Ask, and It Shall Be Given You

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

Matthew 7:7, 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worship and Music

Worship, music and counterfeits. A definition of terms may prove useful to assure that all readers understand these words in the same way.

For purposes of this article, music is a gift of God. It is a wonderful gift, because He has given us a part of Himself. Everybody knows that God is love. And God gives us that love. What about music? In Exodus 15:2 and Isaiah 12:2 it says, “The Lord is my strength and song.” God Himself is my song, and He gives me music.

Everybody has their own ideas concerning worship, but a definition can be helpful. R. C. Leonard provides one: “Worship is the central focus of a vital Christian faith, and the most distinctive activity of the church of Jesus Christ. The biblical words translated ‘worship’ (Hebrew shachah, Greek proskuneo) mean, literally, to bow down or bend the knee. Such was the ancient gesture of honor to a sovereign and superior authority. To worship is to offer the oath of covenant loyalty to the Great King, and to affirm our faithfulness as His servants. For this reason, the worship of God, through Jesus Christ, lies at the heart of all Christian expression.” R. C. Leonard, Worship in the Church, January 1997, (April 15, 2001).

Now, consider counterfeits. One popular definition is that a counterfeit is a cheap imitation of the real thing. It is cheap, and it is an imitation. Whenever there is something important that comes from God, Satan has to counterfeit it. So if you notice a counterfeit, it is a good idea to look at the real thing, because it must be very important for Satan to bother counterfeiting it. Do counterfeits look nice? Do they sound nice? Certainly! They are glittery and beautiful and meant to attract. Counterfeits are not good things to have, because they are not worth much and can even be dangerous. You do not want to be found using counterfeit money, do you?

True Worship

All through history, worship has been conducted in different ways, true worship and counterfeit, pagan worship. Even true worship has varied at different times and in different cultural settings. This article does not have time or space to examine historical worships. Presently, we are concerned with worship in the last days, in our own time. God gives us information concerning the worship He requires in the final days. We find it in Revelation 14, in the Three Angels’ Messages. In fact, that is one of the basic things they are all about. God does not leave any significant chance of our misunderstanding what He wants.

Look at the Three Angels’ Messages in Revelation 14:6–12, and read them through. In the first message, verse 7, the angel says, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” There is that word—worship. We are commanded to worship, and who is to be the object of our worship? The Creator God. That is very plain. We are commanded to worship the One and only true God, the One Who, down through history, has repeated His covenant with us to be our God and to claim us as His people. This is the first big message for us.

The second and third messages tell us that there is someone we are commanded not to worship—the beast. The scope of this article does not include identifying the beast, but the angels’ messages tell us the consequences of worshiping the beast—nothing but bad things, horrifying things. The end of that message gives the identifying marks of those who worship the true God—they keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.

It is reasonable to say that all of these identifying marks and commands lead to the conclusion that the worship of God is the true worship and the only true worship. Also, the worship of the beast is the false, or counterfeit, worship. Everything that goes with the worship of the beast is false or counterfeit worship. Some of the things this involves include the false sabbath and the false music. Although many other things could be included, the emphasis of this article is music, true God-based music and false, counterfeit music.

Where Does Music Come In?

Some may ask, Can you prove that music is a part of worship? There have been many people, throughout history, who have said that instrumental music should not be used. John Calvin, for example, claimed that the instrumental music used in the Old Testament times was meant for people who were tender and like children. “But in New Testament times Christ has come and the church has reached full age, it would only bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation.” John L. Girardeau, Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church, New Covenant Publication Society, Havertown, PA., 1983, 63, 64.

What about music in worship in the last days, in the setting of the Three Angels’ Messages? Consider the following statements:

“As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer.” Education, 168. Many other quotations could be cited which include instrumental music.

“Singing is just as much the worship of God in a religious meeting as speaking. . . .” Selected Messages, Book 3, 333.

According to Mrs. White, music in worship includes speaking, prayer, and singing. Each of these aspects of music may be true worship or counterfeit worship. So music is an important part of worship, making it an important part of the Third Angel’s Message and what God wants from us in these last days. It does matter what our music is like. It shows our allegiance to God and our acceptance of His covenant, or it shows our allegiance to the beast. God does not accept any counterfeit in His worship.

The Roles of Music in Worship

Let us examine exactly what music accomplishes in the worship service. Actually it plays many roles:

  1. Music sets the mood. The thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the people are controlled by the music. Alertness or sleepiness may be caused by the music. Music creates a proper frame of mind for the rest of the service. If a minister wants to introduce strange ideas of theology, he can use what we call celebration music to put the people into a hypnotic state, and they accept and retain in their minds whatever he wishes—without even knowing it is happening.
  2. Music creates unity and harmony. People feel and think together because of the music. It is a kind of group entrainment. (That word is not entertainment.) What is entrainment? Scientists have discovered that when two rhythms are placed adjacent to each other they lock into each other and become the same rhythm. They first discovered this with pendulum clocks—back in the 1600s. If the clocks were close together, the pendulums would start swinging the same. Since then we have learned that we can control all kinds of body rhythms with music. Just play the music with the speed or vibration you want, and you can slow down or accelerate the heart rate, or any of the other rhythms in the body, including brain waves.

If you play fast, jazzy rhythms at the beginning of church, your whole body gears up to the same thing. Scientists have found ways to eject rhythms of whatever tempo they want, add certain tones into musical recordings, and nobody knows they are there, but their brains accept them and respond accordingly, maybe even slowing them down enough to become like zombies. One danger of this is that Satan can use his counterfeit in accompaniment tapes that vocalists buy, and nobody ever knows the difference. Recent research shows that group entrainment may take place. One study showed that, in a university class, the brain waves of the students entrained with those of the professor. This has serious implications for those who are using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to control others. “While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost.” Early Writings, 44. Now the scientists are showing us it can really happen. Do not think it is foolish imagination. Satan is using his false, counterfeit worship and the music in it to control people’s minds. This fact makes it extremely important that we do not use Satan’s music in worship, and certainly not anywhere else either.

  1. Music creates a kind of people. You are what you eat; you are what you see; you are what you hear. You are the kind of music to which you listen.
  2. Music invokes the Holy Spirit and invites the presence of angels. “When the singing is such that angels can unite with the singers, an impression is made on minds that singing from unsanctified lips cannot make. . . . The songs in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they [angels] join us in singing. They take up the refrain that is sung from the heart with the spirit and the understanding.” Evangelism, 509, 510.
  3. Most important of all, music is an act of worship. This places it as a significant part of true worship, which then makes it an important part of the Three Angels’ Messages.

Praise Ye the Lord

What difference does it make what music we have in our worship services? If music is basically entertainment, why do we have music in worship at all? Many people have said that music is just a matter of preference. In other words, just choose what you like. The problem is there is a big difference. And it all goes back to God’s music for God’s worship and Satan’s music (counterfeit) for Satan’s worship.

A search of the Bible will reveal not only what God wants us to sing about but also how He wants us to sing. If music is an important part of the worship of God, He must have given us some instruction about it.

The thing mentioned more often than anything else is praise. “Praise ye the Lord. . . . Let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:1, 3. “Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.” Psalm 147:1.

Offer Thanksgiving for His Goodness

The thing mentioned most frequently after praise is thanksgiving. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High.” Psalm 92:1. Does God get tired of hearing us thank Him? No, He does not.

We should use joyful songs. “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of His name: make His praise glorious.” Psalm 66:1, 2. “O let the nations be glad and sing for joy.” Psalm 67:4.

What Should Our Music Include?

Majesty—“They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord. . . .” Isaiah 24:14.

God’s Righteousness—“They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness.” Psalm 145:7.

God’s Power—“Be Thou exalted, Lord, in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise Thy power.” Psalm 21:13.

God’s Mercy and Judgment—“I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Psalm 101:1.

To God’s Name—“So will I sing praise unto Thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.” Psalm 61:8.

Other verses give us the following: To the glory of God, God’s goodness, Ways of the Lord, Science of Salvation, Psalms, Holy songs, Words of the Law, Prophecy, Songs of Triumph and Victory, Faith and Holy Cheer, Hope and Trust. And the final song for the future: the Song of Deliverance.

Music of the Word

It seems that God has given us plenty to sing about without resorting to the devil’s counterfeit songs about our own selves and our own feelings. It would be a good idea if we would try to practice now for the music of heaven.

