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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Last post by Beacon on January 28, 2023, 10:01:39 PM »
"When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order."

"Father, glorify Thy name' (John 12:28), was the keynote of Christ's life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life."

"He commands us to 'walk, even as He walked;' and 'hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.' 1 John 2:6, 3."

What is "OUR" Time and Energy devoted to on a daily bases ??


Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Lyrics:Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)
Music:Henri Abraham Cesar Malan (1787-1864)

Thursday ↥         February 2

Term Limits and Borrowing Points

Read Deuteronomy 15:1-5. What did the Lord require of His people as revealed in these verses?

In harmony with other seven-year statutes (Exod. 21:2; Lev. 25:3, 4), not only the slaves or servants and the land were regulated, but also the lenders. Because the lenders did not want to forgive any debts, the longest anyone could be in debt was seven years. Whatever else we can take from these verses, they do show that the Lord cares about these kinds of financial issues, especially whenever it concerned fellow Israelites. These verses do show also that the Lord acknowledged the reality of debt, no matter how bad it generally was. He also emphasized that it was to be avoided as much as possible.

Today, by contrast, many parts of the world have loans for 30 and 40 years for home purchases. It seems that one reason houses cost so much is that credit is available to provide loans to purchase them.

Meanwhile, many people, parents, and students wonder about borrowing money for an education. As a rule, getting a college degree will enhance a person’s income capability for the rest of his or her life. Some people might have to borrow some money to pay for their education, but keep in mind these factors. You have to pay it back with interest. Try to get all of the grants and scholarships that you can qualify for. Work and save all you can for school. Take only courses that will lead to a job. Have parents help. In Bible times, parents gave their children farmland so that they could make a living. Today that “inheritance” should likely be an education so that they can become independent adults.

In an ideal world, there would be no borrowing and no debt. But because we don’t live in an ideal world, there might be times when it is necessary to borrow. Just make sure that you have the best deal possible, and the best interest rate available. Then borrow the very minimum that you need, and pay it off as quickly as possible to save on interest costs. In principle, however, to whatever degree humanly possible, we should seek to avoid debt, and by following biblical financial principles in our everyday lives, we can go a long way toward avoiding unnecessary debt and the terrible strain it can put on us and our families.

If you have lent people money, how honest and fair and kind are you in your dealings with them? How would you fare before God when you have to answer for those dealings? (See Eccles. 12:14)

Friday ↥         February 3

Further Thought:
The three-step process of debt elimination is actually found on one page of Ellen G. White’s writings. Emphasis has been added to highlight the points.

“Be determined never to incur another debt. Deny yourself a thousand things rather than run in debt. This has been the curse of your life, getting into debt. Avoid it as you would the smallpox.

Make a solemn covenant with God that by His blessing you will pay your debts and then owe no man anything if you live on porridge and bread. … Do not falter, be discouraged, or turn back. Deny your taste, deny the indulgence of appetite, save your pence and pay your debts.

Work them off as fast as possible. When you can stand forth a free man again, owing no man anything, you will have achieved a great victory.” — Counsels on Stewardship, p. 257.

If you need additional help to become debt-free, try these points:

Establish a budget. Make a simple budget by keeping a record of all your income and expenses/purchases over a period of three months. Many are surprised to learn how much money they spend on unnecessary items.

Destroy credit cards. Credit cards are one of the major causes of family indebtedness. They are so easy to use and so hard to pay off. If you find that you aren’t paying off the cards in total each month, or that you are using them to purchase items that you would not otherwise have bought, you should destroy your credit cards before they destroy you or your marriage or both.

Begin economic measures. Sometimes we aren’t aware of how much we could save on our monthly expenses just by being careful about some of the small things that we purchase. They quickly add up.

Discussion Questions:

    The amount of debt that many nations, as well as individuals, have taken upon themselves is staggering. What has been your own experience with debt and the problems that debt has created for you or others?

    What could your local church do to help members learn to manage debt or financial issues in general?

    What are some Bible promises that you can claim to help protect yourself from the lure of the world and the financial dangers greediness can pose to us?
Tuesday ↥         January 31

How to Get Out of Debt

Read Proverbs 22:7. In what sense are we under bondage to the lender?

