Old Paths

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. 13, No. 12 Straight and Narrow December 2004


Revival: Do we want it?By Allen Stump

I have been recently challenged by the message of the “faithful and true witness” to the church at Laodicea. Laodiocea thinks that she is in wonderful shape, “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” (Revelation 3:17) Jesus tells her of her pitiful condition, that she is spiritually bankrupt. He says that Laodicea is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Each one of these conditions is tragically terrible and equally tragic is that Laodicea does not recognize her pathetic condition.

Thankfully, Jesus offers to those in Laodicea their only hope. He says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:18) We understand the gold tried in the fire to be faith and love, the white raiment to be the righteousness of Christ, and the eyesalve to be the Holy Spirit of God. Interestingly Jesus says we are to “buy.” Buy, when the gospel is supposed to be free? In Matthew 13 Jesus spoke two parables about people buying things.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” (Matthew 13:44) Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is obtained by giving up all that one has to buy the field containing it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45, 46) Again, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is obtained by giving up all that one has to buy something. The purchase in each case is obtained only at the expense of everything. To obtain the true faith and love and the righteousness of Christ, we must “buy” it at the expense of everything else.

The condition of the Advent movement today is deplorable. Jesus says so. However, we can have revival, true revival that always has reformation as a companion. The question is, how bad do we want it? Are we willing to “buy” it at the expense of draining our bank of the world account? Beloved, Jesus does not offer us a better way that is unattainable. He is not like a puppet master calling us to go in one direction but pulling the strings in another way. We can have revival, lasting revival, if we really want it more than this world. We can have the righteousness of Christ if we want it more than the sins of the world. We can have the discernment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, if we want it more than the selfish ways of our own hearts.

Many of the readers of Old Paths believe that they are a part of the final restoration of the truths that God gave to the Advent people. One of those truths is the message about the personality and character of God Himself. It is, perhaps, all too easy for us to look at the corporate apostasy within the main-line church and feel as the Pharisee, “I thank thee [God], that I am not as other men [the main line church].” Yet God looks upon this “holier than thou” attitude as “smoke in” his “nose.” (Isaiah 65:5) As a people, we are in great need of revival. Yes, we have many correct doctrines, but do we have Christ in our hearts? Doctrinal accuracy in theory is nothing compared to having and living the gospel of Christ from within.

I am encouraging the brethren at the Smyrna Chapel to seriously take this issue to heart. We have already begun by making revival the theme from the pulpit on Sabbath and we are planning a series of revival meetings for December. I also want to carry this theme in Old Paths the next few months beginning with Brother Beachy’s study “Higher and Stronger.”

I would encourage those who are tempted to think that perhaps we still have an abundance of time to prepare for the future to read the article, ‘Reflections on the Election.” With the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist being held next year in St. Louis, great changes could be taking place in both the world and the church. To be ready to engage in witnessing to the world and the church we must have true revival which always brings true reformation. Let us, by God’s grace, heed the counsel of the “faithful and true Witness” and be about our Master’s business.


Prayer Requests

Please pray for Esther McDaniel, Heidi Stump, Leon Holt, Leland Brummett, and Liana Manning as they are finishing up a mission trip to Africa. Due to security reasons, we were not able to make this news public before.

As many of you know, Sister Esther McDaniel has been working with great zeal to help support and establish orphanages in Africa. She and the others have been to the “Hope for the Children Center” in Kenya, ministering to the orphans and helping them with with the construction of new buildings.

Brother Leon Holt has been doing the work of an evangelist sharing God’s word in Kenya and Uganda. My daughter Heidi has been holding a vacation Bible school type program for the orphans and the village children. Leland and Liana have been tremendous supporters as well! They will return from Africa early in December. Please pray for the results of their efforts to last when they leave as well as their safe passage home. Editor


Higher and Stronger By Lynnford Beachy

(The following study is an edited sermon preached at the Symrna Chapel November 6, 2004)

Challenged
I had an interesting experience early one morning recently. About 4 a.m., a friend called me who told me about a friend of his who was staying in his house. This man was somebody who served Satan, but he came into his home and expressed a desire to give his life to the Lord. My friend was trying to help him and he called me at 4 a.m. to pray and talk with him. I initiated a conference call with a couple of other brethren and we all talked together on the phone. Sadly, the man believed a lie of Satan and became convinced that it wasn’t going to work out, so he hung up the phone, walked out, and disappeared. He came back a couple of hours later, but his desire to give his life to the Lord was gone.

In this experience, I learned a few things that have been helpful to me and have challenged me. I thought of myself. I talked with my wife, Kendra, and thought, “What would happen if one of my friends showed up on my doorstep like that, someone who was into Satanism really heavily?” Most of us haven’t encountered people like that very often and maybe we have never have we seen anybody or talked with anyone in that kind of situation, but this is the way this man was. It makes you wonder how you would react if someone came into your house like that, because you can be almost confident that he is not alone when he comes; he brings with him other evil influences. So, there may be demons in your home now. It would be a pretty frightening situation if you didn’t know that God was watching out for you and caring for you, and that is one thing my friend said. He said he and his family were not afraid because God was with them. As the Bible says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Psalm 118:6 says, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” And not just man, but anyone. John writes, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Paul boldly declared that, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

We can trust in God completely. However, what if there are certain things in our lives that shake that confidence? Perhaps if we have been walking contrary to God’s word, and have not been as steadfast, faithful, and true as we should have been, then we might wonder if God is going to watch out and take care of us because we have not been close enough to Him. This is one thing that went through my friend’s mind, and he challenged me and it went through my mind too. Am I really close enough to God to deal with a situation like this and to help a person like this?

