Christ Our Helper

As we study about future events, we should have our eyes wide open in regard to the troubles that face the world and the church. However, we should not spend the largest portion of our time thinking and studying about the trouble. If we do that, we will become discouraged. We need to turn our eyes above, to the God of light and power, and focus on Him, the source of our help, if we are going to get through the troublous times before us.

The Bible pictures Jesus as a person that is our help in times of trouble, trial, difficulty and distress. Sister White wrote: “Remember that in every time of trouble Jesus is near you, seeking to impress His image upon you. He is trying to help you to carry the cross . . . He is always ready to clasp the hand stretched out for aid.” Review and Herald, June 20, 1907.

Jesus will always be near His people. He will not leave them during the fiercest persecutions of the last days or during the times of deepest distress. Even when probation has closed, and Christ is no longer a mediator in heaven, He will be near His people. During the time of Jacob’s trouble, when the devil will try to make them believe that their cases are hopeless, Christ will be with them to comfort, sustain and strengthen.

In The Great Controversy, Ellen White describes the time before the carrying out of the death decree when some will try to anticipate the decree and come and kill the saints before the set time. But God will send mighty angels to encamp around the saints, and the wicked will not be able to get through their ranks to harm God’s faithful company.

How are you going to get through a time when, even if it does not happen, it is going to look like you are facing torture or death in the next few hours or the next few minutes? None of us will make it unless we have developed a strong faith in Jesus as our Helper.

A Psalm of Deliverance

We need to study what the Bible says about this. We will begin in Psalm 46. This is the chapter that the 144,000 will quote and sing during the time of trouble. (See The Great Controversy, 638.) Look carefully at what they will be saying: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. When you are in trouble, God is a help that is right with you. No evil man or group of men can ever take you to any place where Jesus will not go with you and help you. “Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed. And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” Psalm 46:2. This verse will be fulfilled literally when the seventh plague is poured out upon the earth. (See Revelation 16.)

When I was a boy, I lived in Longmont, Colorado. In a fifteen-minute drive, we could be in the Rocky Mountains. Adventist people who live in that part of the country imagine that when the time of trouble comes, they will flee to the Rocky Mountains. And it is only natural for people to look to the mountains for security, because, in all ages, the mountains have provided security to people that have been persecuted and oppressed. It was so for David when he fled from Saul, and for the Waldenses fleeing the destroying vengeance of the Papal power. However, during the seventh plague, “the mountains were not found.” Revelation 16:20. Instead, there will be gigantic caverns where the mountains will be torn from their foundations. (See Early Writings, 290.)

If you are confidently thinking that when the time of trouble comes you will just flee to the mountains, what will you do when the mountains are torn from their foundations? Your trust must not be in finding a cave or a secluded mountain spot where no one can find you. Your trust must not be in making a physical preparation. (I am not saying that we should not prepare all we can. We should do what the Spirit of Prophecy says we are to do to prepare for the crisis.) But your trust must be in the Lord because the time will come when the mountains will not provide security, and all of our carefully laid plans could fail.

“Though its waters (of the sea) roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.” Psalm 46:3. There will be a great earthquake such as never was since there was a nation. The waters will roar and be troubled. The storms will be so severe, that Ellen White says the seaports, that have become like Sodom and Gomorrah for wickedness, will be swallowed up by the angry waters of the sea. (See The Great Controversy, 636.)

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46: 4–7.

During the last scenes of this earth’s history, there will be wars raging throughout the earth. Ellen White saw the horrible picture in vision: “I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 268. But did you notice what it said in verse 7? “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” We will not need to fear amid the horrors that are going on if we have faith in God.

How is Faith Developed?

How is this perfect faith and trust in the Lord developed? How do you get ready for the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation? We are prepared to face the final test by experiencing smaller tests in our daily lives. Just think of the marathon runner who wins a great marathon or the professional swimmer who crosses the English channel. The runner doesn’t run the marathon the first time he puts on running shoes. Neither does the swimmer cross the channel on his first swim. It takes weeks, months and sometimes years of preparation in order to be ready for the big test. So there is a reason that you are going through all of the troubles and tests you are facing. The Lord is trying to help you get ready for the big trouble that is coming for God’s people. The only way He can get you ready is to allow you to experience some trouble now so that you will develop faith. Through these troubles you can learn to trust Him when everything else fails.

