Bible Study Guides – A Wall of Protection

December 20 – 26, 2020

Key Text

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 119:1).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 305–310.


“He who has an understanding of the far-reaching claims of God’s law can understand something of the heinousness of sin. And the more exalted his ideas of God’s requirements, the greater will be his gratitude of the pardon granted him.” Our High Calling, 137.



1.a. When was the Sabbath given to mankind? What was the purpose of the Sabbath? Genesis 2:1–3.

Note: “The Sabbath … is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.

1.b.      What are some general guidelines in true Sabbath keeping? Isaiah 58:13.

1.c. Why do we often fail to guard our words upon the Sabbath? Matthew 12:34.

Note: “To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.

“But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 283.


2.a. What does God express right at the beginning of the law, showing its importance? Exodus 20:3. How do we show that we have given something first preference in our life? What types of other gods do we sometimes serve?

Note: “Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the Source and Sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 305.

2.b.      What should our attitude be toward God? Mark 12:30; Deuteronomy 10:12.

Note: “Christ’s service requires the whole man—the heart, the mind, the soul, the strength. He will not accept a divided heart. He expects us to do our best.” This Day With God, 161.

2.c.       Which attribute is vital if we are to enter into a relationship with God where He holds first place? Galatians 5:6.

Note: “The faith which avails to bring us in vital contact with Christ expresses on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. … It works in the life of the follower of Christ true obedience to God’s commandments, for love to God and love to man will be the result of vital connection with Christ.” In Heavenly Places, 108.

“He [the true believer] abides in Christ, and draws his nourishment from Him.

“This spiritual relation can be established only by the exercise of personal faith. This faith must express on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. Our will must be wholly yielded to the divine will; our feelings, desires, interests, and honor, identified with the prosperity of Christ’s kingdom and the honor of His cause, we constantly receiving grace from Him, and Christ accepting gratitude from us.” My Life Today, 11.



3.a.       Where does the sinful desire originate which leads to grave sins such as covetousness and adultery? Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:19; 22:37.

Note: “The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can exercise his power upon us. But every sinful desire we cherish affords him a foothold. Every point in which we fail of meeting the divine standard is an open door by which he can enter to tempt and destroy us. And every failure or defeat on our part gives occasion for him to reproach Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 125.

“The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God’s law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309.

3.b.      As we realize that the battleground is within the mind, what should we do? Philippians 3:5–8; Revelation 3:20.

Note: “Jesus became a man that He might mediate between man and God … that He might restore to man the original mind which he lost in Eden through Satan’s alluring temptation.” That I May Know Him, 291.

“By conversion and transformation men are to receive the mind of Christ.” Ibid., 134.

3.c. How far-reaching is obedience to the seventh commandment? Matthew 5:27, 28.

Note: “This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.


4.a. What is the root from which murder springs? 1 John 3:15. What else is involved in keeping the sixth commandment?

Note: “All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for ‘whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer’ [1 John 3:15]); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure health—all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

4.b.      What characteristic of the carnal heart leads to hatred, and how does this evil trait affect those who harbor it? 1 Corinthians 3:3; Proverbs 14:30.

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

“Envy is one of the most despicable traits of Satanic character. It is constantly seeking the lifting up of self, by casting slurs upon others. A man who is envious will belittle his neighbor, thinking to exalt himself.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1159.

“Envy, jealousy, and evil surmising is a hellish shadow by which Satan seeks to intercept your views of the character of Christ, so that by beholding the evil you may be fully changed into its likeness.” Ibid., 1163.

4.c.       How far should our honesty extend, if we truly desire to keep the eighth commandment? 2 Corinthians 8:21; Romans 12:17.

Note: “It [the eighth commandment] condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage oneself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud in the books of heaven.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309.


5a.     What is special about the fifth commandment? Ephesians 6:2; Exodus 20:12.

Note: “Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God. The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins respect for ministers and rulers and for all others to whom God has delegated authority.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

“Our obligation to our parents never ceases. Our love for them, and theirs for us, is not measured by years or distance, and our responsibility can never be set aside.” My Life Today, 278.

“Those who would truly follow Christ must let Him abide in the heart, and enthrone Him there as supreme. They must represent His spirit and character in their home life, and show courtesy and kindness to those with whom they come in contact. There are many children who profess to know the truth, who do not render to their parents the honor and affection that are due to them, who manifest but little love to father and mother, and fail to honor them in deferring to their wishes, or in seeking to relieve them of anxiety.” Sons and Daughters of God, 60.



1    How only can I keep the Sabbath holy? What will my words and actions reveal?

2    If I have a vital connection with Christ, what will be the result?

3    What happens when a sinful desire is cherished, a sinful thought dwelt upon?

4    What is envy? What is the result of cherishing this sinful trait?

5    Why are parents entitled to love and respect more than any other person?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – God Speaks to His People

December 13 – 19, 2002

Key Text

“The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount of the midst of the fire” (Deuteronomy 5:4).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 301–305.


“When the law was spoken, the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, stood by the side of His Son, enshrouded in the fire and the smoke on the mount.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1103.



 1.a. How long after they had left Egypt did the Israelites come to Mount Sinai? Exodus 19:1, 2. What revelation was God about to make to them?

Note: “On every hand vast, rugged heights seemed in their solitary grandeur to speak of eternal endurance and majesty. Here the mind was impressed with solemnity and awe. Man was made to feel his ignorance and weakness in the presence of Him who ‘weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance’ (Isaiah 40:12). Here Israel was to receive the most wonderful revelation ever made by God to men. Here the Lord had gathered His people that He might impress upon them the sacredness of His requirements by declaring with His own voice His holy law. Great and radical changes were to be wrought in them; for the degrading influences of servitude and a long-continued association with idolatry had left their mark upon habits and character. God was working to lift them to a higher moral level by giving them a knowledge of Himself.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 302.

1.b.      What beautiful words did God speak to Moses in the Mount, sharing His desire for the Israelites as well as His people in all ages? Exodus 19:3–6.



2.a. After Moses shared with the people what God had spoken to him, how did the people respond? Exodus 19:7–9.

Note: “Moses returned to the camp, and having summoned the elders of Israel, he repeated to them the divine message. Their answer was, ‘All that the Lord hath spoken we will do’ (Exodus 19:8). Thus they entered into a solemn covenant with God, pledging themselves to accept Him as their ruler, by which they became, in a special sense, the subjects of His authority.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 303.

