He Hears and Answers

Cancer. Heart disease. Covid-19. Mental illness. Repeated hospital stays. Day after day, prayer after prayer, asking God for healing. But too often there is no healing, and it is death that comes. Why didn’t God answer these prayers?

“God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live. He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world. This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, ‘Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.’ Luke 22:42. …

“The consistent course is to commit our desires to our all-wise heavenly Father, and then, in perfect confidence, trust all to Him. We know that God hears us if we ask according to His will. But to press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession.

“There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus.” The Ministry of Healing, 230

My mother told me an old story of a son and his father. The boy was a Christian who loved the Lord. One day he became very ill; in fact, he was dying. The father prayed and pleaded with God to spare the life of his son. He went so far as to demand that God restore his son to good health. God answered the father’s prayer, and the son was healed. Sadly, as he grew into young manhood, he chose a course that took him away from God. He went so far away that he committed terrible crimes and ultimately spent the rest of his life in prison, unrepentant. Imagine how that father felt. If the son had died as a young, Christian boy, he might have been saved, but because of the father’s plea that God heal the boy, he lived, but was lost.

There are prayers that the Bible says are an abomination to God because the answer is directly related to the relationship that a person has, or does not have, with God. It is a fearful thing to come to God asking for His blessing and healing when our hearts are unwilling to obey His law (Conflict and Courage, 159). “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Proverbs 28:9

“We must become intelligent as to the conditions upon which God will hear and answer prayer. There are many useless, meaningless words employed in prayer, but these heartless petitions are not acceptable, and cannot prevail with God. If the soul is stained with impurity, if iniquity is cherished in the heart, the offering of prayer is an abomination to God.” The Signs of the Times, December 16, 1889

“While some who profess to know God remain in their present state, their prayers are an abomination in His sight. They do not sustain their faith by their works, and it would have been better for some never to have professed the truth than to have dishonored their profession as they have done. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are servants of the enemy of righteousness; and their works testify of them that they are not acquainted with God, and that their hearts are not in obedience to the will of Christ. They make child’s play of religion; they act like pettish children. They serve God at will and let it alone at pleasure.” Ibid., August 11, 1887

But why doesn’t God answer my prayer? I have committed my life to Him. I study my Bible and pray every day. I seek to do His will. I have asked, but it seems that He does not hear.

It is with love and mercy that God answers our prayers. He may answer with a firm yes or no. The answer may be to wait. He may not answer in the way we have asked or feel He should or maybe even have demanded, but God never ignores the prayer of a faithful penitent; an answer will always come.

“The prayer of faith is never lost; but to claim that it will be always answered in the very way and for the particular thing we have expected is presumption.” Testimonies, Vol. 1, 231

“At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith.” The Desire of Ages, 669, 670

“We all desire immediate and direct answers to our prayers, and are tempted to become discouraged when the answer is delayed or comes in an unlooked-for form. But God is too wise and good to answer our prayers always at just the time and in just the manner we desire. He will do more and better for us than to accomplish all our wishes.” The Ministry of Healing, 230, 231

“That prayer which comes forth from an earnest, believing heart is the effectual, fervent prayer that availeth much. God does not always answer our prayers as we expect, for we may not ask what would be for our highest good; but in His infinite love and wisdom He will give us those things which we most need.” Gospel Workers (1892), 32

“Make your requests known to your Maker. Never is one repulsed who comes to Him with a contrite heart. Not one sincere prayer is lost. … God hears the cries of the weakest human being. We pour out our heart’s desire in our closets, we breathe a prayer as we walk by the way, and our words reach the throne of the Monarch of the universe. They may be inaudible to any human ear, but they cannot die away into silence … Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. … It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.” In Heavenly Places, 82

“We have a God whose ear is not closed to our petitions; and if we prove His word, He will honor our faith. … God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and favors He bestowed upon us.” Our Father Cares, 100

We have a responsibility to do those things that God instructs us to do. How can we pray for and expect to be in good health if we are violating the laws of health, to be safe when we deliberately put ourselves in danger, to have strength against yielding when we place ourselves in the path of temptation?

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” Proverbs 3:6–8

“But [from] those who have no sense of the goodness and mercy of God, [those] who refuse His merciful warnings, who reject His counsels to reach the highest standard of Bible requirements, who do despite to the Spirit of grace, the Lord would remove His protecting power.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 14, 2, 3

“Sickness is caused by violating the laws of health.” Healthful Living, 60

“Disease never comes without a cause. The way is prepared, and disease invited, by disregard of the laws of health.” The Ministry of Healing, 234

I am frequently reminded of my favorite Spirit of Prophecy quotation found in the chapter titled, “The Privilege of Prayer” in Steps to Christ, 100:

“Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. ‘The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.’ James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.”

With references like that, there is no reason we should doubt God’s responses to our prayers. He longs to give us the best things. It is not His will that people are sick and lonely, desperate and dying, but these are the things that human beings face in this world of sin.

The day my husband died, I begged God to bring him back. I did everything I knew how to do to restart his heart, to help him breathe, but God said no. I asked “Why?” He said, “Trust Me.”

God will always answer the prayer of a faithful, contrite heart. It may not be how we want, but it will always be what we most need and always according to His good will for our lives or maybe for the good of someone else.

My mother also told me this story:

A church minister was about to begin the evening service, but before he gave his sermon, he introduced a guest minister who was one of his dearest childhood friends, giving him a few moments to share whatever was on his heart. The elderly minister related the following story.

A father, his son, and his son’s friend went sailing. They were enjoying the day when a fast-moving storm blew in and made it impossible for the father to get the boat back to shore. The waves were so turbulent that, even as an experienced sailor, the father was unable to keep the boat upright and it capsized, throwing all three into the raging waters.

The father grabbed the one and only lifeline and had to make the most terrible decision a parent could make: to which boy would he throw the end of the lifeline? His son was a Christian, but his friend was not. In seconds, the father made his decision. He yelled to his son that he loved him and then threw the lifeline to his son’s friend, pulling him to the relative safety of the capsized boat. When he turned to throw the lifeline to his son, the boy had disappeared, and his body was never found.

The father knew his son would be saved when Jesus came, but he could not bear the thought that his son’s friend would not be, so he had sacrificed his son’s life to save his friend.

The elderly minister took his seat, and the young minister gave a brief sermon. However, as soon as the service ended, two young boys came to the old minister. They said they thought that was a nice story, but they didn’t think it was very realistic that a father would let his own son die in hopes that someone else would become a Christian. The old minister smiled and allowed that it might not be very realistic, but that he could attest to the truth of the story because he was that father, and their minister was the young man he saved.

Just as this father saved the wayward friend at the cost of the life of his son, so God sacrificed the life of His Son so that sinful mankind would have the opportunity to be saved.

Friend, the Lord conducts so much of His business in the realms that we cannot see with human eyes, and that is why we must always trust Him. Perhaps a prayer of healing isn’t answered, and a person dies because they might not be able to withstand trial later, or it may be to save a life that has not yet found God.

When I was a child, my mother would tuck me into bed at night, kiss me on the forehead and tell me she loved me, that she would always take care of me, and everything would be all right. I believed that completely as I closed my eyes and fell asleep. And until the day she closed her eyes in death, to wait for the coming of the Lord, she kept that promise to me. God has promised that we can always trust and depend on Him, and He keeps that promise.

