regular use. A rough indicator of your body pH is your saliva and urinary pH. You can purchase Nitrazine paper from your local druggist and follow the directions for measuring saliva or urine pH. Test your saliva at least one hour after any food or drink.”

This little bit of information by Dr. Patrick Quillin on pH is understood by very few people. I found it to be enlightening.

It is not just through diet that you balance your pH. Balance includes deep breathing, diet, exercise and water. This should alert each one of us that these recommendations are included in following the eight health laws: Nutrition, exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air, rest and trust in God. It is up to each of us, to the best of our ability, to preserve our health.

This earth is filled with disease and we have a daily battle with which to contend. Let us always ask God to guide and protect us as we battle on by His grace.

To God be all of the glory.

Inspiration – Need of Education in Health Principles

Education in health principles was never more needed than now. Notwithstanding the wonderful progress in so many lines relating to the comforts and conveniences of life, even to sanitary matters and to the treatment of disease, the decline in physical vigor and power of endurance is alarming. It demands the attention of all who have at heart the well-being of their fellow men.

Our artificial civilization is encouraging evils destructive of sound principles. Custom and fashion are at war with nature. The practices they enjoin, and the indulgences they foster, are steadily lessening both physical and mental strength, and bringing upon the race an intolerable burden. Intemperance and crime, disease and wretchedness, are everywhere.

Many transgress the laws of health through ignorance, and they need instruction. But the greater number know better than they do. They need to be impressed with the importance of making their knowledge a guide of life. The physician has many opportunities both of imparting a knowledge of health principles and of showing the importance of putting them in practice. By right instruction he can do much to correct evils that are working untold harm.

A practice that is laying the foundation of a vast amount of disease and of even more serious evils is the free use of poisonous drugs. When attacked by disease, many will not take the trouble to search out the cause of their illness. Their chief anxiety is to rid themselves of pain and inconvenience. So they resort to patent nostrums, of whose real properties they know little, or they apply to a physician for some remedy to counteract the result of their misdoing, but with no thought of making a change in their unhealthful habits. If immediate benefit is not realized, another medicine is tried, and then another. Thus the evil continues.

People need to be taught that drugs do not cure disease. It is true that they sometimes afford present relief, and the patient appears to recover as the result of their use; this is because nature has sufficient vital force to expel the poison and to correct the conditions that caused the disease. Health is recovered in spite of the drug. But in most cases the drug only changes the form and location of the disease. Often the effect of the poison seems to be overcome for a time, but the results remain in the system and work great harm at some later period.

By the use of poisonous drugs, many bring upon themselves lifelong illness, and many lives are lost that might be saved by the use of natural methods of healing. The poisons contained in many so-called remedies create habits and appetites that mean ruin to both soul and body. Many of the popular nostrums called patent medicines, and even some of the drugs dispensed by physicians, act a part in laying the foundation of the liquor habit, the opium habit, the morphine habit, that are so terrible a curse to society.

The only hope of better things is in the education of the people in right principles. Let physicians teach the people that restorative power is not in drugs, but in nature. Disease is an effort of nature to free the system from conditions that result from a violation of the laws of health. In case of sickness, the cause should be ascertained. Unhealthful conditions should be changed, wrong habits corrected. Then nature is to be assisted in her effort to expel impurities and to re-establish right conditions in the system.

Natural Remedies

Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.

The use of natural remedies requires an amount of care and effort that many are not willing to give. Nature’s process of healing and upbuilding is gradual, and to the impatient it seems slow. The surrender of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice. But in the end it will be found that nature, untrammeled, does her work wisely and well. Those who persevere in obedience to her laws will reap the reward in health of body and health of mind.

Too little attention is generally given to the preservation of health. It is far better to prevent disease than to know how to treat it when contracted. It is the duty of every person, for his own sake, and for the sake of humanity, to inform himself in regard to the laws of life and conscientiously to obey them. All need to become acquainted with that most wonderful of all organisms, the human body. They should understand the functions of the various organs and the dependence of one upon another for the healthy action of all. They should study the influence of the mind upon the body, and of the body upon the mind, and the laws by which they are governed.

Training for Life’s Conflict

We cannot be too often reminded that health does not depend on chance. It is a result of obedience to law. This is recognized by the contestants in athletic games and trials of strength. These men make the most careful preparation. They submit to thorough training and strict discipline. Every physical habit is carefully regulated. They know that neglect, excess, or carelessness, which weakens or cripples any organ or function of the body, would ensure defeat.

How much more important is such carefulness to ensure success in the conflict of life. It is not mimic battles in which we are engaged. We are waging a warfare upon which hang eternal results. We have unseen enemies to meet. Evil angels are striving for the dominion of every human being. Whatever injures the health, not only lessens physical vigor, but tends to weaken the mental and moral powers. Indulgence in any unhealthful practice makes it more difficult for one to discriminate between right and wrong, and hence more difficult to resist evil. It increases the danger of failure and defeat.

“They which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize.” I Corinthians 9:24. In the warfare in which we are engaged, all may win who will discipline themselves by obedience to right principles. The practice of these principles in the details of life is too often looked upon as unimportant—a matter too trivial to demand attention. But in view of the issues at stake, nothing with which we have to do is small. Every act casts its weight into the scale that determines life’s victory or defeat. The scripture bids us, “So run, that ye may obtain.” Verse 24.

With our first parents, intemperate desire resulted in the loss of Eden. Temperance in all things has more to do with our restoration to Eden than men realize.

Pointing to the self-denial practiced by the contestants in the ancient Greek games, the apostle Paul writes: “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Verses 25–27.

The progress of reform depends upon a clear recognition of fundamental truth. While, on the one hand, danger lurks in a narrow philosophy and a hard, cold orthodoxy, on the other hand there is great danger in a careless liberalism. The foundation of all enduring reform is the law of God. We are to present in clear, distinct lines the need of obeying this law. Its principles must be kept before the people. They are as everlasting and inexorable as God Himself.

One of the most deplorable effects of the original apostasy was the loss of man’s power of self-control. Only as this power is regained can there be real progress.

The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death.

The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.

The requirements of God must be brought home to the conscience. Men and women must be awakened to the duty of self-mastery, the need of purity, freedom from every depraving appetite and defiling habit. They need to be impressed with the fact that all their powers of mind and body are the gift of God, and are to be preserved in the best possible condition for His service.

In that ancient ritual which was the gospel in symbol, no blemished offering could be brought to God’s altar. The sacrifice that was to represent Christ must be spotless. The word of God points to this as an illustration of what His children are to be—“a living sacrifice,” “holy and without blemish,” “well-pleasing to God.” Romans 12:1, R.V., margin; Ephesians 5:27.