I have a dream that some might like to share with me. Imagine a few Seventh-day Adventist churches here and there who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus and are doing all they can to avoid the devil’s counterfeit music, becoming serious about their music being God’s music. Even a church or two could start it. What if these churches started making the music of their church Seventh-day Adventist music? How, you ask, could you do that? Well, there is the previous list that God gave us. With that, suppose we sing songs about the Three Angels’ Messages, about Christ’s Second Coming, about the Sabbath, about the state of the dead, about the sanctuary, about the Spirit of Prophecy—the pillars of our faith. That is just a start. There are plenty of songs in our hymnal that we already know and more good songs that we could learn. For example, do you know the song about the judgment, “Christ the Lord, All Power Possessing,” found on page 415 in the new hymnal? The first verse is about Christ ascending to heaven; the second verse pictures the judgment; the third verse is about Christ coming back. The tune is an exciting, vigorous tune, and the song is well worth some effort to learn. After searching out all of the wonderful songs that truly tell of our own Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, we need to think about the words as we sing them and breathe new life into them. Our whole church will become invigorated!

Words with Meaning

Where Mrs. White wrote that song is an act of worship and song is prayer, she continues as follows: “If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings and will be more susceptible to their power.” Education, 168. The older ones among us are not too old to learn the same lesson.

Are you and your church singing God’s music in your worship services, or is the devil’s counterfeit music sneaking in among you? Is your music preparing you for heaven?

From the Pen of Inspiration – Offer Unto God Thanksgiving

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.” [Psalm 9:1, 2.]

We should ever remember that thanksgiving is the fruit of true, willing obedience. The Lord is the object of our worship, and to praise his holy name shows respect for his efficiency. God says, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.” [Psalm 50:23.] “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] Faith relies upon God as being able and willing to save to the uttermost all who come to him. As we speak of God’s power, we show that we appreciate the love that is so constantly shown us, that we are grateful for the mercies and favors bestowed on us, and that the whole soul is awakened to a realization of God’s glory.

The absence of praise and thanksgiving pleases the enemy of God. The line of demarcation between those who utter the holy name of God in blasphemy, and those who praise him with heart and with voice, is clear and distinct. He who is truly converted will glorify God as he beholds the wonderful things of his creation, the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars, the changing beauty of the heavens. To him all nature will declare God’s mighty power. He will be led to give glory to his holy name. . . .

What God Does for Us

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. . . . I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. . . . When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” [Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14, 17–20.]

What greater encouragement and assurance than this could the Lord give his loyal, commandment-keeping people? Have we not every reason for changing our attitude toward God? Is it not our duty to show the world that we appreciate the love of Christ? As we produce the fruit of thanksgiving, we bear living evidence that by connection with Christ we are placed on vantage ground. God is the fountain of life and power. He can make the wilderness a fruitful field for those who keep his commandments; for it is for the glory of his name to do this. Thus he witnesses to Christianity. He has done for his chosen people that which should inspire every heart with praise and thanksgiving; and it grieves him that so little praise is offered. He desires to have a stronger expression of praise from his people, showing that they know they have reason for manifesting joy and gladness.

What We Should Do

The people of God need to be aroused to let their light shine forth. Christ said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] God’s people should be an animated people, filled with joy and gladness because they behold him who is invisible to the eyes of the world.

Our tongues should be used to express the appreciation in our hearts for God’s goodness. Thus God requires us to return to him gratitude offerings. But this is not the only way in which we are to praise God. We are to praise him by tangible service, by doing all we can to advance the glory of his name. By improving our intrusted talents, we are to offer God thanksgiving.

We are to glorify God by keeping his commandments. Christ said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” [John 14:15–19.] How plain is the distinction here drawn between the two classes. Worldlings place their whole attention upon the gaining of worldly advantages. The mind is filled with the selfish thought, How can I secure these advantages for myself? How can I obtain more money? This is the god man worships. Men do not stop to think of the riches of which no earthly power can deprive them. They see not Christ, neither know him. They do not realize their great need of a Redeemer. They do not pray. They put Christ out of their lives as much as possible.

One with Christ

“But ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” [John 14:19.] Christ is with his children, enlightening their minds and leading them to call upon him. As they do this, he hears their prayers and purifies their hearts. They see him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They do not walk in accordance with the ways of the world. They ask God for Christ’s sake to help them, and they receive the help they ask for. They are gifted by God with power to see the love and wonderful charms of Christ. They can never feel lonely or comfortless.

“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” [John 14:20–22.] Let all mark the answer. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [John 14:23.] Wonderful indeed is this promise. Do we comprehend it? When a man becomes one with Christ, he has the mind of Christ. He is no longer antagonistic to God’s law, but lives in obedience to all his commandments. He walks in the footsteps of the Saviour.

Cross of Salvation

But should he walk regretfully, because in his union with Christ he is called upon to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice? Think of what the Prince of heaven did to manifest his love for the Father and for us. He resigned his position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might lay hold of humanity, and divinity grasp the throne of the Infinite. This he did to perfect the redemption of the human race. Those who receive him are adopted into the royal family as sons and daughters of God. They are made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to an immortal inheritance. Have they any cause for regret?

Christ has declared that the cross which makes the line of demarcation between his people and the world so distinct is not a cross of discouragement, but a cross of salvation. Love for the Saviour will lead us to acknowledge this. God has given human beings all that ministers to their happiness, and in return he asks them to lay their gifts and offerings on his altar. Shall we disregard this requirement? Shall we fail of offering God praise and thanksgiving in word and deed?

Review and Herald, November 20, 1900.

Praise and Thanksgiving

How important is it to give praise and thanksgiving to God? God required all Israel to gather together three times each year. (See Exodus 23:14–16.) The very essence and purpose of these gatherings was praise and thanksgiving for what God had done for them and for what He had promised to do for them in the future.

They were to remember all the good blessings that God had bestowed upon them in the past. It is a good thing for us to remember the goodness of God in our lives, too.

Ellen White wrote, “In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life’s Sketches of Ellen G. White, 196. Brothers and sisters, I would suggest to you that we have everything to fear if we forget—not only what God has done for us as a people, but also what God has done for us individually.

Again I ask, How important is thanksgiving and praise in the Christian life? We see a hint of its importance in this statement. Paul, in Colossians 2:6, 7, says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

Receive Christ by Faith

There are three parts to these two verses. First it is very important, for our Christian experience, that we walk in the same manner as we receive Christ. How do we receive Christ?

In Romans 5:1, 2, we find how an individual receives Christ: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

We receive Him by faith; we are to walk then by faith. Paul says that we are to walk by faith and not by sight—not by our senses, not by our feelings, not by our own understanding, but by faith. (See 2 Corinthians 5:7.) We are also told that, “Faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. That is where our faith is to be anchored.

Obedience Establishes Faith

So first we receive Christ by faith, trusting His Word, and we are to walk even as we received Him. But then Colossians 2:7 continues: “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith.” How do you become “stablished in the faith”? How does your faith become established in God’s Word?

Jesus gives the parable of the man who built his house on the rock versus the man who built his house on sand in Luke 6. Notice verses 46–48:

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”

How are we established in the faith? By doing what God says. That is how, Jesus says, we are going to have a faith that is established on a rock. As Paul puts it, we are going to be “rooted and built up in him and stablished in the faith.” That happens when we choose to obey God. So we have faith that receives Christ. We have faith that walks with Christ. Obedience establishes the experience of faith.

Abound with Thanksgiving

Now we are going to see how important thanksgiving and praise are in the Christian life. Paul says, in Colossians 2:7, “abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Paul has just outlined three steps in the Christian experience.

We receive Christ by faith; we become established in Him by obedience, and we abound in that experience by thanksgiving. The word used here, abound, in the original Greek means super abound. The same word is used by Jesus in John 10:10: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

God wants to give us a more abundant experience in faith and obedience in Him. Such an experience will only come by way of thanksgiving. It will only come as we open the channel of our hearts and praise the God who is saving us from our sins. God wants us to super abound—not only in quantity but in quality of experience.

Thanksgiving and praise will give those fine aspects to our Christian experience. They will give us a quality experience, not just a religious experience. Faith receives Christ Jesus. Obedience establishes us in that faith with Him. Thanksgiving and praise increase that experience.

Again I ask the question, How important in the Christian life is thanksgiving and praise? How important is it to be thankful to God not only with our lips but with our hearts—not occasionally, but all the time?

Thankfulness Precedes Holiness

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” 2 Timothy 3:1, 2. Notice that the unholy attribute is preceded by the unthankful attribute.

We see that perilous times have come upon the earth, and we know that it is going to get worse in the world. But it can get better in our hearts if we have thanksgiving, if we have faith, if we have obedience.

What is the end result of a professed Christian who is not thankful to God from his/her heart? They are unholy in the sight of God, and that will lead to being satisfied with a form that denies the power. (Verse 5.)

