Take Heed Lest You Fall, Part II

We learned in Part I of this article that while Moses was on the mount meeting with God, the children of Israel became restless. The people came to Aaron and declared that they had to do something! So he told them to bring to him their golden earrings, and he fashioned for them a molded calf, which was declared to be Israel’s god. (Exodus 32:2–4.) They believed they really were still worshipping Jehovah. They did not think that they were rejecting Jehovah. The golden calf was simply a symbol of Jehovah; that was what they had grown up with in Egypt.

Modern Idols

“And the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Exodus 32:6. After you have worship, then you need to have something for the young people too. So they rose up to play.

Today, of course, we do not have idols like the golden calf, but I have often thought about all of the people who eat and drink in front of their idols. Now, they do not worship them, and they are not golden calves, but how many people are eating and drinking in front of their idols, their television shrines? How many people go to their stadium shrines where they eat and drink? You know what else they do there? They yell! They get up early sometimes; they stay up late sometimes. Whatever it takes; they are interested; they are enthusiastic.

Were the children of Israel enthusiastic about what they were doing? Oh, yes, they were enthused! They got up early. Likewise, today, people are enthused about their idols. They are fanatical about their idols.

Today, the devil is doing a number on our young people with games, with playing, with amusements, with activities, and with sports. All of these things are being introduced, and the saddest thing is that, in many places, it is actually being done in the name of the Lord.

I have seen competitive basketball games where, before the games start, the teams pray together and say, “We are going to be witnessing for the Lord today.” And then they go out and try to beat the other team with all they are worth.


We are living in a serious day and age, are we not? We are on the way to Canaan, and anything that engrosses our minds so that we lose sight of our heavenly goal and our heavenly mission is something to be avoided. But how easy it is to rationalize.

Some time ago I copied an article from the Review and Herald. A lady wrote in explaining why she had changed her habits. Whenever we change our habits, we always have good reasons for doing so, even if we change them for the bad.

She wrote, “There once was a time when I thought I would never see a television set in my home.” I have noticed how many people sit around television sets. I did not grow up with a television. In the limited experience I have had with television, I have noticed how, when I am watching the programs, I am never thinking of the Lord; I am never studying my Bible. My Bible becomes less interesting.

This lady continued, “There once was a time when I thought I would never see a television set in my home. I condemned all television. And then we had children. Living in a neighborhood with 21 pre-schoolers, we discovered our son, Sean, to be a very social creature, as most three-year-olds are. We mothers became friends too. Our family believed that, like salt, Christians must mix in order to be useful. In our neighbors’ homes, I discovered with dismay how entranced our son was with their television sets, which seemed always to be on. He mimicked what he saw. He began asking to visit friends so he could watch TV at their houses. At that point, we faced a dilemma—either take the salt out of the neighborhood and isolate ourselves in a home with no television, or we would have to teach him to become a discriminating television viewer. So we bought our first television, and began an experiment that has lasted for ten years. I will admit it has not been a hundred percent successful a hundred percent of the time. It would still be easier to say no to television all of the time. Determining which programs are acceptable for viewing is a process that involves our whole family. Instead of saying a flat no to a program, we watch it together, and later discuss why the program should or should not be a part of our family’s diet. Monitoring the television is a continual project. We try to limit television-viewing time. Doing so is a challenge, because too many programs fall in the ‘good’ category.” They must have been living in a different country! “What do we watch? My husband and older son are history buffs, so they enjoy history documentaries. Watching a World War II program together gives them the opportunity to discuss history, prophecy, and the Bible. So, yes, we have a television in our home, and our family is learning to choose daily, for eternity. Learning this kind of self-control is important to us.”

That is an interesting philosophy! It is interesting how we can rationalize everything.

A Re-write

Read the letter through again with my added comments. I could not help putting some comments in!

She wrote: “There once was a time when I thought I would never see a television set in my home. I condemned all television. And then we had children.” Studies show that children are the most damaged by television. I would much rather see someone have a television when they did not have children than when they did have children.

“Living in a neighborhood with 21 preschoolers . . . .” We do have counsel, of course, on city living and on country living. But, anyway, she continues, “We discovered our son, Sean, to be a very social creature, as most three-year-olds are. We mothers became friends too. Our family believed that, like salt, most Christians must mix in order to be useful.” What did Jesus say about salt that has lost its savor? (See Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34.) It becomes like the world. Do we witness by becoming like the world?

“But in our neighbors’ homes, I discovered with dismay how entranced our son was with their television sets, which seemed always to be on.” They also probably had beer in their refrigerator; they probably also had parties on the Sabbath. I wonder why she did not consider getting beer or having parties on Sabbath too, so that they could be like their neighbors.

“He mimicked what he saw.” That should have been warning enough.