The Ministry of Healing, 125–130.

Q&A -Should a Christian wear a Wedding Ring

In Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 180, 181, we are shown how unnecessary it is to wear a wedding ring and how much it draws us to conforming to custom and fashion.

“Some have had a burden in regard to the wearing of a marriage ring, feeling that the wives of our ministers should conform to this custom. All this is unnecessary. Let the ministers’ wives have the golden link which binds their souls to Jesus Christ, a pure and holy character, the true love and meekness and godliness that are the fruit borne upon the Christian tree, and their influence will be secure anywhere. The fact that a disregard of the custom occasions remark is no good reason for adopting it. Americans can make their position understood by plainly stating that the custom is not regarded as obligatory in our country. We need not wear the sign, for we are not untrue to our marriage vow, and the wearing of the ring would be no evidence that we were true. I [Ellen White] feel deeply over this leavening process which seems to be going on among us, in the conformity to custom and fashion. Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married. In countries where the custom is imperative, we have no burden to condemn those who have their marriage ring; let them wear it if they can do so conscientiously; but let not our missionaries feel that the wearing of the ring will increase their influence one jot or tittle. If they are Christians, it will be manifest in their Christlikeness of character, in their words, in their works, in the home, in association with others; it will be evinced by their patience and long-suffering and kindliness. They will manifest the spirit of the Master, they will possess His beauty of character, His loveliness of disposition, His sympathetic heart.”

The Bible tells us, in Genesis 35:4, “And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.”

In Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 137, we are told: “Jacob was humbled, and required his family to humble themselves, and to lay off all their ornaments. … God accepted the efforts of Jacob to remove the wrong from his family, and appeared unto him, and blessed him, and renewed the promise made to him, because his fear was before him. ‘And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone’ [Genesis 35:14].” [Emphasis supplied.]

Exodus 33:6 states, “And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.”

In Isaiah 3:16–21 we read this: “Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels.”

We can find, by example, in the word of God, what His will is for our lives. It is that new heart experience that leads us to hear and obey what God’s will is for each of us. We can always find an excuse to follow our own ways over and above God’s will.

“Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.

Current Events – In the News

Consider Job 10:8, 11, “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; … Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.

”There are scriptures that teach we must defend and protect the weak, the defenseless, the innocent, the needy, and the unwanted, such as Proverbs 31:8 NKJV: “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.”

The United States Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

“Washington, DC ( The pro-abortion government-run health care bill was signed into law March 23, 2010. The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country [United States] that pays for abortions.”

In its March 15, 2011, issue, the Adventist Review shared the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved May 25 [2011] a measure that would bar federal funding for the training of medical residents to perform abortions.

The House voted 234-182 for an amendment by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R.-N.C., that would have the following effects on a new program established by last year’s controversial health-care reform law:

  • Prohibit the project, which helps teaching health centers form or enlarge residency programs, from funding abortions.
  • Ban money in the program from paying for the training of abortion doctors.
  • Bar health centers funded through the program from discriminating against residents and other health-care professionals who refuse to provide or refer for abortions.

The roll-call vote on Foxx’s amendment broke down largely along party lines: 221 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 172 Democrats and 10 GOP members opposed it.

“Should taxpayers foot the bill for elective abortions or to train abortion doctors? I don’t think so,” Foxx said in a written statement after the vote. “If organizations want to provide elective abortions or train abortion doctors they need to find someone other than taxpayers to write the checks. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for subsidizing the abortion industry.”

The Exception Deception

It is difficult for us to understand ourselves, to have a correct knowledge of our own characters. The word of God is plain, but often there is an error in applying it to one’s self. There is liability to self-deception and to think its warnings and reproofs do not mean me. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ [Jeremiah 17:9.] Self-flattery may be construed into Christian emotion and zeal. Self-love and confidence may give us assurance that we are right when we are far from meeting the requirements of God’s word.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 332.

“Some have a heart of unbelief, and in their self-confidence and self-deception they cannot see their errors. They are blind to their defects and their dangers. Did they see their sins and errors, and still continue in them, the Lord would give them up to blindness of mind and hardness of heart, to follow their own ways, and be ensnared and ruined. Anciently when any neglected or refused to heed the words of reproof and warning sent them of God, His protection was removed from them, and they were left to be deceived and deluded to their own ruin. Only those who, with tears of contrition, listened to the voice of God and gave heed to the warning, escaped the tempter’s snare.” The Review and Herald, January 8, 1884.

There is a topic that many people have pondered for some time and found to be quite fascinating. It is addressed very clearly in Scripture and something of which we all need to be mindful and of which we should be more than a little fearful. It is a phenomenon that could be referred to as the exception deception. In fact, most professed Christians fall victim to this snare of the enemy of souls. They somehow read the plainest word of God and feel that they are an exception to the rule laid out so clearly in Scripture.

The primary example of the exception deception is the belief that God’s law is no longer binding. This is especially true of the fourth commandment. There is no ambivalence in that commandment. Not only is the commandment itself stated so plainly that it takes the highest degree of self-deception to misunderstand, but the significance of keeping the Sabbath is presented over and over throughout both the Old and the New Testaments.

Sunday keepers have become so entangled in this snare that it is almost impossible to convince them that they are violating God’s law by failing to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. They have been led to believe by the enemy of souls that they are somehow exempted from obeying God’s plainest statements of conduct. And they carry that deception beyond the fourth commandment to all of God’s law, asserting that it was nailed to the cross. Since Christ fulfilled it, they reason, it is no longer binding. However, if you try to explain to them that, by their reasoning, they are in effect saying that it is okay to lie, steal or kill, they will quickly become double-minded. James addressed that very issue in James 1:5–8: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

This is an interesting text—one in which we are given instruction first—“ask of God”—and then told the consequences of failing to ask in faith—becoming double-minded and unstable.

This expectation that one is an exception to the rules goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. Although Eve knew that God had prohibited partaking of the forbidden fruit, she chose to believe Satan rather than the plainest word of God. She thought that she was an exception to God’s rule. Each one of us now bears the consequences of her exception deception.

Another individual who bought into the exception deception was Abraham. Although Abraham is called the father of the faithful, and rightfully so, it took him a few decades to earn that title. Although the ninth commandment clearly forbids bearing false witness, Abraham—actually he was still Abram at this point—chose to be less than fully truthful on occasion. That story is told in Genesis 12:10–13, NKJV.

“Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, ‘Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, “This is his wife”; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.’ ”

It might be argued that at this point in time the Ten Commandments had not been explicitly given to man. However, we can see from the consequences that Abram’s action was clearly a violation of the law. First, we see that he failed to trust in the Lord. We need to remember always that if we are following God’s clear instructions, He will provide divine protection.