What can be done to escape from this unfortunate phenomenon? If you are in debt, the following outline will help you begin a debt-elimination process. The plan is simple. It has a premise and three steps.

The premise is a commitment to God to be faithful in returning His holy tithe to access His wisdom and blessing. He is eager to bless those who obey Him.

Step one is to declare a moratorium on additional debt: no more credit spending. If you don’t borrow money, you can’t get into debt. If you don’t borrow any more money, you can’t get further into debt.

Step two is to make a covenant with God that from this point on, as He blesses, you will pay off your debts as quickly as possible. When God blesses you financially, use the money to reduce debt — not to purchase more things. This step is probably the most crucial. When most folks receive unexpected money, they simply spend it. Don’t; instead, apply it to your debt-reduction plan.

Step three is the hands-on practical part. Make a list of all your debts, from the largest to the smallest, in descending order. For most families the home mortgage is at the top of the list, and a credit card or personal debt is at the bottom. Begin by making at least the minimum payment due on each of your debts on a monthly basis. Next, double up or increase your payments in any way you can on the debt on the bottom of the list. You’ll be happily surprised how quickly you can eliminate that smallest debt. Then use the money that you were paying on the bottom debt to add to the basic payment on the next debt as you work your way up the list. As you eliminate your smaller high-interest debts, you’ll free up a surprising amount of money to place on the next-higher debts.

God clearly doesn’t want us in debt. Once the covenant is made, many families find that God blesses them in unexpected ways, and the debt is reduced faster than they had anticipated. By following these three simple steps, many families have become debt-free. You can, too! By putting God first, you’ll receive His wisdom and blessing for managing what He has entrusted to you.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” (Heb. 13:5, NKJV). How could applying these words greatly help people avoid getting into debt?

Wednesday ↥         February 1

Surety and Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

The Bible is very clear that God does not want His children to become responsible for the debt obligations of others. In the book of Proverbs, the Lord has warned us against surety — that is, cosigning or being guarantor for another person.

Read Proverbs 6:1-5, Proverbs 17:18, and Proverbs 22:26. What is the message here?

Surety usually occurs when a person with poor credit seeks a loan from a lending institution and does not qualify for the loan. The loan officer will tell the unqualified person that if he or she will get a friend with good credit to cosign with him or her, then the bank will grant the loan and hold the cosigner responsible in the event of a default.

Sometimes a fellow church member will come to you and ask you to cosign. Your response should be: “The Bible says I should never do that.” Please understand that the Bible encourages us to be helpful to those in need, but we should not become responsible for their debts.

Parents are sometimes asked by teenagers to cosign for the purchase of their first car. Or older adult children will ask parents to cosign for a business loan. The same answer applies. It is appropriate to help others if there is a real need, but do not become surety for the debts of others. Studies show that 75 percent of those who cosigned end up making the payments!

Read Proverbs 28:20 and 1 Timothy 6:9, 10. What’s the warning here?

Get-rich-quick schemes are another financial trap; they are almost guaranteed to lead to financial ruin for those who get caught up in them. When it sounds too good to be true, it surely is. Many people are hurt emotionally and financially. An additional tragedy with these devious plans is that, in many cases, individuals have had to borrow money to become involved in them in the first place. Many lives and families have been ruined by get-rich-quick schemes that end up enriching only the con artists who devise them, at the expense of those who fall into their trap. When a friend, or even a loved one, tries to pull you into one of these schemes, run. Not walk. Run — as fast as you can.
Monday         January 30
Following Godly Counsel

We are material beings, and we live in a material world, a world that, at times, can be very alluring. You’d have to be made out of steel and synthetic oil, not flesh and blood, not to feel, at times, the lure of material possessions and the desire for wealth. At one time or another, who hasn’t fantasized about being rich or winning the lottery?

Though we all face it, and there is nothing wrong in and of itself in working hard to earn a good living or even being wealthy, none of us has to succumb to the trap of making idols out of money, wealth, and material possessions. We are promised divine power to stay faithful to what we know is right. This is important, because the temptation for wealth and material possessions has led to the ruin of many souls.

Read Matthew 6:24 and 1 John 2:15. Though expressed differently, what’s the common theme found in both of them?

