Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 9, No. 11 Straight and Narrow November 2000
by Howard Williams
(This article is another abridged and edited message in the series of articles we are running from the West Virginia camp meeting. This message is available on both audio and video cassettes. Next month, we plan to continue with more challenging messages. Editor)
We want to get back to the basics. Sometimes we get so caught up in other things that we forget the foundation. We forget the basic reasons and causes for us being what we are. God has one problem: sin! Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” That includes you and me? Going to chapter 5:12 we read “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” So, our problem is sin.
God had to find a remedy. God had to find a solution for that sin problem. Turn with me to Matthew 1:21. The angel is speaking to Mary and I want you to take a good look at it: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” And they shall call his name what? Jesus. Why? “For he shall save his people from their sins.” That’s the remedy; that’s the solution. Jesus. He will save His people not in their sins, but from their sins. The question is, are you saved from sin?
Now Lynnford tried to touch on the problem last night when he mentioned the power of sin and the penalty of sin. There is a misconception in this entire plan of salvation that the Christian world, in general, has upside down. The serious problem is that men, even Christians, believe and think that when they are converted and baptized, there should automatically be some great power that comes inside that will change their lives and make them into what they should be. And the problem is that when they find that after baptism they still have the same inclinations, and they are doing the same things, they get discouraged. Yet, if they would think a little about conversion they would see that it has been an unfortunate situation because they are expecting the flesh to be different.
Now I need to ask you a couple of questions because we all claim to be baptized, converted people here. Now did you have the very same body after you were converted that you had prior to your conversion? Was not the body composed of the same material, same flesh, blood and bones? Was the flesh of the exact same quality as it was before? Was it not still human flesh or natural flesh as you had before? Let me go on. Now it being the same flesh and the same quality of flesh, is it also still just sinful flesh? Now some people take a break here and they think no, it is no longer sinful flesh. But it is sinful flesh and so when this misconception creeps in people are thinking the body should be changed, the body must become different, but that is not what the scripture teaches.
Believing, according to Scripture, is not talk. Believing, according to Scripture, is action. So often we make the mistake by saying, “I believe.” I remember a videotape that was done by The Moody Bible Institute. Dr. Irwin Moon showed an illustration when he tried to explain faith. He positioned a chair in front of himself and stated that the chair looked strong and was well made and more than able to hold him up, but he would not believe the chair could hold him up, in the Bible sense, until he sat in the chair. Belief is simply sitting in the chair. You are saying I trust my weight to the chair. I believe in the chair by sitting in the chair. So if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe that He gives power to overcome sinful flesh, then we should see some action!
Conversion is not, according to Scripture, God placing new flesh on the old spirit, but it is God placing a new spirit on the old flesh. Thus deliverance and victory are not gained by having the human nature taken away. It is by receiving the divine nature. This is what Paul is talking about in Romans, chapter 8. Does Paul say, “Let this flesh be upon you that was upon Christ?” No, let’s go to Philippians 2:5. It says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Ahhh, we’re touching something now. Let this what? “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” The same mind that Christ has, we are to have. So victory that Christ brings is a divine spirit in a sinful human body. Christ “united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh.” (Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900) That’s the victory.
Beloved, Romans 12:1 says something I want to spend a little time on. Paul is here beseeching. Do you know what the word beseeching means? Begging. As I said before, I am not here for a good time. I am not here to enjoy myself. I am not even here for a spiritual feast. I am here to listen to God speak! You know why? I can get changed as a person. That is what I am looking for, a change! I realize that is what I need right now, a change in the direction I am going which is headlong to hell. I can only speak for myself. I am looking for a change, not for a good feeling. So here Paul is beseeching, begging. He says, “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.” I’m not sure those words are getting home. He says we are to make ourselves worthy of this holiness unto God which deserves all the service we have to give.
But zero in on verse 2 and see how practically it applies to us. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We will be translated by the renewing of our flesh, but we are transformed by the renewing of the mind. Paul is saying your minds, my mind, are being conformed to things of this world. He is saying right now we are so taken up with food, clothing, shelter, car, home, everything else and anything else but God. He is saying being conformed to this kind of world is enmity.