That is confirmed in Psalm 18:30, NKJV: “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 91 also provides irrefutable confirmation of God’s loving care for His people. Proverbs 30:5 repeats the promise of Psalm 18:30: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

It seems that the exception deception prevails not only in the requirement to keep the commandments, but also with respect to the promises of God. Scripture clearly tells us that if we trust in Him, He will shield us from the assaults of the enemy of souls. Yet clearly, Abram did not have unfailing trust in God. He was deceived into believing that he was an exception to God’s promises. And the result? We are told that in Genesis 12:17, NKJV: “But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.”

It is interesting that in this situation the vengeance of God fell upon the victim of the transgression rather than on the transgressor. Were it not for the detailed explanation given in the Spirit of Prophecy, it would be difficult to understand why this was so.

“Through Abraham’s lack of faith, Sarah was placed in great peril. The king of Egypt, being informed of her beauty, caused her to be taken to his palace, intending to make her his wife. But the Lord, in His great mercy, protected Sarah by sending judgments upon the royal household. By this means the monarch learned the truth in the matter, and, indignant at the deception practiced upon him, he reproved Abraham and restored to him his wife, saying, ‘What is this that thou hast done unto me? … Why saidst thou, She is my sister? So I might have taken her to me to wife. Now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.’ [Genesis 12:18, 19.]

“Abraham had been greatly favored by the king; even now Pharaoh would permit no harm to be done him or his company, but ordered a guard to conduct them in safety out of his dominions. At this time laws were made prohibiting the Egyptians from intercourse with foreign shepherds in any such familiarity as eating or drinking with them. Pharaoh’s dismissal of Abraham was kind and generous; but he bade him leave Egypt, for he dared not permit him to remain. He had ignorantly been about to do him a serious injury, but God had interposed, and saved the monarch from committing so great a sin. Pharaoh saw in this stranger a man whom the God of heaven honored, and he feared to have in his kingdom one who was so evidently under divine favor. Should Abraham remain in Egypt, his increasing wealth and honor would be likely to excite the envy or covetousness of the Egyptians, and some injury might be done him, for which the monarch would be held responsible, and which might again bring judgments upon the royal house.

“The warning that had been given to Pharaoh proved a protection to Abraham in his after-intercourse with heathen peoples; for the matter could not be kept secret, and it was seen that the God whom Abraham worshiped would protect His servant, and that any injury done him would be avenged.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 130, 131.

Surprisingly, this incident didn’t fully teach Abraham the lesson of complete obedience that he needed to learn, for later in his life, he once again broke the royal law. Although the seventh commandment clearly forbids infidelity, Abraham somehow felt that he was an exception to that rule and took for himself multiple wives—the consequences of which are still being seen in the Middle East today.

Another character in Scripture that thought himself an exception to the rules time after time was Samson. His story is told in Judges 14 through 16 and shows how the Lord can use anyone—even someone who fails to obey the clearest instructions in God’s word by choosing to be unequally yoked—to fulfill His divine will. Despite Samson’s repeated transgressions, his repentance must have been thorough and sincere, for Paul includes him among the faithful in Hebrews 11:32–34, referring to him as one who “out of weakness” was “made strong.”

Why do we need to be so careful not to delude ourselves? Because it is such a common practice today that, just as Abraham fell victim to the common practices of society in his day, we too are continually exposed to behavior that is contrary to the law of liberty, so much so that it becomes the new normal and fully accepted as completely acceptable.

Recently there was a report in the news concerning Pope Benedict’s visit to Germany in September 2011. In the report, a portion of the speech was repeated that he gave there. In the speech, he expressed the desire that the people would learn to look for salvation to … the church. NPR (National Public Radio) News, September 2011.

In Acts 4:11 and 12, we read: “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

We are told in verse 8 that Peter is talking, being filled with the Holy Spirit. And to whom is Peter talking? The Church! Peter tells the church that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. Surely the Pope has read this text. Surely the Pope knows that his assertion that salvation comes through the church is ill-founded. Or is he perhaps a victim of self-deception? Another victim of the exception deception? To those who accept the Scriptures as their safeguard, the man of sin is clearly being revealed.

Let’s look at another Biblical example of someone who clearly thought he was an exception to the rules. This is a character whose life story reveals just how easily one can be led astray—even someone chosen by God to lead His people—if he fails to remain faithful to God’s word.

In I Samuel 10:1, NKJV we read the story of Saul’s anointing: “Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his [Saul’s] head, and kissed him and said: ‘Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?’ ”

Then Saul went on about his normal activities, as Samuel commanded him, detailed in verses 2 through 5. Then, in verses 6–9, NKJV we read, “ ‘Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.’ So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.”

“Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.’ And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. …

“And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.’ ” I Samuel 13:8–10, 13, 14, NKJV.

Saul had had a good start. God gave him another heart. But he was deceived into believing that he was an exception to the plainest instructions given him through God’s spokesman. His disobedience began early in his tenure and continued after Samuel died. We are told near the end of the long and pitiful story of Saul’s life that he saw the Philistines gathered together and was afraid. In I Samuel 28:5 we read that “his heart trembled greatly.”

If the Israelites under Saul’s direction had originally done what God had told them to do, the Philistines would not have been a problem for Saul. Indeed, the Philistines would have been completely destroyed and would not have become “old enemies” of Israel for centuries.

Let’s look at more of Saul’s deception that he was an exception to the rule.

“Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land. Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. [Why would the Lord not answer Saul? Perhaps it was because he regarded iniquity in his heart.] Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ [Here he adds sin to sin.] And his servants said to him, ‘In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.’ So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, ‘Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.’ ” I Samuel 28:3–8.

Well, we know the rest of the story of Saul’s life. It is summed up in the Spirit of Prophecy this way: “The first king of Israel perished, with the guilt of self-murder upon his soul. His life had been a failure, and he went down in dishonor and despair, because he had set up his own perverse will against the will of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 682.

In other words, he succumbed to the exception deception. Saul thought he was an exception to the basic principles of God’s law and to the clearest instructions given him by Samuel, the prophet of God.

Let’s ponder for a moment this hard question. Do we sometimes think that we are exceptions to the clearest instructions given to us by Ellen G. White, the prophet of God, just as Saul thought that he was an exception to the instructions given him by the prophet of God?

Here are a few statements from God’s prophet to the remnant that many of the remnant often ignore.

“Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 68.

“Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design––that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat-eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it.” Maranatha, 62.

“Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat-eating will go from God’s people, to walk no more with them.” Ibid.

