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. 18, No.6 Straight and Narrow June 2009


Rye field

The Priceless Gift

By Allen Stump

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).

We all have received gifts at various points in our lives. Some gifts we have greatly appreciated and perhaps we received some gifts that we were not so thrilled about. Perhaps some of the gifts we did not even like, maybe even hated them. But a gift is something that is freely given to someone with the hope that it will help, bless, and perhaps even make the recipient happy.

Gifts from God

The greatest gift that has ever been given is the gift of Jesus to mankind. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” By this great gift, we can begin to measure God’s love for we read: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9, 10).”

With the gift of Jesus comes the free gift of salvation. Jesus told the woman at the well, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water (John 4:10).” Christ offers us living water. While the wages of sin is death, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).”

Today we receive the blessing of God by his Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter said: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).”

Paul, writing to the church at Rome, noted, “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established (Romans 1:11).” Spiritual gifts establish (make firm), the believer and edify the body of Jesus. Paul mentions the further purpose of these spiritual gifts when writing to the church at Ephesus:

When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:8, 12-15).

The purpose of the gifts is for the perfecting of the saints and to bring us to the full measure of Jesus Christ. These gifts are needed or Jesus would not have given them to his church. One of the points that Paul makes is “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Doctrinal integrity is important. Paul could have said: “Just study your Bible yourself; Sola Scriptura. You need no spiritual gift to understand the Scriptures fully,” but he did not do that.

God wants us to come to a perfect man. In Isaiah 13:12 God says, “ I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” This is a precious promise, and we must allow God to use his appointed means to bring us to be a perfect man or woman. God will not just have a perfect man or woman, but a righteous nation. “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in (Isaiah 26:2).” We have been told:

When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69).

This contrasts with the popular theology of today which says, “If the goal is to reach perfection, it will always be beyond our reach. ... The fight against sin is never fully over as long as we are citizens of the present world. ... we will remain sinners as long as we live... (Reinder Bruinsma, Key Words of the Christian Faith, pp. 69, 72; Sabbath School companion book for the second quarter of 2009).” This kind of thinking puts off the second coming forever!

The Greek word translated gift in Romans 1:11 and 1 Corinthians 12 is charisma (carisma). Charisma is from charizomri (forgive, gift) which comes from charis (grace or favor). The spiritual gift brings grace to the believer via forgiveness! The word charisma is associated with the working of the spirit and from this word we have the English word, charismatic, from which we have the charismatic movement. Do you belong to the charismatic movement? You should, but not to a false movement, but rather to the true movement which receives the gifts of the spirit!

The gift of the spirit was to abide with the church. Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (John 14:16).”

The Gift of Prophecy

The gift of prophecy enabled men and women to be spokespersons for God. Peter noted, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21).” (See also 1 Peter 1:11.)

God put his words in the mouths of his prophets. David said, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue (2 Samuel 23:2).”

The gift of prophecy is needful in the church. “Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).” The Vulgate states: “When prophecy shall fail, the people shall be scattered abroad.”

The value of the gift of prophecy cannot be overestimated. Moses was one of the greatest of prophets and without God’s guidance through him, Israel would have been lost. Elijah, the prophet, saved Israel from Baal worship and delayed final judgement from falling upon Israel. If Israel had continued to follow the example and teachings of Elijah and then Elisha, their course would have been very different.

Remember when the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir came against Israel during the reign of Jehoshaphat. The king did not know what to do but he trusted in God and prayed and looked to the God of heaven. God sent an unusual answer through the prophet Jahaziel. Jahaziel told the king and the people: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you (2 Chronicles 20:15-17).” Surely they must at least fight? But no, so sure is Jehoshaphat and the people that they appoint singers to go before the army praising God for his goodness knowing that God will give the victory. As they were going out, Jehospaphat said, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper (2 Chronicles 20:20).” Do you think God would have given Israel the victory if they did not believe and follow the counsel of the prophet? I do not think so but they believed and prospered.

The Testimony of Jesus

Writing to the church at Corinth, Paul said, “Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:6-8).” Immediately after this section, Paul enters in on his discussion about being united in Christ, but the first thing he talks about is the confirmation of the “testimony of Christ” in them. Why was this testimony confirmed in them? So that they would “come behind in no gift” while focusing on the second coming of Jesus. The word gift in verse 7 in the Greek is “charismati,” (a form of charism). Paul is talking about a certain kind of Spirit-anointed gifts called charisms, and the Corinthian church had present within it individuals having the “testimony of Christ.” What is this “testimony of Christ?” Let us see what Paul says later in his letter.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

God gives his church, through the Holy Spirit, many different gifts to meet his church’s different needs, and one of the charisms that he gives is the gift of prophecy. Yes, there are many gifts of Jesus through the Spirit, but, as you read on through chapter 13 and into chapter 14, you will find that the direction Paul’s argument goes in is to affirm the gift of prophecy as supreme and the gift of tongues-speaking, (language-speaking) as a lesser gift. Why?

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying; … Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:1-5, 22).

Prophesying is superior because it immediately builds up the church. Remember, prophecy is a sign to believers, while tongues-speaking is a sign to unbelievers. The church is not constituted of unbelievers; therefore, tongues-speaking does not build up the church. Tongues are spoken for unbelievers. Prophesying is for believers. Believers are in the church; therefore, prophesying builds up the church—it edifies it. Paul has a special place in mind for the gift of prophecy because, while the other gifts build up the church in various ways, prophecy is the foremost gift to build it up. It is straight, uncut, undiluted truth spoken. The gift of prophecy is very vital for the church, brothers and sisters. The church in Corinth had this gift operating in its midst. It had “the testimony of Christ,” so that it would come behind in no gift and so that the church would be built up while looking for the second coming of Jesus.

Now, let us go to the book of Revelation for further understanding of the “testimony of Jesus. In the beginning of Revelation, we read: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw (Revelation 1:1, 2).” The book of Revelation is a testimony of Jesus, from him, and about him, but there is a verse that is very specific. Revelation 12:17 states: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The dragon is Satan, and the remnant of the woman’s seed is the last part of God’s church. Satan hates Jesus and made war against him in heaven. Satan is still at war against Christ, but now he fights against Jesus in the form of his saints who have the testimony of Jesus. According to the Bible:

Now, specifically how is the “testimony of Jesus” defined in the book of Revelation? Notice Revelation 19:10: “And I fell at his feet to worship him [Christ’s angel]. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Notice further what is revealed about this in Revelation 22:

 And he [Christ’s angel] said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God (Revelation 22:6-9).

In Revelation 19:10, the angel says that he is John’s fellowservant and brother who has the testimony of Jesus. In Revelation 22:9, the angel says that John’s fellowservants and brethren are the prophets. Here we see that the testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy, involves the gift of prophecy and being among the prophets.

Scorn not the Gift

Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul commanded them to “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).” Here Paul states two negatives and one positive. Firstly, “Quench not the Spirit.” How does the Spirit speak to the church? According to 1 Peter 1:10, 11; through the Spirit of Jesus. This is the testimony of Jesus or the spirit of prophecy. If we rule out the possibility that God can speak to us today through his prophets, we are quenching the Spirit.

Secondly, “Despise not prophesyings.”The Greek word translated “despise” means “to make of no account.” “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God … Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 48).”

We can make the spirit of prophecy of none effect in many ways! We can make it look outdated and foolish. We might outright reject it. We might test the Bible by the gift instead of the other way around. As Seventh-day Adventists, we hold that the spirit of prophecy was manifested in the life of Ellen G. White. Satan is not at war with a frail woman but with the testimony of Jesus that she brings!

Thirdly, Paul says to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” This is a command we have to search to know the truth. Recently, we were asked by a friend to send some DVDs that we produce on the truth about God to a well-known church-based ministry which claims to promote amazing facts. We received the DVDs back from the ministry with a note from one of their evangelists which said, in part, “This represents material that we do not have the time or interest to listen to.” Beloved, we have an obligation to test all things by the Bible, but then we are to hold fast that which is good.

Jesus warned his followers that there would “arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24).”We must try the spirits and hold fast that which is good. Beloved, I have tried the spirit of prophecy as manifested in Ellen White and found it to ring true as steel. Though many would like to reject her work, I have found great edification from it. I believe that as we examine the direction of the Advent people we can begin to see the value of the gift that God gave to his people through her.