He says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-
kindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

And “He [the Lord] will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8, last part

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:5, first part, 7, first part

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 1 John 3:22

While we ask and wait for God’s answer, let us remember that no matter the trial or hardship, no matter the pain or sadness, no matter the loss, in spite of the temptation to wonder if God has abandoned us or isn’t interested, we can with confidence know that we never have to bear it alone.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Judy Rebarchek is the managing editor of the LandMarks magazine. She may be contacted by email at: judyrebarchek@stepstolife.org

Jesus and Prayer

In His earth life, Jesus ever kept in close touch with the Father. This might be expected, for from eternity They had been coworkers, and were one in planning both for creation and for redemption. Of Christ it is written, “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was … . When He prepared the heavens, I was there … . Then I was beside Him as one brought up with Him … .” Proverbs 8:22, 23, 27, first part, 30, first part

God Himself bears this testimony: “But unto the Son He saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. … And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands.’ ” Hebrews 1:8, 10

If any reader is perplexed over the statements just quoted, which attribute Creation to both Father and Son, let him find the solution in Ephesians 3:9, last part: “God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” And again, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6. Christ and the Father worked together in the work of Creation.

Having worked closely together in Creation, They were now working closely together in that part of redemption which required Christ to come to this earth, and which would result in His death on the cross. In all that Christ did on earth, He was guided by the pattern outlined in heaven, which was being communicated constantly to Him by the Father. “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38. “ ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.’ ” John 5:19

Even the doctrine Jesus taught, He had derived from the Father. “Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me.’ ” John 7:16. “ ‘And the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’ ” John 14:24, last part. “ ‘But as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.’ ” John 8:28, last part. “ ‘For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth … .’ ” and “ ‘For I do always those things that please Him.’ ” John 5:20, first part; 8:29, last part. The prophet had said of Christ, “The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He awakeneth morning by morning, He awakeneth My ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

The Source of Christ’s Power

We shall not go far astray if we accept the view that in Christ’s prayer, in His communion with the Father, lay His power. When He appeared before the people, He was always calm and composed. The future had been opened to Him; He knew just what He would meet; nothing could come to Him as a surprise, and He was always master of the situation. Nathanael might in surprise ask how He knew him when they had never met before, and Christ quietly answered, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” John 1:48. The woman at the well was so astonished at what He revealed to her that she completely forgot her errand and left her waterpot at the well, while she went into the city and “testified, He told me all that ever I did.” John 4:39. All His power, all His composure, all the authority of His words, all the certainty of His statements and predictions, stemmed from His interviews with His Father. His power lay in His prayer, His communion with God.

It is of interest to note that before important events or decisions, Christ spent the preceding night in the mountains with God. Before His first preaching tour He “departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35, 38, 39. Before He chose the twelve disciples “He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles.” Luke 6:12, 13. At the time of the transfiguration, He took Peter and James and John “and went up into a mountain to pray.” Luke 9:28. On this occasion “the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering.” Verse 29. At the time of His baptism, He prayed. Luke 3:21. At the time of the Lord’s Supper, He prayed; in the garden and on the cross, He prayed. Luke 22:19, 41; 23:34. It may safely be said that on every important occasion He prayed, and at times spent the whole night in prayer.

These examples of Christ’s prayers demonstrate the possibilities of prayer. Jesus prayed, and even His garments became glistening. How different from our tame and lifeless prayer!

The disciples could not fail to notice that Christ had sources of strength of which they knew nothing. They would work all day long and, when night came, fall asleep exhausted. Christ would forgo sleep, going out to the mountains alone, and when He came back in the morning He was fully refreshed and ready to minister to the people again. The disciples must have wondered where He got such vitality and how He could keep up His work. He said very little if anything of His night vigils, but it must have become clear to them that there was a close connection between His nights of prayer and His days of strength. No wonder they asked Him to teach them to pray.

We have no record of what took place in those night seasons which Father and Son spent together alone. That it had to do principally with Christ’s work seems evident, but beyond this we cannot go. We know that on the mount of transfiguration Moses and Elijah talked “of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” Luke 9:31. These two men had both been on earth. One had died and been raised again; the other had not tasted death. They were now discussing with Jesus His impending death. They had both been saved and taken to heaven in anticipation of the sacrifice Christ was to make, and truly represented all the saved from all ages, most of whom would taste death, but some of whom would be translated at Christ’s coming.

Beyond these few facts, we know nothing of those night seasons of prayer. They must have been precious occasions, invigorating to body as well as to soul. Christ did not always have eight hours of sleep. He did not always have regular meals. He had meat of which the disciples did not know; He had sources of strength from above.

The last few days of Christ’s ministry on earth were spent instructing His disciples and forewarning them of the events to come. He concluded His instruction with what has come to be called His high-priestly prayer, dedicating them, as well as Himself, to God. Immediately after the prayer, He went to Gethsemane.

This prayer is recorded in John 17 and contains a resume of His work. Lifting up His eyes to heaven and addressing His Father, He said, “The hour is come.” Verse 1. This was the hour that He had looked forward to with apprehension and He had even thought of asking the Father that He might be saved from it. He immediately rejected such a suggestion, saying that it was for this hour He had come into the world (John 12:27). Would He be able to glorify God in His suffering? Could He calmly face torture and death? This weighed on His mind. For this would be His hour of glory if He victoriously could meet it. All creation was vitally and absorbingly interested in this time when Christ should enter the domain of death and through death wrest from Satan his prey. For Christ this would be the supreme hour, and God would be glorified if He triumphantly passed the test. So He prayed, “Father, glorify Thy name.” God answered, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Verse 28

The Hour Had Come

Now the hour had come that would decide the world’s destiny, and Christ prayed, “Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.” John 17:1. This was a prayer not for glory to the Son as such, but a prayer that God would sustain Him in the ordeal, that when the hour of darkness should come, Christ would be enabled to glorify God in His death and that through His death Satan would be defeated. Entering Satan’s stronghold to liberate the prisoners, entering alone to match powers with the evil one and overcome him and take away from him his armor would be a wonderful victory and the deciding one. Should Christ fail, it would be a victory for Satan, and Christ’s work would be in vain. Christ trembled as He thought of the momentous issues depending upon this hour, and He said, “Now is My soul troubled.” John 12:27. But receiving encouragement that God would sustain and glorify Him, He resolutely exclaimed: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Verse 31

Christ had so far finished the work given Him to do, and He now asked God to sustain Him in the dark hour ahead (John 17:4, 5). He assured the Father, “I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me,” and that they had received them and had believed. Verses 6–8. Then He prayed, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are.” Verse 11

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name.” “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” Verses 12, 15. He prayed that they might be sanctified, and for their sakes He sanctified Himself; and then He made the momentous statement, “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Verse 18

This means nothing less than as Christ was sent into the world to reveal the Father, to preach the gospel, and to heal the sick, so we are sent. His prayer did not apply to the disciples only, but to them “also which shall believe on Me through their word.” Verse 20. Thus this prayer reaches to the end of time and takes in every soul who shall believe. Christ prayed for Peter. “Satan hath desired to have you,” said Christ, “that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31, 32. And now Christ said that He prayed for all who shall believe on Him “through their word.” John 17:20

If we take this literally, it means that Christ has prayed for us, for you, for me, for all who shall believe. And for what has He prayed?—“That they all may be one: … that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” Verse 21. The unity of the church is here mentioned as being effective in helping the world to believe. How important then, that there be no divisions among God’s people, “all one body we.” “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

“Father, I will.” Christ wants His church with Him, and He makes a definite demand to that end. Then He closed the prayer with the hope that “the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26. Then came Gethsemane.

