Ask in Faith

Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6

It is our privilege, our duty, to receive light from heaven, that we may perceive the wiles of Satan, and obtain strength to resist his power. Provision has been made for us to come into close connection with Christ and to enjoy the constant protection of the angels of God. Our faith must reach within the veil, where Jesus has entered for us. We must lay hold with firmer grasp on the unfailing promises of God. We must have faith that will not be denied, faith that will take hold of the unseen, faith that is steadfast, immovable. Such faith will bring the blessing of heaven to our souls. The light of the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ may shine upon us, and be reflected upon all around, so that it can be truly said of us, “Ye are the light of the world.” And it is this connection of the soul with Christ, and this alone, that can bring light to the world. Were it not for this connection, the earth would be left in utter darkness. . . . The deeper the surrounding gloom, the brighter should shine out the light of Christian faith and Christian example.

The fact that unbelief prevails, that iniquity is increasing all around us, should not cause our faith to grow dim or our courage to waver. . . . If we will but seek God with all our hearts, if we will work with that same determined zeal, and believe with that unyielding faith, the light of heaven will shine upon us, even as it shone upon the devoted Enoch.

Oh that I could impress upon all the importance of exercising faith moment by moment, and hour by hour! We are to live the life of faith; for “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Our spiritual strength depends upon our faith.

From My Life Today – Page 12

I Consecrate my All

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Rom. 12:1

God calls for whole-souled consecration to His ways. Our highest powers are to be carefully cultivated. Our talents are lent us by God for use, not to be perverted or abused. They are to be improved by use, that they may do the work of God.

We are to give ourselves to the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer. Those who love Him with all the heart will desire to give Him the best service of the life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will.

Personal consecration is necessary, and we cannot have this unless heart holiness is cultivated and cherished.

Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter.

The surrender of all our powers to God greatly simplifies the problem of life. It weakens and cuts short a thousand struggles with the passions of the natural heart. Religion is as a golden cord that binds the souls of both youth and aged to Christ. Through it the willing and obedient are brought safely through dark and intricate paths to the city of God. . . .

How many times have the deep things of God been unfolded before us, and how highly should we prize these precious privileges. . . . The bright beams of Heaven’s light are shining upon your pathway. . . . Receive and cherish every Heaven-sent ray, and your path will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.

From My Life Today – Page 10

The Way of Righteousness Is Life

In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death. Prov. 12:28

Another year now opens its fair unwritten pages before you. The recording angel stands ready to write. Your course of action will determine what shall be traced by him. You may make your future life good or evil; and this will determine for you whether the year upon which you have just entered will be to you a happy new year. It is in your power to make it such for yourself and for those around you.

Let patience, long-suffering, kindness, and love become a part of your very being; then whatsoever things are pure and lovely and of good report will mature in your experience.

Angels of God are waiting to show you the path of life. . . . Decide now, at the commencement of the new year, that you will choose the path of righteousness, that you will be earnest and true-hearted, and that life with you shall not prove a mistake. Go forward, guided by the heavenly angels; be courageous; be enterprising; let your light shine; and may the words of inspiration be applicable to you–“I write unto you, young men, because you are strong and have overcome the wicked one.”

If you have . . . given yourself to Christ, you are a member of the family of God, and everything in the Father’s house is for you. All the treasures of God are open to you, both the world that now is and that which is to come. The ministry of angels, the gift of His Spirit, the labors of His servants–all are for you. The world, with everything in it, is yours so far as it can do you good. Even the enmity of the wicked will prove a blessing, by disciplining you for heaven. If “ye are Christ’s” “all things are yours.”

From My Life Today – Page 9

God’s Glory Seen in His Works

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole hearth is full of his glory. Isaiah 6:3

As it came from the Creator’s hand, not only the Garden of Eden but the whole earth was exceedingly beautiful. No taint of sin, or shadow of death, marred the fair creation. God’s glory “covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise” (Habakkuk 3:3). “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Thus was the earth a fit emblem of Him who is “abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6); a fit study for those who were made in His image. The Garden of Eden was a representation of what God desired the whole earth to become, and it was His purpose that, as the human family increased in numbers, they should establish other homes and schools like the one He had given. Thus in course of time the whole earth might be occupied with homes and schools where the words and works of God should be studied, and where the students should thus be fitted more and more fully to reflect, throughout endless ages, the light of the knowledge of His glory. – (AG 343.2)

When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, and bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. Vast was the scope offered for their exercise, glorious the field opened to their research. The mysteries of the visible universe—the “wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16)—invited man’s study. Face-to-face, heart-to-heart communion with his Maker was his high privilege. Had he remained loyal to God, all this would have been his forever. Throughout eternal ages he would have continued to gain new treasures of knowledge, to discover fresh springs of happiness, and to obtain clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the wisdom, the power, and the love of God. More and more fully would he have fulfilled the object of his creation, more and more fully have reflected the Creator’s glory.