You know James says, he that is a friend of the world is an enemy of God. Are you seeing it? Satan has circumstances in such a way that we are tied up with material things; so linked, so attached to them our minds are being conformed. Paul says the only way you are going to make it, the only way you can break loose of things, is to have your mind transformed; it must be renewed. True repentance means to make a turnaround. We have got to be making that turn where our minds begin to focus in on the things that are non-perishable, the things that are invisible, the things that the world does not see and they cannot see because there is no spirit to direct. We should not be like the world.
Why are we like the world? You know what amazes me? I’ll tell you. For 156 years we have a people preaching and teaching that there is to be on earth men and women who will become perfect. We have been preaching and teaching that we will become like Christ was on earth. Look into your own lives. Are you any nearer than those that started this message? If not, then don’t you see why the world laughs at your belief. You know why, because you don’t have a life to prove it! Our religion has become lip service. Matthew 15:8 states, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Jesus said it. I don’t want your good words, I don’t want your promises, Jesus says I want your heart. I want your mind. That is the only way you can become like I am.
In June I had an experience that did something to me. Even standing here now it is so clear in my mind. I was in Miami for my brother’s wedding. The whole family was there and it was a Friday evening. We are all Seventh-day Adventists and so we sat in the living room and the subject came up as to why are we not at the place where we should be in our Christian experience. I was saying the Scripture says we will be perfect. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that we must be perfect as our Father is perfect. Paul says that Christ is going to come back for a church that has not spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, nor blemish, and yet in my own life and in the lives of people I know, they seem to be saying its the same problem they are having—sinning and confessing, sinning and confessing and it seems like that is the way we go everyday, sinning and confessing. And you know what they said to me? Listen: “Something is wrong. I think we had it wrong all along. This doctrine about perfection has got to be revived. It’s just not possible. Your own life proves it.” I insisted no! And they asked me a question. They said to me, “Are you sinning?” And that hit me like a knife to my heart. I couldn’t respond. “Do you know anyone that is sinless?” So I took out my Bible. They said, “No, no, no, put that down. Tell me about somebody you know today that is sinless.” And I was ashamed.
God has not lost His power! Then why are we so weak? Why are we sinning and confessing every day? Where is the victory over sin? What do we teach from the Word? We teach about the salvation that the Bible gives. Do we water it down and feed it to them like other Christians would? Do we say once saved, always saved? Do we say all you need to do is believe and you are saved? Accept Jesus, nothing more? But yet, what of our lives? See, the only testimony I have is my own life. I know nothing about you. All I know is myself. What am I? You know what? I’m a former semi-driver. How does that fit into eternity? How does that fit me into heaven? You know what else? I’m a former racecar driver. Sounds good. What does that give me? I’m a good mechanic, but how does that help me to be what Christ wants me to be? I can only tell you about myself. I don’t know about you. Our pursuit for education and so on drives us in the way opposite of heaven. Our pursuit for money and materialism, takes us in the way opposite of the kingdom.
I read a statement some time back where Ellen White says the time and money we spend in getting an education, the hours we stay up studying, if we would give half the time to the study of the Word we would be much better off. Don’t you see then that there is something happening to the people of God, the same people that ought to be among the 144,000, the same people that should stand before God without a mediator? What happened to them? Look at yourselves. Look at me. What are we saying to the world? Are we telling God that He is powerless? Are we telling God He cannot perfect me? But your lives seem to be saying that. If there is one thing I want to leave this camp meeting with it is the thought that I must be different. We are in warfare.
Now last night when the fire broke out I was helpless with my two hands. Then I remembered Allen had a little fire extinguisher under his van seat. I had to run down and get it. It was small in comparison to what we were facing, but at least I had something. Paul says the Christians have weapons. I am not sure you know about them, but he is going to tell us what they are. He says in 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” What does that mean, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal?” Our weapons are not guns, knives, daggers or anything physical. But Paul says they are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” We were just thinking of the strong holds of the world on us and that we are almost conforming to it. He says the weapons we have are so strong that it can pull down the strong holds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exhalteth itself. The weapons of warfare are able to change our thought patterns. Are you seeing it? Casting down imaginations. Where do you imagine things? In the mind. The weapons of our warfare can cast down those imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. What is the truth of the matter? Anything you do, you think first. It begins in the mind. That is the heart of my message—Mind Cure.