“The many books which education is thought to embrace, are misleading, a deception and a delusion. ‘What is the chaff to the wheat?’ Satan is now stirring up the minds of men to furnish to the world literature which is of a cheap, superficial order, but which fascinates the mind, and fastens it in a network of Satan’s contrivance. [Consider how the Harry Potter series fulfills this statement.] After reading these books, the mind lives in an unreal world, and the life, so far as usefulness is concerned, is as barren as a fruitless tree. [Emphasis supplied.] The brain is intoxicated, making it impossible for the eternal realities, which are essential for the present and the future to be pressed home. A mind educated to feed upon trash is unable to see in the word of God the beauty that is there. Love for Jesus and inclination to righteousness are lost; for the mind is built up from that upon which it feeds. By feeding the mind upon exciting stories of fiction, man is bringing to the foundation ‘wood, hay, stubble.’ He loses all taste for the divine Guidebook, and cares not to study the character he must form in order to dwell with the redeemed host, and inhabit the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 451, 452.

“Those who love God will not choose the enemies of God to be their friends. The question was asked, ‘Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them which hate the Lord?’ Will you prefer the association of the irreligious and disloyal, to that of those who are obeying the commandments of God? Will you choose to separate yourself from those who love God, and place yourself as far as possible from the channel of light? You want to keep in an atmosphere of purity and faith, and bring into your characters, principles that will be as solid timbers. Christians will not choose and cultivate the society of non-Christians.” The Review and Herald, January 16, 1894. [Emphasis supplied.]

Turning to the book of James, we find further discussion of the exception deception.

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” James 2:1–9.

The need to regard others with impartiality is not a concept that appeared for the first time in the apostolic era. In Deuteronomy 1:16, 17, we read, “And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.” Deuteronomy 1:16, 17.

Moses understood—and so instructed the chosen judges—that to show favoritism in judgment was contrary to the principles of heaven. Man is not to manifest partiality in judgment or make exceptions to the rules for others.

He repeated his admonition to rule without partiality in Deuteronomy 16:19, NKJV: “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus also stressed God’s impartiality. He said that God “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45, NKJV.

Paul makes it clear in more than one of his epistles to be aware of the exception deception.

“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:5–11.

God is going to render “to every man according to his deeds” without “respect of persons.” In other words, He will not make an exception for anyone who is contentious or guilty of unrighteousness. He is not a party to the exception deception.

In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, verse 9, after providing inspired instruction for several different classes of people, Paul concludes by remarking, “… knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Read Ephesians 6:1–9.

Paul also makes the point in his letter to the Colossians. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Colossians 3:23–25.

In other words, there are no exceptions to the rules. If you obey, you will inherit eternal life. If you disobey, you will suffer eternal destruction.

This concept of impartiality is so critical to salvation that the Holy Spirit impressed it upon Bible writers over and over again. In I Peter 1:17, we read, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.”

Why is it that we need to “pass the time of our sojourning here in fear”? Is it not because Satan, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour? [See I Peter 5:8.]

“The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their mediator, and that none could approach God except through him, and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them, and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 58.

In Acts 10:34, 35, Peter speaks a truth that it is critical for us to remember as the meeting of time and eternity draws nigh: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.’ ”

Let us ever be mindful of Peter’s admonition and not be deceived by the enemy of souls into thinking that we are exceptions to God’s expressed commands, whether provided in Holy Scripture or in the Spirit of Prophecy.

John Pearson is currently the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. After retiring as chief financial officer for the Grand Canyon Association, he moved to Wichita to join the Steps team and may be contacted by email at:

Practical Faith, Practical Obedience

Practical godliness requires a practical faith. Practical faith is something that has been spoken about more often than anything else in many of the Christian religions today.

In Luke 18:8, Jesus said, “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes [speaking of the second coming] will He really find faith on the earth?” That is a very serious question to ponder.

How important is faith? Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In order for God to reward someone with righteousness or eternal life, that person must have a practical faith and not just an intellectual faith. Someone may say, “I believe in God,” but when you check out his life, he may be an alcoholic and not living his faith. His faith is merely of an intellectual nature devoid of any power to change his habit. We have to go further than just having an intellectual faith. Some say, “Oh, I believe in Jesus Christ,” and then recite John 3:16. That is not enough. Our faith must be practical, for without it, it is impossible to have a practical godliness. The devil also believes. The Bible describes faith this way: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.” Hebrews 11:1. There is something you hope to get.

I remember the first time I hoped to buy a car. I was hoping so much and was so excited that I would dream about my car when asleep and would wake up thinking about it. It was on my mind constantly when walking around and even when in the shower. I would talk about the car and plan where to take it to show it. I was still hoping that one day it would be in my possession. This made me go into action, and all of my effort and energy went into getting the car. I saved my money, made my plans and hoped. Do you understand what I am saying? Whatever you hope for takes your energy and resources until you finally receive it. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Think about it; faith is the substance. Did you get that word? It is the evidence of things not yet seen.

If you witness a car accident on the road and report the incident, you would be asked, “Where is the evidence?” It is easily seen in the wreckage of the vehicles because something actually took place. A mere intellectual faith has no substance or evidence to produce. But not so with practical faith where the evidence is clearly seen.

Faith is practical and not a mere assent to a belief. The Scripture is divinely put together, and because God knew that many people would get stuck on just having an intellectual faith, He gave a practical illustration in Hebrews 11:4: “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” This is a true example of righteousness by faith.

In Patriarchs and Prophets, 72, the inspired writer, Ellen White, said, “So far as birth and religious instruction were concerned, these brothers were equal.” They were brought up in the same home. They had the same teachers in the house, ate the same food, received the same spiritual instruction and the same understanding of salvation through their parents. However, it says, “Both acknowledged the claims of God to reverence and worship. To outward appearance their religion was the same up to a certain point.” In other words, if you watched them, one had an intellectual faith and one had a practical faith. So when it came to a certain point, there was a distinction between the two of them. She continues, “… but beyond this the difference between the two was great.” What was the difference? Abel chose faith and obedience while Cain chose unbelief and rebellion.

On this point the whole matter rested. Cain and Abel represented two classes that will exist until the close of time. A practical illustration showing the difference between intellectual faith and practical faith with its ultimate result was given right at the beginning of time to help the remnant church in every generation understand that rebellion against God causes war. Read the whole story in Genesis 4.

Abel practiced his faith and obeyed. The evidence of obedience supported his faith. Without evidence it is impossible to recognize true faith. With the evidence of obedience comes acceptance. The two classes of belief will continue until the end of time.

Hebrews 11 is known as the faith chapter of the Bible with many illustrations of practical faith. Also there is another practical illustration found in Exodus 12:12, 13. The story is very well known. After the children of Israel had spent about 400 years in Egypt, they were ready to move out. God had given instructions through Moses that they were to move out at midnight on a specific night and how to be ready. Let me illustrate practical faith.