We can deduce that if we can be unholy by being unthankful, then we can become holy by being thankful, with the addition of faith and obedience. Faith, faith that is linked with obedience that is linked with thankfulness, equates to holiness. We can also deduce that a faith that produces only external obedience, exempt of thankfulness, equals a form without the power and produces an unholy people. What does God mean when He talks about unholy versus holy? He is talking about incomplete versus complete. Holiness is wholeness for God. Unholiness would be a compromise with God.

God Commands Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is so important in the Christian life that God even commands thankfulness: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It is a part of God’s will for your life just as much as any part of God’s law is His will for your life. He wants us to give thanks in everything that is good, everything that falls into the context of Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, 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.”

God wants us to learn to be thankful, thankful for the good things that He sends to us and to be constantly mindful of those things. And Paul said we would abound in our experience of faith and our obedience would super abound if we have the ingredients of thanksgiving and praise.

God wants us to give praise and thanksgiving; that is His will for us. Surely true, sincere thankfulness cannot be commanded, but it will come naturally as we enter into the experience of faith and as we recognize God’s goodness to us.

God wants us to know how important thankfulness is and how necessary it is to express thanks continually. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Not only are we to give thanks for all things, but we are to give thanks always. The question to which an answer is needed from the Word of God is, How can I learn to be thankful at all times for all things?

How to Begin

Psalm 100 outlines three things that will help us to begin to be thankful. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name. For the Lord [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations.”

Is there something to be thankful for? Yes, all the time, for everything that God is! Too often we do not think enough about the goodness of the Lord. Everything that He has done is good. Everything that He will ever do is good. He is mindful of us, and all He wants is good for us.

Not only is God good, but Romans 8:28 tells us that God is able to work everything out for good to them that love Him. Only a good God would do that.

“No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God. Even on earth we may have joy as a wellspring, never failing, because fed by the streams that flow from the throne of God.” The Ministry of Healing, 253.

Secondly, Psalm 100:5 says, “The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting.” Is that not a wonderful thing? “The Lord [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Psalm 103:8. His mercy is everlasting. That means that when we ask for and receive forgiveness from God, it is going to last forever. God forgives forever. That is such a wonderful thing that we need to praise God and be thankful to Him for such mercy.

Wonderful mercy of a wonderful God! In Lamentations 3:22, 23, we are told: “[It is of] the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.” If it were not for the mercy of God, Satan would blot us out of existence this very minute.

“‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts; . . . and be ye thankful.’ Colossians 3:15. Forgetting our own difficulties and troubles, let us praise God for an opportunity to live for the glory of His name.” The Ministry of Healing, 253. I praise God for the opportunity to live for the glory of His name. “Let the fresh blessings of each new day awaken praise in our hearts for these tokens of His loving care. When you open your eyes in the morning, thank God that He has kept you through the night. Thank Him for His peace in your heart. Morning, noon, and night, let gratitude as sweet perfume ascend to heaven.” Ibid.

Is the Lord pleased with such thankfulness and praise that comes from our hearts? Yes, He appreciates it just as much as you and I would appreciate somebody appreciating us. God is that real; God is that gracious, and He is that touched with our responses to Him.

The last part of Psalm 100:5 says, “his truth [endureth] to all generations.” Forever and ever and ever. His truth endureth. We have every reason to be thankful for God’s truth. It is the only antidote for sin.

Jesus said, in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus wants to set us free from sin. In John 17:17 He says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Sanctification only comes by way of God’s truth, as we allow it to take control of our lives, as we allow it to possess us.

That means we become set apart. We take on the very character of God. We regain the image of God that was lost because of sin. Such change only happens by way of God’s truth. We know that that truth is embodied in two things: His Son, Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” and His law. He says, “Thy law is the truth.” John 14:6; Psalm 119:142.

What will we not be doing if we are being thankful? Philippians 2:14 tells us: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Is that possible? Yes, but it is only possible if we are praising and giving thanks to God. We cannot complain if we are being thankful. We cannot do both at the same time. Did you know that? Have you ever tried complaining and being thankful at the very same time? It is not possible!

You cannot be thankful if you are complaining. You cannot complain if you are thankful. Simple, isn’t it? All God wants is for us to be mindful of His goodness, His mercy, and His truth—and to be thankful and to give Him praise.

A Merry Heart

We do not see the word thankful in Proverbs 17:22, but it is inferred. It says, “A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” You cannot have a merry heart if you are not thankful.

Science has found that our immune systems are benefited or debilitated by our emotions. Thankfulness is one of the most positive emotions that God has given to us. We benefit not only our spiritual experience by thankfulness and praise to God, but we can benefit our physical well being also. God knew this long before science came to this conclusion.

“Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house?

“Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion.” The Ministry of Healing, 251.

This is not talking about being light and frivolous. It is talking about being joyful and at peace, with praise and thanksgiving in our hearts to God.

Just before Jesus returns and probation closes, God’s people will be seen as holy. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.

God says His people, just before Christ comes, are not only keeping His commandments (Revelation 14:12), but they are going to be a holy people before Him. To be a holy people, they must be a thankful people—people that give God praise.

God wants us to be thankful for His goodness, for His mercy, and for His truth. We will never be weary in being thankful for those things. The more we see of God and His goodness, the more thankful we will be and the more praise we will give to Him. It is just natural.

We have every reason to be thankful to God, but if we had no other reason for thankfulness than that God will save us from our sins, that would be enough. It is sin that keeps us from seeing Him. And the more we allow God to save us from our sins through His truth, the more praise and thanksgiving we will give to Him.

“Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13.

In Everything Give Thanks

—Praise God because He is powerful.

“Now these [are] thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.” Nehemiah 1:10.
“[Touching] the Almighty, we cannot find him out: [he is] excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.” Job 37:23.

— Praise God because of His righteousness.

“Thy righteousness [is] like the great mountains; thy judgments
[are] a great deep: O Lord,
thou preservest man and beast.” Psalm 36:6.

“The Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth.” Daniel 9:14.

— Praise God because He is able.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20.
“And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work.” 11 Corinthians 9:8.

— Praise God because He is infinite.

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:33–36.

— Praise God because of His strength.

“God [is] my strength [and] power: and he maketh my way perfect.” 11 Samuel 22:33.
“The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, [wherewith] he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.” Psalm 93:1.

— Praise God because He is everlasting.

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding.” Isaiah 40:28.

“. . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.

Giving praise to the Lord is one of the best ways to express our thanks to God for His blessings, and yet how many of us do it on a regular basis? Yes, we normally go through our routine of thanking God for our food before we eat; sometimes we even thank Him for the clothes we wear and praise Him for the sunshine. Around the Thanksgiving holiday we may even list out our blessings and reflect on what God has done, but do we really “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually”? Hebrews 13:15.

Continual does not mean just once a year or even once a day for that matter. It implies that it is repeated without interruption. David said, in Psalm 34:1, “. . . his praise [shall] continually [be] in my mouth.” He also said, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” Psalm 119:62. When is the last time we found ourselves up at midnight thanking the Lord? Later on in that same psalm David says, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (Verse 164.) Do we stop seven times a day to praise God? Do we even stop once or twice to praise Him?

“Prayer is a duty and a necessity; but do we not neglect praise? Should we not oftener render thanksgiving to the Giver of all our blessings? We need to cultivate gratitude. We should frequently contemplate and recount the mercies of God, and laud and glorify His holy name, even when we are passing through sorrow and affliction. . . .” Selected Messages, Book 2, 268.

“We need to praise God much more than we do. We are to show that we have cause for rejoicing. ‘Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light’ (1 Peter 2:9). Are we doing this as fully as we should?” In Heavenly Places, 96.

“We need to praise God more ‘for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.’ Psalm 107:8. Our devotional exercises should not consist wholly in asking and receiving. Let us not be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive. We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. We are the constant recipients of God’s mercies, and yet how little gratitude we express, how little we praise Him for what He has done for us.” Steps to Christ, 102.

Now that we know that we need to praise God, and praise Him continually, how do we do it? If you think that all praising God involves is whispering a prayer of thanks to Him in your closet,—think again! Praising God is an active thing! In other words, if you receive a blessing—tell someone about it!

Praise through Words

“The prophet, in words of glowing fervor, magnifies God in His created works: ‘When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?’ ‘O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!’ ‘I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy marvelous works.’ [Psalm 8:3, 9; 9:1.]” Testimonies, vol. 3, 377.

“My soul is filled with praise and thanksgiving to God from whom come all our mercies and blessings. The Lord is good, and His mercies endure forever. I will praise Him who is the light of my countenance and my God. He is the source of all efficiency and power. Why do we not praise Him by speaking words of hope and comfort to others? Why are our lips so silent? Speech is a gift of Heaven, and it should be used in sounding forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. . . .” That I May Know Him, 219.