It will be noted that Christ’s prayer is concerned with others. He planned and prayed for those whom He loved. He knew what awaited Him. But even in this hour His thoughts were for others.

Prayer, M.L. Andreasen, ©1957, 159–165

[All scripture taken from the King James Version.]

Categories Uncategorized Tags

Story – The Praying Engineer

One winter, several years ago, there was a good deal of religious interest in a certain Midwestern town, and among those who joined the church was a little fellow twelve years of age, named Allen. His mother was a widow. Four years before, she had moved from their home in Vermont to this town in Wisconsin.

On the Sabbath evening of the day when he joined the church, Allen was sitting in the twilight with his mother.

“Allen, tell me what led you to want to be a Christian. Was it your home teaching, your lessons in the Sabbath school, the regular preaching of the pastor, or has it all come through the influence of the revival meetings?”

Allen looked up into his mother’s face.

“Mamma, it was none of these. Do you remember when we were coming from Vermont to live here four years ago, that I wanted to go on the engine and ride with the engineer? You were afraid to let me till the conductor, whom you knew well, told you that the engineer was a remarkable man, and that I would be just as safe on the engine with him as in the parlor car with you.”

“I remember that very well,” said his mother.

“Then,” continued Allen, “you allowed me to ride on the engine, where I was to stay till you or the conductor came for me. When we were about ready to start from the station where I first got on the engine, the engineer knelt down for just a little bit, and then got up and started his locomotive. I asked him many questions about its different parts and about the places and things which we passed by, and he was very patient in answering. Soon we stopped at another station, and just before we started he knelt down again. As he did this often, I tried to see what he was doing. Finally, after we had passed several stations, I made up my mind to ask him.

“ ‘My little lad, do you ever pray?’ ” he asked me very earnestly.

“ ‘Oh yes, sir! I pray every morning and evening,’ ” I replied. “ ‘Well, my dear boy,’ said he, ‘when I kneel down, I pray. God has allowed me to hold a very responsible place here. There are, perhaps, two hundred lives now on this train intrusted to my care. A little mistake on my part, a little failure to do all my duty, a little neglect, a little inattention to signals, might send all or many of these two hundred souls into eternity. So at every station I kneel for just a moment, and ask the Master to help me, and to keep the many lives He has put into my hands from all harm till we get to the next station. All the years that I have been on this engine, He has helped me, and not a single human being of the thousands that have ridden on my train has been harmed. I have never had an accident.’

“I have never before mentioned what he did or said, but almost daily I have thought about him, and resolved that I would be a Christian, too.”

True Education Reader, Fifth Grade, ©1933, 29–31.

Question – Why aren’t my prayers answered…


Why aren’t my prayers answered when and in the way I want?


“To every sincere prayer an answer will come. It may not come just as you desire, or at the time you look for it; but it will come in the way and at the time that will best meet your need. The prayers you offer in loneliness, in weariness, in trial, God answers, not always according to your expectations, but always for your good.” Messages to Young People, 250.

“God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and favors He bestowed upon us. Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil was entertained by us, any sin indulged, we would become careless, and fail to realize our dependence upon Him, and our need of His help.” The Review and Herald, June 9, 1891.

“I saw that every prayer which is sent up in faith from an honest heart, will be heard of God and answered; and the one that sent up the petition will have the blessing when he needs it most, and it will often exceed his expectations. Not a prayer of a true saint is lost if sent up in faith, from an honest heart in faith.” Gospel Workers (1892), 114.

“Take time to pray, and as you pray, believe that God hears you. Have faith mixed with your prayers. You may not at all times feel the immediate answer; but then it is that faith is tried. You are proved to see whether you will trust in God, whether you have living, abiding faith.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 167.

“It is our privilege to come to Him with holy boldness. As in sincerity we ask Him to let His light shine upon us, He will hear and answer us. But we must live in harmony with our prayers.” Child Guidance, 499.

“When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly.” Steps to Christ, 96.

Ask, and It Shall Be Given You

Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Matthew 7:7, 8

Expanding on these verses, Ellen White in The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1901, wrote, “It seems so sad that we praise God so little. Gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving need now to be searched for, and cultivated as lost arts. They are more precious to the Lord Jesus than all the treasures of gold and silver which the earth contains. Every human being should appreciate the kindness and love wherewith God has loved us. When we were yet enemies, Christ gave His life that we might be saved. How much have we appreciated this gift?”

This passage should cause us to do some very serious thinking. Somehow, we forget to express audibly the praise and thanksgiving which the Lord’s servant tells us Jesus longs for and desires to hear from our lips.

Continuing in this same article, we discover the most precious gift that Jesus can give to us. “In His instruction to His disciples, Christ dwelt upon the great gift of the Spirit, declaring that nothing was too great to be expected from the coming of the divine Spirit. He longed to quicken and enlarge the conception of His disciples by communicating to them His own complete appreciation of God’s love, that they might be able to comprehend the value of the gift of all gifts, given by God with the giving of His beloved Son—the gift of the Holy Spirit. On all who love and serve God this gift has been bestowed. Christ has made provision for all to receive His Spirit; for He desires to see human nature released from the bondage of sin, and, by the power which God gives, renewed, restored, raised to a holy rivalry with the angels.” Ibid.

Notice that nothing is too great for the Holy Spirit to accomplish. Note as well that God compares the gift of the Holy Spirit to the gift of His Son. What is further impressive is that it is the gift of the Spirit, which alone can release us from the power of sin.

“To the woman at the well Christ said, ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. … Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’ (John 4:10, 14).” Ibid.

But note the following statement: “Yes; in giving the Holy Spirit, it was impossible for God to give more. To this gift nothing could be added.” Ibid. No wonder it tells us in Scripture that God can supply all of our needs. It is impossible for God to give us more. Philippians 4:19 tells us, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” “The Holy Spirit is the vital presence of God.” The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1901. Think that through. The Holy Spirit is actually the presence of God with us “… and if appreciated will call forth praise and thanksgiving, and will ever be springing up unto everlasting life. The restoration of the Spirit is the covenant of grace. Yet how few appreciate this great gift, so costly, yet so free to all who will accept it. When faith takes hold of the blessing, there comes rich spiritual good. But too often the blessing is not appreciated. We need an enlarged conception in order to comprehend its value.” Ibid.

“Christ declared, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ ” “ ‘If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish will he give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him’ (Matthew 7:7–11; Luke 11:11–13)?” Ibid. Why is it in our church services, home worship and daily prayers to God we ask so little for this Divine power?

“O what amazing love and condescension! The Lord Jesus encourages His believing ones to ask for the Holy Spirit. By presenting the parental tenderness of God, He seeks to encourage faith in the reception of the gift. The heavenly Parent is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children.” Ibid. All have seen many a parent sacrifice to give their children almost anything they desire. This is what God wants to do for us.

“What greater thing could be promised? What more is necessary to awaken a response in every soul, to inspire us with a longing for the great gift? Shall not our half-hearted supplications be turned into petitions of intense desire for this great blessing?” Ibid.