“This is the pledge that God’s people are to make in these last days. Their acceptance with God depends on a faithful fulfilment of the terms of their agreement with Him. God includes in His covenant all who will obey Him.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1103.

2.b.      What preparation was required of the people in order to appear in God’s presence when He presented His law? Exodus 19:10–15. What care should we take before we appear in the presence of God at church?

Note: “That great and mighty God who created the beautiful Eden and everything lovely in it is a God of order, and He wants order and cleanliness with His people. …

“There was to be nothing slack and untidy about those who appeared before Him when they came into His holy presence. And why was this? What was the object of all this carefulness? Was it merely to recommend the people to God? Was it merely to gain His approbation? The reason that was given me was this, that a right impression might be made upon the people. If those who ministered in sacred office should fail to manifest care, and reverence for God, in their apparel and their deportment, the people would lose their awe and their reverence for God and His sacred service. If the priests showed great reverence for God by being very careful and very particular as they came into His presence, it gave the people an exalted idea of God and His requirements. It showed them that God was holy, that His work was sacred, and that everything in connection with His work must be holy; that it must be free from everything like impurity and uncleanness; and that all defilement must be put away from those who approach nigh to God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 611, 612.



3.a. Describe the majesty and solemnity of the scene when God descended from heaven to speak to His people. Exodus 19:16–20; Deuteronomy 33:2, 3.

Note: “On the morning of the third day, as the eyes of all the people were turned toward the mount, its summit was covered with a thick cloud, which grew more black and dense, sweeping downward until the entire mountain was wrapped in darkness and awful mystery. Then a sound as of a trumpet was heard, summoning the people to meet with God; and Moses led them forth to the base of the mountain. From the thick darkness flashed vivid lightnings, while peals of thunder echoed and re-echoed among the surrounding heights. …

“And now the thunders ceased; the trumpet was no longer heard; the earth was still. There was a period of solemn silence, and then the voice of God was heard. Speaking out of the thick darkness that enshrouded Him, as He stood upon the mount, surrounded by a retinue of angels, the Lord made known His law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 304.

“By proclaiming the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel with His own voice, God demonstrated their importance. In awful grandeur He made known His majesty and authority as Ruler of the world. This He did to impress the people with the sacredness of His law and the importance of obeying it.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 198.

3.b.      When Moses was again called to the top of the mountain, what did the Lord say to him? Exodus 19:21–25.

Note: “When the divine Presence was manifested upon Sinai, the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire in the sight of all Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 339.

“God is a being of infinite love and compassion, but He also declares Himself to be a ‘consuming fire, even a jealous God’ (Deuteronomy 4:24).” The Review and Herald, August 14, 1900.

“To sin, wherever found, ‘our God is a consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12:29). In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them.” The Desire of Ages, 107.



4.a. Who spoke the law on Mount Sinai? What did He later do with the law? Deuteronomy 5:4, 5; 9:10.

Note: “The law, which is the transcript of His character, no one need fail to understand. The words written by the finger of God on tables of stone so perfectly reveal His will concerning His people that none need make any mistake.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 225.

4.b. What is the basic principle behind the law? Matthew 22:37–39.

Note: “The ten commandments, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not, are ten promises, assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe. ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). Here is the sum and substance of the law of God. The terms of salvation for every son and daughter of Adam are here outlined.

“The ten holy precepts spoken by Christ upon Sinai’s mount were the revelation of the character of God, and made known to the world the fact that He had jurisdiction over the whole human heritage. That law of ten precepts of the greatest love that can be presented to man is the voice of God from heaven speaking to the soul in promise, ‘This do, and you will not come under the dominion and control of Satan.’ There is not a negative in that law, although it may appear thus. It is DO, and Live.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1105.

4.c. How do genuine Christians show that they have the love of God in their hearts? 1 John 5:2, 3; Romans 13:10.

Note: “The love of Jesus in the soul will banish all hatred, selfishness, and envy; for the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. There is health in obedience to God’s law. The affections of the obedient are drawn out after God. Looking unto the Lord Jesus, we may encourage and serve one another. The love of Christ is shed abroad in our souls, and there is no dissension and strife among us.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1105.

“The law of love calls for the devotion of body, mind, and soul to the service of God and our fellow men. And this service, while making us a blessing to others, brings the greatest blessing to ourselves.” Education, 16.



5.a. What effect did the proclamation of the law have upon the people? Exodus 20:18–20. What effect did it have upon Moses? Hebrews 12:20, 21.

Note: “The people of Israel were overwhelmed with terror. The awful power of God’s utterances seemed more than their trembling hearts could bear. For as God’s great rule of right was presented before them, they realized as never before the offensive character of sin, and their own guilt in the sight of a holy God. They shrank away from the mountain in fear and awe.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309, 310.

5.b.      Was there a need to change this law? Did Jesus change it? Psalm 111:7, 8; Matthew 5:17–19.

Note: “The law of God in the sanctuary in heaven is the great original, of which the precepts inscribed upon the tables of stone and recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch were an unerring transcript. … The law of God, being a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, must forever endure, ‘as a faithful witness in heaven’ (Psalm 89:37). Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed. Says the psalmist: ‘Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.’ ‘All His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever’ (Psalm 119:89; 111:7, 8).” The Great Controversy, 434.



1    How did the natural beauty surrounding Mount Sinai affect the Israelites? Why is it so important to regularly spend time in nature?

2    What pledge does God want me to make with Him daily?

3    Why did God speak with His own voice when proclaiming the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel?

4    What is the result of having the law of love, the love of Jesus, in the soul?

5    Explain why the law is unchanging.

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – The Visit of Jethro

December 6 – 12, 2002

Key Text

“And Moses’ father in law said unto him, … Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:17, 21).

Study Help: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 13–18.


“In His instruction to Moses the Lord very plainly set forth the character of those who were to fill important positions as counselors.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 341.



1.a. After the battle with the Amalekites, who came to visit Moses, and whom did he bring with him? Exodus 18:1–5.

Note: “Not far distant from where the Israelites were now encamped was the home of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Jethro had heard of the deliverance of the Hebrews, and he now set out to visit them, and restore to Moses his wife and two sons.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 300.

1.b.      When Jethro sent word to Moses that he was coming, what did Moses do at once? Exodus 18:6, 7.

Note: “The great leader was informed by messengers of their approach, and he went out with joy to meet them, and, the first greetings over, conducted them to his tent. He had sent back his family when on his way to the perils of leading Israel from Egypt, but now he could again enjoy the relief and comfort of their society.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 300.