We must have an experience in which we know and we trust that God will help us no matter what appearances are. If it looks like we are not going to have any food to eat or any water to drink, or if it looks like we are going to be killed at midnight, we must still trust the Lord. I do not know whether I will die a martyr or live to see Jesus come. I have to leave that with the Lord. But I must know, in my soul, that Christ is my helper and deliverer. If the devil can take away my faith or your faith that God will help us, he has us and we will fall.

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:8–10. God’s work will be finished very soon. But it will be finished in a way that will exalt the Lord and bring praise and honor to Him. I believe that we need to use all the technology God has put into our hands. We need to use the printed page, radio, television and all the methods of communication. However, Ellen White says that we will be surprised at the simple methods that God will use to finish His work. God is not dependent on our methods, our plans, or our numbers. Gideon was outnumbered almost four to one, but the Lord said to him: “If I give you the victory with all these people, you will think that you did it yourself. I will get the numbers down low enough that you will know that I am the One giving you the victory. It is not your power and might that win the battle.”

The work will be finished in a way that people will say, “It is impossible that could ever work.” But it will work because God is in control. We all have to learn to be still, trust in the Lord, and know that He will help us. He is a very present help in trouble. We must be able to say, “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:11.

Our Divine Helper

In 1906, Ellen White wrote an article for The Signs of the Times entitled “Christ Our Helper.” It has been a wonderful encouragement to me. I would like to share some of its most inspiring passages with you. The first paragraph begins like this: “The only begotten Son of God came to this world to redeem the fallen race. He has given us evidence of His great power. He will enable those who receive Him to build up characters free from all the tendencies that Satan reveals. We can resist the enemy and all his forces. The battle will be won, the victory gained by him who chooses Christ as his leader, determined to do right because it is right. Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency.Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency.” Can you understand that? I have piles of scare literature in my office. I have a stack of literature on the Y2K problem. I have a stack of literature on the threat of terrorism to large cities of the United States. The average person in the United States has no idea how much we owe to the mercy of God. If the Lord should ever lift His hand, we have no idea what would happen in the cities in the United States. We could have hundreds of millions of people dying within hours. Ellen White says, in The Great Controversy,614, that in the time of trouble the whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came on Jerusalem of old.

What will you do when you are faced with these scenes? Unless you learn that Jesus is equal to any emergency, as we near the end, you become very terrified. And if the devil can terrorize you so that you lose your faith, you will not endure till the end. I do not know what is going to happen in the future, but I pray day by day, “Lord, help me to develop a perfect faith and trust in You.” I know when I ask Him that, I am asking for all kinds of trouble, because it is the way He will get me ready. He will prepare me for the big test of faith by giving me troubles here to help my faith to grow and be strong. My job is to learn to trust the Lord and be able to say, “The Lord will help me and I will trust Him, I know He ‘is equal to any emergency. With Him nothing is impossible.’ ” Ibid.

Nothing is impossible with the Lord! It is one thing to say it and it is another thing altogether to believe it when you are in the midst of troubles and difficulties. But that is what you and I must do, and that is why all the people in God’s true church are facing an avalanche of difficulties in these last days. They do not come one at a time anymore. Sometimes it seems that there are two or three big difficulties the same day. And the worst is yet to come. Soon the laws of the land and the other churches will be opposed to us. Even our former brethren will become our worst enemies. Some people we thought were our best friends will betray us.

Then there will be trouble from closer to home, such as trouble from the family. Jesus said, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:36. And that is the most difficult kind of persecution to endure. But then, as if that were not bad enough, there is the trouble that is really within. The trouble within our own heart is the carnal nature that constantly strives for the mastery and we must fight and subdue it by the grace of God.

