Mining for Gems

An Inexhaustible Source of Strength, Power, and Grace

There is a passage in the book Education which deserves contemplation. It reads, “The most valuable teaching of the Bible is not to be gained by occasional or disconnected study. Its great system of truth is not so presented as to be discerned by the hasty or careless reader. Many of its treasures lie far beneath the surface, and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort. The truths that go to make up the great whole must be searched out and gathered up, ‘here a little, and there a little’ (Isaiah 28:10).” Education, 123.

Scripture and inspired writings often present critical points of faith and sources of strength that are not readily apparent to the surface reader—“the hasty or careless reader.” These hidden gems need to be ferreted out by diligent searching and critical reasoning. Inspiration equates this effort with mining. By this diligent effort, “the intellect will find themes of the most elevated character to call out its powers. There is nothing that will so endow with vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with the stupendous truths of revelation. The effort to grasp and measure these great thoughts expands the mind. We may dig down deep into the mine of truth, and gather precious treasures with which to enrich the soul. Here we may learn the true way to live, the safe way to die.” The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.

Note that our study of Scripture and inspired writings not only teach us “the true way to live,” but also “the safe way to die,” the latter being perhaps a seldom considered blessing.

An example of a hidden gem in Scripture—and there are many—occurs in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. In chapter 3, Paul spends a good bit of time explaining to them that Jesus is greater than Moses. To ensure that his readers understand why this is true and to help them understand the importance of faith in Christ as their Redeemer—and to comprehend that which makes Him greater than Moses, he provides some strong words of caution: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

It should be recognized that here Paul equates unbelief with having an evil heart. We can conclude therefore that if we believe in and accept Christ Jesus as “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1), we have a good heart, which, according to Jesus, is essential to achieving behavioral compliance with His word.

A Good Heart

When Christ was explaining the meaning of the Parable of the Sower to His disciples, He said, “But the ones [seeds] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

The importance of having a good heart cannot be underestimated. Those with a good heart readily accept the word of God, “keep it and bear fruit.” God expects nothing more—and nothing less—of His followers.

When we possess a good heart, we naturally possess a good character. The result is an assurance of victory.

“Young men and women should regard a good character as a capital of more value than gold or silver or stocks. It will be unaffected by panics and failures, and will bring rich returns when earthly possessions shall be swept away. … Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities which all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible, a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 656.

Inspired writings as well as Scripture contain these hidden gems. An interesting example occurs in a passage from a manuscript Sister White wrote in 1912, just a few years before her death.

“God’s children are always being tested in the furnace of affliction. If they endure the first trial, it is not necessary for them to pass through a similar ordeal the second time; but if they fail, the trial is brought to them again and again, each time being still more trying and severe. Thus opportunity after opportunity is placed before them of gaining the victory and proving themselves true to God. But if they continue to manifest rebellion, God is compelled at last to remove His Spirit and light from them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1146.

A careful analysis of this passage reveals that failure to successfully endure our trials is a manifestation of rebellion. While some might consider that a rather bold and severe conclusion, its truth can be confirmed with some further “mining” of scripture and Inspiration.

There are unnumbered promises in God’s word in which divine assistance is assured to enable us to persevere when we are engaged in our daily battle with the enemy. One of the strongest is given in the first few verses of Peter’s second epistle.

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:1–4).

If Jesus Christ “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” there remains nothing more that we could require to successfully overcome every encounter with the temptations that Satan daily throws across our path. The problem, therefore, lies with “an evil heart of unbelief,” which causes us to fail to grasp the grace freely provided that enables us to overcome every effort of the enemy of souls to lead us astray. Failure to accept as absolute truth the promise of divine aid, and therefore fail to act on that promise, is indeed an act of rebellion.

It should be recognized that in all cases, when we fail to resist Satan’s efforts to lead us astray, we are committing a transgression of the divine will and are reckoned as a rebel in the books of heaven.

It should also be recognized that the power to resist temptation is provided in all its fullness in the grace so freely dispensed at our command and reception. Confirmation of the liberal dispensation of the power to overcome is provided in the following passage.

“ ‘Grace and peace’ will be multiplied ‘through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.’ Here is the Source of all spiritual power, and faith must be in constant exercise, for all spiritual life is from Christ. Knowledge of God inspires faith in Him as the only channel to convey heaven’s blessing to the soul, elevating, ennobling, refining the soul, as—through the knowledge of God—it is brought up to the high attainment of glory and virtue. ‘According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.’ ” Our High Calling, 67.

That “high attainment of glory and virtue” is—or should be—the objective of every Christian. By taking advantage of the grace and power so freely provided by Christ’s sacrifice, that attainment is indeed possible. Failure to take that advantage, failure to grasp that Mighty Arm in times of temptation and successfully overcome, according to the previously cited passage from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, is indeed rebellion.

Acknowledgment that we need divine assistance in our daily battle with the powers of evil is an essential step in overcoming self, in the crucifixion of the old man and becoming a new man in Christ Jesus.

Paul addresses this issue fairly directly in the third chapter of Colossians, a chapter that is loaded with hidden gems, and a chapter that repeats a concept that Paul expresses in different words in his second letter to the Corinthians.

In Colossians 3:2, Paul says to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” In 2 Corinthians 10:5, he pleads that his readers should be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The consistency of these two passages should be evident, and the fact that Paul provides this counsel twice to two different churches should give us some indication of its importance.

It should also be evident why, very early in holy writ, we are advised, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). This is the technique that reveals those hidden gems that, once discovered, increase our faith, smooth the rough places, and straighten the crooked paths.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

Promises for the Time of Trouble

“After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”

Revelation 15:5–8

The image that comes to mind when we read the details of the seven last plagues described in Revelation 16 is not a pretty one: foul and loathsome sores, every creature in the sea dying, all the rivers and streams turning to blood, incredible sunburns, pain so severe that people gnaw their tongues in anguish, hailstones weighing almost 130 pounds. The mind’s eye can hardly conjure up an image that encompasses such pain, misery, and destruction.

It will indeed be a terrible time, referenced in two very familiar Bible texts.

“For thus says the Lord:

‘We have heard a voice of trembling,

Of fear, and not of peace.

Ask now, and see,

Whether a man is ever in labor with child?

So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins

Like a woman in labor,

And all faces turned pale?

Alas! For that day is great,

So that none is like it;

And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,

But he shall be saved out of it’ ” (Jeremiah 30:5–7).


“At that time Michael shall stand up,

The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;

And there shall be a time of trouble,

Such as never was since there was a nation,

Even to that time.

And at that time your people shall be delivered,

Every one who is found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).


Both of these texts—Jeremiah and Daniel—refer to what Adventists rightfully call “Jacob’s time of trouble,” or more commonly, “the time of trouble.” But notice how each of these passages ends. Daniel says, “And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book,” and Jeremiah says, “But he shall be saved out of it,” “he” being Jacob, a symbol in this instance of God’s people—those, as Daniel noted, whose names are written in the book of life.

Although this will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and although it will take extreme faith to endure the troubles that arise during this awesome time, God’s word gives us great hope, great assurance, and great promises that we can confidently claim that He will see us through this unprecedented period of time. Let’s look at just a few of those promises.


  1. First of all, note that the person for whom this time is named survived his personal time of trouble by claiming God’s promise. On Jacob’s return to his homeland, when he feared Esau’s attack, he reminded God of the promise He had made to him. In Genesis 32:9 we have Jacob’s prayer in which he reiterates that promise: “Then Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, “Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you …” ’ ” Jacob claimed this promise that God would “deal well” with him, and He did! That is essentially the same promise that God gives to His people in Daniel—“your people shall be delivered,” and in Jeremiah—“he shall be saved out of it.” Jacob was also undoubtedly aware of the promise that God had made to Abraham and that had been repeated to Isaac and himself that God would make of them a great nation. Surely he recognized that for that to occur, God would have to see him through this threat from Esau, although that realization did not make Esau’s approach any less foreboding.


  1. When the seven last plagues come, the saints will have a place to hide. Psalm 91 provides a litany of some of the most encouraging promises in all the Bible. The entire psalm offers a wealth of comfort, but since we are addressing the plagues of the last days, consider only verses 9 and 10, which specifically address the plagues of God’s wrath:

“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

No evil shall befall you,

Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”


Here the psalmist provides a very specific promise for a very specific time.


  1. Scripture makes it clear that God will provide us with the necessities of life during the time of Satan, in his effort to make God’s people—indeed, all people—break the fourth commandment, will succeed in preventing anyone who refuses to accept his mark from buying or selling. Nevertheless, God assures us in Isaiah 33:15, 16 that bread and water is assured for each saint “who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, … who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil.” It is a wonderful promise, but one—like all promises—with conditions. The specific condition in this specific instance is that the recipient of this promise must be one who “walks righteously.” Only those who are obedient to all of God’s commandments can be thus considered.


  1. In Daniel 12:1, it is made clear that this time of trouble will be such as has never before occurred on earth. With this forewarning, what is a wise Christian to do? Proverbs 22:3 tells us: “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself.” God, in His almost incomprehensible mercy, has forewarned His people and given us type and antitype of the protection from destruction that He so lovingly provides. Just as the children of Israel were protected by the typical blood of the lamb when they spread it on their doorposts, we are protected by the antitype: the blood of the real Lamb of God. Isaiah 26:20 gives us an illustration of the actions the prudent man takes as he by faith claims the protection that the antitypical blood provides: “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.” Colossians 3 describes in detail what is involved in entering by faith that chamber of safety and being hid with Christ in God.


  1. Daniel 12:1 notes that those who are saved from this terrible time to come are those whose names are written in the records in heaven. By taking advantage of the provisions given us so plainly in God’s word, we can be assured that our names are indeed written in the Book of Life, and Revelation 3:5 tells us that “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” When we surrender our will to God’s will and determine to walk the narrow way, serving God in whatever capacity His providences lead us, our names are entered into that heavenly record.


  1. In Revelation 12:12, we are given this warning: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Too often, Adventists dwell on this threat, failing to remember that God is bigger than the devil. We can be assured of this, if we need any assurance, because God banished the devil from heaven. But, we also need to remember that the devil is stronger than any of us. However, if we follow the counsel of 2Corinthians 3:18, beholding the face of our loving Saviour, rather than dwelling on the works of Satan, we will become more and more like Jesus. Let us remember the counsel Paul gives us in Philippians 4:8. Whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report—think on these things. Malachi 3:16, 17 sums up this concept: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ ”

It is important that all engage in self-examination from time to time to be sure that we have not concentrated so much on Satan’s sinful attributes that we have inadvertently incorporated vestiges of those traits in our character. By beholding, we become changed. Are we beholding the lovely character of Christ, or the unrighteousness of Satan?


  1. The Bible indicates clearly that as we near the end, the Lord is going to slowly but surely withdraw His Spirit from this world and that the love of many will grow cold. The Bible-believing Christian sees evidence of this more and more clearly with each passing day. However, even in the face of this irrefutable evidence of the approach of “that day,” we need not fear. The Lord has given us sufficient evidence of His power for this time, too. It is up to us to ask for, believe, and claim this promised power. Matthew 7:7 tells us to ask and we will receive. Mark 11:24 repeats that promise: “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” In Luke 11:13, the Lord has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Inspiration tells us that this gift brings all other blessings in its train. Among those blessings are love, joy, and peace, exactly the blessings we need to maintain our walk on the narrow way during the time of trouble.