2.a. What did Moses tell his father-in-law? Exodus 18:8.

2.b.      How did Jethro react to the good news? Exodus 18:9–12.

Note: “To Jethro he [Moses] recounted the wonderful dealings of God with Israel, and the patriarch rejoiced and blessed the Lord, and with Moses and the elders he united in offering sacrifice and holding a solemn feast in commemoration of God’s mercy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 300.

2.c. What should we remember as we come in contact with others both within and without the church? Psalm 105:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Note: “The dealings of God with His people should be often repeated. How frequently were the waymarks set up by the Lord in His dealings with ancient Israel! Lest they should forget the history of the past, He commanded Moses to frame these events into song, that parents might teach them to their children. They were to gather up memorials and to lay them up in sight. Special pains were taken to preserve them, that when the children should inquire concerning these things, the whole story might be repeated. Thus the providential dealings and the marked goodness and mercy of God in His care and deliverance of His people were kept in mind. … For His people in this generation the Lord has wrought as a wonder-working God. … We need often to recount God’s goodness and to praise Him for His wonderful works. …

“Let us look to the monumental pillars, reminders of what the Lord has done to comfort us and to save us from the hand of the destroyer. Let us keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies that God has shown us—the tears He has wiped away, the pains He has soothed, the anxieties removed, the fears dispelled, the wants supplied, the blessings bestowed—thus strengthening ourselves for all that is before us through the remainder of our pilgrimage.” Conflict and Courage, 364.

“We are the constant recipients of God’s mercies, and yet how little gratitude we express, how little we praise Him for what He has done for us.” Steps to Christ, 103.



3.a. What did Jethro observe concerning the judicial work of Moses, and what was Moses’ response? Exodus 18:13–16.

Note: “As Jethro remained in the camp, he soon saw how heavy were the burdens that rested upon Moses. To maintain order and discipline among that vast, ignorant, and untrained multitude was indeed a stupendous task. Moses was their recognized leader and magistrate, and not only the general interests and duties of the people, but the controversies that arose among them, were referred to him. He had permitted this, for it gave him an opportunity to instruct them; as he said, ‘I do make them know the statutes of God, and His laws’ (Exodus 18:16). But Jethro remonstrated against this.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 300, 301.

3.b.      What advice did the godly priest then give to his son-in-law? Exodus 18:17–23.

 3.c. What were the four main qualifications that the visitor emphasized in the selections of the men who were to share Moses’ burdens? Exodus 18:21, first part. What counsel, given to those selecting managers for schools, is just as applicable in the various departments of the work today?

Note: “Wherever schools are established, wise managers must be provided, ‘able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness’ (Exodus 18:21) men who will do their very best in the various responsibilities of their positions. Business ability they should have, but it is of still greater importance that they walk humbly with God and are guided by the Holy Spirit. Such men will be taught of God, and they will seek counsel of their brethren who are men of prayer.

“The managers of our schools must labor with pure motives. In their unselfishness they will remember that other parts of the great harvest field will require the same facilities that are provided for the school under their care.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 215.



4.a. How did Moses respond to the wise counsel of his father-in-law? Exodus 18:24, 25.

Note: “The Lord had greatly honored Moses, and had wrought wonders by His hand; but the fact that he had been chosen to instruct others did not lead him to conclude that he himself needed no instruction. The chosen leader of Israel listened gladly to the suggestions of the godly priest of Midian, and adopted his plan as a wise arrangement.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 301.

4.b.      What does this teach us about how we should treat those who are older and more experienced than we are? What makes their advice valuable? Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31.

 Note: “Reverence should be shown for God’s representatives—for ministers, teachers, and parents who are called to speak and act in His stead. In the respect shown to them He is honored.

“And God has especially enjoined tender respect toward the aged. He says, ‘The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness’ (Proverbs 16:31). It tells of battles fought, and victories gained; of burdens borne, and temptations resisted. It tells of weary feet nearing their rest, of places soon to be vacant. Help the children to think of this, and they will smooth the path of the aged by their courtesy and respect, and will bring grace and beauty into their young lives as they heed the command to ‘rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man’ (Leviticus 19:32).” Education, 244.

4.c. What was the result of the recommended delegation of authority? Exodus 18:26.

Note: “This counsel was accepted, and it not only brought relief to Moses, but resulted in establishing more perfect order among the people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 301.



5.a. Just as God required those under Moses to have certain qualities, what were Moses’ special qualifications? What important attribute did he possess? Numbers 12:3.

Note: “Moses was a humble man; God called him the meekest man on earth. He was generous, noble, well-balanced; he was not defective, and his qualities were not merely half developed. He could successfully exhort his fellow-men, because his life itself was a living representation of what man can become and accomplish with God as his helper, of what he taught to others, of what he desired them to be, and of what God required of him. He spoke from the heart and it reached the heart. He was accomplished in knowledge and yet simple as a child in the manifestation of his deep sympathies. Endowed with a remarkable instinct, he could judge instantly of the needs of all who surrounded him, and of the things which were in bad condition and required attention, and he did not neglect them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1113.

5.b.      What special promise was given by Jesus to the meek? Matthew 5:5.

Note: “Meekness is a precious, Christian attribute. The meekness and lowliness of Christ are only learned by wearing Christ’s yoke. … That yoke signifies entire submission.” In Heavenly Places, 236.



1    What qualities should we look for in choosing leaders in the work today? Should those who lack these qualities be chosen?

2    What is of greater importance than business ability when choosing men for responsible positions?

3    What should we often speak about in our contact with others? Why?

4    How should we treat our ministers, parents, and teachers in the faith?

5    Why were Moses’ exhortations so powerful? What does this teach me?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – God Provides for His People

Wilderness Wanderings

November 29 – December 5, 2020

Key Text

“But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 297–300.


“Happy the minister who has a faithful Aaron and Hur to strengthen his hands when they become weary and to hold them up by faith and prayer. Such a support is a powerful aid to the servant of Christ in his work and will often make the cause of truth to triumph gloriously.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 531.



1a. How did the children of Israel murmur against Moses when they arrived at Rephidim?

