Ripples of Influence

Our mom worked hard to keep us together as a family after our dad passed away while we were still school aged children. We faithfully attended Sunday morning church services and continued this custom as adults with our young families. That was until I heard Dan, a new acquaintance, speak of the seventh day as God’s true Sabbath.

Now I needed to know the truth and I earnestly prayed for it. I had a Bible which I had never really read or studied, but now I began randomly to turn its pages and each time I stopped to read a verse, it spoke to me about the Sabbath. This happened again and again until I realized that God was answering my prayer, and I accepted with joy this wonderful truth. Thus began a change in many lives.

After attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church for a few weeks, I wrote to my sister Jeannie about the Sabbath. At that time I didn’t know that she had asked our mom, who lived with her, to visit some other churches than the one they attended. Mom’s dad had believed that the Lutheran Church was the closest to Bible truth, and our mom also believed that.

Not long after I wrote to my sister, Mom drove the four-hour drive to my brother’s home, which was a short distance from where I lived. While there, Mom called me on a Sabbath afternoon to invite me to go to church with her the next day, Sunday. We had been taught to obey our parents and as I momentarily hesitated to answer her, I heard a voice say, “If you don’t tell her now, you never will.” I knew and understood that was true and quickly replied, “I go to church on Sabbath now.” That ended our conversation and Mom returned home.

My sister wrote to let me know how unhappy Mom was about my going to church on the Sabbath day. When Dan heard this news, he suggested that we fast and pray for my mom and sister, which we then did. I had never fasted before, but I deeply desired that God would help my family to understand this important truth. I felt so near to God as I fasted and prayed for three and a half days without eating any food, but did drink plenty of water.

Meanwhile my sister said to Mom concerning the Sabbath, “But Mom, we need to check it out to see if it is truth.” God was soon answering our prayers as mom and my sister started to attend church on Sabbath. And this was just the beginning of God’s rich blessings to us and to many others.

Shortly after my husband, our children and I were baptized, Dan Collins baptized Mom, my sister and her children in February 1975. And the blessings continued; one year later Mom became a colporteur and Bible worker. She loved the truth and sharing it with others. In 1981, she was selected as the literature evangelist of the year in the North Pacific Conference.

A fellow Bible worker wrote this report about our mom:

“Every one who knew Annabelle would probably describe her with one word—Committed. She was committed to her Lord and His work. She left behind an example of untiring effort and enthusiasm for sharing the Lord through literature and Bible studies. And as the words of God’s people in ages past continue to tell their story, even so Annabelle continues her work of soul saving through the seeds she left behind. The story unfolded at a Bible study a couple of weeks ago.

“Upon arriving at my Wednesday afternoon study with Lisa and her mother Carol, I was pleasantly surprised at what had transpired since our last lesson. Carol told me the story; it went something like this: While at their church’s weekly Bible study, someone in the discussion brought up the state of the dead. And when Carol defended the biblical position, there was quite a disagreement. I was thrilled that Carol stood in defense of Bible truth, not only before this small study group, but even before her pastors.

“I was somewhat puzzled at where she could have gotten her information as we were nowhere near that topic in our studies. Then it was that I noticed the familiar looking family Bible that she was using that week. I asked her, ‘Where did you get that family Bible?’ She replied, ‘A lady sold it to me about 21 years ago.’ Feeling sure that this was Annabelle’s work, I asked, ‘Was this lady in her early sixties at the time and did she have white curly hair?’ ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘And these Bible studies in the back of this Bible is where I get a lot of my information.’

“Now I knew the source of her information; it was the sure result of Annabelle’s service in the Lord’s army. It was the fulfillment of one of her favorite Bible promises, ‘So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void’ (Isaiah 55:11). Even though Annabelle rests, the seeds she planted still continue to bear their harvest. In dying, she has passed the baton on to us. May we, as Annabelle, be faithful to the call. And some day soon when this war is over and the controversy ended, may we all be reunited in the kingdom of heaven.”

Ellen G. White illustrates our influence on others in this way: “Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed, and another and another; and as they increase, the circle widens, until it reaches the very shore. So with our influence. Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others in blessing or in cursing.” Christ’s Object lessons, 340.