Perhaps we need to consider why so many in God’s true church are satisfied with their present experience, unconcerned that they lack the power from the Holy Spirit to overcome sin as Christ overcame.

Listen to God as He describes what He sees among His people in Revelation 3:17 and 18: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Seldom do we hear prayers that plead with God for the precious gift that would change our condition. What can be said that will engender the need and desire for the Holy Spirit above everything else in this world?

Perhaps the following story of a small boy will help. The boy desired a trumpet and was inspired to play in the band like Kenneth, one of the big boys he had always admired. He pleaded with his father for a trumpet, but Father tried to explain to him that Kenneth was a big boy with lots of strength and he was so small that he might not have enough wind to blow a trumpet. Yet the boy still pleaded for a trumpet, poking out his chest and flexing his biceps to show his father his strength. Father’s argument was that if his boy was so strong, he would be able to keep the wood box filled without being asked and keep the kitchen water pot filled for his mother. But then came the excuses, the wood gave him splinters and the water pot spilled on his clothes. However, Father said he would watch him for the next few months, and if he could keep up with the wood box and water, he would know his son was big enough to blow a trumpet in the band and would get him one. Off ran the boy to the wood pile. He not only filled the wood box, but he piled the wood in every small nook and corner of the kitchen until Mother had to tell him to not bring more until she needed it. He filled the water pot to the brim till it leaked over the edge when the dipper was placed in the pot and then proceeded to fill all of mother’s pots and pans until she had to say, STOP! What made the difference? The boy wanted a trumpet.

Oh, if we could only realize that the greatest gift of all heaven is available to us if we would ask. If we would cast off the stupor that Satan is placing around us and comprehend the value of this gift, surely we would plead for this gift so intensely that God would hear and answer.

Did He not say, “Ask, and it shall be given you”? And the wonder of it all is that God urges us to plead for this precious gift. No wonder Ellen White continues: “We do not ask for enough of the good things God has promised. If we would reach up higher and expect more, our petitions would reveal the quickening influence that comes to every soul who asks with the full expectation of being heard and answered. The Lord is not glorified by the tame supplications which show that nothing is expected. He desires everyone who believes, to approach the throne of grace with earnestness and assurance. Do we realize the magnitude of the work in which we are engaged? If we did, there would be more fervency in our prayers. Our entreaties would rise before God with convincing earnestness. We would plead for power as a hungry child pleads for bread. If we realized the greatness of the gift, if we desired the attainment of the blessing, our petitions would ascend with earnestness, importunity, urgency. It would be as if we were at the gate of heaven, soliciting entrance.” The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1901.

As I read these startling thoughts, I was reminded of the pangs of hunger that I have seen in some countries. I have seen people and children so hungry that they have explored fresh cow dung with their bare hands searching for a grain or two that passed through the cow’s digestive system that they might relieve their hunger. And to think that the servant of the Lord says we should plead with God using such strong language, that we would plead for power as a hungry child pleads for bread.

She says, “I do not understand the tameness in the requests offered to God. We are to urge our way into the very presence of God, into the Holy Place of the Most High.” Ibid. That means into the sanctuary. “We are to plead for that which we most need—the bread of life, the leaf from the tree of life. As Jacob wrestled with the angel, saying, ‘I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me’ (Genesis 32:26), so we are to … ask with an urgency that will not be turned away, that expects God to bestow His blessings with a liberality that is an assurance to all fear.” Ibid.

Then she quotes from Isaiah 45:11 and 12: “ ‘Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and His Maker, Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands command ye Me’ ” (verse 11). Ibid. [Emphasis supplied.] Are we approaching this subject like that? “ ‘I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded’ (verse 12). This is the word of the Lord, which is Yea and Amen. Then let your prayers be more fervent, more heavily weighted with faith and hope. Let the intensity of your desire be proportionate to the value of the object you wish to obtain.

“The greatness of the gift and our need of it should fill us with a hungering desire for it.

“Have we reason to believe that an earnest application to the Source of all power for the deep moving of the Holy Spirit upon hearts will be crowned with success? Certainly; but before we talk to others in regard to this, let us first talk with God. Plead with Him as if your life was depending upon the gift you desire. Remember that the blessing is promised unconditionally, absolutely, certainly. If you ask in faith, presenting the name of God’s Son as your endorsement, your prayer will be heard and answered. God’s goodness makes this promise unchangeable. The infallibility of the promise is to inspire faith in the one who asks, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’

“We should ask with an earnestness that will not be denied. The Lord has an intense desire that everyone should take advance steps in absolute certainty, relying upon God. He is the light and life of all who seek Him.” Ibid. Then notice carefully: “The measure which we receive of the holy influence of His Spirit is proportionate to the measure of our desire to receive, of our faith to grasp, and of our capacity to enjoy the great goodness of the blessing, and to impart it to others.” Ibid.

Ellen White, in the continued article in The Signs of the Times, August 14, 1901, shifts the emphasis from the sincere desire when asking for the gift, to pointing out the condition upon which we receive the gift from heaven. “ ‘Every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth’ (Matthew 7:8). Christ is here presenting a law of the divine government. Asking for the Holy Spirit is connected with receiving this gift. The Lord reads the hearts of all men. He selects from His subjects those He can use, choosing material which can be worked. He selects the most unpromising subjects, and through them magnifies His own wisdom and power by causing them to sit among the princes.”

Imagine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He can take an individual whose mind has been so filled with evil that it’s almost unable to comprehend the goodness of God and so develop him that they can sit among princes. “In all ages He has used human beings to carry out His purposes. He chooses subjects who will not be perverted, who in all righteousness and faith will honor His name. He passes by the men who have perverted the capabilities He has given them, and selects men of His own wisdom, who make Him their trust, their dependence, their efficiency. He hews and polishes the rough stones He has quarried out of the world. He works through men who realize that they must submit to the ax, the chisel, and the hammer, lying passive under the divine hand. Through those who voluntarily submit themselves to Him in all matters, who seek Him in faith and hope, He works out His plans.” Ibid.

The church of Rome, Satan’s masterpiece, demands blind obedience from its followers, and regardless what truth God may open to them, they are not allowed to investigate it with their own God-given intelligence. They must accept only that which has been taught by the so-called fathers of pagan tradition. In fact, before becoming a priest of Rome, a man must swear by an oath never to question any teaching of the church even if he discovers that such a doctrine is contrary to God’s eternal word.

On the other hand, God cannot use any man in His church who has become so worldly-wise that he feels safe to question God’s teachings. God does invite men to study and search for truth. When such a man is Spirit-filled, he will not because of his higher learning believe he can find a better way, but instead will come to the conscious decision never to question God’s declared truth.

Another condition for receiving the Holy Spirit is to impart it to others. “Those who ask because they wish to impart to others will not be disappointed. God will reward those who come to Him in earnest faith. He assures us that the thought of His majesty and sovereignty should not keep us in fear. He will do much more graciously than we suppose if we will come to the footstool of His mercy. He urges His sovereignty as a reason for His great and merciful bountifulness in supplying the demands upon Him. He pledges Himself to hear our prayers, declaring that He will hear them. He condescends to appeal from the instinct of parental tenderness to the infinite benevolence of Him whose we are by creation and redemption. He says, ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him’ (Matthew 7:11). The needy and soul-hungry never plead with God in vain.” Ibid. What a promise!