Note: “The Lord directed their course where there was no water, to prove them, to see if, after receiving so many evidences of His power, they had learned to turn to Him in their affliction, and had repented of their past rebellious murmurings against Him. They had charged Moses and Aaron with selfish motives in bringing them from Egypt to kill them and their children with hunger, that they might be enriched with their possessions. In doing this the Israelites ascribed to man that which they had received unmistakable evidence was from God alone, whose power is unlimited. These wonderful manifestations of the power of God He would have them ascribe to Him alone, and magnify His name upon the earth. … If they would not glorify God in their trials and adversity, in their travels through the wilderness to the Canaan in prospect, while God was continually giving them unmistakable evidence of His power and glory, and His care for them, they would not magnify His name and glorify Him when established in the land of Canaan, surrounded with blessings and prosperity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 107.



2.a. What did Moses do after he had heard their complaints? Exodus 17:4; Jeremiah 29:12.

Note: “The Lord says, ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble’ (Psalm 50:15). He invites us to present to Him our perplexities and necessities, and our need of divine help. He bids us be instant in prayer. As soon as difficulties arise, we are to offer to Him our sincere, earnest petitions. By our importunate prayers we give evidence of our strong confidence in God. The sense of our need leads us to pray earnestly, and our heavenly Father is moved by our supplications.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 172.

2.b.      To what place, and with what specific instructions, did God send Moses for water? How was water miraculously provided? Exodus 17:5, 6.

Note: “In distress Moses cried to the Lord, ‘What shall I do unto this people’ (Exodus 17:4)? He was directed to take the elders of Israel and the rod wherewith he had wrought wonders in Egypt, and to go on before the people. And the Lord said unto him, ‘Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink’ (verse 6). He obeyed, and the waters burst forth in a living stream that abundantly supplied the encampment. Instead of commanding Moses to lift up his rod and call down some terrible plague, like those on Egypt, upon the leaders in this wicked murmuring, the Lord in His great mercy made the rod His instrument to work their deliverance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 298.

2.c. What other names did Moses give to that place, and why did he rename it? Exodus 17:7, margin.

Note: “In their thirst the people had tempted God, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us, or not?’ (Exodus 17:7, last part). ‘If God has brought us here, why does He not give us water as well as bread?’ The unbelief thus manifested was criminal, and Moses feared that the judgments of God would rest upon them. And he called the name of the place Massah, ‘temptation,’ and Meribah, ‘chiding,’ as a memorial of their sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 298.



3.a. Of whom is the smitten rock a type? 1 Corinthians 10:4.

Note: “Moses smote the rock, but it was the Son of God who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, stood beside Moses, and caused the life-giving water to flow. Not only Moses and the elders, but all the congregation who stood at a distance, beheld the glory of the Lord; but had the cloud been removed, they would have been slain by the terrible brightness of Him who abode therein.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 298.

3.b.      In what other sense is Jesus referred to as a rock? Psalm 94:22; Mark 12:10.

Note: “In infinite wisdom, God chose the foundation stone, and laid it Himself. He called it ‘a sure foundation’ (Isaiah 28:16, last part). The entire world may lay upon it their burdens and griefs; it can endure them all. With perfect safety they may build upon it. Christ is a ‘tried stone’ (Isaiah 28:16, second part). Those who trust in Him, He never disappoints. He has borne every test. He has endured the pressure of Adam’s guilt, and the guilt of his posterity, and has come off more than conqueror of the powers of evil. He has borne the burdens cast upon Him by every repenting sinner. In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. He is the sure foundation. All who make Him their dependence rest in perfect security. …

“By connection with Christ, the living stone, all who build upon this foundation become living stones. Many persons are by their own endeavors hewn, polished, and beautified; but they cannot become ‘living stones,’ because they are not connected with Christ. Without this connection, no man can be saved. Without the life of Christ in us, we cannot withstand the storms of temptation.” The Desire of Ages, 598, 599.

3.c. What symbolized the water that flowed from the smitten rock? John 4:10:10–14; 7:37–39.

Note: “He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” The Desire of Ages, 195.



4.a. What danger next threatened the people of Israel? Exodus 17:8.

Note: “Because of Israel’s disobedience and departure from God, they were allowed to be brought into close places and to suffer adversity; their enemies were permitted to make war with them, to humble them and lead them to seek God in their trouble and distress. ‘Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim’ (Exodus 17:8). This took place immediately after the children of Israel had given themselves up to their rebellious murmurings and to unjust, unreasonable complaints against their leaders whom God had qualified and appointed to lead them through the wilderness to the land of Canaan.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 106, 107.

4.b.      How did God defeat the Amalekites? Exodus 17:9–12.

Note: “When the Amalekites came to attack the camp of Israel in the wilderness, Moses knew that his people were not prepared for the encounter. He sent Joshua with a band of soldiers to meet the enemy, while he himself, with Aaron and Hur, took his position on a hill overlooking the battlefield. There the man of God laid the case before Him who alone was able to give them the victory. With hands outstretched toward heaven, Moses prayed earnestly for the success of the armies of Israel. It was observed that while his hands were reaching upward, Israel prevailed against the foe; but when through fatigue they were allowed to fall, Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur stayed up the hands of Moses until victory, full and complete, turned upon the side of Israel and their enemies were driven from the field.

“This instance was to be a lesson to all Israel to the close of time that God is the strength of His people. When Israel triumphed, Moses was reaching his hands toward heaven and interceding in their behalf; so when all the Israel of God prevail, it is because the Mighty One undertakes their case and fights their battles for them. Moses did not ask or believe that God would overcome their foes while Israel remained inactive. He marshals all his forces and sends them out as well prepared as their facilities can make them, and then he takes the whole matter to God in prayer. Moses on the mount is pleading with the Lord, while Joshua with his brave followers is below, doing his best to meet and repulse the enemies of Israel and of God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 530, 531.



5.a. After the Amalekites had been defeated, what sentence was pronounced upon them? Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:17–19.

Note: “The wonders wrought by Moses before the Egyptians were made a subject of mockery by the people of Amalek, and the fears of surrounding nations were ridiculed. They had taken oath by their gods that they would destroy the Hebrews, so that not one should escape, and they boasted that Israel’s God would be powerless to resist them. They had not been injured or threatened by the Israelites. Their assault was wholly unprovoked. It was to manifest their hatred and defiance of God that they sought to destroy His people. … When the men of Amalek fell upon the wearied and defenseless ranks of Israel, they sealed their nation’s doom. The care of God is over the weakest of His children. No act of cruelty or oppression toward them is unmarked by Heaven. Over all who love and fear Him, His hand extends as a shield; let men beware that they smite not that hand; for it wields the sword of justice.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 300.