Georgia Jacobs went to Wildwood Sanitarium four years after her baptism and was in the nursing program from 1978–1985; then worked at Hope International as an artist for the Our Firm Foundation magazine from 1988–1992. She later resided in South Africa where she did some missionary work.

Jeannie Hogarty also contributed to this article. She worked for Amazing Discoveries for more than seven years packing and shipping orders for all the world except Canada.

What Does Soul-Saving Mean?

There are two reasons why the majority of remnant-church members, among big or small congregations, have fallen into the Laodicean condition: 1) Misdirected delegation. They have gladly turned over the work of soul-saving to the institution’s soul-saving departments, a distinctly human tendency of escaping responsibility or “passing the buck.” 2) They do not fully realize that the work of soul-saving encompasses their daily lives and every little thing they say and do. The impartial, yet merciful and accurate, judgment will take all of these into account. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14.

“Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self-absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul.

“Christ commits to His followers an individual work—a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the Gospel.” The Ministry of Healing, 147.

Individual Accountability

On the other hand, not enough is being said and done by the leadership itself to emphasize the very nature of the Investigative Judgment as regards the individual accountability of each member for how his character exerts an influence, consciously or unconsciously, upon others, towards eternal life or eternal death. Soul-saving is thought to be the exclusive work and responsibility of evangelists, pastors, ministers, Bible workers, etc. While this is true in the strictest sense, each member has a non-transferable, inescapable, definite role for soul-saving—because of the talents entrusted to him, especially that of life and time. Notice the following:

“Thou God seest me.” Genesis 16:13. “God is a vigilant observer of the actions of the children of men. Nothing occurs in earth or heaven without the knowledge of the Creator. Nothing can happen without His permission. He on whom the fate of an empire may depend is watched over with a vigilance which knows no relaxation by Him who ‘giveth salvation into kings,’ [Psalm 144:10] to whom belong ‘the shields of the earth’ [Psalm 47:9]. And the poor man is as tenderly watched over as the monarch upon his throne.

“God is constantly at work for the good of His creatures. . . . Times without number God has interposed to avert death, to keep men, women, and children in safety when Satan purposed a result wholly disastrous. . . .” My Life Today, 291.

While the above passages offer great comfort and assurance to God’s people who are in distress or who are being persecuted for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10), it must never be forgotten that God loves righteousness but hates iniquity or sin, as well as rebellious sinners, “with perfect [or righteous] hatred.” (See Hebrews 1:8, 9; Psalm 139:22.) Because God is merciful, just, and righteous, His perfect love of purity will bring sin and impenitent sinners to a just and merciful judgment. Thus, the pre-advent or Investigative Judgment:

“In the Judgment the use made of every talent will be scrutinized. How have we employed the capital lent us of Heaven? Will the Lord at His coming receive His own with usury? Have we improved the powers entrusted us, in hand and heart and brain, to the glory of God and the blessing of the world? How have we used our time, our pen, our voice, our money, our influence? What have we done for Christ, in the person of the poor, the afflicted, the orphan, or the widow? God has made us the depositaries of His Holy Word; what have we done with the light and truth given us to make men wise unto salvation? No value is attached to a mere profession of faith in Christ; only the love which is shown by works is counted genuine. Yet it is love alone which in the sight of Heaven makes any act of value. Whatever is done from love, however small it may appear in the estimation of men, is accepted and rewarded of God.” The Great Controversy, 487.

Love for Self

While one may hasten to point out that whatever he or she is currently doing is “being done out of love” and thus is “accepted and rewarded by God,” the following paragraph qualifies it and takes it beyond any level of rationalization or self-justification. The secret motives that actuated their deeds that were supposedly “done out of love,” hidden to men and women their whole lives, will be revealed. They were actually done out of love for self, not for God’s glory, in accordance to His revealed will in the Law and Testimonies.

“The hidden selfishness of men stands revealed in the books of heaven. There is the record of unfulfilled duties to their fellow men, of forgetfulness of the Saviour’s claims. There they will see how often were given to Satan the time, thought, and strength that belonged to Christ. Sad is the record which angels bear to heaven. Intelligent beings, professed followers of Christ, are absorbed in the acquirement of worldly possessions or the enjoyment of earthly pleasures. Money, time, and strength are sacrificed for display and self-indulgence; but few are the moments devoted to prayer, to the searching of the Scriptures, to humiliation of soul and confession of sin.” Ibid., 487, 488.