“He began asking to visit friends so he could watch television at their houses.” As I read that, I could not believe why, with a three-year-old, she could not have simply said no! But here is a three-year-old that is ruling the roost.

“At that point we faced a dilemma.” I mean, what do you do with a three-year-old that wants to go to the neighbors? “Either take the salt out of the neighborhood . . .”—this kid was becoming a real witness—“. . . and isolate ourselves in a home with no television, or we would have to teach him to become a discriminating television viewer.” Well, they could teach him to become a discriminating beer drinker too.

“So we bought our first television, and began an experiment.” Now she goes on to say that instead of saying a flat no to a program, they watch it together, and later discuss why the program should or should not be a part of their diet. Can you imagine watching a program, then deciding whether or not you should have watched it?

Then she says, “Doing so is a challenge, because too many programs fall in the ‘good’ category.” I could not help thinking, they have really been bitten. They must have been affected! I cannot find anything on television except the Steps to Life program that is worth watching. Even the news, most of the time, is sensationalism. The news can cause people’s minds to start wandering in areas of sex and violence and other things, of which they should not be thinking.

She says, “This is a continual project.” I wonder what happened to their witnessing program? They got the television so they could be a witness in the neighborhood, but monitoring of the television became a continual project. Whatever happened to the salt? I was surprised, when I read this part of the article where she admitted that all of their time was taken up with the television, that she did not see through her own arguments.

“What do we watch?” She mentions World War II documentaries. There is nothing much more “blood and guts” and violent than World War II programs!

Counsel Given

Consider a few thoughts from the pen of inspiration. “The world is flooded with books that are filled with enticing error. The youth receive as truth that which the Bible denounces as falsehood, and they love and cling to deception that means ruin to the soul.

“There are works of fiction that were written for the purpose of teaching truth or exposing some great evil. Some of these works have accomplished good. Yet they have also wrought untold harm. They contain statements and highly wrought pen pictures that excite the imagination and give rise to a train of thought which is full of danger, especially to the youth. The scenes described are lived over and over again in their thoughts.” The Ministry of Healing, 445.

I know what happened to me. I did not watch many programs, but I saw a movie at Union College [Lincoln, Nebraska] on the Civil War—one that had been shown in the theater. I probably relived that program a hundred times in my mind; I can still remember every detail of it. Did you ever see any programs that you relived afterwards in your minds? Do you remember every detail? Did you ever notice how hard it is to memorize the Bible and how easy it is to remember what you see on television?

What does the Bible say? “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

Mrs. White wrote that people think of these things over and over again in their thoughts. Such reading unfits the mind for usefulness and disqualifies it for spiritual exercise. Is there any wonder why our young people today are not interested in spiritual things? Such reading—and television programming—destroys interest in the Bible. Passion is aroused, and the end is sin. We are living in an altogether too crooked world to be leading our children into paths of sin in our own homes.

“It is often urged that in order to win the youth from sensational or worthless literature, we should supply them with a better class of fiction. This is like trying to cure the drunkard by giving him, in the place of whisky or brandy, the milder intoxicants, such as wine, beer, or cider. The use of these would continually foster the appetite for stronger stimulants. The only safety for the inebriate, and the only safeguard for the temperate man, is total abstinence. For the lover of fiction the same rule holds true. Total abstinence is his only safety.” The Ministry of Healing, 446.

Skimpier Clothing

There is another thing that led the children of Israel to defeat. Do you remember the story of Achan? What was it that he coveted? The garments of the Babylonians and the Egyptians. It is one thing to take the person out of Egypt and Babylon; it is another thing to take Babylon and Egypt out of the person. It is interesting that as these people rose up to play, Exodus 32:25 mentions how some of them became naked in their play. Their garments became a little skimpier; they became a little more like the world.

James 4:4, 9, 10 says, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and [your] joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Who will Stand?

Who will be able to stand? Will it be those who fill their minds with thoughts of worldliness? Do not make others your standard, because most of them are not going to make it to heaven. They all can—God would love them all to, but it is not going to happen that way.

In 11 Corinthians 6:15–17, we read, “What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ” Listen, if the salt has lost its savor, what good is it? It is worthless, except to be tossed out. If we become the salt of the community by becoming like the community, we are worthless. He says, touch not the unclean, and “ ‘I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ ”

Either we are all for God or eventually we are going to be all for Satan. Steps to Christ, page 33, says, “What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction.” The next page in Steps to Christ says, “Even one wrong trait of character, one sinful desire, persistently cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel.”

