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Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence
« on: December 21, 2015, 09:16:42 AM »
The 13th Sabbath Mission Offering Appeal is upon us. And in numerous ways we approach God's people to give liberally, even sacrificially. Most times the appeal falls on ears that cannot hear the urgency evidenced by the times in which we are living. The foundational issue lies in the heart, not the bank account. Do we love Jesus more than ourselves, our lands, and our goods? While studying for a fresh, inspired approach, I ran across several articles with timely counsel for us all. Do not be intimidated by the number of them. Read them as you have time and your heart has been readied through His Spirit.

Are we holding on to too much land? Do we have more than we need, and ... are we willing, truly willing to forward God's cause here at the banks of the Jordan? And do we realize the chapters in Revelation that prophesy financial failure is just ahead of us? Should that not prompt us to use His money while we yet can? It is a burden on my heart and it has been for quite a while.

I am personal friends with other widows sitting on too much land. They also have the church named as beneficiary to their large savings accounts. The counsel I read over the course of several weeks says money left to the church in wills is sinful. The money is needed now. However, there is other counsel to loan money to institutions who need it at low interest rates which can also provide needed income for the aged loaner.

The Lord provides answers based upon various needs.   

Here are some timely messages:

Chap. 14 - Will a Man Rob God?

     The Lord has made the diffusion of light and truth in the earth dependent on the voluntary efforts and offerings of those who have been partakers of the heavenly gifts. Comparatively few are called to travel as ministers or missionaries, but multitudes are to co-operate in spreading the truth with their means.  {5T 148.2} 
     The history of Ananias and Sapphira is given us that we may understand the sin of deception in regard to our gifts and offerings. They had voluntarily promised to give a portion of their property for the promotion of the cause of Christ; but
when the means was in their hands they declined to fulfill that obligation, at the same time wishing it to appear to others that they had given all. Their punishment was marked in order that it might serve as a perpetual warning to Christians of all ages. The same sin is fearfully prevalent at the present time, yet we hear of no such signal punishment. The Lord shows men once with what abhorrence He regards such an offense against His sacred claims and dignity, and then they are left to follow the general principles of the divine administration.  {5T 148.3} 
     Voluntary offerings and the tithe constitute the revenue of the gospel. Of the means which is entrusted to man, God claims a certain portion--a tithe; but He leaves all free to say how much the tithe is, and whether or not they will give more than this. They are to give as they purpose in their hearts. But when the heart is stirred by the influence of the Spirit of God, and a vow is made to give a certain amount, the one who vowed has no longer any right to the consecrated portion. He has given his pledge before men, and they are called to witness to the transaction. At the same time he has incurred an obligation of the most sacred character to co-operate with the Lord in building up His kingdom on earth. Promises of this kind made to men would be considered binding. Are they not more sacred and binding when made to God? Are promises tried in the court of conscience less binding than written agreements with men?  {5T 149.1} 
     When the divine light is shining into the heart with unusual clearness and power, habitual selfishness relaxes its grasp, and there is a disposition to give to the cause of God. None need expect that they will be allowed to fulfill the promises then made without a protest on the part of Satan. He is not pleased to see the Redeemer's kingdom on earth built up. He suggests that the pledge made was too much, that it may cripple them in their efforts to acquire property or gratify the
desires of their families. The power Satan has over the human mind is wonderful. He labors most earnestly to keep the heart bound up in self.  {5T 149.2} 
     The only means which God has ordained to advance His cause is to bless men with property. He gives them the sunshine and the rain; He causes vegetation to flourish; He gives health and ability to acquire means. All our blessings come from His bountiful hand. In turn He would have men and women show their gratitude by returning Him a portion in tithes and offerings--in thank offerings, in freewill offerings, in trespass offerings.  {5T 150.1}
     The hearts of men become hardened through selfishness, and, like Ananias and Sapphira, they are tempted to withhold part of the price while pretending to come up to the rules of tithing. Will a man rob God? Should means flow into the treasury exactly according to God's plan,--a tenth of all the increase,--there would be abundance to carry forward His work.  {5T 150.2} 
     Well, says one, the calls keep coming to give to the cause; I am weary of giving. Are you? Then let me ask: Are you weary of receiving from God's beneficent hand? Not until He ceases to bless you will you cease to be under bonds to return to Him the portion He claims. He blesses you that it may be in your power to bless others. When you are weary of receiving, then you may say: I am weary of so many calls to give. God reserves to Himself a portion of all that we receive. When this is returned to Him, the remaining portion is blessed, but when it is withheld, the whole is sooner or later cursed. God's claim is first; every other is secondary.  {5T 150.3} 
     In every church there should be established a treasury for the poor. Then let each member present a thank offering to God once a week or once a month, as is most convenient. This offering will express our gratitude for the gifts of health, of food, and of comfortable clothing. And according as God has