“How solemn is the thought! Day after day, passing into eternity, bears its burden of records for the books of Heaven. Words once spoken, . . . can never be recalled. Angels have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn.

“As the features of the countenance are reproduced with unerring accuracy on the polished plate of the artist, so the character is faithfully delineated in the books above. Yet how little solicitude is felt concerning that record which is to meet the gaze of heavenly beings. Could the veil which separates the visible from the invisible world be swept back, and the children of men behold an angel recording every word and deed, which they must meet again in the judgment, how many words that are daily uttered would remain unspoken, how many deeds would remain undone.” Ibid., 486, 487.

In addition to doing the actual medical missionary work, giving Bible studies, preparing souls to accept Christ through baptism, and nurturing new members to grow in the faith and in the knowledge of the Scriptures towards character perfection, the following ways of witnessing are not given the attention of which they are worthy. Yet they are as important as a successful campaign of public evangelism!

A Saving Silent Influence

“Ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the Word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.”

1 Thessalonians 1:7, 8.

“If you can exert a saving influence over one soul, remember there is joy in heaven over the one that repented. . . . You may, by judicious effort, be the means of bringing back the lost sheep to Jesus’ fold. Although you may be young, you must work with Christ; with His Spirit in your heart you can do much more than it now seems possible for you to do.

“If your example is Christlike, that alone, if you do not say a word, will be a help to many. Patient continuance in well-doing will help others to place their feet in the path of truth and righteousness. . . . Be careful to start right, and then keep quietly on.

“The firm purposes you may possess in carrying out good principles will have an influence to balance souls in the right direction. There is no limit to the good you may do. If you make the Word of God the rule of your life, and govern your actions by its precepts, making all your purposes and exertions in the fulfilling of your duty a blessing . . . , success will crown your efforts.

“The youth [as well as the older ones, too] who are consecrated to God sway a mighty influence for good. Preachers or laymen advanced in years cannot have one half the influence for good upon the young that the youth, if devoted to God, can have upon their associates.” My Life Today, 122.

Influence by Example

“The unstudied, unconscious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity.” The Acts of the Apostles, 511.

“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.

Influenced by our Atmosphere

“By the atmosphere surrounding us, every person with whom we come in contact is consciously or unconsciously affected.

“This is a responsibility from which we cannot free ourselves. Our words, our acts, our dress, our deportment, even the expression of the countenance, has an influence. Upon the impression thus made there hang results for good or evil which no man can measure. Every impulse thus imparted is seed sown which will produce its harvest. It is a link in the long chain of human events, extending we know not whither.” Messages to Young People, 417

“Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of its own [counterfeited by the New Age aura],—an atmosphere, it may be, charged with the lifegiving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. Or it may be heavy and chill with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of sin.” Ibid.

“If by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn they exert the same influence upon others, and they upon still others. Thus by our unconscious influence thousands may be blessed.

“Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed; and another and another; and as they increase, the circle widens, until it reaches the very shore. So with our influence. Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others in blessing or cursing.

“Character is power. The silent witness of a true, unselfish, godly life carries an almost irresistible influence. By revealing in our own life the character of Christ, we co-operate with Him in the work of saving souls. It is only by revealing in our life His character that we can co-operate with Him. And the wider the sphere of our influence, the more good we may do. When those who profess to serve God follow Christ’s example, practicing the principles of the law in their daily life; when every act bears witness that they love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, then will the church have power to move the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 339, 340.

Our Words

“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” 1 Peter 3:10, 11.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11.

“If the lips were constantly guarded so that no guile could corrupt them, what an amount of suffering, degradation, and misery might be prevented. If we would say nothing to wound or grieve, except in necessary reproof of sin, that God might not be dishonored, how much misunderstanding, bitterness, and anguish would be prevented. If we would speak words of good cheer, words of hope and faith in God, how much light we might shed upon the pathway of others, to be reflected in still brighter beams upon our own souls. . . .” My Life Today, 180.

Help Others

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” 1 Timothy 4:16.

“I have read of a man who, journeying on a winter’s day through deep drifts of snow, became benumbed by the cold, which was almost imperceptibly freezing his vital powers. He was nearly chilled to death, and was about to give up the struggle for life, when he heard the moans of a fellow traveler who was also perishing with cold. His sympathy was aroused, and he determined to rescue him. He chafed the ice-cold limbs of the unfortunate man, and after considerable effort raised him to his feet. As the sufferer could not stand, he bore him in sympathizing arms through the very drifts he had thought he could never get through alone.

