Words are Like Kites

When I was young, my mother would tell me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” If only I had followed that advice throughout my life. There have been many times that I have spoken when I should have kept my mouth closed. The important thing to understand about what we say, as damaging as the words can be, is what is in the heart.

Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, 35: “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Clearly what comes out of our mouths is indicative of the condition of our hearts. Alarmingly, this also can be a strong indication of whether or not we are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Have you been driving down the road when suddenly someone cuts you off? What was your response? Driving is a very humbling experience for me, on a daily basis. There was a time when I lived about 30 miles from where I worked. The road I took home was a state highway, so the speed limit was 65. One day I was driving home, doing about 68, and a large pickup truck came up behind me, so close that all I could see in the rear view mirror was its front grill. He followed me that way for some time and then suddenly, like he’d been shot out of a cannon, he pulled around me, accelerated past me and then pulled right in front of me barely before he had cleared the front of my car. Then, just seconds after getting past me he abruptly slowed down to exit the highway. I slammed on the brakes, said some very colorful things and even wished some very uncharitable things about the driver. Immediately the thought came to me, Is this what Jesus would have done? Did my words and thoughts have any effect on that driver? No. Did they have an effect on me? Yes. Did the experience help me to change my behavior? I’d like to say yes, but the truth is, probably not. So, what does that say about my relationship with Christ?

“Shall we not remember this? If the love of God is in our hearts, we shall not think evil, we shall not be easily disturbed, we shall not give loose reign to passion, but we will show that we are yoked up with Christ, and that the restraining power of His Spirit leads us to speak words that He can approve. The yoke of Christ is the restraint of the Holy Spirit, and when we become heated by passion, let us say, No; I have Christ by my side, and I will not make Him ashamed of me by speaking hot, fiery words.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 146, 147

How many times have you had difficulty with someone at work or at home or at church and been able to keep your mouth shut at the moment. But later, after you stewed about it for a while, had plenty to say to someone else about what happened and more specifically about the person with whom you had the difficulty? Not only did your words bring more harm to yourself, but they also caused a problem for someone who wasn’t even involved. By this action you also have caused someone else to have ill feelings against another person and together you shared your misery and then perhaps shared it again with someone else and then another and another. Homes and churches have been divided and jobs have been lost because of careless words.

How many times has someone died and suddenly we hear how people really felt about them? Terrible words are spoken about the individual who now has no ability to defend himself/herself against those words. And what about the effect those words have on their family members? It may be that every word spoken is truth, but I just keep hearing the wise words of my mother, say something nice or don’t say anything. If we can speak terrible words about each other or someone who has died, what does that say about our relationship with Christ?

“There is often a great temptation to talk of things which do not profit the speaker or the hearer, but which bring evil and barrenness to both. Our probationary time is too brief to be spent in dwelling upon the shortcomings of others.

“The truly converted man has no inclination to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God’s witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. … Those only will enter heaven who have overcome the temptation to think and speak evil.” Ibid., 145

James 3:6–10 tells us, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

Years ago, Pastor Marshall Grosboll shared excerpts from “The First Settler’s Story,” written as a poem by Will Carleton and published in his book Farm Festivals in 1881. The story of a man and his young bride who went to settle in the western territory, the poem is written in the first-person perspective of the man and had to do, in part, with the man’s inability to control his impatience and his words toward his wife. Here are just a few passages from that poem:


“Well, neighborhoods meant counties, in those days;

The roads didn’t have accommodating ways;

And maybe weeks would pass before she’d see

And much less talk with anyone but me. …”

“And finally I thought that I could trace

A half heart-hunger peering from her face.

Then she would drive it back, and shut the door;

Of course that only made me see it more.

‘Twas hard to see her give her life to mine,

Making a steady effort not to pine;

‘Twas hard to hear that laugh bloom out each minute,

And recognize the seeds of sorrow in it.”


Time passed and the isolation, bad weather, failed crops, poverty and lack of almost everything began to take its toll.


“One night, I came from work unusual late,

Too hungry and too tired to feel first-rate,

Her supper struck me wrong (though I’ll allow

She hadn’t much to work with, anyhow);

And when I went to milk the cows, and found

They’d wandered from their usual feeding ground,

And maybe left a few long miles behind ‘em,

Which I must copy, if I meant to find ‘em;

Flash-quick the stay-chains of my temper broke,

And in a trice these hot words I had spoke:

‘You ought to’ve kept the animals in view,

And drove ‘em in; you’d nothing else to do.

The heft of all our life on me must fall;

You just lie around, and let me do it all.”


He knew right away he was in the wrong, but he was a proud man and he left the apology unsaid. With a quick good-bye the next morning, he left his young bride. But that afternoon, sensing a storm coming, he left work early and hurried home.


“Half out of breath, the cabin door I swung,

With tender heart-words trembling on my tongue;

But all looked desolate and bare;

My house had lost its soul – she was not there!

A penciled note was on the table spread,

And these are something like the words it said:

‘The cows have strayed away again, I fear;

I watched them pretty close; don’t scold me, dear.

And where they are, I think I nearly know;

I heard the bell not very long ago.

I’ve hunted them all afternoon;

I’ll try once more – I think I’ll find them soon.

Dear, if a burden I have been to you,

And haven’t helped as I ought to do,

Let old-time memories my forgiveness plead;

I’ve tried to do my best – I have, indeed.

Darling, piece out with love the strength I lack,

And have kind words for me when I get back.’ ”


As he finished reading her note, the storm swept in. Once the storm had ended, he and his dog went in search of his wife.

“All night we dragged the woods without avail;

The ground got drenched – we could not keep the trail.

Three times again my cabin home I found,

Half hoping she might be there, safe and sound;

But each time ‘twas an unavailing care:

My house had lost its soul; she was not there!

When climbing the wet trees, next morning sun

Laughed at the ruin that the night had done,

Bleeding and drenched – by toil and sorrow bent –

Back to what used to be my home I went.

But, as I neared our little clearing-ground

Listen! I heard the cowbell’s tinkling sound;

The cabin door was just a bit ajar;

It gleamed upon my glad eyes like a star!

‘Brave heart,’ I said, ‘for such a fragile form!

She made them guide her homeward through the storm!’

Such pangs of joy I never felt before

‘You’ve come!’ I shouted, and rushed through the door.

“Yes, she had come – and gone again. She lay

With all her young life crushed and wrenched away –

Lay the heart-ruins of home among

Not far from where I killed her with my tongue.

The rain drops glittered mid her hairs’ long strands,

The forest thorns had torn her feet and hands,

And midst the tears – brave tears – that one could trace

Upon the pale but sweetly resolute face,

I once again the mournful words could read –

‘I’ve tried to do my best – I have indeed!’ …

“Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds;

You can’t do that when you’re flying words.

‘Careful with fire,’ is good advice, we know:

‘Careful with words,’ is ten times doubly so.

Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead;

But God Himself can’t kill them once they’re said.”

I have remembered that last verse of the poem for at least 30 years now. Each time I have heard it or read it, it has brought me to tears, even now writing it in this article. And yet, I still struggle myself with impatience and my words. And with every thoughtless, angry, and unkind word spoken, I am reminded of the question: What does it say about my relationship with Jesus Christ?