I do not list these difficulties and troubles to overwhelm you. I list them so that you can see what a wonderful God we serve, because He has promised that He is equal to every emergency. “There is no difficulty within or without that cannot be surmounted in His strength . . . There is no nature so rebellious that Christ cannot subdue it, no temper so stormy that He cannot quell it, if the heart is surrendered to His keeping. He who commits his soul to Jesus need not despond. We have an all-powerful Savior . . . In the future life we shall understand things that here greatly perplexed us. We shall realize how strong a Helper we had and how angels of God were commissioned to guard us as we followed the counsel of the Word of God.” Ibid. What a wonderful promise! And it cannot fail because it is backed up by infinite power.

When Martin Luther faced opposition, and he had to stand alone against the most powerful men in the world, Ellen White says that he was not afraid because he knew that he had One with him Who was mightier than them all. I want to know how strong a Helper I have. I want to have a faith that is anchored in a Helper so powerful that I do not need to worry about what I see going on outside or about the battle that I have to fight on the inside. “To all who receive Him, Christ will give power to become the sons of God. He is a present help in every time of need. Let us be ashamed of our wavering faith. Those who are overcome have only themselves to blame for their failure to resist the enemy. All who choose can come to Christ and find the help they need.” Ibid.

Is that good news? Are you going to find all the help you need? You can. If you are the weakest, you are not in a disadvantaged position, there is help for you. Ellen White says that the “the weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength.” The Desire of Ages, 329. That is an encouragement to me. Even if I am the weakest person, if I trust in the Lord, He will give me enough divine power so that I can become like the strongest.

Help Thou Mine Unbelief

In the gospel of Mark there is a story that contains a very important lesson for us about how we can receive Christ’s gifts. It warrants a careful study.

This story took place as Jesus was coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration with three of His disciples. “And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them . . . And He asked the scribes, ‘What are you discussing with them?’ Then one of the crowd answered and said, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast it out, but they could not.’ He answered him and said, ‘O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.’ Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’” Mark 9:14–23.

The father came to Jesus and said, “If you can do anything,” and Jesus turned right around and said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” The problem was not whether or not Christ could heal the young man. The problem was whether or not the father had faith. Christ’s words sank deep and the man realized that his son could not be healed unless he had faith. And he was in trouble because he was a victim of unbelief, and so he turned to Jesus. His heartfelt response was, ” ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’ ” Mark 9:24.

I have been intrigued with the comment that Ellen White made about this text. She said: “He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the Word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ You can never perish while you do this—never.” The Desire of Ages, 429.

If you come to the Lord and say, “Lord, I realize that I am a victim of unbelief, but I am choosing to believe with all the faith I have, help my unbelief,” you will never perish because you have a divine Helper who will take compassion on you.

Certain Victory

Sister White closed her article with these words: “Let us have more confidence in our Redeemer. Turn not from the waters of Lebanon to seek refreshment at broken cisterns, which can hold no water. Have faith in God. Trustful dependence on Jesus makes victory not only possible but certain.” Ibid.

If Christ is your leader, if you have surrendered everything to Him, not only is victory possible, but it is certain, because we serve a Master that does not know anything about defeat. He has never been defeated. When we put our trust in Him and say, “Lord, whatever You want, You make the decisions, You are the director and I am just Your humble servant,” He will not only show you what to do; He will give you the strength to do it. Then victory is not only possible, it is certain!

We serve a God who is infinite in power. All of the resources of heaven are placed at the disposal of the weakest person who puts his complete trust in Jesus. At the end of the great controversy between good and evil, the devil will discover that he was powerless to destroy those who put their trust in Jesus.

As we draw closer and closer to the end, it becomes more and more necessary for us to keep our eyes constantly on Him, for if we look at what is going on in the world, we will be driven to darkness. We have to look to Him, keep our eyes on Him, keep talking to Him and He will see us through and give us all the help that we need. We must never forget that our Redeemer, with infinite power, has promised to be our Helper.