One can examine almost any phase of the work of Seventh-day Adventists during her lifetime and see her influence. The testimony of Jesus outlined the evangelism efforts of the movement. The testimony of Jesus directed in the medical, publishing, educational, and administrative work of the church. Perhaps the one place that the spirit of prophecy has been most valuable to the church has been in the area of doctrinal integrity. During her lifetime, when her voice was widely accepted, Ellen White helped keep the movement from accepting every wind of doctrine. A prime example is her call to reject the message of John Harvey Kellogg, who had accepted the trinity and finally began to teach pantheism. Without her strong stand, the church might have been swept off its feet at that time.

Yes, it does cost money to buy books such as The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, and the Testimonies for the Church, and we acknowledge that we are living at a time when money is not easy to come by. While there is a material value to be placed upon the purchase of such books, their value, like the gift of prophecy, is priceless. If you have a computer, there is available at the Adventist Book Center Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition which contains all of her published writings and much more for only $20.

As time has passed and her guidance, warnings, and teachings have been ignored, the church that claims to be Ellen White’s spiritual heir has changed its work and teachings so much so that one wonders if Ellen White would recognize the church today if she were alive.

Objections

Some have stated objections to the “testimony of Jesus.” Let us look at a few:

1. “I have the Bible.” Jesus sends gifts because his church needs them. The Bible says much about non-canonical prophets who wrote letters and brought messages.

“Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29).” Here are mentioned books by both Nathan and Gad, prophets whose works, while not canonical, were inspired and edifying to the people of God.

Paul wrote at least two letters to the Ephesians (3:3, 4), one of which is not preserved. He wrote at least one letter to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16). Should the people of those churches have rejected those letters because they did not end up in the Bible?

2. “The spirit of prophecy is a lesser light. She even said so in The Review and Herald, January 20, 1903.” This is true, but her writings are still light. She also said that John the Baptist was a lesser light, but should he have been ignored? If you were in a strange deep cave where it was totally dark and only had a small flashlight, would you use it? It might not be as bright as a big light and, of course, would not compare to the light of the sun when out of the cave, but without it you will never find the “greater light.”

3. “We have PhDs and M. Divs. Ellen White was uneducated; she was not a ‘theologian.’” True, but neither was Peter nor John, according to the world’s standards. Proper education has its place but the true education we need is the one we receive from sitting at the feet of Jesus. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).” “God can teach you more in one moment by His Holy Spirit than you could learn from the great men of the earth (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 119).”

4. “We do not need prophets today, we have the Bible.” Do we say that we do not need apostles, evangelists, pastors or teachers today because we have the Bible? Hardly!

Parallels with Ancient Times

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt (Isaiah 11:11, 12, 16).

 God says that he is going to have a highway for his remnant as when his people came out from Egypt. How did they come out of Egypt? “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved (Hosea 12:13).”

The Bible speaks of prophetic guidance to be restored to God’s people to lead them through the final conflict of earth’s history. We can deny this to our hurt or accept it to our benefit. I have found the spirit of prophecy to be an anchor to help hold me from drifting in the ocean of doubt, legalism, and heresy. James says that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).” The spirit of prophecy is a good gift from God. “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).”


 Prayer Requests: This month we would like to call your attention to three believers in need of your prayers. Sister Helen is experiencing kidney failure but is of good cheer. Sister Barbara has cancer, thankfully only in stage one, and Brother Steve is having problems relating to a chronic illness he has been fighting for a long time. Please also remember the camp meeting this month that all travel will be safe and that God will grant his sweet blessings upon all. Finally, we truly need to pray that God will provide workers who can stand in the gap at this time and help give the final message.


The Fruit of the Spirit is FaithThe Fruit of the Spirit is Faith

Across

2.“Your faith ____ exceedingly (2 Thessalonians 1:3).”

4.Prefix for not

7.“He had opened the ____ of faith (Acts 14:27).”

8.“I sent to ____ your faith (1 Thessalonians 3:5).”

10. “Let him ____ in faith (James 1:6).”

13. Short for empty

15. “For we ____ by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).”

16. “The ____ of faith shall save the sick (James 5:15).”

17. “Faith without works is ____ (James 2:26).”

18. “Fight the good ____ of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).”

23. “Faith toward our ____ (Acts 20:21).”

24. “Justify the ____ by faith (Romans 3:30).”

26. “One Lord, ____ faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).”

28. “I have not found ____ great faith (Matthew 8:10.)”

29 Abbreviation for millimeter

31. “Some shall ____ from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1).”

32. “By faith . . . being warned . . . of things not seen as ____ (Hebrews 11:7).”

34. “Walk in the ____ of that faith (Romans 4:12).”

36. “Him that is ____ in the faith receive (Romans 14:1).”

38. “I have prayed for thee, that ____ faith fail not (Luke 22:32).”

41. “Your faith is ____ (1 Corinthians 15:17).”

42. “For your ____ and joy of faith (Philippians 1:25).”

44. “Not . . . have dominion over ____ faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).”

45. “These all ____ in faith (Hebrews 11:13).”

Down

1. “____ revealed from faith to faith (Romans 1:17).”

2. “I have not found so ____ faith (Luke 7:9).”

3. “Go thy ____: thy faith hath made thee whole (Luke 17:19).”

4. “ . . . and of faith ____ (1 Timothy 1:5).”

5. “Children in whom is ____ faith (Deuteronomy 32:20).”

6. “Through faith in his ____ (Acts 3:16).”

9. “Before faith came, ____ were kept under the law (Galatians 3:23).”

11. “Thou ____ by faith (Romans 11:20).”

12. “They which be of faith ____ blessed (Galatians 3:9).”

14. “The righteousness which is ____ faith (Romans 9:30).”

15. “____ is your faith (Luke 8:25).”

19. “We have ____ by faith into this grace (Romans 5:2).”

20. “For obedience to the faith among ____ nations (Romans 1:5).”

21. “The ____ shall live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4).”

22. “Whatsoever is not of faith is ____ (Romans 14:23).”

24. “Faith ____ by hearing (Romans 10:17; first four letters).”

25. Prefix meaning not

27. “They have ____ off their first faith (1 Timothy 5:12).”

29. “Hast not denied ____ faith (Revelation 2:13).”

30. “For all ____ have not faith (2Thessalonians 3:2).”

33. “I have ____ the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).”

35. “Thy faith hath ____ thee (Luke 18:42).”

37. “I ____ by the faith . . . of God (Galatians 2:20).”

39. “By the mutual faith both of ____ and me (Romans 1:12).”

40. “The ____ is not of faith (Galatians 3:12).”

43. “Obtained like precious faith with ____ (2 Peter 1:1).”


God’s Mathematics or
How to Make Ends Meet

By Allen Stump

With the economic recession/depression that the United States and most of the rest of the world are currently experiencing, more people are struggling to make ends meet then recent memory can recall. Some have become homeless, and, as we see in the Sign of the Times article on “Starvation,” some are losing the battle for life itself. What can one do to meet the needs of a family? The stresses of financial difficulties pry the bonds off many marriages and wreck many young people’s life plans. How can a parent not working or receiving a minimum wage give their child a Christian education? Some just wish to have food in their stomachs each night. Does God’s Word have any help for these troublous times?

As a former algebra and geometry teacher (as well as business math), let me first lay the calculator aside and begin with a well-known verse from Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, 9).” While the context of this verse is not financial, the principle is applicable to almost anything in life.

The unconverted heart does not work from the standpoint of heaven but rather from the that of self. “What can I get for myself?” God works from the standpoint of what he can give to others. The greatest example of this is seen in the gift of his only begotten Son. Instead of demanding from us our lives, God gave himself in the gift of his Son! This is the greatest blessing he has given to us.

Interestingly, as God divides out his blessings, they in effect become multiplied for us. Remember the feeding of the “five thousand?” (See Matthew 14:15-21.) All the disciples could find to feed the multitude were five loaves and two fish. Hardly enough for even the disciples, let alone the multitude, but the eye of faith saw something special ready to happen. Jesus first blessed the food, and then he began to divide it up! But it kept dividing and dividing, and, in reality, it multiplied! That’s right. God’s division was man’s multiplication, so much so that there were twelve baskets of fragments remaining when the people were finished! No wonder his ways are not our ways! But remember that Jesus asked God’s blessing first. Do you think the food would have kept dividing if it did not have God’s blessing? Of course not. Without his blessing, we will have nothing, but with it there is no limit to what can be done!

In the book of Malachi, we find the wonderful, time-tested and proven promise of God that says:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:10-12).

God says that if you subtract from what you have, I will add a far greater blessing to what you have left. Man’s subtraction is a chance for God’s addition!