“God desires your words to be life-giving. Not a word of irritation is to be spoken. However provoked you may feel, keep back every word that would stir up the evil in another heart. … Let every word you speak bless and elevate.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 144, 145

“The love of God in the heart will always lead us to speak gentle words. ‘Charity (love) suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.’ ” Ibid., 146

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23

Friends, let us all remember that our mouths only speak what is in our hearts. If we have not surrendered ourselves to the in-working of the Holy Spirit, then there will be no change and we will continue to speak evil. We must cry out to the Lord, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

“As God works upon the heart by His Holy Spirit, man must cooperate with Him. The thoughts must be bound about, restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean, if the words of the mouth are to be words acceptable to heaven, and helpful to your associates. … ‘For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ ” The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888

[All emphasis supplied]

Judy Rebarchek is a member of the LandMarks team. She can be contacted at: judyrebarchek@stepstolife.org

Editorial – The Inheritance We Are Preparing For

“In imagination I gathered with the saints around the wide-spreading tree of life. Friends and dear home relatives who had been separated from us by death were gathered there. The redeemed, white-robed multitude, who had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, were there. No flaming guard stood around the tree of life, barring our approach. With happy, joyous songs of praise, the voices were blended in perfect harmony as we plucked of the fruit from the tree of life.

“I seemed to be there where all was peace, where no stormy conflicts of earth could ever come—heaven, a kingdom of righteousness where all the holy and pure and blest are congregated, ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, living and walking in happy, pure intimacy, praising God and the Lamb who sitteth on the throne.

“Their voices were in perfect harmony. They never do each other wrong. Princes of heaven, the potentates of this mighty realm, are rivals only in good, seeking the happiness and joy of each other. The greatest there is least in self-esteem, and the least is greatest in his gratitude and wealth of love.

“There are no dark errors to cloud the intellect. Truth and knowledge, clear, strong, and perfect, have chased every doubt away, and no gloom of doubt casts its baleful shadow upon its happy inhabitants. No voices of contention mar the sweet and perfect peace of heaven. Its inhabitants know no sorrow, no grief, no tears. All is in perfect harmony, in perfect order and perfect bliss.

“The Great Shepherd was leading His flock to living fountains of water and to green pastures, new and delightful scenery opening continually before His people. Heaven, sweet heaven, the saints’ eternal home, the abode for the toilers, where the weary who have borne the heavy burdens through life find rest, peace, and joy! They sowed in tears, they reap with joy and triumph. Heaven is a home where sympathy is alive in every heart, expressed in every look. Love reigns there. There are no jarring elements, no discord or contentions or war of words.

“With our deepest study and our broadest experience we shall never be able to describe heaven or our senses to comprehend it. All that is pure, all that is excellent and lovely is there. The possession of heaven is endless bliss, infinite glory, riches, and knowledge. The character of heaven is perfect love, holiness, peace. We know these things now only in part. ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’ 1 Corinthians 2:9. It is the discipline imposed upon us all to walk by faith and not by sight.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 104, 105.

“Remember that if you speak cross words to fellow church members, you would speak the same kind of words in heaven, were you permitted to enter there. But you never will be unless you change.” General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.

“No unpleasant words are spoken in heaven. There no unkind thoughts are cherished. There envy, evil surmising, hatred, and strife find no place. Perfect harmony pervades the heavenly courts.” Upward Look, 163.

“(John 14:15, 21, 23, 24 quoted.) Here are the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eternal life. Your obedience to God’s commandments will prove your right to an inheritance with the saints in light. God has elected a certain excellence of character; and every one who, through the grace of Christ, shall reach the standard of His requirement, will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of glory. All, who would reach this standard of character, will have to employ the means that God has provided to this end. If you would inherit the rest that remaineth for the children of God, you must become a co-laborer with God. You are elected to wear the yoke of Christ,—to bear His burden, to lift His cross. You are to be diligent ‘to make your calling and election sure.’ 2 Peter 1:10.”  Christian Education, 118.

“Both you and ourselves fully believe that holiness of life is necessary to fit us for the inheritance of saints in light.” Review and Herald, June 6, 1878.

“Those who have been tested and proved on this matter of loving others as themselves, will be pronounced meet for an inheritance with the saints in light.” Signs of the Times, July 2, 1894.

“By looking unto Jesus, by talking with Jesus, by fashioning the life after Christ’s example, they become meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, for our taste is perfected for the purity of heaven.” Signs of the Times, September 5, 1895.

“This present life is only our training-school. Here we are to be purified that at Christ’s coming we may be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,—prepared to receive the inheritance of the saints in light.” Signs of the Times, July 17, 1901.

Arise, Shine, Part I

Jesus is about to come, brothers and sisters, and things are not about to slow down; they are about to pick up. I want you to know, this is it! There is not going to be another church raised up to do what God has called this one to do. Some of the senior citizens in this church are being kept alive for the sole purpose of being able to tell the young people, the young preachers, “That is not right! Do not start conforming to the new groove.” Sometimes it becomes difficult when people start telling you, “You are old,” but your voice is needed, because hopefully, before our young adults and young people have their eyes completely gouged out, they will plead to lean on the pillars and be taught what is true Adventism.

Giving the Cry

Right now Jesus is sifting this church, and He is preparing a people to go out and give the final Loud Cry of the Fourth Angel’s Message of Revelation 18, “Come out of her, my people!!” This coming out is a physical coming out of a body of darkness. Many people are not in Babylon physically but their mind set is Babylonian. This is why God has to carefully start moving through His church to find those who really love those things that are true and honest and just and lovely and of a good report with virtue in them. He is looking for those who really appreciate the truth.

“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Ezekiel 9:1–8.

The Final Rebellion of God’s People

Here Ezekiel gives a picture of what transpires during the process of the closing of probation. This particular angel starts sealing God’s people on their forehead, and we understand that the sealing is a settling into truth; it is a process. What brings about this attitude of God where His glory, or His Spirit, leaves the church and comes up and gives this final command to the people?

It is important that we understand what brought this about so that we can really know and identify where we are today. This was brought about by a final rebellion of God’s people. The sins of God’s church had become so prevalent; the church had become so corrupt, and we are not talking about the people—God first looks at the pastors and the clergy, the leadership. In Ezekiel 8, we are told He came down, grabbed Ezekiel by a lock of his hair, lifted him up and suspended him between heaven and earth. And He said, “Look Ezekiel, I want you to see the people in My house, in My church, the way I see them. I do not want you to see them in the pews on Sabbath; I do not want you to see them so courteous; I want you to look at them when no one else is looking and see what is really taking place. Look into the hearts of the people.”

When Ezekiel looked he saw all types of filthy abominations. Ezekiel did not want to see this, because he loved the people of God. He started weeping, and God said, “No, Ezekiel, I want you to look further.” He looked further, and it got worse. God said, “No, Ezekiel, do not stop there; I want you to look even further.” Ezekiel looked further, and it got even more horrible! When he thought that it could not get any worse, the Bible says, “Ezekiel, No, I need you to take a deep look to see what my leadership is doing, to see what is really happening.” You see, we cannot put these people off on somebody else, these were Seventh-day Adventists of that day. These were God’s remnant people, the chosen vehicle to take a peculiar message to the world.