blessed us with these comforts will we lay by for the poor, the suffering, and the distressed. I would call the attention of our brethren especially to this point. Remember the poor. Forego some of your luxuries, yea, even comforts, and help those who can obtain only the most meager food and clothing. In doing for them you are doing for Jesus in the person of His saints. He identifies Himself with suffering humanity. Do not wait until your imaginary wants are all satisfied. Do not trust to your feelings and give when you feel like it and withhold when you do not feel like it. Give regularly, either ten, twenty, or fifty cents a week, as you would like to see upon the heavenly record in the day of God.  {5T 150.4} 
     Your good wishes we will thank you for, but the poor cannot keep comfortable on good wishes alone. They must have tangible proofs of your kindness in food and clothing. God does not mean that any of His followers should beg for bread. He has given you an abundance that you may supply those of their necessities which by industry and economy they are not able to supply. Do not wait for them to call your attention to their needs. Act as did Job. The thing that he knew not he searched out. Go on an inspecting tour and learn what is needed and how it can be best supplied.  {5T 151.1} 
     I have been shown that many of our people are robbing the Lord in tithes and in offerings, and as the result His work is greatly hindered. The curse of God will rest upon those who are living upon God's bounties and yet close their hearts and do nothing or next to nothing to advance His cause. Brethren and sisters, how can the beneficent Father continue to make you His stewards, furnishing you with means to use for Him, when you grasp it all, selfishly claiming that it is yours!  {5T 151.2} 
     Instead of rendering to God the means He has placed in their hands, many invest it in more land. This evil is growing with our brethren. They had before all they could well care for, but the love of money or a desire to be counted as well off
as their neighbors leads them to bury their means in the world and withhold from God His just dues. Can we be surprised if they are not prospered? if God does not bless their crops and they are disappointed? Could our brethren remember that God can bless twenty acres of land and make them as productive as one hundred, they would not continue to bury themselves in lands, but would let their means flow into God's treasury. "Take heed," said Christ, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life." Satan is pleased to have you increase your farms and invest your means in worldly enterprises, for by so doing you not only hinder the cause from advancing, but by anxiety and overwork lessen your prospect for eternal life.  {5T 151.3} 
     We ought now to be heeding the injunction of our Saviour: "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not." It is now that our brethren should be cutting down their possessions instead of increasing them. We are about to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Then let us not be dwellers upon the earth, but be getting things into as compact a compass as possible.  {5T 152.1} 
     The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast. We came near having this realized in California a short time since; but this was only the threatening of the blowing of the four winds. As yet they are held by the four angels. We are not just ready. There is a work yet to be done, and then the angels will be bidden to let go, that the four winds may blow upon the earth. That will be a decisive time for God's children, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. Now is our opportunity to work.  {5T 152.2} 
     There is among many professing the truth a spirit of unrest.
Some want to go to another county or state, buy large lands, and carry on an extensive business; others want to go into the city. Thus little churches are left in weakness and discouragement to die, when, had the ones who left them been content to work on a smaller scale, doing their little with fidelity, they might have made their families comfortable and been free to keep their own souls in the love of God. Many who move are disappointed. They lose what little property they had, lose health, and finally give up the truth.  {5T 152.3} 
     The Lord is coming. Let everyone show his faith by his works. Faith in Christ's near advent is dying out of the churches, and selfishness is causing them to rob God to serve their own personal interests. When Christ is abiding in us, we shall be self-denying like Him.  {5T 153.1} 
     In times past there has been great liberality on the part of our people. They have not been backward to respond to calls for help in the various branches of the work. But of late a change has come. There has been, especially with our Eastern brethren, a withholding of means, while worldliness and love of possessions have been increasing. There is a growing disregard of promises made to help our various institutions and enterprises. Subscriptions to build a church, to endow a college, or to assist in the missionary work are looked upon as promises which persons are under no obligation to fulfill if it is not convenient. These promises were made under the holy impressions of the Spirit of God. Then do not rob Him by withholding what rightfully belongs to Him. Brethren and sisters, look over your past life and see if you have dealt faithfully with God. Have you any unredeemed pledges? If so, resolve that you will pay them if it is within your power.  {5T 153.2} 
     Listen to the counsel of the Lord: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, . . . if I will not open you the
windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field." "And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land."  {5T 153.3} 
     Are you not willing to accept the promises which the Lord here makes and to put selfishness from you and begin to work earnestly to advance His cause? Do not strengthen your hold on this world by taking advantage of your poorer neighbor, for God's eye is upon you; He reads every motive and weighs you in the balances of the sanctuary.  {5T 154.1} 