You see, in our home and business economics, the most important factor is not the amount of income we have nor the amount of our expenses. It is also not the type of accounting software we may use. The most important aspect of financial success is putting God first. This is a proven fact to all who have tried this plan. If we are faithful in returning tithes and offerings, then God will do a marvelous work in our behalf. You see, God’s economy is not like ours. He usually provides for the needy indirectly through his people. As we help others, he has promised to help the giver. Notice this precious verse: “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself (Proverbs 11:25).” You do not have to be rich in order to be liberal in this sense. You only need to be willing to share what you have as it is needed, and the promise is that as you water and supply the needs of others, God will water and supply your needs. Again, this is not according to the ways of the world.

Jesus even went so far as to say, “Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).” Jesus did not say, “Lend without interest,” though that was taught in the Old Testament, but rather he said to lend expecting nothing to be returned. However, when we do this, we are told that our “reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.” That is a wonderful offer but it takes faith to appropriate it.

Now, let us remember that God gave us promises and also common sense. If someone wants to borrow $20 from me to buy alcohol or tobacco, God does not expect me to lend under these circumstances. We are not to aid someone in sin.

Yet, there are still the commands of God’s Word that are intent on ripping selfishness from us which may seem hard to accept. In 1 Corinthians 6:7, the Apostle Paul says it is better to be defrauded than to sue. In today’s society, this is quite insane, but, again, God’s ways are not our ways. You see, beloved, God sees far past tomorrow, the next day, year or decade, and even past the next century. He looks into eternity. God knows what is needed so that we can be safe to save and not have selfishness arise in us. So, he has prepared systematic benevolence for his people:

Constant, self-denying benevolence is God's remedy for the cankering sins of selfishness and covetousness. God has arranged systematic benevolence to sustain His cause and relieve the necessities of the suffering and needy. He has ordained that giving should become a habit, that it may counteract the dangerous and deceitful sin of covetousness. Continual giving starves covetousness to death. Systematic benevolence is designed in the order of God to tear away treasures from the covetous as fast as they are gained and to consecrate them to the Lord, to whom they belong (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p.548).

God made provisions for his people to be lenders, and it was not his desire for them to be debtors. “The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow (Deuteronomy 28:12).” Jesus said that the poor would always be among us (Matthew 26:11), and God made provision for helping the poor. The poor could borrow but, again, note the circumstances: “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury (Deuteronomy 23:19).” Today, usury is considered excessive interest, but in the Bible usury simply means interest. The Jews were forbidden to charge usury to their brethren (Leviticus 25:35, 36), and, as we noted, Jesus said that we should not even expect the principle to be returned. Again, God wants to foster an unselfish attitude in us and set us free from the sin of selfishness!

Jesus came to this world to set mankind free from sin. Speaking to the Jewish leaders one day, Jesus said:

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:31-36).

Jesus offers freedom from sin and also freedom from all types of bondage. He came to “to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18).” Today, there are millions in financial bondage and many even in economic slavery. There are various reasons for this, but in the United States many are struggling under the bondage of economic servitude due to selfish desires to live lifestyles that are not afforded.

Most children in the United States grow up having too many of their desires provided. They have seen the home, automobiles, and furniture that their parents worked maybe twenty years to obtain, and they want it too. But instead of working twenty years for these things, they want it now. We marry and buy homes with small down payments. Until recently, credit was cheap and easy to get, and, as a result, the national debt, both personal and corporate, has sky rocketed. After World War II, the United States was the largest creditor nation in the world. Today, it is the largest debtor nation. The average American has a credit card debt of $10,000, besides home mortgages, car loans, student bills, and more! Is being in this kind of debt God’s plan for his people?

The counsel to be content seems as old fashioned as 8-track tapes, wooden nickels, and slide rules; but the words still ring true today! We should not expect to be entitled to anything, in spite of what the government claims. “Let your conversation [lifestyle] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).” We can be content, for Jesus has promised to be with us, and the Bible says we “are complete in him (Colossians 2:10).” Nothing more is needed than what God provides.

The simplicity of our needs is expressed by Paul when he told Timothy, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content (1 Timothy 6:8).” Paul, a man who spent a good deal of time in prison, shipwrecked, hungry, and away from home with little more than the clothes upon his back, could say: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).”

At this point, you may be scratching your head wondering, “This is all true, but how does it really help me in a practical manner? How does this make ends meet?” Well, friend, we have to know and believe in putting God first or nothing else will matter. We have a selfish nature and God wants us in his kingdom, so he has ordained giving to help us spiritually. As we do this, God will be able to entrust us with more of this world’s goods because he knows we will be good stewards and use them faithfully. I am convinced that God would like to bless his people much more than he does at times, but we are too selfish for him to wisely do this and still help us. If God provided more for us in our selfishness instead of truly helping us, it would hurt us.

Let us look at some proven practical principles that can help you in your financial responsibilities, provided you are already faithful in the things of God where he can be able to bless you. “Remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18).” To have financial stability, having a budget and living within that budget is very important. We have a sad state of affairs in this country because most people are living like our government, spending more than they are taking into their homes. Having a budget can help, but before we go to the budget, let us look at one of the simplest formulas in mathematics. If you wish to get out of debt and/or save money, you must spend less than you receive in income. That is simple and no rocket scientist is needed to explain it, but most seem to miss this important and simple point. You must either increase your income or lessen your expenses.

Income might be increased by an extra job or longer hours at a current job. Extra income might be achieved by changing to a better-paying job. If you are not employed, however, you may need to accept a job that pays lower than your education and skills equip you for, simply to have work. Little money is better than no money. In today’s economy, however, just having a job is not easy, so let us examine the second concept – paying out less.

Concerning transportation, do you need a new car? Can you buy a car without going into debt? Remember what we read earlier about debt? Ellen White even noted:

Be determined never to incur another debt. Deny yourself a thousand things rather than run in debt. This has been the curse of your life, getting into debt. Avoid it as you would the smallpox (Adventist Home, p. 393).

That is pretty strong, isn’t it?! How much debt would you be willing to incur if you knew smallpox came with it? Based on this principle, buying a new car or a house is out of the question for most of us. I realize that this makes no sense in today’s society, but again, God’s ways are not our ways. (You might be wondering how anyone could ever have their own home without having a mortgage. We hope to take that up in another article later.)

Not only does staying out of debt eliminate new cars, but perhaps new music systems, fancy clothes, and other expensive items that are not essential. But remember, as Christians we are to be content and we can be content because we are complete in Christ and not in material things.

Now, concerning communications, there are land line phone bills, cell phone bills, TV cable expenses, and Internet expenses for many people, but are they all or any of them really needed? Do we have to have high-speed Internet service when we could use free dial up? Do we need a land line if we can use a cell phone? Does each child need their own cell phone with unlimited text messaging? Doubtful! What about cable TV? I think you need a very good argument to sell me that you need it at all!

Some other ways to pay out less each month may include doing some services at home for yourself that you might normally pay others to do. Most men can learn to change the oil in their car and do simple maintenance to save money. Some laundry or dry cleaning can be done at home. I personally enjoy the feel and look of a well-starched shirt. At times, I have some shirts cleaned and pressed at a dry cleaner because of the time factor it takes in doing it at home, but near the end of the month, when things are in a pinch, I get out the spray starch and iron them myself.

Cows_and_Chimpmunk
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).”

There is a tremendous amount of money spent on food in this country. Americans eat one third of their meals away from home in restaurants and in fast-food places. This is one area in which it is very easy to save money, and preparing your own food is sure to be more healthful. Healthy food is not necessarily inexpensive, but it can be carefully purchased using coupons to save money. Instead of buying canned beans for a dollar, a whole pound of dried beans can be purchased for a dollar and cooked.

Using a debit card instead of a credit card will also lessen the likelihood of overspending. If you do use a credit card for convenience, pay the total balance off before interest accrues.

Some people may need to move into a smaller or less expensive house to save money. Many in America are accustomed to three, four, and even five bedroom houses with three bathrooms. If you have a large family or host many people, this might be needful, but for many it is an extra. Speaking of our housing, many new houses are built today with closets bigger than some people’s bedrooms! The average person has so many clothes that there is hardly room for them. Simple farm houses years ago did not have clothes closets. Do you know why? They were not needed. There might have been a nail or hook on the wall for the one pair of clothes you had. And, by the way, there was not even one toilet, let alone three or four. A simple “jonnie house” did the trick. Sound barbaric? Perhaps, but it helps us see that our true needs are not the same as our wants.

Since those of us in America live where there is an abundance of new clothes sold each day, there is also an abundance of good used clothes usually available. If you bristle in thought about going to the local Community Service Center or to the Salvation Army for clothes, pray about pride in your life. God is telling you something.