Is Your Back Turned?

“Look, Ezekiel, look at what they are doing!” All this time the glory of God was still in the church, still trying to war with the church and wrestle with them, but now it is time to make a separation. What happened to cause God to remove His glory? Notice what it says in Ezekiel 8:16, “And He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” They had started treating not only the Sabbath like a regular day, but they turned their backs on the true God and started worshiping the sun.

My question is, Do you think that our church is in a condition where they really believe God? Two years ago, the pope was not playing games when he wrote that letter calling on a national day of worship, saying that we need to restore the sacredness of the Sabbath, and he went on to call Sunday the Sabbath! The world is turning her back on God, and let me tell you something, brothers and sisters, we are relaxed; we are not crying out! That means our backs are turned, too!

When they chose to start worshiping this sun-god, Jesus said, “It is time! Go and seal my people.”

“What is the hurry?” asked the angel with the inkhorn. He said, “If you do not hurry, even the very elect will be lost!”

Sin is about to overwhelm this world like we have never seen it before, and if you are not preparing to be sealed, you are preparing to be seared.

Business as Usual is Folly

Let me tell you something—Jesus started to come! He started to come, but His coming was interrupted. As a matter of fact, it is put this way in Revelation 7—to be relaxed in a crisis situation is to be out of your mind! It is a state of unbelief that will cause you to be lost. To be able to continue business as usual and be caught up with the folly and concerns of this world, rather than trembling before the altar of God, making sure your life is right, is sure death.

There is an angel going around, and at any minute he could place a seal upon your forehead or withdraw his presence and go back to the Father and say, “All that we can do, they refuse!” Do you not know that every single day the angel is giving that solemn report? Every single day the angel is going to the throne room of God and saying, “Everything that heaven can appeal with has been used, and they refuse! They want to hang on to their infidelity. They want to hang on to their carnal security. They want to hang on to those things that must perish, and they find joy in it!”

This is where we are. Right now there are things that we find greater joy in than we do in the study of God’s Word and in the teaching of His Word. Those things are idols! Our young people are not prepared for a crisis. Mrs. White says normally the anticipation of trouble is greater than the reality, but not so here! This is not the case when it comes to what this world is about to go through. She says the most vivid presentation could not describe what we must go through as a people. (See The Great Controversy, 622.)

What are we ready for? Some of us cannot handle it if our lights are out for two days. If there is a heat wave coming through town and we have air conditioning, we still murmur and complain. With wonderful comforts in life we are complaining! We are not ready! We are not preparing our children to be ready. We are preparing to act just like the children acted when Jerusalem was besieged. Do you know what they were doing? They were eating their parents because there was no food. The parents had led them to be caught up in worldly things. Oh, they talked about God, but the child could see that it was not in their heart, and if you do not have heart religion, you are simply breathing out demonic influence.

Why do you think Jesus says, “Give me your heart,” not your mouth? Jesus says, “I want you to go and I want you to seal. I want you to set a mark upon the people that cry and sigh for the abominations that are done in the land.” They are not self-righteous; they are crying! They are agonizing in prayer! Their whole life is consumed with trying to bring people to Christ.

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and He cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1–3.

The Words were on His Tongue

Hurt not the earth! Ellen White says she saw this in vision; Jesus was about to turn; He was about to quote Revelation 22; it was on His tongue. Remember, brothers and sisters, the Word of God does not have to be acted on. Man’s word has to be acted on. If I say I would like you to have a handkerchief which I have, I have to walk over to you and give you the handkerchief. But when God says something, it is done. He does not have to move afterward. Jesus was about to say, “Let him that is filthy be filthy still; Let him that is unjust be unjust still; Let him that is righteous be righteous still; and he that is holy be holy still.” (See Revelation 22:11.) And upon Him saying it, it would have been done immediately! And Ellen White said when He turned to do it, He caught a glimpse of some people who, if they had a few more moments, would turn to God and be saved. She said immediately He started crying, ” My Blood, My blood, My Blood, Father!” And then another angel was dispatched and that angel said “Hold! Hold! Hold the winds!” (See Early Writings, 38.)

Now, brothers and sisters, we are told by that same divine inspiration that Jesus will not extend probation again. He will not do it! When Jesus says, “He that is unjust be unjust still,” you must be ready! You must be holy when He says that. Your life must be prepared. You must look radiant because probation is closing; it is closing on this earth. Jesus is about to step out of the Most Holy Place! We are hearing final cries, and they do not seem so urgent because we have weaned the Spirit of God, and we have become so light about God and holy things that we cannot hear the way we used to hear. It does not sound as clear.

Brothers and sisters, some of the things that we are participating in do not make any sense. Some of the things we put before God make no sense at all! Yet we are finding great pleasure. The tragedy is, the thought of God does not even come to our mind while we are doing it. We can sit down and watch two hours of TV without thinking of Jesus. We are engaged in some of the grossest sins, which are breaking the heart of Jesus, and the devil wants us to keep believing that time is going to just keep on going.

Periodically the California Highway Patrol sets up road blocks. You may just be driving down the street and see that everybody on that street has stopped, and when you stop, a couple of police officers pull up; one in back of you so you cannot turn around, and one in front of you so you cannot go forward. Then they start checking your car to make sure that it is up to code. When someone tells you, “Listen, if you go down 79th Street, the road block is up,” you are going to make sure you do not go that way if your car is not right.

God tells you that thousands of years ago an angel started coming with an inkhorn. You know that in 1844 he started sealing all the cases, and right now He is sealing people who may be reading this article. Even now probation could be closing on somebody reading this magazine. Right this minute!

Beyond the Time of Preparation

Notice what the Bible says in Daniel 12— often when we read this we think of preparation. We think that we have time, we think of it as a preparation stage. Now is the time that we need to BE prepared. We are beyond the time of preparation. Time is out! Every prophetic sign that Jesus said would take place prior to His coming has already taken place. Every sign! Not one is left, brothers and sisters, except the passing of a national worship day and the falling of the seven last plagues.

The book Evangelism says, when the law comes that makes man worship on a false day, and you know what I am talking about, at that time the commandment keeping people are going to be confronted first and instantly; probation is either going to close on you or you are going to have the final sealing. At that time you cannot shape character because you become afraid and emotional. Mrs. White describes these people; she says she saw many of them running without a shelter during the time of trouble. Why were they running? Because they believed they were all right with God. Why were they fleeing? Because they thought that last minute confession could change their character, but it would not change it.

God knew that the only reason why they were praying was because they knew that trouble was coming. Like Judas of old, who cast the coins down and confessed because he was afraid of his judgment not of what he had done. Here we are living in a time when we think we can get prepared. No! It is right now! Everyone should be prepared right this minute! Do you think you are ready for it?

An Overwhelming Surprise!