Then comes these enlightening words: “Humanity [that’s us] and divinity [that’s God] must be linked together in the experience of every overcomer. In our weakness we are to accept Christ’s power. He gives us the assurance, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ (Matthew 28:18–20).” Ibid. Having received this precious gift, we should be the happiest people on this earth.

Now notice how she describes the Spirit-filled remnant. “In view of this tell me who should wear countenances more bright and cheerful, more full of sunshine, than those who live by faith in the Son of God. In Him the needy and hungry find all their wants supplied. But let us not forget that those whom God has blessed with the good things of this life are to be His helping hand, to supply the necessities of His needy ones. They are to be laborers together with Him. They are—His stewards in trust, and are to use their goods for the advancement of His work, that His name may be glorified. The Lord desires to employ the church as a channel through which to communicate His bounties. If His people would keep the channel open, receiving the spiritual and temporal gifts of His grace, and imparting them to the needy, there would be no sick ones neglected, no orphans crying for food. The hearts of the widow and the fatherless would sing for joy.

“God has given man the richest of His gifts. This He has done that man may dispense His bounties. Medical missionary work and the Gospel ministry are the channels through which God seeks to pour a constant supply of His goodness. They are to be as the river of life for the irrigation of His church.” Ibid.

In my travels, many times I have gone through the great places of California where the vegetables are grown, and you see those tremendous ditches of water, where the water goes down the row to every plant. Isn’t it interesting that God wants us to thus irrigate the church from the supply of the Holy Spirit that is within us. She says, “… rivers of life for the irrigation of His church.” Ibid. Oh what a different world this would be if every Seventh-day Adventist were filled with the Holy Spirit. Our churches would be filled to overflowing.

“There is not the semblance of an excuse for the lifeless condition of a people who know the plain, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ God calls their attention to the words, ‘Ye are the light of the world. … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:14, 16). He reminds us that we have only to ask, and we shall receive; to seek, and we shall find; to knock, and it shall be opened unto us.” Ibid.

After we ask, we are told to: “Throw open the windows of the soul heavenward, and close them earthward.” Ibid. We must turn away from the earthly environment and the devil-made entertainments that take our thoughts earthward and instead lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving for God’s greatest gift. We should be often in prayer and in the study of the Godly counsels written to us. It is thus that we shall become mighty and powerful for God. The windows of our soul must be turned heavenward.

There is a responsibility in receiving this wonderful gift. “The Lord has made His church the repository of divine influence. The heavenly universe is waiting for the members to become channels through which the current of life shall flow to the world, that many may be converted, and in their turn become channels through which the grace of Christ shall flow to the desert portions of the Lord’s vineyard.

“The heavenly universe is burdened with the magnitude of the divine gifts which it has to impart.” Ibid. Think of it, “Angels are longing for the great joy of imparting the grace of God to men who will impart it to their fellow-men. The commission is, ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations’ (Matthew 28:19). All who belong to the church are commanded to shine. Every receiver of divine grace is held accountable for the souls of those within his reach who are in the darkness of unbelief, ignorant of the rich blessings God is waiting to bestow upon them.

“ ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name’ (John 1:12). Those who take part in the solemn rite of baptism, in the name of the highest authorities of heaven, pledge themselves to come out from the world, to separate themselves from its idolatrous practises. God places His sign upon them, making them members of the royal family. And they on their part pledge themselves before angels and before men to live for Christ. They are buried with Him in baptism in the likeness of His death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on this earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory’ (Colossians 3:1–4).” Ibid.

Are you truly ready to be filled with the Spirit of God? “In the day of final accounts, what will the church give as a reason for her strange indifference to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth? My brethren and sisters, keep the temple of God pure and holy, that He may use it to the glory of His name. God will enlarge His faculties and multiply His gifts to you, as you make use of them to gather souls under the blood-stained banner of the Redeemer. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” Ibid.

Finally, we are told the startling truth of why so many today fail to overcome:

“By yielding to the temptations of the enemy, by losing sight of God, you have lost the sense of what a child of God ought to be. Your powers of perception are clouded. But the way is open for your spiritual life to be reinforced with new power.” Ibid.

Oh, God help us to be more earnest and determined in our requests for the power of God in our lives to prepare us for Jesus’ coming. Let there be thanks and praise ascending from our lips, as if we were standing at the very gates of heaven.

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

For more than fifty years, Lawrence Nelson served the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a pastor, evangelist, and then in Conference, Union, and General Conference leadership. When God laid upon him the responsibility to “tell it like it is” to alert the people how the church was leading them into the worldwide ecumenical movement, he was forbidden to preach in any church within the Oregon Conference. Though nothing could be found in his preaching that was contrary to the doctrines of the church, he was considered divisive. As a result, Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry was born. Elder Nelson passed to his rest on April 18, 2012.

Trust in the Lord

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Psalm 37:1–11

In these eleven verses we have set before us something to do and something not to do, noting first what we’re told not to do. Verse 1 reads, “Fret not thyself.” You will find this repeated in the seventh and eighth verses. Apparently, it is one of the great themes in this scripture. Don’t get anxious; don’t get worried; don’t murmur and complain; don’t be bothered about anything. Somebody says, Well, that’s very well for David to write down there, but David didn’t live in our time. That is true, but the Holy Spirit does and He’s the One who inspired this.

Take a look at the other side of the coin and see what we are to do if we are not to fret. We are to trust. Consider the wonderful message of this same Psalm as it relates to trust. Note that trust is not a substitute for work. You’ll find that in the 3rd verse. “Trust in the Lord, and do good.” Trust in the Lord, and do something. Faith is not a substitute for action, rather it inspires action. As someone has said, Faith is so good it works.

Another sidelight occurs in the latter part of the third verse, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land.” Dwell means to live, to stay, to inhabit; in other words, the way to meet problems is not to run away because they fret us. Settle down and meet the problem by trusting God and by doing good. And what is the result? “Verily thou shalt be fed,” satisfied, physically and spiritually. Another translation says, “And enjoy security.” Philippians 4:19 echoes that wonderful promise: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Now notice Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” That is also translated, “He shall give thee the petitions of thy heart.” In other words, He will give you what you ask for. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). Trust, then, is not a substitute for prayer, just as it is not a substitute for work. Rather it inspires prayer as it inspires work. The more we trust God the more our petitions will be sent to Him.

Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” What a wonderful combination of trust and prayer. What a difference it makes to God and to us if our prayers are banging on the door as if God had to be waked up and we were trying to change His mind and get Him interested, or whether we come as children to a loving father or mother, saying, I know you’re interested and here is the thing that’s on my heart. Trust and prayer belong together. Notice the wonderful promise, “And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” What an order!

There’s not a craving in the mind

Thou dost not meet and still;

There’s not a wish the heart can have,

Which Thou dost not fulfill.
Frederick William Faber, 1860.

What a God! He is there at the center of the universe, marshalling all the forces of omnipotence to give you what you want, to grant your heart’s desires, not only to fill your needs, your basic requirements, but even to gratify your wishes. What a friend! Oh, to trust Him, to come with confidence knowing that He’s waiting to hear our requests. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32)? He loves to give.