For those with children, a Christian education is not an option, it is a necessity. But that does not mean that the children must be sent to an expensive school? The command of God is to train your own children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Today, home schooling is a way that many parents can cut expenses and also have a direct say in the training of their children. You say you have not been trained as a teacher? God did not mention in Deuteronomy anything about you needing that training. If you will prayerfully trust in God and claim the promise of James 1:5, he is able to teach you how to train your children. Home schooling done properly is time-consuming, may not be easy, and does cost, but most find it less expensive than elementary church school and much cheaper than a boarding academy. There are also correspondence types of classes and even DVD presentations to help busy parents or those who truly feel that they cannot do the job. Being frugal is important, but remember that God has promised to cover all of your needs, not your wants.

Now let us look at a budget and what basic things should be in a budget. The very first thing is the tithe. This is ten percent of your increase no matter how much you earn. The second thing is offerings. How much? God has allowed you to decide, but, no matter how poor you think you are, give an offering. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts (Psalm 96:8).” God told his people to not come before him “empty.” (See Exodus 34:20 and Deuteronomy 16:16.) Even if the offering is a single dollar, bring it to God and according to the love of the giver’s heart, God will accept it.

The next area of concern might be housing. Depending upon where one lives, this could be very expensive or very cheap. As a rule of thumb, it is not wise to spend over one-fourth of your income in this area, if possible. There are still utilities, insurance and taxes to consider.

Money must be spent on transportation, including saving money towards your next vehicle (so you do not go in debt with a car payment), as well as the cost of fuel, maintenance, and insurance. By the way, if you are driving an inexpensive car without a lien against it, you can save money by not buying “full coverage” insurance. For most people who have older cars, in the case of a collision where you are at fault, most insurance companies will not pay to have your old car fixed. They will simple pay its current “book” value which may be less than the cost of the insurance premiums over a year in many cases. So, one must weigh out the pros and cons to find the coverage that makes the most sense for them.

For those with children there will be educational expenses.

Some money should be saved.

Clothes, even bought at Goodwill, need to be budgeted for each month.

Perhaps garbage removal is needed where you are located.

Medical expenses must also be considered; dental and optical expenses as well.

With these and possibly other expenses to budget for, it is no wonder you may have difficulty in making ends meet, but remember that God has promised he “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).”

Regardless of how difficult your situation may be, remember that you serve the God who claims all the silver and gold (Haggai 2:8) as his and he says “every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).” I have found the following statement to be a sure source of help because its principles cover so many of life’s situations:

Worry is blind and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Matthew 11:30; Psalm 84:11.

Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet (The Ministry of Healing, p. 481).

As you come into financial stability and out of debt, you will truly be free. In talking with a dear saint one day, he related to me his experience of being interviewed for work at Wildwood by Elder W. D. Frazee. Frazee was the founder of Wildwood and a strong believer in being out of debt. He asked my friend how much money he owed others. When my friend replied, “None” and that he had no debt except to love others, Elder Frazee stood up, walked over to the man and shook his hand saying, “You, sir, are a rare bird!” Brothers and sisters, let us, by doing our part to live within our means, by putting God first, and by following the gospel principles of liberality, be sure that this species of bird does not become extinct! I realize that it is contrary to the way of the world, but if you had been beside the Sea of Galilee and had seen the small amount of food divided, would you have said that Jesus was crazy?

Remember the story of Elijah? He told Ahab that there would be no rain or even dew except by his word. At first Elijah was sent to the brook Cherith, where the ravens fed him, but when the brook dried up, God told him: “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee (1 Kings 17:9).” When Elijah got there, he saw the widow gathering sticks and asked her for some water. After receiving the water, he asked for food. The widow told him she was gathering firewood for one last loaf of bread for her and her son and then they would die. Elijah, however, had a better idea. He said, “Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me (1 Kings 17:13).” We might think this was quite selfish, but Elijah had the promise of God, and that promise was as sure to him as life itself. We, too, beloved, have the promise of God that “them that honour me I will honour(1 Samuel 2:30).”


Upcoming Meetings

As we are able, we hold meetings in different areas of the United States and even out of the country, as we reported in the April and May issues of Old Paths. Recently, Pastor Stump had some very good meetings in Newark, Ohio, and he will be holding meetings in the Cadillac, Michigan, area the weekend of June 26-28. The subject will be the three angels’ messages and the sealing. The meetings will be held at 271 East 40 ½ Mile Road, Boon, MI. The GPS coordinates at 44° 13' 47"N, 85° 34' 30"W.You may Call Mary Jaroh for details at 231-920-9202.

If you would be interested in having meetings in your area and would like to have Pastor Stump and/or Brother Lynnford Beachy share in your area, please contact us using the information on page 20.

Lynnford Beachy will also be in the Cadillac, Michigan, area July 25 to hold meetings. You may also call Mary Jaroh for details.


A Church’s Worthy Example

By Ellen G. White

(This article is a selection from the book Sketches from the Life of Paul, pp. 173-175.)

Paul had directed Titus, on his return from Corinth, to rejoin him at Troas, and he awaited the coming of this beloved fellow-laborer, hoping to receive some tidings from the Corinthian church. But week after week passed, and Titus came not. The apostle’s solicitude became almost insupportable. He says, “My spirit found no rest, because of Titus, my brother.” He left Troas, and went to Philippi, where he met Timothy, his son in the gospel.

Here was a church which had proved its love for the gospel of Christ by its faith and works. The brethren had not swerved from their confidence in the Lord’s messenger. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, does not censure them, but speaks words of warm approval. The truth of the gospel had thoroughly converted them. This church could not be prevented from making donations to the apostle for his support while preaching the gospel, although he had repeatedly refused to accept their liberality. He was very persistent in his determination to sustain himself, lest occasion might be given his enemies to say that he labored for his personal gain. But the Philippians would not be denied the privilege of aiding the Lord’s ambassador by bestowing of their means to meet his necessities. Twice while he was at Thessalonica, immediately after their conversion, they urged their gifts upon him. Again they sent him relief while he was preaching at Corinth, and working for his own support. Also when the apostle was a prisoner at Rome, the faithful love of his Philippian brethren was evinced by their kindly care for his comfort.

The church at Philippi were not wealthy. Paul says of these brethren: “In a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

It had been one object of the apostle, in this journey, to collect means for the relief of the poor saints at Jerusalem. He had established in the Corinthian church, as also in Galatia, a system of weekly offerings, and had enjoined upon Titus, in his visit to Corinth, to give special attention to forwarding this benevolent enterprise. Not only was the apostle actuated by a desire to relieve the sufferings of his Jewish brethren, but he hoped that this tangible expression of the love and sympathy of the Gentile converts would soften the bitter feelings cherished toward them by many of the believers in Judea. Notwithstanding the poverty of the Philippian church, they joined readily in the apostle’s plan, and urged him to accept their bounty for the needy Christians at Jerusalem. They had the utmost confidence in his integrity and judgment, and considered him the proper person to take charge of their gifts.

The Philippians did not hold their small earthly possessions with a tenacious grasp, but considered them as theirs only to use in doing good. They thus experienced the truth of the words of Christ, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” They felt that the cause of Christ was one everywhere. They therefore, in their poverty, felt called out to help other churches more needy than themselves.

This spirit of unsectional liberality should characterize the churches of today. They should continually keep the burden on their souls for the advancement of the cause of God in any and every place. Benevolence is the very foundation of the universe. God is a benefactor of the human family. He is a being of inexhaustible goodness and love. The love of the Father for man was expressed in the gift of his beloved Son to save the race from ruin.

Christ gave his life for man. He was a monarch in the courts of Heaven, yet he voluntarily left his riches and honor, and came to earth, becoming poor and lowly that we might be made rich and happy in the kingdom of Heaven. The revelation of the gospel should lead all who accept its sacred truths to imitate the great Exemplar in doing good, in blessing humanity, and in living a life of self-denial and benevolence. The sin of covetousness is specially denounced in the Scriptures. Worldliness is at war with the true principles of Christianity. A life of beneficent labor is the fruit borne by the Christian tree.


Quiz on Job 1-4

 1. According to Lamentations 4:21, where was the land of Uz?

2. What does it mean that Job “eschewed evil”?

3. Who were the “sons of God” mentioned in Job 1:6? (Hint: See The Great Controversy, p. 518.)

4. How did God describe Job to Satan?

5. In essence, what was Satan’s argument for why Job served God?

6. In Job 1:16 we learn that Satan can make fire come down from heaven, yet is it called “the fire of God.” Why would it be called the “fire of God” and where else in the Bible is something mentioned about fire from heaven that Satan produces?

7. What principle of Satan is revealed in Job 2? Where in the writings of Paul is the great truth of God that is contrary to this stated?

