The Secret of Progress

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8.

We must be much in prayer if we would make progress in the divine life. When the message of truth was first proclaimed, how much we prayed. How often was the voice of intercession heard in the chamber, in the barn, in the orchard, or the grove. Frequently we spent hours in earnest prayer, two or three together claiming the promise; often the sound of weeping was heard and then the voice of thanksgiving and the song of praise. Now the day of God is nearer than when we first believed, and we should be more earnest, more zealous, and fervent than in those early days. Our perils are greater now than then.

It was in hours of solitary prayer that Jesus in His earth-life received wisdom and power. Let the youth follow His example in finding at dawn and twilight a quiet season for communion with their Father in heaven. And throughout the day let them lift up their hearts to God. At every step of our way He says, “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand; … fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13. Could our children learn this lesson in the morning of their years, what freshness and power, what joy and sweetness, would be brought into their lives!

Let your heart break for the longing it has for God, for the living God. The life of Christ has shown what humanity can do by being partaker of the divine nature. All that Christ received from God we too may have. Then ask and receive. With the persevering faith of Jacob, with the unyielding persistence of Elijah, claim for yourself all that God has promised.

Let the glorious conceptions of God possess your mind. Let your life be knit by hidden links to the life of Jesus. He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness is willing to shine in your heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will take the things of God and show them unto you…. Christ will lead you to the threshold of the Infinite. You may behold the glory beyond the veil, and reveal to men the sufficiency of Him who ever liveth to make intercession for us.

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Living to Save Others

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23.

The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders, is selfishness. There can be no returning to the Lord except by self-denial. Of ourselves we can do nothing; but, through God strengthening us, we can live to do good to others, and in this way shun the evil of selfishness. We need not go to heathen lands to manifest our desire to devote all to God in a useful, unselfish life. We should do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate and with whom we do business. Right in the common walks of life is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination.

Paul could say: “I die daily.” It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers. We should forget self in the desire to do good to others. With many there is a decided lack of love for others. Instead of faithfully performing their duty, they seek rather their own pleasure.

God positively enjoins upon all His followers a duty to bless others with their influence and means, and to seek that wisdom of Him which will enable them to do all in their power to elevate the thoughts and affections of those who come within their influence. In doing for others, a sweet satisfaction will be experienced, an inward peace which will be a sufficient reward. When actuated by a high and noble desire to do others good, they will find true happiness in a faithful discharge of life’s manifold duties. This will bring more than an earthly reward; for every faithful, unselfish performance of duty is noticed by the angels and shines in the life record.

In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them. If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here.

The greatest work that can be done in our world is to glorify God by living the character of Christ.

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¡Hay esperanza para usted y su familia!

Vivimos en tiempos desafiantes. Nuestras vidas están llenas de información, actividades y expectativas sin sentido. Hoy, a causa del estrés en que vivimos, es muy difícil lograr y conservar relaciones familiares saludables. Las parejas y los hijos viven bajo el mismo techo, pero hay una gran falta de comunicación. Muchos desean estabilidad financiera y emocional en su vida familiar, pero no saben cómo lograrla.

Este pequeño libro puede ayudarte. Sus ideas y soluciones provienen de una sabiduría antigua pero no anticuada.

Mira todo lo que puede darte este libro:

  • Te ayudará a construir relaciones sólidas con quienes te rodean.
  • Te dará orientación en la difícil tarea de moldear el carácter de tus hijos.
  • Te dará principios trascendentales para una vida feliz y significativa.
  • Te enseñará a acercarte a tu cónyuge, tanto emocional, espiritual como intelectualmente.
  • Te ayudará a comunicarte con tus amados de una manera más efectiva, para extirpar cualquier raíz de violencia y prevenir el fracaso matrimonial y familiar.
  • Te ayudará, en caso de que seas soltero, a vivir una vida plena.

¿Dónde obtenerlo?

  • Encuentra este libro en tu Centro Adventista de Libros (Adventist Book Center) más cercano.
  • Accediendo al sitio web: Adventistbookcenter.com
  • Nota: Si usted no se encuentra en el territorio de la División Norteamericana de la I.A.S.D., por favor búsquelo en la Casa Publicadora de su división.

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Sobre los autores:
Willie y Elaine Oliver, son experimentados consejeros de la vida familiar que viajan alrededor del mundo para mostrar a las familias e individuos a través de conferencias matrimoniales, retiros y seminarios sobre relaciones: que las relaciones saludables son posibles. Son fundadores de las conferencias matrimoniales De Hoy en AdelanteViaje hacia la Intimidad, y organizan un programa familiar semanal en el canal Nuevo Tiempo llamado Conversaciones Reales de Familia (Real Family Talk en Inglés)  con Willie y Elaine Oliver.