“When he had carried his fellow traveler to a place of safety, the truth flashed home to him that in saving his neighbor he had also saved himself. His earnest efforts to help another had quickened the blood that was freezing in his own veins and sent a healthy warmth to the extremities of his body.

“The lesson that in helping others we ourselves receive help must be urged upon young believers continually, by precept and example, that in their Christian experience they may gain the best results. Let the desponding ones, those disposed to think that the way to eternal life is trying and difficult, go to work to help others.” My Life Today, 234.

“Every truly converted soul will be intensely desirous to bring others from the darkness of error into the marvelous light of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.” Ibid., 59.

Speak the Truth

Ezekiel 3:17–21 says that if we speak the truth boldly in God’s love to warn the erring one, and he repents, we have saved a soul and saved our souls as well. But if we refuse to warn the erring when God plainly brings the task upon us, that person will lose his soul and you and I have lost ours as well. It is in this sense that we are expected of God, by His enabling grace, to possess the courage of heroes and the faith of martyrs!

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

“Those who stand in defense of the honor of God, and maintain the purity of truth at any cost, will have manifold trials, as did our Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. The yielding temperaments, who have not courage to condemn wrong, but keep silent when their influence is needed to stand in the defense of right against any pressure, may avoid many heartaches and escape many perplexities, and lose a very rich reward, if not their own souls.

“Those who in harmony with God, and through faith in Him, receive strength to resist wrong, and stand in defense of the right, will always have severe conflicts and will frequently have to stand almost alone [in the choices and in the decisions they make]. But precious victories will be theirs while they make God their dependence. His grace will be their strength. Their moral sense will be keen, clear, and sensitive. Their moral powers will be equal to withstand wrong influences. Their integrity, like that of Moses, of the purest character.” My Life Today, 320.

Relieve Suffering

“And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:2.

“Christ established His temporary hospital on the green hill slopes of Galilee and in every other place where the sick and the suffering could be brought to Him. In every city, every town, every village through which He passed, with the tender compassion of a loving Father He laid His hand upon the afflicted ones, and made them whole. This same work Christ has empowered His church to do.

“At the close of His earthly ministry, when He charged His disciples with a solemn commission to go ‘into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ He declared that their ministry would receive confirmation through the restoration of the sick to health. Ye ‘shall lay hands on the sick,’ He said, ‘and they shall recover.’ Mark 16:15, 18. By healing in His name the diseases of the body, they would testify to His power for the healing of the soul.

“The Saviour’s commission to the disciples includes all believers to the end of time. . . . Never has the world’s need for teaching and healing been greater than it is today. The world is full of those who need to be ministered unto—the weak, the helpless, the ignorant, the degraded.

“God’s people are to be genuine medical missionaries. They are to learn to minister to the needs of soul and body. They should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease. They should be familiar with the principles of health reform, that they may show others how, by right habits of eating, drinking, and dressing, disease may be prevented and health regained. . . . The Great Physician . . . will bless every one who will go forward humbly and trustfully, seeking to impart the truth for this time.

“In a special sense the healing of the sick is our work.” My Life Today, 226.

“The necessities of life must be attended to, the sick must be cared for, the wants of the needy must be supplied. He will not be held guiltless who neglects to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. God’s holy rest day was made for man, and acts of mercy [not mercenary acts!] are in perfect harmony with its intent. God does not desire His creatures to suffer an hour’s pain that may be relieved upon the Sabbath or any other day. . . .

“Labor to relieve the suffering was pronounced by our Saviour a work of mercy and no violation of the Sabbath.” Ibid., 231. (See John 9:1–14.)

Remember, we are saved in order to save others, not that we are saviours in and of ourselves, but that we are engaged in the sacred work of saving souls as co-laborers with Christ, pointing the sinner to Christ Jesus, the Source of salvation! Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32.