A transformation of the mind is the cure for the clamors of the sinful flesh and Paul is not finished. He goes on in verse 5 and tells us that this weapon will bring into captivity every thought. Are you seeing it? It will bring into captivity every imagination of the mind. It will bring it to the obedience of whom? Christ. I love that passage. In Colossians 1:27 Paul says, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” “Christ in you.” Go with me to Galatians 4:19. “My little children, [I love that.] of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Christ in you, the hope of glory. There is no other way of reaching that glorious land. There is no other way of reaching the place that Jesus has gone to prepare except Christ be in you.
Philippians 3:13 says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Look at your own life. “Lord, I’ve been a failure.” He says, “All right, you recognize it, fine. We are going to forget that.” I say, “Lord, I’ve not lived as I should.” He says, “All right, you recognize it, we are going to forget that.” I say, “Lord, I have not witnessed as I should.” He kindly says, “Fine, let’s forget that as long as you decide to change.” He says, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” I discovered something important. While we were sinners we had at sometime in our life hope; a dream of becoming a Christian. Right? Guess what? We made that step and accepted Christ. But guess what else. It seems like our vision has been blurred. We have arrived. We are now Christians. We are now children of God and so we lose focus because its like there is no more goal; I am not stretching forward to anything else because I am a Christian and I have accomplished something. And so we change the real focus and goal of Christianity, not to be like God but to be a Christian. And so we are satisfied. We are Christians.
We have a beautiful message about God, His Son, and their gospel. (My, how could I not see that before?) And so we spend our time debating and discussing. I can understand the Bible better than you can because I can show you from Genesis to Revelation what it says. But you know something, my life is not better than yours. We who know all these truths and are not living any better than those that don’t. Look at something else. I think I live a pretty good life in the community. I don’t trouble anybody, I am respected. You know, people respect me, but guess what, my neighbor next door lives the same life. He’s not a Christian. He drinks whiskey in his home. But he’s respected. We must be better than that! Our lives must have a difference about them. We must not be only good people, we must be God’s people. Our lives must begin to agitate other’s positions. Imagine that. Are you so enthused about God and heaven that you tell everyone about it? What’s on the heart, wags the tongue!
When we break up here you will find little groups here and little groups there. Just pass by and listen to the conversations they have. Oh, we like to talk about our cars, what beautiful children we have, the plans we have for them, and what we are going to do next year, and where we’re going to spend our vacation. What’s on the heart? Whatever is on the heart wags the tongue. Whatever moves the heart wags the tongue. Do you talk about heaven? Do you talk about perfection? Do you talk about becoming like Christ? I’m preaching to myself. This message is for me. So, Paul says we are going to forget the past, the failures. I’m going to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. What’s the high calling of God to be like? The high calling of God is to be like Him. Paul isn’t finished there. He says keep focused. “and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Philippians 3:15) In verse 16, Paul states “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” If you are already on the same track, you are thus minded and moving on. He says, “keep by the same rule.” Does it seem like an impossibility? What are we talking about? Is it an impossibility? Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” It is good we know the answers, but we need to apply them to our own hearts.
Beloved, turn with me to Acts 23:1. “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” We are wondering if we are living in an illusion. Is it that we are reaching out to something that is unreachable? Is it that we are talking about something we can never really get? Here we see the testimony of one man, Paul. He was either a lunatic, a liar or he really knew what he was saying. Here is a man after Christ that was able to look up and say, I have lived in all good conscience before God unto this day. Here was a man that was having victory. Here was a man in his own mind that was true. Go with me to 1 Corinthians 4:2. Paul says, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” And verse 3 continues, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.” Let’s see if we can break this down. Paul says as far as I’m concerned it is so small, it is almost insignificant. It is small if you should think the worst of me. That is nothing to me if I should be judged of you or of man’s judgment. He says I don’t even judge myself. I don’t even look at my own life and say boy you have accomplished something. You know why? The Lord knows you, the Lord knows me. The Lord knows every life that is here. The Lord knows so often the spirit has bidden us things we have refused to do. The Lord knows how often we refuse to do the simple little things that we should do. He is the one that is perfect and right to judge us. You may fool some of the people or all the people. I can fool you by the way I preach, or the way I say things when in your company. I can fool you some of the time. Eventually you would probably find me out, but guess what? You cannot fool God at any time! You cannot fool God because He knows you. So we have got to focus in on our ourselves and what our minds are being focused on.