I just want to pass on that challenge to you, friend, because the Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” (2Corinthians 13:5) We need to take an examination and test ourselves to see where we are at, where we have been, and where we are going. It really helps us, because if I tell you how to get to a certain place, the very first thing you have to know is where you are now. That’s important!If we expect to get to heaven, we first need to know where we are now, and what our current condition is. And it is not just about heaven, because our goal shouldn’t just be heaven! Shouldn’t we have a better goal? That goal should be always pleasing God the best way possibly. Like Job says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15) Job had faith that even if God destroyed him, he was going to serve God no matter what. You know why? Because Job loved God and learned that he could trust Him no matter what!

Letting our Light Shine
Let us notice a couple, of the many, beautiful things in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Here it says that you are the light of the world and that you should let your light shine before men so other men can see that light. “What kind of light are we?” Are you a little, tiny light, or are you a bright and shining light that the Bible mentions. Is your light shining where it can be seen or is it hid under a bushel? Or is it even there? We need to look at what kind of light we are portraying to the rest of the world.

Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “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.” Here we are told that as we behold the glory of God, we are changed into the same image. I understand “glory to glory” to mean, that it is from one glory or one amount of brightness, to a greater amount of brightness. From glory to glory; we are to go onward and upward. That is God’s plan for the way He wants us to walk. The Bible says that if we behold the glory of God, this is what will happen. The glory of God is so much more than any glory that we have, isn’t it? As we behold that glory, then we become changed, onward and upward, evermore.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 4:18. It says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Sometimes we might be content with the light we have. “Oh, look at my light. It is bright. It is shining quite well, and I think I am going to just leave it like it is.” But, here the Bible talks about a light that shines more and more. It gets brighter and brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day. So, we shouldn’t be content in just having a little flashlight that may be just enough to get by with.

I live close to the office where I work. Many times I go home after dark, especially in the winter, and I have to walk down a narrow road and unless you have ever done it, you don’t know how treacherous it could be at night. Unless you have the light of a full moon, it is easy to find yourself right at the edge and maybe even falling over the bank. You probably wouldn’t die falling down there, but it wouldn’t feel very good. Anyway, when I walk along without a flashlight sometimes I take my cell-phone out and it puts off just enough light to get by, barely enough. I hold it down, and I can see the edge of the road, just barely, and I walk along like that, very careful not to go over the edge. I am content with that, just enough so that I don’t fall over the edge.

But are we that way with our Christian lives? Do we have just enough light to get by? The Bible says that “if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1Peter 4:18) Do you want to be scarcely saved? Scarcely saved just by “the skin of your teeth,” so to speak? Do you want to just barely make it; just do enough to get by? Is that the kind of life that we have? I would much rather have a big, bright light! Perhaps you have seen a million candle power light used in boating a lot. With one of those lights I could surely get from here to home without any problem. Sometimes, even with my little light, I get a little stumbled up. I think I am seeing the edge of the road and I am not. So, it is much better to have a bright light, and that is what God wants us to do—to have a bright light and not just a constant light, but one that gets brighter and brighter and brighter. That is what God wants us to have, and that is what Proverbs 4:18 means. The path of the just is as a shining light that gets brighter and brighter, shining more and more unto the perfect day.

Spiritual Battles
Job 17:9 says, “The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.” He that hath clean hands will be stronger and stronger. Do you know that when you go out to a battle and win, the next time you go to battle you are stronger? That is one reason the army of Alexander the Great had so much success. They never once failed. They had no past history of failure to look back on and think since they failed once they might fail again. Instead, they always won the victory. So, they were eager to go out to battle, they were ready. They were confident that they were going to make it, and that is the way of a righteous person when he has the victory in his life. We have a battle to fight, don’t we?

I was made more aware of this spiritual battle that we are fighting last week when I was talking with my friend. There is a spiritual battle going on. It is not just what we see, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, things that we can’t see. There are angels, many angels that we can’t see, watching over Christians. One sister, in relating some very challenging things that happened to her, mentioned, her angel was working overtime last week to make sure she was safe and protected.

I know that each one of us has an angel watching out for us, but Satan has angels too who are trying to harm us. Yet, we don’t have to worry about them, because God is stronger. If we walk with God and follow God, then we don’t have to worry about Satan and his angels because the Bible says if we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7), because he has been defeated already at the cross.

When we get to a battle in our lives, when we enter into temptation, then we can pray to God and He will give us the victory, if we want it. If we really want the victory, you can have the victory every time. Isn’t that true? Every single time! And when you get the victory at one time, the next time you come to that battle, you will be stronger. And the next time, you will be even stronger.