*Fuente: http://www.adventistbookcenter.com

There is hope for you and your family!

We live in challenging times. Our lives are saturated by information, activities, and senseless expectations. The stresses of modern life make healthy relationships more difficult to achieve and sustain. Couples and children live under the same roof but communicate poorly at best. Many want the stability of a strong family life but don’t know how to attain it.

This small book can help. Its ideas and solutions come from ancient wisdom but are as relevant as today’s news. It will:

  • Help you build strong relationships with those around you;
  • Give you new skills to help build your children’s characters;
  • Share time-proven principles that will facilitate a meaningful and happy life;
  • Show how husbands and wives can draw closer emotionally, spiritually, financially and intellectually; and
  • Help you communicate more effectively, understand and heal the roots of violence, prevent distress and divorce, or live happily as a single person.

Download  here the first chapter.

Where to get it?

  • Find it in your local Adventist Book Center
  • Online at Adventistbookcenter.com
  • Note: If you are not in the North-American Division territory, please check with your division’s Publishing House.

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About the Authors:
Willie and Elaine Oliver, are experienced family life counselors who travel around the world to show families and individuals that healthy relationships are possible through marriage conferences, retreats, and relationship seminars. They are founders of From This Day Forward marriage conferences, Journey Toward Intimacy marriage conferences, and host a weekly family program on Hope Channel called Real Family Talk with Willie and Elaine Oliver.

*Source: http://www.adventistbookcenter.com

“Glory to God in the Highest”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:13, 14.

I entreat you, my brethren and sisters, to make … Christmas a blessing to yourselves and others. [The birth of Jesus] was celebrated by the heavenly host. Angels of God, in the appearance of a star, conducted the Wise Men on their mission in search of Jesus. They came with gifts and costly offerings of frankincense and myrrh, to pay their oblation to the infant King foretold in prophecy. They followed the brilliant messengers with assurance and great joy.

The angels … appeared to the humble shepherds, guarding their flocks by night, upon Bethlehem’s plains. One angel first appeared, clothed with the panoply of heaven; and so surprised and so terrified were the shepherds that they could only gaze upon the wondrous glory of the heavenly visitant with unutterable amazement. The angel of the Lord came to them and said, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” …

No sooner had their eyes become accustomed to the glorious presence of the one angel, than, lo! the whole plain was lighted up with the wondrous glory of the multitude of angels that peopled the plains of Bethlehem. The angel quieted the fears of the shepherds before opening their eyes to behold the multitude of the heavenly host, all praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”

Then was the melody of heaven heard by mortal ears, and the heavenly choir swept back to heaven as they closed their ever memorable anthem. The light faded away and the shadows of the night once more fell on the hills and plains of Bethlehem; but there remained in the hearts of the shepherds the brightest picture mortal man had ever looked upon, and the blessed promise and assurance of the advent to our world of the Saviour of men, which filled their hearts with joy and gladness, mingled with faith and wondrous love to God.

Those who love God should feel deeply interested in the children and youth. To them, God can reveal His truth and salvation. Jesus calls the little ones that believe on Him the lambs of His flock. He has a special love for and interest in the children… The most precious offering that the children can give to Jesus, is the freshness of their childhood.

Wrestling with God to Victory

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Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. Ezekiel 14:20.

Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His dealings with Jacob that He will in no wise sanction or tolerate evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God….

Jacob’s history is also an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. While Satan seeks to destroy this class, God will send His angels to comfort and protect them in the time of peril.

The assaults of Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord’s eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their cries. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the period of their severest trial, is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint, though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it.

Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God….

If the messengers who bear the last solemn warning to the world would pray … fervently and in faith, as did Jacob, they would find many places where they could say: “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30). They would be accounted of heaven as princes, having power to prevail with God and men.—The Great Controversy, 620-622.

God Alone can Renew the Heart

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For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13.

Far more than we do, we need to understand the issues at stake in the conflict in which we are engaged. We need to understand more fully the value of the truths that God has given for this time and the danger of allowing our minds to be diverted from them by the great deceiver.

The infinite value of the sacrifice required for our redemption reveals the fact that sin is a tremendous evil. Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.

As the sacrifice in our behalf was complete, so our restoration from the defilement of sin is to be complete. There is no act of wickedness that the law will excuse; there is no unrighteousness that will escape its condemnation. The life of Christ was a perfect fulfillment of every precept of the law. He said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10). His life is our standard of obedience and service.

