Bible Study Guides – Singing to the Glory of God

December 22, 2013 – December 28, 2013

Key Text

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 506, 509, 510.


“Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy.” Education, 168.


  • What power is inherent in Christian song, and how was it used in Bible history to the believer’s advantage? Exodus 15:1, 2, 11; II Chronicles 20:21, 22.

Note: “As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life.” Education, 167.

  • Why were important Bible passages arranged to music and sung by the Israelites? Deuteronomy 31:19.
  • What effect did this type of music have on their characters? Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “Moses directed the Israelites to set the words of the law to music. While the older children played on instruments, the younger ones marched, singing in concert the song of God’s commandments. In later years they retained in their minds the words of the law which they learned during childhood.” Evangelism, 499, 500.


  • How did “Israel’s sweet singer” express genuine repentance for his sin? Psalm 51:1–8. What effect did this song have on his people?

Note: “The fifty-first psalm is an expression of David’s repentance, when the message of reproof came to him from God: ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions’ (Psalm 51:1). …

“Thus in a sacred song to be sung in the public assemblies of his people, in the presence of the court—priests and judges, princes and men of war—and which would preserve to the latest generation the knowledge of his fall, the king of Israel recounted his sin, his repentance, and his hope of pardon through the mercy of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 724, 725.

  • How effective was song in softening the heart of king Saul? I Samuel 16:15, 16, 23.
  • How did Christ use song as a source of strength in an hour of temptation? Mark 14:26.

Note: “With a song, Jesus in His earthly life met temptation. Often when sharp, stinging words were spoken, often when the atmosphere about Him was heavy with gloom, with dissatisfaction, distrust, or oppressive fear, was heard His song of faith and holy cheer.” Education, 166.

“He [Jesus] held communion with heaven in song; and as His companions complained of weariness from labor, they were cheered by the sweet melody from His lips. His praise seemed to banish the evil angels, and, like incense, fill the place with fragrance.” The Desire of Ages, 73.

“I saw we must be daily rising, and keep the ascendancy above the powers of darkness. Our God is mighty. I saw singing to the glory of God often drove [off] the enemy, and praising God would beat him back and give us the victory.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 409, 410.


  • What elements are needed to make our singing a blessing to human and heavenly ears? Ephesians 5:19. Why? II Corinthians 4:15.

Note: “It is not loud singing that is needed, but clear intonation, correct pronunciation, and distinct utterance. Let all take time to cultivate the voice so that God’s praise can be sung in clear, soft tones, not with harshness and shrillness that offend the ear. The ability to sing is the gift of God; let it be used to His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 144.

“There are few means more effective for fixing His [God’s] words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.

“It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s—the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song—and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!” Education, 167, 168.

  • Why should not musical items and other aesthetics take pre-eminence in our worship service? Ezekiel 33:32. How are golden moments sometimes wasted during camp meetings?

Note: “In some instances much time was devoted to singing [at camp meetings]. There was a long hymn before prayer, a long hymn after prayer, and much singing interspersed all through the meeting. Thus golden moments were used unwisely, and not one-half the good was done that might have been realized had these precious seasons been properly managed.” Evangelism, 511.


  • What type of music was used by the Israelites when they decided to go back to Egypt? Exodus 32:17–19. What music will be performed in many churches just before the close of probation, and what type of adverse effect will it have upon the people?

Note: “The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 36.

“The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January. Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music, which, properly conducted, would be a praise and glory to God. He makes its effect like the poison sting of the serpent.” Ibid., 37.

  • How does God warn us all, and the youth especially, against endangering our Christian experience by listening to and/or singing songs which heaven does not approve? Ezekiel 26:13; Amos 8:10–13.

Note: “I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand and make the word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 497.


  • How is the angelic choir intimately connected with us on earth? Hebrews 1:14; 12:22.
  • Describe the music and the musicians in heaven, and the way they can inspire our anthems of praise. Luke 2:13, 14; I Corinthians 14:40; Revelation 5:11–13.

Note: “I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, everyone having a harp of gold. … It cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 146.

  • Describe the experience of the redeemed who will be singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 7:14, 15; 15:2, 3. How can we daily prepare to sing that song that has never been sung in heaven before?

Note: “Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 244.


1 What are the potent benefits of Christian song?

2 When is it especially helpful for us to sing praises to God?

3 What factors are important in planning music for worship services?

4 How can we keep prayer and the study of God’s word above music?

5 How does our daily speech affect our preparation to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Training the “Vocal Cords”

December 15, 2013 – December 21, 2013

Key Text

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.

Study Help: The Voice in Speech and Song, 181–190, 294–297; Testimonies, vol. 6, 380–383.


“The Lord calls upon all who are connected with His service to give attention to the cultivation of the voice, that they may utter in an acceptable manner the great and solemn truths He has entrusted to them.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 382.


  • How does the example of Christ inspire us to master breathing, speaking, and reading skills? Luke 4:16, 22.

Note: “The culture and right use of the voice are greatly neglected, even by persons of intelligence and Christian activity.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 335.