Mrs. White states that the church is not ready for what is to soon overtake us as an overwhelming surprise. An overwhelming surprise! That means you are not going to be ready. It is going to shock you. God is crying throughout the earth, “Get ready! Get ready! Get ready!” and you are worried about who is going to win some foolish NBA championship. God is not in that. God is not in it even when it is not on the Sabbath. The Spirit of Prophecy says that Satan invented sports to keep God’s people’s minds off of the Word. (See Review and Herald, June 13, 1907.)

Do you think that there is ever a time to lend your mind to an invention of Satan? I know, for some of you, that I just tore your god out of your heart. Let me tell you something; you are going to have to face it, because now, every time you watch sports, these thoughts are going to come to your mind, and the minute they stop is when God’s angel reports and says, “Nothing we do is going to arouse him.”

God has to get the earthliness out of us, brothers and sisters. That whole spirit of competition came from heaven,— Satan competing against Jesus. And he tells you, “Oh, good sportsmanship. It is okay to lose as long as you have a good attitude.” If you lose in this game of life, you pay with your soul and your attitude will not be good!

When it is Too Late

It is time for God’s remnant church to start looking different, talking different, and to have a different flavor about their whole lifestyle. Why? Because the Loud Cry must come from you! Yes, millions of people who love God are not Seventh-day Adventists. As a matter of fact, our prophet says the majority of God’s true people are not in the Seventh-day Adventist church. The majority! She says millions of Catholics are true, devout Christians, and they are going to hear the final cry and follow God with all their hearts. But the cry is going to come from those few who are sealed, and when that law is passed, brothers and sisters, the Latter Rain has already fallen because it is the message of righteousness by faith, a true indwelling of Christ that causes you to have the full power of the Holy Spirit and to radiate this message.

Millions are going to come out of those churches. They are going to stand on the side of the people of God, and then probation is going to close worldwide. When it closes worldwide, “…at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of Thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time Thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. [Or written to life.]” Daniel 12:1. In other words, when Michael stands up, that is it. The deliverance at that level is not deliverance out of sin, the deliverance at that level is deliverance off this earth.

That time of trouble—when the plagues start falling on this earth and eyes start coming out of their sockets because of the radiant heat of the sun; when blood is everywhere and there is no water to drink; millions are dying of scorching boils, blisters and thirst—men start cursing God. They curse God because the Holy Spirit has withdrawn Himself, and they are incapable of praising God now. You see, when Jesus stands up, that is a symbol of the close of probation.

Let me give you an example. Acts 7 was a symbol of the close of probation. One of the things that happens when someone is in negotiation is that they sit down at the table together, and Jesus is sitting down at the table right now, He is negotiating on your behalf. Satan is the prosecuting attorney, and he is desperately accusing, calling every sin, even sins you do not realize, to account. We start living carelessly, and we are sinning without even thinking about it, but Satan is taking strict account. If you think a video recorder can reproduce what we do, what do you think the devil, with his skills and powers, can do?

Satan has pled his case, and now Jesus gets to the point. He pleads His case and now He stands up. The negotiation is over. That is it. He has done all He can do; that is it. You who are unjust, you stay that way. You filthy? Stay filthy; you righteous, stay righteous; you holy, you stay that way. That could happen at any moment to any one of us, as well as to the whole world. When Michael stands up, probation closes!

To be continued…

Inspiration – . . .”Surface religion”—Will it Stand the Test?

“Keep your soul in the love of God, and make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Keep your taper kindled from the divine altar, and then let your light shine to others. Let your confidence be wholly in the Lord. Learn meekness and lowliness of heart. You need to put your entire trust in Jesus Christ. He is the only safe Teacher. The great question now is the salvation of the soul. If you walk with Christ, you learn wisdom by communion with him, as did Enoch.

“It is the privilege of every soul to reach the highest standard. Stop at no low standard in your experience. Beware of admitting any worldly or selfish motives whatever in the settlement of the great question between God and your soul. The Lord requires all that there is of you through constant improvement of every talent, that you may make a success in the formation of Christian character. By faith let the Holy Spirit instruct you, that you may not only receive but impart the heavenly grace.

“All is to be surrendered to Christ. There must be no reservation. God expects more of us than we give him. It is an insult to Jehovah to claim to be Christians and yet speak and act as worldlings. We cannot yield the smallest place to worldly policy. We need to be sanctified every hour through the belief of the truth. It is not safe for one day to neglect putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. We can make no compromise. We want not to make extra efforts for a more tasteful development of Christianity. We want Christ formed within, the hope of glory.

“Catch the divine rays of light from Christ, and you need not try to shine; for you will reflect His image, which is formed within. You cannot help shining. Others will see the Christ side of the character revealed. There is a great deal of rough work to do, but the grace of Christ will be revealed in spirit, in speech, in experience. The salvation of souls is the grand object to be kept before us, and mental and spiritual improvement will be seen in all our ways, habits, and practices. They will be fragrant with the atmosphere which surrounds Jesus Christ. We all have now, and ever have had, the sympathies of the divine intelligences. Heavenly beings cooperate with us in the battle as we advance against fallen angels and fallen men to press the battle into new territories, even where Satan’s seat is.

“Young men who have little experience in the self-denial that Christ practiced, will be constantly urging the necessity of a more tasteful development of Christianity than we are wont to meet with, even among those who have long known the truth. I agree that there is need of sanctified refinement. There is need of an emptying of self and an opening of the heart to an abiding Christ. But my heart has been much pained by the introduction among us of certain forms that ape worldly customs and fashions. In connection with the most precious sentiments of truth there is brought in an outside polish, a regard for that which is called taste, which has little of the true element which works by love and sanctifies the soul. That quality of refinement which is but an outside polish and which is esteemed by the world is of little value with God. In everyday life we must have an abiding Christ, who is working constantly to conform all our attributes to the image of the divine.

“That surface religion talked of so glibly by the tongue that prates of the beautiful, I have learned the value of to my sorrow. Many who with flippant words are ever ready to speak of elevation and refinement do not act as though they had any practical knowledge of that which their tongues express. Their poetical religion is not the religion that will stand test and trial. I have learned to my sorrow that they have little respect for true Christ-like piety, little desire for the sanctification of the Spirit of God unto true holiness. To exalt a theory which will exalt self is their great ambition. To conform to the divine plan does not suit their frothy ideas.

“O what deceptions are upon those who are looking for the beautiful and poetic in their speculations. They hear not the voice of the One who gave His life to self-denial, to humiliation, to suffering and a cruel, ignominious death to make it possible for human beings to keep the Law of God. They can do this only by heeding the invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light’ (Matthew 11:29, 30). These are the lessons the great Teacher has given us. We are to take His yoke of submission, restraint, and obedience, in meekness and lowliness of heart. Those who yoke up with Christ will find rest and peace.

“Exhibitions of self, strife for the supremacy, putting the false in the place of the true, will be developed in a certain class. In theory they represent the God of the beautiful, the divine author of the material world. They observe the beautiful representations in His operations and plans, and they weave into poems a sentimentalism that tells for nothing in making their

own character-building symmetrical. Their work is not in harmony with the plan of God for fitting men to unite with the angelic family and to become children of the heavenly King. All these soaring ideas God counts as nothingness. There is a supposed inspiration which is modified by hereditary taste and by education and temperament.