I used to be on drugs, addicted to marijuana, and all kinds of things. When I first decided to give my life to the Lord, the marijuana was a really hard thing for me to give up. When I first started on my way, I was still around a lot of drug addicts and drug dealers. I was among them trying to witness to them and I sometimes found myself doing the same things they were doing. I felt very guilty and very dirty, but that is the truth. It is what happened to me and that temptation was very strong because it was something I had been accustomed to do all the time in the past. But, what happened is the Lord gave me the victory and He kept giving me the victory over and over again. Even though that temptation had some pull on me for a while, I have gotten stronger and stronger and stronger, so that now if somebody would come in with a marijuana cigarette, it wouldn’t faze me. I can walk along and smell that smell, which occasionally happens in the city, but I don’t have a desire anymore to go back and do that, because God has given me the victory over that, and that is what He will do for everything.

That is just one example in one little area of life. He will do that for every single thing that we have whatever we are struggling with. If we fight and win the battle through God’s help, the next time we come to that battle, we will be stronger, and the next time stronger, and pretty soon, we will be very, very strong in that point. And that is what God wants us to do, to continue on that upward path.

Jesus used a vine and a husbandman as an illustration of the work He wishes to accomplish in us. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away…” (John 15:2a) Just like any man who has a grape vine, God trims off the things that aren’t working anymore so that they don’t suck sap from the Vine. And then it says, “… and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2b) God is not content with just getting a couple of grapes on a little branch. He wants that branch to put out as much as can possibly come out of that branch. So, He is going to purge it. He is going to work with it. The purging doesn’t always feel good as it involves cutting and clipping. However it is done so that the next year it will bring forth more fruit. That is what God does with us. He is happy when we bring forth fruit, but He wants us to bring forth more fruit, so He purges us and works with us. Unfortunately, sometimes His people are content with bringing forth just a little fruit.

Growing in the Lord
Remember the story of the ten talents? (Matthew 25:14-30) One man was given one talent, one was given two, and one was given five. Then the master came back, and the one that had been given five brought ten back. So, he increased what he had. The one that had two talents brought back four. But, the one that had one talent, went and hid it in a hole in the earth and was content with the little bit that he had. When the Lord came, he showed it to Him and said: “See, I still have it.” The Lord said, “Why didn’t you do anything with it? Why didn’t you improve it?” And, he didn’t have a good answer, so the Lord took that talent away from him and gave it to the one who had ten talents, because He knew that the one who had ten would make good use of it.

So, we shouldn’t be content with just one little bunch of grapes and when the Lord comes say, “Look, I have a couple of grapes here on this branch. Aren’t you happy?” You are proud of these little grapes, but God doesn’t want us to have just a little fruit. He wants us to have a basket that is overflowing, so much so that you have to bring in more baskets to fill up what can’t fit in the first basket. God wants us to bring forth much fruit and He is going to work with us and purge us until that happens. But, if we are stubborn and disobedient, then His work is going to be in vain for us and finally He is going to have to cut us off. Do you want to be that way? Do you want to be one of those dead branches that are cut off? No! We need to stay in the vine so we may produce more fruit and become stronger and stronger.

In Matthew 5:48 our Master set the standard for Christian attainment. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” That is a high calling, isn’t it? He didn’t say be perfect just like Paul is perfect, or be perfect like Peter. He says be perfect like your Father in heaven; even as your Father in heaven is perfect. That is a very high calling! This call to perfection is not only here in Matthew 5, but Abraham was told to be perfect. (See Genesis 17:1.) God expected and asked of Abraham to be perfect, and the Bible says that Job “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed [hated] evil. (Job 1:1) God asked Satan, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8) What would He say about you today, right now? Just consider that for yourself. We really need to ask ourselves these questions, don’t we? If God in heaven said to Satan right now, “Have you considered my servant, Lynnford?” What would be the next words? Would He say, “A perfect man who fears God and eschews evil?” Are those the words that God would say next?

Ezekiel records Noah, Job, and Daniel as being three righteous men. (See Ezekiel 14:14, 20.) What was so special about them? Were these supernatural people? Were they any different than you and me? Were they made differently? Made out of different flesh? No. All of us are the same. It says God has made of all men one blood. (Acts 17:26) All of us are made the same way. If these people were just men, then we can be like they were. If these people were perfect men, then we can be perfect men and women! We can live to the same standard, and isn’t that what God wants? Even though just these three are mentioned, are there more who are going to be in heaven? Sure, there are going to be lots of others in heaven, but God singles out some of these special people. God said David is “a man after mine own heart.” (Acts 13:22) “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) God took him to heaven because he was so close to God. His basket of fruit was so full that it was overflowing.

You have to think, were these people content with a little light, a little light that was just enough to get them by? Is that the type of people they were? No, they didn’t want just enough to get by. I remember hearing David Clayton from Jamaica say, “I want to be the closest friend to God, the best friend that God has upon this earth.” Isn’t that what you want to be? God’s best friend!

There is a slogan for the United States Army—“Be All That You Can Be.” Isn’t that what we need to be for God? I think about this every single day, that there was more that I could have done. There were opportunities missed of blessing people, of helping people, and I would just hate to come to the end of my life and think I have wasted my time. How did my life affect people? How did it help people on their Christian walk? One might say, if he were a scientist, “I made a rocket that went to the moon.” That might be a great accomplishment in some respects, but does that accomplish anything for what is after this earth? When you look at a timeline and you try to draw the time that this world exists, from when God created it until the Lord comes and takes all His people home, how big, in the scope of eternity, would that mark be in your timeline? You couldn’t even see it. You would have to get a magnifying glass or a microscope to see that little, tiny speck of time that men are living on this world from the time that it was created until the time that the Lord comes. Six thousand years is nothing compared with eternity! When we even think of our lives, we are given seventy years and it is nothing compared to eternity.