     I saw that many withhold from the cause while they live, quieting their consciences that they will be charitable at death; they hardly dare exercise faith and trust in God to give anything while living. But this deathbed charity is not what Christ requires of His followers; it cannot excuse the selfishness of the living. Those who hold fast their property till the last moment, surrender it to death rather than to the cause. Losses are occurring continually. Banks fail, and property is consumed in very many ways. Many purpose to do something, but they delay the matter, and Satan works to prevent the means from coming into the treasury at all. It is lost before it is returned to God, and Satan exults that it is so.  {5T 154.2} 
     If you would do good with your means, do it at once lest Satan get it in his hands and thus hinder the work of God. Many times, when the Lord has opened the way for brethren to handle their means to advance His cause, the agents of Satan have presented some enterprise by which they were positive the brethren could double their means. They take the bait; their money is invested, and the cause, and frequently themselves, never receive a dollar.  {5T 154.3} 
     Brethren, remember the cause; and when you have means at your command lay up for yourselves a good foundation
against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life. Jesus for your sakes became poor, that you through His poverty might be made rich in heavenly treasure. What will you give for Jesus, who has given all for you?  {5T 154.4} 
     It will not do for you to depend on making your charity gifts in testamentary bequests at death. You cannot calculate with the least degree of surety that the cause will ever be benefited by them. Satan works with acute skill to stir up the relatives, and every false position is taken to gain to the world that which was solemnly dedicated to the cause of God. Much less than the sum willed is always received. Satan even puts it into the hearts of men and women to protest against their relatives' doing what they wish in the bestowment of their property. They seem to regard everything given to the Lord as robbing the relatives of the deceased. If you want your means to go to the cause, appropriate it, or all that you do not really need for a support, while you live. A few of the brethren are doing this and enjoying the pleasure of being their own executors. Will the covetousness of men make it necessary that they shall be deprived of life in order that the property which God has lent them shall not be useless forever? Let none of you draw upon yourselves the doom of the unprofitable servant who hid his Lord's money in the earth.  {5T 155.1} 
     Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence. Many will to their friends and relatives all except a very small pittance of their property. This they leave for their supreme Friend, who became poor for their sakes, who suffered insult, mockery, and death, that they might become sons and daughters of God. And yet they expect when the righteous dead shall come forth to immortal life that this Friend will take them into His everlasting habitations.  {5T 155.2} 
     The cause of Christ is robbed, not by a mere passing thought, not by an unpremeditated act. No. By your own deliberate act you made your will, placing your property at the
disposal of unbelievers. After having robbed God during your lifetime, you continue to rob Him after your death, and you do this with the full consent of all your powers of mind, in a document called your will. What do you think will be your Master's will toward you for thus appropriating His goods? What will you say when an account is demanded of your stewardship?  {5T 155.3} 
     Brethren, awake from your life of selfishness, and act like consistent Christians. The Lord requires you to economize your means and let every dollar not needed for your comfort flow into the treasury. Sisters, take that ten cents, that twenty cents, that dollar which you were about to spend for candies, for ruffles, or for ribbons, and donate it to God's cause. Many of our sisters earn good wages, but it is nearly all spent in gratifying their pride of dress.  {5T 156.1} 
     The wants of the cause will continually increase as we near the close of time. Means is needed to give young men a short course of study in our schools, to prepare them for efficient work in the ministry and in different branches of the cause. We are not coming up to our privilege in this matter. All schools among us will soon be closed up. How much more might have been done had men obeyed the requirements of Christ in Christian beneficence! What an influence would this readiness to give all for Christ have had upon the world! It would have been one of the most convincing arguments in favor of the truth we profess to believe--an argument which the world could not misunderstand nor gainsay. The Lord would have distinguished us with His blessing even before the eyes of the world.  {5T 156.2} 
     The first Christian church had not the privileges and opportunities we have. They were a poor people, but they felt the power of the truth. The object before them was sufficient to lead them to invest all. They felt that the salvation or the loss of a world depended upon their instrumentality. They cast in
their all and held themselves in readiness to go or come at the Lord's bidding.  {5T 156.3} 
     We profess to be governed by the same principles, to be influenced by the same spirit. But instead of giving all for Christ many have taken the golden wedge and a goodly Babylonish garment and hid them in the camp. If the presence of one Achan was sufficient to weaken the whole camp of Israel, can we be surprised at the little success which attends our efforts when every church and almost every family has its Achan? Let us individually go to work to stimulate others by our example of disinterested benevolence. The work might have gone forward with far greater power had all done what they could to supply the treasury with means.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 