“Let us hear what Christ has to say. ‘Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’ (Mark 8:24). To follow in the footsteps of Christ is to practice true godliness. All who are partakers with Christ of His humiliation and self-sacrifice will be constantly learning how to lay upon the foundation stone gold, silver, precious stones, not the material represented as wood, hay, and stubble, which will perish in the fire of the last days. We want true sanctification, true wholeness to God. We would not encourage the soaring element in the make up of character, but we would encourage true solidity. What is the chaff to the wheat? The world is not to be saved through the divine songs and melodies of even the angelic host in heaven. These angels have their appointed work to do on earth. They find a world in gross darkness as to what constitutes sin, which is the transgression of the law of God. Darkness, vice, deception, prevarication, dishonesty, exist among those who profess godliness. And there is a call made, ‘Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, . . . as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God’ (Isaiah 58:1).

“What have God’s people to learn? ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God’ (1 Peter 5:6). ‘Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded’ (James 4:8). There is work, solid work, to be done for every soul that shall stand in the great day of the Lord. ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“The one in whose heart the grace of Christ abides is daily undergoing a transformation of character. He is preparing for the higher school, where all characters blend in a perfect whole. The divine harmonies of the heavenly intelligences would be out of place in the world. They would not be understood. For the world knoweth not God nor Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. Sin and violence are in the land. In transgression of the Law of God, fallen men with their sinful tempers, appetites, tastes, and attributes have arrayed themselves in hostility to God. They resemble the inhabitants of the Noachian world.

“He who would be an effective co-worker with God in His broad vineyard must do most diligent, earnest, hard work; he must meet the people where they are. If they will not come to the gospel feast to which the call of Christ invites them, then God’s messengers must accommodate themselves to the circumstances, and bear the message to them in house to house labor, thus extending their ministry to the highways and by ways, giving the last message to the world.–Letter 164, 1899. (To Edson and Emma White, October 20, 1899.)”

Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 10-13.

Released May 20, 1977.

Bible Study Guides – Growing Up Into Christ

February 10-16, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 67–75.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,—all depend upon our union with Christ.” Steps to Christ, 69.

INTRODUCTION: “God designs that Christians shall grow continually, grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ. All who do not grow stronger, and become more firmly rooted and grounded in the truth, are continually retrograding.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 556.

Abiding in Christ

1 What does Jesus say we can produce if we abide in Him and He in us? John 15:4, 5.

NOTE: “‘I am the vine, ye are the branches.’ Can we conceive of a more intimate relation to Christ than this? The fibers of the branch are almost identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branch. Such is the true believer’s relation to Christ. He abides in Christ, and draws his nourishment from Him. This spiritual relation can be established only by the exercise of personal faith. This faith must express on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration.” My Life Today, 11. See also Acts of the Apostles, 284.

2 How may we abide in the love of Jesus? John 15:10.

NOTE: “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

“By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, He has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the helps that God has provided—believe and obey all the divine requirements.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 279.

Our Thoughts

3 What must we experience, if we are going to resist every imagination? 2 Corinthians 10:5, last part.

NOTE: “Few realize that it is a duty to exercise control over the thoughts and imaginations. It is difficult to keep the undisciplined mind fixed upon profitable subjects. But if the thoughts are not properly employed, religion cannot flourish in the soul. The mind must be preoccupied with sacred and eternal things, or it will cherish trifling and superficial thoughts. Both the intellectual and the moral powers must be disciplined, and they will strengthen and improve by exercise.…It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest effort on our part, that we can gain the victory.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 544. See also The Ministry of Healing, 491.

4 Upon what six things does Paul admonish us to think? Phillipians 4:8.

NOTE: “The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, the imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God. The thoughts must be bound about, restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean.…The noble powers of the mind have been given to us by the Lord, that we may employ them in contemplating heavenly things. God has made abundant provision that the soul may make continual progression in the divine life.…” Sons and Daughters of God, 107.

Growing in Christ

5 With what does the Bible tell us our knowledge of Jesus must be connected, for us to grow in our Christian experience? 2 Peter 3:18.

NOTE: “It is the Lord’s desire that His followers shall grow in grace, that their love shall abound more and more, that they shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God.…Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace.…There is no point to which we can come and say we have fully attained.…How is it possible that we may grow in grace?
It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be molded after the divine Pattern.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 947. See also Steps to Christ, 68.

6 What is the only spiritual food that God has provided for us whereby we are enabled to grow up into the stature of Christ? Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2.

NOTE: “We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need.…In this communion with Christ, through prayer and the study of the great and precious truths of His word, we shall as hungry souls be fed; as those that thirst, we shall be refreshed at the fountain of life.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 112, 113. See also The Desire of Ages, 390.

Our Words

7 If we are to be ministers of God’s grace, what avenue of the body must we guard? Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6.

NOTE: “Where the heart is purified and refined, and made fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the tongue will be sanctified to the glory of God.…You can surround your souls with an atmosphere that will be like breezes from the heavenly Eden. Open your heart to the Lord Jesus. Guard your tongue. Let not your tongue run at random in jesting and joking. These are signs that your heart needs to be cleansed from its defilement.…Our words index the state of our heart; and whether men talk much or little, their words express the character of their thoughts. A man’s character may be quite accurately estimated by the nature of his conversation. Sound, truthful words have the right ring in them.” Sons and Daughters of God, 180. See also The Desire of Ages, 323.

8 Jesus reveals the importance of our words in the context of what event? Matthew 12:36, 37.

NOTE: “Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. As the features of the countenance are reproduced with unerring accuracy on the polished plate of the artist, so the character is faithfully delineated in the books above. Yet how little solicitude is felt concerning that record which is to meet the gaze of heavenly beings. Could the veil which separates the visible from the invisible world be swept back, and the children of men behold an angel recording every word and deed, which they must meet again in the judgment, how many words that are daily uttered would remain unspoken, how many deeds would remain undone.” The Great Controversy, 486, 487. See also Testimonies to Ministers, 224.

Walking with Christ

9 What does John say we ought to be doing, if we are abiding in Christ? 1 John 2:6.

NOTE: “Our Lord and Saviour laid aside His dominion, His riches and glory, and sought after us, that He might save us from misery and make us like Himself. He humbled Himself and took our nature that we might be able to learn of Him and, imitating His life of benevolence and self-denial, follow Him step by step to heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 170.

“Christ came to do His Father’s will. Are we following in His steps? All who have named the name of Christ should be constantly seeking for a more intimate acquaintance with Him, that they may walk even as He walked, and do the works of Christ. We should appropriate the lessons of His life to our lives.” Ibid., vol. 3, 538.

“Those who walk even as Christ walked, who are patient, gentle, kind, meek and lowly in heart, those who yoke up with Christ and lift His burdens, who yearn for souls as He yearned for them—these will enter into the joy of their Lord.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 949.