“Let none mar the truth by defective utterance. Let not those who have neglected to cultivate the talent of speech suppose that they are qualified to minister, for they have yet to obtain the power to communicate.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 382, 383.

  • Why have some been unwilling to improve their faulty speaking and reading habits? I Timothy 6:3, 4, first part.
  • What character quality must we possess in order to learn? James 4:6, last part.

Note: “If those who have defects in their manner of utterance will submit to criticism and correction, they may overcome these defects.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 239.


  • How should we use even our vocal organs to the glory of God? James 3:9, 10.

Note: “When a speaker talks in the proper way, taking deep, full inspirations, and throwing out the voice in clear, distinct tones, the whole being is benefited. The exercise of my lungs in deep breathing, as I have engaged in public speaking, has been a life-preserver to me.

“Care is always to be taken not to strain the vocal organs. They are to be kept as smooth as possible.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 200.

“The human agent must take himself in hand. God has given him physical and spiritual powers, and these need to be constantly cultivated and improved. In a great measure, physical weariness may be avoided by speaking slowly, calmly, unexcitedly.” Ibid., 201.

“Many have died who might have lived had they been taught how to use the voice correctly. The right use of the abdominal muscles in reading and speaking will prove a remedy for many voice and chest difficulties, and the means of prolonging life.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 297.

  • In whose hands is the breath of every living being? Job 12:9, 10. Why is correct breathing so important?

Note: “The training of the voice has an important place in physical culture, since it tends to expand and strengthen the lungs, and thus to ward off disease. To ensure correct delivery in reading and speaking, see that the abdominal muscles have full play in breathing and that the respiratory organs are unrestricted. Let the strain come on the muscles of the abdomen rather than on those of the throat. Great weariness and serious disease of the throat and lungs may thus be prevented. Careful attention should be given to securing distinct articulation, smooth, well-modulated tones, and a not-too-rapid delivery. This will not only promote health, but will add greatly to the agreeableness and efficiency of the student’s work.” Education, 199.


  • Why is reading called a science, and what can we do to master this rare but valuable skill? Nehemiah 8:8.

Note: “Texts, hymns, and the reports and other papers presented before public assemblies are sometimes read in such a way that they are not understood and often so that their force and impressiveness are destroyed.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 335.

“The science of reading correctly and with the proper emphasis is of highest value. No matter how much knowledge you may have acquired in other lines, if you have neglected to cultivate your voice and manner of speech so that you can speak and read distinctly and intelligently, all your learning will be of but little profit; for without voice culture you cannot communicate readily and clearly that which you have learned.” Evangelism, 666.

“The one who gives Bible readings in the congregation or in the family should be able to read with a soft, musical cadence which will charm the hearers.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 380.

“Those who consider it a little thing to speak with an imperfect utterance dishonor God.” Evangelism, 665.

“It is Satan that would keep men in ignorance and inefficiency, that they may be developed in a one-sided way which they may never be able to correct.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 256.

  • How careful should we be with our voice when presenting the truth? Galatians 4:20.

Note: “They [ministers] should speak with reverence. Some destroy the solemn impression they may have made upon the people, by raising their voices to a very high pitch and hallooing and screaming out the truth. When presented in this manner, truth loses much of its sweetness, its force and solemnity. But if the voice is toned right, if it has solemnity, and is so modulated as to be even pathetic, it will produce a much better impression. This was the tone in which Christ taught His disciples. He impressed them with solemnity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 615.


  • What importance does grammatically correct speech have in our teaching and preaching? How can poor pronunciation be corrected? Isaiah 32:4, last part.

Note: “It becomes every minister of Christ to use sound speech, which cannot be condemned.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 709.

“We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones, to use pure and correct language, and words that are kind and courteous.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 336.

  • Why is distinctness important in speech? I Corinthians 14:7–9.

Note: “In reading or in recitation the pronunciation should be clear. A nasal tone or an ungainly attitude should be at once corrected. Any lack of distinctness should be marked as defective. Many have allowed themselves to form the habit of speaking in a thick, indistinct way, as if their tongue were too large for their mouth. This habit has greatly hindered their usefulness.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 239.

“When you speak, let every word be full and well rounded, every sentence clear and distinct to the very last word. Many as they approach the end of a sentence lower the tone of the voice, speaking so indistinctly that the force of the thought is destroyed. Words that are worth speaking at all are worth speaking in a clear, distinct voice, with emphasis and expression.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 383.

“Every minister and every teacher should bear in mind that he is giving to the people a message that involves eternal interests. The truth spoken will judge them in the great day of final reckoning. And with some souls the manner of the one delivering the message will determine its reception or rejection.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 336.

“Those who gain correct ideas on the subject of voice culture will see the necessity of educating and training themselves so that they may honor God and bless others. They will put themselves under patient, efficient teachers and learn to read in a way that will preserve the melody of the voice.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 247.


  • What key feature was evident in Christ’s voice, and how can it be evident also in our voice? Psalm 45:2.

Note: “Christ was presented before me, and His manner of talking; and there was a sweet melody in His voice. His voice, in a slow, calm manner, reached those who listened, and His words penetrated their hearts, and they were able to catch on to what He said before the next sentence was spoken.” Evangelism, 670.