  1. The final promise we will look at is a special one for those who have family members, especially children, who have lost their way and departed from the path of truth and righteousness. Surprisingly, it is the prophet of doom who provides some of the most reassuring and comforting promises about this heart-breaking situation. In Jeremiah 24:7, the prophet writes, “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” When you claim this promise and read it to yourself, substitute your child’s name in the appropriate place. It then reads, “Then I will give [your child] a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord, and he shall know My name, and I will be his God, for he shall return to Me with his whole heart.”

We can use the same principle with Jeremiah 31:16, 17: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Refrain [Mom and Dad], your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded,’ says the Lord, ‘And [your children] shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future,’ says the Lord, ‘that your children shall come back to their own border.’ ”

There are indeed some rough waters ahead over which we must sail. However, come what may, we have a promise and an anchor. What more can we ask for? God Himself has promised us safety and victory. Notice this last promise from Isaiah 43.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

For I am the Lord your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I gave Egypt for your ransom,

Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

Since you were precious in My sight,

You have been honored,

And I have loved you;

Therefore I will give men for you,

And people for your life.

Fear not, for I am with you;

I will bring your descendants from the east,

And gather you from the west” (Isaiah 43:2–5).

And finally, let us remember always that God will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him (Isaiah 26:3).

All Bible quotes NKJV unless otherwise noted.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

Inspiration – Our Mighty Helper

It is our privilege to say with Paul, “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20.) And yet how many are making laborious work of walking in the narrow way of holiness. To many the peace and rest of this blessed way seems no nearer today than it did years in the past. They look afar off for that which is nigh; they make intricate that which Jesus made very plain. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The plan of salvation has been plainly revealed in the word of God, but the wisdom of the world has been sought too much, and the wisdom of Christ’s righteousness too little. And souls that might have rested in the love of Jesus, have been doubting, and troubled about many things.

You must trust Jesus for yourselves, appropriate the promises of God to yourselves, or how can you teach others to have humble, holy confidence in Him? You feel that you have neglected duties, that you have not prayed as you should. You seem at a distance from God, and think that He has withdrawn from you; but it is you who have separated from Him. He is waiting for you to return. He will accept the contrite heart. He has assured us that He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. We are polluted with sin; but it is possible for us to be healed from its leprosy. We are to look to the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The important future is before us; and to meet its trials and temptations, and to perform its duties, will require great faith, energy, and perseverance. But we may triumph gloriously. Not one waiting, watching, praying, believing soul will be ensnared by the devices of the enemy. All heaven is interested in our welfare, and awaits our demand upon its wisdom and strength. If any of us are not saved, it will be because we have chosen the service of Christ’s great adversary and the companionship of those who are his followers.

The Lord is willing to do great things for us. We shall not gain the victory through numbers, but through the full surrender of the soul to Jesus. We are to go forward in His strength, trusting in the mighty God of Israel.

You should never be surprised, you should never be without your armor on. Be prepared for any emergency, for any call of duty. Act promptly. God would have you minute men. Many times workers are too precise, too calculating. While they are getting ready to do a great work, the opportunity for doing a good work passes unimproved. The worker moves on as though the whole burden rested upon himself, a poor, finite man, when Jesus is ready to carry him and his burden too. Brethren, trust self less, and Jesus more. He is willing to save the souls for whom we labor. Because He lives to intercede for us, we shall see of His great power. He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Jesus wants us to ask for help; He wants us to cast our helpless souls on Him; and He will give us according to our faith.

People who are self-sufficient, and feel that so much depends upon themselves, give Jesus no room to work, and but little credit when He does work. They trust in their own ability, forgetting the words of Christ, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). The man that is self-righteous, and wise in his own eyes—rich and increased in goods, having need of nothing—cannot ask in faith, and receive, because he trusts in himself, and feels no lack. His works testify that he labors out of Christ. It is those who feel themselves sinful before God, poor and helpless, that Jesus loves to help; for they will appreciate His aid. They have a longing desire to do the Master’s work, and, knowing that the power is not of themselves, they take hold of the mighty arm of God, and by faith claim His promises.

God is not pleased when His servants remain weak, wanting in courage, in faith, in hope, in love, and consequently inefficient laborers in His cause. God has given men reasoning powers, not to remain inactive or to be perverted to earthly and sordid pursuits, but that these powers may be developed to the utmost, and used in His service, to advance the interests of His kingdom.

A high standard of purity and nobility of character is set before the Christian, and he can attain to this excellence only through the aid of Christ. But many suffer grief, pain, and disappointment, because they are unwilling to fill the humble place which God’s providence assigns them, where they will remain unnoticed and unknown. They love the supremacy, and their anxiety leads them to work against their brethren, fearing that others will be preferred above themselves. Envy, malice, jealousy, and distrust are cherished, and Jesus cannot dwell where these traits are entertained. He invites those who are ambitious of preferment to come to Him, and at the foot of the cross of Calvary learn His meekness and lowliness of heart. If any are qualified for high positions of trust, the Lord will lay the burden, not on them, but on those who have tested them, and can understandingly urge them forward.

The followers of Christ should not praise and flatter one another; for Satan will do a plenty of this work, and if persons have a high opinion of their own ability, it will prevent them from learning in the school of Christ. Let none censure and condemn others; for in doing this they are co-laborers with him who is the accuser of the brethren, who would steal from their hearts every particle of love for one another. Christians will not seek to tear one another down in order to build up self, but all will endeavor to strengthen and encourage one another.

We should make it our daily care to cultivate sympathy and affection for one another. This is the fruit that grows on the Christian tree; it does not produce the briers and thorns of hatred and strife. The harsh, unsympathetic words we sometimes hear spoken, and the hardheartedness we see manifested, are wholly satanic, and this spirit must be supplanted by the spirit of Christ. Jesus bids us, “Love one another, as I have loved you. … By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34, 35). He is our mighty Helper; and if He abides in our hearts, we shall manifest His spirit. We shall love one another; we cannot help it; for He is love.

Gospel Workers, 456–460.


MEMORY VERSE: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24.

STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 624, 625.

INTRODUCTION: “Satan’s superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 293.


  1. What warning against impersonation does Christ give? John 10:1–5. (See Matthew 24:5, 24.)

NOTE: “He has power to bring before men the appearance of their departed friends. The counterfeit is perfect; the familiar look, the words, the tone, are reproduced with marvelous distinctness. Many are comforted with the assurance that their loved ones are enjoying the bliss of heaven, and without suspicion of danger, they give ear ‘to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’” The Great Controversy, 552.

“These evil angels, who assume to be dead friends, will either utterly reject God’s word as idle tales, or, if it suit their purpose best, will select the vital portions which testify of Christ and point out the way to heaven, and change the plain statements of the word of God to suit their own corrupt nature and ruin souls.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 298.

“The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. They deny the divine origin of the Bible, and thus tear away the foundation of the Christian’s hope and put out the light that reveals the way to heaven.” The Great Controversy, 557.

“Satan is a cunning foe. And it is not difficult for the evil angels to represent both saints and sinners who have died, and make these representations visible to human eyes. These manifestations will be more frequent, and developments of a more startling character will appear as we near the close of time.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1875.

  1. What will be the greatest deception of all? 2 Corinthians 11:14. (Compare Matthew 24:5, 23–27.)

NOTE: “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The . . . great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13–15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: ‘Christ has come! Christ has come!’ The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Savior uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” The Great Controversy, 624.

  1. What Bible verses protect us against a current impersonation? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.

NOTE: “Statues weep human tears and blood, the young prophesy, religious communities sprout up, messengers receive warnings, Mary raises up an army of the devout and reported apparitions of Mary appear at a frequency never before seen in all recorded history.The Thunder of Justice, Ted and Maureen Flynn, 4. The 55,000 strong Marian Movement of Priests began in 1972. “The current Marian times had their beginning in 1830 when Our Blessed Mother appeared to Catherine Laboure in the convent at Rue de Bac in Paris. . . .Sixteen years after Rue de Bac, on September 19, 1846, Our Blessed Mother appeared to children at LaSalette in the French Alps . . . In 1858, Our Blessed Mother appeared to a peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France. . . . Mary’s next major apparition was at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 to three children. . . . In 1961, Mary appeared in Garabandal, Spain. . . . In 1973, at Akita, Japan, Mary repeated that message. . . . In Medjugorje, in former Yugoslavia, six children in a rural village have been seeing Mary daily and receiving messages from the Blessed Mother since 1981.” The Thunder of Justice, 7, 8.

“Mary” claims to be the Virgin of Revelation [see Revelation 12:1] and to explain the Book of Revelation. She says the Red Dragon is Marxist atheism, the first beast of Revelation 13 is secular freemasonry and the two-horned beast is ecclesiastical freemasonry. The number 666 represents the date when freemasonry began through Islam! The apparition speaks of the mark of the beast and the Three Angels’ Messages. (Thunder of Justice, 100 – 102.) She even speaks of the appearance of Satan in human form. The remedy for the ills of the world, proposed on page 389, is restoration of Sunday observance. (Sunday is equated with the Sabbath, and the book reminds the reader that, in Old Testament times, Sabbath desecration was punishable by death.)


  1. What move to establish a single worldwide worship is foretold in God’s Word? Revelation 13:8, 12.

NOTE: “Those religious bodies who refuse to hear God’s messages of warning will be under strong deception and will unite with the civil power to persecute the saints. The Protestant churches will unite with the papal power in persecuting the commandment-keeping people of God.” Last Day Events, 145.

“When Protestant churches shall unite with the secular power to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution, then will the papal sabbath be enforced by the combined authority of church and state. There will be a national apostasy, which will end only in national ruin.” Last Day Events, 134.

“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” The Great Controversy, 445.

  1. What penalties will be imposed on those who refuse to conform to this worship? Revelation 13:15–17.

NOTE: “We ought now to be heeding the injunction of our Savior: ‘Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not.’ It is now that our brethren should be cutting down their possessions instead of increasing them. We are about to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Then let us not be dwellers upon the earth, but be getting things into as compact a compass as possible. The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 152.

“We Ought to Obey God Rather Than Men”

  1. What should be the Christian’s attitude towards earthly governments? Romans 13:1–7; Titus 3:1.

NOTE: “He who obeys the divine law will most truly respect and obey the laws of his country. He who fears God will honor the king in the exercise of all just and legitimate authority.” The Great Controversy, 278.

  1. What principle will on occasion overrule our duty to obey the laws of our country? Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29.

NOTE: “When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be . . . it is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own finger.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 201, 361.

  1. Of what may those be accused who obey God rather than men? 1 Kings 18:17; Acts 17:6.

NOTE: “It is the same policy which has been pursued in all ages. Elijah was declared to be a troubler in Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple. From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the state will so conflict with the law of God that whosoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evildoer.” The Great Controversy, 459.