10 What two things are necessary for us to experience before we can truly walk with Christ? 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.

“God desires His people to place themselves in right relation to Him, that they may understand what He requires of them above all things else. They are to reveal to every struggling soul in the world what it means ‘to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly’ with their God.” Testimonies to Ministers, 458, 459.

Our Habits

11 What habit are we told Jesus formed at an early age? Isaiah 7:14, 15.

NOTE: “At a very early age, Jesus had begun to act for Himself in the formation of His character, and not even respect and love for His parents could turn Him from obedience to God’s word. ‘It is written’ was His reason for every act that varied from the family customs.’” The Desire of Ages, 86.

“‘He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.’ By unfaithfulness in even the smallest duties, man robs his Maker of the service which is His due. This unfaithfulness reacts upon himself. He fails of gaining the grace, the power, the force of character, which may be received through an unreserved surrender to God. Living apart from Christ he is subject to Satan’s temptations, and he makes mistakes in his work for the Master. Because he is not guided by right principles in little things, he fails to obey God in the great matters which he regards as his special work. The defects cherished in dealing with life’s minor details pass into more important affairs. He acts on the principles to which he has accustomed himself. Thus actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by the character our destiny for time and for eternity is decided.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 356.

“The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. It presents a lesson for all, and especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of God is beneficial to the health of body and mind. In order to reach the highest standard of moral and intellectual attainments, it is necessary to seek wisdom and strength from God and to observe strict temperance in all the habits of life.” My Life Today, 254.

12 What does God say He will eventually do with all our thoughts, words and habits? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.

NOTE: “We shall be individually, for time and eternity, what our habits make us. The lives of those who form right habits, and are faithful in the performance of every duty, will be as shining lights, shedding bright beams upon the pathway of others; but if habits of unfaithfulness are indulged, if lax, indolent, neglectful habits are allowed to strengthen, a cloud darker than midnight will settle on the prospects in this life and forever debar the individual from the future life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 452.

By Craig Meeker

Inspiration – Conversation, Part II

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13–16.

“The apostle Peter here gives instruction for believers to gird up the loins of their minds. We are to have special care over the thoughts of the mind. We are not to allow our minds to be diverted and allured by different things, because there is something more important for us. If we would allow the mind to take its natural turn, it might dwell upon unimportant things and we receive no benefit thereby.

“Here is presented before us the one great event—the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when the graves are to be opened and the dead be raised, and we are to be changed. This event should fill our mind and crowd out everything else. We want to make the most of the privileges and opportunities we have to prepare for the future immortal life.

“The truth of God has taken us out of the quarry of the world to fit us up for the heavenly temple of God. We may look upon one another and think, ‘There is a great work to be done for that brother and for that sister,’ but we may not take into consideration the work that is to be done for ourselves. And if Satan can get in among the people [and produce] a spirit of criticism, then he is satisfied, for a root of bitterness springs up in these [members] wherewith he will be satisfied. We are not all of the same character, but we are brought together in church capacity and we count ourselves as children of God, and we talk of having a home in the city of God.

“Our faith is that if we perfect a Christian character we shall be numbered as the family of God in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. Now, our heavenly father brings us together in church capacity that we may gain in knowledge and be fitting up for the community of heaven. ‘Well,’ some may say, ‘All I want is that everyone should see eye to eye.’ But there are those who want everyone to see just as they do. They do not consider that they have traits of character that must be changed. Then, what is the work before us in order to be ready to be among those who are waiting for their Lord to come in the clouds of heaven? It is for us to be in a position of humility before God. ‘Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

“The Lord has not placed before one individual the trade of becoming a church tinker, but we want individually to feel that we have a responsibility before God to be a blessing to everyone with whom we associate. And we are to consider that every brother and sister is the purchase of the blood of Christ. Here we are, living stones out of the quarry, and we are to be chiseled and fitted for the new Jerusalem. Do not let any of us think that we are all right. As soon as we are taken out of the quarry, we have a work to do for ourselves. ‘The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,’ and we want to be considering those things that will give us solidity of character. We do not want to have a high estimate of ourselves, but we want to esteem others better than ourselves. We want that our souls shall be uplifted to God every moment for help, for fear we shall fall. And while some are so diligent to look after others, they will forget the work there is for their own soul.

“We are to heed the exhortation of the apostle, that we are to be holy in all manner of conversation. And as we separate those things from us which will be a hindrance to our advancement, the Holy Spirit will come in. We want to be filled with the spirit of Jesus, and if you are not closely connected with Christ, then the thoughts of your mind will be upon unimportant things; but if you are connected with Jesus, you will just as surely be a channel of light as Jesus is light, for Jesus has said to His followers, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’

“Now, we are by living faith to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith. ‘As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.’

“Before we become acquainted with Jesus, the conversation is upon the dress, and what shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and what shall we wear? And we find fault with one another. But as soon as we become acquainted with Christ, our conversation changes.

“Here we are, objects of His love. Has the change taken place in us? Namely, have we passed from death unto life? Have we died indeed to self? Have we fastened our hearts and affections upon the great God? He is all light and power.

“Every provision has been made for us that can be made by our precious Saviour, that we may have that abundant grace so that we may overcome every defect in our character. And we cannot afford to satisfy ourselves in this life, but we want the fullness that is in Jesus, and we must train ourselves to talk of those things which will bring to us peace and light. As we have our conversation upon heaven and heavenly things, the angels of God are all around us; and when we are, in our thoughts and with our hearts, drawing near to God, then He is drawing nigh to us. His love is in our hearts, and then we speak it from our lips.

“It is not only our duty to train our minds upon heavenly things, but we are to talk of these things, for it is our duty to bind about our mind, to gird up the loins of our mind, and say, ‘I will not think of these things.’ Then it is our duty to guard our conversation.

“We would think, from the shadow that many walk in, that they had no Saviour. But I want to speak to those, and say ‘Christ is risen! He is not in Joseph’s new tomb, but He has arisen and has ascended up on high to make intercession for us!’ We have a risen Saviour interceding for us, and we must walk in harmony with God. He is seeking to ‘purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ If we seek with all our hearts to be obedient children, conforming our will to the will of God, then the work can go forward in us without interruption. Let us not forget for one moment that we are living for the future immortal life, and let us put away from us everything like complaint and faultfinding. Let our words, our conversation, reveal to the world that we have a hope that is big with immortality.

“We want that His will shall be our will. We do not want that our will shall be such that it will control all that around us.…

“God wants us to go through the mill. Here this man’s sharp character must be burnished off, and here is one who has taken hold of the truth who has always been coarse in his conversation, and he must overcome that. This is the very thing the apostle means when he says, ‘You must overcome in order to have a home in heaven.’ Jesus must be in my whole work to transform my character. We must accept the truth as it is in Jesus, and then how kind will we be to one another, how courteous, for this was the work of my Master. We shall see the precious mold of Jesus upon the character, and when we learn the precious lessons He has for us to learn, we will be like Jesus. ‘Come unto Me,’ says He, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’

“Here you are with your variances and differences. Now, ‘Come to Me,’ says He, ‘and learn of Me.’…”

Sermons and Talks, Book 1, 40–43.