  • What example, set by Timothy’s mother and grandmother, should be imitated by Christian mothers today? II Timothy 1:5; 3:14. How can parents assist their children in the practical aspects of voice culture?

Note: “Parents, train yourselves to speak in a way that will be a blessing to your children. Women need to be educated in this respect. Even the busy mothers, if they will, can cultivate the talent of speech and can teach their children to read and speak correctly. They can do this while they go about their work. It is never too late for us to improve.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 381, 382.


1 What may be causing us to cherish incorrect speech habits?

2 How can we improve our breathing techniques?

3 Is your voice too loud, too soft, too thick, too thin, too slow, too rapid, too low or too high-pitched?

4 How can we develop clear, correct pronunciation and speech?

5 How can we more closely imitate Christ’s voice?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Further Considerations on Public Speaking

December 8, 2013 – December 14, 2013

Key Text

“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.” II Samuel 22:36.

Study Help: The Voice in Speech and Song, 225–237, 258–275, 283–293; Gospel Workers, 147–164.


“The truth should be presented with divine tact, gentleness, and tenderness. It should come from a heart that has been softened and made sympathetic.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 400.


  • Why does a speaker’s earnestness affect the listeners, and how should their interest be directed? Acts 23:1; 4:13.

Note: “Excitement in the speaker is not power but weakness. Earnestness and energy are essential in presenting Bible truth, the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).” Selected Messages, Book 2, 59.

  • What effort should be put into a sermon to make it effective? Titus 2:15. What effect does a lifeless presentation have on the listener’s perception of the truth?

Note: “An unconsecrated minister, presenting the truth in an unimpassioned manner, his own soul unmoved by the truths he speaks to others, will do only harm. Every effort he makes only lowers the standard.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 344.

“The Lord requires His servants to be energetic. It is not pleasing to Him to see them listless and indolent. … Some preach these truths, of such weighty importance, in so listless a manner that they cannot affect the people. ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10).” Ibid., 504.


  • What must always be borne in mind when a sermon is presented? Isaiah 55:2.

Note: “Brethren, I entreat of you to keep your own souls in the love of God, and never let the wellsprings dry. A cold, joyless discourse will kill the church. Bring animation into your words and prayers. There must be no cheap, faithless sermons given.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 225.

“A dry, lifeless presentation of the truth belittles the most sacred message that God has given to men.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 48.

  • What rule will a competent preacher follow? Colossians 3:23. How do fervor, intonation, and moderation of speed in a sermon affect the heart and mind of the people?

Note: “The very tones of the voice, the look, the words, should possess an irresistible power to move hearts and control minds. Jesus should be found in the heart of the minister. If Jesus is in the words and in the tones of the voice, if they are mellow with His tender love, it will prove a blessing of more value than all the riches, pleasures, and glories of the earth; for such blessings will not come and go without accomplishing a work.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 32.

“By talking in a high key, the speaker detracts considerably from his usefulness. There are others who talk so low that their words can scarcely be heard. Another laborer will speak hurriedly, rushing his words one upon another. Half that he says is lost, for the hearer cannot take in the precious words coming from his lips. These are defects which should be overcome.

“The habit should be acquired of speaking slowly, yet earnestly and solemnly, with all the assurance which the word of God can give. Then the hearer gets the benefit of every sentence.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 259.


  • How does God view philosophical, argumentative, oratorical, and theatrical display in the pulpit? Colossians 2:8; II Timothy 2:24, 25; Titus 3:9.

Note: “The combative armor, the debating spirit, must be laid off. If we would be Christlike we must reach men where they are.” Evangelism, 249.

“He who presents eloquent words, simply causes the people to forget the truth that is mingled with his oratory. When the excitement passes away, it is found that the word of God has not been fastened upon the mind; nor have the simple gained in understanding. The people may go away from the church and may speak in admiration of the oratorical powers of the man who has preached to them, but they may not be convicted by the truth or brought any nearer to the point of decision.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 283, 284.

“Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling.” Gospel Workers, 383.

  • Why are anecdotes inappropriate for our pulpits? I Timothy 6:20; II Timothy 2:16. What is the only safeguard against the faulty practices discussed in this section?

Note: “Ministers should not make a practice of relating irrelevant anecdotes in connection with their sermons; for this detracts from the force of the truth presented. The relation of anecdotes or incidents that create a laugh or a light thought in the minds of the hearers is severely censurable. The truth should be clothed in chaste, dignified language; and the illustrations used should be of a like character.” Gospel Workers, 166.

“It is living earnestness that God requires. Ministers may have little learning from books; but if they do the best they can with their talents, if they work as they have opportunity, if they clothe their utterances in the plainest and most simple language … they will be listened to by men of even superior ability and talents. There will be a charm in the simplicity of the truths they present.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 152.


  • Describe Christ’s manner of teaching. Mark 10:1. Why is this method especially important as we approach the end of time?