5.b.      What should we remember when we are persecuted in a similar manner today as was Israel by the Amalekites? Matthew 5:11,12. How does God regard those who persecute their own brethren?

Note: “If God thus punished the cruelty of a heathen nation, how must He regard those who, professing to be His people, will make war upon their own brethren who are worn and wearied laborers in His cause?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 245.



1    How is trial and adversity a test for us today, as it was for the Israelites?

2    When we pray earnestly in difficult situations, what does this reveal?

3    What is the key to becoming a living stone?

4    What is sometimes the cause of us being brought into difficult places?

5    What sin sealed Amalek’s doom? How are we sometimes guilty of the same sin?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Recipe – Mushroom Gravy


While enjoying a plant-based diet, some people are reluctant to place a fungus on the menu but let me encourage you to take a second look at the benefits of including this “ill repute.”

Although it is impossible to discuss every kind of mushroom that there is, after all, there are 10,000 varieties, but here we will consider the most common ones: Portabella (the oldest variety and has a hearty flavor), Cremini, Maitake (fan shaped), Button, Hedgehog, Morel, Shiitake, Porcini, Lobster, Enoki, Chanterelle and Clamshell.

Mushrooms are low in calories, fat and sodium, free from cholesterol, full of vitamins, protein, minerals and antioxidants. Each variety of mushroom is used in a different cultural cuisine, from Italian, Chinese, Thai, Russian, Haitian, Romanian, United Kingdom, Macedonian and many more.

Mushrooms are hearty and filling. Increasing your consumption of mushrooms, which are a low-energy-dense food, will keep the calorie count down, not to mention the load of nutrients that pack a punch:

  • Riboflavin, B-2: Aids in hormone production and proper nervous system function
  • Niacin, B-3: Helps maintain healthy red blood cells
  • Pantothenic Acid, B-5: Promotes healthy skin, digestive and nervous system function
  • Folate, B-9: Produces DNA and RNA: produces red and white blood cells in the bone marrow
  • Thiamin, B-1: Produces energy and the growth and development of cells
  • Selenium: Protects the body cells from damage
  • Copper: Produces red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body and keeps the bones and nerves healthy
  • Potassium: Maintains normal fluid and mineral balance, stabilizes blood pressure, maintains the proper function of muscles including the heart muscle.

The benefits are enormous.

Favorite Mushroom Gravy


1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 dry pint shitake mushrooms – any mushroom will work

2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil

2 Tbsp. unbleached flour

1 carton vegetable stock or broth

1 Tbsp. “chicken” seasoning, or more to taste

1 tsp. each – sage, basil, parsley


Sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until light brown, then set aside. Sauté the mushrooms until light brown and set aside. Place the flour and the rest of the oil in the pan to brown the flour. Add the broth or stock, seasoning and herbs on medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken. Then add the cooked onion, garlic and mushrooms; simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot.


Life Sketches – Convicting Testimony

What would you expect to happen if those who were guilty were to pass judgment and determine the sentence of the innocent? This is not a foreign occurrence and has happened many times in this world. The Bible records several famous instances of this happening in the life of Jesus and also in the life of Paul.

When Paul was set free after his first imprisonment in Rome, the Jews were still determined to rid themselves of what they considered a nuisance. Everything that they had tried had failed. More than once they had plotted to assassinate him, but their efforts had always come to naught. They had tried to get him convicted in Jerusalem, in Caesarea, and in Rome, and every attempt had failed. However, they never ceased trying to find a way that they could end his life because of their hatred against the gospel of Jesus Christ that he proclaimed wherever he went resulting in many people, both Jews and Gentiles becoming Christians.

The story that he would tell of his encounter with Jesus Christ in person on the Damascus road was convincing. It was an eyewitness testimony backed up by a change in his life that nobody could contradict. Those who did not accept this testimony became furious with rage because of the effect that it was having all over the world and resulted in the Jews’ determination to find some pretext by which they could cause him to be killed.

Rome, at that time, was involved in a terrible fire, for which Nero was blamed. Deciding to clear himself, he caused the Christians to be blamed for instigating the burning of the city. This gave opportunity for the Jews to lay a plot by which the apostle Paul was blamed for instigating the burning of the city of Rome. Again, he was to appear before Nero on trial for his life.

At this time, Paul had the prospect of almost certain death. First because of the aggravated nature of the crime charged against him. Second, because of the prevailing animosity toward the Christians which had resulted from their being blamed for burning the city. Then last, because of the very character of Nero himself, who was attempting to relieve himself of the real blame for the fire for which he certainly was responsible.

It was customary among both the Greeks and the Romans to allow a person in this situation who was accused to have an advocate, an attorney, present his case in a court of justice to plead in his behalf. By force of argument or impassioned eloquence, and appeal, entreaties, or even tears, such an advocate could often secure a reversal of the sentence, or if he failed in that, at least have the sentence mitigated to avoid a severe judgment.

But in this case there was no man who ventured to act as Paul’s counsel or advocate. He had no legal counsel. He had no friend at hand, even to preserve a record of the charges that were leveled against him. There is no written human record of the arguments that he urged in his own defense. Among the Christians who lived in the city of Rome, there was not one who came forward to stand by him at this time.

Down through the centuries, thousands, probably more accurately, millions of Christians have been in similar situations with no legal counsel and all manner of accusations being made against them. There have been many courts in which a person needed to prove their innocence, but how do you prove that the accusations are false? How do you prove your innocence? Now it’s one thing if you are considered innocent until you are proved guilty. It is entirely something else if you are considered guilty unless you can prove your innocence. Even if you are innocent, it may be very difficult to prove it.

However, if you are a Christian and find yourself in a situation like this, you do have Someone who has promised to never leave you or forsake you and to help you. For the apostle Paul, though all humans had forsaken him, he was aware that Somebody had stood by him. Writing to Timothy he said, “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Timothy 4:17).

Here we see the faithful apostle standing before Nero with no counsel, no human help, standing all alone accused of an aggravated crime in a pagan court having to defend himself. But, unseen by his accusers, there was One who stood with him and strengthened him that the preaching might be fully known.