Children’s Story – What One Boy Did

Do not tell me that boys have no influence,” said the dark-eyed lady with emphasis. “Why, I myself know a boy of 12 whose influence changed the manners of an entire hotel. Tell you about it? —Certainly! It was a family hotel on the seacoast in southern California, and almost all the guests in the house were there for the winter. We had become well acquainted, and, well, lazy I guess is the best word for it. So we decided that it was too much trouble to dress for meals, and dropped into the habit of coming in just as we chanced to be, from lounging in the hammock, fishing off the pier, or bicycle riding down the beach. Our manners, too, had become about as careless as our dress; we were there for a rest, a good time, and these little things did not matter, we said.

“One day there was a new arrival. Mrs. Blinn, a young widow, with her little son, Robert, as sturdy and bright-faced lad as one often sees. The first time he came into the dining room, erect, manly, with his tie and collar and dress in perfect order, escorting his mother as if she had been a princess, and standing till not only she, but every lady at the table was seated, we all felt that a breath of new air had come among us, and every one there, I think, straightened up a little. However, we looked at one another and nodded our heads, as much as to say, ‘He will not keep this up long.’ We were strangers, and in the familiarity of everyday life, we did not doubt that it would soon wear away.

“But it did not. Rob was full of life, and active and busy as a boy could well be. At the same time, when, 20 minutes before meals, his mother blew a little silver whistle, no matter where he was or what he was doing, everything was dropped, and he ran in to make himself ready. And every time he came to the table, with his clean face and smooth hair and clothes carefully arranged or changed, he was in himself a sermon on neatness and self-respect, which none of us said much about, but we felt all the same. Then, by and by, one and another began to respond to the little silver whistle, as well as Rob. One laid aside a bicycle dress, another a half-invalid negligee, till you could hardly have believed it was the same company of a few weeks before.

“It was the same with manners. Rob’s politeness, simple, unaffected, and unfailing, at the table, on the veranda, upon the beach, wherever you met him; his readiness to be helpful; his deference to those older; his thoughtfulness for all, was the best lesson—that of example. As a consequence, the thoughtless began to remember and the selfish to feel ashamed and the careless to keep themselves more in hand.

“And so, as I said in the beginning, in less than a month the whole atmosphere of that hotel had been changed by the influence of one boy; and the only one utterly unconscious of this was Rob himself.”

This is truly a pleasing incident. We like to think of this boy who, because he was at heart a true little gentleman, drew what was kindly and courteous and gracious in those about him to the surface as by a magnet. In like manner, it is possible for every boy to be so true and kindly and tender, so unselfish of action, so obedient to duty, so responsive to conscience, that, wherever he goes, he shall carry an inspiring atmosphere and influence with him; and whoever he meets shall, because of him, be drawn to better thoughts and nobler living.

<> (March 28, 2007.)

Children’s Story – The Influence of a Little Child

A young man loved the Lord so much that when he grew up he decided to become a minister of the gospel. He fell in love with a beautiful young woman whom he soon married, and together they ministered to many people. After some time they decided to have a family, and the Lord blessed them with a handsome little boy whom they named John. Oh, how they loved their little boy. They did all they could to teach him about Jesus and bring him up in just such a way that he would also love the Lord as much as they did.

As little John grew up he had other ideas for his life. He became thoughtless, not wanting to hear anymore about Jesus or his parents’ religion. Finally, against his father’s wishes, he left his home. Joining the crew of a ship with a desire to travel around the world, he set off on his adventure.

The ship on which he worked had docked at some beautiful islands where they were to stay for several days. On one of the leisure days John and several of his sailor friends went ashore, returning to the ship with one of the little native boys they had met. They were fascinated with this little boy who was proficient in playing an instrument in a way they had never seen or heard before and wanted to hear more.

The boy played quite a concert for the sailors before asking to be taken to shore again, but the sailors did not want to take him back just yet because they enjoyed his music so much and wanted him to play some more.

Finally the young boy began to cry. He told them that a Christian missionary had come to their village and he had learned about Jesus Christ and that the missionary was coming back again that day at a certain time to tell the people more about Him. The little boy pleaded with them to take him ashore so he would not miss hearing about Jesus.

The sailors were quite amazed and touched by the little boy’s appeals to be taken back so they put him in a boat and rowed him back to the shore. John was particularly touched by this little boy who wanted to hear about this same Jesus he had been taught about as a child by his godly parents and whom he had turned his back on, running away from home to be a sailor. He thought, “Here I am, a son of a minister, knowing far more about Jesus Christ than this poor little boy, and yet not caring about Him! This little fellow is now earnestly listening to the Word of Life and here I am neglecting it.”