So, all of these things that are going to pass away are not what matters. What matters at the end of the day, at the end of our lives, is what have I done to help others to know God? What have I done to let my light so shine before men that it will help people to glorify God?

Are we Growing or Stagnant?

If we would draw a graph of our Christian experience, what would it look like, from the time that we began our Christian experience until today? Would it go up for a while and then start dwindling off, or staying at an even spot? Is that the way you would draw a graph of your spiritual experience, of your relationship with God? Has it gone up at the beginning and then stayed the same ever since, or up and down ever since? Is that the way that God wants us to be, or does He want us to continue growing stronger and stronger? If we would draw the graph of Christ’s life, it would show that His spiritual experience with God was growing and growing and growing, continuously going upward and upward. That is the way the path of the just is, like a shining light, growing brighter and brighter. That is the way a just person lives, and the just, like it says in Job, get stronger and stronger. They continue to go onward and upward but, unfortunately, a lot of people are content with going upward for a while, but then stopping and staying at an even keel. They say, “Oh, I am good enough now. I’ll just stay where I am.” We really need to think about this and press onward. Have you made advancements in your life today, further than you were yesterday, or, are you the same? Are you the same today in your spiritual experience as you were last week; or last month; or last year; or, even worse, ten years ago? Are we at the same place, or have we gone upward? If we haven’t gone upward, we have a problem, because God wants us to continue higher and higher, stronger and stronger.

I really like what Paulsaid in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” What is that mark Paul is talking about? If you look at the context, it is perfection. He is pressing toward that mark. Absolutely perfect, just like God the Father is perfect. Paul wanted to be just like God. Isn’t that a good mark to look forward to? It says, “I press toward that mark,” onward and upward. He saw something ahead of him, something higher that he could attain. He kept his eyes on that goal and went toward it, and that is what he is calling us to do. That is what God wants us to do—to look at that goal of being exactly like Christ. Like Paul says, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Corinthians 10:5)

Keep that as the goal, that every thought, every word, every action comes from God. “Till we all come . . . unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) That is what Paul was looking for. It says he pressed toward that mark, and that is what we need to do in our experience. We can’t be content with a righteousness that is equal to all those around us. Jesus warned us about such comparisons when He said, “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) Don’t be content with having just that level of righteousness that is considered satisfactory by the majority of Christianity or even of the majority of the church here, or the majority of your family. Wherever you are, don’t be content with that kind of Christianity. Press higher and higher. Jesus said your righteousness must exceed this. Be better, go on above, higher and higher.

Is your Spiritual Life a BMW or a Junker?
We are familiar with automobiles. Most of us have cars and we have all ridden in vehicles, haven’t we? You buy a brand-new car and when it comes off the lot, there is nothing wrong with it. The handles all work, the electric windows all work, the door locks work, all the gauges work, everything in your vehicle works properly as it is supposed to when it comes off the lot, but perhaps you are like me. I have never owned a brand-new car. I always have acquired cars after someone else has used them for awhile. Do you know what happens to vehicles as they age. Things cease to function the way they should. In my car right now, the speedometer doesn’t work properly. There are certain other defects that just kind of creep up on you so that your car doesn’t function properly. There are also different types of owners. Some people just don’t care about things falling apart in their cars.As long as it gets them from point A to point B, they are going to continue using their vehicle. The only things they fix are the things that prohibit the vehicle from moving any longer. If the bumper is hanging down, or the muffler is dragging on the ground, or there is a big rust hole in the side, sometimes people just let those things go and keep going. It doesn’t matter. Maybe you have to climb through the window to get in your car. In West Virginia we possibly see those things a little more often than people of other areas. Sometimes cars just start to fall apart. Some people are content to let those things go.

Other people, as soon as one little thing goes wrong, a little scratch in the side of their car for example, they go to the body repair shop and say, “I want that little scratch fixed.” Whatever it is, they make sure that everything is working properly all the time, a hundred percent.

I thought about that example in our Christian life. As Christians, are we content having a little dent, a malfunction here in our character, a little malfunction there? We may not be quite up to par in different areas, but we are still doing the main things that we think are necessary to go to heaven, so we will just leave off all those other little details that aren’t that important. Is that the way we are sometimes? I know that some people have a tendency to do that, to let things go, to let things slide by that aren’t just right, but does God want us to do that? Christ wants to have a spotless bride, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27) That’s one reason, if you look at the sacrificial system, the sacrifices representing Jesus were always presented spotless, without blemish. They represented Christ, but Christ is to live in us, so we are to have the same thing. We are supposed to be spotless, without blemish.

Let’s not get to heaven driving this “old Junker,” with things falling apart here and there and just not quite right. Let’s make sure that our Christian experience is one comparable to a car that has been to the maintenance shop, the car wash, and the detail shop so that everything is shiny and working properly. This is the way we need to be as a Christian. We need to make sure everything in our life is a light.