Unfortunately, the love of the world can be so strong that people will get into debt in order — as they hope — to satisfy that love. (It never works; see Eccles. 4:8 )

And because debt is one of Satan’s nets that he sets for souls, it just makes sense that God would like to see His children debt-free. He has given us counsel through the Bible and the prophetic gift that will lead us to financial freedom.

Read Psalm 50:14, 15. What attitude should God’s people live with? What does it mean to “pay your vows” (NKJV)?

We enter into our church membership with praise and thanksgiving to our God, who has created and redeemed us. In point 9 (of 13) in our baptismal vows, we were asked, “Do you believe in church organization? Is it your purpose to worship God and to support the church through your tithes and offerings and by your personal effort and influence?” As Seventh-day Adventists, we all said yes. So this text (Ps. 50:14, 15) is a promise to those who offer thanksgiving to God and are faithfully paying their vows.

What do your choices tell you about how well you deal with the lure of the world? Why is working hard to earn a good living not necessarily the same thing as making an idol of wealth or money? How can we learn the difference?

When truly converted, the love of money goes away. It is the desire of the heart given to God to help others. This applies to time and money. We are accountable for our time. Those who stand on vantage ground are even more responsible for their use of time as well as money.
Sunday          January 29
The Debt Problems

Read Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 12. What is God’s ideal for His children regarding debt? How can they attain this ideal? And though this context is very different from ours, what principles can we take away from this context and apply to our own now?

Studies show that there are three primary reasons that people get into financial difficulty. They are listed here in the order of greatest frequency.

The first is ignorance. Many people, even the educated, are financially illiterate. They were simply never exposed to the biblical or even secular principles of money management. There is hope, however! This lesson will provide a simple outline of these principles and how to apply them.

The second reason for financial difficulties is greed, or selfishness. In response to advertising and personal desire, people simply live beyond their means. They aren’t willing to live in, drive, or wear what they can really afford. Many of these same people also feel that they are just too poor to tithe. As a consequence, they live their lives without God’s promised wisdom and blessing (see Mal. 3:10, 11; Matt. 6:33). There’s hope for these people as well, but it requires a change of heart — and a spirit of contentment.

Amen! A change of heart is what we all need, and we need it daily. We are evil by nature and must die to self daily.

The third reason people find themselves in financial difficulty is personal misfortune. They may have experienced a serious illness without adequate health insurance. They may have been abandoned by a spendthrift marriage partner. A natural disaster may have wiped out their possessions. Or they may have been born and raised in abject poverty. There is hope for these people, too. Though their path is more difficult, their troubles can be overcome. Change may come in the support of Christian friends; the counsel and/or assistance of godly counselors; hard work coupled with a good education; and the blessing and providence of God.

And, let us remember the poor widow who gave her two mites. She had love, joy, and peace in her poverty.

Whatever the reason, even if it’s a person’s own fault, debt can be alleviated. However, those in debt will need to make some changes in their lives, their spending, and their financial priorities.

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-9.

 6:6   But godliness with contentment is great gain. 
 6:7   For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. 
 6:8   And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 
 6:9   But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 

What is Paul saying here that all of us need to heed? What do these words mean to you, and in what ways can you better follow what the Word is teaching us here?

Paul is telling us we need to be a partaker of God's divine nature that we be not prideful and selfish. A motivation to gain more and more reveals a selfish heart and stupidity in thinking that at the end of it all you can take it with you.
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Deut. 28:1, 2, 12; Matt. 6:24; 1 John 2:15; Prov. 22:7; Prov. 6:1-5; Deut. 15:1-5.

Memory Text: “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

One definition of debt is “living today on what you expect to earn in the future.” Today debt seems to be a way of life, but it should not be the norm for Christians. The Bible discourages debt. In the Scriptures there are at least 26 references to debt, and all are negative. It does not say that it is a sin to borrow money, but it does talk about the often-bad consequences of doing so. When considering financial obligations, Paul counseled: “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Rom. 13:7, 8.

Why is debt an almost international scourge at every level — personal, corporate, and government? Every society has always had at least a small percentage who were in debt. But today a much larger portion of the people are in debt, and it’s almost never to their benefit.