Source: Amazing Grace by Ellen G. White

Reverence in the House of the Lord

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:30 – {ML 286.1}
God is high and holy; and to the humble, believing soul, His house on earth, the place where His people meet for worship, is as the gate of heaven. The song of praise, the words spoken by Christ’s ministers, are God’s appointed agencies to prepare a people for the church above, for that loftier worship. – {ML 286.2}
When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats…. Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service. Ardent, active piety should characterize the worshipers. – {ML 286.3}
If some have to wait a few minutes before the meeting begins, let them maintain a true spirit of devotion by silent meditation, keeping the heart uplifted to God in prayer that the service may be of special benefit to their own hearts and lead to the conviction and conversion of other souls. They should remember that heavenly messengers are in the house. We all lose much sweet communion with God by our restlessness, by not encouraging moments of reflection and prayer…. – {ML 286.4}
Elevate the standard of Christianity in the minds of your children; help them to weave Jesus into their experience; teach them to have the highest reverence for the house of God and to understand that when they enter the Lord’s house it should be with hearts that are softened and subdued by such thoughts as these: “God is here; this is His house. I must have pure thoughts and holiest motives…. This is the place where God meets with and blesses His people.” … – {ML 286.5}
Parents should not only teach, but command, their children to enter the sanctuary with sobriety and reverence. – {ML 286.6}
Practice reverence until it becomes a part of yourself. – {ML 286.7}

Source: My Life Today – Page 291

Reverence for God’s Representatives

And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 2 Chron. 36:15,16

Reverence should be shown for God’s representatives–for ministers, teachers, and parents who are called to speak and act in His stead. In the respect shown to them He is honored.

The education and training of the youth should be of a character that would exalt sacred things and encourage pure devotion for God in His house. Many who profess to be children of the heavenly King have no true appreciation of the sacredness of eternal things. . . .

They are seldom instructed that the minister is God’s ambassador, that the message he brings is one of God’s appointed agencies in the salvation of souls, and that to all who have the privilege brought within their reach it will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. . . Many . . . make the service a subject of criticism at home, approving a few things and condemning others. . . . In regard to the service of the sanctuary, if the speaker has a blemish, be afraid to mention it. Talk only of the good work he is doing, of the good ideas he presented, which you should heed as coming through God’s agent. . . .

Unless correct ideas of true worship and true reverence are impressed upon the people, there will be a growing tendency to place the sacred and eternal on a level with common things, and those professing the truth will be an offense to God and a disgrace to religion. They can never, with their uncultivated ideas, appreciate a pure and holy heaven,and be prepared to join with the worshipers in the heavenly courts above, where all is purity and perfection, where every being has perfect reverence for God and His holiness.

Paul describes the work of God’s ambassadors as that by which every man shall be presented perfect in Christ Jesus.

Source:  My Life Today – page 290

Lives of John and Judas Contrasted

The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:17

John and his fellow disciples were in a school in which Christ was teacher. . . . John treasured every lesson and constantly sought to bring his life into harmony with the Divine Pattern. The lessons of Jesus, setting forth meekness, humility, and love as essential to growth in grace and a fitness for his work, were of the highest value to John. . . .

An instructive lesson may be drawn from the striking contrast between the character of John and that of Judas. John was a living illustration of sanctification. On the other hand, Judas possessed a form of godliness, while his character was more satanic than divine. He professed to be a disciple of Christ, but in words and in works denied Him.

Judas had the same precious opportunities as had John to study and to imitate the Pattern. He listened to the lessons of Christ, and his character might have been transformed by divine grace. But while John was earnestly warring against his own faults and seeking to assimilate to Christ, Judas was violating his conscience, yielding to temptation, and fastening upon himself habits of dishonesty that would transform him into the image of Satan.