Here was Paul standing before Nero. How striking would be the contest and the contrast. Nero was a person who had the very height of earthly power, wealth, and authority and had also participated in the lowest depths of crime and iniquity. This man, Nero, before whom Paul was answering for his faith, stood unrivaled and unapproached in the world. There was no one in this world to question his authority or resist his will. The kings of the earth laid their crowns at his feet. The most powerful armies marched at his command. The ensigns of his navies betokened victory. His statue was set up in courts of justice and the decrees of senators and the decisions of judges were but the echo of his will. Over a hundred million subjects bowed in obedience to his mandates. The name of Nero made the world tremble. To incur his displeasure was to lose property, liberty, and life. His frown was to be dreaded more than the pestilence, and yet while he was surrounded by all this earthly pomp, wealth, and authority, and reverenced as a god in human form, he had the heart of a demon.

Before this man seated on his throne, stood the apostle Paul, a calm, aged prisoner, whose face told of the peace of God that reigned within. He was without money, without friends, without legal counsel, brought from a loathsome dungeon to be tried for his life. The apostle Paul had lived a life of poverty, of self-denial, and of suffering. He had a sensitive nature which thirsted for love and sympathy, but all he had was grave misrepresentation, reproach, hatred, and abuse, like his Master. He had been a homeless wanderer in this world. He had lived and suffered for the truth’s sake. He had sought to relieve the burdens of others around him. He had sought to exemplify the life of Christ in his life. Who can imagine the contrast between these two people, Paul and Nero, face to face, the youthful monarch bearing upon his countenance the shameful record of the passions that surged within?

We see in this picture the result of opposite systems: opposite systems of education, opposite systems of philosophy, opposite systems of training. On one hand you have the life of unbounded self-indulgence, and on the other you have a life of utter self-sacrifice. Here were the representatives of the two religions, Christianity and paganism – the representatives of two theories of life – the simplicity of self-denying endurance, ready to give up life itself if necessary for the good of others, and on the other hand, the luxury of all-absorbing selfishness that counts nothing too valuable to sacrifice for momentary gratification.

Here also were the representatives of two spiritual powers – the ambassador of Christ and the slave of Satan. Their relative positions showed to what extent the course of this world was under the rule of the prince of darkness. The wretch who sat upon the throne, his soul stained with the crime of incest and matricide robed in purple. Before him stood the purest and noblest of human beings, to be judged for his life, a man who is despised, hated, and fettered. Around them was a vast throng gathered to witness the judgment scene. Again, the Jews urge against the prisoner their old charges of sedition against the government and heresy, and both Jews and Romans accuse him of instigating the burning of the city.

While they vehemently urged their accusations, Paul stood there with no shade of fear or anger. The judges beheld this man with surprise. They had been present at many trials and had looked upon many criminals, but never had they seen a man who had such a look of holy calmness as did this prisoner before them. The keen eyes of the judges, accustomed to searching for character in the human face, search the face of Paul for some evidence of crime, but in vain.

Finally, the apostle Paul, after he had received all of the accusations, was allowed to speak for himself.

As he looked, not just at Nero and his accusers, but also at the large crowd of people that had gathered to watch his trial, he decided to lift once more before the wondering multitude, the banner of the cross of Christ. And with more than human eloquence and power, he began to explain to them the truths of the gospel. His words were true, clear, and convincing, overthrowing error and falsehood, and the people in that company had never before heard anything like this.

They had come to hear the utterance of a feeble and aged prisoner, but they heard words that were destined to shake nations.  Paul’s speech on this occasion, was endowed with power that would through all time influence the hearts and lives of men. He later wrote to Timothy, “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Timothy 4:17). Paul was stirred with a longing to see these people receive the truth of salvation, and he had an intense desire that they would not perish. He lost sight of the occasion and of the perils that were surrounding him, and of the terrible fate which seemed so near, and he looked to Jesus, his Advocate, his Intercessor in the courts above.

He pled with them and showed them that there was an Advocate that they had at the throne of God and pointed his hearers to the fact that an infinite sacrifice had been made on behalf of the fallen race. He presented before them man in his true dignity and value, because an infinite price had been paid for his redemption. Provision had been made that every human being might finally be exalted to share the throne of God and to become an heir of immortal riches. Not only this, but by angel messengers, earth and heaven were connected, and all the deeds of men, both good and evil, were open before the eye of infinite justice. As he was explaining this to them, there was no trace of fear. There was no sadness or discouragement on his countenance. He was strong in his conscious innocence. He was clothed with the panoply of truth, and rejoiced that he was a son of God. His words were like a shout of victory above the noise of the battle.

He told them that the cause of truth to which he had dedicated his life is the only cause that can never fail. He may perish for the truth’s sake, as would millions of human beings, but the gospel will not perish, because God lives and reigns, and eventually the truth will triumph. As he speaks to them, his countenance is lighted up. They see that he is not afraid of anything, perhaps realizing now that he is on God’s side of the question. Through this trial, the gospel message found its way into minds that had never before heard the truth. Never had Nero listened to any speech like this. Never before had the enormous guilt of his life been revealed to him as it was revealed that day, because the light of heaven pierced the sin polluted chambers of his mind and soul. He was terrified. He quaked with terror at the thought that there was a tribunal before which he, the ruler of the world, should be arraigned, and where his deeds would meet a just reward. He was afraid of the apostle’s God, and he dared not pass a sentence on Paul, against whom no crime, no accusation, had been sustained.

Nero had a sense of awe and as he was thinking about it, heaven opened before his mind, the truth of what the apostle Paul had been saying, and for a moment it seemed that the peace and purity of heaven would be something desirable. That was his moment of mercy. That was the moment, when, if he had made the decision, he could have turned his life around and chosen to repent and confess his sins and follow Jesus.

For a moment, the hope of eternal life was offered to probably the most wicked man in the world at that time, but the offer was only for a moment. Catching his composure, he gave orders for Paul to be returned to his dungeon. When the dungeon door was closed, that was the end of the opportunity for the emperor of Rome to have eternal life. Never again would there be a ray of light or mercy from God that would shine into his darkened soul.

It was not long after this that Nero sailed on his expedition to Greece, and there he disgraced himself and his kingdom by the most contemptible and debasing crimes and frivolity. He returned to Rome with great pomp and engaged in scenes of revolting debauchery, but in the midst of the revelry, a voice was heard out in the streets and a messenger was dispelled to enquire of the matter. The messenger returned with the appalling news that Galba, at the head of an army, was marching rapidly upon Rome. Insurrection had already broken out in the city and the streets were filled with an enraged mob, threatening death to the emperor.