Note: “As we approach nearer the end I have seen our camp meetings with less preaching and more Bible study; little groups all over the ground with their Bibles in their hands, and different ones leading out in a free, conversational study of the Scriptures.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 235.

“In all true teaching the personal element is essential. Christ in His teaching dealt with men individually. It was by personal contact and association that He trained the Twelve. It was in private, often to but one listener, that He gave His most precious instruction. To the honored rabbi at the night conference on the Mount of Olives, to the despised woman at the well of Sychar, He opened His richest treasures; for in these hearers He discerned the impressible heart, the open mind, the receptive spirit. Even the crowd that so often thronged His steps was not to Christ an indiscriminate mass of human beings. He spoke directly to every mind and appealed to every heart. He watched the faces of His hearers, marked the lighting up of the countenance, the quick, responsive glance, which told that truth had reached the soul; and there vibrated in His heart the answering chord of sympathetic joy.” Education, 231.

  • How can we use Christ’s method of teaching to increase the success and interest of our camp meetings? John 13:15; I Corinthians 11:1.

Note: “We have lost two-thirds of all that the camp meetings were designed to accomplish. The idea seems to be woven into the minds of some that all they have to do is to sermonize, sermonize. While sermons are good in their place, there is sermon after sermon given to the people that they cannot retain in their minds—it is an impossibility for them to do it—and they are just wearied out with sermons.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 209.

“When the great throngs would gather about Christ, He gave His lessons of instruction. Then the disciples in different places and different positions after the discourse would repeat what Christ had said.” Ibid., 235.


  • How can teachers of children and youth reach their heart by the presentation of the truth? Isaiah 40:11.

Note: “Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks and to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness by frequency. A few words of interest now and then will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. Too much talk will lead them to loathe even spiritual instruction, just as overeating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, leading even to a loathing of food.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 420.

  • What is the most effective factor in guiding children and youth? Colossians 1:9–11.
  • What will be the ripple effect of such teaching? Psalm 101:2; I Timothy 4:12.

Note: “Every teacher should be under the full control of the Holy Spirit. Then Christ can speak to the heart, and His voice is the voice of love.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 67.


1 What factors should we bear in mind when speaking in public?

2 In public speaking, how is energetic vibrance contrasted with theatrical display?

3 What do humor and theatrics do in the presentation of the truth?

4 How can Christ’s methods be implemented at our camp meetings?

5 What qualities are needed to teach children and youth efficiently?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Public Speaking to the Glory of God

December 1, 2013 – December 7, 2013

“In Their Mouth Was Found No Guile”

Key Text

“The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11.

Study Help: Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 336–340; Testimonies, vol. 3, 419–424.


“It is not eloquent speakers that are needed, but humble, earnest workers, men who have childlike trust in a higher strength. It is the men of prayer, who seek the Lord with humble, contrite hearts, that are men of power.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 285, 286.


  • How can we disarm prejudice and opposition when presenting the message of truth? I Peter 3:8, 9.

Note: “The spirit of Jesus should pervade the soul of the worker; it is the pleasant, sympathetic words, the manifestation of disinterested love for their souls that will break down the barriers of pride and selfishness, and show to unbelievers that we have the love of Christ.” Evangelism, 636.

  • How should unpopular truths be presented from the pulpit? Ephesians 4:15, first part.
  • What precautions must be taken not to exasperate those that we are trying to reform? Jude 21–23.

Note: “My brethren, let your hearts become broken and contrite. Let expressions of sympathy and love, which will not blister the tongue, flow from your lips.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1164.


  • What type of outline, with a logical sequence of ideas, is necessary in any presentation of the truth? Isaiah 28:10.
  • Why should the number of ideas in a presentation be limited? Ecclesiastes 12:11, 12.

Note: “The truth must be given point after point. It must be spoken distinctly and with clear utterance making a few essential points; then it will be as a nail fastened in a sure place by the Master of assemblies.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 216.

“They [ministers] injure the work, injure the effect of the truth that they would advocate, by crowding into one discourse so much and making so many points that minds cannot always appreciate or follow them. More success would attend their labors if they riveted one or two points in the minds of the hearers and make these points of vital importance, press them home and urge upon them the danger of rejecting the light upon those points. Let the minds of the hearers distinctly understand the bearing of every point and then urge to a decision.” Ibid., 218, 219.

“When a minister throws out a mass of matter before the people for them to pick up and arrange in order, his labors are lost; for there are few who will do it.” Evangelism, 649.

  • Why do our sermons, lessons, and prayers need to be short and to the point? Ecclesiastes 5:2, last part; Matthew 6:7.

Note: “Many make a mistake in their preaching in not stopping while the interest is up. They go on speechifying until the interest that had risen in the minds of the hearers dies out and the people are really wearied with words of no special weight or interest. Stop before you get there. Stop when you have nothing of special importance to say. Do not go on with dry words that only excite prejudice and do not soften the heart. You want to be so united to Christ that your words will melt and burn their way to the soul. Mere prosy talk is insufficient for this time. Arguments are good, but there may be too much of the argumentative and too little of the spirit and life of God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 419.