How do we Get There?
How does that happen? It is one thing to say, “Okay, this is what you have to do,” and then leave you there. It is another thing to say, “This is what you have to do and here is how you do it.” That is what is important. It is not enough just to know where we have to go. We have to know how to get there.

1Corinthians 13:4 states, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” Now, “charity” here is self-sacrificing love. When we read this whole chapter, is this a description of you? The reason I picked out this verse is because I have found myself (all of us suffer with different things—Paul had a thorn in the flesh), suffering long with a particular thing but I find myself being unkind and not very nice about it. So, I read this verse and I say, “Well, this isn’t a description of me. This isn’t the kind of person I am.” I suffer long, sure, but then I am unkind about it. Is that the way love acts? Not according to this verse. It says it suffers long and is kind, tender, and gentle. So, when I read this, I say, “Well, Lord, this isn’t me. This isn’t a description of me.” Something is wrong. It is like that car. One of the doors doesn’t open. The only way to get in is you have to go through another way. So, there is a problem here and how can it be fixed? With the door, you have to take the door off and fix the handle or whatever. In the case of my character, something also has to be done. If I suffer long and I am not kind, well, then I need to learn how to suffer long and be kind. That is what it says love does. So, I must not have the love that I need.

We Need God’s Spirit
Galatians 5:22, 23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Here it says the fruit of the Spirit, the first thing, is love, and then joy, peace, longsuffering, and gentleness. The word gentleness is almost the same as the word kind back in 1Corinthians 13:4. Love suffers long and is kind. Here it says longsuffering and then it says gentleness, or another word would be kindness. So, here are things that I need. If I need them and I don’t have them, it is because the true word of God says I don’t have enough of the Spirit of God in my life. The Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is these things—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness. So, how do I get these things, then? I receive them by having the Spirit of God in my life. So, if I am low on these things, then I am also low on the Spirit of God. How do you get the Spirit?

Jesus said: “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13) Jesus said no good father would ever give bad gifts to his children. He was telling us that if we ask God for His Spirit He will give it to us, if we believe. The Bible says, “ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2) It also says, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)

This is something that I really believe we can depend upon, exactly like it says. As a parent, I truly want to give good gifts to my children. Friends, the good news is, God is much more willing to give us His Spirit than we are to give good gifts to our children. God is going to do it because He said He would. If we depend upon that and trust Him for that, then He is going to fulfill His word. He is going to do just what He says.

We need to come to God in child-like faith depending on His Word. We need to use the Word like Jesus did when Satan came against Him. Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mathew 4:4) “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:7) “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10) Jesus used the Word of God as a tool to fight against Satan, and that is what we need to do too. It is a tool that will enable us to become stronger and stronger; that will enable us to go higher and higher.We need to use the promises the way they were intended. We need to accept them just as they are.

One thing I learned from the experience with my friend I mentioned at the beginning: Satan is constantly trying to convince people that God is not going to be able to help them, that God is no good, and that He is not as faithful as He claims to be. The biggest battle with people, who are into Satanism, is over their faith in God. If they get presented with a little hope that maybe God can help them with this problem, that they are not going to be destroyed because of it, then they can go forward. But Satan tries to crush out that hope, so that they don’t see any way that they can get through it, without being harmed or becoming worse. That is what the real battle is that is going on—it is for our faith.

Do you trust God? Do you trust God enough? Some people asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28) Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29) That is what God’s work is in the world—to empower you to believe and to trust. Satan’s work is to help you to disbelieve and to distrust. These are two opposing views that are in a battle right now. God wants you to believe. Satan wants you to disbelieve.

2Corinthians 7:1 says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” These promises are given to us to help bring us to perfection. We can depend on these promises. We cleanse ourselves from the filthiness that is in our flesh and in our spirit through and by God’s promises. So going back to our car analogy, if you have a defective door handle, or if you have a speedometer that doesn’t work, or whatever is in your experience, some defect that is not quite right, but you have been content so far to just go along with it because you are getting by just fine by leaving that defect there, here it says that you need to cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. All of those defects must go, every single one of them. It says we do this by the promises that God has given us. We have so many promises and we can depend upon the promises, and they are everywhere in the Word of God. We are not going to see the promises and we are not going to know them if our Bible sets on the shelf and collects dust!

We Need Spiritual Tools
I like to have a lot of tools. Some times I take it to extremes. I have this little tiny car and half the trunk is filled with tools. I carry them in case I break down and need to fix something. In our spiritual experience, what is the toolbox? The Word of God! God tells us that we have these promises so that we can cleanse ourselves from filthiness. If you have a problem with something, there is a promise in the Bible just for that problem. There is a tool that fits just right.

The other day I was fixing my brakes. There is a special wrench that you have to have to take the brake line off. Many other jobs also require specific tools. There are special tools in God’s Word, but you will not know about them unless you open the Bible and find them. The more you study, the bigger toolbox you are going to have. You will keep adding tools. The more you study, the more tools you will have and you will even increase your tools from specific verses as you will continue to gain insight from them through continued study. That is why it is so important to keep going over it, to keep gaining your tools, so that we can cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit; so that you can go onward, upward, and higher!


Youth’s Corner -Faithful in That Which Is Least

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.”