The wretched tyrant, who was just as cowardly as he was cruel, was completely unmanned. He sprang up from the table at which he had been feasting and drinking and overturning it in his blind terror, he sent the costly wares to the floor, dashed to fragments. Like one beside himself, he ran here and there, saying, “I am lost. I am lost.” He did not have, like the faithful Paul, a compassionate God to rely upon in his hour of peril.

He knew that if he was taken prisoner, he would be subjected to torture. So considering how he might end his miserable life with as little pain as possible, he asked for poison. When the poison was brought, he was afraid to take it and called for a sword, but he was also afraid to use it on himself. Then, disguised in women’s clothing, he rushed from the palace and dashed through the dark, narrow streets to the Tiber River. But as he looked into its depths, his courage failed again.

One of Nero’s friends that was with him, suggested that he escape to a country seat a few miles away where he might find safety. So, concealing his face, he leaped on a horse and succeeded in making his escape, but the senate had passed a decree declaring Nero to be the enemy of his country and condemning him to death. The sentence that was passed against him was that he was to be stripped naked, fastened by his head to the pillory, and scourged to death. When he found this out, the monster, who had delighted to inflict death upon Christians by most inhuman torture, shrank with horror at the mere thought of enduring like torture himself. In a groan of despair he said, “What shall I do?” In a few moments he knew he would be under the power of his enemies. Terrified alike by the thought of suicide or torture, he at last let a slave help his trembling hand force a dagger into his throat and perished at the age of 32.

God in his infinite mercy bears long with the transgressors of His law, but He keeps a record of the impiety of nations and individuals. Long is mercy tendered toward us, but when our guilt reaches a certain limit, which God has fixed, then mercy ceases her pleading and the ministration of wrath begins.

Friend, every one of us has a case at the bar of God. What will the sentence be when your number comes up?

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

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

Health Nugget – It’s Not “Slaughter”

“To slaughter or process meat? That was the question put to New South Wales (Australia) Farmers’ delegates at its annual conference when they made the decision to change the use of the word slaughter when referring to the livestock industry.

“In the interest of community engagement and public image, farmers passed the motion that all relevant parties in livestock industries use the term processing in lieu of, and to the complete exclusion of the term slaughter.

“The word slaughter is not appropriate for our industry as we are processing animals through the various stages that end up for food. It’s not a mass murder,”1 states the livestock industry.

Large animals in the United States are also no longer slaughtered. They’re now disassembled. And chickens are harvested.

While Adventist Christians have focused on the health benefits of the vegetarian diet, the young generation of today has focused on a far worse problem with meat consumption – animal cruelty on a scale unimaginable to previous generations.

The science has demonstrated in the past few decades that animals have emotional lives. They feel not only physical, but also emotional pain. They have social behaviors and community structures. For example, cows and many other animals are known to babysit for each other. Animals mourn the loss of their loved ones.

The paradox of the situation is that while we know more than ever about the emotional lives of animals, we treat them worse than at any previous time in history.

Someone could say that this is not true. Our pets are treated better than ever. We spend jaw-dropping amounts of money on their toys, organic food, cosmetics, healthcare, to name a few. What about farm animals? Not only are they not afforded the same luxuries as our pets, but they are not even treated as living beings. They are just industrial objects destined for later “disassembly.” They’re kept in such appalling conditions that they have to be fed antibiotics their whole lives to prevent the spread of disease. Male piglets have their testicles ripped out without anesthetics. Calves are removed from their mothers almost immediately because we need the cow’s milk. Male calves are killed within a few days, as the dairy industry has no need for them and they’re not the right breed for meat. Cows mourn the loss of their babies with tears in their eyes for weeks until many are driven to insanity. One would wonder what effect this milk has on the health of those consuming dairy products.

So what’s the difference between a dog that we treat as a family member and a cow or sheep which we don’t even treat as a living being? The science now has a term for it – carnism. It is a belief system supported by cultural conditioning where one animal can be afforded a human-like status, while another is a worthless object that can be tortured for profit. Dogs, for example, are animals destined for human consumption in some countries, while cows are treated as divine, afforded the best welfare, and hurting one bears a prison sentence in other countries. We all know which animals fit each category in the western world. The western society is guilty of carnism more than any other culture.

It is now not socially acceptable to raise certain animals for fur. According to some activists, it’s not okay to train animals for circus performances, while the most massive abuse and torture of animals destined for meat production goes unnoticed.

We have to acknowledge that we have consumed meat for thousands of years. Often it was a matter of survival of the human race. The Biblical story of Noah tells us that when Noah’s ark landed on dry land, there were no edible plants after the flood, therefore God permitted people to consume animals. One of the consequences was a sharp decline in human longevity.

Today, we no longer have any justification for meat consumption, especially if the science has proven that meat consumption causes diseases and shortens our lifespan. Yet, so many are unwilling to give up this practice.

It is also true that generations as recent as our parents and grandparents considered meat eating normal. Yet, farm animals were still treated as living beings with respect, care, and love during those times. Animals were given happy lives in their natural outdoor surroundings. Their meat was not tainted by the excessive use of drugs and hormones. Perhaps the following quote wasn’t clear to our parents, but this prediction has been fulfilled in our generation and secular sources confirm it: “There is no safety in eating of the flesh of dead animals, and in a short time the milk of the cows will also be excluded from the diet of God’s commandment-keeping people. In a short time it will not be safe to use anything that comes from the animal creation.” Unpublished Testimony, July 26, 1898. {PUR November 7, 1901, Art. B, par. 1}

Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12 NIV). How can we possibly extend love to each other and treat animals with the harshest cruelty? It is not a coincidence that people who are cruel to animals have often experienced violence as children and also are not kind to others.

We have animal welfare laws designed to protect animals, but get this: farm animals are exempt! “It is estimated that nine billion land animals are raised and killed for food every year in the U.S. We don’t even have an estimate for how many aquatic animals are killed in the U.S. every year, because the statistics kept are in tonnages, not individual beings. Many of these animals are subjected to near-unimaginable cruelty – much of which is perfectly legal, under current law.”2

Abuses on commercial farms and in slaughterhouses are so horrific, most of us couldn’t bear to witness them. “Animals can have their testicles, tails, horns, beaks, or toes removed without anesthesia. Male chicks are ground up alive, and piglets are killed by slamming their heads on the ground.”3 Yet, we feel completely comfortable to purchase parts of these animals in the grocery store. Every consumer partaking in the system is guilty of cruelty. Farmed animals are every bit as capable of feeling pain and pleasure as the animals who live with us as family members.