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). Notice the marginal reading: “Roll thy way upon the Lord.” The picture is of a burden too heavy for us. Jesus says to let go of it and let it roll on Him. Peter picks up the thought and echoes it in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” That word translated casting has the thought of flinging, throwing the burden down at Jesus’ feet, an active choice of the mind, choosing to let go of the worry, the fretting care and giving it to Jesus. “Cast thy burden on the Lord. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” The trust goes with the committal. As we turn over the burden to Him, we are to believe He accepts it and accepts us, and makes Himself responsible for our success. “Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” As another translation puts it, “Leave all to Him, rely on Him and He will see to it.” Will He do it? Oh, He says He will. He will act without any question.

Now that beautiful seventh verse: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” A part of trusting is resting and waiting. Trust does not do away with the need for waiting. Some people suppose that if a man had faith, enough faith, strong enough faith, that he could get things done in an instant. They’re looking for somebody like that. The devil will have some miracle workers around before long to show us spectacular miraculous things, but they’ll be from hell, not from heaven. The people of God in this last generation are distinguished by patience. Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And patience is developed by waiting.

So, trust is not a substitute for waiting. Trust is not something that makes waiting unnecessary. Trust inspires waiting. It keeps us hopeful during the waiting period, whether it be long or short. In James there is a parallel statement. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth” (James 5:7, first part). Whether it’s apples or pears, grapes or strawberries, the farmer must wait for the harvest. There is no way to put in the plant today and reap the crop tomorrow. “The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (verses 7, last part, 8).

Notice that expression again, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). The margin says on rest, “Be silent to the Lord.” In an earlier verse we learned that we are to pour out our heart’s requests in supplication; we are to make known our desires in petitions but along with it we are to learn to be silent. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In the quietness God will speak. Be silent to the Lord and wait patiently for Him. When we are waiting, wondering, it is sometimes a hard time to be still, but trust is exhibited in quietly, patiently, calmly waiting. When we have prayed, when we have worked, there’s a time to wait – quietly, trustfully, before God.

Think of Joseph in Egypt, ten years in Potiphar’s house as a slave, then unjustly accused and thrown into prison. Then his hopes are raised as, having interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, he is promised that he will be remembered in the throne room. Nevertheless, the chief butler forgot him. Can you imagine how Joseph felt, forgotten? But it was all in God’s providence. We usually think that God is always working to help people to remember things, but He also lets some people forget things. And it might be that God could allow somebody to forget something that you want them very much to remember. But after two years, one day that man woke up. The hour had struck. God’s time had come, and Joseph left the dungeon forever to be the prime minister of Egypt. Joseph had learned the lesson of crying to God for help, doing anything and everything he could to work out the plan, and then waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. Thank God for these precious lessons. Resign yourself unto the Lord and wait.

Trust, true trust, goes deeper, higher, further than anything we’ve yet looked at. Trust enables us, when we have prayed, when we have worked, when we have waited, to accept a result which is contrary to the thing we thought we wanted. Trust enables us to join with Paul in saying we know that “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). And we love God enough to trust Him and we trust Him knowing that He loves us.

Take this beautiful passage in Steps to Christ, page 122: “Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare. We should not allow the perplexities and worries of everyday life to fret the mind and cloud the brow. If we do, we shall always have something to vex and annoy. We should not indulge a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials.

“You may be perplexed in business; your prospects may grow darker and darker, and you may be threatened with loss; but do not become discouraged; cast your care upon God, and remain calm and cheerful. Pray for wisdom to manage your affairs with discretion, and thus prevent loss and disaster. Do all you can on your part to bring about favorable results. Jesus has promised His aid, but not apart from our effort. When relying upon our Helper, you have done all you can, accept the result cheerfully.”

That’s true with a crop, it’s true with a business, it’s true in our medical work as we try to help sick people. It’s true with every human circumstance. We are to pray, asking for what we believe is God’s will. We are to work seeking to accomplish what we believe is God’s will. We are to wait whether the time be long or short till the answer comes and if that answer comes as we’ve expected, how joyously we pour out our song of thanksgiving, but if a final answer that comes is no, trust still carries on, trust still says, Lord, I thank Thee.

This was the lesson that Jesus was seeking to teach Martha and Mary as recorded in John 11. You remember that Lazarus fell sick and, knowing of Christ’s love for their brother, they simply sent Him the message, “The one You love is sick” (John 11:3, last part). They thought Jesus would drop everything and come, but He just stayed where He was. Pretty soon Lazarus died and they thought, What does all this mean? They couldn’t figure it out. Had Jesus forsaken them? No. Had He forgotten them? No. He had sent them the message in answer to their message, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God” (verse 4). And how wonderfully it finally worked out.

Friends, we must never, and I stress this, we must never make our faith in God dependent upon the way He answers our prayers. He knows better than we do. He loves us better than we love ourselves. To trust Him does not mean that we get what we want; it means that we learn to submit to His way so that He gets what He wants. Somebody says, but Brother Frazee, you just read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart. Precisely. And Martha and Mary got more than they desired when their brother came back from the grave. It was a far more abundant answer than if Christ had come and simply broken the fever and raised up the sick man. God has a thousand ways of answering our prayers of which we know nothing. Sometimes the explanation of the answer awaits the eternal world. Jesus said to Peter, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).

In The Ministry of Healing, 474, we are told: “In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.” We love to read about marvelous, spectacular answers to prayer and they are wonderful. The lines in the top right corner express a great truth.

We have never learned really to trust until we’ve mastered the principles set out in Psalm 37. Far on past the answers that are spectacular, far on past those experiences, comes the chapter on trusting God when there seems to be no answer or when the answer is no. This instead of coming from less faith is possible only when there’s more faith.

The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. His eyesight had been left greatly diminished after that meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus and how that scholarly man longed for good eyesight that he might continue his earnest study of the Old Testament scrolls and that he might write out the messages to the churches, but for reasons that God did not see fit fully to explain, Paul was left with poor eyesight. He carried that thorn in the flesh all his life, and he says, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8). God finally said no to Paul and answered him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly” then he says, “will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, … in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (verses 9, 10).

Oh friends, prayer and trust and waiting and even work, all joined together, are not some sort of slot machine where you put in a quarter and wait and here comes the candy bar or the toy. There is more to it than that. We’re not dealing with a computer; we’re dealing with a Creator who is our friend. And He knows better than we do what we need. If He knows and He loves us, why worry our heads about it? Why not just wait until He gives it to us? Trusting Him means that we have faith in what He says and we choose to cooperate with Him and He has said that it is a part of His plan to grant us an answer to the prayer of faith that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.

To trust Jesus means that we pray because He has asked us to pray. We work because He has invited us to be partners with Him. We wait because that is His assignment. And through it all, in it all, and after all, we trust, we believe that He is in charge, that He is seated on the throne and that He is marshalling all the powers of the universe to carry out in our lives that which is best for us. Trust Him then. Trust Him when dark days assail. Trust Him when there seems to be no answer. Trust Him patiently, calmly waiting.

Sometimes when hearts are weak

He gives the very gifts believers seek;

But often faith must learn a deeper rest,

And trust God’s silence when He does not speak;

For He whose name is love

Will send the best to those who seek.


He knows, He loves, He cares;

Nothing this truth can dim.

He gives His very best to those

Who leave the choice to Him.


The Weaver, Source Unknown

Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.