Prophets of Doom

Samuel had died and had been buried, and now the Philistines had come up to attack Israel. In I Samuel 28:5, it says that Saul was terrified. Fear is part of the devil’s program. The devil has three objectives, three ways to try to destroy. First, he wants to seduce you through sensual temptations. If that doesn’t work, then he reverts to deception to involve you in his counterfeit for faith—presumption. If these two attempts don’t succeed, his third method is to endeavor to terrify you.

Interestingly, when you study the three temptations of Jesus on the mount of temptations, this is the exact order that the devil followed with Christ. First he tried to seduce Him with a sensual temptation. Then he tried to get Him to practice presumption, and finally he tried to terrify Him by implying that He need not go through the suffering of the cross. The whole world was offered to Jesus if he would just worship him. Suffering, of course, is something that terrifies people. The devil tried this on Jesus to no avail; however, he is more successful when he comes to us.

In I Samuel 28, it says that Saul was terrified. Verse 6 says that “Saul asked from Jehovah, and Jehovah did not give him an answer, either by dreams, by Urim, or by prophets.” God would not answer him, so Saul became desperate. Unfortunately, there are Adventists today who are desperate and want to know the answers to certain questions, and God hasn’t answered them.

In the book, The Great Controversy, in the chapter, “The Snares of Satan,” Ellen White said that it was one of the devil’s masterful temptations to get men to ask questions that God would not answer, even through eternal ages. People get so desperate to know the answer to a certain question that God hasn’t revealed that they try to find out the answer from somewhere else. That is precisely what Saul decided to do, so he told his servants to “find me a woman that has a familiar spirit so I can go and have a séance and find this out, find out what I need to know. I need to know what to do about this battle that’s coming up.” I Samuel 28:7.

So he disguised himself and went to this witch at Endor and persuaded her to bring up for him the person that he should name. He asked to bring up Samuel, and so it says that she had a séance for him and brought up Samuel. And Samuel said, “Well, why did you bring me up?” Saul said, “Jehovah doesn’t answer me by any way I ask, and I just have to have this information.” In verses 17 and 18 and 19, it says that Samuel, in effect, told him off. He told him you haven’t listened to Jehovah. You didn’t do what He told you to do, and that’s the reason He doesn’t answer you. And not only that, the Lord has taken away the kingdom from you and he’s going to give it to your neighbor, David. Tomorrow the Lord is going to give you, and all of the armies of Israel, into the hands of the Philistines. And you are going to die tomorrow. You and your sons are going to be with me.

That sounds like a prophet of doom, and not a prophet of the Lord. It was the devil speaking; the devil and his agents are the prophets of doom. It was not God’s message. God’s message is a message of the everlasting gospel and the judgment, and you can read it in Revelation 14:6–12. God does say that if you will not listen to the warnings there are going to be some terrible consequences; however, the Three Angels’ Messages open up by saying that the angel that flies in the midst of heaven has the Everlasting Gospel. The word gospel means “Good News!”

God’s message is a message of good news. When a Seventh-day Adventist studies with somebody, they ought to find out some good news. The world has enough messages about hell and damnation and awful things, and desperately needs good news. The good news, friend, is that Jesus is coming, and He is going to get you out of this place and take you to a place where there is no more sickness. There is not going to be any war there, and there will not be any cemeteries either. There’ll be no death, and no more pain. It will be a wonderful place, and that is good news!

Friends, the Christian is duty-bound before God to give the people of this world the good news of the coming of Jesus and how to get ready for it. That is the reason we are here, and that is good news. Publicizing every awful thing that may happen will never win anybody; it will only cause panic and terror. The devil is already doing that, and he needs no help. He is flooding the world with messages of doom, and wants you to be terrified so that you will make irrational decisions and do things that are rash and reckless.

In I Samuel 28, every specification the devil made came true. The devil can often very accurately predict events that are going to happen in the near future because he has access to all kinds of information that you and I don’t have. However, just because it turns out to be true, it does not mean that the message was from the Lord. It could be the devil trying to get you terrified, so you go into a panic.