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Re: Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 09:18:38 AM »
September 27, 1883 Walk in the Light.
By Mrs. E. G. White.

     The present is a time of dense darkness to the world; but the true light is shining, and God, in his great mercy, has permitted us to behold its brightness and to walk in its guiding rays. We are favored above any other people upon the earth. Our spiritual blessings are more and greater than have been granted to the church in any previous age.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 1} 
     What makes me tremble for the professed believers in present truth, is the fact that they do not appreciate the light, and follow its guidance. With all our opportunities for spiritual advancement, we are not, as a people, wise, humble, and holy. As the Lord caused the pillar of fire to shine upon ancient Israel, so has he shed upon us the light of his truth. He requires us, as rational, accountable beings, to walk in the light. If we refuse to do this, our light will become darkness, and the darkness will be in proportion to the light rejected.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 2} 
     We are living in the time when Christ is about to close his work of mediation in our behalf. All should now closely examine their hearts to see whether they are in the faith. Instead of indulging doubt and unbelief, they should humble themselves before God, cultivate faith in his word and his work, and labor earnestly for the salvation of souls. It is no time now for caviling, dissension, and disunion. Where these exist, we may know that self is not dead. Those who have received the truth into the heart will be so filled with joy and gratitude, and so absorbed in the desire that others may share its great blessings, that they will lose sight of petty doubts and evil surmisings. In their disinterested labor for the salvation of souls, they forget self and selfish interests. Instead of acting the part of Judas the betrayer, or of Peter when he denied his Lord, they earnestly seek to follow the example of Christ, and carry forward the work which he came on earth to do.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 3} 
     When I think how strong we might be if we would take hold of the strength of the Mighty One, and then see how weak we are, because we do not claim the promises of God, my soul cries out in anguish, "Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach;" "wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 4} 
     There are among us many who profess the truth, but who refuse to be crucified with Christ. The Author of our salvation labored and suffered for us. His whole life was one long scene of toil and privation. He could have done as many of his professed followers choose to do; he could have passed his days on earth in ease and plenty, and appropriated to himself all the pleasures and enjoyments of this life. But he sought not his own comfort or gratification; he lived to do good, to save others from shame, suffering, and ruin. "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."  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 5}
     Can those who are partakers of this great salvation, who are objects of this wondrous condescension, this infinite love, cherish one feeling of dissatisfaction or indulge one murmuring thought, because they are not free from trials, toils, and conflicts? Do we desire a better portion in this life than was given to our Lord? Can we not yet comprehend the great privileges which are ours through the grace of Christ? If Jesus had not died as our sacrifice, and risen again as our Mediator, we could never have known peace, never have felt joy; we must have experienced the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair. Then let only praise and gratitude to God be the language of our hearts. All our lives we have been partakers of his heavenly benefits, recipients of the blessings of Christ's atonement; therefore it is impossible for us to conceive the hopeless state of ignorance and misery into which we had fallen and from which the Saviour raised us. When we feel the pains, the sorrows, the bereavements to which we are all subject, we should not, by one murmuring word or thought, dishonor our Redeemer. In the hour of trial and affliction let us consider that we cannot tell how much greater our sufferings would be, had we not a compassionate Saviour; we cannot determine how much less we suffer than our sins deserve.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 6} 
     Oh that we might, as a people, seek the Lord as never before! Oh that we might renounce our sins, break down our pride, and with contrition of soul cast ourselves unreservedly upon Christ, believing that he accepts us just now, not because we are worthy, but because he died for us. God grant that all who have named the name of Christ may depart from iniquity! All that God could do for us has been done. Jesus is now looking upon the people for whom he suffered and died, and is saying, What more can I do for my vineyard than I have already done? Can we wish to be free from trials and reproach for the truth's sake? Can we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced, and not be willing to share his humiliation?  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 7} 
     Our sins mingled the bitter cup which he drank in our stead, that he might put to our lips the cup of blessing. He endured the cross, despising the shame, that he might reconcile us to God, that whosoever would come unto him might take of the water of life freely. In view of the cross of Christ, can you, my brethren and sisters, wish or expect to enter his kingdom in any other way than through much tribulation? We have a work to do which we have neglected. We do not love to follow where Jesus leads the way. Our Heavenly Father requires of his church and people according to the grace and truth given them; and his requirements are just and right. All these must be fully met, or in the Judgment they will condemn the transgressor.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 8} 
     All who profess Christ are accountable for the talents committed to their trust. Christians must stand on that elevated ground which the truth has for ages been preparing for them. To meet the mind of the Spirit of God, we must exhibit to the world, in character and works, that union with Christ which is in accordance with the light of sacred truth now shining upon us. It is not the lack of knowledge and understanding that at the last day will condemn Seventh-day Adventists, and banish them from the presence of the Lord; but it is the truth that has reached the understanding, the light that has illuminated the soul, which will witness against us, if we turn away and refuse to be led by it. If we were blind, we would have no sin; but the Lord has given us great light, sacred truth has been unfolded to our understanding; yet we have not been wise unto salvation, we have not advanced in knowledge and true holiness according to the light and truth which has been bestowed upon us.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 9} 