It is conscientious attention to what the world terms “little things” that makes life a success. Little deeds of charity, little acts of self-denial, speaking simple words of helpfulness, watching against little sins,—this is Christianity. A grateful acknowledgment of daily blessings, a wise improvement of daily opportunities, a diligent cultivation of intrusted talents,—this is what the Master calls for.

He who faithfully performs small duties will be prepared to answer the demands of larger responsibilities. The man who is kind and courteous in the daily life, who is generous and forbearing in his family, whose constant aim it is to make home happy, will be the first to deny self and make sacrifices when the Master calls.

We may be willing to give our property to the cause of God, but this will not count unless we give him also a heart of love and gratitude. Those who would be true missionaries in foreign fields must first be true missionaries in the home. Those who desire to work in the Master’s vineyard must prepare themselves for this by a careful cultivation of the little piece of vineyard he has entrusted to their care.

As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Many thoughts make up the unwritten history of a single day; and these thoughts have much to do with the formation of character. Our thoughts are to be strictly guarded; for one impure thought makes a deep impression on the soul. An evil thought leaves an evil impress on the mind. If the thoughts are pure and holy, the man is better for having cherished them. By them the spiritual pulse is quickened, and the power for doing good is increased. And as one drop of rain prepares the way for another in moistening the earth, so one good thought prepares the way for another.

The longest journey is performed by taking one step at a time. A succession of steps brings us to the end of the road. The longest chain is composed of separate links. If one of these links is faulty, the chain is worthless. Thus it is with character. A well-balanced character is formed by single acts well performed. One defect, cultivated instead of being overcome, makes the man imperfect, and closes against him the gate of the Holy City. He who enters heaven must have a character that is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Naught that defileth can ever enter there. In all the redeemed host not one defect will be seen.

God’s work is perfect as a whole because it is perfect in every part, however minute. He fashions the tiny spear of grass with as much care as he would exercise in making a world. If we desire to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect, we must be faithful in doing little things. That which is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. Whatever your work may be, do it faithfully. Speak the truth in regard to the smallest matters. Each day do loving deeds and speak cheerful words. Scatter smiles along the pathway of life. As you work in this way, God will place his approval on you, and Christ will one day say to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

At the day of Judgment, those who have been faithful in their every-day life, who have been quick to see their work and do it, not thinking of praise or profit, will hear the words, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Christ does not commend them for the eloquent orations they have made, the intellectual power they have displayed, or the liberal donations they have given. It is for doing little things which are generally overlooked that they are rewarded. “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat,” he says. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Mrs. E. G. White, Youth’s Instructor, January 17, 1901)


Bodily Cleanliness by D. T. Bourdeau

It may be thought by some, that this point is foreign to the subject. But its bearing on the subject will be readily seen, if it can be shown that bodily cleanliness is a duty enjoined by the Lord on his people. Now this is shown by the following New Testament scriptures: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. … For this ye know that no whoremonger nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:3, 5, 6) “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh.” (2Corinthians 6:1) “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (1Thessalonians 4:7) “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness.” (James 1:19)

Again, when God separated the children of Israel from other nations that they might be a holy people unto himself, he enjoined upon them physical cleanliness, by enacting and enforcing certain laws on diet and on physical purifications. By these laws the Israelites were commanded to wash their bodies and their garments when they had become unclean, and were made to see the propriety of keeping their persons, their garments and their dwellings clean. And they saw the importance of being clean when they appeared before the Lord. Now God cannot be less particular with us in this respect than he was with his ancient people. He is as pure and holy now as he was then, and requires his people to be pure and clean in body as well as in mind.

God’s requisitions respecting bodily cleanliness, are not merely arbitrary, but are grounded on reasons connected with health, self-respect, respect for our fellow-creatures, and respect and reverence for the Creator.

To attend to bodily cleanliness by washing the body and its garments occasionally, is highly conducive to health. Filthiness genders disease and corruption. Many diseases are caused by suffering the pores of the skin to be clogged with filth and dirt. When the pores are thus clogged they fail to do their work, viz., to throw off by perspiration, impurities which would remain in the system and eventually injure the body, by hindering the circulation of the blood and producing various diseases. But let the body be washed with pure water, and with proper exercise, the pores will fulfill their function, the circulation of the blood will be helped, and nature will be more apt to keep off disease.

But to keep our bodies pure, we must not only wash the body and its garments; we must divest ourselves of all impure physical habits, and see to it that we eat clean food, and breathe pure air, and that our dwellings and all that pertains to them, be kept clean; and healthy results will follow. Thus we see that cleanliness should be attended to as a matter of self-preservation.

To attend to cleanliness evinces self-respect and respect for others. By neglecting cleanliness, we show a lack of respect for our own persons, and for those with whom we associate, and dishonor the Creator.

Lovers of purity cannot look with complacency upon persons of filthy habits, neither can they fully delight themselves in their society. And will the Holy Spirit and good angels approbate and delight to abide with filthy persons? When persons who love taste and purity expect a visit from those whom they respect, how natural it is for them to clean up, that they may be in a condition to receive them. So should we purify our bodies as well as our minds, that we may be in readiness to receive the Holy Spirit and the ministration of good angels, and to worship the Lord with his saints.