What Does Soul-Saving Mean?

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

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

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

Individual Accountability

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

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

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

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

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

Love for Self

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

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

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

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

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

A Saving Silent Influence

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

1 Thessalonians 1:7, 8.

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

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

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

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

Influence by Example

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

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

Influenced by our Atmosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Words

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

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

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

Help Others

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

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

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

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

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

Speak the Truth

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

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

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

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

Relieve Suffering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Pen of Inspiration – Examine Yourselves

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” [2 Corinthians 13:5.] Closely criticize the temper, the disposition, the thoughts, words, inclinations, purposes, and deeds. How can we ask intelligently for the things we need unless we prove by the Scriptures the condition of our spiritual health?

Many in their religious life are making crooked paths for their feet. Their prayers are offered in a loose, haphazard manner. He who is placed in a position of responsibility should remember that of himself he is not able to do that which is required of him. Every day he should remember that he is a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.

No one is to wait to be borne to fields of labor and provided with costly facilities for doing good. He who serves must cheerfully take up his work, however humble it is, and wherever he may be placed. Christ, our example in all things, was poor, that through His poverty He might make many rich.

Serving in Meekness

He whose heart is filled with the grace of God and love for his perishing fellow men will find opportunity, wherever he may be placed, to speak a word in season to those who are weary. Christians are to work for their Master in meekness and lowliness, holding fast to their integrity amid the noise and bustle of life.

God calls upon men to serve Him in every transaction of life. Business is a snare when the law of God is not made the law of the daily life. He who has anything to do with the Master’s work is to maintain unswerving integrity. In all business transactions, as verily as when on bended knees he seeks help from on high, God’s will is to be his will. He is to keep the Lord ever before him, constantly studying the subjects about which the Holy Word speaks. Thus, though living amid that which would debase a man of lax principles, the man of piety and stern integrity preserves his Christianity.

The world is no more favorable today for the development of Christian character than in Noah’s day. Then wickedness was so widespread that God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. . . . Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” [Genesis 6:7–9.] Yes, amid the corruption of that degenerate age, Noah was a pleasure to his Creator.

We are living in the last days of this earth’s history, in an age of sin and corruption, and like Noah we are to so live that we shall be a pleasure to God, showing forth the praises of Him “who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] In the prayer which Christ offered to His Father just before His crucifixion, He said, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” [John 17:15.]

The Highest Service

When men and women have formed characters which God can endorse, when their self-denial and self-sacrifice have been fully made, when they are ready for the final test, ready to be introduced into God’s family, what service will stand highest in the estimation of Him who gave Himself a willing offering to save a guilty race? What enterprise will be most dear to the heart of infinite love? What work will bring the greatest satisfaction and joy to the Father and the Son?—The salvation of perishing souls. Christ died to bring to men the saving power of the gospel. Those who co-operate with Him in carrying forward His great enterprise of mercy, laboring with all the strength God has given them to save those nigh and afar off, will share in the joy of the Redeemer when the redeemed host stand around the throne of God.

God has entrusted means and capabilities to His servants for the doing of a work far higher than that which today He looks upon. . . .

“There is a fearful misconception of the claims of duty. The frosty atmosphere in which believers are content to live retards the self-sacrificing movements which should be made to warn the world and save souls. . . .”

Our Responsibilities

The Laodicean message is applicable to the church at this time. Do you believe this message? Have you hearts that feel? Or are you constantly saying, We are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing? Is it in vain that the declaration of eternal truth has been given to this nation to be carried to all the nations of the world? God has chosen a people and made them the repositories of truth weighty with eternal results. To them has been given the light that must illuminate the world. Has God made a mistake? Are we indeed His chosen instrumentalities? Are we the men and women who are to bear to the world the messages of Revelation fourteen, to proclaim the message of salvation to those who are standing on the brink of ruin? Do we act as if we were? . . .

A Great Awakening

“He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” [1 John 2:4.] A great awakening must come to the church. If we only knew, if we only understood, how quickly the spirit of the message would go from church to church. How willingly would the possessions of believers be given to support the work of God. God calls upon us to pray and watch unto prayer. Cleanse your homes of the picture-idols which have consumed the money that ought to have flowed into the Lord’s treasury. The light must go forth as a lamp that burneth. Those who bear the message to the world should seek the Lord earnestly, that His Holy Spirit may be abundantly showered upon them. You have no time to lose. Pray for the power of God, that you may work with success for those nigh and afar off.

Warnings to Be Given

We must have genuine faith. As yet we scarcely grasp the reality of the truth. We only half believe the Word of God. A man will act out all the faith he has. Notwithstanding that the signs of the times are fulfilling all over the world, faith in the Lord’s coming has been growing feeble. Clear, distinct, certain, the warnings are to be given. At the peril of our souls we are to learn the prescribed conditions under which we are to work out our own salvation, remembering that it is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

It will not do for us to float along with the current, guided by tradition and presumptuous fallacies. We are called laborers together with God. Then let us arise and shine. There is no time to spend in controversy. Those who have a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus must now become one in heart and purpose. All differences must be swept away. The members of the church must work unitedly under the great Head of the church.

Arise, Shine

Let those who have a knowledge of the truth arise and shine. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” [Isaiah 58:1.] No longer mutilate the truth. Let the soul cry out for the living God. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils. [Isaiah 2:22.] The Comforter will come to you, if you will open the door to Him. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.” —Manuscript 51, 1901.

Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library, vol. 1, 33–35.

Children’s Story – Too Many Feathers

There was once a man who had come to realize he had done some really wrong things—he had told lies about people. He had exaggerated stories about individuals. The stories had started out as true, but he had twisted the truth. He now felt sorry and wanted to have his sins forgiven, but he did not know the real way to have his sins forgiven. All he knew was to go to his priest for forgiveness. He did not realize that only God can forgive sins. (Mark 2:7.) If we are truly sorry, God will forgive us, but we must put things right as far as we are able to do so.

Well, the man went to his priest to ask what he should do. It was in the afternoon when he visited the priest, and the priest listened to his sorry tale and was silent for a moment. Then the priest told him what he should do. He should get a large bag of feathers (duck and chicken feathers would be fine). He was told to then take this bag with him late in the evening as he walked through town, and scatter handfuls of feathers along the streets, in the alleyways, and everywhere, until all the feathers were gone.

The man did just that, and he had a fine time! He really enjoyed scattering the feathers. Some of the feathers were carried by the wind up and over the rooftops. Some of the feathers went under cars parked in the street, and when the cars were driven away, the feathers went a long way with the cars before finally dropping to the ground. A few of the feathers were collected by children the next day and taken with them in their pockets, forgotten about until a long time later. Feathers went far and wide—carried by the wind, by little children, by vehicles . . . they just went everywhere.

The man had really enjoyed himself and eagerly went back to the priest to learn what he had to do next, for the priest had told him he had to do two things. He had done the first thing when he scattered the feathers. What would be the next thing for him to do?