Just imagine one family of four—father, mother and the eldest son along with his sister. God had given particular instructions regarding their deliverance. The father, faithful to obey the command, gathers the lamb and slays it, placing the blood on the doorposts of his home, while the son and the daughter played inside the house. They didn’t see what was taking place or the preparation that was made. After fulfilling the requirements, he (the father) came back inside where mother prepared the meal for that evening. They all knew that their deliverance was to be at midnight, so they had their meal and waited. The time marched on. God had said that every firstborn would die unless under the protection of the blood on the doorposts. What would be the concern of the eldest son regarding the blood? His as well as the rest of his family’s concern would be whether the blood was on the doorposts. When 11:30 came, if I were the elder son in that family, I would go out and check to make sure the blood was still visible. Sincerity in the promise of salvation could never save him without the physical action of obedience.

An intellectual faith without obedience cannot result in salvation. Obedience can never be separated from faith. It is not the evidence of salvation, but it is the evidence of faith. You must get these points clear. Obedience is the fruit of your faith. Obedience is not the fruit of your salvation. Sincerity without obedience is just an intellectual assent and can never save.

Regarding the Passover evening, Mrs. White wrote, “Before obtaining freedom, the bond-men must show their faith in the great deliverance about to be accomplished. The token of blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must separate themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and gather within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb, but failed to strike the doorpost[s] with blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure.” Ibid., 278.

Do you understand the difference between practical faith and practical obedience?

“They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their first-born by the hand of the destroyer. …

“While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience [that begins in the heart]. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works.” Ibid., 278, 279.

It is not his salvation that is to be shown by his works. It is his faith that must be shown by his obedience. I can believe in Jesus Christ; I can believe in the Sabbath; I can believe in the Seventh-day Adventist Church but if it is only intellectual, it will not save me. Practical faith producing obedience must begin in the heart. Before the children of Israel put the blood on their doorposts, they had to yield their hearts. With yielded hearts, their legs took them to the door in obedience to strike the blood.

All who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation—have faith, a saving faith. We place our faith in God because of His promise. When God says “I will deliver you at midnight,” believe and have faith because He said it, not because somebody else said it, not because the president of the church said it, but because God said it.

Choose today to put your trust and faith in God and obey Him. Then the evidence must come. Obedience is the evidence of faith. The result is deliverance—deliverance from sin and ultimately deliverance from this world when Jesus comes.

Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints.” We are talking about those who have been patient; those who have been waiting and waiting for the Lord’s return; those who have endured to the end. It is not a seesaw like the weather. The “patience of the saints” means we wait patiently; we abide in Jesus Christ on a daily basis, moment by moment. Study His word, pray, putting into practice the principles found therein. It is not just a once a week experience of getting a spiritual high on the Sabbath and letting go during the week. Our faith is not based on the pastor of the church. Our faith is based on Jesus Christ, and as we continue to read the Word, He continues to feed us and to give us solid food.

Let’s read the rest of that text. “Here are those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” What kind of faith was that? He was continually obedient to His Father. That is why He never sinned. Had He failed to obey God, that would have been the end. All of us would have no hope. So those who keep the commandments of God have the faith of Jesus Christ. It is a practical faith. It is not an intellectual faith. It is not a faith that somebody says, “Well I believe in Jesus Christ. I can do anything I want to do.” No!

Obedience is the evidence of faith. Obedience is not the evidence of salvation. Without obedience there is no evidence of the faith. Again, in Luke 18:8, Jesus says, “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

(Bible texts quoted are from the New King James Version translation.)

We are Almost Home-The Last 50 Miles

During my life I have read the Spirit of Prophecy books through, but have been impressed to read them through again. In doing that, I have been impressed with a phrase that I have read over and over again that just thrills me. Ellen White says, “We are almost home.” What a wonderful thing it is to have a home. Home is a place where you can totally relax, a safe haven where you can laugh, you can cry, you can share your heart in safety; it is home. When you have been gone for a while and you get close to home, you just get a little thrill inside, because you are almost there. “We are almost home.” Here she refers to our heavenly home.

One dictionary’s description of home said, “It is a dwelling place for one who lives together with the family or in a social unit that occupies a household that offers an environment of security and happiness.”

It is wonderful to have security and happiness in our home here on earth, which is to be a little heaven on earth. It is within the family circle that we are to pattern our lives for the heaven above. But it is good for us to think about our home in heaven.

Ellen White described it this way,

“As your senses delight in the attractive loveliness of the earth, think of the world that is to come, that shall never know the blight of sin and death; where the face of nature will no more wear the shadow of the curse. Let your imagination picture the home of the saved, and remember that it will be more glorious than your brightest imagination can portray. In the varied gifts of God in nature we see but the faintest gleaming of His glory.

“And by and by the gates of heaven will be thrown open to admit God’s children, and from the lips of the King of glory the benediction will fall on their ears like richest music—‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matthew 25:34). Then the redeemed will be welcomed to the home that Jesus is preparing for them.” God’s Amazing Grace, 359.

That is just wonderful to think about. There is another description she wrote in the book, Early Writings, 289: “Language is altogether too feeble to attempt a description of heaven. As the scene rises before me, I am lost in amazement. Carried away with the surpassing splendor and excellent glory, I lay down the pen, and exclaim, ‘Oh, what love! what wondrous love!’ The most exalted language fails to describe the glory of heaven or the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love.”

It is wonderful to think about our future home and even our home here. As we prepare for that place, we need to read and study our Bibles. Road accident statistics show that most fatal accidents happen within 50 miles of home. Let’s think about that for a little bit. We are almost there, close to our heavenly home—we are going the last 50 miles. Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the end of the world. The first thing Jesus said to them was to, “Take heed that you do not be deceived, because there will be many false Christ’s out there.” (See Matthew 24:4.)

I have thought much about that statement of Jesus, especially as it is linked with the statement of the fatal accidents happening within 50 miles of home. We want to be sure we have our feet planted on the Rock. Paul said let us be no more “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Ephesians 4:14. Today, there is a gale with every wind of doctrine blowing through our churches and among our people. False doctrines are coming in from every side—not just from the outside but also from the inside. We have to know our Bibles or we will be deceived.

“As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error.” God’s Amazing Grace, 201. The falsehoods are going to be so close to the truth. I used to think, when I was younger and when I heard about all of the falsehoods coming, that they would come from outside the church, from Sunday keeping churches or others. I felt pretty smug that I knew the truth, and I knew it pretty well. But that is not where the severest trials are coming from. The severest trials are coming from within. The false statements and the little things that are said that will sweep us off our feet are not coming from somewhere else.

“Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine.” Last Day Events, 66.