Nature itself teaches us that we should keep our persons clean. Even individuals of unclean habits, who have not entirely lost their fine feelings and sense of propriety, will appear ashamed when they fall in with the clean and tidy unawares. And how would they feel if they were introduced into the presence of the pure in Heaven. Yet known to the Lord is the condition of all; for all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Real filthy persons are unrefined in their taste for, and discernment of, spiritual things, and cannot fully appreciate the pure and elevating truths of God’s word unless they reform by addicting themselves to clean and refined physical habits. And though we may to a certain degree attend to physical purity without being pure in heart, yet we cannot be said to be wholly sanctified if we neglect bodily cleanliness. (Sanctification: or, Holy Living, pp. 72-74)

—————————————

Daniel T. Bourdeau [1835-1905] was an evangelist and missionary, and brother of A. C. Bourdeau. At 11 years of age he joined the Baptist Church and at 16, with his brother, attended a Baptist French-language institution at Grand Ligne, Lower Canada. In 1861 he married Marion E. Saxby. Ordained to the SDA ministry in 1858, he, with his brother, spent many years in evangelism in New England and Canada. As far as is known, the two brothers were the first of French descent to have accepted the SDA faith.(SDA Encyclopedia, p. 176)


Reflections on the Election By Allen Stump

On November 2, the people of the United States elected the electors that elected George W. Bush to a second term as president. The popular vote count was approximately 59 ½ million (51%) for Mr. Bush and 56 million (48%) for John Kerry. Interestingly, both numbers were records. Mr. Bush received more votes than any winning candidate ever and was the first candidate to receive more than 50% of the popular vote since 1988 when his father was elected president. John Kerry received more than any loser before. In fact, Kerry got more votes than any winner or looser before him. However, due to the fact that the Electoral College, not the people by direct election, elect the president, if the state of Ohio had delivered 70,000 more votes for Kerry, we would be writing about President-elect Kerry now.

Media and Bush claim: Mandate
There have been few elections in recent years where the interest and passions were so high. Both parties worked hard to “get out the vote.” Mr. Bush, with much of the media, was very quick to declare that he had gotten a “mandate from the people.” It was called a “moral mandate,” a “fresh mandate,” and a “clear mandate” Richard Stevenson, writing for the New York Times called it “a decisive win.” Los Angeles Times writer Edwin Chen called it a “solid win.” Mr. Bush declared, “The people made it clear what they wanted”

The Republicans gained seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. With one, and possibly four seats coming vacant on the Supreme Court, including the chief justice’s position, the Republicans appeared to have run the table of this election.

Political Capital
President Bush declared that he had received consent from the people for his agenda. He stated,

I earned capital in the campaign — political capital — and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That’s what happened after the 2000 election: I earned some capital. I’ve earned capital in this election, and I’m going to spend it for what I told the people I’d spend it on.

Mr. Bush said he would spend it on, “Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror.” Mr. Bush also noted that he would call for Congress to move speedily for tort reform to limit lawsuits awards against doctors.

The Real Difference in the Election
One thing very conspicuously absent from Mr. Bush’s remarks was any mention of the evangelical vote. President Bush said nothing about the rewards that the Evangelical Churches were to get for giving him their overwhelming support. Republican analysts had determined that in the 2000 election, there were four million evangelicals that did not vote. One of the goals of the Karl Rove-led Mr. Bush campaign was to get these four million voters out in 2004. In the 2000 election, Mr. Bush received about one half million less votes than Al Gore. In 2004 Mr. Bush received three and one half million more votes than Kerry; a difference shift of four million votes, the number of evangelicals that were targeted. While each party picked up some votes from almost every group, the real difference in the election was the evangelical vote.

Both Bush and Kerry called for unifying the country after the election. However, the truth of the matter is that this country is more divided than it has been since the civil war. While there may be neutral areas that both sides can work together on concerning the economy, the war on terrorism, and the war in Iraq, how can common ground be found on such passionate issues as abortion and gay marriages?

When Mr. Bush was asked at his November 4th news conference if the strong evangelical support he received raised concerns of the nation being divided among the religious and non-religious, Mr. Bush responded:

Yes, my answer to people is, I will be your President regardless of your faith, and I don’t expect you to agree with me necessarily on religion. As a matter of fact, no President should ever try to impose religion on our society.

A great — the great tradition of America is one where people can worship the way they want to worship. And if they choose not to worship, they’re just as patriotic as your neighbor. That is an essential part of why we are a great nation. And I am glad people of faith voted in this election. I’m glad — I appreciate all people who voted. I don’t think you ought to read anything into the politics, the moment, about whether or not this nation will become a divided nation over religion. I think the great thing that unites is the fact you can worship freely if you choose, and if you don’t, you don’t have to worship. And if you’re a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim, you’re equally American. That is — that is such a wonderful aspect of our society; and it is strong today and it will be strong tomorrow.

Some strict Evangelicals believe that from a Biblical point of view, such ideas are difficult to harmonize with the Scripture. What Biblical “unity” could there be where everybody worships who or whatever they choose, or doesn’t worship anyone or anything at all? Of course no true unity can exist. Conservative Evangelicals want the country to move more towards a government that resembles a theocracy rather than a republic. That is why the government cannot stay purely civil and keep the Evangelicals happy.