Upon seeing him, the priest inquired, “How did the scattering of the feathers go?” He was pleased to know that the man had no more feathers left. “The next thing,” the priest told the man, “is to take the empty bag and this evening collect all the feathers.” Every feather had to be collected!

The man was aghast! He could not collect all the feathers. They had gone everywhere. It would be years before he could ever collect them all!

The priest looked at the dismayed man and said, “Just as your feathers have gone everywhere and cannot be collected up, so have your words gone everywhere with this and that person, and they cannot be reversed—they cannot be taken back.” The man went away sorrowful—to remember feathers every time he spoke.

“By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37. “Let your words be life-giving, pointing those around you to the Saviour. Let them bring sunshine instead of gloom, harmony instead of animosity. Say nothing that you would not be willing to say in the presence of Jesus and the angels. Utter no word that will stir up strife in another heart. However provoked you may feel, restrain the hasty word.” Our High Calling, 291.

The Power of Speech, Part V

[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]

In the previous segment of this series, the first eight points of “The Evil Report” were given. In summary, they are:

1 What should we do if someone has wronged us?

2 Whose name are we pledged to protect?

3 What created the frenzy that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus?

4 What feelings are we not to allow to arise?

5 What is our moral obligation in regard to our countenance?

6 What are we to do with any evil report that we hear?

7 What other words and actions are a breaking of God’s Law?

8 What underhanded method will Satan use to destroy God’s people?

We continue now with Points 9-18:

9 What is another way that we break the Law of God in our speech about another?

“To speak evil of another secretly, leaving the one accused in ignorance of the wrong attributed to him, is an offense in the sight of God. Let those who have been drawn into this work repent before God, confess their sin, and then nourish the tender plant of love. Cultivate the graces of the spirit, cultivate tenderness, compassion for one another, and do not longer work on the enemy’s side of the question.” The Home Missionary, January 1, 1892.

10 Before we believe any evil report, what should we do?

“Before giving credence to an evil report, we should go to the one reported to be in error, and ask, with all the tenderness of a Christian, if these statements are true. A few words spoken in brotherly kindness may show the inquirer that the reports were wholly without foundation, or that the evil was greatly magnified.” Ibid.

11 Before we pass judgment on another, what should we do?

“And before passing unfavorable judgment upon another, you should go to the one whom you think has erred, tell him your fears, with your own souls subdued by the pitying love of Jesus, and see if some explanation cannot be made that will remove your unfavorable impressions.” Ibid.

12 How can a professed child of God become a servant of Satan?

“Christ prayed that his disciples might be one, even as he is one with the Father. Then every one who claims to be a child of God should labor for this oneness. When it exists, the followers of Christ will be a holy, powerful people, united in love. But if you let love die out of the soul, and accept the accusations of Satan’s agents against the children of God, you become servants of sin, and are helping the devil in his work.” Ibid.

13 What will happen when we love our neighbor as ourselves?

“When the members of God’s church see eye to eye, they will constantly guard the tongue, in order that they may not misuse the talent of speech. This talent is a precious gift. Let us study our words with care, and be a blessing to mankind by refusing to bring reproach upon one of our brethren by passing on to others some evil report that we may hear. If we speak evil of another, reproach will lie at our door. When we all love our neighbor as ourselves, idle, mischievous whisperings will cease. May the Lord by his converting power sanctify our talent of speech, that we may use it to his glory, and in no wise to the injury of souls.” Review and Herald, January 6, 1903.

14 The vultures gather wherever the carcass is?

“When the claims of God are presented, those who love sin evince their true character by the satisfaction with which they point to the faults and errors of professed Christians. They are actuated by the same spirit as their master, Satan, whom the Bible declares to be the ‘accuser of the brethren.’ [Revelation 12:10.] Let an evil report be started, and how rapidly it will be exaggerated and passed from lip to lip! How many will feast upon it, like vultures upon a heap of garbage. Whether the slanderous tale comes with or without proof, they give it ready credence, showing a strength of faith that is surprising. And yet these very persons will refuse to believe the truths of God’s word so long as there is the semblance of an excuse for doubt.” The Signs of the Times, March 9, 1882.

15 How a person says and does things of which he thought he was incapable?

“Saul had cut himself off from every means whereby the Lord could work in his behalf to save him from himself. In the facts of sacred history, there are lessons showing what a dangerous thing it is to cherish a jealous, revengeful spirit. It is impossible to determine to what length this spirit will lead its possessor if it is not overcome. When an evil report is circulated concerning the character of those who are striving to serve God, a power from beneath seems to move the minds of those who cherish enmity. He who has prided himself on possessing a high sense of honor, by taking this path of enmity will often fall into error, and will say and do things of which he deemed himself incapable. If a prophet of God should portray before him the course he would be led to pursue by cherishing such a spirit, he would indignantly inquire as did Hazael, ‘Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?’ [11 Kings 8:13.] But let him turn from the straight path of right, and follow where the promptings of Satan would lead him, and he will manifest the spirit of his captain until truth, honor, and justice are sacrificed through the lusts of passion.” Ibid., October 5, 1888.

16 The tiny seed of doubt?

“I had been, during the forty-five years of experience, shown the lives, the character and history of the patriarchs and prophets who had come to the people with a message from God, and Satan would start some evil report, or get up some difference of opinion or turn the interest in some other channel, that the people should be deprived of the good the Lord had to bestow upon them. And now in this case a firm, decided, obstinate spirit was taking possession of hearts, and those who had known of the grace of God and had felt His converting power upon their hearts once, were deluded, infatuated, working under a deception all through that meeting, and it took but a tiny seed of doubt and questioning to find fruitful soil in the hearts of those who had no living connection with God, whose hearts were hard and un-impressionable. Their base passions were stirred and it was a precious opportunity to them to show the mob spirit.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 309.

17 What happens when the satanic spirit takes control?

“I could but have a vivid picture in my mind from day to day of the way reformers were treated, how slight difference of opinion seemed to create a frenzy of feeling. Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus—all this had passed before me point by point. The Satanic spirit took control and moved with power upon the human hearts that had been opened to doubts and to bitterness, wrath and hatred. All this was prevailing in that meeting. I decided to leave the meeting, leave Minneapolis.” Ibid.

18 What we are not to listen to?

“Ministers and lay members of the church displease God when they allow individuals to tell them of the errors and faults of their brethren. They should not open their ears to these reports. They should inquire, ‘Have you strictly followed the injunction of your Saviour? Have you told him his faults between you and him alone? And then if he refused to hear, have you carefully and prayerfully taken two or three others and labored with him in tenderness, in humility, in meekness, your heart throbbing in love for his soul?’ If you failed here, there was only one more step you could take—tell it to the church, and let action be taken in the case according to the Scriptures. Then it is that heaven will ratify the decision made by the church in cutting off the offending member.

“If these steps have not been taken, do not listen to a word, close the ears, and refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor; listening to the reports of evil is lifting or taking up the reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to take up the reproach against their neighbors, evil tongues would not find so fruitful a field in which to labor, backbiting and devouring one another.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 280, 281.

To be continued . . .

Pastor Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life Ministry and pastor of the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: historic@stepstolife.org or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.