The devil’s purpose in this was to discourage Saul and bring everlasting ruin, which he succeeded in doing. Saul will not be in the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it says in 1 Chronicles, the 10th chapter, that God killed Saul because he went and sought counsel from a woman who had a familiar spirit. God’s message is good news. Our message is the gospel, which is good news, and the good news is that Jesus is coming. If people could just get a little idea of who Jesus is and what He is like, and the fact that He is coming soon, it would be the most exciting thing in the world. When Jesus came, He always brought peace and hope and joy.

We often concentrate on how awful it will be for the wicked when Jesus comes and that they are going to be destroyed with everlasting flames of fire when He comes. But look at what happens to the righteous: “When He comes to be glorified in His Holy people, or in His saints, and to be astonished at, or to be marveled at, by all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” 11 Thessalonians 1:10. Oh friend, when Jesus comes He’s going to be glorified, and we are going to be astonished at how wonderful it is. In the Bible, that is called “the blessed hope.” Titus 2:13.

If you are one of the saved, the coming of Jesus will be more exciting than any experience that you have ever had. If you accept Him as your Savior, He has the power to take away all the guilt of your sins, and to deliver you from the power of sin in your life and to restore you, to sanctify you, and make you ready for His coming. Is that good news?

“Every man is free to choose what power he will have to rule over him. None have fallen so low, none are so vile, but they can find deliverance in Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 258. Our message is a message of good news. We are not predictors of doom. There will not be any doomsday for the righteous; that is only for the wicked, those who have rejected the message of salvation that has been offered.

The devil’s message is: first, he wants to seduce you; if that doesn’t succeed, then he wants to deceive you, and if that doesn’t work, then he wants to terrify you. Now think about this for just a moment from the devil’s perspective. If you wanted to get somebody terrified, how would you do it? You would bombard them with messages predicting doom, and that is precisely what is happening today. God’s people are more bombarded with messages talking about doomsday now than ever, and these messages have even hit the public press.

Evangelical preachers predicting Armageddon, political collapse, economic collapse, and the end of the world gain strength in their predictions through publications and the media. Many are alarmed by the status of the stock market, yet there have been over twenty stock market crashes since 1800. The stock market has crashed over ten times since the year 1900. The stock market crashed in 1973 and 1974, and it lasted over a year. Stocks decreased 45%.

People at present are scared to death that we are in a financial crisis, but the big question is, how should you react to the crisis we are in?

The first time I can remember that the public press was predicting a major stock market crash was in 1953. All the time I was growing up we’ve had all kinds of predictions of doom. When I was in high school in the United States, a Roman Catholic president was elected, which was the first time a Roman Catholic president had been elected in this country. When my mother was young, it was believed that a Roman Catholic would never be elected as president of the United States, with over 60% of the United States of America being Protestant. But we did, and that very next year, in 1961, the Supreme Court made a ruling that Sunday laws would become constitutional.

The prediction of something awful is not really the point, but how you react to it is what matters. I was just a young man at that time at the Seventh-day Adventist high school. I told my father that the people at the high school had told me that I would never get through college, that there would be Sunday laws and everything would close up. I reasoned that if I would not be able to finish college, what would be the point in even starting, and that I may as well just forget it. My father advised that if I intended to be a minister, I would need to be trained, and if Jesus came before I was trained, it would not be held against me, so I pursued my education.

While I was going to school, there was the Cuban Missile crisis, and for about 48 hours we were afraid that we were going to be in a nuclear war. Then we had the escalation of Vietnam. After that was the break-down of law and order in 1967 and 1968, and the reaction to the Vietnam War. Then in 1970 and 1971, President Nixon took us off the gold standard, and that began an interesting series of events which caused a double digit inflation. We had high unemployment. We were trying to conserve oil. People were afraid. The talk all over the Adventist community of Loma Linda at that time in 1973 and 1974 was that the Sunday laws would be passed to try to conserve oil by people not driving their cars on Sunday.