“Those who walk even as Christ walked, who are patient, gentle, kind, meek and lowly in heart, those who yoke up with Christ and lift His burdens, who yearn for souls as He yearned for them—these will enter into the joy of their Lord. They will see with Christ the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. Heaven will triumph, for the vacancies made in heaven by the fall of Satan and his angels will be filled by the redeemed of the Lord.” The Faith I Live By, 114.

Just think for a moment about the idea that we are given the opportunity to fill the vacancies made in heaven by Satan and his angels. This is an awesome thought. We are coming close to the end of time. “The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.

Do we figure we are the very elect? She says, “If possible.” It will be a hard time, and we have to have our feet firmly grounded in the Word. We have to spend our days studying and preparing for what is ahead.

We have been instructed that,

“It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.” The Desire of Ages, 83.

How many of us really take an hour a day to think upon the life of Jesus?

“The spotless Son of God hung upon the cross, His flesh lacerated with stripes; those hands so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars; those feet so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree; that royal head pierced by the crown of thorns; those quivering lips shaped to the cry of woe. And all that He endured—the blood drops that flowed from His head, His hands, His feet, the agony that racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s face—speaks to each child of humanity, declaring, It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt; for thee He spoils the domain of death, and opens the gates of Paradise. He who stilled the angry waves and walked the foam-capped billows, who made devils tremble and disease flee, who opened blind eyes and called forth the dead to life—offers Himself upon the cross as a sacrifice, and this from love to thee. He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself.” Ibid., 755, 756.

After contemplating what Christ has gone through for us, dare we contemplate a failure in the last 50 miles and miss our heavenly home? When we think of how He did it all for you and me, and He has a home prepared for us, it is time that we take time to make our calling and election sure. There is only one way of doing that. We may get so busy and have so many responsibilities and are called upon to do so many extra things, but there is one thing that we dare not slip up on and that is our hour, at least an hour with our Saviour. If we spend an hour with our Lord, on our knees with the books and the Bible, He will see us through. We have nothing to fear for the future except as we forget how we have been led in the past in the teachings of Jesus. He has promised, and His promises are sure. Not one of us should have any concern that we will miss the mark if we are faithful.

The battle is for us to fight, and it is our responsibility to take time to have Jesus as our personal friend. There is only one way to have Him as our personal friend and that is to spend time with Him. Day by day, hour by hour we must weave heavenly principles into our life, praying to God that He will bestow His Holy Spirit upon us. It is the Holy Spirit alone that can purify the affections and uproot the tares that naturally grow in the heart. We are in great need of the Holy Spirit. Each one of us is in need of His guidance and His help.

We are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history and in the day when it is almost time when the Lord will close the books and say, “It is done.” He will then step forth, out of the Sanctuary, and those that will be saved will be saved and those that are lost will be lost. This is a very solemn thought!

I think about what the Bible says about those who will be gnashing their teeth (Luke 13:28). It will be terrible to know this truth, to know that Jesus is coming and to think you are going to be saved, and then when He comes, you see the people go and you stay here; you are rejected. That is the most awful disappointment that could ever happen. Let us beware and prevent any chance that an accident happen to us in the last 50 miles and make certain that we have this truth deeply grounded in our lives and in our hearts. Let us practice the graces of Jesus Christ and have the fruits of the Spirit and let them grow in our lives so that we will be loving, kind, thoughtful, pure Christians fitted up and able to fit into that heavenly home where everything is beautiful and where every desire will be satisfied.

In this world of so much suffering it is hard to imagine, but that is what we are told. Every desire we have will be satisfied in our heavenly home. The loves and attentions that have been created in our hearts by Jesus Himself will be fulfilled. On this earth, few, if any, reach all the desire of their heart—that just does not happen down here. But in heaven, every desire and thought we have will come to fruition. Thank Him for the wonderful home He is now preparing for you. Thank God that He is planning on you being with Him in heaven. Ask Him to plant your feet on the firm Rock that you may not meet with an accident while traveling the last 50 miles. May we all be ready to look up and say, “This is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9.

Ruth Grosboll, matriarch of Steps to Life until her passing in January 2010, lived a long life in the service of her Master. She served as a missionary nurse in Myanmar, formerly Burma. In her later years she held the position of receptionist and correspondent at Steps to Life Ministry, blessing many people with her heartfelt encouraging letters. She is sadly missed to this day.

The Devil’s Discouragement

Many people make a decision to become a Christian, but before they actually get baptized and join the body of Christ, the devil discourages them so much that they give up. He attempted to discourage Jesus to thwart the plan of salvation, and he is still actively doing the same thing today.

“They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven—that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law.

“While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor’s power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour.” The Desire of Ages, 29, 30.

Satan did well his evil work, and God’s chosen people did reject Him. “Humanity, becoming more degraded through ages of transgression, called for the coming of the Redeemer. Satan had been working to make the gulf deep and impassable between earth and heaven. By his falsehoods he had emboldened men in sin. It was his purpose to wear out the forbearance of God, and to extinguish His love for man, so that He would abandon the world to satanic jurisdiction.” Ibid., 34, 35.

Thank God that His forbearance and patience is greater than any evil intent of the devil. There are people in the world who emulate the character of their master, the devil, and are so wicked that you think they could never be loved. But Jesus loves them, and they can be saved just the same as anyone.

The devil tried to extinguish God’s love for man, making men and women so wicked and creating so much wickedness in the world that God would give up on them. “Satan was unwearied in his efforts to overcome the Child of Nazareth. From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from the defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the prince of darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour.” Ibid., 71.

“No one upon earth had understood Him, and during His ministry He must still walk alone. Throughout His life His mother and His brothers did not comprehend His mission. Even His disciples did not understand Him. He had dwelt in eternal light, as one with God, but His life on earth must be spent in solitude. …

“Alone He must tread the path; alone He must bear the burden.” Ibid., 111.

Maybe you have been tempted to be discouraged because it seemed like there was nobody in the world who understood you. This was literally true in the life of Jesus. There was nobody. Not His mother, not the people in His family, not His disciples, not John the Baptist; there was literally nobody who understood. If that has been your experience, do not be discouraged thinking you are all alone in the world; you have a Saviour Who knows all about that. He walked through it His whole life.

“Satan excited the evil passions of men, in order to fasten his rule upon them. When God’s written word was given, Satan studied the prophecies of the Saviour’s advent. From generation to generation he worked to blind the people to these prophecies, that they might reject Christ at His coming.” Ibid., 115.