These two disciples represent the Christian world. All profess to be Christ’s followers; but while one class walk in humility and meekness, learning of Jesus, the other show that they are not doers of the Word, but hearers only. One class are sanctified through the truth; the other know nothing of the transforming power of divine grace. The former are daily dying to self, and are overcoming sin. The latter are indulging their own lusts, and becoming the servants of Satan.

Source: My Life Today – Page 263

John’s Love and Loyalty

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

The confiding love and unselfish devotion manifested in the life and character of John present lessons of untold value to the Christian church. Some may present him as possessing this love independent of divine grace; but John had, by nature, serious defects of character: he was proud and ambitious and quick to resent slight and injury. . . .

John desired to become like Jesus, and under the transforming influence of the love of Christ, he became meek and lowly of heart. Self was hid in Jesus. He was closely united to the Living Vine, and thus became a partaker of the divine nature. Such will ever be the result of communion with Christ. This is true sanctification.

There may be marked defects in the character of an individual, yet when he becomes a true disciple of Jesus, the power of divine grace makes him a new creature. Christ’s love transforms, sanctifies him. But when persons profess to be Christians, and their religion does not make them better men and better women in all the relations of life–living representatives of Christ in disposition and character –they are none of His.

John enjoyed the blessing of true sanctification. But mark, the apostle does not claim to be sinless; he is seeking perfection by walking in the light of God’s countenance. He testifies that the man who professes to know God, and yet breaks the divine law, gives the lie to his profession. . . . While we are to love the souls for whom Christ died, and labor for their salvation, we should not make a compromise with sin. We are not to unite with the rebellious, and call this charity. God requires His people in this age of the world to stand, as did John in his time, unflinchingly for the right, in opposition to soul-destroying errors.

Source: My Life Today – Page 262

Steadfast Integrity of the Three Hebrews

Nebuchadnezzar . . . said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said . . . , True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Dan. 3:24, 25

These three Hebrews possessed genuine sanctification. True Christian principle will not stop to weigh consequences. It does not ask, What will people think of me if I do this? or how will it affect my worldly prospects if I do that? With the most intense longing the children of God desire to know what He would have them do, that their works may glorify Him. The Lord has made ample provision that the hearts and lives of all His followers may be controlled by divine grace, that they may be as burning and shining lights in the world.

These faithful Hebrews possessed great natural ability; they had enjoyed the highest intellectual culture, and now occupied a position of honor; but all this did not lead them to forget God. Their powers were yielded to the sanctifying influence of divine grace. By their steadfast integrity they showed forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. In their wonderful deliverance were displayed, before that vast assembly, the power and majesty of God. Jesus placed Himself by their side in the fiery furnace, and by the glory of His presence convinced the proud king of Babylon that it could be no other than the Son of God. The light of Heaven had been shining forth from Daniel and his companions, until all their associates understood the faith which ennobled their lives and beautified their characters. . . .

What a lesson is here given to the fainthearted, the vacillating, the cowardly in the cause of God! . . . These faithful, steadfast characters exemplify sanctification, while they have no thought of claiming the high honor.

Source:  My Life Today, p261.

Flagrant in Words

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matthew 12:36, 37.

As the prophet Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he was amazed, and overwhelmed with a sense of his own weakness and unworthiness, he cried, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5)…. Let every soul who claims to be a son or a daughter of God examine himself in the light of Heaven; let him consider the polluted lips that make him “undone.” They are the medium of communication…. Then let them not be used in bringing from the treasure of the heart words that will dishonor God and discourage those around you, but use them for the praise and glory of God, who has formed them for this purpose…. When the love of Jesus is the theme of contemplation, the words coming from human lips will be full of praise and thanksgiving to God and to the Lamb.

How many words are spoken in lightness and foolishness, in jesting and joking! This would not be so did the followers of Christ realize the truth of the words, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

The vision given to Isaiah represents the condition of God’s people in the last days…. As they look by faith into the holy of holies, and see the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, they perceive that they are a people of unclean lips—a people whose lips have often spoken vanity and whose talents have not been sanctified and employed to the glory of God…. If they will humble their souls before God, there is hope for them. The bow of promise is above the throne, and the work done for Isaiah will be performed in them.

Be fragrant in your words. Remember that you are either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Let us be as fragrant flowers. Let the love of Christ pervade your lives. Let your words be such that they will be as apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Source:  In Heavenly Places, by Ellen G. White