“If we enjoy the love of God in our hearts, we will have something to say. From the treasure of our heart we will bring forth good things. We will render to God the fruit of our lips. Our words will be words of praise and thanksgiving.—Manuscript 74, 1897.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 149.

“The words to which God and the angels listen with delight are words of appreciation for the great gift that has been made to the world in the only-begotten Son of God. Every word of praise for the blessing of the light of truth . . . is written in the heavenly records. Every word that acknowledges the merciful kindness of our heavenly Father in giving Jesus to take away our sins, and to impute to us His righteousness, is recorded in the book of His remembrance.” Our High Calling, 168.

“When the blessed light of the Sun of Righteousness shines into our hearts, and we rest in peace and joy in the Lord, then let us praise the Lord; praise Him who is the health of our countenance and our God. Let us praise Him, not in words only, but by the consecration to Him of all that we are and all that we have.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 479.

Praise through Music

Under the rulership of King David, Israel had joyfully united in chanting hymns of praise to the Most High, in recognition of their entire dependence on Him for daily mercies. Their words of adoration are recorded in Psalm 65. Note verse 13: ” . . . they shout for joy, they also sing.” (See Prophets and Kings, 133, 134.)

The psalmist repeatedly encourages us to sing our praise to God. “All the inhabitants of heaven unite in praising God. Let us learn the song of the angels now, that we may sing it when we join their shining ranks. Let us say with the psalmist, ‘While I live, will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being’ (Psalm 146:2). ‘Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee’ (Psalm 67:5).” God’s Amazing Grace, 352.

“As you meet from Sabbath to Sabbath, you need no expensive organ in order to sing praises to Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Let the heart’s adoration be given ‘Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.’ [Revelation 1:5.]” General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 28, 1893.

“Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings.” Psalm 33:2. “Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King.” Psalm 98:5, 6. “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 150:3–6.

“Music should have beauty, pathos, and power. Let the voices be lifted in songs of praise and devotion. Call to your aid, if practicable, instrumental music, and let the glorious harmony ascend to God, an acceptable offering.” Evangelism, 505.

“Musical instruments were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praise God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest. And . . . a praise meeting should be held, a simple service of thanksgiving to God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 62.

Praise through Prayer

“Prayer means very much, and we should come to God offering up thanksgiving before him. ‘Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. . . . O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.’ [Psalm 95:2, 3, 6–8.]” Signs of the Times, September 10, 1894.

“David declares, ‘I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live’ (Psalm 116:1, 2). God’s goodness in hearing and answering prayer places us under heavy obligation to express our thanksgiving for the favors bestowed upon us. We should praise God much more than we do. The blessings received in answer to prayer should be promptly acknowledged. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 325.

“There must be a living connection with God in prayer, a living connection with God in songs of praise and thanksgiving.—Letter 96, 1898.” Evangelism, 498.

Praise through Testimony

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.” Psalm 105:1.

“In our devotional social meetings, our voices should express by prayer and praise our adoration of our heavenly Father, that all may know that we worship God in simplicity and truth, and in the beauty of holiness. Precious indeed in this world of sin and ignorance is the gift of speech, is the melody of the human voice, when devoted to the praises of Him who hath loved us, and hath given himself for us.” Christian Education, 131.

“To praise God in fulness and sincerity of heart is as much a duty as is prayer. We are to show to the world and to all the heavenly intelligences that we appreciate the wonderful love of God for fallen humanity, and that we are expecting larger and yet larger blessings from His infinite fulness. . . . After a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, our joy in the Lord and our efficiency in His service would be greatly increased by recounting His goodness and His wonderful works in behalf of His children. These exercises drive back the power of Satan. They expel the spirit of murmuring and complaint, and the tempter loses ground. They cultivate those attributes of character which will fit the dwellers on earth for the heavenly mansions. Such a testimony will have an influence upon others. No more effective means can be employed for winning souls to Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 299, 300.

“The one appointed to conduct Sabbath services should . . . not always give so long a discourse that there will be no opportunity for those present to confess Christ. The sermon should frequently be short, so that the people may express their thanksgiving to God. Gratitude-offerings glorify the name of the Lord. In every assembly of the saints holy angels listen to the praise offered to Jehovah in testimony, song, and prayer.” Gospel Workers, 171.

Praise through Giving

“Those who fear Him [God] speak words of courage, of thankfulness, and of praise. . . . Such words make all heaven rejoice. Those who utter them may be poor in worldly possessions, but by faithfully giving to God the portion He claims, they acknowledge their indebtedness to Him. Self-serving does not make up the chapters of their life history. In love and gratitude, with songs of joy upon their lips, they bring their offerings to God, saying as did David, ‘Of Thine own we freely
give Thee.’” Review and Herald, January 5, 1897.

“Nothing has been withheld from us that God could give. So ample was the gift poured out to man, that there was nothing more which God could bestow. He is our best friend, our benefactor. Shall we not give evidence of our gratitude to him, not only by thanksgiving and praise, but by offerings to extend to others the knowledge of his great gift?” Ibid., December 2, 1890.

“The wise men have left us an example of what we should do. Jesus should be the object of our adoration, the recipient of our gifts. It is not man, but our Redeemer, that should be honored. To Him we should offer our praise and gifts and treasures; but instead of this, the world sets its treasures flowing in the channel of self-gratification, and to the honor of men. . . . few think of what they can do to show their love and gratitude to God for his great love and compassion upon them.” The Bible Echo, December 15, 1892.

“How many through selfish plans, rob God of the praise and the thanksgiving due to his holy name, because they would hold the goods lent them in trust, and fail to relieve the necessities of their brethren who are in poverty and distress.” Review and Herald, January 15, 1895.

Praise through Example

“Those who are partakers of Christ’s meekness, purity, and love, will be joyful in God, and will shed light and gladness upon all around them. The thought that Christ died to obtain for us the gift of everlasting life, is enough to call forth from our hearts the most sincere and fervent gratitude, and from our lips the most enthusiastic praise. God’s promises are rich, and full, and free. Whoever will, in the strength of Christ, comply with the conditions, may claim these promises, with all their wealth of blessing, as his own. And being thus abundantly supplied from the treasure-house of God, he may, in the journey of life, ‘walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing;’ [Colossians 1:10] by a godly example blessing his fellow-men, and honoring his Creator.” Ibid., September 20, 1881.

“The hour of prayer should not be neglected for any consideration. . . . At an early hour of the evening, when you can pray unhurriedly and understandingly, present your supplication, and raise your voices in happy, grateful praise. Let all who visit Christians see that the hour of prayer is the most sacred, the most precious, and the happiest hour of the day. Such an example will not be without effect.” Reflecting Christ, 183.

“What an example have the martyrs for Jesus left us in their lives of self-denial and sacrifice. . . . Those who were too timid to praise God vocally were not too timid to die for their Lord.” Review and Herald, December 2, 1875.

“‘Ye are my witnesses,’ says God, and God wants us by precept and example to represent Christ in our world. . . . You are to begin to work with the talent which God has lent you, and then [use] every gift there is to the praise of heaven.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 260.

Know Who God is

If we are going to develop a lifestyle of praise to God continually, we need to put things in perspective. We must realize who God is and who we are not. “Know ye that the Lord he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3, 4. We need to recognize that all of the things we receive as blessings come from Him.

“I will call upon the Lord, [who is worthy] to be praised . . . .” Psalm 18:3. “God saves man through the blood of Christ alone, and man’s belief in, and allegiance to, Christ is salvation. It is no marvel to angels that the infinite sacrifice made by the Son of God was ample enough to bring salvation to a fallen race, but that this atoning sacrifice should have been made is a wonder to the universe. It is a mystery which angels desire to look into. The angels are amazed at the indifference and coldness manifested by those for whom so great a salvation has been provided. They look with grief and holy indignation upon those who do not seek to appreciate the unspeakable gift of God. Instead of offering adoration to God, finite men think themselves capable, without divine unction, of determining what is worthy of praise or blame in their fellow-men. But to be glorified by man is no glory. We should learn to value the praise of man at what it is worth. The Lord says, ‘Them that honor me I will honor.’ [1 Samuel 2:30.] Let every breath of praise, every word of exaltation, flow to him who is worthy, flow to Jesus, the Prince of life, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Elevate the cross of Christ. Elevate the Mediator. Lift up Jesus. In him is everything noble. Contemplate God in Christ. He is surrounded with angels, cherubim and seraphim continually behold him. Angelic voices day and night cry before him: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. . . . Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.’ ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’ ‘Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before thee.’ [Revelation 4:8, 11; 5:12; 15:3, 4.]” Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.

Giving praise to God helps us to understand just how awesome He really is! We should praise Him for how powerful He is. We should praise Him for how giving He is. We should praise Him for how loving He is. We should thank Him for all that He has done, is doing, and will do for us as His children.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Bible Study Guides – Gratitude Appreciated, Part II

June 4, 2006 – June 10, 2006

Key Text

“Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:12, 13.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 750–753.