Between 1980 and 1982, we had a chairman of the Federal Reserve who decided that we had had enough of this high double-digit inflation. and decided that the problem could be cured by increasing the interest rate way up to around 14%. In the early ’80s you could get 14 to 16% interest on bonds, and that was an interesting time to go through. Right at that time, my wife and I received an invitation to go teach at Southwestern Adventist College in Keene, Texas. At the time, we were living in Washington State, so we needed to sell our house. With interest rates up at 10 to 12% not many people would qualify for a loan, and we were advised by a realtor that we would have to sell on contract because of the high interest. Some people started getting adjustable rate mortgages at that time.

We were able to sell our house on contract, but during that time, 1979, I had a friend who was a Seventh-day Adventist who came and told me that he was not going to plant his garden that year. This man owned a rototiller and for extra money used to till gardens for other people. He decided not to grow his own garden because he believed the Lord was going to come that October, which was only three months away. His belief stemmed from a new interpretation of Daniel 11, and those who could not see it were considered in a Laodicean condition. This belief just about split the church. That October in 1979 came and the world did not come to an end. Awful things were supposed to happen in 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2007, and April 2008. Many Adventists believed that the world was supposed to come to an end before the end of 2007.

What effect do all these prophets of doom have on God’s people? Many of God’s people become disheartened and discouraged. Friends, we should not be dwelling on all the awful things that are going to happen at the end of the world. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and what He’s going to do for His people at the end of the world. It is the devil’s business to get God’s people discouraged, and the way he does it is by sending you a constant barrage of predictions of doom. The doom either doesn’t happen at all, or it doesn’t happen the way it was predicted, so another twist and a new date is put on it.

“Look to the earth and behold distress, and trouble, gloom, and darkness. And they will be driven to darkness.” Isaiah 8:22. Is that the kind of experience you want as we approach the end of the world; distress, trouble, and gloom? Isaiah prophesied 2700 years ago, that is what they are going to do. To be driven to darkness is the devil’s program and, unfortunately, it is being very successful with God’s people.

This is what the Lord wants you to do. Isaiah 45:22 says, “Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, because I am God and there is not any other.” You can’t save yourself, but if you look to God, you will be saved. The devil says look to the earth. Look at the distress. Look at the trouble. Look at all the awful things going on.

If more time is spent by God’s people reading about all the trouble that is predicted to come in the world than on reading their Bibles, is it any wonder that they are discouraged and depressed? It is exactly what Isaiah said would happen, in Isaiah 8:22. They look to the earth. There is distress. There is trouble. There is darkness, and what happens? They are driven to darkness.

Many young people have left the Seventh-day Adventist Church because they have heard so many failed predictions that they have no confidence in Adventism. This is a stated fact. Some have heard it predicted that Christ would come before 1997 or before 1996, or before 1994, or for sure before 2000. They have heard the prediction that the whole world has to come to an end before the end of 2007, and numerous other things predicted, of which 50 to 75% of them have not come true. Some of them, of course, do come true because if you make enough predictions of doom you will hit it once in a while because this world is a bad place. However, the young people in the Adventist church have heard so much of this and seen so many failed predictions that they have lost confidence.

Some young people become passive and careless. They have heard so many predictions of doom that they say, “Who cares? I can’t do anything about it anyway. So I’m just going to live my life.” They become passive, careless, and indifferent.

For an example regarding this current stock market crash, some young people have said to me that they cannot do anything about it. What am I supposed to do? There’s nothing I can do about it.

If somebody is continually given a barrage of bad news of all the terrible things that are happening, but they can’t do anything about it, the effect is that they become passive, and they say, “So what!” This has become a problem in larger society.

In 1964 a lady was stabbed to death in New York, she screamed for help, but nobody came to help her, even though, when it was investigated, the neighbors had heard the screams. This situation is shocking, that no one would go to her aid, but people have been desensitized to others’ needs.

Here is how it happens. Television and radio are constantly bombarding the people with sensational news, most of it bad. The more sensational the programs, the more audience they get; the more audience they have, the more advertisers they get and the more profits they make, and so the cycle continues. The result is that people are bombarded with sensationalism so that reality loses its significance, and the end result is that you have a population who consider that there is nothing they can do about it and are so passive that they can even hear someone being murdered and not be stirred to help. We are living in the most passive generation that has ever been, and it has negatively affected our young people.