  1. What precious promises are for those who put their trust in the Lord? Psalm 91:1–4; Psalm 32:7.

NOTE: “The truth of God received into the heart is able to make you wise unto salvation. In believing and obeying it you will receive grace sufficient for the duties and trials of today. Grace for tomorrow you do not need. You should feel that you have only to do with today. Overcome for today; deny self for today; watch and pray for today; obtain victories in God for today. Our circumstances and surroundings, the changes daily transpiring around us, and the written word of God which discerns and proves all things, these are sufficient to teach us our duty and just what we ought to do, day by day.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 333.

  1. If we are called to testify for our faith what promise may we claim? Matthew 10:19.

NOTE: “As the Spirit of God illuminates the minds of His servants, the truth will be presented in its divine power and preciousness. Those who reject the truth will stand to accuse and oppress the disciples. But under loss and suffering, even unto death, the Lord’s children are to reveal the meekness of their divine Example. Thus will be seen the contrast between Satan’s agents and the representatives of Christ. The Savior will be lifted up before the rulers and the people. . . . The servants of Christ were to prepare no set speech to present when brought to trial. Their preparation was to be made day by day in treasuring up the precious truths of God’s word, and through prayer strengthening their faith. When they were brought into trial, the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance the very truths that would be needed.” Desire of Ages, 354, 355.

  1. What promises are we given of food and protection? Isaiah 33:15–16; Psalm 37:3; Psalm 111:5; Matthew 6:26.

NOTE: “In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. See Revelation 13:11–17. But to the obedient is given the promise, ‘He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.’ Isaiah 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed. ‘They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.’ Psalm 37:19.” Desire of Ages, 121.

  1. What promise do we have of protection during the plagues? Psalm 91:4–10; Psalm 34:6.

NOTE: “The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied.” The Great Controversy, 629.

  1. Who will protect us? Psalm 91:11, 12; Psalm 34:7.

NOTE: “While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants . . . Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ’s patience. With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress and have heard their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril.” The Great Controversy, 629, 630.

  1. What promise of Jesus may we especially depend on? Matthew 28:20, last part.

NOTE: “With intense interest the loyal angels and the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds are watching the controversy going on on this earth. Soon the conflict will be forever ended. Soon Christ will come to take to Himself those who have fought the good fight of faith.” Bible Training School, October 1, 1902.

“The world is enshrouded in the darkness of error. Satan and his angels are urging on their warfare against the truth. We must have help. But the help we need will not come from human beings. We must look to Him who has said, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ Claim this promise. There stands among you the Mighty Counselor of the ages, inviting you to place your confidence in Him.” Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906.

Facing the Crisis – Preparation for Persecution, Part II

There is absolutely nothing of more importance in the preparation for persecution than to fully know, without a doubt, that you are right with God. Such a knowledge requires a person to have repented of every known sin and to have accepted Jesus Christ as one’s personal Saviour, and by the power which only Christ can give, to daily live victoriously. This is the only way an individual can be assured of eternal life.

Only One Reason to Endure Persecution

A totally surrendered life is the only reason to endure persecution. Never be misled. Suffering in any amount will never justify a person in God’s judgment. It is only a daily, living relationship with Jesus, through a love and obedience experience, that provides the needed strength to meet coming persecutions.

As the daily storm warnings reveal a coming storm of persecution that will exceed our strongest expectations, we praise God’s name that we may trust the words of His Son, for He has promised, “…lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. In this study we pray for God’s divine Spirit to help us discover the special preparations we must make in order to withstand the united forces of Satan.

Turning to the Scriptures we read in Ephesians 6:11-18, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

God-given Weapons

God has given us these great weapons with the assurance that we can defeat Satan. Foremost in the Christian’s arsenal is the Holy Spirit; for without the Holy Spirit no one can stand against the power of Satan. When the Christian Church began, Jesus told her members, “…ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Acts 1:8.

Not only does the Holy Spirit provide courage and power but Jesus added that He will send us a Comforter and when He comes, ” He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13. What is more, He will give you the fruits of the Spirit, which will make it possible to even love your enemies when they persecute you.

With this gift, in persecutions we can also experience joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. “The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amidst the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own failures and mistakes. In sorrow and affliction, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone,—these are the times when, in answer to the prayer of faith, the Holy Spirit brings comfort to the heart.” Acts of the Apostles, 51.

Prepared to Stand Firm

Oh, friend, how we should praise God for such a gift. Every Christian who draws such strength from the Holy Spirit will be prepared to live and suffer for God and remain steadfast to the truth. They will refuse to receive the mark of the beast of the coming world religion, even though they know that obedience to God’s seventh-day Sabbath will mean persecution, suffering and, perhaps, death.

Jesus has given us counsel that in these lasts days many will be misled by Satan’s deceptions. In Mark 13:22 we read, “…false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”

Errors Presented as Bible Truth

Times are changing. Many of God’s people are being misled today. Instead of emphasis on a diligent study of God’s Word to teach men the way to prepare for the troublous times ahead, all too often, as Ellen White pointed out, errors are being presented to God’s people as if they were Bible truths. How sad!

Errors do not prepare anyone for the soon coming trials and persecutions. Errors can only prepare men for perdition. In Testimonies to Ministers, 409 and 410, Ellen White prophesies that “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.”

At times it seems that even now we are beginning to see a partial fulfillment of this prophecy. This is why it is so important that each member of God’s faithful remnant personally obtain a knowledge of the Scriptures so they will be able to identify, resist and counteract the lies of Satan with an “It is written.”

“None need be deceived. The Law of God is as sacred as His throne, and by it every man who cometh into the world is to be judged. There is no other standard by which to test character. ‘If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’” (See Isaiah 8:20.) Ellen White comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1099.

“If we have not a deep experience in the things of God, if we have not a thorough knowledge of His Word, we shall be beguiled to our ruin by the errors and sophistries of the enemy. False doctrines will sap the foundations of many, because they have not learned to discern truth from error. Our only safeguard against the wiles of Satan is to study the Scriptures diligently, to have an intelligent understanding of the reasons of our faith, and faithfully to perform every known duty. The indulgence of one known sin will cause weakness and darkness, and subject us to fierce temptation.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 58.

None Need be Deceived

But what a comfort to know that none of us need be deceived. Satan hates the Scriptures. In the past, through his agent, the papacy, Satan attempted to destroy the Scriptures by burning the Word of God and passing laws to prohibit the reading of the Bible. This could happen again.

Just notice this quote: “The time will come when many will be deprived of the written word.” Did you know that? “The time will come when many will be deprived of the written word. But if this word is printed in the memory, no one can take it from us.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 64.

A classic example of the memorization of Scripture is the experience of U. S. soldiers in Vietnamese prison camps during the war. Their Bibles had been taken from them, but some soldiers searched their memories from childhood and wrote down portions of the memory verses they had learned in Sunday Schools. These they shared with other prisoners, and soon they possessed a facsimile of comforting Scriptures. They did likewise with gospel songs learned in their childhood, so they could sing together the songs of Zion.

It is so difficult with the freedoms that we now enjoy to realize that today, in some countries in the world, like Red China, it can mean imprisonment to possess the Scriptures. From the underground churches, we learn that they hide the folded sheets of Scripture in their shoes until an opportunity presents itself to share the good news with others.

Bible Study and Prayer

Together with Bible study, an important part of our preparation is prayer, including intercessory prayer. This could well be the secret of surviving as victorious Christians. Consider with me the way Ellen White describes prayer, “…prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.” Steps to Christ, 94, 95.

What a wonder that many of us pray so little! How we should praise God for the counsel, “Jesus said to His disciples, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Do we take Him at His Word? The assurance is broad and unlimited, and He is faithful who has promised. When we do not receive the very things we ask for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers. We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good—that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. 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. Then do not fear to trust Him, even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, ‘Ask and it shall be given you.’ Ibid. 96.

“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 to 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.” Ibid. 100.

What words of assurance! Praise God! “Jesus said, ‘Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.’ ‘I have chosen you:…that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.’ John 16:26, 27.” Ibid., 100.

Speaking of intercessory prayer, when open persecutions come to a group that has learned to pray together, such a prayer life can continue, even when the believers are scattered, because they can continue to pray for each other. Though Satan may win a temporary victory in scattering the believers, their prayer fellowship can continue, even though they may be unjustly imprisoned or exiled. Such a group will find prayer a source of their strength.

When God’s early church was threatened by persecution, the believers gathered together in prayer. We read of this in the fourth chapter of Acts. Here is the model for us to follow when faced with persecutions. As you read of their prayers, note that they recognize God as their Almighty Power. They also recall Bible prophecy foretelling such troubles as they face. They did not pray for deliverance from persecution but pleaded for holy boldness to stand firm.

An Overwhelming Surprise

Notice verse 29. “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word.” Though it may be peaceful now, I firmly believe that when persecutions come, they will burst upon us as an overwhelming surprise.

“Everything is preparing for the great day of God. Time will last a little longer until the inhabitants of the earth have filled up the cup of their iniquity, and then the wrath of God, which has so long slumbered, will awake, and this land of light will drink the cup of His unmingled wrath.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 363.

The wicked will then blame God’s people for bringing upon them the wrath of God. Persecutions will explode on the righteous. Accompanied by prayer, a study of God’s Word regarding those who were persecuted in Bible times will strengthen our faith. Learn why certain Bible characters reacted in the way they did to oppressive authorities. This will prove as a guide to you when you meet similar circumstances.

You will discover how God directed individuals in different ways. For instance, In 1 Kings 17, Elijah boldly defied the king. Yet on another occasion the Lord told him to hide. In Daniel 3:16–18 we read of the three Hebrews refusing to worship an image when commanded to do so by King Nebuchadnezzar.

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.

Satan’s Last Desperate Effort

Ellen White warns, “…some of us may be brought to just as severe a test,” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 420. Having not succeeded to induce the saints to work on the Sabbath and rest and worship on Sunday, Satan will make a last desperate effort. He will personate Christ’s Second Coming.

Just as Nebuchadnezzar of old commanded the hosts to worship the golden image representing himself, we will be commanded to worship Satan. “He will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.

Ellen White describes his deception further in these words: “Satan sees that he is about to lose his case. He cannot sweep in the whole world. He makes one last desperate effort to overcome the faithful by deception. He does this in personating Christ. He clothes himself with the garments of royalty which have been accurately described in the vision of John. He has power to do this. He will appear to his deluded followers, the Christian world who receive not the love of the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness [transgression of the law], as Christ coming the second time. He proclaims himself Christ, and he is believed to be Christ, a beautiful, majestic being clothed with majesty and, with soft voice and pleasant words, and with glory unsurpassed by anything their mortal eyes had yet beheld. Then his deceived, deluded followers set up a shout of victory, ‘Christ has come the second time! Christ has come! He has lifted up his hands just as He did when He was upon the earth, and blessed us.’ . . . The saints look, on with amazement. Will they also be deceived? Will they worship Satan?” Last Day Events, 164.