One day the great reformer John Wesley was asked a question. I really love his answer. A certain man asked, “John are you a sinner?” John replied, “I have not sinned today. Yesterday is forgiven and the scripture forbids me to take thought for tomorrow.” So we come down to the daily life where Paul says he dies daily. Are you there? Jesus says, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34) We can only live one day at a time. We can only live for this moment. And so in our own minds we have defeated ourselves. In our own minds we can see where we can never be like God. So the battle is already won. Satan has gained the victory because we have defeated ourselves in our own minds. Are you there? Oh, beloved, that’s a terrible thing. We are either going to believe God can do it or He can’t. We’ve got to make up our minds what are we going to do? Why stick around if you’re not getting anywhere? I think God has waited long enough. Don’t you? I know from my own life He has, and I must make some changes.
I have another example. The man was named Enoch. The Bible says that “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) I heard a statement about Enoch once and I just had to get it. It is from Last Day Events, page 71. “Enoch walked with God three hundred years previous to his translation to heaven, and the state of the world was not then more favorable for the perfection of Christian character than it is today.” And how did Enoch walk with God? The people of Enoch’s day had greater minds and when you have greater minds you have greater evil. You begin to believe it was even worse because God had to stop the spread of evil, it was so great. And we are still living in it. How did Enoch walk with God? Listen to this: “He educated his mind and heart to ever feel that he was in the presence of God, and when in perplexity his prayers would ascend to God to keep him.” (Ibid.) Imagine that. Can we reach this state? This is what Enoch did. He educated his mind. In Jamaica there is an ad that comes on television that says, “seeing is believing.” And so these definitions and those little thoughts are embedded in our minds until we become convinced of them ourselves. But seeing is not believing, rather believing is seeing!
As a child I never did anything wrong when my father was there. Never. As long as my dad was in the room and I was in his presence I was a perfect little boy. You know why we sin? You know why our lives seem to fail? Our lives fail because we fail to recognize that God is with us. Listen to this statement in Ministry of Healing, page 490: “We are never alone. Whether we choose Him or not, we have a companion. Remember that wherever you are, whatever you do, God is there. Nothing that is said or done or thought can escape His attention. To your every word or deed you have a witness—the holy, sin-hating God.” Enoch had to educate his mind. Enoch lived a perfect life until God said, you’re too perfect to remain. I must take you.
Beloved, the truth is, when our minds are taken up with everything and anything, how can we even think about God? When we are so concerned; more concerned about the television, retirement, how we eat next week, and more concerned about the shoes that are wearing down, how can we even think about God?
You know my only prayer today is that somebody would think about what has been said enough to begin to do something about it. “When the mind is not under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, Satan can mold it as he chooses. All the rational powers which he controls he will carnalize. He is directly opposed to God in his tastes, views, preferences, likes and dislikes, choice of things and pursuits; there is no relish for what God loves or approves, but a delight in those things which He despises; therefore a course is maintained which is offensive to Him.” (Mind, Character, and Personality, Volume 1, p. 22) Either the evil angels or the angels of God are controlling the minds of men.
Paul tells you in Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” The only way God can communicate with us is through our minds. We are God’s workmanship and His words declare we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He has prepared this habitation for the mind. It is His work, a temple which the Lord Himself has fitted up for the indwelling of His spirit. “The mind controls the whole man. All our actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind. It is the mind that worships God and allies us to heavenly beings. Yet many spend all their lives without becoming intelligent in regard to the casket that contains this treasure.” (Ibid. p. 72) You know the first time I heard this statement I heard it from a man named Bill Stringfellow. He was doing a presentation called “You.” I had never, ever seen that word “casket” used like that before. See, I know a casket can mean a coffin, but if you knew Bill, he is going to go to the dictionary and when he came up from the dictionary, he said the word casket has two meanings: one, as you know, is coffin and the other is a container that contains precious material. That’s the point. Many of us do not realize how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. And we lose thought that our mind controls our own body.