Story – The Wanderer’s Prayer

On a cold, dreary evening in autumn, a small boy, poorly clad, yet cleanly and tidy, with a pack upon his back, knocked at the door of an old Quaker and inquired, “Is Mr. Lanman at home?”


The boy wished to see him, and was speedily ushered into the host’s presence.

Friend Lanman was one of the wealthiest men in the country, and President of the railroad. The boy had come to see if he could obtain a situation [job] on the road. He said that he was an orphan—his mother had been dead only two months, and he was now a homeless wanderer. But the lad was too small for the filling of any place within the Quaker’s gift [employment], and he was forced to deny him. Still he liked the looks of the boy, and said to him:

“You may stop in my house tonight, and tomorrow I will give the names of two or three good men of Philadelphia, to whom you may apply with assurance of kind reception at least. I am sorry that I have no employment for you.”

Later in the evening the old Quaker went the rounds of his spacious mansion, lantern in hand, as was his custom, to see that all was safe, before retiring for the night. As he passed the door of the little chamber where the poor, wandering orphan had been placed to sleep, he heard a voice. He stopped and listened, and distinguished the tones of a simple, earnest prayer. He bent his ear nearer, and heard these words from the boy’s lips:

“Oh, good Father in heaven! help me to help myself. Watch over me as I watch over my own conduct, and care for me as my deeds merit! Bless the good man in whose house I am sheltered for the night, and spare him long, that he may continue sharing his bounty to the suffering ones. Amen.”

And the Quaker responded another amen as he moved on; and as he went, he meditated. The boy has a true idea of the duties of life. I verily think that the lad will be a treasure to his employer, he concluded.

When the morning came, the old Quaker changed his mind concerning his answer to the boy’s application.

“Who taught you to pray?” inquired Friend Lanman.

“My mother, sir,” was the soft reply. And the rich brown eyes grew moist.

“And you will not forget your mother’s counsels?”

“I cannot, for I know that my success in life is dependent upon them.”
“My boy, you may stay here in my house, and very soon I will take you to my office.”

Friend Lanman lived to see the poor boy he had adopted rise step by step until he finally assumed the responsible office which the failing guardian could no longer hold. And today there is no man more honored and respected by his friends, and none more feared by gamblers and spectators in irresponsible stock, than is the once poor wanderer—now president of the best managed and most productive railway in the United States.

Choice Stories for Children, selected by Earnest Lloyd, ©1993, 132, 133.

Health Nugget – “Give Us Our Daily Bread”

“Give Us Our Daily Bread”

Matthew 6:11

The above title is a well-recognized phrase from a prayer recorded in the Bible. It’s not just any prayer. This one was recited by Jesus Himself and lists several petitions to our Heavenly Father. These few simple words tell us much more about life in the period of ancient Rome:

  1. Bread was a daily staple.
  2. It’s listed as the first petition, therefore, an issue of the utmost importance.

The text confirms that bread has been the food staple for thousands of years. We know from later history that lack of bread spelled trouble for the ruling class who could easily lose their power if their subjects lacked bread. Bread is often consumed at every meal in many cultures. Wheat is the world’s #1 cultivated plant by far.

Even in modern history, if the price of bread goes too high, food riots and revolutions can unfold. The Arab Spring in 2010 in part happened because bread prices spiked, and political unrest followed. The price of wheat on international markets, hence the price of bread, can spin the world into trouble, especially in the Arab world.

What is bread? Three simple ingredients: flour, water, salt. If we consumed these three ingredients separately, we wouldn’t survive for too long. Yet, these three simple ingredients baked into bread can sustain us indefinitely.

A little grain of wheat is a miracle of life. It contains the nutrients to sustain life: carbohydrates, protein, minerals, vitamins. They’re locked in the little kernel, which is not digestible for humans. It becomes digestible once it is ground into flour and then fermented, which is the art of bakery. Fermentation unlocks the nutrients. Natural bacteria will take care of the fermentation process. Where does the bacteria come from? From the air! Once you leave wet flour on the table, the bacteria from the air will start working its magic and the process of fermentation begins. It is called the natural starter.

All of a sudden, we have a very nutritious substance. Working with the natural starter is more difficult than commercially purchased yeast, but worth the effort. Fast-acting commercial yeast does not unlock all the nutrients, which results in digestion problems in many people.

Natural bacteria will cause a glutenous mass to form that sticks together, hence the word gluten, which is a wheat protein. As the bacteria works and creates gases, a loaf of bread becomes full of air bubbles. Interestingly, we like bread because of the air bubbles inside. They deepen the natural flavor of grain. The air bubbles also make bread voluminous, which gives us the feeling of being full even if in reality we haven’t consumed much. This feeling of fullness, physical satisfaction, has been so important throughout history when other food was scarce. Bread has been our staple for generations reaching back to ancient Egypt.

The Gluten Free Trend

Yet in our modern times, a gluten-free craze has engulfed the western food scene. Intolerance to gluten is being widely reported. Scientists at first couldn’t figure out the problem of how possibly so many people can be gluten-intolerant if we have been eating bread for thousands of years. Sure, there are a few people who suffer from the celiac disease who should not consume gluten, but that’s only one percent of the population.

This whole gluten-free trend started in the United States and a little misunderstanding helped the gluten-free industry to take off. The food industry is always looking for gaps in the market. Some marketer realized that the tiny population of people with celiac disease would also like to indulge in pastries and pasta, but had no gluten-free alternative. So a small gluten-free shelf appeared in grocery stores. An unsuspecting consumer sees a sign that reads “gluten free.” The consumer has no idea what gluten is, but thinks “Oh, gluten free, it’s probably better for me.” Suddenly, mainstream consumers for whom these products were never intended started creating a huge market out of ignorance. Food companies didn’t waste any time and enlarged their gluten-free portfolio. This gluten-free illiteracy can go to extremes, such as a bag of potato chips labeled “gluten free.” Potatoes have never contained any gluten in the first place. It is as if a spaghetti box were labeled “pineapple free.”

When researching websites of companies producing gluten-free products, one can hardly find any evidence or benefit of a gluten-free diet. Often, the strongest argument one finds on such websites is that many people are gluten-intolerant and don’t know it. Therefore, should all of us quit eating bread? An educated consumer can make his/her own conclusion for such logic.

There are people intolerant of peanuts, strawberries, and a wide variety of foods. It doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t enjoy strawberries.

Chemical Cocktail

Yet still, is it somehow possible that an increased number of people are really intolerant to gluten? Scientists did discover one reason. It appears in the ingredients listed on bread packages.

As already mentioned, bread should contain just three ingredients: flour, water, salt. Bread purchased in the supermarket has 25–35 ingredients listed on the package. For two reasons:

  • Bread manufacturing has to be a fast process to be profitable.
  • Commercial bread has to last for weeks or months on the shelf.

Both goals can be achieved by using artificial fermentation starters and adding a myriad of chemicals to the process.

Raising dough the traditional way takes more time. Our grandmothers who made bread at home dedicated time and effort. Such bread we call today sourdough, which is how bread was historically made. Until about 100 years ago, no other bread than sourdough existed. Some independent bakeries still may bake bread this way, but the price will be premium. A supermarket consumer got used to packaged bread lasting for months for a negligible price.

Let’s not get confused, however. Packaged bread labeled “sourdough” is most likely not the real deal unless you’re sourcing your bread from a small independent baker who doesn’t use commercial yeast. Such bakeries are hard to come by.