I repeat, Will they worship Satan? Surely not! As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of old, the saints will not bow down. Will they not rather say, “We are not careful to answer you in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of your hand. But if not, be it known to you that we will not serve your god.” What an encouragement the Old Testament experiences, like the fiery furnace, will be to the saints at that time.

Martyred for Christ

As you study Paul’s life, you will discover that sometimes the Holy Spirit commanded him to flee, at other times to stay and preach and sometimes to ask for a miracle. As you read the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11, you will find some believers were delivered while others were tortured and killed. In fact, Paul himself was finally martyred. It is clearly revealed to us that, in the closing conflict, there will be martyrs, many martyrs.

“…prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 397.

Many of God’s servants will be protected, as were the three Hebrews in the burning fiery furnace; yet God will, nonetheless, permit many others to lose their lives. For as in earlier ages, the blood of martyrs will serve to water the seed of truth. (See Selected Messages, Book 3, 420.)

If martyrdom is to be our lot, God will sustain His own through the ordeal. Further preparations for this time of persecution can be made by spreading the book, The Great Controversy. Here I must pause to be very frank. You must read this book, The Great Controversy, this year. This book was written especially for the small remnant who are to face unbelievable persecutions just prior to our Lord’s return. This book reveals how God’s faithful, in past ages, resisted papal oppressions. More importantly, your mind will be so fortified with truth that you will know how to meet the coming evil forces when the papal power will again rule the entire world by force just before Jesus comes.

Though faced with persecutions, God’s servants will not be in hiding when it is time for the Loud Cry to go to the world. Thousands of voices all over the world will give the Third Angel’s Message with a loud voice. At this time God Himself will take charge of the work, and the work will proceed contrary to any human planning.

“Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” Testimonies to Ministers, 300.

“Under the showers of the latter rain the inventions of man, the human machinery, will at times be swept away, the boundary of man’s authority will be as broken reeds, and the Holy Spirit will speak through the living, human agent, with convincing power. No one then will watch to see if the sentences are well rounded off, if the grammar is faultless. The living water will flow in God’s own channels.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 58, 59.

Ellen White lays down the guidelines. “In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’” Colporteur Ministry, 48.

Perfect Unity in Christ

Under the leadership of Christ, during the Loud Cry there will be perfect unity. In Early Writings, page 271, Ellen White describes this company as follows. “…they were clothed with an armour from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. . . . I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. . . . I asked what had made this great change? The angel answered, ‘It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.’”

At that time the saints will stand openly for the truth and for the consequences. Now, one more fact. Never trust your preparations, for your only security is in Jesus Christ. Prayer, fasting, commitment, memorizing Scriptures, knowledge of past heroes of God are all-important. But one’s personal security must come only from the Lord. Never trust in your own preparations or in your human reasoning power. There is but one example to follow. It is Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 2:22, 23 it says, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” Remember that Christ suffered for His faith. We, too, must be prepared to do likewise. Peter stated in 1 Peter 4:12, 13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Beloved, determine now, right now, this very moment, to mentally and spiritually be prepared to choose God’s law above any manmade law. Do not expect church leadership to make this decision for you, as this will be an individual test. Every man, woman and child will be forced to make such a decision. When the Sunday law is enacted in your country, there will be no escape.

Out of the Cities

We will have to break the laws of man in order to keep the law of God. “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21. Yes, there is one physical preparation that we each should be making by the grace of God. What is this physical preparation we should be making? God has counseled us time and time again to leave the cities now in preparation for coming persecutions.

Listen carefully to these quotes. “I could not sleep past two o’clock this morning. During the night season I was in council. I was pleading with some families to avail themselves of God’s appointed means, and get away from the cities to save their children. Some were loitering, making no determined efforts. The angels of mercy hurried Lot and his wife and daughters by taking hold of their hands. Had Lot hastened as the Lord desired him to, his wife would not have become a pillar of salt. Lot had too much of a lingering spirit. Let us not be like him. The same voice that warned Lot to leave Sodom bids us, ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean.’ (2 Corinthians 6:17). Those who obey this warning will find a refuge. Let every man be wide awake for himself, and try to save his family. Let him gird himself for the work. God will reveal from point to point what to do next.”
Selected Messages, Book 2, 354.

“So long as God gives me power to speak to our people, I shall continue to call upon parents to leave the cities and get homes in the country, where they can cultivate the soil and learn from the book of nature the lessons of purity and simplicity. The things of nature are the Lord’s silent ministers, given to us to teach us spiritual truths. They speak to us of the love of God and declare the wisdom of the great Master Artist.” Manuscript Releases, No. 20, 153.

“The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 464 (1885).

However, let us not wait until such a time of crisis to leave the cities. Notice carefully, “…erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues.” General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.

“To parents who are living in the cities, the Lord is sending the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses. gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the cities as fast as possible.” Counsels on Diet and foods, 400.

Friend, nothing could be written more clearly, but let me add one more. “If our people regard God’s instruction as of value, they will move away from the city, so that they will not be pained by its revolting sights, and that their children will not be corrupted by its vices. [And notice these words,] Those who choose to remain in the cities, surrounded by the houses of unbelievers, must share the disaster that will come upon them.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 350.

Hide His Word in Your Heart

The following relevant spiritual quotations are taken from the book, Storm Warnings, by Don Mac Elvaney. Surely it is vital that we heed these Scriptures. “‘Thy Word have I hid in my heart.’ Hide the Word in your heart. If it is, no man can take it from you. Psalm 119:11. And Paul said, ‘That I may know Him.’ May this also be yours in all the striving to care for yourself and immediate needs. Let your highest ambition always remain to know Jesus intimately and the power of His resurrection. Philippians 3:10. Remain in a high spiritual plane instead of the more physical existence. Heap coals, words, ‘walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.’ Galatians 5:16. In times of severe testing remember ‘that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.’ Romans 8:28. And when the love of men grows cold, remember, nothing ‘shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38, 39. In times of great deception, which always lead to bondage, know the truth. It alone can set ‘you free.’ John 8:32. And when you wonder if the testing or temptation of the time should cause you to lose your faith, remember the promise, No man ‘is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand.’ John 10:29. And in every circumstance fear God, not man. ‘Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ Matthew 10:28. And in time of testing remember that God knows your limits better than you, for He ‘will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ I Corinthians 10:13. ‘Rejoice and do not be anxious.’ The words spoken by Paul as he was in prison waiting to be beheaded. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:4–7. And in every situation remember God can be trusted, but do not content yourselves by simply believing in God but rather follow the example of Abraham, of whom it is said, concerning the promise made to him, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.’ Romans 4:3. And finally, When you suffer the loss of all things, even life, nevertheless as Paul says, ‘For all things are yours; . . . or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.’ 1 Corinthians 3:21, 23. ‘For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.’ Isaiah 54:10.” Ibid., 333, 334.

Bible Study Guides – “Teach Us to Pray”

December 30, 2000 – January 5, 2001

General Introduction

“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.

“When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.

“Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, ‘in all points tempted like as we are;’ but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer. Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little, and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.” Steps to Christ, 93, 94.

“After This Manner Therefore Pray Ye”

MEMORY VERSE: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6.

STUDY HELP: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 102–122.


“Jesus gives them no new form of prayer. That which He has before taught them He repeats, as if He would say, ‘You need to understand what I have already given. It has a depth of meaning you have not yet fathomed.’ The Saviour does not, however, restrict us to the use of these exact words. As one with humanity, He presents His own ideal of prayer, words so simple that they may be adopted by the little child, yet so comprehensive that their significance can never be fully grasped by the greatest minds. We are taught to come to God with our tribute of thanksgiving, to make known our wants, to confess our sins, and to claim His mercy in accordance with His promise.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103.

“When Ye Pray, Say ‘Our Father’”

  1. How did Jesus teach us to address God? Was this a new insight into God? Luke 11:2. (Compare Psalm 89:26; Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8.)

NOTE: “Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour’s heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, ‘Our Father.’” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103, 104.

  1. How does Jesus make it possible for us to become sons and daughters of God? John 1:12.

NOTE: “Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314.

“Hallowed be Thy name”

  1. In our prayers, how should we speak the name of God? Matthew 6:9.

NOTE: “To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. ‘Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9.…When you pray, ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 106, 107.

  1. What prayer and petition should introduce our prayers? Matthew 6:9, 10.

NOTE: “The petition, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,’ is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 110.

“Give Us Day by Day Our Daily Bread”

  1. How should our prayers demonstrate our dependence on God? Luke 11:3.

NOTE: “When you have thus made God’s service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied. If you have renounced self and given yourself to Christ you are a member of the family of God, and everything in the Father’s house is for you.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 110.

  1. For what other kind of bread do we need daily to pray? Matthew 4:4; John 6:27, 51.

NOTE: “We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 112, 113.

“Forgive Us Our Sins”

  1. What further petition should also be an essential part of our daily prayer? Luke 11:4, first part.

NOTE: “When God gives the promise that He ‘will abundantly pardon,’ He adds, as if the meaning of that promise exceeded all that we could comprehend: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:7–9. God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 114.

  1. What condition accompanies God’s promise to forgive us as we confess? Matthew 6:14, 15.

NOTE: “We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own. Wherefore Christ says, ‘With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ Matthew 7:2.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 251.

“Deliver Us From the Evil One”

  1. What petition for divine guidance and protection should form part of our prayer? Luke 11:4, last part.

NOTE: “The prayer, ‘Bring us not into temptation,’ is itself a promise. If we commit ourselves to God we have the assurance, He ‘will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13. The only safeguard against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 118.

  1. What precious promises of deliverance may we claim in prayer? Psalm 50:15; Psalm 86:7; Psalm 91:15.

NOTE: “But the promise, ‘My grace is sufficient’ (2 Corinthians 12:9), has been fulfilled in my case. There can be no doubt on my part. My hours of pain have been hours of prayer, for I have known to whom to take my sorrows. I have the privilege of reinforcing my feeble strength by laying hold upon infinite power. By day and night I stand on the solid rock of God’s promises. My heart goes out to Jesus in loving trust. He knows what is best for me. My nights would be lonely did I not claim the promise, ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me’ (Psalm 50:15).” Selected Messages, Book 2, 240.

“For Thine is the Kingdom”

  1. When Daniel was shown the succession of mighty persecuting powers, what assurance was he given? Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:27.

NOTE: “Fearful perils are before those who bear responsibilities in the cause of God—perils the thought of which make me tremble.…but let us not forget that the three great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass.” Evangelism, 65.

  1. What blessed hope and assurance should conclude our prayers? Matthew 6:13, last part.

NOTE: “We are now standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. A crisis is before us, such as the world has never witnessed. And sweetly to us, as to the first disciples, comes the assurance that God’s kingdom ruleth over all. The program of coming events is in the hands of our Maker.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 121.

Bible Study Guides – Impossibilities Made Possible

April 28- May 4, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” Jeremiah 32:17. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27.

INTRODUCTION: “God has thrust His people into the gap, to make up the hedge, to raise up the foundation of many generations. The heavenly intelligences, angels that excel in strength, are waiting, obedient to His command, to unite with human agencies, and the Lord will interpose when matters have come to such a pass that none but a divine power can counteract the satanic agencies at work. When His people shall be in the greatest danger, seemingly unable to stand against the power of Satan, God will work in their behalf.

Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

“Now is the time when the loyal and true are to arise and shine; for the glory of the Lord is risen upon them. It is no time now to hide our colors, no time to turn traitors when the battle presses sore, no time to lay aside our weapons of warfare. Watchmen on the walls of Zion must be wide awake.

“I am so thankful at this time that we can have our minds taken off from the difficulties that surround us, and the oppression that is to come upon the people of God, and can look up to the heaven of light and power. If we place ourselves on the side of God, of Christ and the heavenly intelligences, the broad shield of Omnipotence is over us, the mighty God of Israel is our helper, and we need not fear. Those who touch the people of God, touch the apple of His eye.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 903.

1 How was God’s plan carried out in the life of Abraham? Genesis 18:10–12; 21:1–3; Romans 4:19–21.

NOTE: “For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received.

“We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.” Education, 258.

2 What did God tell Moses when He called him? Exodus 4:11, 12.

NOTE: “Moses heard the call from heaven to exchange his shepherd’s crook for the rod of authority; to leave his flock of sheep and take the leadership of Israel. The divine command found him self-distrustful, slow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his incapacity to be a mouthpiece for God. But he accepted the work, putting his whole trust in the Lord. The greatness of his mission called into exercise the best powers of his mind. God blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, self-possessed, fitted for the greatest work ever given to man.” The Ministry of Healing, 475.

3 What lessons can we learn from the Red Sea experience? Exodus 14:21–23.

NOTE: “Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel. . . . The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record of God’s dealing with the wanderers of the desert in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in all ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would have His people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan.” Conflict and Courage, 94.

4 Who brought down the walls of Jericho? Joshua 6:1–5, 20, 21.

NOTE: “At the taking of Jericho the mighty General of armies planned the battle in such simplicity that no human being could take the glory to himself. No human hand must cast down the walls of the city, lest man should take to himself the glory of victory. So today no human being is to take to himself glory for the work he accomplishes. The Lord alone is to be magnified. Oh, that men would see the necessity for looking to God for their orders! . . .

“God has promised us all power; for the promise is unto you and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

“There must be continual faith and trust in the Captain of our salvation. We must obey His orders. The walls of Jericho came down as a result of obeying orders.” Conflict and Courage, 118.

5 How were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego delivered from the fiery furnace? Daniel 3:14–25.

NOTE: “He who walked with the Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace will be with His followers wherever they are. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain. In the midst of the time of trouble—trouble such as has not been since there was a nation—His chosen ones will stand unmoved. Satan with all the hosts of evil cannot destroy the weakest of God’s saints. Angels that excel in strength will protect them, and in their behalf Jehovah will reveal Himself as a ‘God of gods,’ able to save to the uttermost those who have put their trust in Him.” Conflict and Courage, 252.

6 What caused Zacharias to doubt the angel’s message? Luke 1:6, 7, 11–13, 18, 19.

NOTE: “Those who humbly and prayerfully search the Scriptures, to know and to do God’s will, will not be in doubt of their obligations to God. For ‘if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ [John 7:17.] If you would know the mystery of godliness, you must follow the plain word of truth,— feeling or no feeling, emotion or no emotion. Obedience must be rendered from a sense of principle, and the right must be pursued under all circumstances. This is the character that is elected of God unto salvation. The test of a genuine Christian is given in the word of God.” Christian Education, 117, 118.

7 What did the angel declare to Mary? Luke 1:37.

NOTE: “The work of building up the kingdom of Christ will go forward, though to all appearance it moves slowly and impossibilities seem to testify against advance. The work is of God, and He will furnish means, and will send helpers, true, earnest disciples, whose hands also will be filled with food for the starving multitude. God is not unmindful of those who labor in love to give the word of life to perishing souls, who in their turn reach forth their hands for food for other hungry souls.” The Desire of Ages, 370.

“Go forward. God will work with great power if you will walk in all humility of mind before Him. It is not faith to talk of impossibilities. Nothing is impossible with God. The light of the binding claims of the law of God is to test and prove the world. . . .” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (1915), 209.

8 What promise did Jesus make to the Disciples, as well as to us? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of the Saviour shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own. It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten, the coming of our Lord. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel! Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come..” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 324.

“Our work has been marked out for us by our heavenly Father. We are to take our Bibles, and go forth to warn the world. We are to be God’s helping hands in saving souls—channels through which His love is day by day to flow to the perishing.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 150.

9 What happened to Peter when he boldly witnessed for Jesus, and how was He delivered? Acts 12:4, 5, 7–11.

NOTE: “Remembering the former escape of the apostles from prison, Herod on this occasion had taken double precautions. To prevent all possibility of release, Peter had been put under the charge of sixteen soldiers, who, in different watches, guarded him day and night. In his cell he was placed between two soldiers and was bound by two chains, each chain being fastened to the wrist of one of the soldiers. He was unable to move without their knowledge. With the prison doors securely fastened, and a strong guard before them, all chance of rescue or escape through human means was cut off. But man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

“Peter was confined in a rock-hewn cell, the doors of which were strongly bolted and barred; and the soldiers on guard were made answerable for the safekeeping of the prisoner. But the bolts and bars and the Roman guard, which effectually cut off all possibility of human aid, were but to make more complete the triumph of God in the deliverance of Peter. Herod was lifting his hand against Omnipotence, and he was to be utterly defeated.” The Acts of the Apostles, 145, 146.

10 How were Paul and Silas delivered from prison? Acts 16:19–31.

NOTE: “The apostles counted not their lives dear unto themselves, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. Paul and Silas suffered the loss of all things. They suffered scourging, and were in no gentle manner thrown upon the cold floor of a dungeon in a most painful position, their feet elevated and fastened in the stocks. Did repinings and complaints then reach the ear of the jailer? Oh, no! From the inner prison, voices broke the silence of midnight with songs of joy and praise to God. These disciples were cheered by a deep and earnest love for the cause of their Redeemer, for which they suffered.

“As the truth of God fills our hearts, absorbs our affections, and controls our lives, we also will count it joy to suffer for the truth’s sake. No prison walls, no martyr’s stake, can then daunt or hinder us in the great work.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 406, 407.

11 What humanly impossible event is promised to us? 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.

NOTE: “The resurrection of Jesus was a type of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The countenance of the risen Saviour, His manner, His speech, were all familiar to His disciples. As Jesus arose from the dead, so those who sleep in Him are to rise again. We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured, in this mortal life, and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved. Then shall we know even as also we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:12. In the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, we shall recognize the lineaments of those we love.” The Desire of Ages, 804.

12 What promises are given to God’s people? Isaiah 41:10; 49:15, 16; Matthew 28:20.

NOTE: “How often those who trusted the word of God, though in themselves utterly helpless, have withstood the power of the whole world—Enoch, pure in heart, holy in life, holding fast his faith in the triumph of righteousness against a corrupt and scoffing generation; Noah and his household against the men of his time, men of the greatest physical and mental strength and the most debased in morals; the children of Israel at the Red Sea, a helpless, terrified multitude of slaves, against the mightiest army of the mightiest nation on the globe; David, a shepherd lad, having God’s promise of the throne, against Saul, the established monarch, bent on holding fast his power; Shadrach and his companions in the fire, and Nebuchadnezzar on the throne; Daniel among the lions, his enemies in the high places of the kingdom; Jesus on the cross, and the Jewish priests and rulers forcing even the Roman governor to work their will; Paul in chains led to a criminal’s death, Nero the despot of a world empire.

“Such examples are not found in the Bible only. They abound in every record of human progress. The Vaudois and the Huguenots, Wycliffe and Huss, Jerome and Luther, Tyndale and Knox, Zinzendorf and Wesley, with multitudes of others have witnessed to the power of God’s word against human power and policy in support of evil. These are the world’s true nobility. This is its royal line. In this line the youth of today are called to take their places.” Conflict and Courage, 9.

Bible Study Guides – Faith

“The Just Shall Live by His Faith”


“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

STUDY HELP: The Faith I Live By, 122–126.

Thought to Remember: Faith is simply taking God at His word—believing that He will fulfill His promises because He said He would.

Introduction “God has called His people to glory and virtue, and these will be manifest in the lives of all who are truly connected with Him. Having become partakers of the heavenly gift, they are to go unto perfection, being ‘kept by the power of God through faith.’  1 Peter 1:5. It is the glory of God to give His virtue to His children. He desires to see men and women reaching the highest standard; and when by faith they lay hold of the power of Christ, when they plead His unfailing promises, and claim them as their own, when with an importunity that will not be denied they seek for the power of the Holy Spirit, they will be made complete in Him.” The Acts of the Apostles, 530.

“Justified by Faith”

1 How only may we be forgiven [justified]? Galatians 2:16.

NOTE: “You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’” Steps to Christ, 51.

2 Does this mean that there is no place for good works in the life of the Christian? James 2:20–24.

NOTE: “Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine. It is not enough for us to believe that Jesus is not an impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. We may believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not through faith make Him our personal Saviour. It is not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. ‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.’ ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 3:24; 2:3. This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312, 313.

“The Faith of Abraham”

3 What example of faith do we find in the experience of Abraham? Hebrews 11:17–19. Read Genesis 22:1–14.

NOTE: “There are many who have never made an unreserved surrender of themselves to God. They have not a right idea of the infinite sacrifice made by God to save a ruined world. If God should speak to them as He did to Abraham, they would not be sufficiently acquainted with His voice to know that He was calling upon them to make a sacrifice, in order to test the depth of their love and the sincerity of their faith. The plague spot of selfishness is as contagious as leprosy. Those who enter the heavenly courts must be purified from every vestige of this plague.…The Lord has a great work for us to do, and He invites us to look to Him, to trust in Him, to walk with Him, to talk with Him. He invites us to make an unreserved surrender of all that we have and are to Him, that when He shall call upon us to sacrifice for Him, we may be ready and willing to obey. We shall enjoy the fullness of divine grace only as we give all to Christ. We shall know the meaning of true happiness only as we keep the fire burning on the altar of sacrifice. God will bequeath the most in the future to those who have done the most in the present.…Each day, under different circumstances, He tries us; and in each true-hearted endeavor He chooses His workers, not because they are perfect, but because they are willing to work unselfishly for Him, and He sees that through connection with Him they may gain perfection.” Our High Calling, 191.

4 What experience did Jesus hold up as an example of great faith? Matthew 8:5–10.

NOTE: “We need a living experience. In faith we are only like little children learning to walk. As a child takes its first steps, it often totters and falls; but it gets up again, and finally learns that it can walk alone. We must learn how to believe in God. We are not to look at our feelings, but to know God by living faith. Look at the centurion who came to Christ for an example of genuine faith.…What kind of power did this centurion think was vested in Jesus? He knew it was the power of God. He said, ‘I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth.’ The centurion saw with the eye of faith that the angels of God were all around Jesus, and that His word would commission an angel to go to the sufferer. He knew that His word would enter the chamber, and that his servant would be healed. And how Christ commended this man’s faith! He exclaimed, ‘I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.’” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 559, 560.