8. What only did Satan leave of Job’s life? What was the result of this and what lesson is there for us today?

9. Where were Eliphaz and Bildad from?(According to the LXX, Eliphaz was a “king,” Bildad was a” sovereign,” and Zophar was a “King.”)

10. Did Job’s friends recognize him when they first saw him?

11. What did Job say about the day he was born?

12. In Job 2:10 we find Job with calm resolve concerning his situation, but in 3:1 his attitude has changed to deep discouragement. Why do you think this change came about or what might have been a contributing factor to this? (Hint: Knowing about the three friends helps.)

13. What is the meaning of the Hebrew word translated “mourning” in verse 8. Give an alternate translation of this verse.

14. What does the expression “give up the ghost” in Job 3:11 mean?

15. In Job 4:2 Eliphaz says, “Who can withhold himself from speaking?” Before Job spoke, Eliphaz sat silently with Job for how long before he finally spoke?

16. In Job 4:7 Eliphaz makes a statement of principle. Is it true all the time, partly, or never? Explain your answer and give at least two examples.

17. In Job 4:8 a similar principle is mentioned as in verse 7. What New Testament text would seem to support this teaching? Is this statement completely sound?

18. In Job 4:13-15 Eliphaz describes a vision with some type of spirit. What was Eliphaz’s response to this vision? Do you think this was of God or of another spirit?

19. This spirit told Eliphaz a truth, calling man “mortal” (Job 4:17), but was this a spirit of truth? If not, why would it state this truth?

Bonus: How many times does Ellen White quote Job 4:17?

Answers next month

Answers to Quiz on Genesis 49-50

1. Jacob told his sons what would befall them in the last days.

2. The three things in the birthright blessing that Reuben forfeited by his actions were the spiritual blessing to be the father of the Messiah, a double portion of the material blessing, and the privilege of being the priest of the family.

3. The Reubenites were carried into captivity by the kings of Assyria.

4. Revelation 7:5 states that 12,000 of the 144,000 will be from the tribe of Reuben.

5. All but Dan and Ephraim are mentioned in the list of Revelation 7, Dan because he was a backbiter and Ephraim because of idolatry.

6. It was prophesied that Simeon and Levi would be divided and scattered. This was fulfilled when Simeon was divided into two parts on the sides of Jordan and Levi was not given land but was scattered in the cities about Israel as the ministers of God.

7. Judah received the spiritual blessing.

8. Zebulen would dwell in the haven of the sea.

9. Issachar was symbolized by a strong ass.

10. Dan was symbolized by a serpent.

11. Gad would finally overcome at the last.

12. Asher would yield royal dainties. Anna was a notable person who came from the tribe of Asher.

13. Naphtali gave goodly words.

14. Joseph received the double portion of the material blessings.

15. Benjamin is described as a wolf. The most famous person in the Bible from the tribe of Benjamin was the Apostle Paul.

16. Jacob wished to be buried with Leah, Abraham, and other family members in the cave of Machpelah.

17. It is stated in Genesis 49:31 that Jacob buried Leah there. The significant of this statement shows that he acknowledged Leah as his proper wife.

18. Jacob’s body was embalmed in Egypt by the physicians when he died.

19. Only the little ones of his family did not go to Jacob’s burial.

20. Joseph did not hate his brothers nor desire evil upon them when their father died.


A Sign of the Times—Starvation

By Heidi Stump

Jesus said that in the last days that there would be “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places (Matthew 24:7).” The following is an edited research paper prepared for a class at Mountain State University.Editor

Starvation is the most extreme form of malnutrition and can result in permanent organ damage or death. Even though we are living in the world where people waste tons of food each day, there are people who are dying because there is no food for them to eat. Especially in the third world countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bangladesh, people die because of starvation. Even in United States of America there are people dying from starvation. Here are some interesting and compelling facts:

Every 3.6 seconds a child dies from starvation (Stopthehunger.com). A life is extinguished, passing without notice. Behind this shocking number there is a beautiful face, a striking personality, and the innocent hopes and dreams of a child that will never come true. This number is only true for children 0 – 5 years old, and does not count the youth and adults that silently pass away into oblivion. An average total of the people that starve to death every day are 26,000 (Stopthehunger.com). In a world of technical revolution and relative prosperity, why should this happen? How can our government and we as a people let a child die every 3.6 seconds and do nothing about it? Why is this is not a national issue that we are personally working on every day? Starvation exists because there is not a strong outcry against the forces that cause it. Hunger and starvation can, and should, be eliminated.

It is said that 800 million people in the world suffer from malnutrition and hunger. This is about one hundred times the amount of people who actually die from malnutrition every year (stopthehunger.com).

The World Food Program (WFP) has estimated that one third of the world obtains a normal amount of food, one third is underfed, and one third is starving. Approximately four million will die this year. To make that number more relevant, is it the equivalent of three hundred jumbo jet crashes a day with no one surviving, almost half of the victims being children (GAIA: An Atlas of Planet Management).

For the price of ten Stealth bombers or what the world military spends in two days, 100,000,000 deaths could be prevented (stopthehunger.com).

The amount of money spent on one missile would enable a whole school full of children to eat a lunch every day for five years (Ibid).

Where starvation happens

Daily hunger, chronic malnutrition, and starvation are common all over the globe, with only a small percent of countries remaining untouched. Some of the leading countries in starvation are India, home to approximately 250 million hungry people (International Tribune, March 30, 2009), Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, to name only a few.

Why is starvation occurring at such an alarming rate?

Starvation and famine are largely credited to population growth and to natural disasters such as floods and droughts. These factors contribute, but the actual truth lies in political carelessness of lands, food, money, wars, and the violence and misappropriation of funds that they entail (New Scientist, October 2006).

World Hunger

6,767,412,000 

current total world population 

1,014,507,387 

undernourished people in the world right now 

1,136,391,970 

overweight people in the world right now 

338,351,932 

obese people in the world right now 

26,600 

people who died of hunger today 

3,947,685 

people who died of hunger this year 

Economics

153,491,000 

US dollars spent due to obesity-related diseases in the US today 

71,739,527 

spending on food purchased and then tossed by US households today (in US dollars) 

3,335,743 

spending on global food aid today 

21,687,593 

amount that would feed the hungry today (in US dollars) 

66,735,912 

spending on weight-loss programs and products in the USA today (in US dollars) 

999,671 

food aid budget spent on domestic processing and shipping (in US dollars) 

Food 

80,079 

tons of food wasted in America today 

16,685 

tons of global food aid provided today 

80 

percentage of harvested corn, grains, and soy beans fed to animals in Europe and North America 

78 

percentage of malnourished children who live in countries with food surpluses 

90 

percentage of hungriest nations on earth that are net exporters of food to rich nations (36/40) 

In Kenya alone there are ten million people who are facing starvation. This is due to the gruesome violence and internal fighting that occurred last year. People have had their lands seized, family members killed. Fearing for their lives, farmers in crucial food-producing areas have fled the country and have not returned. The government’s corruption is legendary and seemingly grows worse. Millions are without food, while the government officials of Kenya are some of the highest paid in the world (New York Times, March, 2009).

In Zimbabwe the effects of wars and ensuing famine have caused many families to flee. The majority of these are young children, many of whom have family members that have been killed or are otherwise no longer able to feed them. This has led to an evacuation of the country with the refuges establishing squatter camps in Musina, South Africa. (Most of these refugees are orphaned or abandoned children.) These unwanted children must stay hidden in order to live and survive in human nests hidden away in the bushes, old crumbled buildings, and places where no one would normally venture. In order to survive they eat out of dumpsters, beg, steal, and resort to prostitution. Countless others just disappear, sold on the black market for sex slaves (The Times, March 16, 2009).

 In North Korea, people are starving by the millions. North Korea is no stranger to famine and has suffered set backs from natural disasters such as floods in 2007. The populous suffers from the results of socialist inefficiency, high military spending, and international isolation from the advances of the outside world. Their government is worsening their financial condition by producing counterfeit United States money. Their country is unable to maintain any of its industries due to the lack of money for fuel, and jobs are becoming increasingly scarce. The lack of food and increased hunger is seeing a dramatic rise. Meanwhile, North Korea’s leader is pouring money into his pet projects of missile development and production of movies, all the while ignoring the needs of his desperate people (Toronto Star, April 7, 2009).

In India, food shortage is such a problem that whole generations of children have permanently stunted growth. This is so common that this generation of hunger stunted children are not even recognized as being unusually short and underweight. “Due to tradition women and children are often the last to eat at a meal, and often go without food (International Herald, March, 2009).” The persistence of widespread hunger is the outcome of policies that produce impoverishment and fail to invest in agriculture, especially in the destitute sections of India where very poor lower caste people live. These people are generally overlooked and not considered worth the effort of saving.