That night as John climbed into his bed he wept over his sins of neglecting Jesus and his family and he earnestly prayed for forgiveness. His prayer was answered and that night, because of the witness of the little, native boy, he gave his heart to Jesus and became a child of God. His parents were filled with joy over the news. Their son, who had been dead, was alive again. He, who had been lost, was now found. What a joyous family to be reunited in Jesus.

Many years ago, another young man left his home and his father to set off on his own adventure, leaving a grieving father.

“And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:11–24.

There is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents and returns to the Father’s house (Luke 15:7).

Keys to the Storehouse – The Ripple Effect

King David’s sin had its baleful results. “Now his subjects, having a knowledge of his sin, would be led to sin more freely.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 723. Many around us, of whom we may not be aware, are affected by both our words and actions. We must continually be on guard so that by our example, others are not negatively influenced by the ripple effect of evil.

“His authority in his own household, his claim to respect and obedience from his sons, was weakened. … His evil example exerted its influence upon his sons, and God would not interpose to prevent the result. He would permit things to take their natural course, and thus David was severely chastised.” Ibid.

Many times we hear the words: “Well, Mom does it,” or “Dad talks that way,” or “Everybody else is doing it.” No one lives to themselves. By every act, there is a ripple of either good or of evil, which proceeds from each one of us touching the lives of others.

The magnitude of an evil ripple is tremendous when a “little white lie” is told, or any impatience or anger is displayed. There is also an evil ripple that goes forth to all around when somebody professing Christianity is living a worldly lifestyle. David’s sin, besides affecting his own family, made a great impact on his entire realm.

Our influence also, whatever it may be, sends ripples to all around us, either for good or for evil. Because of the things that we say or do, somebody will stand or fall. When we try to lessen the guilt in our lives with excuses, we are told: “Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins, should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. Though like David they should turn from their evil course, the results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear.” Ibid.

David was not a man after God’s own heart when he sinned. We no longer carry the name of Christian, being Christlike, when we sin or while walking in sin. At the moment of sin there is a shadow ready to carry its evil ripple to all around.

“The history of David furnishes no countenance to sin. It was when he was walking in the counsel of God that he was called a man after God’s own heart. When he sinned, this ceased to be true of him until by repentance he had returned to the Lord. … Though David repented of his sin and was forgiven and accepted by the Lord, he reaped the baleful harvest of the seed he himself had sown.” Ibid.

It is a good thing to choose to walk in heavenly places, so that we may never see or feel the baleful harvest of wrong choices. The results of all those seeds we sow are influenced either for good to God’s glory, or evil to honor Satan. What is your choice?

O Lord, I choose to walk in the light of Your will—in heavenly places. If I fall beneath Satan’s hellish shadow of corrupt character seeds, wash me and remove any ripples that may poison someone else and lead them to sin more freely because of my choices. Alert me to any danger and allow nothing but your heavenly atmosphere to flow forth through me to the praise and glory of Thy name. Amen.

Turn this key to the storehouse and humbly enter in where the ripples of dark shadows have no life.

Bible Study Guides – Intercessory Prayer

October 14, 2012 – October 20, 2012

Key Text

“Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” Jeremiah 13:20.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 315–330; Testimonies, vol. 1, 397–405.


“Are you watching for souls as they that must give an account, or are you yourselves drowsy, ease-loving, and lukewarm?” The Signs of the Times, October 4, 1883.


  • What should we learn from the attitude of Abraham toward the Sodomites? Genesis 18:20–33; Galatians 6:1.

Note: “There was no self-confidence, no boasting of his [Abraham’s] own righteousness. He did not claim favor on the ground of his obedience, or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God’s will. Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner’s behalf. Such a spirit all who approach God should possess. Yet Abraham manifested the confidence of a child pleading with a loved father. He came close to the heavenly Messenger, and fervently urged his petition. …

“Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham’s prayer. While he loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hatred of sin, but pity and love for the sinner. All around us are souls going down to ruin as hopeless, as terrible, as that which befell Sodom. Every day the probation of some is closing. Every hour some are passing beyond the reach of mercy. And where are the voices of warning and entreaty to bid the sinner flee from this fearful doom? Where are the hands stretched out to draw him back from death? Where are those who with humility and persevering faith are pleading with God for him?