  • Why is it useless to present intellectual discourses instead of making plain the plan of salvation? I Corinthians 1:21–25.

Note: “The lessons of Christ were illustrated so clearly that the most ignorant could readily comprehend them. Jesus did not use long and difficult words in His discourses; He used plain language, adapted to the minds of the common people. He went no farther into the subject He was expounding than they were able to follow Him.

“Ministers should present the truth in a clear, simple manner. There are among their hearers many who need a plain explanation of the steps requisite in conversion. The great masses of the people are more ignorant on this point than is supposed. Among graduates from college, eloquent orators, able statesmen, men in high positions of trust, there are many who have given their powers to other matters, and have neglected the things of greatest importance. When such men form part of a congregation, the speaker often strains every power to preach an intellectual discourse, and fails to reveal Christ. He does not show that sin is the transgression of the law. He does not make plain the plan of salvation. That which would have touched the hearts of his hearers, would have been to point them to Christ dying to bring redemption within their reach.” Gospel Workers, 169, 170.

  • How can we make our subject more well-defined, earnest, and clear? I Corinthians 1:5.

Note: “If you have the quickening grace of Christ to energize your movements, you will put earnestness into your sermons. Your subject will be clear and well-defined in your mind. You will not be lengthy in your remarks, neither will you speak hesitatingly, as though you did not yourself believe what you were saying. You must overcome slow hesitation, and undecided, sluggish movements, and learn to be minute men.” The Review and Herald, April 6, 1886.


  • What lesson can we learn from Christ to make listeners alert and interested during our discourses? Luke 2:46.

Note: “If instead of preaching to them [parents and children], the speaker would try to teach them, asking them questions, and speaking in a conversational tone, their minds would be aroused to activity, and they would be able more clearly to comprehend the truths opened before them. Their understanding would take hold of the living reality of the truths necessary for the quickening of the perception and for growth in knowledge.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 236.

  • What topics should be presented to stimulate thought and bring souls to a decision for Christ? Acts 16:30, 31; Colossians 1:25–28.

Note: “Let every discourse that does not enlighten the soul, that does not answer the question, What must I do to be saved? be cut off from your program. Preach the testing message of the third angel. It is essential that our ministers preach the truth that has a direct bearing on the message for this time, and that they present the subjects in the most simple language. What must I do to be saved, and the righteousness of Christ, are themes that are of vital importance to the people.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 329.

“It is known in heaven how we represent Christ to the world. It is known what impressions we make upon those around us. Our words and actions are all written in the books of heaven. Then how important it is that we reveal the fact that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of Him. Do any of you who profess to know Him indulge in light, trifling conversation? O, do not permit your lips to utter that which will be a stumbling-block to those who are watching to see what benefit you have received from your faith in Christ. Rather lift their minds to dwell upon eternal realities. When you mingle with the people in the market place, as you walk the street, or wherever you may be, be sure that you have a living connection with God, and that you represent the character of Christ to the world.” The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 15, 1892.


  • What is the most important factor in preparing a sermon or a Sabbath school presentation? Ephesians 6:18, 19.

Note: “There is too little time spent in secret prayer and in sacred meditation. The cry of God’s servants should be for the holy unction and to be clothed with salvation, that what they preach may reach hearts.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 219.

  • What prerequisite must be met by anyone before he or she is ready to teach or preach? I Timothy 4:16.

Note: “It is not enough to argue in defense of the truth. The most telling evidence of its worth is seen in a godly life; and without this the most conclusive statements will be lacking in weight and prevailing power; for our strength lies in being connected with God by His Holy Spirit, and transgression severs us from this sacred nearness with the Source of our might and wisdom.” “Ellen G. White,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 998.

“To preach what we do not practice, is but to confirm sinners in their impenitence. The most earnest exhortations to walk in the light will be unheeded, if the speaker himself neglects to follow the light which Christ has given.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 301.


1 What methods can we use to disarm prejudice among our listeners?

2 How can we make our presentations logical and sequential?

3 In what practical ways can we be more effective teachers of the truth?

4 Why does a conversational manner, with questions and answers, produce good results in teaching?

5 What is necessary for an effective presentation of the truth?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

1 Tbsp. Olive oil 1 can (15 oz. pure pumpkin
5 green onions (white and light green parts) thinly sliced (slice dark parts and set aside for garnishing) 1 can (14.5 oz) no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 can (14 fl. oz) vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, chopped ½ cup water
1 ½ tsps. ground cumin ½ tsp. salt or more to taste
½ tsp dried thyme 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper or more to taste
2 cans (15 oz each ) black beans, rinsed and drained
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add white and light green parts of green onions, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in cumin and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add beans, pumpkin, tomatoes and juice, broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in salt and cayenne pepper. Top each serving with dark green onion tops.

Food – Pumpkins Do Not Disappoint!

The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene, converted to vitamin A in the body, promotes healthy eyes, skin and bones. Just one serving of 100 percent pure pumpkin provides 80 percent of the daily required vitamin A. In addition to adding fiber, potassium, and vitamin A, while cutting down on fat and sodium, pumpkin adds extra flavor.