These arevery few examples of where and why people are hungry and starving. Political leaders are more concerned with their military advancements and with obtaining money than they are with the lives of their own people. We, as a people, have become desensitized to such situations and comfort ourselves by saying that it is not our problem. Soothing a guilty conscience however will not change the fact that every few seconds another child’s life is extinguished, vanishing without a trace.

If everyone would help, it would take such a relatively small amount of effort to make a difference in the world. Many of us think that there will be a certain point we will eventually reach in life when we can begin to make a difference, or have some sort of positive impact in the world. We don’t have to wait to begin; we can start today. Do you realize that with just your spare change you could save a child’s life? Stop for a minute and think about that. When some people are captured or kidnaped, our nation has paid millions for one person’s life, and you can save an innocent child for what it costs you to buy one soft drink every day. For those who are unable to help on a monetary level, there is a website where you can click on a link and sponsors donate food for the starving. Hungersite.org is a vast resource for those wanting to help. By clicking on the link, you are able to donate 1.1 cups of food every day without any cost to you! They also engage in fair trade and have charitable partners who will donate a certain amount of every purchase to those in desperate need. This means that just by being aware of what is going on there could be another child living and breathing every day because of you! (Editor’s Note: At freerice.com you can donate rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger by taking interactive quizzes in English, Vocabulary, Art, Chemistry, Geography, Foreign Languages, and Math. Every time you answer a question correctly, grains of rice are donated. Whole families can take part in the fun of donating!)

But it does not stop here. We need to be involved in educating our government officials on local and higher levels, and we need to become involved in a more practical and efficient manner. Instead of handing over food when nations are on the brink of complete famine and starvation, we need to teach them how to maintain a peaceful effective government and properly manage their land and food sources. The more we as people become involved, the faster we can see an end to the thousands that are silently murdered every day.


News of our Society

(The following are some news notes that help us to understand the moral and spiritual shape of today’s society and to know where we are at in the stream of time. Editor)

Cheap Life:

Brad Keselowski won his first NASCAR race April 26, 2009, at the Talladega “super” Speedway. The Talladega Speedwayis 2.66 miles around and engineered in such a way that speeds of over 200 mph are obtainable by the stock cars that race there. During the last lap of a 500 mile race, Brad Keselowski had to make a decision: Should he slow down or move off the track and be disqualified to avoid a collision with fellow driver Carl Edwards, or should he continue full throttle and win the race? These cars are traveling almost 200 mph. There are at least thirty cars just behind Keselowski and Edwards, and some, if not most, are sure to be a part of the carnage that will surely follow if Edwards wrecks. Even with the superior safety equipment, there are no safety guarantees for anyone who wrecks at 200 mph. In fact, at these speeds, the cars often become airborne and produce violent crashes. So what does Keselowski do? He accelerates forward and Edwards, in his car, spins and then becomes airborne. While still in the air, the car slams into the track’s retaining fence, just feet from the spectators. Despite the terribly violent nature of the crash, Edwards is unharmed. Afterwards, in commenting upon the “accident,” Edwards said: “That’s racing.” After the race, Keselowski said that he was sorry for the wreck, but “That’s racing.” Some of the race commentators later said, “That’s racing.”

So what is racing to these people? A cheap value on human life! Here was an incident that could have taken many lives, but the prize of one person winning was greater than the possible cost of life or injury to one or many. What does this say about a society that not only approves of such behavior but also fills a track with over 140,000 people to watch in person while millions watch on television?

Richard Anthony McTear, Jr., a young man of 21, was arrested May 5 just hours after a confrontation at his former girlfriend’s apartment in which he took her infant and began to drive his blue Chevrolet Impala down Interstate 275 in Tampa, Florida. While driving on the freeway, McTear threw the child out of his car.

Before this happened, McTear had been to his former girlfriend’s apartment and, according to the sheriff’s department, hit her several times and threatened “to kill the both of y’all.” McTear then threw a car seat containing the child across the room. McTear then picked up the boy and drove away.

In the first chapter of Romans, Paul speaks of unnatural, vile affections and directly links this to homosexuality. But even though the above does not deal with homosexuality, it is surely not natural affections that causes one to act is such a manner.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center Survey of 742 American adults conducted April 14-21 showed that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists. The group that was most willing to agree to torture was Evangelicals Christians. In fact, the less one went to church, the less likely he or she was willing to condone torture. Over 60% of white evangelicals agreed that “torture is often or sometimes justified.” In other words, the end justify the means.

Vile morals:

A controversial exhibition opened in Berlin, Germany, in April of this year featuring preserved corpses positioned in intimate positions. One government official stated, “As it is not against the law, only against good taste, there is not much the government could do anyway.”

Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a bill on May 6, 2009, making the state the fifth in the country to allow gay marriage. The governor signed the legislation shortly after the Maine legislature passed it. Baldacci noted: “I think Maine people should be proud of the way this has been handled. Under the Constitution, we are all the same. Times have changed.”

Religious News:

President Obama, after much protest, gave the commencement address at Notre Dame University last month. Due to his pro abortion position and pro stem-cell research positions, there was much concern about his appearing. In his speech, the president called for reducing abortions and making adoption easier. In his speech, Obama endorsed a “sensible conscience clause” for doctors opposed to abortion. Obama also noted, “maybe we won’t agree on abortion ... we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make.”

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, formally converted to Catholicism on March 29. Recently, concerning President Obama’s invitation to the commencement at Notre Dame University, Gingrich said: “It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values.”

Two notable converts that attended Gingrich’s confirmation were Jeb Bush and Nicole Kidman. Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, converted to Catholicism in December 2007.

Pope Benedict XVI took a tour of the Middle East last month. While in Jordan, he said: “Muslims and Christians, precisely because of the burden of our common history, so often marked by misunderstanding, must today strive to be known and recognized as worshippers of God, faithful to prayer, eager to uphold and lift by the Almighty decrees.” He also noted that “it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is a real catalyst for tension and division.”

For more than twenty years, Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the Vatican’s top doctrinal czar and the intellectual architect of the papacy of John Paul II. When Ratzinger was elected Pope in April 2005, it was seen by many as a vote to continue with the policies of John Paul II. CNN News reported:

Four years later, there's only one strong substantive difference between the two popes, and it's on display this week as Benedict XVI visits Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories: their approaches to Islam.

With 1.1 billion Roman Catholics and 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, representing about 40 percent of the world's population, it's a difference that matters.

While John Paul II was a bridge-builder, Benedict is determined to walk across those bridges, pushing Islam toward a rejection of extremism and an acceptance of religious freedom — toward an integration of reason and faith.

Beginning with Augustus, the ancient Caesars used the title, “Pontius Maximus” which means “the great bridge builder.” The title Pontius Maximus (sometimes given as just Pont Max or P.M.) was later adopted by the popes and is visible all through the Vatican. John Paul was building the bridges with Islam and now Benedict is intent on crossing them!

The Pope was also in Israel, calling for understanding and unity. Let us take heed of Jesus’ counsel:

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand (Luke 21:28-31).


Tasty Recipes from Sister Isabel in Uruguay

The following are some really nice dishes that I was served by Sister Isabel while visiting in Uruguay and are healthy and delicious!

Vegetable Stew

Stir-fry onion with paprika and grated carrots. Add some tomato paste, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, whole kernel corn, and rice or legumes. Add water and salt to taste and serve warm. You can add a thickener to thicken the stew.

Vermicelli al Pesto

Cook enough vermicelli to serve four people. Chop enough parsley, garlic, nuts, etc., to taste. Add oil and stir this mixture into the vermicelli. For sauce, whiz in blender 4 tablespoons soy flour, 4 tablespoons oats, 4 tablespoons grated coconut, vanilla to taste. Add soy milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour over vermicelli and it is ready to serve.

Lentils and Rice

Stir fry onion and paprika in oil, and add tomato paste, cooked lentils, salt and seasonings to taste. Prepare separately more onions stir-fried in oil and paprika and add whole grain rice with enough water and salt and cook. Once the rice is ready, serve topped with lentil mixture. String beans may be substituted for the lentils.


West Virginia Camp Meeting: Last Call!

We will be hosting our annual camp meeting this year June 16-20 at the Smyrna Sabbath Chapel in West Virginia. As always, we keenly look forward to this special time of study, prayer, and fellowship, and we are very eager to see all of you once again. We are also very desirous to meet new friends and families. Our theme this year will be “The Three Angels’ Messages.” We are planning for this theme to be expanded in areas such as righteousness by faith, prophecy, and health reform, among others. We also are having a seminar on how to use Bible and Spirit of Prophecy computer software.