“Exceeding Great and Precious Promises”

5 In order to be a partaker of the divine nature and to escape the corruption of sinful lusts, in what must we put our faith? 11 Peter 1:4.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 121.

6 What exceeding great and precious promises may we rely on in times of temptation? 1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 50:15; 37:39; 11 Peter 2:9; James 4:7; Hebrews 2:18.

NOTE: “Satan is watching to ensnare your feet. You must have help from above if you would escape his devices. By faith and prayer all may meet the requirements of the gospel. No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must be first gained; the soul must purpose the sinful act before passion can dominate over reason or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however strong, is never an excuse for sin. ‘The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers.’ Cry unto the Lord, tempted soul. Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim His very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation.” Testimonies,vol. 5, 177.

“The Shield of Faith”

7 What will protect us when we are assailed by the devil? Ephesians 6:16. Compare 1 John 5:4.

NOTE: “We are not worthy of God’s love, but Christ, our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Christ delights to take apparently hopeless material, those whom Satan has debased and through whom he has worked, and make them the subjects of His grace. He rejoices to deliver them from suffering and from the wrath that is to fall upon the disobedient. If the enemy can lead the desponding to take their eyes off from Jesus, and look to themselves, and dwell upon their own unworthiness, instead of dwelling upon the worthiness of Jesus, His love, His merits, and His great mercy, he will get away their shield of faith and gain his object; they will be exposed to his fiery temptations. The weak should therefore look to Jesus, and believe in Him; they then exercise faith.” God’s Amazing Grace, 185.

8 What precious promises do we have when we make the Lord our shield? Psalm 119:114–117. Compare Proverbs 30:5.

NOTE: “It is the privilege of Christians to obtain strength from God to hold every precious gift. Fervent and effectual prayer will be regarded in heaven. When the servants of Christ take the shield of faith for their defense, and the sword of the Spirit for war, there is danger in the enemy’s camp. Amidst the snares to which all are exposed, they need strong and trustworthy defenses on which to rely. Many in this corrupt age have so small a supply of the grace of God, that in many instances their defense is broken down by the first assault, and fierce temptations take them captives. The shield of grace can preserve all unconquered by the temptations of the enemy, though surrounded with the most corrupting influences. By firm principle, and unwavering trust in God, their virtue and nobleness of character can shine, and, although surrounded with evil, no taint need be left upon their virtue and integrity.” Ibid., 33.

“Yea, Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death”

9 What example of faith is seen in the life of Job? Job 13:15, first part. Compare Romans 8:38, 39.

NOTE: “When depression settles upon the soul, it is no evidence that God has changed. He is ‘the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.’ Hebrews 13:8. You are sure of the favor of God when you are sensible of the beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but if the clouds sweep over your soul, you must not feel that you are forsaken. Your faith must pierce the gloom. Your eye must be single, and your whole body will be full of light. The riches of the grace of Christ must be kept before the mind. Treasure up the lessons that His love provides. Let your faith be like Job’s, that you may declare, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.’…The most trying experiences in the Christian’s life may be the most blessed. The special providences of the dark hours may encourage the soul in future attacks of Satan, and equip the servant of God to stand in fiery trials. The trial of your faith is more precious than gold. You must have that abiding confidence in God that is not disturbed by the temptations and arguments of the deceiver. Take the Lord at His word. You must study the promises, and appropriate them, as you have need.” Our High Calling, 324.

10 What is the positive outcome when our faith is tested? 1 Peter 1:7.

NOTE: See The Acts of the Apostles, 467, 468.

“The Just Shall Live by His Faith”

11 If we are to be accounted just in the judgment, how are we to live? Romans 1:16, 17.

NOTE: “How to exercise faith. This is the science of the gospel. The Scripture declares, ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired. We suffer much trouble and grief because of our unbelief, and our ignorance of how to exercise faith. We must break through the clouds of unbelief. We can not have a healthy Christian experience, we can not obey the gospel unto salvation, until the science of faith is better understood, and until more faith is exercised. There can be no perfection of Christian character without that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul.” Review and Herald, October 18, 1898.

12 How does faith lead to righteousness in the life of the Christian? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “Genuine faith in Jesus leads to denial of self; but however high the profession may be, if self is exalted and indulged, the faith of Jesus is not in the heart. The true Christian manifests by a life of daily consecration that he is bought with a price, and is not his own. He realizes that an infinite sacrifice has been made for him, and that his life is of inestimable value, through the merits of Jesus’ blood, intercession, and righteousness. But while he comprehends the exalted privileges of the sons of God, his soul is filled with humility. There is no boasting of holiness from the lips of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary’s cross. They feel that it was their sin which caused the agony that broke the heart of the Son of God, and their comeliness is turned to corruption. Those who live nearest to Jesus, feel most deeply their own unworthiness, and their only hope is in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Like Moses, they have had a view of the awful majesty of holiness, and they see their own insufficiency in contrast with the purity and exalted loveliness of Jesus.” Review and Herald, March 6, 1888.

13 What is the ultimate purpose of our faith? 1 Peter 1:9. Compare Hebrews 12:1, 2.

NOTE: “When souls are converted their salvation is not yet accomplished. They then have the race to run; the arduous struggle is before them to do, what? ‘To fight the good fight of faith,’ to press forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus. There is no release in this warfare; the battle is lifelong, and must be carried forward with determined energy proportionate to the value of the object you are in pursuit of, which is eternal life. Immense interests are here involved. We are made partakers of Christ’s self-sacrifice here in this life, and then we are assured that we shall be partakers of all its benefits in the future immortal life, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Think of this.” My Life Today, 313.

“Faith, saving faith…is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ. He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God, and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus.” In Heavenly Places, 104.

Bible Study Guides – Faith and Acceptance

January 27- February 2, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 49–55.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’” Steps to Christ, 51.

INTRODUCTION: “A great work is to be accomplished daily in the human heart by the study of the Word. We need to learn the simplicity of true faith. This will bring its returns. Let us seek for decided advancement in spiritual understanding. Let us make the precious Word the man of our counsel. We need to walk carefully every moment, keeping close to the side of Christ. The spirit and grace of Christ are needed in the life, and the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 224, 225.

God’s Desire to Receive Us

1 What is God’s desire for every sinner? 2 Peter 3:9.

NOTE: “The reason why the Bridegroom delays is because He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. O the precious longsuffering of our merciful Saviour!” Sons and Daughters of God, 118.

“God does not desire the destruction of any. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?’ Ezekiel 33:11. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 123. See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 105.

2 In the parable of the prodigal, how did Jesus portray His Father’s willingness to receive the sinner? Luke 15:18–20.

NOTE: “But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by His prophet, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.’ Jeremiah 31:3. While the sinner is yet far from the Father’s house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father’s heart is yearning over him; and every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to his Father’s heart of love.” Steps to Christ, 54.

“This parable was given by Christ to represent the manner in which our heavenly Father receives the erring and repenting.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 103.

Saving Faith Defined

3 What two absolute facts about God does saving faith acknowledge? Hebrews 11:6.

NOTE: “We should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfill His word, but because He will fulfill it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us.” The Desire of Ages, 126.

“You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this because He has promised. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours.” Steps to Christ, 49, 50.

4 What principle of saving faith did Jesus declare when he healed the two blind men? Matthew 9:27–30.

NOTE: “Much of the faith which we see is merely nominal; the real, trusting, persevering faith is rare. Moses realized in his own experience the promise that God will be a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Here is another point in regard to faith which we wish to study: God will reward the man of faith and obedience. If this faith is brought into the life experience, it will enable everyone who fears and loves God to endure trials. Moses was full of confidence in God because he had appropriating faith. He needed help, and he prayed for it, grasped it by faith, and wove into his experience the belief that God cared for him.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 651, 652.

“Pray in faith. And be sure to bring your lives into harmony with your petitions, that you may receive the blessings for which you pray. Let not your faith weaken, for the blessings received are proportionate to the faith exercised.” Ibid, vol. 7, 274.

Focused on God’s Promises

5 To what must our faith be attached in order for our Christian experience to bear fruit? 2 Peter 1:4.

NOTE: “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing and claim it as ours.” Early Writings, 72.

“We must cherish and cultivate the faith of which prophets and apostles have testified—the faith that lays hold on the promises of God and waits for deliverance in His appointed time and way.” Prophets and Kings, 387. See also The Great Controversy, 472.

6 What does Paul say about God’s promises? 2 Corinthians 1:20.

NOTE: “Let these blessed promises, set in the framework of faith, be placed in memory’s halls. Not one of them will fail. All that God hath spoken He will do. ‘He is faithful that promised.’” Testimonies, vol. 5, 630.

“Can you not trust in your heavenly Father? Can you not rest upon His gracious promise? ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Precious promise! Can we not rely upon it? Can we not have implicit trust, knowing that He is faithful who hath promised? I entreat you to let your trembling faith again grasp the promises of God. Bear your whole weight upon them with unwavering faith; for they will not, they cannot, fail.” Ibid., vol. 2, 497.

Biblical Examples of Saving Faith

7 What man, according to his faith, did Jesus forgive and heal? Luke 5:18–26.

NOTE: “Jesus healed the people of their diseases when they had faith in His power; He helped them in the things which they could see, thus inspiring them with confidence in Him concerning things which they could not see—leading them to believe in His power to forgive sins.” Steps to Christ, 50.

“Oh, wondrous love of Christ, stooping to heal the guilty and the afflicted! Divinity sorrowing over and soothing the ills of suffering humanity! Oh, marvelous power thus displayed to the children of men! Who can doubt the message of salvation? Who can slight the mercies of a compassionate Redeemer?” The Desire of Ages, 269.

8 What words of Jesus did the paralytic, beside the pool of Bethesda, believe and act upon whereby he was healed? John 5:1–9.

NOTE: “The poor sufferer was helpless; he had not used his limbs for thirty-eight years. Yet Jesus bade him, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.’ The sick man might have said, ‘Lord, if Thou wilt make me whole, I will obey Thy word.’ But, no, he believed Christ’s word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once; he willed to walk, and he did walk. He acted on the word of Christ, and God gave the power. He was made whole.

“In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it.” Steps to Christ, 51.

Faith Versus Feeling

9 Upon what should our faith not be based? 2 Corinthians 5:7, 4:18.

NOTE: “We should daily dedicate ourselves to God and believe He accepts the sacrifice, without examining whether we have that degree of feeling that corresponds with our faith. Feeling and faith are as distinct as the east is from the west. Faith is not dependent on feeling. We must earnestly cry to God in faith, feeling or no feeling, and then live our prayers. Our assurance and evidence is God’s word, and after we have asked we must believe without doubting.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 243.

“Darkness and discouragement will sometimes come upon the soul, and threaten to overwhelm us; but we should not cast away our confidence. We must keep the eye fixed on Jesus, feeling or no feeling. We should seek to faithfully perform every known duty, and then calmly rest in the promises of God.” Messages to Young People, 111. See also Acts of the Apostles, 51.