God alone can renew the heart. “It is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, A.R.V.). But we are bidden: “Work out your own salvation” (verse 12, A.R.V.).

Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts…. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.

The strongest evidence of man’s fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour. By a momentary act of the will, one may place himself in the power of evil; but it requires more than a momentary act of will to break these fetters and attain to a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice.

Beset with temptations without number, we must resist firmly or be conquered…. Paul’s sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self. He said: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his own nature. God leads His people on step by step.

We are to Reflect Christ’s Love

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Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. John 20:21.

We should earnestly seek to know and appreciate the truth, that we may present it to others as it is in Jesus. We need to have a correct estimate of the value of our own souls; then we would not be as reckless in regard to our course of action as at present. We would seek most earnestly to know God’s way; we would work an opposite direction from selfishness, and our constant prayer would be that we might have the mind of Christ, that we might be molded and fashioned after His likeness. It is in looking to Jesus and beholding His loveliness, having our eyes steadfastly fixed upon Him, that we become changed into His image. He will give grace to all that keep His way, and do His will, and walk in truth….

I beseech you whose names are registered on the church book as worthy members, to be indeed worthy, through the virtue of Christ. Mercy and truth and the love of God are promised to the humble and contrite soul….

All heaven is filled with amazement, that when this love, so broad, so deep, so rich and full, is presented to men who have known the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, they are so indifferent, so cold and unmoved….

The infinite treasures of truth have been accumulating from age to age. No representation could adequately impress us with the extent, the richness, of these vast resources. They are awaiting the demand of those who appreciate them. These gems of truth are to be gathered up by God’s remnant people, to be given by them to the world; but self-confidence and obduracy of soul refuse the blessed treasure. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Such love cannot be measured, neither can it be expressed. John calls upon the world to behold “what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” It is a love that passeth knowledge.

In the fullness of the sacrifice, nothing was withheld. Jesus gave Himself. God designs that His people shall love one another as Christ loved us. They are to educate and train the soul for this love. They are to reflect this love in their own character, to reflect it to the world. Each should look upon this as his work…. Christ’s fullness is to be presented to the world by those who have become partakers of His grace. They are to do that for Christ which Christ did for the Father—represent His character.

The World Needs People of Noble Character

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And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23, 24.

True education does not ignore the value of scientific knowledge or literary acquirements; but above information it values power; above power, goodness; above intellectual acquirements, character. The world does not so much need men of great intellect as of a noble character. It needs men in whom ability is controlled by steadfast principle.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7). “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright” (chap. 15:2). True education imparts this wisdom. It teaches the best use not only of one but of all our powers and acquirements. Thus it covers the whole circle of obligation—to ourselves, to the world, and to God.

Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now. Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so momentous; never before were young men and young women confronted by perils so great as confront them today….

In true education the selfish ambition, the greed for power, the disregard for the rights and needs of humanity, that are the curse of our world, find a counterinfluence. God’s plan of life has a place for every human being. Each is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor. In God’s plan there is no place for selfish rivalry. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). Whatever we do is to be done “as of the ability which God giveth” (1 Peter 4:11)….

In every generation and in every land the true foundation and pattern for character building have been the same. The divine law, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart …; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27), the great principle made manifest in the character and life of our Saviour, is the only secure foundation and the only sure guide….

It is as true now as when the words were spoken to Israel of obedience to His commandments: “This is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations” (Deuteronomy 4:6).

Here is the only safeguard for individual integrity, for the purity of the home, the well-being of society, or the stability of the nation. Amidst all life’s perplexities and dangers and conflicting claims the one safe and sure rule is to do what God says.

True Character Radiates from Within

 

Image result for light of the worldYe are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14.

“Ye are the light of the world.” The Jews thought to confine the benefits of salvation to their own nation; but Christ showed them that salvation is like the sunshine. It belongs to the whole world. The religion of the Bible is not to be confined between the covers of a book, nor within the walls of a church. It is not to be brought out occasionally for our own benefit, and then to be carefully laid aside again. It is to sanctify the daily life, to manifest itself in every business transaction and in all our social relations.

True character is not shaped from without, and put on; it radiates from within. If we wish to direct others in the path of righteousness, the principles of righteousness must be enshrined in our own hearts. Our profession of faith may proclaim the theory of religion, but it is our practical piety that holds forth the word of truth. The consistent life, the holy conversation, the unswerving integrity, the active, benevolent spirit, the godly example—these are the mediums through which light is conveyed to the world.