     God has been very merciful to you, my brethren and sisters in California. Great light has been shining upon you; but you have a great work to do for yourselves before you can share largely of his blessing. Many are seeking to smooth over and excuse sin, instead of striving, with all their hearts, to put it away. Such must be thoroughly transformed in character and in life. When they seek earnestly to meet the high standard of the Bible, then will the Lord be to them a present help in every time of need. But how few will bear the test when examined by the light which God has given them. A deeper heart-work must be experienced by many, or they will drift into the deceptions of Satan. Their works must be wrought in God.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 10}
     Oh that my dear brethren and sisters would make sure work for eternity! There is no hope, no remedy, except in confessing and forsaking our sins, and with full purpose of heart turning unto the Lord.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 11} 
     The time has come for us to take advance steps. We should beware lest a selfish, covetous spirit shut out the blessing of God. The Lord calls upon us to give of our means to support his cause. He requires more of us than merely the payment of the tithe. The message is to go forth, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." Those who have large farms should begin to cut down their possessions. There is earnest work to do for God, and we are far behind his opening providence. Recall all the mercies and blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you, and consider that he has made you stewards of his goods: Then let each one examine himself and see if he is honoring the Lord with his substance. We should come before him with both thank-offerings and sin-offerings. Our obligation to God is endless. His work must not languish for want of means. His claims must be met first, at whatever cost or sacrifice. It is time for those who have large possessions to cut down the principal, that God's work may be extended in foreign lands. Throughout our own country also there are fields that have not yet been entered, and where the truth should be proclaimed.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 12} 
     John Wesley once preached a powerful sermon on the use of money. He laid down three rules: "Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can." To acquire and not save is improvidence. To hoard up money, adding land to land, and house to house, is covetousness and idolatry. To make and to save in order to give in support of the cause of God, is obeying the command of Christ, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 13} 
     Those who have not hitherto felt the claims that God has upon them, should now begin to act. God calls for all to act a part in the closing work for sinners. Let every needless ornament, every extravagance, every selfish indulgence, be given up, and let all these little outgoes, these tiny streams, flow into the Lord's treasury. Let us remember continually what Jesus has done for us. He for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Let us do our duty faithfully, and then trust ourselves and all we have to the hands of God. He wants not only ours but us. None can render effectual service unless they do the work he has left for them to do, and then leave the result wholly with him.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 14} 
     Oh that those to whom have been intrusted so great and solemn truths would manifest corresponding faith! They should trust their work in the Lord's hands, pleading upon their knees for wisdom and guidance, and then, instead of taking the burden all back, and seeking to plan and execute in their own strength, and groaning because they are overburdened, let them leave it with the Lord. Amid a life of constant activity they will thus find rest to their souls. That which they trust with him they are not to fret and worry about. Those who really trust in God will find the rest he has promised, will find his yoke easy and his burden light.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 15} 
     If the Lord had a company of workers who would rely wholly upon him, he would accomplish a great work through them. One could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. The Lord is a mighty helper. If we trust in him, we shall have rest and peace. The language of the soul should be that of joy and gratitude. If we have dark chapters in our experience, let us not keep their memory fresh by repetition. Forgetting the things that are behind, let us press forward to the things that are before. Cultivate only those thoughts and feelings which produce gratitude and praise. If you have been wronged, forget it, and think only of the great mercy, the loving-kindness, the inexpressible love of Jesus. Learn to praise rather than to censure. If you meet with insult and abuse, do not become discouraged, for Jesus met the same. Go forward, doing your work with fidelity. Store the mind with the precious promises of God's word, and hold sweet communion with him by frequently repeating them. Cease fretting, cease murmuring, cease finding fault, and make melody to God in your hearts. Think of everything you have to be thankful for, and then learn to praise God. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God."  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 16}
     If all our mourning, and fretting, and complaining were presented before us as written in the book of records, what a sight would we behold! How astonished we would be to see and understand our real thoughts and feelings-- naught but unhappy complainings.  {ST, September 27, 1883 par. 17} 
     I entreat you never to utter one word of complaint. Weave into the warp and woof of your experience the golden threads of gratitude. Contemplate the better land, where tears are never shed, where temptations and trials are never experienced, where losses and reproaches are never known, where all is peace, and joy, and happiness. Here your imagination may have full scope. These thoughts will make you more spiritually minded, will imbue you with heavenly vigor, will satisfy your thirsty soul with living water, and will impress upon your heart the seal of the divine image. You will be filled with hope and joy in believing, and the Comforter will abide with you forever.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 