What we feast on and what we talk about are the things that affect us. So here we are told that evil angels and angels of God are controlling the minds of men. You are either serving God or you are serving the devil. Sister White says one of these two angels is controlling the mind. Our minds are given to the control of God or to the control of the power of darkness and it would be well for us to inquire where we are standing today. I read something in the book, Desire of Ages, in the chapter called “At Capernaum.” She spoke about the demoniac that attacked Christ. It said, “What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” I read something else astonishing. She said that this man’s mind was under the control of another. She said another’s voice found utterance through him. It was not the man that was speaking, but another’s voice found utterance through him, but Jesus was able to hear him. The man was simply saying, “Lord, help me.” That’s what the man was saying, and Jesus saw it. He helped that man and He can help you today. He can make you into what you want to be if only you allow Him.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Beloved, I hope something was said to cause you to think. Not just to think alone, but also to change your lives for the better. I hope you allow your mind to be fixed not just on the things of God, but on God Himself and by beholding, become changed. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” ( 2 Corinthians 3:18.) ?
(Brother Williams works with Restoration Ministries in Jamaica. You may contact him at: P. O. Box 23 Knockpatrick, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies. You may call him at (876) 904-7392. Howard’s e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
An Update on Hans
This last year has been a real challenge for our family. It has now been a little over a year since our son Hans was diagnosed with a malignant spinal cord tumor. In God’s mercy and goodness He has chosen to help Hans and my family greatly this last year. We want to thank you for your prayers and give you a short update on his current condition.
At this present time we are thankful that there is no evidence of cancer. However, due to the effects of and from the cancer, some of Hans’ neck vertebrae have lost support and have slipped dangerously out of place, necessitating a fusion surgery for two of the vertebrae. The surgery (one year and one day from his previous surgery) went very well. Hans will have to wear a neck brace 24/7 for the next two to three months. His courage is good and his faith in the Lord is strong. Please remember him and our family in prayer. Thanks again.
A Rustling in the Wind
A Testimony from Camp Meeting by Patricia Osborne
Part of the article by Lynnford Beachy in the September issue of Old Paths stated that the one thing that was impressed upon him was the absolute necessity of our faith being increased. God’s work is to get you to believe—to have more faith. That is certainly and exactly what my experience was all about, not only for me but for everyone. This is my camp meeting testimony.
During one of the evening meetings I couldn’t get off of my mind an earlier request made for those who could sing or play musical instruments. I felt the urge to leave while one of the speakers was probably in about the middle of the message. Quietly I slipped out of the building to be alone somewhere remote to pray. This driving conviction to volunteer to sing was overwhelming. I am not a gifted, nor learned, singer and the terrible fear of attempting to sing publicly is an anxiety I could never overcome, even though I had been asked several times in the past to sing. I always volunteered to do something else. So this time I went up the path toward the camping area praying no one was around to see or hear me. I had been reasoning in my heart that I would ask God if I could sing the Lord’s prayer just to Him.
It had stormed really hard the first couple days of camp. The rain had left torrents of water pouring down below the little natural spring that flows out of the side of the hill along the pathway. Most of the sounds, except for the gushing of water, were drowned out. There overlooking all the water, I stood, eyes closed, thinking, remembering Heidi Stump telling us there had been a bear that came down out of the mountains into their front yard about three years ago when I heard a noise in the tree directly in front of me. Quickly, I opened my eyes expecting to see some little critter, but there was nothing at all to be seen. Satisfied, I became determined to finish my goal. Closing my eyes once again, 1 John 4:18 came to mind where we are told that perfect love casts out all fear.
I lifted my head and began to sing with all of my heart. As I sang I heard the soft sweet singing of a choir. I stopped to listen, but didn’t hear it anymore. I began again, and again heard this soft beautiful chorus. It was not coming from the church building below. It was coming from the branches of the old hemlock tree right above my head! I realized I was hearing something very unusual! Truly, my cup had been filled and was overflowing! By that time it was almost dark and the meeting would be over soon. I could hardly wait to tell my husband what had just happened. Later I learned that Sister Rhonda Stewart was looking out of a window at the trees during a meeting when the thought came to her that, “someone has heard a rustling in the trees.”