As the sun goes forth on its errand of love, dispelling the shades of night and awakening the world to life, so the followers of Christ are to go forth on their mission, diffusing the light of heaven upon those who are in the darkness of error and sin.

In the brilliant light of the morning, the towns and villages upon the surrounding hills stood forth clearly, making an attractive feature of the scene. Pointing to them, Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hid.” And He added, “Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5:14, 15, R.V.).

Most of those who listened to the words of Jesus were peasants and fishermen whose lowly dwellings contained but one room, in which the single lamp on its stand shone to all in the house. Even so, said Jesus, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (verse 16).

No other light ever has shone or ever will shine upon fallen man save that which emanates from Christ. Jesus, the Saviour, is the only light that can illuminate the darkness of a world lying in sin. Of Christ it is written, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). It was by receiving of His life that His disciples could become light bearers. The life of Christ in the soul, His love revealed in the character, would make them the light of the world.

Witnessing by Our Actions

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Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9.

Again and again I am instructed to charge our people with their individual responsibility to work, and believe, and pray. The reception of Bible truth will lead to continual self-denial; for self-indulgence can never be found in a Christlike experience. Truly converted men and women will reveal the cross of Calvary in their daily actions. There are many Seventh-day Adventists who do not understand that to accept the cause of Christ means to accept His cross. The only evidence they give in their lives of their discipleship is in the name they bear. But the true Christian regards his stewardship as a sacred thing. He perseveringly studies the Word, and yields up his life to the service of Christ.

The word of encouragement is given, “Be not weary in well doing,” “always abounding in the work of the Lord.” There is a world to be saved, a work to be done that can be accomplished only by the proclamation of the gospel message. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Should we not thank the Lord with heart and soul for His unspeakable gift? Should we not be willing to devote every capability and talent to the work of representing Christ before the world? …

“Good works” will begin to appear when the experience of repentance and conversion is brought into the life…. It is … by showing that we are changed in character, through a belief of the truth, that we make known to others the transforming power of the grace of God.

“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:6, 7). Wonderful truth! This is a two-edged sword which cuts both ways. This life and death question is before the whole human race. The choice we make in this life will be our choice through all eternity. We shall receive either eternal life or eternal death. There is no middle ground, no second probation.

We are called upon to overcome in this life as Christ overcame. Heaven has provided us with abundant opportunities and privileges, so that we may overcome as Christ overcame, and sit down with Him on His throne. But in order to be overcomers, there must be in our lives no petting of fleshly inclinations. All selfishness must be cut out by the roots….

The more the heart is wrapped up in Christ, the more secure is the treasure in the eternal world

We Shall Reap What We Have Sown

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The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. 2 Timothy 2:24.

Those who are truly connected with God will not be at variance with one another. The spirit of harmony, peace, and love, His Spirit ruling in their hearts, will create harmony, love, and unity. The opposite of this works in the children of Satan; there is with them a continual contradiction. Strife and envy and jealousy are the ruling elements. The characteristic of the Christian is the meekness of Christ. Benevolence, kindness, mercy, and love originate from Infinite Wisdom, while the opposite is the unholy fruit of a heart that is not in harmony with Jesus Christ….

What a work is this—the education of children! … If the parents had studied more of Christ and less of the world, if they had cared less to imitate the customs and fashions of the present age, and devoted time and painstaking effort to mold the minds and characters of their children after the divine Model, then they could send them forth with moral integrity to be carried forward in the branches of education to qualify them for any position of trust….

The harvest is ours, to reap that which we have sown. If you sow distrust, envy, jealousy, self-love, bitterness of thought and feelings, this harvest you will be sure to reap. This will be a sowing of dragon’s teeth to reap the same.

If you manifest kindness, love, tender thoughtfulness to your students, you will reap the same in return. If teachers are severe, critical, overbearing, not sensitive of others’ feelings, they will receive the same in return. A man who wishes to preserve his self-respect and dignity must be careful not to sacrifice the respect and dignity of others. This rule should be sacredly observed toward the dullest, the youngest, and most blundering scholars.

What God will do with these apparently uninteresting youth, you do not know. God has accepted and chosen, in the past, just such specimens to do a great work for Him. His Spirit, operating upon the heart, has acted like an electric battery, arousing the apparently benumbed faculties to vigorous and persevering action. The Lord saw in these rough, uninteresting, unhewn stones precious metal that will endure the test of storm and tempest and the fiery ordeal of heat. God seeth not as man seeth; God judgeth not as man judgeth—He searcheth the heart….