As you look at your life, is there any place that you are holding on to something that the Lord has, at least at one time, convicted you of? If you are, that thing, unless you overcome it, will eventually destroy you and work out your condemnation. We have to be complete overcomers to be among the 144,000. Whatever can be shaken will be shaken. And there may be something different for each one of us. You might have something in your diet that you have never really surrendered. You may be practicing it, but you have never really surrendered it. Whether or not you are practicing it, if you have not really surrendered it, a time will come when you are going to find reason and rationale for doing what you want to do, such as the children of Israel did after Moses was gone for 40 days.

Is it possible to quit doing something that you have not really surrendered all the way to the Lord? Is it possible for a person who may be in love with somebody they should not be in love with to give that up and never really surrender? Is it possible to quit smoking and never really surrender it? Many people who quit smoking never really surrender. Somewhere in the back of their minds, that habit is still there, and every so often they think about how wonderful it would be . . . . There are people who do that with drugs and with alcohol. Every single person who holds on, in the back of their mind, to that cigarette, whether they have quit or not, sooner or later will start smoking again.

Is there some sin in your life that you have never surrendered? You may not be practicing it; you may not be doing it, but do you never really surrender to the Lord? What we do not overcome completely will eventually completely overcome us and work out our destruction.

In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter says, “But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

The Lord has called you and me to a higher plain of living than just nominal Christianity. He has called us to be clothed with the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. He has called us to be separate in practice from the world. He has called us to have pure thoughts. He has called us to have the love that Jesus had—love that turns the other cheek, love that never gets upset or irritated. We must develop the character with which we can stand before God and He can say, “These people are without any guile in their mouth; they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:5.)

Paul says, “Let you who think you stand, take heed lest you fall.” And the time to take heed is not when you are stumbling, it is when you think you are standing tall and firm. Today is the day to take heed, to review our lives, to see if there is something there that we are cherishing, some area that God has been trying to lead us to surrender, repent of, and overcome.

Pastor Marshall Grosboll, with his wife Lillian, founded Steps to Life. In July 1991, Pastor Marshall and his family met with tragedy as they were returning home from a camp meeting in Washington state, when the airplane he was piloting went down, killing all on board.

Keys to the Storehouse – Fake and Artificial

It is often hard to realize just how artificial our lives have become and the destruction it has caused in all areas of life—physically, mentally and also spiritually.

“Our artificial civilization is encouraging evils destructive of sound principles. Custom and fashion are at war with nature. The practices they enjoin, and the indulgences they foster, are steadily lessening both physical and mental strength, and bringing upon the race an intolerable burden. Intemperance and crime, disease and wretchedness, are everywhere.” The Ministry of Healing, 125.

Artificial is not genuine or natural. We are right in the middle of this artificial civilization, which is encouraging evils and destroying sound principles.

Artificial is something that is fabricated—a counterfeit. The devil is destroying our minds and bodies through the artificial, which all seem so real. Look around and you will see the fruits of the devil’s labor:

  • Artificial snow, artificial ice, artificial flowers.
  • Artificial lighting creates more awake time, making it easy to cram more activities into each day and ignore the health law of good rest, which ends in health problems.
  • Television creates artificial scenarios and “encourages evils destructive of sound principles.”
  • “Custom and fashion are at war with nature.” Most of the material in our clothing is of manmade synthetics that are destructive, preventing good ventilation that allows the pores of the body to breathe.
  • “A fashionable life is a hard, thankless life. How often time, money, and health are sacrificed, the patience sorely tried, and self-control lost, merely for the sake of display.” Christian Education, 168.
  • Modern farming practices using genetically modified seeds (GMO) and the abundant chemical fertilizers and pesticides have stripped most of our food of its natural nutrients and often flavor. Results of this can be seen in the overweight population of the West and the increase of diabetes, heart conditions and cancers that are affecting people younger and younger each year. Our bodies are suffering from its effects. We eat more but get less nutrition. In fact, we are being gradually destroyed.

“Our artificial habits deprive us of many blessings and much enjoyment, and unfit us for living the most useful lives. Elaborate and expensive furnishings are a waste not only of money, but of that which is a thousandfold more precious. They bring into the home a heavy burden of care and labor and perplexity.

“What are the conditions in many homes, even where resources are limited and the work of the household rests chiefly on the mother? The best rooms are furnished in a style beyond the means of the occupants and unsuited to their convenience and enjoyment. There are expensive carpets, elaborately carved and daintily upholstered furniture, and delicate drapery. Tables, mantels, and every other available space are crowded with ornaments, and the walls are covered with pictures, until the sight becomes wearying. And what an amount of work is required to keep all these in order and free from dust! This work, and the other artificial habits of the family in its conformity to fashion, demand of the housewife unending toil.” The Ministry of Healing, 367.