“The spirit of Abraham was the spirit of Christ. The Son of God is Himself the great Intercessor in the sinner’s behalf. He who has paid the price for its redemption knows the worth of the human soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 139, 140.


  • Why did God spare Israel after the gross idolatry at the foot of Mount Sinai? Exodus 32:7–14, 30–32.

Note: “Moses realized how dreadful would be the fate of the sinner; yet if the people of Israel were to be rejected by the Lord, he desired his name to be blotted out with theirs; he could not endure to see the judgments of God fall upon those who had been so graciously delivered. The intercession of Moses in behalf of Israel illustrates the mediation of Christ for sinful men. But the Lord did not permit Moses to bear, as did Christ, the guilt of the transgressor.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 326.

  • Name two more examples of the power of Moses’ intercessory prayers. Numbers 11:2; 21:7.
  • Who had helped to mold the character of Moses in such a way for him to manifest such intense fervor in intercessory prayer? Exodus 2:1–10; Hebrews 11:23–25.

Note: “Jochebed was a woman and a slave. Her lot in life was humble, her burden heavy. But through no other woman, save Mary of Nazareth, has the world received greater blessing. Knowing that her child must soon pass beyond her care, to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the more earnestly endeavored to link his soul with heaven. She sought to implant in his heart love and loyalty to God. And faithfully was the work accomplished. Those principles of truth that were the burden of his mother’s teaching and the lesson of her life, no after influence could induce Moses to renounce.” Education, 61.

“The mother should feel her need of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that she herself may have a genuine experience in submission to the way and will of God. Then, through the grace of Christ, she can be a wise, gentle, loving teacher. To do her work as it should be done requires talent and skill and patient, thoughtful care. It calls for self distrust and earnest prayer. Let every mother strive by persevering effort to fulfill her obligations. Let her bring her little ones to Jesus in the arms of faith, telling Him her great need, and asking for wisdom and grace.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 128.


  • What can parents learn from Job’s example? Job 1:1–5.

Note: “Parents should meet their grave responsibilities with fear and trembling. Fervent prayers should be offered for divine strength and guidance in this task.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 200.

  • Why is prayer especially important at times when wayward children need to be corrected? Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21.

Note: “Some parents correct their children severely in a spirit of impatience, and often in passion. Such corrections produce no good result. In seeking to correct one evil, they create two. Continual censuring and whipping hardens children and weans them from their parents. Parents should first learn to control themselves, then they can more successfully control their children. Every time they lose self-control, and speak and act impatiently, they sin against God. They should first reason with their children, clearly point out their wrongs, show them their sin, and impress upon them that they have not only sinned against their parents, but against God. With your own heart subdued and full of pity and sorrow for your erring children, pray with them before correcting them. Then your correction will not cause your children to hate you. They will love you. They will see that you do not punish them because they have put you to inconvenience, or because you wish to vent your displeasure upon them; but from a sense of duty, for their good, that they may not be left to grow up in sin.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 398.

  • What prayer was in the heart of Hannah as she would prepare coats for her son, Samuel? I Samuel 2:18, 19.

Note: “Every fiber of the little garment had been woven with a prayer that he [Samuel] might be pure, noble, and true. She did not ask for her son worldly greatness, but she earnestly pleaded that he might attain that greatness which Heaven values—that he might honor God and bless his fellow men.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 572.


  • Explain some key elements in winning our associates to Christ. I Timothy 4:16.

Note: “If believers associate with unbelievers for the purpose of winning them to Christ, they will be witnesses for Christ, and having fulfilled their mission, will withdraw themselves in order to breathe in a pure and holy atmosphere. They will draw near to God, and send up earnest petitions to Christ in behalf of their friends and associates.” Our High Calling, 300.

  • How did Sister White respond when told that Vermont was “a hard field” for the gospel? Jeremiah 13:20. Describe her early experience with unbelieving friends.