Many are so scared with the situation in the world economically and politically that they have decided to find security and safety in the caves or in the mountains. This is happening all over the world, not just in the United States. Some people who are already living in country areas are getting out into the mountains in places so deserted that a four-wheel drive vehicle is required to get there. These places are usually quite affordable because they are so isolated, but if everyone did buy a place in an isolated place that it took hours to get to, who would be left to take the messages of the three angels to the world?

If you lived in the mountains in Colorado and most of the people live in the city of Denver, that is where you should be concentrating your effort: Denver. That is where most of the people live in the whole state. If you’re going to get your message to California, where do you need to concentrate your efforts? You need to concentrate your efforts in the Los Angeles area and in the San Francisco Bay area because that is where most of the population is.

Now I’m not saying that everybody needs to live in the middle of Los Angeles, but we do need to be somewhere that we can be of use and work. We have a message to get to the world, and we have such a barrage of prophecies of doom hitting God’s people from every direction day and night, almost seven days a week. People are so scared, they are so terrified, that instead of getting the message to the world, they don’t even want the book, The Great Controversy being distributed because they’re scared it will stir up trouble. People are scared and want to protect themselves, instead of getting the message to the world.

This reminds me of the story of Elijah in I Kings 19:9, 10. God gave him a message too, and where did God find him? He was in a cave, just where a lot of Adventists are—in a cave. So the Lord comes to him and He says, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” You know, the Lord needs to ask that question to some Adventists: What are you doing here? “Oh, Lord, I’ve been very zealous for your name and the children of Israel, they’ve broken down your altars, they’ve killed your prophets until I’m the only one who is left, and they are seeking my soul to take it away.” The Lord said to him again, “What are you doing here? What are you doing here?” Verse 13.

Don’t misunderstand; there will be a time to flee to the caves, but not until we have the Three Angels’ Messages to all the world. Our job right now is to ask the Lord, “Lord, how do you want me to relate to getting your message to the entire world? What do you want me to do? What is my part?” There is work for the retired to do also. Now some people think that when you retire you quit working, but let me tell you something. God doesn’t ever retire His people. God never retires His servants. God uses His servants as long as they live. He used the apostle Paul, and some of the most powerful books in the New Testament were written when the apostle Paul was in prison, such as Ephesians. And the book of Revelation was written when John the revelator was exiled on Patmos, and he was very, very old at that time. The Lord did not say, Well, you poor fellow, you’ve reached over sixty-five, so you can’t work for Me anymore. The Lord does not work that way. That is the way man works, but the Lord uses His people even after they get old. If your brain works and if you’re alive, God can use you if you surrender yourself to Him and say, Lord, what do You want me to do? The Lord will give you something to do. There are some who win more people to the Lord after they are retired than they won their whole life, so don’t be discouraged if you’re retired and you think you would just like to encourage one soul to Jesus. You can; the Lord might use you to raise up a whole church. Ask Him to teach you what you should do. Don’t just go off and run into a cave where you can’t work; you won’t raise up a church in a cave. No matter how bad it gets in this world, you and I are going to be here until we take the Three Angels’ Messages to all the world. Many of God’s people are trying to seek security and safety instead of taking the Three Angels’ Messages to the world.

Since a number of young people are passive and don’t even have confidence in Adventism anymore, and a lot of the older people are seeking safety and security in the mountains or the caves or somewhere, what is the net result? The net result is that the cities are neglected by the very people whom God has appointed to take to them the Three Angels’ Messages.

Hundreds of thousands of people die every day in our world who have never heard the Three Angels’ Messages. Some of them don’t even know anything about Christianity. The cities are neglected by the very people whom God has appointed to take them the message of hope. We are not going to get out of this world until we take the Three Angels’ Messages to all the world.

