Read Ellen G. White,
(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
17 pray without ceasing,
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
22 Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.
26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
17 A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
25 Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a furious man do not go,
25 Lest you learn his ways
And set a snare for your soul.
“Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods.” “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
If these rules were observed, there would not be that constant strain after the things of the world that makes life a burden in its intensity; but in its place would be the rest and peace that comes of seeking first the “kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” Many professed Christians seem to think that no effort on their part is needed in order to insure growth in grace, and as a consequence they are indolent and listless in spiritual things. But they are entertaining a mistaken view. They are called upon to be a peculiar people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. God has opened to them the treasures of his word. Christ is to be made unto them wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption; and he would have them communicate the rich treasures of his grace to the world.
It will require a constant effort on our part to overcome the temptations we must daily meet. The world is against us; nominal Christians are against us; and Satan is against us, determined to resist every effort we make to advance in the divine life. He is watching every opportunity to interpose himself between our souls and our Creator. He will crowd in numberless cares, that we may find no time for reading the Bible and prayer. But we are not left alone in our warfare against the powers ofdarkness, and we should not allow ourselves to be separated from the Source of our strength.
If we would grow up into Christ our living head, we must make prayer a daily necessity, not only in the closet, but in the family also. It is because we pray so little that our prayers are not more urgent and intelligent. In prayer we commune with God, and become acquainted with him. What a privilege it is that we may draw near to him by faith, presenting the promises given in his word. Let us encourage and refresh our souls with these sure promises, pleading our great need as the reason why they should be fulfilled. Let us learn the simple art of faith, every day understanding better how to approach our heavenly Father. Let us observe his commandments as obedient children, and then rest upon his word, trusting that he will surely do as he said he would. Jesus loves us; and if we commit the keeping of our souls to him, he will not disappoint our hopes. He is waiting to be gracious to those who feel that they are weak and unworthy. He loves to bless them; for they will appreciate his blessings. But he will not intrude his presence; he will not force the will nor compel obedience.
Jesus may seem far off, and Satan may urge that he does not care for one like you. He may point to your hesitating, stumbling walk, and tell you that the God ofHeaven will not condescend to answer your broken prayers. It is then that you may present the mighty argument of the cross: “Jesus died for me. He is my Redeemer. I shall not be ashamed or confounded; for I will cling to him, and trust in his righteousness.”
Become acquainted with the Scriptures, and learn to rely implicitly upon them, that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord may lift up a standard against him. Few have the power of faith and true godliness, because, in a majority of cases, the God-given powers are devoted to worldly plans and enterprises, and the follies and fashions of social life, to the neglect of the things of God. The inventive powers are taxed for dress and the adornment of thehome; but the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price, is made a matter of secondary importance.
We cannot afford to fritter away the golden moments in studying the fashions, or in following the customs of those whose god is this world. Precious probationary time should not be devoted to needless ornamentation; yet the Christian should not be careless and slovenly. It is our duty to be neat and tasty in person, dress, and habits; and to keep our houses and premises in order. Heaven is a place of perfect order, and as far as possible we should copy the heavenly model. We are representatives of Christ; then let us not dishonor him by our defective lives. Let us see that our tastes, our habits, our conversation, and our associations are in accordance with our high calling as sons and daughters of the King eternal.
Many take a superficial view of the character and mission of Christ. They imagine that he was devoid of warmth and sunniness; that he was gloomy, stern, unbending, severe, and joyless. This is the Jesus that was presented to Martin Luther. He was taught, as the Catholic Church has instructed so many of its votaries, that our Lord is an austere being, who delights in the sufferings of his creatures; that he is pleased with long fasts, and penances of the most painful and revolting character. And in many cases the whole religious experience is colored by these gloomy views, and the whole life warped.
It is often said that Jesus wept, but that he was never known to smile. Our Saviour was indeed a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; for he opened his heart to all the woes of man. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” But though his life was self-denying, and shadowed with pain and care, his spirits were not crushed. His countenance did not wear an expression of grief or repining, but ever one of peaceful serenity. His heart was a well-spring of life, and wherever he went he carried rest and peace, joy and gladness.
Our Saviour was deeply serious and intensely in earnest, but never gloomy or morose. The lives of those who imitate him will be full of earnest purpose; they will have a deep sense of personal responsibility. Levity will be repressed; there will be no boisterous merriment, no rude jesting or joking. But the religion of Jesus gives peace like a river. It does not quench the light of joy; it does not restrain cheerfulness, nor cloud the sunny, smiling face. Our lives should breathe the fragrance of Heaven, while we obey the injunction of the apostle,—“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
The soul is exalted and transformed by dwelling, not on self and on the sorrows and hardships that surround us, but on the glories of the eternal world. Unbroken communion with God gives increased knowledge of his truth and will, and of the soul's susceptibilities and powers; and the result will be unselfish motives and right traits of character. There will be no darkness or gloom to reflect to others. More of Heaven in men on earth would make religion attractive, and win souls to Christ.
Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and when his love reigns in the heart, we shall follow his example. If we keep uppermost in our minds theunkind and unjust acts of others, we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us; for there are few persons who do not on close acquaintance reveal unamiable traits of character. Even the best of us have these unlovely traits; and in selecting friends we should choose those who will not be driven away from us when they learn that we are not perfect. Mutual forbearance is called for. We should love and respect one another notwithstanding the faults and imperfections that we cannot help seeing; for this is the Spirit of Christ. Humility and self-distrust should be cultivated, and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. This will kill out all narrowing selfishness and make us large-hearted and generous.
If you have perplexities and troubles—and these are the common lot of mankind—do not tell them to others, and thus shadow their path. Do not go for help to every source but the right one; but tell Jesus everything; take it to the Lord in prayer, and then believe that he accepts you and your burden. Faith is the gift of God, but the power to exercise it is yours. A single earnest expression of faith strengthens faith; but every expression of doubt confirms doubt, and helps to gather about your soul the dark shadows of unbelief. Then do not open your soul to Satan's temptations by cherishing and expressing the doubts that he insinuates. Talk faith and courage. Press to the light; and bright beams from the Sun of Righteousness will dispel clouds and darkness, and sweet peace will pervade the soul.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” and make them your rule of life. And “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
1 Samuel 18:1
Saul Resents David
1 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
27 Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
97 Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, forthis is the Law and the Prophets.
3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
2 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kindsof fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.
9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
33 And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
16 Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; 2 and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. 3 They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”
4 So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face; 5 and he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who is His and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him. That one whom He chooses He will cause to come near to Him. 6 Do this: Take censers, Korah and all your company; 7 put fire in them and put incense in them before the Lord tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom the Lord chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi!”
8 Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; 10 and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also? 11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the Lord. And what is Aaron that you complain against him?”
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come up! 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you should keep acting like a prince over us? 14 Moreover you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!”
15 Then Moses was very angry, and said to the Lord, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, nor have I hurt one of them.”
16 And Moses said to Korah, “Tomorrow, you and all your company be present before the Lord—you and they, as well as Aaron. 17 Let each take his censer and put incense in it, and each of you bring his censer before the Lord, two hundred and fifty censers; both you and Aaron, each with his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the tabernacle of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.
20 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.”
22 Then they fell on their faces, and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?”
23 So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’ ”
25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” 27 So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.”
31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods.
23 Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.
24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.
19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”