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Re: Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 09:26:22 AM »
"When to sell and how much to sell ..."  Seek God's guidance with a willing heart.

Chap. 11 - Selling Homes and Property

     God calls upon those who have possessions in lands and houses, to sell, and to invest the money where it will be supplying the great want in the missionary field. When once they have experienced the real satisfaction that comes from thus doing, they will keep the channel open, and the means the Lord entrusts to them will be constantly flowing into the treasury, that souls may be converted. These souls will, in their turn, practice the same self-denial, economy, and simplicity, for Christ's sake, that they, too, may bring their offerings to God. Through these talents, wisely invested, still other souls may be converted; and thus the work goes on, showing that the gifts of God are appreciated. The Giver is acknowledged, and glory redounds to Him through the faithfulness of His stewards.  {CS 58.1} 
     When we make these earnest appeals in behalf of the cause of God, and present the financial wants of our missions, conscientious souls who believe the truth are deeply stirred. Like the poor widow, whom Christ commended, who gave her two mites into the treasury, they give, in their poverty, to the utmost of their ability. Such often deprive themselves even of the apparent necessities of life; while there are men and women who, possessing houses and lands, cling to their earthly treasure with selfish tenacity, and do not have faith enough in the message and in God to put their means into His work. To these last are especially applicable the words of Christ, "Sell that ye have, and give alms."
 {CS 58.2}
           Expect Individual Guidance

     There are poor men and women who are writing to me for advice as to whether they shall sell their homes, and give the proceeds to the cause. They say the appeals for means stir their souls, and they want to do something for the Master who has done everything for them. I would say to such, "It may not be your duty to sell your little homes just now; but go to God for yourselves; the Lord will certainly hear your earnest prayers for wisdom to understand your duty." --5T 733, 734.  {CS 59.1}
   Possessions to Decrease Rather Than Increase

     It is now that our brethren should be cutting down their possessions instead of increasing them. We are about to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Then let us not be dwellers upon the earth, but be getting things into as compact a compass as possible.  {CS 59.2} 
     The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save he that hath the mark of the beast.--5T 152.  {CS 59.3}
          Preparation for Time of Trouble

     Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar, and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of
these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble, and have no clogs to weigh them down.  {CS 59.4} 
     I saw that if any held on to their property, and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able. I heard some mourn like this: "The cause was languishing, God's people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. O that we had let it go, and laid up treasure in heaven!"  {CS 60.1} 
     I saw that a sacrifice did not increase, but it decreased and was consumed. I also saw that God had not required all of His people to dispose of their property at the same time, but if they desired to be taught, He would teach them, in a time of need, when to sell and how much to sell. Some have been required to dispose of their property in times past to sustain the advent cause, while others have been permitted to keep theirs until a time of need. Then, as the cause needs it, their duty is to sell.--EW 56, 57.  {CS 60.2}
            No Cord to Bind to Earth

     The work of God is to become more extensive, and if His people follow His counsel, there will not be much means in their possession to be consumed in the final conflagration. All will have laid up their treasure where moth and rust cannot corrupt; and the heart will not have a cord to bind it to earth.--1T 197.  {CS 60.3} 
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 


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Re: Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 09:31:31 AM »
We Should Keep the
                      Great Day of God Before Our Minds

     We must educate ourselves to be thinking and dwelling upon the great scenes of the judgment just before us and then, as we keep the scenes of the great day of God before us when everything will be revealed, it will have an effect upon our character. One brother said to me, "Sister White, do you think the Lord will come in ten
years?" "What difference does it make to you whether He shall come in two, four, or ten years?" "Why," said he, "I think I would do differently in some things than I now do if I knew the Lord was to come in ten years."  {LDE 41.5} 
     "What would you do?" said I.  {LDE 42.1} 
     "Why," said he, "I would sell my property and begin to search the Word of God and try to warn the people and get them to prepare for His coming, and I would plead with God that I might be ready to meet Him."  {LDE 42.2} 
     Then said I, "If you knew that the Lord was not coming for twenty years, you would live differently?"  {LDE 42.3} 
     Said he, "I think I would.". . .  {LDE 42.4} 
     How selfish was the expression that he would live a different life if he knew his Lord was to come in ten years! Why, Enoch walked with God 300 years. This is a lesson for us that we shall walk with God every day, and we are not safe unless we are waiting and watching.--Ms 10, 1886.  {LDE 42.5}
                         The Shortness of Time

     May the Lord give no rest, day nor night, to those who are now careless and indolent in the cause and work of God. The end is near. This is that which Jesus would have us keep ever before us--the shortness of time.--Letter 97, 1886.  {LDE 42.6} 
     When we shall stand with the redeemed upon the sea of glass with harps of gold and crowns of glory and before us the unmeasured eternity, we shall then see how short was the waiting period of probation.--10MR 266 (1886).  {LDE 42.7} 
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 


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Re: Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 09:44:50 AM »
More on Divine Guidance ... and a heart fully surrendered to God.

There are poor men and women who are writing to me for advice as to whether they shall sell their homes and give the proceeds to the cause. They say the appeals for means stir their souls, and they want to do something for the Master who has done everything for them. I would say to such: "It may not be your duty to sell your little homes just now; but go to God for yourselves; the Lord will certainly hear your earnest prayers for wisdom to understand your duty." If there was more seeking God for heavenly wisdom and less seeking wisdom from men, there would be far greater light from heaven, and God would bless the humble seeker. But I can say to those to whom God has entrusted goods, who have lands and houses: "Commence your selling, and giving alms. Make no delay. God expects more of you than you have been willing to do." We call upon you who have means, to inquire with earnest prayer: What is the extent of the divine claim upon me and my property? There is work to be done now to make ready a people to stand in the day of the Lord. Means must be invested in the work of saving men, who, in turn, shall work for others. Be prompt in rendering to God His own. One reason why there is so great a dearth of the Spirit of God is that so many are robbing God.  {5T 734.1} 
     There is a lesson for us in the experience of the churches of Macedonia, as described by Paul. He says that they "first gave their own selves to the Lord." Then they were eager to give their means for Christ. In a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of
themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift."  {5T 734.2} 
     Paul lays down a rule for giving to God's cause, and tells us what the result will be both in regard to ourselves and to God. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." "This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: ( . . . Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."  {5T 735.1}
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 10:02:49 AM »
Amen. If we believe the end is near, then as did Jeremiah buy land to show his faith, we are to sell ours as the Lord leads. Do not sell your small home until it is certain God is leading you to do so. It is not time to flee to the mountains.

But, fancy cars and houses are not the same as a small home. Jesus is coming soon and it is our  privilege to hasten that day and to help others be ready.

Thanks for sharing this important counsel, Mimi. It will be a blessing to many who are wondering what to do.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.