The sad part of it is that if you and I don’t do it, God is going to have somebody else do it. Ellen White says in the book Notebook Leaflets that God can finish His work with heathen princes if He needs to. God does not need the General Conference or the historic Adventists to finish His work. He does not need any of us. We need Him. We need to be involved in finishing His work because that is a part of the way He works out the plan of salvation in our own lives, but He does not need us. If we don’t do God’s work, the Lord can do it with somebody else.

When asked by the priests why He did not tell the children to quit crying out, Jesus said that if these children are silent, the stones will cry out, the rocks will cry out. Well, if the rocks cry out, God’s work will get finished all right, but then you and I will lose the blessing we should have had. Friend, you don’t want that to happen.

Let me just ask you this question in closing for you to think about. Where is the safest place on earth that you can be? A few years ago there was a couple who were retired, and they looked the whole world over to try to find the best, safest, most secure, nicest place they could go to retire, and they found it. The place they chose where they thought it would be the best place to go was the Falkland Islands. They moved there in 1980, and in 1981 war broke out in the very place where they thought it would be the safest, most secure place in the world.

You and I don’t know what is safe. The safest place for you in the world is the place where God wants you to be.

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.

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

No Good Reason for Being Discouraged

There is no good reason for any one’s becoming discouraged. There is no sin, no matter how deeply seated in the physical man, or how long it has been indulged, but what if fully surrendered to Him who has all power in heaven and earth, it can be fully conquered.

By keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus by faith, we can resist every temptation. From all temptations that are too strong for us to bear, He has promised to make a way of escape. It is the mind of God that we live without sin; for if in His strength we can conquer every temptation that He allows to come upon us, and He makes a way of escape for temptations too strong to bear, there can be no reason why we should not become sinless, and live a pure life. It is sin that discourages us, and only sin.

That it is God’s mind that we live without sin, is evident from 1 John 2:1, first part: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” Why would God write to us, through His servant, “that ye sin not,” if there was no way to be kept from sinning? It would certainly be useless thus to admonish if there was no possible way for the admonition to take effect.

But strive as we may, and be as determined as we know how, we are told in Steps to Christ, 64, that “we shall often have to bow and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God.” No; for the Lord did not leave the text unfinished, but added, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous” (1 John 2:1, last part). Praise His name for this!

Many are perplexed over this text. They seem to think it impossible to live without sin, and positively declare that it cannot be done. They grasp the latter part of the text, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate,” etc., and then without any dependence of Christ, try in their own strength not to repeat the sin. The temptation can be met successfully only by keeping our eyes upon Jesus, and by exercising faith in His keeping power (1 Peter 1:5).

But our danger lies in losing sight of Christ, and our faith failing. If we do, we will certainly sin.

Let us illustrate: A man is thrown overboard at sea. A line is thrown within his reach, and he grasps it tightly. As long as he clings to it, he is drawn toward the ship. But as he nears the vessel, he begins to think himself quite secure, which causes him somewhat to loosen his grasp; and before he is aware of it, he has lost his hold entirely. He is again at the mercy of the wind and the waves. He awakens anew to his perilous condition, and again calls loudly for help. The deliverer again throws the life-line, which is grasped more tightly than ever. Had he been more careful not to lose his hold the first time, it would have been much better. A mountainous wave might have swept him away, just as he was reaching out to lay hold of the line.

It is just so with the sinner. He is shipwrecked on the sea of death; but God in His mercy has thrown the life-line of His promise (1 John 1:9), and many a shipwrecked mariner has grasped it, but again he has grown careless and lost his hold. Some have awakened again to grasp the life-line (1 John 2:1, last part), to lay hold of it more securely, pray more fervently, believe more fully, and watch more diligently; while others have been swept away by some great temptation, and have given up in despair.

By continually keeping our eyes fixed upon Christ, we can live without sin. By looking away from Him, we will sin. We can look to Him continually. We may become careless and lose sight of Him. But if we make calculations that we cannot live out the admonition, “that ye sin not,” we have already looked away from Christ, made provisions to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and will sink in despair.

May our faith take hold of His keeping power, and we be preserved from the terrible temptations that are awaiting us on every side.

Ellen G. White Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, March 7, 1893.