The opposite of artificial is genuine or natural. When you look around, there is not much that is natural or genuine to be seen. We really do live in an artificial society. But, there are certain things that are unacceptable when faked and must be absolutely genuine. One is faith. Is your faith genuine or is it artificial? The artificial or synthetic manmade faith, also known as presumption, can seem so real but is so dangerous to spiritual health.

“Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption, for presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression.” Mind, Character and Personality, vol. 2, 534.

Father: Help me to recognize the artificial in my life and turn toward the genuine. I do not want a counterfeit faith presuming on Your mercies in the midst of my disobedience and yet still claiming Your promises. Forgive me Father; keep me from presumptuous sins; let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight. Amen.

Health – Sight & Sound

It is so easy to get into a groove of everyday living that often we do not realize the effect, or impact, that different sights and sounds around us are having on our emotional well-being. I would like to share with you an excerpt from one of Vicki Griffin’s books, Guilt-free Gourmet, pages 377–380 (Remnant Publications, 1999). The main title is Television& Music. The subtitles are real eye-catchers:

* * * * * * *

Serenity—Or Insanity?

As we have been studying various Christian lifestyle issues, we begin to see some interesting contrasts. The principles of living that are taught in the Bible tend to promote strength rather than sickness, order rather than chaos, genuine pleasure rather than artificial stimulation, and soundness of mind rather than depression and mood swings.

God’s prescription for leisure time is no different—He offers serenity instead of insanity, joy instead of jitters. “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

Biblical counsel on how to live is so critical to health, happiness and salvation that we are admonished: “Receive My instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold” (Proverb 8:10).

Recreation—Or entertainment?

A trip to the park, zoo, or museum—hobbies, crafts, reading, volunteer work, a picnic, building project, even chores—these kinds of recreational activities have a positive impact on the stress system, immune system and mood. They promote a healthy appetite, sound sleep, a sense of well-being and relieve tension.

That’s recreation—but much of today’s entertainment has far different effects. Unfortunately, the above-mentioned activities pale in comparison to America’s major pastime: watching television. Television—is it a harmless outlet for the harried, or an entertainment trap that ensnares and destroys?

TV ADs: The Automatic Income Reducer!

Television and movies seem to be a major pastime of both young and old. It is estimated that 99% of American households own at least one television. The average person spends more than seven hours a day watching TV—2,555 hours per year. Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar calls TV “the automatic income reducer” because of the non-productive, wasted time spent there!

The average child watches 31 hours of TV every week, which is 5,000 hours by the time they enter the first grade, and 19,000 hours by the time they finish high school. By the age of 16, a typical young person will have viewed 200,000 acts of violence, and seen 31 incidents of sex, violence and profanity per programming hour. …

TV: Gradual Brain Drain

According to a study conducted at Yale University, children who watch a lot of television are more aggressive than non-viewers, show decreased reading ability, lower levels of imagination, short attention spans and higher levels of restlessness and hyperactivity.

Watching violent television produces biological effects in the body. These effects include cardiovascular stress, suppression of the immune system, and elevated levels of three different stress hormones, especially cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels are associated with neural damage to the hippocampus area of the brain, and are implicated in poor memory, senility and chronic depression.

One study of 1,100 television-viewing children showed that watching “reality-based” programs for as little as two hours a day increased the incidence of aggression, stealing, bullying, temper tantrums, and impulsiveness. These characteristics increased over time.

Now For the Real News

An interesting study from London, England, showed that watching just 14 minutes of negative news significantly impacted anxiety and sadness levels in viewers. In addition, they were more likely to evaluate their own life problems in a catastrophic or disproportionately negative way, compared with non-viewers. Reading printed newspaper accounts, however, did not produce the same effect.

Music, Mind and Mood

Certain types of music also seem to reduce stress and enhance brain function. A study conducted by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California has confirmed that soothing Mozart sonatas and similar complex, highly structured music seem to stimulate cognitive and neural pathways, resulting in IQ scores as much as 10 points higher in test subjects.

Conversely, the harsh rhythms of rock and jazz interfere with abstract reasoning and can actually destroy delicate brain nerves. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University reported that students who listen to the most rock have the highest levels of anxiety, depression, and “sensation-seeking.”

Heavy metal and rap music is associated with increased incidence of behavior problems, drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, low grades and criminal arrests. When young David played his harp for the moody King Saul, he was “refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” I Samuel 16:23.

Rhythm and Reason

The Bible says: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.” Proverbs 20:12. We are accountable to God for the use of our sensory organs as well as our time. And right use brings blessings! God’s television and magazine guide can’t be beat!

You will find it in Psalm 101. It is not only worth reviewing—it’s worth living!

* * * * * * *

We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made and we must take care of our mental, physical and spiritual life; otherwise, the devil will walk right in and destroy us mentally, physically and spiritually.