Walking back the path toward the church, I was still singing softly. While passing another woman, she said to me she was beginning to believe you had to be able “to sing to fit in here.” I was so caught up in the previous moments that I chuckled and replied back, “Maybe that’s why I was practicing.” Now looking back, I feel sorry I did not take the time to witness and share some encouragement I had just received. There is no reason any of us should feel we don’t fit because we think we do not have a talent. We are all members of one body. The church is like our physical body; all the members working together. The Lord has promised that we all have at least one talent or gift. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, so that the church can be one. (See 1 Corinthians 12.)
It was not long after receiving the wonderful miracle of hearing God’s angels singing that all the elders were requested to pray and anoint me for healing because I had been scheduled for major surgery the following Monday after camp was over. Lo and behold, God blessed with another miracle; this time physical healing! The healing I received came with some guidelines. Among other instructions from Benjamin Vela, I was told when I got home to read The Ministry of Healing. Before I started reading this book, I was asking why these wonderful blessings were bestowed on me, of all people! As I read, I found these encouraging words:
“Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side and would give them the victory.” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 26) What a wonderful message! What encouragement! Everyone who witnessed the fire at the Ford’s house was a witness that the angels were definitely present! I understand that there was some flammable material stored in the basement where the fire originated that could have blown up, but didn’t!
Why was I given these special blessings? It was not for my own sake, but also to encourage others to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:12) We all should have learned principles at the camp meeting that should change our lives.
“In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess worldly wealth, learning, or eloquence. He asks, ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’
“God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul temple. The work that He will accept is the work that reflects His image. His followers are to bear, as their credentials to the world, the ineffaceable characteristics of His immortal principles.” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 37)
The issue is not if we have a gift, but rather, are we willing to serve God with our gift? Are we willing to be obedient? My fears no longer bind me if I have cast them all upon Him. If He calls me to sing in front of a million people, let me always be ready and willing.
“Human effort will be efficient in the work of God just according to the consecrated devotion of the worker—by revealing the power of the grace of Christ to transform the life. We are to be distinguished from the world because God has placed His seal upon us, because He manifests in us His own character of love. Our Redeemer covers us with His righteousness.” (Ibid.)
My life was changed enormously at camp meeting and my prayer is that your faith has also been doubled and will continue to increase.
Fax Line Installed
help with communications, Smyrna Gospel Ministries has recently installed a
second phone line to be used as a dedicated fax line. The fax number is (304)
732-7322. Our regular voice line is still (304) 732-9204. The fax line is not
designed for voice calls. If you need to make a voice call, please use the voice
Through the Internet
Old Paths and Present Truth are available on the Internet at our web site, http://www.smyrna.org in the newsletter section. Both publications are in regular html and Adobe Acrobat® format (wysiwyg). We have also recently started an Internet mailing list for those who would like to receive either or both publication in Acrobat format via e-mail. If you wish to subscribe to the Internet mailings you may contact us by phone, fax, or e-mail! ?
Foundation of Our Faith
Today the Advent Movement is experiencing a tremendous shaking both within the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church and within the growing independent movement. The issues are much deeper than just liberal versus conservative ideas of worship. The difficulty we face today is not just apostasy within the educational or medical work, as serious as they may be. At the very center of the shaking is a doctrinal crisis that affects our very understanding of God and the plan of salvation.
Does the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church have the answer to the crisis? Can the answer be found within the swelling “Historic Adventist” movement outside the church?
Following the pantheism crisis, Sister White predicted an omega apostasy to follow. Several books have been written on this subject, yet few authors or church members are able to grasp the situation. This apostasy is already among us and is much deeper than many suspect.
Why has the position of “Historic Adventism” been twisted by some so as to redefine the understanding of the pioneers?
What is the real position of “Historic Adventism” on the incarnation, the atonement in heaven, and the Sonship of Jesus Christ? Does it really matter what we believe about these teachings? Is an understanding of these teachings relevant for Adventists today?