One of the highlights of the camp meeting will be communion service on Friday morning, so please be sure to be here.

As always, there is no charge for attending or for camping, but this is a camp meeting. There is plenty of room for tents and RVs, but no hook-ups. A recent flood has washed away shoulders in parts of the Smyrna Road, so please be careful to stay on the pavement. Sabbath afternoon lunch will be provided, but everyone is responsible for their remaining meals. There are local motels and stores within ten miles.

Some tentative speakers and teachers this year include Lynnford Beachy, Ed Cyrus, David Sims, Dr. Glenn Waite, Dr. William Van Grit, Dee Dee Herrman, Bob Diener via video presentation, and Allen Stump.

For those with navigation systems, plot N 37.52033°, W 81.60286°. If you have any questions, you may call us at 304-732-9204 or email us at info@smyrna.org.


Youths’ Corner —Building Christian Character

(THIS WAS SISTER WHITE’S LAST MESSAGE FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, GIVEN DURING HER LAST ILLNESS. In the Spalding and Magan Collection on page 453, Willie White gives some background to this testimony: “Wednesday morning, March 3, 1915. About ten o’clock this morning, mother began to talk with her nurse about selecting books for the young that would strengthen their minds. The nurse called me, and I wrote down, as fully as I could, what mother said to me. Here is that portion of what she said that is of general interest.” This message was first published in the Review & Herald in 1915, then reprinted in Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 547-549 in 1923, Messages to Young People, pp. 287-289 in 1930, and the Spalding and Magan Collection, pp. 453-455 in 1985.)

 There are books that are of vital importance that are not looked at by our young people. They are neglected because they are not so interesting to them as some lighter reading.

We should advise the young to take hold of such reading matter as recommends itself for the upbuilding of Christian character. The most essential points of our faith should be stamped upon the memory of the young. They have had a glimpse of these truths, but not such an acquaintance as would lead them to look upon their study with favor. Our youth should read that which will have a healthful, sanctifying effect upon the mind. This they need in order to be able to discern what is true religion. There is much good reading that is not sanctifying.

Now is our time and opportunity to labor for the young people. Tell them that we are now in a perilous crisis, and we want to know how to discern true godliness. Our young people need to be helped, uplifted, and encouraged, but in the right manner; not, perhaps, as they would desire it, but in a way that will help them to have sanctified minds. They need good, sanctifying religion more than anything else.

I do not expect to live long. My work is nearly done. Tell our young people that I want my words to encourage them in that manner of life that will be most attractive to the heavenly intelligences, and that their influence upon others may be most ennobling.

In the night season I was selecting and laying aside books that are of no advantage to the young. We should select for them books that will encourage them to sincerity of life, and lead them to the opening of the Word. This has been presented to me in the past, and I thought I would get it before you and make it secure. We cannot afford to give to young people valueless reading. Books that are a blessing to mind and soul are needed. These things are too lightly regarded; therefore our people should become acquainted with what I am saying.

I do not think I shall have more Testimonies for our people. Our men of solid minds know what is good for the uplifting and upbuilding of the work. But with the love of God in their hearts, they need to go deeper and deeper into the study of the things of God. I am very anxious that our young people shall have the proper class of reading; then the old people will get it also. We must keep our eyes on the religious attraction of the truth. We are to keep mind and brain open to the truths of God's Word. Satan comes when men are unaware. We are not to be satisfied because the message of warning has been once presented. We must present it again and again.

We could begin a course of reading so intensely interesting that it would attract and influence many minds. If I am spared for further labor, I should gladly help to prepare books for the young.

There is a work to be done for the young by which their minds will be impressed and molded by the sanctifying truth of God. It is my sincere wish for our young people that they find the true meaning of justification by faith, and the perfection of character that will prepare them for eternal life. I do not expect to live long, and I leave this message for the young, that the aim which they make shall not miscarry.

I exhort my brethren to encourage the young ever to keep the preciousness and grace of God highly exalted. Work and pray constantly for a sense of the preciousness of true religion. Bring in the blessedness and the attractiveness of holiness and the grace of God. I have felt a burden regarding this because I know it is neglected.

I have no assurance that my life will last long, but I feel that I am accepted of the Lord. He knows how much I have suffered as I have witnessed the low standards of living adopted by so-called Christians. I have felt that it was imperative that the truth should be seen in my life, and that my testimony should go to the people. I want that you should do all you can to have my writings placed in the hands of the people in foreign lands.ell the young that they have had many spiritual advantages. God wants them to make earnest efforts to get the truth before the people. I am impressed that it is my special duty to say these things. (The Review and Herald, April 15, 1915.)


The Children of the Kingdom

By Jessica Lahud

There are many different things in which man may take delight. Sadly, it is the deceiving delights in the flesh and its lusts, the world and its ways, and sin and iniquity that comprise the delights of most. The people of God, however, are not part of this group. They take no delight in such things, for God himself is their delight (Psalm 37:4). He is the one who satisfies the longing soul and fills the soul that is hungry with goodness (Psalm 107:9). In him have they found the fullness of joy and pleasures that are forevermore (Psalm 16:1 1). The ways of God, also, are the delight of his people. His ways lead man to that which is everlasting (Isaiah 58:2; Psalm 139:24), and their delight is in the law of their God, which law is righteousness and truth (Psalm 1:2; 119:172; 119:151).

The people of God do not seek, nor have a desire for, those things that are not of the character and righteousness of God. This is because they have become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17); they have been born of the Spirit (John 3:6). Thus, their mind and affections are no longer led and influenced by the flesh but by the Spirit of God who dwells in them (Romans 8:9). Because they are not led by the flesh but by the Spirit, they are ever being changed into righteous men and women, ever being transformed into the pure, holy and righteous image of Jesus their Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). He who is led by the Spirit of God is the son of God (Romans 8:14). Oh, let us, therefore, praise the Father and rejoice in him for the manner of love he has bestowed (1 John 3:1), for the Father spared not his only begotten Son that we—who were once the enemies of God (Romans 5:10)—may be his sons and daughters!

The lives of such individuals are used for very different purposes than the purposes for which they had previously been used, and, likewise, used very differently from those who have only been born of the flesh. No more do they live for themselves; they now live for him who died for them and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). No more do they live to serve sin (Romans 6:6, 17) but to serve the Son of God, who loved them and gave himself for them (Galatians 2:20). It is the will of God and work of their Lord that these individuals seek to accomplish and fulfill with their lives (1 Peter 4:1, 2; Revelation 2:26); when, before, it was the desires of the flesh that they fulfilled (Ephesians 2:3). These are the people of whom the world is not worthy (Hebrews 11:38).

It is to these men and women, who have been faithful to God and his Son, that the Savior says, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34).” The beautiful new heavens and earth wherein dwells righteousness (2 Peter 3:13); and where the former things of death, sorrow, crying, and pain have passed away (Revelation 21:4) will be a wonderful reward, but the most glorious reward of all is being privileged to bring honor and glory to God and to exalt his character and to have open fellowship with the Father and the Son. These are the rewards of all those who will keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12). These are the rewards of those who hated their lives in this world (John 12:25) and loved not their lives to the death (Revelation 12:11). These are the children of the kingdom (Matthew 13:38).


Thou Who Wast Rich

This poem was written by Frank Houghton (1894-1972) while serving as editorial secretary for the China Inland Mission. He made a trip to China in 1934 to see first-hand the progress of the work at a particularly difficult time in the history of the missions to China. Missionaries had been captured by the communist Red Army and released in poor health after over a year of suffering. Others had been captured never to be heard from again. In 1934, the young missionaries John and Betty Stam were captured in Anhwei and beheaded. The news of these sorrows had reached the mission’s headquarters in Shanghai. Though this was a very dangerous time for both the Chinese and the foreign missionaries, Frank Houghton decided he needed to begin a tour through the country to visit various missionary outposts. While traveling over the mountains of Szechwan, the powerful and comforting words of 2 Corinthians 8:9, “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,” were transformed into this beautiful poem. Come to camp meeting and hear the Smyrna Chapel Choir sing these words to a beautiful tune.

Thou who was rich beyond all splendor,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who was rich beyond all splendor,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou Son of God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenward by Thine eternal plan.
Thou Son of God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Savior and King, we worship Thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling
Make us what Thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling
Savior and King, we worship Thee.