The younger members of the Lord’s family shall be impressed that they are created in the image of their Maker, and that their spirit must represent the spirit of Christ.

The Lord Knows All the Thoughts

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And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee. 1 Chronicles 28:9.

You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ, you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.

When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings, you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. If you yield to your impressions and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining you will be among the most unhappy of mortals….

Man has been placed in a world of sorrow, care, and perplexity. He is placed here to be tested and proved, as were Adam and Eve, that he may develop a right character and bring harmony out of discord and confusion. There is much for us to do that is essential to our own happiness and that of others. And there is much for us to enjoy. Through Christ we are brought into connection with God. His mercies place us under continual obligation; feeling unworthy of His favors, we are to appreciate even the least of them.

For all that you have and are, … you are indebted to God. He has given you powers that, to a certain extent, are similar to those which He Himself possesses; and you should labor earnestly to develop these powers, not to please and exalt self, but to glorify Him….

This earth is the Lord’s. Here it may be seen that nature, animate and inanimate, obeys His will. God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God and is capable of partaking of the divine nature, of cooperating with his Creator and executing His plans…. How wonderfully, with what marvelous beauty, has everything in nature been fashioned. Everywhere we see the perfect works of the great Master Artist. The heavens declare His glory; and the earth, which is formed for the happiness of man, speaks to us of His matchless love…. I call your attention to these blessings from the bounteous hand of God. Let the fresh glories of each new morning awaken praise in your hearts for these tokens of His loving care.

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The Joy of Well-Chosen Words

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To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23, R.S.V.

“A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (K.J.V.). Souls are perishing for the lack of personal labor….

The bright and cheerful side of religion will be represented by all who are daily consecrated to God. We should not dishonor our Lord by a mournful relation of trials that appear grievous. All trials that are received as educators will produce joy. The whole religious life will be uplifting, elevating, ennobling, fragrant with good words and works…. [God] desires every soul to triumph in the keeping power of the Redeemer.

The psalmist says: … “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name…. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” … “Sing unto the Lord, … and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

In the gracious blessings which our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us, we may discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite, and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child. When we study the divine character in the light of the cross, we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. In the language of John we exclaim, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”

We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands, and feet, and side the marks of suffering endured to reconcile man to God, and God to man. Matchless mercy reveals to us a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance which threatened only misery and despair, in the reflected light from the cross reveals the writing of God: “Live, sinner, live! ye penitent and believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.”

We must gather about the cross. Christ and Him crucified must be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of our most joyful emotion. We should have special praise services for the purpose of keeping fresh in our thoughts everything that we receive from God, and of expressing our gratitude for His great love, and our willingness to trust everything to the Hand that was nailed to the cross for us…. We should learn to talk the language of Canaan, to sing the songs of Zion. By the mystery and glory of the cross we can estimate the value of man, and then we shall see and feel the importance of working for our fellow men, that they may be exalted to the throne of God.

Speak Evil of No Man

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Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Matthew 18:7.

Words of reproach react on one’s own soul. The training of the tongue should begin with ourselves personally. Let us speak evil of no man.

“Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”

There may be cherished by us certain wrong things that are seemingly as dear as a hand or a foot. These things are to be put away from us forever. Never are our peculiar, unsanctified ideas to be pressed upon others….

There is a great work to be done among church members. Many who are not called upon to enter the public ministry may do much good in their home church by speaking advisedly with their lips. The talent of speech should be used to glorify God. Too often it is used to convey evil reports. This grieves away the Holy Spirit. Let us remember that we have a Saviour who has bidden us [to] come unto Him with all our burdens. He will give us peace of mind, and He, too, will adjust that which to us seems so full of entangling difficulties. “Come unto me,” He pleads, “all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” …

Those who have indulged in words of complaint and criticism shall … pledge that henceforth, by the Lord’s help, they will not speak evil of their brethren and sisters, but will take everything to God in prayer, and follow out the instruction He has given regarding the pointing out of wrongs in our fellow men. Every church member may in his daily conduct be so exemplary, so prudent and careful in speech, so kind and compassionate, that he will be esteemed by all as one who fears and loves God. Such a man will have an influence for good over all his associates.

We are fallible, and have erred many times. Let us return to the Lord with repentance and confession. As we assemble to participate in the ordinances of the Lord’s house, let us make every wrong right, so far as lies in our power. When bowing before a brother, washing his feet, ask yourself, “Have I aught in my heart that separates me from this brother? Have I said or done anything that estranges us?” If so, take it away by heartily confessing your sin. Thus heart will be cemented to heart, and the blessing of God will be manifest.