Large factories’ profits would be gone if they took 2–3 days to make a loaf of bread. So they found ways to speed up the process. Commercial yeast will do wonders in minutes, a process that naturally takes long hours or days. The product has to last for months, and a load of chemical preservatives will assure a long shelf life.

This chemical cocktail and super speedy yeast take a health toll – health issues that people attribute to gluten, when in reality they’re consuming an artificial product that our grandmothers wouldn’t even call bread.

Commercial bread is made of white flour because it is shelf stable, nonperishable. We have removed all nutrients from bread by removing the outer layer of the grain which is needed for digestion. This is another reason why so many consumers experience an uneasy feeling in their stomach – there is no nutrition in modern “bread.”

Food scientists soon realized this mistake, so they found a way to put the nutrients back. Not by leaving the grain in its natural state, but by artificially adding back some minerals and vitamins. This product is called “enriched flour” which consumers will find listed on nearly every baked goods package.

Most of us are bread and pastry lovers. So where can we source these goodies in our chemical-laden world? Try our ancestors’ way. The Internet can come to the rescue! There are various YouTube channels and other resources that will teach you how to make your own bread with no commercial starters. Often there are local courses that will teach you this long-lost art. Once you master bread making, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Bake such bread with freshly ground whole wheat flour.

Do you think you are gluten intolerant? Unless you have been diagnosed with the celiac disease, taste such bread, made the natural sourdough way, which makes grains digestible, and see what your stomach and taste buds will say.

Fear and Trembling

Troubled times have come upon the Earth.

Far more than we do, we need to understand the issues at stake in the conflict in which we are engaged. We need to understand more fully the value of the truths that God has given for this time and the danger of allowing our minds to be diverted from them by the great deceiver.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 312.

During the COVID 19 pandemic of the past few months, different voices from even the most unlikely individuals have been heard predicting that a spiritual awakening would come out of this experience. It is quite common for humanity to cry out to God in times of trial. However, too often when the trial is over, those who cried to God in their despair easily forget the experience and soon return to life as usual.

As believers and students of the word of God, we know that prophecy is fulfilling. We believe and proclaim the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14 and that we need to prepare ourselves for that blessed hope of the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ. We must not forget what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day [the day of His return] many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ did we not prophecy in your name, cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me… .”

Do you not agree that those would be the most startling and tragic words spoken to anyone thinking that they were going to be taken to heaven with Jesus? The apostle Paul admonished in his epistles that we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, that we must continue to cultivate and press to complete the goal, not trusting to self or shrinking back from whatever might discredit our profession of faith. “

You have to talk faith, you have to live faith, you have to act faith, that you may have an increase of faith; and thus exercising that living faith you will grow to strong men and women in Christ Jesus. SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121 Jesus said “Abide in Me.” We must strive to keep our lamps filled with the oil of the Spirit. Are we indeed acting like the wise virgins that have awakened at the message (sounds) that the Bridegroom is coming? How well are you “working out” your salvation, friend? The Lord expects every believer to exercise the gift of faith.

The worldwide scale of this pandemic most certainly captured the attention of many with thoughts of whether some prophetic occurrence was taking place and asking questions like “Are we on the verge of more troubled times?” Others are just happy thinking it will soon be a thing of the past.

“You have to talk faith, you have to live faith, you have to act faith, that you may have an increase of faith; and thus exercising that living faith you will grow to strong men and women in Christ Jesus (MS 1, 1889).” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121.

There are too many who are striving to obey all of God’s commandments who have little peace and joy. Why should this lack even exist in the Christian’s experience? This lack is the result of a failure to exercise true faith, to maintain regular communion with the Father, and of not fortifying the mind with God’s word and not meditating on the words of life. Although the enemy works tirelessly to discourage us, we must keep our eyes on Him who is true and faithful, remembering that grace and peace are multiplied through knowing the lovely Jesus, as it is our privilege to know Him. Too many habitually dial their earthly acquaintances or a “prayer partner” and pour into human ears their woes. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“It is the real, vital essence of Christianity to grasp the unseen by faith, reaching out constantly to lay hold of the spiritual efficiency found in Christ.” Christ Triumphant, 53.

“When in trouble, when assailed by fierce temptations, [Christians] have the privilege of prayer. What an exalted privilege! Finite beings, of dust and ashes, admitted through the mediation of Christ, into the audience-chamber of the Most High. In such exercises the soul is brought into a sacred nearness with God, and is renewed in knowledge, and true holiness, and fortified against the assaults of the enemy.” An Appeal to Mothers, 24.

The Lord is coming. Through the agitations in the physical world, in the strivings of men and nations, we hear the footsteps of an approaching God. He comes to punish the world for its iniquity. That is why the Lord said “Watch and pray.” We are to prepare the way for Him by acting our part in preparing a people for that great day.

“A storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it?” Testimonies, vol. 8, 315.

As the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:12).

The choices we make today in this life to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live righteously in this present world, are what will determine if we receive either eternal life or eternal death. How many who know the truth for this time are working in harmony with the principles of the gospel?

“If today we would take time to go to Jesus and tell Him our needs, we should not be disappointed.” The Desire of Ages, 363.

“Day by day, God instructs His children. … It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life’s great crisis.

“Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation.” Ibid., 382.

In His Steps In His Steps July – August 2020 Article

by John Grosboll Director of Steps to Life

Co-authored by Hilde Nunez Contributing Editor

Children’s Story – How Much Does a Prayer Weigh

So he said, “Write it on a paper,” and turned about his business.

To his surprise, the women plucked a piece of paper out of her bosom and handed it to him over the counter and said, “I did that during the night watching over my sick baby.”

The grocer took the paper before he could recover his surprise, and then regretted having done so! For what would he do with it; what could he say?

Then an idea suddenly came to him. He placed the paper, without even reading the prayer upon it, on the weight side of his old-fashioned scales. Picking up a loaf of bread nearby, he said, “We shall see how much this food is worth.”

To his astonishment the scale would not go down when he laid the loaf on the other side. To his confusion and embarrassment, it would not go down though he kept on adding more food, anything he could lay his hands on quickly, for people were watching him.

He tried to be gruff and he was making a bad job of it. His face got red and he felt flustered. So finally he said, “Well, that’s all the scales will hold anyway. Here’s a bag. You’ll have to put it in yourself. I’m busy.”

With what sounded like a gasp or a little sob, she took the bag and started packing the food, wiping her eyes on her sleeves every time her arm was free to do so. He tried not to look, but he could not help seeing that he had given her a pretty big bag and that it was not full when she had finished. So without saying anything, he tossed down the counter to her several expensive items. Trying not to notice, he saw a timid smile of grateful understanding glistening in her eyes.

When the woman was gone, he went to look at the scales, scratching his head and shaking the scales in puzzlement. Then he found the solution. When the paper had been placed on it, the scales had been broken.

That grocer is an old man now. His hair is white. But he has never forgotten the incident. He never saw the woman again. And, come to think of it, he had never seen her before either. Yet, for the rest of his life, he remembered her better than any other customer he ever had.

And he knew it had not been just his imagination, for he still had the slip of paper upon which the woman’s prayer had been written, “Please, Lord, give us this day our daily bread.”

Used by permission. Taken from the book Shelter in the Storm. Available from Harvestime Books, Altamont, TN 37301.