Note: “We know there is earnest work to be done, requiring patience, perseverance, and untiring effort. Let the work be done by unselfish, humble men; let them work and pray, and pray and work. Labor by the fireside, brethren. Come close to hearts. Let unbelievers see that you care for their souls; search the Scriptures with them; weep and pray with them. In your earnest efforts, represent the love of Christ. Oh! this love, if we have it, is too much inclosed in our hearts, and does not appear in words or deeds as it should. How will you meet your relatives, your friends, and your neighbors in the Judgment, if you have not labored in every way possible to bring them to the truth? My prayer is that the Lord may so impress the minds of men and women in Vermont that they cannot rest until they commence in earnest to labor for souls. When they do this it will no longer be said, Vermont is a hard field.” The Review and Herald, November 20, 1883.

“I arranged meetings with my young friends, some of whom were considerably older than myself, and a few were married persons. A number of them were vain and thoughtless; my experience sounded to them like an idle tale, and they did not heed my entreaties. But I determined that my efforts should never cease till these dear souls, for whom I had so great an interest, yielded to God. …

“At every one of our little meetings I continued to exhort and pray for each one separately, until every one had yielded to Jesus, acknowledging the merits of His pardoning love. Every one was converted to God.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 41, 42.


  • How are we encouraged to imitate the greatest Example of intercessory prayer? Luke 22:31, 32; John 17:20.

Note: “The Son of God is Himself the great Intercessor in the sinner’s behalf. He who has paid the price for its redemption knows the worth of the human soul. With an antagonism to evil such as can exist only in a nature spotlessly pure, Christ manifested toward the sinner a love which infinite goodness alone could conceive. In the agonies of the crucifixion, Himself burdened with the awful weight of the sins of the whole world, He prayed for His revilers and murderers, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ [Luke 23:34].” Patriarchs and Prophets, 140.

  • Why must we redouble our efforts in praying for others? Romans 13:10, 11; I Corinthians 15:34.

Note: “We must be much in prayer if we would make progress in the divine life. When the message of truth was first proclaimed, how much we prayed. How often was the voice of intercession heard in the chamber, in the barn, in the orchard, or the grove. Frequently we spent hours in earnest prayer, two or three together claiming the promise; often the sound of weeping was heard and then the voice of thanksgiving and the song of praise. Now the day of God is nearer than when we first believed, and we should be more earnest, more zealous, and fervent than in those early days. Our perils are greater now than then. Souls are more hardened. We need now to be imbued with the spirit of Christ, and we should not rest until we receive it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 161, 162.


1 Why did Abraham plead so fervently for the Sodomites?

2 What factors motivated the prayers of Moses?

3 How can parents improve their relationship with their children?

4 How can we be more effective witnesses in our communities?

5 Why is prayer so important in the divine life?

© 2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Editorial – The Power of Association

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” I Corinthians 15:33. Today we would say evil associations corrupt good habits. The Bible is explicit in the precept and also illustrative of this unalterable principle that the people we associate with will have an effect on us for good or for evil. This is one reason that the Lord told lsrael they were to live separate from idolaters. (See Numbers 23:9.)

The Lord gave them explicit instruction on this point in regard to marriage. (See Deuteronomy 7:3.)

But this instruction applies not only to marriage but to any prolonged or serious association. “The followers of Christ are to separate themselves from sinners, choosing their society only when there is opportunity to do them good. We cannot be too decided in shunning the company of those who exert an influence to draw us away from God. While we pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation’ (Luke 11:4), we are to shun temptation, so far as possible.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 458.

All associations have an effect on us but there are specific types of associations that are potentially much more dangerous than any others where we place ourselves in a subordinate relationship. For example:

  1. The teacher-student relationship—A student’s mind is open to the ideas presented, even if they are error.
  2. The mentor relationship—Often is seen the identical thought pattern emerge from a young person that was urged by his/her mentor.
  3. The counselor relationship—Marriage counselor, financial or other kind of counselor. Marriage counselors have broken up many marriages. A decision to get non-Christian marriage counseling should never be taken lightly.
  4. The pastor or priest relationship—Often error is taught and accepted without critical thought because of the source of the information. (For New Testament Christianity, see Acts 17:11.)

A spiritual war is being fought and is becoming more bitter and fierce. Guard the avenues to your soul. “God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go … . The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him… .” Early Writings, 125.

“Again I was shown the necessity of those who believe we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily receiving or imbibing new error. I saw that neither young nor old should attend the assemblies of those who are in error and darkness. Said the angel, ‘Let the mind cease to dwell on things of no profit.’ ” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 425.