There are many in the United States political system that want to do away with the debt ceiling. In other words, they do not want anyone setting a limit to creating more and more debt. The debt Americans owe is in the trillions of dollars.  Other nations have followed. Thus, we are nearing the end of all things and we shall see the results of national apostasy and national debt.

This week we will consider the reasons for debt and how to deal with it. You may be debt-free, but you can share this valuable information with family and friends who could benefit from it.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, February 4.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Last post by Richard Myers on January 28, 2023, 08:21:57 AM »
Amen my dear brothers and sister! Jesus did indeed pay it all! A short but wonderful reading today. We love the woman who revealed no pride. How much do we all want this pure heart that is the requirement for heaven. This transformation of character is the greatest of all miracles!

   The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God's household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father's gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples. Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." From that hour her daughter became whole. The demon troubled her no more. The woman departed, acknowledging her Saviour, and happy in the granting of her prayer.
     This was the only miracle that Jesus wrought while on this journey.

Yes, the miracle of all miracles!

The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on January 28, 2023, 05:33:22 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon! Praying for the Lord to bless you with a good outcome for your eyes! Amen, also, Sister Dorine!

Happy Sabbath!! God is very generous! Let us open our hearts to His unselfish love and live to bless others! All He does is for the good of the universe and those whom He loves with an infinite love! As Jesus granted the request of the Gentile woman whose daughter needed healing from demon possession, Christ was showing how He yearns to bless all! All of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing will come into the life that is fully yielded to Jesus, empowering the soul to affectionately obey God from the new heart given by grace through faith in the genuine experience of salvation!

"Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and 'partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.' Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson. In rewarding the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and preaching the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar, He had already given evidence that He did not share the intolerance of the Jews. But the Samaritans had some knowledge of God; and the centurion had shown kindness to Israel. Now Jesus brought the disciples in contact with a heathen, whom they regarded as having no reason above any of her people, to expect favor from Him. He would give an example of how such a one should be treated. The disciples had thought that He dispensed too freely the gifts of His grace. He would show that His love was not to be circumscribed to race or nation." {The Desire of Ages, page 402, paragraph 2}

As we open our hearts to Jesus and all He longs to do, we will find new opportunities to go forth to bless others in His appointed ways! May your heart be fully knit with Christ this Sabbath as you grow in His love!
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Last post by Dorine on January 28, 2023, 03:34:43 AM »
"In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Saviour's love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel."

Friday          January 27

Further Thought: The heavenly record book of remembrance also notes the financial faithfulness of God’s family members. “The recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed. The eye of God takes cognizance of every farthing devoted to His cause, and of the willingness or reluctance of the giver. The motive in giving is also chronicled. Those self-sacrificing, consecrated ones who render back to God the things that are His, as He requires of them, will be rewarded according to their works. Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view, — the glory of God and the salvation of souls, — those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward.” — Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 518.

Amen! God is so very good!

“God desires people to pray and to plan for the advancement of his work. But, like Cornelius, we are to unite praying with giving. Our prayers and our alms are to come up before God as a memorial. Faith without works is dead; and without a living faith it is impossible to please God. While we pray, we are to give all we possibly can, both of our labor and our means, for the fulfillment of our prayers. If we act out our faith, we shall not be forgotten by God. He marks every deed of love and self-denial. He will open ways whereby we may show our faith by our works.” — Ellen G. White, Atlantic Union Gleaner, June 17, 1903.

Discussion Questions:

    How do praying and giving go together? That is, how might praying help you know what to give to, when, and how much to give?

    A well-known magazine in the United States told about young professionals on Wall Street who were making so much money and yet were so miserable, so empty, so full of angst and worry. One of them, a portfolio manager, said: “What does it matter after I die if I had made an extra one percent gain in my portfolio?” What lessons can we take from this story about how giving, even sacrificial giving, can be so spiritually beneficial to the giver, in that it helps free us from the “deceitfulness of riches” (Matt. 13:22)?

    In the Ellen G. White quote above, notice the part about funds being “misapplied.” Why is it important for those of us who give to keep her point in mind?

Like the widow who gave her two mites, it makes no difference to God that the false teachers misused the money. It is the heart God wants, all of it. She gave it, thus she had love, joy, and peace in this world and will live forever in a world without sin.

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