Moral Values the Decisive Factor
While the president was silent concerning abortion, he did later state that he would support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In an NBC pole taken on Election Day, “Moral values” was the most important factor listed in the decision for the president. Of the 22% that said moral values were the most important issue, 80% sided with President Bush. Former President Clinton picked up on this speaking at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Clinton stated, “There was an astonishing turnout among evangelical Christians who said they were voting on the basis of moral values.”

Evangelical Expectations
Make no mistake, Bush owes the Christian right and they expect to see him pay up. In a letter of congratulations sent to Mr. Bush, Dr. Bob Jones, III, president of Bob Jones University wrote:

In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn’t deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You have been given a mandate. We the people expect your voice to be like the clear and certain sound of a trumpet. Because you seek the Lord daily, we who know the Lord will follow that kind of voice eagerly.

Don’t equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ. Honor the Lord, and He will honor you. (Bob Jones III to President George W. Bush – November 3, 2004)

Dr. Jones has labeled “liberals” as those that “despise … Christ” and links them with “the agenda of paganism.” He tells Mr. Bush that he has “been given a mandate” and the people are expecting him to give the trumpet the “certain sound” they are expecting! Dr. Jones attached a postscript to his letter which read, “A few moments ago I read this letter to the students in Chapel. They applauded loudly their approval.” I confirmed this talking with a representative from Bob Jones University. The spokesperson said there was “a lot of enthusiasm from the student body” for the letter.

Dr. Bob Jones, III, is just not anybody. Mr. Bush campaigned at Bob Jones University at the invitation of, and with the support of Dr. Jones.

Tim Russert, of Meet the Press, quoted Richard Lamb, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission as saying.

“As we say in Texas, [President Bush] is going to dance with the one who brung him. ... We haven’t come to this place to go home and not push our values and our beliefs.” (NBC News’ Meet the Press, November 14, 2004)

Speaking of the Evangelical social conservatives, James Carville, a democrat advisor said:

“They’re going to be at the table. And let me tell you, they’re not going anywhere. And that guy in Colorado Springs, Dobson, and Bob Jones and them, I guarantee you, they’re coming to the party, bro, and they want a seat at the table.” (Ibid.)

We will have to see if he will pay up and give the Evangelicals their “seat at the table,” but the Christian right is not willing to be taken for granted much longer. James Dobson sent out a letter saying He can no longer keep quiet. On the November 7 edition of Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Karl Rove, “Is the president indebted to evangelical Christians?” Rove did not give a direct answer. Later Russert asked, “Is the president obligated to his support from the evangelical Christians to nominate people for the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade?” Again Rove sidestepped the question for apparently political reasons.

The Supreme Court Factor
While many are looking at some of the proposed changes to the Constitution with fear and concern, it should be noted that the Constitution does not need to be changed if it can be reinterpreted. This is what makes appointments to the Supreme Court so important for it is the High Court that has the final say on any law enacted by the Congress.

With the recent revelations that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist has thyroid cancer and considering the age of the court, Mr. Bush may have the chance to appoint three, perhaps four justices, one of which will be chief justice. Mr. Bush has initiated an internal review of the pros and cons of nominating Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as the chief justice if ailing William Rehnquist retires.

Social conservatives and Christian Evangelicals will expect Mr. Bush to choose socially conservative nominees. President Bush has stated that he wants judges who will make a strict interpretation of the Constitution and not be a judicial activist. Mr. Bush says that he will nominate “someone who knows the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law.” While not saying that Roe v. Wade (the case that overturned the ban on abortion in the United States) is to be his litmus test, Mr. Bush has showed little inclination to seek a consensus candidate. Mr. Bush has stated that Justices Scalia and Thomas, arguably the two most conservative justices, are his two favorite justices of all time and that he wanted to appoint people like them. And in fact, with the nation being more and more polarized it may be impossible to find a consensus candidate!

Prophetic Implications
Revelation 13 describes a two-horned, lamb-like beast which makes an image to the composite beast mentioned in the first part of that chapter. Through Bible study, we believe that this second beast is the United States of America lead on by the Protestant Churches. We believe that through legislation and/or through the courts they will attempt to force their agenda upon the rest of the country. The main thrust of that agenda will be the exaltation of Sunday worship and the god of Sunday worship. (For a complete Bible study on this issue, please write and request the book, A Time to Choose.)

Will Bush keep his word and provide government for all people regardless of faith? Will he pay back the Evangelicals for their vote? Most likely whatever is done will need to be done quickly. Most analysts agree that if Bush is to spend his political capital, he needs to do it in the first 100 days. “Political capital is like a helium balloon – it weakens with every passing day.” (Mona Charen – The Washington Times) If Mr. Bush and Congress do not take action by the 2006 election, the president becomes a “lame duck” and getting anything accomplished will be difficult. Keep a watch on the next few months closing. As one Bible prophecy student noted concerning the last events of earth’s history, “Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” (Last Day Events, p. 11) Truly “it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)

In the mean time; Inspiration says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.” (Mark 13:35)

And if we have not seen major developments in the next four months, remember what Paul writes, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1Thessalonians 5:3)


Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail berean@smyrna.org

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!

This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013