“The house where God is worshiped should be in accordance with His character and majesty. There are small churches that ever will be small because they place their own interests above the interests of God’s cause. While they have large, convenient houses for themselves, and are constantly improving their premises, they are content to have a most unsuitable place for the worship of God, where His holy presence is to dwell. They wonder that Joseph and Mary were obliged to find shelter in a stable, and that there the Saviour was born; but they are willing to expend upon themselves a large part of their means, while the house of worship is shamefully neglected. How often they say: ‘The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’ [Haggai 1:2.] But the word of the Lord to them is: ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?’ [Verse 4.]

“The house where Jesus is to meet with His people should be neat and attractive. If there are but few believers in a place, put up a neat but humble house, and by dedicating it to God invite Jesus to come as your guest. How does He look upon His people when they have every convenience that heart could wish, but are willing to meet for His worship in a barn, some miserable, out-of-the-way building, or some cheap, forsaken apartment? You work for your friends, you expend means to make everything around them as attractive as possible; but Jesus, the One who gave everything for you, even His precious life,—He who is the Majesty of heaven, the King of kings and Lord of lords,—is favored with a place on earth but little better than the stable which was His first home. Shall we not look at these things as God looks at them? Shall we not test our motives and see what kind of faith we possess?

“ ‘God loveth a cheerful giver,’ [11 Corinthians 9:7] and those who love Him will give freely and cheerfully when by so doing they can advance His cause and promote His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 268, 269.

“The glory of the first temple, the splendor of its service, could not recommend them [the Israelites] to God; for that which is alone of value in His sight, they did not offer. They did not bring Him the sacrifice of a humble and contrite spirit.” Prophets and Kings, 565.

1 With what reception did David meet when he went to make his sacrifice, the atonement for his sin against God of following customs of the surrounding heathen nations? 11 Samuel 24:20–23.

note: “The threshing-floor of Araunah is offered him freely, where to build an altar unto the Lord; also cattle, and everything needful for the sacrifice.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

2 How did David respond to Araunah’s offer? 11 Samuel 24:24.

note: “David tells him who would make this generous offering, that the Lord will accept the sacrifice which he is willing to make, but that he would not come before the Lord with an offering which cost him nothing. He would buy it of him for full price. He offered there burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

3 How did God accept David’s offering? 11 Samuel 24:25.

note: “God accepted the offerings by answering David in sending fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. The angel of the Lord was commanded to put his sword into his sheath, and cease his work of destruction.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

4 What important lesson may be drawn from David’s experience? Consider Mark 12:41–44; Acts 5:1–5.

note: “If all were devoted to God, a precious light would shine forth from them, which would have a direct influence upon all who are brought in contact with them. But all need a work done for them. Some are far from God, variable and unstable as water. Some have no idea of sacrifice. When they desire any pleasure, or any article of dress, or any special indulgence, they do not consider whether they can do without the article, or deny themselves of the pleasure, and make a freewill offering to God. How many have considered that they were required to make some sacrifice? Although it may be of less value than that of the wealthy man in possession of his thousands, yet that which really costs self-denial would be a precious sacrifice, and an offering to God. . . .

“Your stinted offerings are brought to God almost unwillingly, while in self-gratification means are spent lavishly. How much of the wages earned finds its way into the treasury of God to aid in the advancement of his work in saving souls? They [the youth] give a mite each week, and feel that they do much. But they have no sense that they are each stewards of God over their little, as are the wealthy over their larger possession. God has been robbed, and themselves indulged, their pleasures consulted, their tastes gratified, without a thought that God would make close investigation of how they have used their Lord’s goods. While they unhesitatingly gratify their supposed wants (which are not wants in reality), and withhold from God the offering they ought to make, he will no more accept the little pittance they hand in to the treasury than he accepted the offering of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who purposed to rob God in their offerings.” Review and Herald, August 10, 1886.

5 What did David do after he was forbidden to build the temple? 1 Chronicles 29:1–3.

note: “The first temple had been erected during the most prosperous period of Israel’s history. Vast stores of treasure for this purpose had been collected by King David, and the plans for its construction were made by divine inspiration. 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19. Solomon, the wisest of Israel’s monarchs, had completed the work. This temple was the most magnificent building which the world ever saw.” The Great Controversy, 23.

6 What did King David ask of the others? 1 Chronicles 29:5, last part.

note: “David’s exhortation to Solomon, and his appeal to the burden-bearers of the nation, should be kept in mind by those who are in positions of trust in the Lord’s cause today. In this our day God’s people will prosper only so long as they keep His precepts; and those who bear responsibilities are called upon to consecrate their service to the Lord. . . . Laborers in the field at home and abroad,—all are to render faithful service by using their talents wholly for God. The Lord is not pleased with half-hearted service. To Him we owe all that we have and are.” Review and Herald, September 14, 1905.

7 What effect did David’s call for consecrated service have on the leading men in Israel? How did the people show their interest? 1 Chronicles 29:6–8.

note: “With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 752, 753.

“The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle and the erection of the temple illustrates a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by Christians of any later date. They had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt and were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses, saying: ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering.’ [Exodus 25:2.]

“His people had small possessions and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them—to build a tabernacle for God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey His voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord, and pleased Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender His own?

“No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required, and were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated. Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly. They rejoiced in the prospect of a building being erected for the worship of God, and donated more than enough for the purpose.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 77, 78.

8 How were the people affected by their actions? 1 Chronicles 29:9.

note: “David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love could realize that their silver and gold are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that He has lent His creatures. All that they possess is His.

“There are high and holy objects that require means, and money thus invested will yield to the giver more elevated and permanent enjoyment than if it were expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to Him and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth cannot corrupt, that fire cannot consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes; it is secure.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 78, 79.

9 Whom did David acknowledge as the real owner of all the gifts that they had made? 1 Chronicles 29:14–16.

note: “David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king’s efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.

10 What was the design of God’s providence in bringing about circumstances where means were required of the people to build God’s house? 1 Chronicles 29:17.

note: “All that man receives of God’s bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them—to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.’ [1 Chronicles 29:14.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.

Bible Study Guides – Gratitude Appreciated, Part I

May 28, 2006 – June 3, 2006

Key Text

“He hath showed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 606–608.


“Call to mind your former wretchedness, your spiritual blindness, and the darkness which enshrouded you before Christ, a tender, loving Saviour, came to your aid and reached you where you were. If you let these seasons pass without giving tangible proofs of your gratitude for this wonderful and amazing love which a compassionate Saviour exercised toward you, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, there is reason to fear that still greater darkness and misery will come upon you. Now is your sowing time. You will reap that which you sow. Avail yourselves while you may of every privilege of doing good.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 330.

1 What does God require of us all? Micah 6:8.

note: “The words and law of God, written in the soul, and exhibited in a consecrated, holy life, have a powerful influence to convict the world. Covetousness, which is idolatry, and envy, and love of the world, will be rooted from the hearts of those who are obedient to Christ, and it will be their pleasure to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. Oh, how much is comprised in this, walking humbly before God! The law of God, if written in the heart, will bring the mind and will into subjection to the obedience of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 201.

“[Isaiah 61:8; Deuteronomy 25:14–16; Micah 6:8 quoted.] One of the very highest applications of these principles is found in the recognition of man’s right to himself, to the control of his own mind, to the stewardship of his talents, the right to receive and to impart the fruit of his own labor. Strength and power will be in our institutions only as in all their connection with their fellow men they recognize these principles,—only as in their dealing they give heed to the instruction of the word of God.” Ibid., vol. 7, 179, 180.

2 What is of more value than burnt offerings and sacrifices? Mark 12:33.

note: “It is a sacred duty that we owe to God to keep the spirit pure, as a temple for the Holy Ghost. If the heart and mind are devoted to the service of God, obeying all His commandments, loving Him with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we shall be found loyal and true to the requirements of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 33.

“Well may the question be asked with earnest, anxious heart, ‘Is envy cherished, is jealousy permitted to find a place in my heart?’ If so, Christ is not there. ‘Do I love the law of God, is the love of Jesus Christ in my heart?’ If we love one another as Christ has loved us then we are getting ready for the blessed heaven of peace and rest. There is no struggling there to be first, to have the supremacy; all will love their neighbor as themselves. Oh, that God would open the understanding and speak to the hearts of our churches by arousing the individual members. . . .” Selected Messages, Book 2, 382.