If such treatment of animals is the industry standard, why are not people protesting in the streets? The reason is simple: The meat industry has developed a system concealing the reality from the public eye. Commercial farms have heavy security; no one can come near them. If a private vehicle pulls on a side of a public road anywhere within sight of these farms, security personnel will arrive within minutes. No photos are allowed even from a distance. Where are the 9 billion animals slaughtered annually in the United States? Why is it we never see them? They’re transported to their deaths on the interstates while we sleep. Transport of animals to slaughterhouses is often seen after dark.

Most of these crimes against animals are happening in the so-called civilized west. It is very easy for the media in non-Christian countries to portray western Christians as barbaric, cruel, and evil. And it is only our own fault.

As the meat industry pushes to exclude the term slaughter, we have further redefined living beings into just “things.” Unlike our previous generations, we are not even willing to acknowledge that death is a part of our diet. Unlike our supposedly barbaric ancestors, we don’t even want to acknowledge that animals are living beings. We have lost compassion. Unlike our parents and grandparents, we teach our children we are not slaughtering animals, we are just processing them. No! It is slaughter! More barbaric than the world has ever seen. As Christians, we can’t look the other way.


2, 3

Question: Is it safe to trust feelings?

Ones “feelings” are not a safe guide for spiritual progress.

The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9)?

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26 MEV).

“Satan … exerted all his power to make the hearts of the people hard and their feelings bitter against Jesus. He hoped that so few would receive Him as the Son of God that He would consider His sufferings and sacrifice too great to make for so small a company.” Early Writings, 159.

“Satan leads people to think that because they have felt a rapture of feeling they are converted. But their experience does not change. Their actions are the same as before. Their lives show no good fruit. They pray often and long, and are constantly referring to the feelings they had at such and such a time. But they do not live the new life. They are deceived. Their experience goes no deeper than feeling. They build upon the sand, and when adverse winds come their house is swept away.” Messages to Young People, 71.

“You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground, and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. … If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong; and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings, you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 310.

“When persons begin to draw nigh to God, Satan is always ready to press in his darkness. As they look back over their past life, he causes every defect to be so exaggerated in their minds that they become discouraged, and begin to doubt the power and willingness of Jesus to save. Their faith wavers, and they say, ‘I do not believe that Jesus will forgive my sins.’ Let not such expect to receive anything from the Lord. If they would only exercise true repentance toward God, at the same time possessing a firm faith in Christ, He would cover their sins and pardon their transgressions. But, instead of this, they too often allow themselves to be controlled by impulse and feeling.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 135.

Nature – Be Not Afraid

Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioral changes. These responses may include fleeing or hiding from perceived traumatic events or freezing—losing all ability to react in any way. An irrational fear is called a phobia.

Has fear ever caused your heart to pound, the blood to drain from your face, and your knees to knock?

Years ago, working night shift on a psychiatric unit, I heard a lady arguing loudly. Entering her room to see if I could be of assistance, she looked at me afraid and said, “He is right behind you, look!” I had no desire to turn around for fear I would witness her tormentor; instead I prayed, “Dear Lord, please remove whatever is troubling her.”

Fear can be paralyzing, altering our perception, causing loss of motor control and also insane thoughts, leading to depression and anxiety. There is so much in this world that fosters insecurity and apprehension that it is hard to know who and what is trustworthy.

If ever the world needed Jesus, it is now. Yet how many seek Him?  How many realize that Jesus is the answer to all our fears?

“For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

Consider one of God’s little creatures, the grasshopper mouse, which is fearless as can be. This critter lives in one of America’s hottest deserts, the Sonoran Desert, which is home to more venomous creatures than anywhere else in the U.S. This desert is no place for the fearful. With a height of 4.1 inches, what the mouse lacks in stature, it sure makes up for in attitude and courage. Displaying bravery against the odds, as night falls it emerges to track down deadly scorpions. Incredibly, the mouse is immune to the venom, and as it gets stung it shakes off the neurotoxins and converts it into a painkiller. Amazing!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could brush off every sting we receive and convert it into a pain killer?

Grasshopper mice have an unusual way of staking claim to their territory and warning other creatures of their presence. Standing on their hind legs, they throw back their heads and howl, a mousy howl, at the night’s sky, like a miniature wolf.

If God gives a four-inch mouse the ability to survive in a hostile environment, can He not take care of you?

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

“In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Last Day Events, 72.

“And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Stay close to Jesus by prayer, seek Him in His word, tell others of what Jesus has done for you. Your faith will increase, and your fear will disappear.

Keys – Lukewarm! Me?

Out of curiosity, I decided to do a little research to find answers to the following questions:

  1. What is a cold and lifeless condition?
  2. What is it to be spiritually cold?
  3. What is it to be lukewarm?

I don’t know of anybody who considers themselves lukewarm, including me, but I was surprised at what I discovered.

“Some have fallen into a cold and lifeless condition spiritually because they are unfaithful servants.

  • The love of the world has filled their hearts
  • They have lost their relish for heavenly things
  • They have become dwarfs in spiritual attainments.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 669.

I thought upon these things for a little while and then decided to go a little further in my research. As I read the following, I really became heartsick, because I knew the majority of us fall into many of these categories, even though we do not want to admit it.

“Many who profess to be looking for the speedy coming of Christ are

  • Becoming conformed to this world and
  • Seek more earnestly the applause of those around them than the approbation of God.
  • They are cold and formal, like the nominal churches.” Early Writings, 107.

The devil does not care how he gets us, but he does it in a very sneaky way so that we do not notice until we are asleep.

“Love of self excludes the love of Christ. Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean church who are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. The ardor of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. The love of Christ in the heart is expressed in the actions. If love for Christ is dull, the love for those for whom Christ has died will degenerate. There may be a wonderful appearance for zeal and ceremonies, but this is the substance of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste.” Our High Calling, 348.

These things were eye-openers for me. I hope you are as concerned as I am for our spiritual condition for it is either for life or for death. Ask yourself: “Am I lukewarm?” “Am I in a cold, lifeless condition spiritually?” Be honest!

Heavenly Father: Thank You for warning us through these writings of our danger. We can slip away so gradually into Laodicean slumber pot without even realizing it until it will be too late. Please let the Holy Spirit arouse us from our slumbers that we may walk in step with You. Wake us up Lord! Amen.