10 What did Israel’s zeal not include? Romans 10:2, 3.

NOTE: “Many who profess sanctification are entirely ignorant of the work of grace upon the heart. When proved and tested, they are found to be like the self-righteous Pharisee. They will bear no contradiction. They lay aside reason and judgment, and depend wholly upon their feelings, basing their claims to sanctification upon emotions which they have at some time experienced. They are stubborn and perverse in urging their tenacious claims of holiness, giving many words, but bearing no precious fruit as proof. These professedly sanctified persons are not only deluding their own souls by their pretensions, but are exerting an influence to lead astray many who earnestly desire to conform to the will of God. They may be heard to reiterate again and again, ‘God leads me! God teaches me! I am living without sin!’ Many who come in contact with this spirit encounter a dark, mysterious something which they cannot comprehend. But it is that which is altogether unlike Christ, the only true pattern.” The Sanctified Life, 9, 10.

“In many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God’s word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements.” The Great Controversy, 464.

Faith That Works by Love

11 To what does the Bible say genuine faith is always connected? James 2:17–22.

NOTE: “There are many who fail to understand the relation of faith and works. They say, ‘Only believe in Christ, and you are safe. You have nothing to do with keeping the law.’ But genuine faith will be manifest in obedience. Said Christ to the unbelieving Jews, ‘If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.’ John 8:39. And concerning the father of the faithful the Lord declares, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ Genesis 26:5. Says the apostle James, ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ James 2:17. And John, who dwells so fully upon love, tells us, ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 5:3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 153, 154.

12 God tells us that saving faith will only work if it has what motivating it? Galatians 5:6.

NOTE: “None can depend upon their profession of faith as proof that they have a saving connection with Christ. We are not only to say, ‘I believe,’ but to practice the truth. It is by conformity to the will of God in our words, our deportment, our character, that we prove our connection with Him. Whenever one renounces sin, which is the transgression of the law, his life will be brought into conformity to the law, into perfect obedience. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The light of the word carefully studied, the voice of conscience, the strivings of the Spirit, produce in the heart genuine love for Christ, who gave Himself a whole sacrifice to redeem the whole person, body, soul, and spirit. And love is manifested in obedience. The line of demarcation will be plain and distinct between those who love God and keep His commandments, and those who love Him not and disregard His precepts.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 92.

“The gold mentioned by Christ, the True Witness, which all must have, has been shown me to be faith and love combined, and love takes the precedence of faith. Satan is constantly at work to remove these precious gifts from the hearts of God’s people. All are engaged in playing the game of life. Satan is well aware that if he can remove love and faith, and supply their place with selfishness and unbelief, all the remaining precious traits will soon be skillfully removed by his deceitful hand, and the game will be lost.” Ibid., vol. 2, 36, 37.

By Craig Meeker

Reaction and the Promises of God

Jesus is going to come, and He will take the true and faithful home. As we watched the new millenium, as it has developed with all of the articles that were printed, the televised programs, and the debates that went on of the complex situations that could occur, it made us stop and think, did it not? Some of you did more than think. You began to react. Some of you put some water back. Some of you stored a little bit of food. Some of you stored a whole lot of food.

Preparing for the Worst

Something could have happened, and we were trying to make necessary preparations for this event that could change the whole world, as we know it. Some said such action showed a lack of faith. Oh, they said, we are not going to put anything back, we are just going to go for it. Then, when nothing happened, they probably strutted around and said, See, I told you so.

But I am telling you, it gave us food for thought. More than food for thought, it drove some of us into starting to do something about the time in which we live. We began to react. Let us consider reaction and the promises that God gives us.

Hebrews 9:28 says, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

Here is a promise that is sure. This is positive. This is better than any savings and loan bank. This is better than anything the world has to offer.

Are You Preparing for Jesus?

What is the key? For those who are looking for Him, He is going to appear the second time. Now that is a promise! The Bible is strong! There are promises about Jesus coming back, but we have to do more than just say an event is about to take place. Many of us made more preparation for the millennium than we are making for the coming of Jesus. As time counted down to the year 2000, we made great preparation. Means, time, and energy were spent in preparing. How much more important it is to prepare for Jesus’ soon coming!

He said, I am going to come back again, if you are looking for Me you will see Me. Oh, it is sad to say that the majority of the world really is not looking for Him to come. They are talking about it, but who will make the necessary preparation? There is preparation needed, by the way.

I love these promises in God’s Word. I cannot think of any subject that should be more appealing to Christians around the world today than the coming of Jesus. People should be getting excited when they think about how near it is. There are things happening all over the world that tell us Jesus is coming soon.

Promises! We live in a world of promises. Every individual has had people make promises to them. They promised you that they would do this. They promised you that they would do that. And you have made promises, have you not?

How Binding is a Promise?

Let us make this personal. You have made promises to family; you have made promises to friends; your friends have made promises to you. Practically total strangers have made promises to you. We promise to pay back money we are loaned, or we borrow something, and we promise to return it. When those kinds of promises are made, what does that do in your heart and in your life?

Jesus promises, “I will come again.” (See John 14:3.) What does that do for you? It has to be more than just reading that He is coming. What does it do in your life? What effect does it have on you?

There are people who have made promises to me that, if I was judging, I would say, because of past experience, they probably would not honor. But do you know what? It gave me a little bit of hope, even if they had failed me times before, that they would follow through with their promise.

So promises then, whether we give them or receive them, somehow lend a little glimmer of hope inside of us. We live in an hour when we need that hope, because there is no hope outside of Christ. There is nothing sure outside of Jesus Christ. (See That I May Know Him, 80.) If we have not made that choice, that decision to follow Jesus all the way, let me tell you dear friends, fence riding will not get it done.

Riding the Fence

The best fence riders, in my opinion, are in Adventism. Yet we are the ones who should not be fence riders. We know that we have to quit straddling the fence and get on one side or the other. We have to begin to make choices and decisions.

We are at a time of year when you hear people say that they made their New Year’s resolutions. They talk about it.—I think they really mean it right then.—I promise you that I am going to do better in school. I am going to watch my diet. I promise you, things are going to be different. I am going to quit drinking. I am going to quit smoking. I am going to quit doing this. I am going to change things around. I promise it is going to happen.

Hope Springs Forth

When you hear those words, hope automatically springs forth inside of you. It does! So when Jesus says, I am going to come back, we say, Man, there is some hope here.

What do we really understand about a promise? I do not claim to know about everything that is involved in a promise. I do know this ( it may not make any sense to you, but it makes sense to me, and believe it or not, I learned it from my mother). She defined a promise this way: A promise is a promise.

A promise is a promise! When it is said like that, it is a must that you do whatever it is you said you would do! Now it is not a Webster’s definition of what a promise is, but it was my mother’s. Sometimes that far outweighs old Webster, does it not? Do we really understand what is involved in promises and the possibilities and the circumstances and the things that could change to prevent your keeping a promise?

There once was a young lady who lay in a coma, in a hospital. She was in the Emergency Room; she had swallowed a large number of pills. If her stomach was not pumped quickly, and the medications put into her system, she would die.

She meant to take her own life. She wanted to die. But after she took the pills and she began to feel her body changing, she became afraid. She picked up the phone, before she became unconscious, and dialed 9-1-1. She said, I took some pills; I need help, then she passed out. The first thing they wanted to do at the hospital was to get rid of the pills that were causing the problem. Having your stomach pumped is not a pleasant experience. But it is a lot better than leaving that poison in the system and dying with it. She thought that taking pills would be the answer to her problems, the answer for a broken promise.

When she recovered, she was asked, Why did you do this thing? She looked up from the hospital bed and said, Because my boyfriend and I broke up. He promised that he would never leave me. He promised that we would be together. He promised me engagement. He promised me marriage, and now he is gone. That is why I did it!

Promises are important. Commitment is important. But you know, I have come to this conclusion, and I think you will also come to this conclusion,—I need more than just promises of family and friends and people that I know and love. It is nice to have those. But in our society today, with the world like it is, I need something stronger than that, because I have seen so many promises that have not been kept. I have seen so many broken commitments.

Everyone is Looking for a Cure

We have to look beyond the situations of life right now, and God is calling us to do that. Did you ever wonder why God gave us so many promises in His Word? Many people have tried to count them. Some say 2,500, and others say over 3,500. Why, in God’s Word, do we have all these promises? Do we really need them?

You will very seldom if ever, find an individual attempting suicide whose life is full of promise. It is when there is nothing there, nothing to live for, no hope anymore, that some individuals want to die.

Do you realize you are here to give hope to the world? This message of hope is to go unto the whole world. You are to give the message of righteousness by faith. You are to give the Third Angel’s Message to give people hope and encouragement, something for which to live. We need hope today.

Depression is a real thing. Someone who is depressed cannot see through the darkness of despair to a future of hope. They think there are no answers to a lot of the questions they have, that there is no place for them to go. They do not know what to do, so they get into a bigger dilemma. Why does God have so many promises? He gives us all of those Bible promises to lift us up.

The Hardness of the World

He knew that we would need encouragement. He knew that things would beset us if we walk in His footsteps. He said things are going to be tough. (See Matthew 5:11; John 15:20, 21.) He knew that we would need to be encouraged, because the world, as we read in inspiration, is going to rub hard against us. If you have not yet experienced that rubbing, that hardness of the world against you, you will. (See In Heavenly Places, 151.)

You should be sensing it right now. The world is getting ready to rub hard against those who love Jesus with all their hearts. You sense it; you see it; you know it. God’s Word has said it. I believe that God put the promises there to encourage me, and I know that He put them there to encourage you.

Some of the most precious promises I have ever read in God’s Word have to do with His Second Coming. He says He is going to come and restore us. I am going to put things back right, He says. That is what you want, is it not? You want things to be right; you want them to be like they are supposed to be.

Isaiah knew about this, and he wrote about these precious promises some 700 years before Christ. He wrote one of the most familiar passages that we, as Seventh-day Adventists, quote: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth.…” Isaiah 65:17. That means something is wrong with this earth.

Former Things Forgotten

Why would He re-create it if it was fine, if everything was all right? That sure slows the speculation and the theories that men are putting out nowadays that everything is all right. I am so thankful that He tells me that “the former [things] shall not be remembered, nor [even] come into mind.” Ibid.

Who would want them to come to mind? In the bliss of heaven, do you want to have to think about all the things that used to be? Absolutely not! Everything is joy and peace forever more in the presence of Jesus. Why a new heaven? Why a new earth? the Bible tells us in
2 Peter 3:9–13. It says this old world is going to be burned up, it is soon to dissolve. It is contaminated. It is diseased. There is something dreadfully wrong with it. And Jesus says He is going to create all things new. (See Revelation 21:5.) How wonderful that is!

Well, you ask, what is so good about the earth burning up? It is wonderful, because when the earth burns up, the enemy will be gone. Sin is going to be gone. There is not going to be a reminder of sin anymore. The old things are passed away, and everything has become new! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17.) Does that give hope? Yes, it does!