A little pumpkin goes a long way to making your favorite dishes tastier and more nutritious. Probably best known for the favorite holiday dessert of pumpkin pie, have you tried or considered other uses of pumpkin? Below are simple ways a little pumpkin can make all the difference.

Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.

Pumpkin flowers are edible!

Pumpkin added to your favorite convenience tomato sauce reduces the sodium, although the only difference you may notice is a little extra body added to your pasta sauce. Simply stir 1 cup pure pumpkin into 3 cups (about 26 oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce.

Pumpkin added to mashed potatoes makes them become rich and golden in color, while helping to reduce the fat and calories. Stir 1/2 cup of pure pumpkin into each cup of mashed potatoes.

You may not notice the pumpkin in your chili, but you’ll be glad to know that this pumpkin addition will help to reduce the sodium in your bowl. Stir 1/2 cup pure pumpkin into 1 1/2 cups of your favorite chili.

Pumpkin adds a rich golden color and natural flavor to your everyday applesauce. Stir 3 tablespoons of pure pumpkin into 1/2 cup of applesauce for a naturally sweet snack.

Get the same great taste of traditional Mac & Cheese without all the fat when pumpkin is used in place of butter. Substitute 1/2 cup pure pumpkin for all the butter or margarine called for in the directions.

Pumpkin adds a touch of color and light earthiness to the flavor of hummus. Stir 1/4 cup pure pumpkin into 1 cup of hummus.

With pumpkin added to hearty brown rice, the result is deliciously creamy, risotto-like rice. Follow the package directions for regular or parboiled rice. For each cup of uncooked rice add 1/2 cup pure pumpkin to the cooking water or broth.

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake features a fabulous combination of cream cheese and pumpkin topped with crushed toffee candies. Serve it for dessert or for a special treat anytime.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued on October 22, 1906

Yet another year of wide-spread well-being has passed. Never before in our history or in the history of any other nation has a people enjoyed more abounding material prosperity than is ours, a prosperity so general that it should arouse in us no spirit of reckless pride, and least of all a spirit of heedless disregard of our responsibilities, but rather a sober sense of our many blessings and a resolute purpose, under Providence, not to forfeit them by any action of our own.

Material well-being, indispensable tho it is, can never be anything but the foundation of true national greatness and happiness. If we build nothing upon this foundation, then our national life will be as meaningless and empty as a house where only the foundation has been laid. Upon our material well-being must be built a superstructure of individual and national life lived in accordance with the laws of the highest morality, or else our prosperity itself will, in the long run, turn out a curse instead of a blessing. We should be both reverently thankful for what we have received, and earnestly bent upon turning it into a means of grace and not of destruction.

Accordingly, I hereby set apart Thursday, the 29th day of November next, as a day of thanksgiving and supplication on which the people shall meet in their homes or their churches, devoutly acknowledge all that has been given them and pray that they may in addition receive the power to use these gifts aright.

Although Thanksgiving had been observed unofficially since the days of the Pilgrims, various proclamations have been made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.

It was not fixed as a national holiday until the 1870s. On December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.

Children’s Story – Who Opened the Prison Door?

Hadewyck smiled as she hurried home along the cleanest street of the cleanest town in Holland.

“Jesus will make our hearts as clean as our town,” she whispered to her friend Elizabeth. “I wish all our neighbors would learn to love Him as we do!”

But in the town of Leeuwarden 400 years ago there weren’t many people who loved Jesus. In fact, most of them scowled at Christians and would not listen when Hadewyck and her friend tried to tell them of His great love.

One day rough soldiers arrested Hadewyck. They grabbed her arms so tightly that they hurt.

“Help me, Jesus,” she prayed as the cruel men rushed her along the street to jail.

“We’ll see if you’ll keep talking about your Jesus,” the jailer said. “I vow you’ll stop when you feel the thumbscrews!”

The key clicked in the lock, and Hadewyck was all alone in the prison cell. “Thank You, Jesus,” she prayed. “Thank You that they did not kill me.”

Sounds from the streets seeped through the keyhole, and Hadewyck counted the days by those noises. She knew when the heavy carts of wheat and corn were being hauled to the weigh bridge. She knew from the noise of the cattle when they were being driven to the market. And often she prayed.

One day as she was praying, a voice called her name. “Hadewyck!”

She looked around. There was no one in the room. Hadewyck kept praying, happy that no one could keep her from talking to Jesus.

“Hadewyck!” There was the voice again!

She looked at the door. It was shut, and there was no one in the room. She closed her eyes to talk to Jesus some more.

“Hadewyck! You must leave here!”

There had been no click of the key in the lock, but the door was open!

Hadewyck quickly drew her cloak around her shoulders and stepped into the street. But which way should she go? Where would she hide before anyone saw her? She stepped into a large church near the jail and walked up and down the aisles with the crowds of other people who were walking there. Then she heard the town drummer calling in the street, and her face turned pale.

“A female heretic has escaped!” the drummer shouted.

“The town gates have been shut,” the excited crowd whispered. “She’ll soon be caught!”