Find out why Sister White prophetically wrote: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” (Life Sketches, page 196)
Why has a noted Adventist university professor stated that most of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church would not be able to join the church today? Did God raise up the movement or not?
The Foundation of Our Faith was written to answer these probing questions and to help you piece the present-day puzzle together. Due to the many requests we have received since the first printing was exhausted, we have reprinted this helpful book.
This volume of over 230 pages explores the roots of Seventh-day Adventism from the Christian Connection and the Millerite movement to the present. Accepting the voice of Ellen G. White as presenting a sacred history of the Advent movement, this book explores Adventist Christology showing the harmony between the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, and the writings of the Advent pioneers.
The Foundation of Our Faith has a descriptive table of contents and a comprehensive Scriptural index. Its twenty-one chapters and appendix provide documentation for the serious student who refuses to accept speculation, but demands the plain truth. If you are interested in getting ready for the latter rain and the coming of Jesus, we believe you will find this book extremely helpful.
The suggested donation is $6.50 for one copy; $12.00 for two copies; or $55.00 for ten copies. This price includes the cost of postage within the United States. For overseas shipping rates please write or call us. You may send your requests to Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128B, Welch, WV 24801-9606 or call us at (304) 732-9204 or e-mail us at: email@example.com.
If you have requested The Foundation of Our Faith since the last printing was exhausted and have not received your book(s), please resubmit your request and we will fill your request as soon as possible. ?
The Character that God Approves
The youth need to be instructed, carefully and prayerfully, that they may build their characters upon the abiding foundation. The reason so many make grievous blunders is that they do not heed the teachings of experience. The counsel of parents and teachers is lost upon them, and they yield to the temptations of the enemy. God loves the youth. He sees in them great possibilities for good, if they will realize their need of Christ, and build upon the sure foundation. He also knows their trials. He knows that they will have to battle against the powers of darkness, that strive to gain control of the human mind; and he has opened the way by which young men and young women may become partakers of the divine nature. The good they may accomplish by uniting themselves to Christ they will never know until, as overcomers, they enter the kingdom of Christ.
Character does not come by chance. It is not determined by one outburst of temper, one step in the wrong direction. It is the repetition of the act that causes it to become habit, and molds the character either for good or for evil. Right characters can be formed only by persevering, untiring effort, by improving every entrusted talent and capability to the glory of God. Instead of doing this, many allow themselves to drift wherever impulse or circumstances may carry them. This is not because they are lacking in good material, but because they do not realize that in their youth God wants them to do their very best. If the youth today would stand as Daniel stood, they must put to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle. The Lord does not desire that they shall remain novices. He wishes them to reach the highest point of excellence. He desires them to reach the very highest round of the ladder, that they may step from it into the kingdom of God.
The youth who leave their homes, and are no longer under the watch-care of their parents, are to a large extent left to choose their own associates. They should remember that the eye of their Heavenly Father is upon them, and that he sees their every necessity, their every temptation. There are always to be found in schools some youth who, by their course of action, reveal that their minds are cast in an inferior mold. Through unwise training in childhood, they have developed one-sided characters; and as they have advanced in years, these defects have remained to mar their experience. By precept and example, these souls lead astray those who are weak in moral power.
Time is golden, dear youth. You must not imperil your souls by sowing wild oats. You can not afford to be careless in regard to the companions you choose. Dwell upon that which is noble in the characters of others, and these traits will become to you a moral power in resisting the evil and choosing the good. Set your mark high. Your parents and teachers, who love and fear God, may follow you with their prayers day and night, they may entreat and warn you; but all this will be in vain if you choose reckless associates. If you see no real danger, and think you can do right as well as wrong, just as you choose, you will not discern that the leaven of wickedness is insidiously tainting and corrupting your mind.
Christ was afflicted, insulted, abused; on the right hand and on the left he was assailed by temptation, yet he sinned not, but presented to God a perfect obedience, that was entirely satisfactory. By this he removed forever every semblance of excuse for disobedience. He came to show man how to obey, how to keep all the commandments. He lay hold of divine power, and this is the sinner’s only hope. He gave his life that man might be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
God has given the youth talents to improve for his glory; but many apply these gifts to unsanctified, unholy purposes. Many have abilities which, if cultivated, would yield a rich harvest of mental, moral, and physical acquirements. But they do not stop to consider. They do not count the cost of their course of action. They encourage a recklessness and folly that will not listen to counsel or reproof. This is a terrible mistake. Young men would be sober-minded if they realized that God’s eye is upon them, that angels of God are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth.