Lucifer was cast out of heaven, and ever since, he has made a determined effort to find revenge by causing others to share his fall. This he does by causing them to undervalue heavenly things and to set their hearts upon things of earth. At the Saviour’s baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. “Satan saw that he must either conquer or be conquered. The issues of the conflict involved too much to be entrusted to his confederate angels. He must personally conduct the warfare. All the energies of apostasy were rallied against the Son of God. Christ was made the mark of every weapon of hell.” Ibid., 116. He was the focal point of all demonic attack. We do not know the number of evil angels that were cooperating to bring about the downfall of Jesus Christ.

“Many look on this conflict between Christ and Satan as having no special bearing on their own life. … But within the domain of every human heart this controversy is repeated. Never does one leave the ranks of evil for the service of God without encountering the assaults of Satan. The enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find so difficult to withstand. They were urged upon Him in as much greater degree as His character is superior to ours. With the terrible weight of the sins of the world upon Him, Christ withstood the test upon appetite, upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display which leads to presumption. These were the temptations that overcame Adam and Eve, and that so readily overcome us.” Ibid., 116, 117.

“The words from heaven, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17), were still sounding in the ears of Satan. But he was determined to make Christ disbelieve this testimony. The word of God was Christ’s assurance of His divine mission. He had come to live as a man among men, and it was the word that declared His connection with heaven. It was Satan’s purpose to cause Him to doubt that word. If Christ’s confidence in God could be shaken, Satan knew that the victory in the whole controversy would be his. He could overcome Jesus. He hoped that under the force of despondency and extreme hunger, Christ would lose faith in His Father, and work a miracle in His own behalf. Had He done this, the plan of salvation would have been broken.” Ibid., 119.

“Of all the lessons to be learned from our Lord’s first great temptation none is more important than that bearing upon the control of the appetites and passions. In all ages, temptations appealing to the physical nature have been most effectual in corrupting and degrading mankind. Through intemperance, Satan works to destroy the mental and moral powers that God gave to man as a priceless endowment.” Ibid., 122. This will develop more fully in the very last days of earth’s history.

“Our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God.

“In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 151.

“The period of Christ’s personal ministry among men was the time of greatest activity for the forces of the kingdom of darkness. … Jesus was revealing to men the character of God. He was breaking Satan’s power, and setting his captives free. New life and love and power from heaven were moving upon the hearts of men, and the prince of evil was aroused to contend for the supremacy of his kingdom. Satan summoned all his forces, and at every step contested the work of Christ.

“So it will be in the great final conflict of the controversy between righteousness and sin.” The Desire of Ages, 257. Satan is going to summon all of his forces to attack in any way possible those who choose to follow Christ.

“There were none on earth who could comprehend His divine mission, or know the burden which He bore in behalf of humanity.” Ibid., 326. Nobody on earth understood what He was trying to do, so He was all alone, even in the midst of many people.

When Jesus told the disciples of His crucifixion, it was contrary to what they’d always been taught. It seemed like they could not believe it, and Peter immediately began to argue with Jesus Who gave Peter the most severe rebuke He had ever given to any of His disciples. He said, “You get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23).

Jesus addressed Peter as Satan because it was he who spoke through Peter. “Satan was trying to discourage Jesus, and turn Him from His mission; and Peter, in his blind love, was giving voice to the temptation. The prince of evil was the author of the thought. His instigation was behind that impulsive appeal. In the wilderness, Satan had offered Christ the dominion of the world on condition of forsaking the path of humiliation and sacrifice. Now he was presenting the same temptation to the disciple of Christ.” Ibid., 416. Peter fell for it. He was not willing to see the cross in the Christian religion.

“Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin. Hence one upon whom some great affliction or calamity had fallen had the additional burden of being regarded as a great sinner.

“Thus the way was prepared for the Jews to reject Jesus. He who ‘hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows’ was looked upon by the Jews as ‘stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;’ and they hid their faces from Him. Isaiah 53:4, 3.” Ibid., 470. They could not believe that He could be the Messiah if He allowed Himself to be in this kind of situation or condition.

“To the heart of Christ it was a bitter task to press His way against the fears, disappointment, and unbelief of His beloved disciples. It was hard to lead them forward to the anguish and despair that awaited them at Jerusalem. And Satan was at hand to press his temptations upon the Son of man. Why should He now go to Jerusalem, to certain death? All around Him were souls hungering for the bread of life. On every hand were suffering ones waiting for His word of healing. The work to be wrought by the gospel of His grace was but just begun. And He was full of the vigor of manhood’s prime. Why not go forward to the vast fields of the world with the words of His grace, the touch of His healing power? Why not take to Himself the joy of giving light and gladness to those darkened and sorrowing millions? Why leave the harvest gathering to His disciples, so weak in faith, so dull of understanding, so slow to act? Why face death now, and leave the work in its infancy? The foe who in the wilderness had confronted Christ assailed Him now with fierce and subtle temptations. Had Jesus yielded for a moment, had He changed His course in the least particular to save Himself, Satan’s agencies would have triumphed, and the world would have been lost.” Ibid., 486.

It’s almost too huge to comprehend. The salvation of our world rested totally, 100 percent, on one Person. The devil knew that if he could overcome that one Person, he would have the whole world.

You are not alone if the devil tempts you to be discouraged, and it doesn’t even mean you don’t have a correct religious experience, because the same temptations to discouragement and despair were pressed upon Jesus.

“At this time [a few days before the crucifixion] Christ’s work bore the appearance of cruel defeat. … To His disciples the case seemed hopeless.” Ibid., 621. Has it ever seemed hopeless to you to be a Christian?

“In the wilderness of temptation the destiny of the human race had been at stake. Christ was then conqueror. Now the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle. For this he had been preparing during the three years of Christ’s ministry. Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdoms of the world would finally become Christ’s; he himself would be overthrown and cast out. But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan’s kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power.” Ibid., 686, 687.

Ellen White reveals what the devil told Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation [from His Father] would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God.

“And what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of Your own disciples, who has listened to Your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray You. One of Your most zealous followers will deny You. All will forsake You. Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God’s wrath against sin was crushing out His life.” Ibid., 687.

“[In the Garden of Gethsemane] Satan and his confederacy of evil, the legions of apostasy, watched intently this great crisis in the work of redemption. The powers of good and evil waited to see what answer would come to Christ’s thrice-repeated prayer. Angels had longed to bring relief to the divine sufferer, but this might not be. No way of escape was found for the Son of God.” Ibid., 693.

“Satan led the cruel mob in its abuse of the Saviour. It was his purpose to provoke Him to retaliation if possible, or to drive Him to perform a miracle to release Himself, and thus break up the plan of salvation. One stain upon His human life, one failure of His humanity to endure the terrible test, and the Lamb of God would have been an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man a failure.” Ibid., 734. Herod even said that he would set Him free if He would work a miracle. If He had done that, we all would be lost.