3 What called forth these words (Mark 12:33)? Mark 12:28–31.

note: “Wherever there is union with Christ there is love. Whatever other fruits we may bear, if love be missing, they profit nothing. Love to God and our neighbor is the very essence of our religion. No one can love Christ and not love His children. When we are united to Christ, we have the mind of Christ. Purity and love shine forth in the character, meekness and truth control the life. The very expression of the countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the soul exerts a transforming power, and the outward aspect bears witness to the peace and joy that reign within. We drink in the love of Christ, as the branch draws nourishment from the vine. If we are grafted in Christ, if fiber by fiber we have been united with the Living Vine, we shall give evidence of the fact by bearing rich clusters of living fruit. If we are connected with the Light, we shall be channels of light, and in our words and works we shall reflect light to the world. Those who are truly Christians are bound with the chain of love which links earth to heaven, which binds finite man to the infinite God. The light that shines in the face of Jesus Christ shines in the hearts of His followers, to the glory of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 337, 338.

4 Because the scribe of Mark 12:28 discerned these principles, what did the Saviour say to him? Mark 12:34.

note: “The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father’s law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man’s duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.” The Desire of Ages, 608.

5 What sacrifice must be the foundation of all other sacrifices? Psalm 51:17.

note: “The only reason that we have not remission of sin is that we have not acknowledged to Him [Jesus] whom we have wounded by our transgressions, whom we have pierced by our sins, that we are at fault, and in need of mercy. The confession that is the outpouring of the inmost soul will find its way to the heart of infinite pity; for the Lord is nigh unto him that is of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 326.

6 In whose heart has God promised to dwell? Isaiah 57:15.

note: “The life in which the fear of the Lord is cherished will not be a life of sadness and gloom. It is the absence of Christ that makes the countenance sad, and the life a pilgrimage of sighs. Those who are filled with self-esteem and self-love do not feel the need of a living, personal union with Christ. The heart that has not fallen on the Rock is proud of its wholeness. Men want a dignified religion. They desire to walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of popularity and love of praise, exclude the Saviour from their hearts, and without Him there is gloom and sadness. But Christ dwelling in the soul is a wellspring of joy. For all who receive Him, the very keynote of the word of God is rejoicing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 162.

7 How will God’s Word affect a contrite and humble heart? Isaiah 66:2.

note: “To know ourselves is to be humble. Self-knowledge will take away all disposition to entertain the Most High with a recital of our own excellent qualities. Realizing our sins and imperfections, we shall come to the feet of Jesus with earnest supplication, and our petitions will not be passed by unheard. Ezra had the true spirit of prayer. Presenting his petition before God for Israel, when they had sinned grievously in the face of great light and privileges, he exclaimed, ‘I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.’ [Ezra 9:6.] Ezra remembered the goodness of God in again giving his people a foothold in their native land, and he was overwhelmed with indignation and grief at the thought of their ingratitude in return for the divine favor. His language is that of true humiliation of soul, the contrition that prevails with God in prayer. Only the prayer of the humble enters into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1885.

8 How does the prophet speak of those who cannot discern the sacredness of divine things? Isaiah 66:3, 4.

note: “God has not changed toward His faithful servants who are keeping their garments spotless. But many are crying, ‘Peace and safety,’ while sudden destruction is coming upon them. Unless there is thorough repentance, unless men humble their hearts by confession and receive the truth as it is in Jesus, they will never enter heaven. When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 250.

9 Can these things (Isaiah 66:3, 4) be in the heart and not be seen in the life? Matthew 7:16–20.

note: “The good tree will produce good fruit. If the fruit is unpalatable and worthless, the tree is evil. So the fruit borne in the life testifies as to the condition of the heart and the excellence of the character. Good works can never purchase salvation, but they are an evidence of the faith that acts by love and purifies the soul. And though the eternal reward is not bestowed because of our merit, yet it will be in proportion to the work that has been done through the grace of Christ.

“Thus Christ set forth the principles of His kingdom, and showed them to be the great rule of life. . . . It is not enough, He says, for you to hear My words. By obedience you must make them the foundation of your character.” The Desire of Ages, 314.

10 What did David say when he saw the judgment of God upon the people on account of his sin of numbering Israel and proposing to increase the military? What response did God make to his repentance? 11 Samuel 24:17, 18.

note: “David, in his prosperity, did not preserve that humility of character and trust in God which characterized the earlier part of his life. He looked upon the accession to the kingdom with pride, and contrasted their then prosperous condition with their few numbers and little strength when he ascended the throne, taking glory to himself. He gratified his ambitious feelings in yielding to the temptation of the devil to number Israel, that he might compare their former weakness with their then prosperous state under his rule. This was displeasing to God, and contrary to his express command. It would lead Israel to rely upon their strength of numbers, instead of the living God.

“The work of numbering Israel is not fully completed before David feels convicted that he has committed a great sin against God. He sees his error, and humbles himself before God, confessing his great sin in foolishly numbering the people. But his repentance came too late. The word had already gone forth from the Lord to his faithful prophet, to carry a message to David, and offer him his choice of punishments for his transgression. David still shows that he has confidence in God. He chooses to fall into the hands of a merciful God, rather than to be left to the cruel mercies of wicked men.

“Swift destruction followed. Seventy thousand were destroyed by pestilence. David and the elders of Israel were in the deepest humiliation, mourning before the Lord. As the angel of the Lord was on his way to destroy Jerusalem, God bade him stay his work of death. A pitiful God loves his people still, notwithstanding their rebellion. The angel, clad in warlike garments, with a drawn sword in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem, is revealed to David, and to those who are with him. David is terribly afraid, yet he cries out in his distress, and his compassion for Israel. He begs of God to save the sheep. In anguish he confesses, ‘I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.’ [11 Samuel 24:17.] God speaks to David, by his prophet, and bids him make atonement for his sin. David’s heart was in the work, and his repentance was accepted.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 385, 386.

The Pen of Inspiration: “Serve the Lord with Gladness”

Ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.” [Deuteronomy 12:7.] Those who honor God by obedience to all his requirements are free to eat and rejoice before the Lord, and he himself, as an unseen guest, will preside at the board. That which is done for the glory of God should be done with cheerfulness, with songs of praise and thanksgiving, not with sadness and gloom. Would that all who profess to be the children of God, who profess to keep his commandments, might bring thankfulness and rejoicing into the service of Christ. Nothing is more grievous to God than for his children to go constantly mourning, covering the altar with tears. He says by the prophet Malachi, “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.” [Malachi 2:13.]

Comfort in Service

Our God should be regarded as a tender, merciful father. The service of God should not be looked upon as a heart-saddening, distressing exercise. It should be a pleasure to worship the Lord and to take part in his work. As the people of God meditate upon the plan of salvation, their hearts will be melted in love and gratitude. When they were lost, Christ died to save them; through the gift of the Son of God, provision has been made whereby none need perish, but all may have everlasting life. God would not have his children, for whom so great a salvation has been provided, act as though he were a hard, exacting task-master. He is their best friend, and when they worship him, he expects to be with them to bless and comfort them, and fill their hearts with joy and love. The Lord desires his children to take comfort in his service, and to find more pleasure than hardship in his work. The Lord desires that those who come to worship him shall carry away with them precious thoughts of his care and love that they may be cheered in all the employments of daily life, that they may have grace to deal honestly and faithfully in all things.

The children of God are called upon to be representatives of Christ, showing forth the goodness and mercy of the Lord. If they but revealed his goodness from day to day, barriers would be raised around their souls against the temptations of the evil one. If they would keep in remembrance the goodness and love of God, they would be cheerful, but not vain and full of carnal mirth.

The Lord would have all his sons and daughters happy, peaceful, and obedient. Jesus says, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto my Father; for my Father is greater than I.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” [John 14:27, 28; 15:11; 16:24.]

Never Doubt God

When we go mourning, we leave the impression upon minds that God is not pleased to have us happy, and in this we bear false witness against our Heavenly Father. Satan is exultant when he can lead the people of God into unbelief and despondency. He delights to see us mistrusting God, doubting his willingness and power to save us. He loves to have us feel that the Lord will do us harm by his providences. O let the attitude of doubt be changed! Christ in the Old Testament is the same as Christ in the New Testament. His commands and promises are identical. When he charged his people of old to rejoice before him, it was for our comfort as well as for theirs. Happiness that is sought only from selfish motives, outside of the path of duty, is ill-balanced, fitful, and transitory, and when it is over, the soul is filled with loneliness and sorrow. But when we engage in the service of God, the heart should be aglow with thanksgiving; for the Christian is not left to walk in uncertain paths, he is not left to vain regrets and disappointments. If we do not have the pleasures of this life, we may still be joyful in looking to the life beyond. Let us never doubt God. He made us, he loves us, and in one rich gift poured out all heaven for us; and “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:32.]