I appeal to the youth. Consider your ways. Take time to think. Weigh your actions, and see what advantage it will be to you to serve the purposes of Satan, and do his pleasure. In doing this, you dishonor God, and grieve the dear Redeemer, who has paid the ransom for you by dying on the cross of Calvary. No power will be sufficient for you, compassed as you are by temptation, until Christ dwells in the heart by faith. Then you will make him your daily pattern, practising his virtues. You need to cherish that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. This faith will be revealed in your life when you make Christ your personal Saviour. As you cast your helpless soul on Christ, you will receive pardon for past transgression; and the truth, brought into the sanctuary of the soul, will transform the whole character.
No youth can withstand the temptations of Satan if the truth, with its purifying, uplifting power, is not abiding in the heart. Truth has a correcting influence upon the life. It is a divine sentinel, keeping watch in your souls, and rousing to action against Satan’s assaults. Under the divine influence of truth, the mind will be strengthened, the intellect invigorated, and there will be a growing up in the knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. Do not tarnish the truth by indulging in habits and practises that are inconsistent with its holy character, but hold it as a treasure of highest value.
If you would resist the temptations around you, you need to be sure that you are on the Lord’s side, serving in the army of Prince Emmanuel. The Lord desires you to understand the position you occupy as sons and daughters of the Most High, children of the Heavenly King. He desires you to live in close connection with him. Cut away from everything frivolous.
Do not think you must indulge in this pleasure and in that. Determine that you will be on the Lord’s side. If you will stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel, faithfully doing his service, you need never yield to temptation; for One stands by your side who is able to keep you from falling. Every youth is granted a probation, in which to form a character for the future, immortal life. Precious, golden moments these will be to you if you improve them according to the light God is permitting to shine upon you from his throne. While every grain of knowledge which parents and teachers are giving you should be carefully cherished, you are to bear in mind that there is a deeper teaching than any that human beings can give. Christ is the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. He must dwell in the heart by living faith. Then his Spirit will be through you a vitalizing power.
Will the youth turn their faces heavenward? Will they open the chambers of the mind to the Sun of Righteousness? Will they throw open the door of the heart, and welcome Jesus in? What beauty of character shone forth in the daily life of Christ! He is to be our pattern. There is a great work to be done in fashioning the character after the divine similitude. The grace of Christ must mold the entire being, and its triumph will not be complete until the heavenly universe shall witness habitual tenderness of feeling, Christlike love, and holy deeds in the deportment of the children of God. (Ellen G. White—Youth’s Instructor, p. July 27 - August 3, 1899)
Christmas Card Tracts
The Christmas season will soon be here. Most of the world will be spending money for gifts and decorations. Some will attempt to ignore it because of its pagan ties. We believe that this is a time of year when many hearts are open to receive the gospel who would never listen any other time. We have published a tract in the form of a Christmas card. We have found this to be the easiest tract to share that we have ever seen! While many people will not accept a tract, almost everyone will accept a Christmas card and a seasons greeting when offered with a sincere smile!
The first two paragraphs of the tract are taken from a section of the Adventist Home entitled, “Christmas is Coming.” This is followed by a short Bible study on God’s love in giving His only begotten Son for our sins. The tract ends with an appeal to the reader to give their life to the Lord and an offer for a free copy of Steps to Christ (Shelter in the Storm version).
The cost of production and mailing is $7.50/100. Envelopes are available for mailing. Those interested should let us know as soon as possible so it will enable us to get your cards to you before the season starts.
It is not
the critic who counts;
Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
Who strives valiantly;
Who errs and comes short again and again;
Who knows the great enthusiasms and the great devotions,
And spends himself in a worthy cause,
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who
Know neither victory nor defeat.
Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Office phone: (304) 732-9204. Web site: http://www.smyrna.org.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013