“The principalities and powers of darkness were assembled around the cross, casting the hellish shadow of unbelief into the hearts of men. When the Lord created these beings to stand before His throne, they were beautiful and glorious. Their loveliness and holiness were in accordance with their exalted station. They were enriched with the wisdom of God, and girded with the panoply of heaven. They were Jehovah’s ministers. But who could recognize in the fallen angels the glorious seraphim that once ministered in the heavenly courts?

“Satanic agencies confederated with evil men in leading the people to believe Christ the chief of sinners, and to make Him the object of detestation. Those who mocked Christ as He hung upon the cross were imbued with the spirit of the first great rebel. He filled them with vile and loathsome speeches. He inspired their taunts. But by all this he gained nothing.” Ibid., 760, 761. No sin was found in Christ, not one fault.

After describing this terrible battle that went on throughout Christ’s whole life, Ellen White describes the scene as He approached His Father in heaven after His ascension. “He approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, ‘It is finished,’ He addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now He declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ John 19:30; 17:24.

“The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ’s toiling, struggling ones on earth are ‘accepted in the Beloved.’ Ephesians 1:6. Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified. Where He is, there His church shall be. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Psalm 85:10. The Father’s arms encircle His Son, and the word is given, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’ Hebrews 1:6.

“With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the Prince of life. …

“Love has conquered. The lost is found. …

“The family of heaven and the family of earth are one.” Ibid., 834, 835.

Just as Satan worked to discourage Jesus and cause the world to be lost, he does the same today to discourage individuals so they will give up and then be lost. One way the devil discourages people is with health problems. He knows when your body is sick and weak and your mind is affected. He came to Christ with his most severe temptations when He was weary, hungry, tired and when He hadn’t had anything to drink. No matter how sick or weak you are, you can trust yourself to Jesus Christ. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.

Another way the devil discourages is through financial problems. With the economic downturn we have in the United States today, people are afraid that they will lose their jobs if they ask for the Sabbath off. They are afraid to take that risk.

There are people who could have become physicians, dentists, lawyers or engineers, but could not qualify for their professions because in their countries they would not be able to keep the Sabbath. Instead they had to choose another area of work. The devil uses these temptations to discourage them. Remember, Jesus was the prince of heaven, and He became poor in this world to save you. If you become poor by following Jesus, you will have an everlasting reward that’s worth more than all the money you could make as a physician, lawyer, engineer or anything else.

Another major temptation is to become discouraged because of the character defects of other Christians, whether they are family members or other Christians in the church. It is always easy to see other people’s faults and call them a bunch of hypocrites.

The church of God around the world is going through a shaking process that is getting more severe. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. (See Hebrews 12:27.) Once the shaking process is over, all hypocrisy will be out of the church. If you fall into the category of hypocrite now, fall at the foot of the cross of Jesus and be converted, and instead of being shaken out, become a sincere Christian and be saved.

When Jesus returns, He is not coming to bring salvation. He brought salvation when He came to the world the first time. The next time He comes, He is coming back to judge the world. Those who belong to Him will be taken out of this world.

Those people who are alive when Jesus comes again, every single one that is taken up from this world, will have been a member of the church. In the book of Revelation, chapters 7 and 14 refer to the sealing. Other chapters are addressed specifically to the churches. In chapters 2 and 3 we are told that only those that belong to the church and overcome will have salvation. Look at Revelation 1:6; it says, “[He] has made us kings and priests to His God and Father.”

The book of Revelation makes it very clear that in the last days all who do not have the seal of God will suffer His judgments. For instance, “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 9:4.

Revelation 10:11 talks about a time coming when the church will have to prophesy a second time to many nations and languages. We’re living in that time right now. In Revelation 11:1 and 2, it says, “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.’ ” The holy city here mentioned is the church. Revelation 3 is about the church. The whole book of Revelation talks about the church, and if you want to be ready for Jesus to come, you must be a member.

If the devil fails in discouraging you over the character defects of others, he will start working on your own defects. Every human being, without exception, has character defects they have to struggle with and overcome. The devil tells you that you have done it a thousand and one times now; you are never going to make it so give up! Do not believe his lies.

As long as we are in this world, we will struggle to overcome. Don’t be discouraged by that, because it is just part of the situation. Jesus had to struggle the whole time He was in this world. The devil came at Him over and over, trying to get Him discouraged. He does the same thing with the whole human race. We all inherited a sinful human nature from Adam and Eve, so do not be discouraged.

Ellen White wrote, “The apostle Paul declares, ‘I know that in me [that is, in my flesh,] dwelleth no good thing’ (Romans 7:18). To those who have tried so hard to obtain by faith so-called holy flesh, I would say, You cannot obtain it. Not a soul of you has holy flesh now. No human being on the earth has holy flesh. It is an impossibility.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 32. Can anybody in this world say, “I’m holy”? Not unless they want to be a liar.

Do not let the devil deceive you, because you have to continually struggle. Every Christian has the same experience. It may be over different incidences or character defects but there is no human being that does not have to struggle. That is why we have been given the privilege of prayer. The Lord has promised, “If you ask Me, I will give you all the help that you need.” The Bible says that, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:13.

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

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

Editorial – A Moral Fitness for Heaven

“All who are accounted worthy of everlasting life must obtain a moral fitness for the same.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 705. Just as you cannot obtain a commercial driving license or an airplane pilot’s license without showing that you are “fit” for the same, you cannot be taken to heaven unless you are fit to go there. What does this moral fitness involve?

Pride, self-love, selfishness, avarice, covetousness, love of the world, hatred, suspicion, jealousy, evil surmisings, must all be subdued and sacrificed forever. When Christ shall appear, it will not be to correct these evils and then give a moral fitness for His coming. This preparation must all be made before He comes. What shall we do to be saved should be a subject of thought, study and earnest inquiry.

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

“You think it beneath your dignity, Brother C, to manifest love, to speak kindly and affectionately. All these tender words, you think, savor of softness and weakness, and are unnecessary. But in their place come fretful words, words of discord, strife, and censure. Do you account these as manly and noble? as an exhibition of the sterner virtues of your sex? However you may consider them, God looks upon them with displeasure and marks them in His book. Angels flee from the dwelling where words of discord are exchanged, where gratitude is almost a stranger to the heart, and censure leaps like black balls to the lips, spotting the garments, defiling the Christian character.” Ibid., 695, 696.

Our work in this world is to develop this heavenly character first ourselves and if we are parents we are to help our children to develop this character. “ ‘The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.’ In rightly training and molding the minds of her children, mothers are entrusted with the greatest mission ever given to mortals. … Mothers need to study the Scriptures more and the fashion plates less; for we are on this earth to form characters for eternal life. …

“Our characters are photographed on the books of heaven, and from these books we are to be judged.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 115, 116.