“She’ll feel the thumbscrews!” said a passerby on the street.

“But how did she get out? She must have been a witch to have opened the door!” said the jailer.

Hadewyck was sure from all the talk that she would soon be found in the church. She quietly slipped out.

The town drummer was going past. “A hundred guilders to the man who finds the heretic!” he shouted. “One hundred fifty guilders fine if anyone hides her!”

Surely now someone who knew her would see her and claim the hundred guilders! Where could she go? “Jesus, show me where to hide!”

The priest’s tall house stood beside the church. Hadewyck remembered that the maid who worked there was her friend. She stepped inside. No one heard her as she climbed the stairs. No one heard her as she opened the attic door and closed it softly behind her. She peeped through the window and saw soldiers rushing about. She quickly stepped away from the window, afraid that someone might look up and see her. She leaned against a chest to think.

“Thank You, Jesus, for keeping me safe so far,” she prayed. “Show me what to do next.”

A sound drifted through the attic door. “Maybe my friend is coming. I will listen for her.”

After a while she heard the girl cleaning the hall below. Hadewyck slowly went down the attic steps, stopping often to listen.

“Little one,” she whispered. “Little one!”

The girl looked up and smiled. Hadewyck had always been so good to her.

“Listen carefully, little one. I want you to go to my sister’s home. Please tell her husband to bring a boat to the back of this house for me tonight.”

The girl nodded and scurried down the stairs. Hadewyck heard the slam of a door and listened to the quick steps as they grew fainter.

The afternoon went by. At last it was dark outside, and the streets were quiet. Hadewyck crept down the stairs so carefully that her feet scarcely touched the steps. She walked lightly along the hall to the door that opened on the canal. Her sister’s husband was waiting in the boat. He reached up his hand to help her in the seat. Dipping his oars without a sound, he rowed to a place of safety.

“Jesus opened the prison door for me as He did for Peter,” Hadewyck told him. “He kept people from recognizing me in the church, and He kept me safe in the priests’ house until you came. I do thank Him tonight.”

For many years Hadewyck told people about Jesus’ love, and Jesus always kept her from harm. She lived until she was an old woman, and then she went peacefully to her rest.

Adventure Stories from History, Harvestime Books, Altamont, Tennessee 37301, 411–415.

Current Events – The Lord is Coming Soon

“Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming.” Maranatha, 68.

“The signs of the times give evidence that the judgments of heaven are being poured out, that the day of the Lord is at hand. The daily papers are full of indications of an intense conflict in the future. Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders are committed on every hand. Men possessed by demons are taking the lives of men, women, and little children. All these things testify that the Lord’s coming is near.” Ibid., 175.

Seventy-four Chinese fishermen were missing on Monday, September 30, 2013, after a typhoon sunk three fishing boats in the South China Sea as Thailand and Vietnam braced for torrential rain and flooding.

Seven people were confirmed dead and at least 1,500 homes destroyed in Colorado after a week of rare, torrential rains along the eastern slopes of the Rockies, and helicopter search-and-rescue flights resumed on Monday, September 16, 2013, in flood-stricken areas.

With its Muslim-style minarets topped by a large black cross, the All Saints Church in Peshawar has for more than a century offered a daring architectural expression of Muslim-Christian harmony and cohabitation. This is how the Taliban destroyed it: two suicide bombers rushed the church doors as worshipers streamed out on Sunday, September 22, 2013. One attacker exploded his vest inside, the other just outside.

The death toll had risen to 85 by Monday evening, when Christians across the country protested the worst atrocity their community has suffered in Pakistan’s history.

September 25, 2013, Members of Christian community here burnt Pakistan flag and held a demonstration on the Jalandhar-Delhi national highway to protest the deadly twin suicide bombings on a historic church in Peshawar. Eighty three people were killed in the attack on All Saints Church at Kohati Gate area of Peshawar, which was the deadliest ever on the country’s Christian minority. Bombers had set off their suicide vests as people were emerging from Sunday mass.

Gunmen stormed a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, September 21, 2013, killing at least 39 people including close relatives of Kenya’s president and children, in an attack claimed by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab.

Health – Flavonoids

The Greek physician and philosopher Hippocrates famously advised people to “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” (This of course is the same physician/philosopher who gave us the Hippocratic Oath, the central theme of which is “First do no harm.”) Unfortunately, we have strayed from this good advice in modern times. Today, orthodox medicine is less about food as medicine and more about the rapid development of (often harmful) medications to treat symptoms. Rarely does conventional medicine actually address prevention or correction of the underlying health problem that is creating the symptoms.

We can get back to the Hippocratic philosophy of making food our medicine.

Flavonoids: Powerhouses of Prevention

A number of recent studies have shown that a class of compounds called flavonoids, which are found in commonly eaten plants, can not only slow the age-related degeneration of the brain, but can actually reverse it. (Lau, F.C., et. al., Subcell Biochem 2007; 42: 299-318; Barros, D., et. al., Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2006; 84: 299-234) These studies used blueberries in the form of a concentrated extract, which provides very high levels of the beneficial flavonoids, such as anthrocyanadins, that the fruit contains. You can buy this extract in most grocery stores.