God knows our wants, and has provided for them. The Lord has a treasure-house of supplies for his children, and can give them what they need under all circumstances. Then why do we not trust him? He has made precious promises to his children on condition of faithful obedience to his precepts. There is not a burden but he can remove, no darkness but he can dispel, no weakness but he can change to power, no fears but he can calm, no worthy aspiration but he can guide and justify.

We are not to look at ourselves. The more we dwell upon our own imperfections, the less strength we shall have to overcome them. We are to render a cheerful service to God. It is the work of Satan to present the Lord as lacking in compassion and pity. He misstates the truth in regard to him. He fills the imagination with false theories concerning God; and instead of dwelling upon the truth in regard to the character of our Heavenly Father, we fasten our minds upon the misrepresentations of Satan, and dishonor God by mistrusting him and by murmuring against him. When we act like culprits under sentence of death, we bear false witness against God. The Father gave his only begotten and well-beloved Son to die for us, and in so doing he placed great honor upon humanity; for in Christ the link that was broken through sin was reunited, and man again connected with Heaven. You who doubt the mercy of God, look at the Lamb of God, look at the man of sorrows, who bore your grief and suffered for your sin. He is your friend. He died on the cross because he loved you. He is touched with the feeling of your infirmities, and bears you up before the throne. In view of his unspeakable love, should not hope, love, and gratitude be cherished in your heart? Should not gladness fill your service to God?

Satan ever seeks to make the religious life one of gloom. He desires it to appear toilsome and difficult; and when the Christian presents this view of religion in his own life, he is, through his unbelief, seconding the falsehood of Satan. We dishonor God when we think of him only as a judge ready to pass sentence upon us, and forget that he is a loving Father. The whole spiritual life is molded by our conceptions of God; and if we cherish erroneous views of his character, our souls will sustain injury. We should see in God one who yearns toward the children of men, longing to do them good. He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. All through the Scriptures, God is represented as one who calls, woos by his tender love, the hearts of his erring children. No earthly parent could be as patient with the faults and mistakes of their children as is God with those he seeks to save. No one could plead more tenderly with the transgressor. No human lips ever poured out more tender entreaty to the wanderer than does he. O shall we not love God, and show our love by humble obedience? Let us have a care for our thoughts, our experiences, our attitude toward God; for all his promises are but the breathings of unutterable love.

Review and Herald, January 14, 1890.

Prayers of Thanksgiving

We are not very good at saying “Thank you,” are we? We are often like a little boy who, upon his return from a birthday party, was asked by his mother, “Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?”

“Well, I was going to, but a girl ahead of me said, ‘Thank you,’ and the lady told her not to mention it. So I didn’t!”

“The leper that returned to give glory to God was rewarded for his faith and gratitude. But how sad it is that only one of the ten appreciated the blessing that was bestowed upon them! In every age God has poured out his blessings upon men, and has healed and restored them as he healed the ten lepers. But how often the proportion of those who recognize and appreciate God’s mercies is even less than one to ten! The nine did not report themselves, but went on their way, satisfied that they were restored. They did not give honor to God, and to Jesus Christ, whom he had sent to be their healer. The Lord works continually to benefit mankind. He is continually imparting his bounties. He raises up the sick from beds of languishing, he delivers men from peril which they do not see; he commissions heavenly angels to save men from calamity, to guard them from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and from the destruction that wasteth at noonday, but their hearts are unimpressed. They do not consider God’s blessings, they do not rejoice in his love. They center all their thoughts upon themselves. They do not appreciate Christ’s pitying tenderness and matchless love. Only a few discern that their blessings are the result of the never-failing mercies of God through Jesus Christ; but those who do discern this fact, make melody in their hearts to God, and, as did the cleansed leper, they offer to him a tribute of praise and thanksgiving.” The Signs of the Times, July 2, 1896.

Recognize Your Blessings

During this season of thanksgiving, we want to say “Thank you,” but before we can do that, we need to count our many blessings. “Count your blessings” is excellent advice, but sometimes we have to recognize them first!

A man who owned a small property wished to sell it. Sending for a real estate agent, he asked him to write an advertisement describing the house and land.

When the ad was ready, the agent took it to the owner and read it to him. “Read that again,” demanded the owner. The agent read the description of the property once more. “I don’t think I will sell it after all,” said the owner. “I have been looking for a property like that all my life, and I did not realize that I already owned it!”

“Count your blessings”—yes, but start by asking God to open your eyes to see your possessions in Christ. Begin by recognizing all that you have in Christ. That will change your entire perspective and enable you to praise and thank God for what you have.

The Greatest Gift

From James 1:17 we read: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” What is the good gift referred to in this passage? It is the greatest Gift of all: “The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift.” Steps to Christ, 21.

And what does Christ wish to give to us? “He [Christ] should be presented as the Source of all true pleasure and satisfaction, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of every blessing, the One in whom all our hopes of eternal life are centered.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 175.

Do you realize that not everyone in the world knows Jesus? There are over 6 billion people on this earth today. It is difficult to say just how many of these inhabitants are Christian, but it is thought that 33 percent, or nearly 2.1 billion people, consider themselves to be Christian. (<> September 2007.) Regardless of what statistic you use, think of what this means. This means that the vast majority of people do not know about or believe in Jesus! Every time you draw a breath, at least four people die who have never heard the name of Jesus. That is almost 200,000 people a day! Someone put it this way: What is 750,000 miles long, reaches around the earth 30 times, and grows 20 miles longer each day? Answer: The line of people who are without Christ.

We are privileged, so privileged, to know Christ; we are privileged to be part of His church. For Christ, His grace, and salvation we need to give thanks.

Prayers of Thanksgiving

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18.

How are we to give thanks? What form is our thanksgiving to take? When we look through the Bible, we see that thanksgiving can be shown in a number of different ways. We are told that thanksgiving is a natural element of Christian worship. (I Corinthians 14:16, 17.) The psalmist tells us to offer to God a song of thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30, 31.) Hebrews tells us that we give to God a sacrifice of praise when we confess the name of Jesus. (Hebrews 13:15.) And, of course, we show thanks to God by the giving of our gifts.

Especially, though, we are to pray. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2. Why do Christians need to pray? Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. Prayer time is meant to be thanksgiving time.

Jesus gave us an example of this: “And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before [them]; and they did set [them] before the people.” Mark 8:6.

As Jesus demonstrated, prayer time is to be thanksgiving time. Too many times, though, when we come to God in prayer, we come as prayer beggars: give me, help me, bless me, heal me … God wants us to ask, but when we pray, He also wants us to come to Him as praise givers. Many modern Christians tend either to neglect the practice of prayer or to minimize its significance. Jesus holds before us the importance of prayer as a time of thanksgiving.

“Shall all our devotional exercises consist in asking and receiving? Shall we be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive? Shall we be recipients of His mercies and never express our gratitude to God, never praise Him for what He has done for us? We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. If the loving-kindness of God called forth more thanksgiving and praise, we would have far more power in prayer. We would abound more and more in the love of God and have more bestowed to praise Him for. You who complain that God does not hear your prayers, change your present order and mingle praise with your petitions. When you consider His goodness and mercies you will find that He will consider your wants.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 317.

Based On Scripture

It is good for our prayers to use the actual words of Scripture as we claim the promises given there. For instance, we can pray using the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, the Lord’s Prayer, as given in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. But we can also pray using the words of the Psalmist: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.” Psalm 107:1. “Praise the Lord [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!” Verse 8. Let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. (Psalm 107:15, 21, 31.)

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for [he is] good: because his mercy [endureth] for ever.” Psalm 118:1. And give thanks for the salvation He has given: “I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.” Verse 21. “Thou [art] my God, and I will praise thee: [thou art] my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.” Verses 28, 29.

Have you ever thought of the Psalms as prayers, of using them as your own prayers of thanksgiving to God?

Words of Paul

We can also use the inspired words of Paul as our prayers of thanksgiving to God. Some appropriate passages would be: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:8.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.” I Corinthians 1:4–6.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3–6.

God loves the words of our biblical prayers because these are the words of His own heart and mind. By them God is praised. By them God is thanked. By them God is glorified.


God wants us to receive every good thing with thanksgiving. There are many ways to give thanksgiving, but the best way is through prayer.

“Man must come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy. And as he receives daily mercies at the hand of God, he is ever to cherish gratitude in his heart, and give expression to it in the words of thanksgiving and praise for these unmerited favors.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 315.

What will be the result as we express our praise and thanksgiving in this way? “Our hearts are to be so filled with the love of Christ that our words of thanksgiving shall warm other hearts. This is service that all can perform, and the Lord accepts it as offered to Himself. He makes it efficacious, imparting to the earnest worker the grace that reconciles man to God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 18.