Knowing Our Vitamin ABCs – Vitamin B

By Onycha Holt

VeggiesLast month we looked at the importance to our health of vitamin D and ultraviolet light, and this month we would like to examine the significance of the complex of B vitamins has to our health and the necessity of maintaining a healthful diet in order to obtain these vitamins. There are many things our diets must provide—enough calories to meet our daily energy needs, “essential” amino and fatty acids that we cannot synthesize on our own, minerals in large and trace amounts such as calcium and zinc, and vitamins.

Vitamins are called vitamins because they are vital to our existence. They are nutrient compounds that we need in tiny amounts, and since our bodies cannot synthesize them in sufficient quantities, we must obtain them from our diets. There are thirteen compounds that most people agree are vitamins, and eight of these compounds are the B vitamins.

Did you know that at one time science thought there was only one B vitamin? Over time, however, researchers have discovered there are actually eight B vitamins, all chemically distinct from one another. In addition, there are many related nutrients that were once called B vitamins but, as knowledge increased, have been declassified as such. Orotic acid is one example. Orotic acid was first called vitamin B13, but it is now known not to be a vitamin at all. Remember, vitamins are compounds that we cannot synthesize for ourselves in quantities sufficient to sustain life. We must get these substances from another source, and that is why our diet is so important. B vitamins are water soluble, which means most, if not all, of the excess is excreted in the urine and not stored over for the next day. We need to replenish our supply daily. These B vitamins are thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), and three others—B5, B7, and B9.

In general, B vitamins are vital to us because they support and increase the rate of metabolism. They break down carbohydrates into glucose and thus provide energy for the body. They also maintain healthy skin and muscle tone, especially muscle tone in the stomach and intestinal tract. They enhance immune and nervous system function; promote cell growth and division, including that of red blood cells that help prevent anemia; and they reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer if they are consumed in food and not ingested in tablet form.

More specifically, thiamin (B1) is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates into simple glucose. It is also important for the proper functioning of the nervous system, for it is used in the production of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger needed between nerve fibers. Thiamine deficiency often occurs in alcoholics, for alcohol interferes with the absorption of thiamine through the intestines. There are several disorders associated with thiamine deficiency and some symptoms include anemia, muscle weakness, lack of coordination, and short term memory problems, but usually these symptoms can be reversed with adequate thiamine intake and/or improved absorption. The consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, drains the body’s B1 supply.

Riboflavin (B2) is necessary for healthy growth and tissue repair and for healthy red blood cell production. Riboflavin also works with other B vitamins to release energy from carbohydrates. In addition, it is important in the maintenance of skin and mucous membranes, for the cornea of the eye, and for nerve sheaths. It is destroyed by exposure to light; therefore, foods containing B2 should be kept in dark containers.

Niacin (B3) is needed for the metabolism of food and for the maintenance of healthy skin, nerves, and gastrointestinal tract. A deficiency of niacin causes the disease pellagra, but with therapeutic doses of niacin the effects of this disease can be reversed.

Pyridoxine (B6) is needed for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is also needed in the production of red blood cells and in the manufacture of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Due to its abundance in foods, a deficiency is rare except in alcoholics.

Cobalamin (B12) is necessary for the processing of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and to help make all the blood cells in our bodies. It is also required for the maintenance of nerve sheaths and is involved in the synthesis and repair of DNA. Because this vitamin is important to red blood cell formation, a deficiency leads to an oxygen-transport problem known as pernicious anemia.

B5, B7, and B9 are needful to the body in the breakdown of some food substances. B9 also works with B12 in the synthesis of DNA and is important in the developing nervous system of an embryo. B5 is needed for hormone formation, for the uptake of amino acids, and for the brain chemical acetylcholine.

Aside from B12, which we will discuss next, what foods can we eat that will provide adequate amounts of B vitamins? Although ready-to-eat cereals are often fortified with B vitamins, there is no one natural food that provides all the B vitamins. B vitamins, however, are plentiful in the plant kingdom and sometimes more than one B vitamin can be found in the same food. Here is a sampling of plant food sources for some of the B vitamins. Further information can be obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture at http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=17477

Thiamin (B1): Ready-to-eat and enriched cereals; cooked green soybeans; boiled green peas; cooked cowpeas, navy beans, lentils, and rice; pineapple; iceberg lettuce

Riboflavin (B2): Ready-to-eat and enriched cereals, cooked soybeans, cooked beet greens, cooked spinach, almonds, cooked green soybeans, cooked cowpeas

Niacin (B3): Ready-to-eat and enriched cereals, spaghetti/marinara sauce, tomato paste, cooked rice, peanuts, cooked barley, baked potato with skin, canned corn

Pantothenic acid (B5): Ready-to-eat and enriched cereals, sunflower seeds, tropical trail mix, boiled podded peas, sweet potato, cooked lentils, cooked split peas, canned tomato puree, cooked broccoli, cooked parsnips

Pyridoxine (B6): Ready-to-eat and enriched cereals, baked potato with skin, tomato paste, prune juice and stewed prunes, bananas, canned carrot juice, sweet potato, tropical trail mix, brussels sprouts, cooked spinach

Cobalamin (B12) contains cobalt and this is why it is known as cobalamin. It is exclusively synthesized by bacteria and is found primarily in meat, eggs, and dairy products. There has been considerable research into proposed plant sources of vitamin B12. Fermented soya products, seaweeds, and algae such as spirulina have all been suggested as containing significant B12; however, many sources agree that any B12 present in plant foods is likely to be unavailable to humans and therefore should not be relied upon as safe sources. Bacteria present in the large intestine are able to synthesize B12, and in the past it has been thought that the B12 produced by these colonic bacteria could be absorbed and utilized by humans. The bacteria, however, produce B12 too far down the intestine for absorption to occur because B12 is not absorbed through the lining of the colon. (See the following fact sheet by Dr. Agatha Thrash for information concerning B12 production in the small intestine.) Many vegan foods are supplemented with B12 because B12 is necessary for the synthesis of red blood cells, the maintenance of the nervous system, and in the growth and development of children. Since a deficiency of this vitamin can cause anemia and irreversible neurological damage, it is very important to have a reliable source of vitamin B12 available to our bodies. The following fact sheet from Dr. Agatha Thrash may be of benefit to you. (It is used with permission.)

Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.

The small intestine of healthy humans can contain bacteria that are capable of producing vitamin B12. There are at least two groups of germs normally in the small bowel, Pseudomonas and Klebsiella. These may synthesize significant amounts of the vitamin, high enough in the intestinal tract to be absorbed in the terminal ileum (Nature 283:781; February 21, 1980). Both these germs can overgrow and cause an unhealthy small bowel. Around 3,000 men and women aged 26-83 investigated as a part of the Framingham offspring study showed a surprising 39 percent of the participants to have blood levels of B12 below 350, the level at which neurological signs of vitamin B12 deficiency or high homocysteine levels sometimes occur. Younger people were just as likely to have low levels as older people. Those who got their B12 from supplements or fortified breakfast cereals or dairy products were less likely to be deficient than those who got their B12 from dairy products, meat, poultry, or fish. It was suggested by the researchers that the proteins in meat may make B12 less available. The RDA for B12 is from 6-25 micrograms, depending on the age, the higher levels being in older people (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 71:51, 2000).

Factors that Affect B12 Needs

1. Meat, other animal products, and refined carbohydrates (sugars) when used generously may more than double the amount of B12 you must have from all your sources to stay healthy.

2. Persons who use drugs, chemicals, or beverages that destroy B12 (tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, etc.), will require more B12 to stay healthy.

3. Megadoses of vitamin C may produce B12 deficiency by destroying the cobalamins during the time both B12 and vitamin C are in the intestinal tract together. More than 500 milligrams of vitamin C can destroy 50-95 percent of B12 in the intestinal tract. If both vitamin C and B12 must be taken for some condition, B12 should be taken at the beginning or before the meal, and vitamin C should be taken after meals.

4. Oral contraceptives increase the need for vitamin B12.

5. Cooked eggs decrease B12 absorption.

6. Intestinal parasites, especially tape worms, and explosively growing bacteria in the intestinal tract such as from infected or inflamed intestines, can effectively compete with the host for B12 and make the requirements higher. Helicobacter pylori infection can cause malabsorption of vitamin B12.

7. Almost 90 percent of older people with serum B12 levels less than 150 show evidence of tissue vitamin B12 deficiency. Older people are more subject to disability from low B12 than younger individuals (Journal of the American Geriatric Society 44:1355;1996). We can see wisdom for persons over age 60 with low B12 levels taking a supplement. About 100 micrograms daily chewed for two minutes before swallowing (to get the “salivary factor”) will probably be enough to supply the system with all its needs.

———————

May God bless you as you endeavor to be in good health and eat from God’s bountiful table.


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.
Assistant  Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!