Studies have shown that blueberries improved memory in older mice, including spatial memory, long-term reference memory, and object recognition memory. (Goyarzu, P., et. al., Nutr Neurosci 2004; 7: 75-83; Casadesus, G., et. al., Nutr Neurosci 2004; 7(5-6): 309-316)

Researchers have also found that feeding blueberry extracts to rodents greatly improved their ability to navigate mazes. (Williams, C.M., et. al., Free Rad Biol Med 2008; 45: 295-305)

In another series of studies, James Joseph and his co-workers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston [Massachusetts] found that concentrated extracts of blueberries, spinach, and strawberries could prevent changes in the aging brains of animals.

These changes, such as calcium accumulation in synapses (the connections between brain cells) are also commonly seen in aging human brains. Blueberry extract had the most potent effect in correcting high synaptic calcium levels.

Accumulation of calcium in the area of the brain called the hippocampus (essential for learning, memory, and behavior) is another common finding in brain-aging studies. This calcium can interfere with memory and cause depression, as well as other behavioral changes. Therefore, a substance that can return hippocampus calcium levels to that of younger animals is a real breakthrough.

Another part of this study examined the cognitive function (thinking) of the animals that were fed these extracts. The researchers found significant improvement of learning ability in animals that were fed the plant extracts. In tests of the ability of the extracts to reduce oxidative stress in the animals’ brains, the researchers found that only the blueberry and strawberry extracts were effective.

Interestingly, these extracts increase vitamin E levels in the hippocampus, but not other parts of the brain. Aging is associated with a progressive increase of oxidative stress (free radical creation and lipid peroxidation) in the brain, especially in the hippocampus.

Of great importance was the finding that only the blueberry extract improved psychomotor function in the aged animals. This refers to skills that have been performed so often that you don’t have to consciously think about them to perform the action (such as tying your shoes).

This benefit would be particularly important for elderly people, because weakness and a loss of coordination are common ailments that make life difficult for seniors.

Besides acting as an antioxidant, these plant extracts improve the fluid-like quality of brain neurons, reduce brain inflammation, and reduce activation of microglia (the brain’s immune cells) and the release of brain-destructive chemicals from the microglia. (Lau, F.C., et. al., J Neurosci Res 2007; 85: 1010-1017)

One way blueberries repair the brain is by stimulating the production of the brain growth factors BDNF and IGF-1. These chemicals repair damaged brain cell connections and stimulate brain plasticity (growth of new circuits).

If we apply the animal study findings to humans, it would require three years of consuming these plant extracts to attain the same effects. That is why it is important to make these dietary changes now and not wait for a neurodegenerative disease to make its appearance.

Flavonoids Enhance Brain Performance

There are thousands of plant chemicals that have been shown to have beneficial health effects. Over 5,000 flavonoids alone have been identified.

Human studies have shown that people who eat a large daily portion of fruits and vegetables develop improved brain function and are significantly less likely to suffer brain degeneration as they age.

One fairly recent study, called the PAQUID Study, examined the flavonoid intake of 1,640 people age 65 or older and assessed their brain function using sophisticated tests, including the Mini-Mental State Exam, the Benton Visual Retention Test, and the Isaacs Set Test. (Letenneur, L., et. al., Am J Epidemiol 2007; 165: 1364-1371)

What is especially interesting about this study is that the researchers followed these subjects for 10 years and repeated the tests four times during this period. Most such studies follow test subjects for only a few years.

The study was adjusted for age, sex, and education level to rule out confounding factors. Those who ate the most flavonoid-containing foods had the best cognitive performance. Even more important, they had the highest level of evolution of performance — that is, an increasingly better performance on the tests over time.

This study provides us with powerful evidence that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can improve our ability to think and learn.

But one of the best sources of concentrated mixtures of flavonoids is fruits and vegetables themselves. I have often recommended consuming blenderized vegetables and selected fruits to get the most nutrients from the diet. It is absolutely critical to clean all vegetables thoroughly with a vegetable wash before blenderizing to remove pesticides and herbicides, as well as bacteria.

Contaminated plants have become a major cause of illness. Organically grown vegetables are best, as long as they are healthy and without spots and damaged areas. The most nutrient- dense vegetables and fruits include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, berries, celery, kale, and greens.

For more powerful health benefits, add blueberry concentrate, along with two cups of purified water and blenderize the vegetables. It’s best to use cold water to protect the vitamins in the vegetables.

One should drink 8 ounces of the mix once or twice a day. This provides a very high concentration of vitamins, fiber, and flavonoids in a highly absorbable form. In fact, the body absorbs only 20 to 30 percent of the flavonoids by eating raw fruits and vegetables, but 90 percent if you drink blenderized fruits and vegetables.

As for the omega-3 oils, I prefer taking pure DHA oils rather than a blend of high EPA and low DHA, as is found in many products. EPA is associated with increased bleeding, as well as disrupting diabetes and suppression of cell-mediated immunity.

Source: Excerpts from Blaylock Wellness Report, November 2011.