As we thus labor for God, with thankful hearts, we must: “Be of good courage in the Lord. Learn to take everything to Him in prayer. Believe that He helps you. Express your gratitude by words of thanksgiving. Do not look on the dark side, but believe God’s promises, and walk by faith.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 133.

[All emphasis added.]

A member of the LandMarks editorial staff, Anna writes from her home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She may be contacted by e-mail at:

Bible Study Guides – Prayer and Study

March 21, 2010 – March 27, 2010

Key Text

“Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 25:15.

Study Help: My Life Today, 20; Marantha, 77; Testimonies, vol. 1, 121.


“At this time above all others the paths of life are beset with perils that I cannot find language to describe. In a single departure from the path of sanctified principle Satan obtains an advantage, and he leads on and on, farther and farther from right and truth.” In Heavenly Places, 258.

Personal Prayer Life—Four Main Elements

1 Worship God. In what ways can we reverence God during our personal prayer time? Psalm 95:1–6, esp. verse 6; John 4:23, 24.

Note. “Both in public and in private worship it is our privilege to bow on our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Luke 22:41. Of his disciples it is recorded that they, too, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Acts 9:40. Paul declared, ‘I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Ephesians 3:14. In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5. Daniel ‘kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.’ Daniel 6:10.” Prophets and Kings, 48.

2 Confess Your Sins. Because all have sinned (Romans 3:23), we need to confess our sins. How do we ask God to show us our sins? Psalm 139:23, 24; Proverb 28:13; I John 1:9.

Note. “ ‘Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart’—the human heart, with its conflicting emotions of joy and sorrow; the wandering, wayward heart, which is the abode of so much impurity and deceit. 1 Samuel 16:7. He knows its motives, its very intents and purposes. Go to Him with your soul all stained as it is. Like the psalmist, throw its chambers open to the all-seeing eye, exclaiming, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ Psalm 139:23, 24.” Steps to Christ, 34.

3 Thank Him for all He has done in your life. Have you something to be thankful for? Ephesians 5:20; Psalm 119:164; I Thessalonians 5:18; Psalm 50:23.

Note. “The Christian should live so near to God that he may approve things that are excellent, ‘being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God’ [Philippians 1:11]. His heart should be attuned to gratitude and praise. He should be ever ready to acknowledge the blessings he is receiving, remembering who it is that has said, ‘Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me’ [Psalm 50:23].” My Life Today, 153.

4 Intercede on Behalf of Others. Why should we intercede on behalf of others? I Timothy 2:1, 2; Ephesians 6:18.

Note. “We must be much more with God in earnest prayer. We must make God our only trust. The Lord is our God, the strength of our soul. We must take hold upon the Lord. The Lord is pleased when we importune Him for His grace and His favor, not only for ourselves but for those who are in need of help. Oh let us put implicit confidence in our Lord Jesus. Now pray, and believe, and pray, and the Lord will certainly hear us.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 379, 380.

Daily Devotion—Study of God’s Word

5 Daily prayer and study are vital to spiritual development. What does God’s Word say? Psalm 119:10, 11; II Timothy 2:15; Psalm 1:1–4; John 6:54–63.

Note. “When we eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood, the element of eternal life will be found in the ministry. There will not be a fund of stale, oft-repeated ideas. … There will be a new perception of truth, a clearness and a power that all will discern. … The fire of God’s love will be kindled within them. Their perceptive faculties will be quickened to discern the beauty and majesty of truth.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 130, 131.

6 What example can we follow of people in the Bible who loved God and how their hearts yearned to be in His presence? Psalm 5:1–3; 63:6; Daniel 6:10.

Note. “The Lord draws out the soul in prayer, and gives us to feel His precious love. We have a nearness to Him, and can hold sweet communion with Him. We obtain distinct views of His tenderness and compassion, and our hearts are broken and melted with contemplation of the love that is given to us. We feel indeed an abiding Christ in the soul. We abide in Him, and feel at home with Jesus. The promises flow into the soul. Our peace is like a river, wave after wave of glory rolls into the heart, and indeed we sup with Jesus and He with us. We have a realizing sense of the love of God, and we rest in His love. No language can describe it, it is beyond knowledge. We are one with Christ, our life is hid with Christ in God. We have the assurance that when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. With strong confidence, we can call God our Father.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1147, 1148.

7 As we spend that quality time in His presence, what are we placing upon ourselves, and why do we need it? Ephesians 6:10–18; I Peter 5:8.

Note. “Every one who has enlisted under the bloodstained banner of Christ has entered upon a warfare that demands constant vigilance. Satan is determined to keep up the warfare to the end. Coming as an angel of light, claiming to be the Christ, he will deceive the world. But his triumph will be short. No storm or tempest can move those whose feet are planted on the principles of eternal truth. They will be able to stand in this time of almost universal apostasy.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1106.

8 To have the spiritual strength to endure unto eternal life, what do we need? Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 4:4.

Note. “Moses, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had said, ‘Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord’ [Deuteronomy 8:3]. … The rabbis themselves had a saying, that the eating of bread, in its spiritual significance, was the study of the law and the practice of good works; and it was often said that at the Messiah’s coming all Israel would be fed. The teaching of the prophets made plain the deep spiritual lesson in the miracle of the loaves. This lesson Christ was seeking to open to His hearers in the synagogue. Had they understood the Scriptures, they would have understood His words when He said, ‘I am the bread of life.’ Only the day before, the great multitude, when faint and weary, had been fed by the bread which He had given. As from that bread they had received physical strength and refreshment, so from Christ they might receive spiritual strength unto eternal life. ‘He that cometh to Me,’ He said, ‘shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ But He added, ‘Ye also have seen Me, and believe not’ [John 6:35, 36].” The Desire of Ages, 386.

9 Besides our personal devotions, how often should we pray? What does the Word of God reveal to us? Luke 18:1; Philippians 4:6, 7; Colossians 4:2.

Note. “Pray often to your heavenly Father. The oftener you engage in prayer, the closer your soul will be drawn into a sacred nearness to God. The Holy Spirit will make intercession for the sincere petitioner with groanings which cannot be uttered, and the heart will be softened and subdued by the love of God. The clouds and shadows which Satan casts about the soul will be dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and the chambers of mind and heart will be illuminated by the light of Heaven.” In Heavenly Places, 89.

“We need to pray without ceasing. Let the heart long after God. Let the heart go out in daily, hourly prayer, believing, trusting, holding on to the promise, saying as did Jacob, ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me’ (Genesis 32:26). ‘Hold up my goings in thy paths,’ O God, ‘that my footsteps slip not’ [Psalm 17:5] into the pitfalls which men have dug for my feet.” In Heavenly Places, 258.

10 What is the Word of God to you? Psalms 19:7–11; II Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17.

Note. “The Bible is the standard by which to test the claims of all who profess sanctification. … All whom God is leading will manifest a high regard for the Scriptures in which His voice is heard. The Bible will be to them ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works’ [11 Timothy 3:16, 17].” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1147.

“Daniel was a man of prayer, and God gave him wisdom and firmness to resist every influence that conspired to draw him into the snare of intemperance. Even in his youth he was a moral giant in the strength of the Mighty One.” My Life Today, 20.

Additional Reading

“Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when the heart is not cleansed. Let it be your prayer, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10. Deal truly with your own soul. Be as earnest, as persistent, as you would be if your mortal life were at stake. This is a matter to be settled between God and your own soul, settled for eternity. A supposed hope, and nothing more, will prove your ruin.” Steps to Christ, 35.

“How are the faithful servants of Christ employed? ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,’ praying in the closet, in the family, in the congregation, everywhere; ‘and watching thereunto with all perseverance’ [Ephesians 6:18]. They feel that souls are in peril, and with earnest, humble faith they plead the promises of God in their behalf. The ransom paid by Christ—the atonement on the cross—is ever before them. They will have souls as seals of their ministry.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 190.

“But the most enthusiastic zeal will accomplish nothing without the co-operation of God. Divine power must combine with human effort, and heart must meet heart as you intercede for the souls of men who are out of Christ. Deep, fervent piety at home, in the church, and in the neighborhood, will bring souls to behold wondrous things out of the law, and to see the glorious truth of Christ our righteousness.” The Review and Herald, August 13, 1889.

“Build a fortification of prayer and faith about your children, and exercise diligent watching thereunto. You are not secure a moment against the attacks of Satan. You have no time to rest from watchful, earnest labor. You should not sleep a moment at your post. This is a most important warfare. Eternal consequences are involved. It is life or death with you and your family. Your only safety is to break your hearts before God and seek the kingdom of heaven as little children. You cannot be victors in this warfare if you continue to pursue the course you have pursued. You are not very near the kingdom of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 397, 398.

Lesson Studies were prepared by Judy Hallingstad of the LandMarks staff. She can be contacted at .