A New Earth

I know you do not like growing old. Do you know how I know that? Because I do not like it! We do not want to grow old, but it happens to everyone. We may adjust to it, because we cannot do anything else about it now, but I like the promise that I am going to have a new body. It gives me hope. It gives me encouragement. These Scriptures are specifically for God’s last day people. God is saying to us, and He is promising us, that these things are going to soon pass away. They are all going to be gone, and He is going to make all things new again, and when He does, He is doing it just for us. Thank you, Lord! Six-hundred years before Jesus came, the prophet Daniel received a dream, about the events that would take place. Recorded in Daniel 2 are the events in history all the way from Nebuchadnezzar to the end of the world. It says in verse 44, “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” In the days of these kings, the God of heaven is going to take charge again. He is going to set up His kingdom. You will not be in the minority anymore; you are going to be in the majority. Is that good news? His kingdom is never going to be destroyed. It is going to last forever. There will be no enemy, no group that can overthrow it.

We live in a society today where we have to be careful about what is happening. All nations are getting ready to turn on each other. The Bible says there will be wars and rumors of wars before Jesus comes. (See Matthew 24:6.) We need encouragement right now when we realize these things are before us. We have to catch a vision of these things that are before us that enable us to maintain, by the Spirit of God, our walk with Him day by day. I am glad that these words were penned. How do you see this passage of Scripture? How do you see what Isaiah had to say about the earth burning up and all the sins and everything all gone? How do you see the vision of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar down to the end of the world? Do you see it as good news, or do you see it as bad news? I see it as good news.

The Lord is King

We see the events unfolding now, and they tell me one thing beyond a doubt, things cannot continue the way that they are. That means some changes will take place. How or what does that have to do with you? What does it have to do with me? It is going to have a lot to do with us. I am thankful that the Bible gives encouragement to me to say that God is going to sit on the throne. (See Revelation 4.)

Everything is going to be wonderful then. Zechariah 14:9 tells us simply that the Lord will be King over all the earth. We are talking about the universe here. The Lord is going to be in charge. “In that day shall there be one Lord.” There are too many false lords around today, too many false prophets, too many mixed messages that are going out, too many people who are confused, too many people who do not know what is truth and what is right, too many people trying to run things and rule things.

When God is back on the throne, no one is going to remove Him. I am thankful that God wanted us to know about His plan for the universe. He wants us to know these things, because it gives us hope today.

In fact, He gave us good instructions. There is a passage of Scripture I am sure you have put to memory. It says, “She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. Does that not encourage you? We know that Jesus has come! The world may not know it, but we know that He has come. We did not see it; we were not there, but by faith we know it. We know that He has come because of the promises of God’s Word! We have got to hold on to those promises; then we will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He came and that He lived a victorious life.

Saving His People

Do you know where Jesus is right now? Do you know what He is doing right now? John 14:1–3 tells us He has gone to His Father’s place to prepare a home for us, and He will return to take us there.

There are several things that He said were going to take place. As we read the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, He simply says the meek “shall inherit the earth.” (Verse 5.) The meek! It does not say the powerful. It does not say the rich. It does not say the educated. It does not say those with all the advantages. The meek are going to inherit something that has been made new and clean and right again. That is the inheritance that God wants for us. I am thankful for that.

Can You Hear Me, God?

Heaven seems a long way off at times. Sometimes it seems like our faith wanes a little bit, and we ask, is heaven a reality? Is it too far? Is God not big enough? Why does He not hear when I cry for help? Does He not understand what I am going through?

These are legitimate questions, especially for the non-believer. But even as a believer many of us go through times of doubt. When does heaven really begin? It begins, the people say, when Jesus comes. I am telling you it can begin right now, but, dear friends, instead of heaven, there seems to be a lot of hell going on in this earth.

That is what life seems to be like today. Many people, who do not know the Scriptures, who do not understand what happens when you die or what hell fire is, see the world getting worse, and they look around and say, This must be hell.

Christians, if you know your Bible, you understand better, but when is heaven to begin? Testimonies, vol. 7, 131, says it like this: “He will plane and polish the material for His temple, preparing each piece to fit closely to the other, that the building may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Heaven is to begin on this earth.”

Are you “material”? You can be if you want to be. It says that the material that inherits eternity has to have a little bit of planing. He is going to do a little polishing. When you talk about cleaning and polishing, dear friends, you are talking about things changing. You are going to fit somewhere in heaven, but you are not going to be there all by yourself. You would not want to be. He is taking every piece, that is you and me, and He is shaping us so that we fit closely together. That is His desire for us even now so that we might experience heaven here on this earth. Oh, what a challenge. That means we may have to make some changes. Have you acted today like you are in heaven?

Heaven Begins Right Here on Earth

If heaven begins here on this earth today, do we find that we have the peace that passeth all understanding? (See Philippians 4:7.) Do we find the faith and the love of Jesus, and all of the fruits of the Spirit, manifested in our lives today, as we deal with others? Here is the key! “When the Lord’s people are filled with meekness and tenderness, they will realize that His banner over them is love.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 131.

He is looking for a people who are meek, because the meek shall inherit the earth. Oh, how hardhearted we have become, because we live in a hard world. We are letting the world mold us, rather than us molding the world. That is why we become hardhearted. That is why we do not care about our brothers or sisters, or about the needs of others.

Jesus says that the meek are going to inherit the earth when the Lord’s people are filled with meekness and tenderness. Then they are going to realize that His banner over them, that which protects them, that which builds them up, that which finishes them off, is love. How wonderful that is! Do you sense it? Do you realize that His banner of love is over you? His protection is over you. He is taking care of you. He is meeting your needs every day of your life. What hope and encouragement that should give us.

There are people who think that one day Jesus is going to come, and they are going to say, I am ready. Really, without any kind of effort at all? You are going to have to do your part, and you must understand that. Testimonies, vol. 5, 345, says, “Character will be tested.…Each one has a personal battle to fight. Each must win his own way through struggles and discouragements. Those who decline the struggle lose the strength and joy of victory. No one, not even God, can carry us to heaven unless we make the necessary effort on our part.”

Is that not amazing? Every one of you has a character. The only way you can win a battle, the only way you can be a child of God, the only way you can enter into the kingdom, it says here, is to struggle through your own discouragements. We usually give up before it ever begins. We say, Well, if that is the way it is, I am out of here.

Struggle Through

When the discouragement comes, you must struggle through with God’s help. That is how you are going to win your place in heaven. That is how you are going to shine. That is how you are going to be tested to see whether you are good material for the kingdom. God is not taking any bad material. He is not taking any cracked material. He is not taking any kind of material that is not perfected. If we give ourselves totally to Him, He is going to finish that job.

If, by the grace of God, you get into the kingdom, you do not want some sin to come out there. It is not going to happen again, but you would not want it to, would you? You want forever peace and joy, do you not? Do you have some fight in you? Spiritual fight? When the battle rages and all around you seems to be lost, can you stand and fight? Can you go right to your knees and know that God is going to hear you? Then, when you get up off your knees, do you march forward like everything is done already? Is that not what God wants you to do? Yes, it is! That is why He gives you these promises. That is why He makes these promises to you.

You pray, and you believe, and you claim His promises, and you move on. If you do not have any fight left in you, if you decline the struggle, you are going to lose strength and the joy of victory.

Have you seen your family change, your own life change, and circumstances change that you thought were unchangeable? That is victory! You tasted that victory, and oh, it is good. It is wonderful! You love that victory. But Mrs. White says that if you lose that struggle, if you lose that spiritual fight, if you do not want to fight anymore and you are backing away from it, she says that you “lose the strength and [you lose] the joy of victory.” She goes on to say, “No one, not even God can carry us to heaven unless we make the necessary effort on our part.…Christ is our model; imitate Him, plant your feet in His steps.” Ibid. Is there victory? Put your feet by faith in the steps of the Master. Oh, dear friends, victory is going to be sweet.

Satan Uses the Indolent

There are going to be some people who are not safe to take to heaven. They can claim they belong to this group and that group and say they followed this one and they have done this, and they have gone to church, and they paid their tithe
and on and on.

“By withholding that which God has given us to use in His service, be it time or means or any other of His entrusted gifts, we work against Him. Satan uses the listless, the sleepy indolence of professed Christians to strengthen his forces and to win souls to his side.…We can never be saved in indolence and inactivity. There is no such thing as a truly converted person living a helpless, useless life. It is not possible for us to drift into heaven.…Those who refuse to co-operate with God on earth would not co-operate with Him in heaven. It would not be safe to take them to heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 280.

Do we work against God? You know what you are doing. The Bible tells us that is a losing cause. (See Joshua 23:16; Deuteronomy 8:19.) Withholding anything which God has given us, whether it is time, means or any other entrusted gift or talent we have is working against God. (See Matthew 25:14–30.) Satan likes nothing better than to use professed Christians. The devil wants to enlist you into his service. Why? So he can laugh in the face of the Master, pointing out our failures as His failure.

Let me tell you, dear friend, we are a pathetic mess without Jesus. The sleepy, indolent, professed Christian, Satan puts on his side. We can never be saved in indolence and inactivity. We need to be active in the service of God, according to our age and ability. You can be active. Perhaps you cannot do anything physically, dear friends, but you can pray up a storm. I do not know anything more valuable. Prayer is the key. As long as we have our mind, we can pray. We may not be able to get out of the house. We may not be able to pass out books. We may not be able to give Bible studies, but we can be a prayer warrior. God says inactive people will not make it to the kingdom of God. (See My Life Today, 276.)

Cooperating with God

Dear friends, are you cooperating with God now? If you are fully cooperating with God right now, you are safe to take to heaven. If you are not, and you are rebelling against God, then you are not safe to take, and He will not take you into heaven.

Some of us have gone into the listless, lazy state, because we have passed the year 2000, and we just wonder how long it is going to be. Dear friends, do not worry about it! Just make sure that you are ready! Are you ready to meet Jesus right now? Have you really given Him your all? Have you really grasped His promises and know that they are sure and as steadfast as God Himself?

He said, “I will come again.” He says, I want to receive you unto Myself, so where I am ye may be also. (See John 14:3.) That sounds like He is almost pleading, does it not? What is there in this life that is holding you back? What is taking your time and your talents? What has lulled you into a sleepy state? Is it a brother? Is it a sister? Has something happened in your life? Now is the time to give it to God, get past it, and rededicate your life to Jesus.

If there are changes that need to be made, and we are not really grasping those pure promises of God, we do not realize that things are soon to pass away and everything, as we know it, has changed. The world is a different place today. These are very trying times in which we live, and evil will magnify, the closer we get to Jesus. Jesus says, He is coming. He will come again, and I cannot miss that. I do not want anything in my way that might cause me to miss that.

He knows your heart and your life. There is nothing this world can offer worth missing out on heaven. We cannot afford to miss the calling that God has on our lives. God has a calling on you, do not disappoint Him in that calling. He has people that only you can reach. He is trusting you to do it. He is trusting you and me to rightly represent Him. When we say, I am a Christian, I am a child of God; He is trusting us to represent Jesus to the world. Do they see Jesus in you? If not, let us make sure to grab hold of those promises today. This can be the most beautiful spiritual time of your life.