Old Paths Masthead

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. 24, No. 2 Straight and Narrow February 2015


DSC_9665

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy
great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. (Jeremiah 32:17)

Photo courtesy of NASA

 

In this issue:

Could You Become an Atheist

God’s Plans Are Perfect

Signal Lights for the Homeward Bound

Mission Appeal

Youth's Corner

Tasty Recipe

Some Thoughts on Health

Report from Kenya

Publisher Information


Could You Become an Atheist?

Could you become an atheist? You might be saying, I never could become an atheist. Maybe you have been a Christian or have been in church all your life and think you could never become an atheist. I read about an Orthodox priest who lived during World War II. Perhaps he never thought he would ever be an atheist, but after seeing thousands of people murdered by the Nazis with seemingly no help being sent from God, he lost his faith. Just as the Schutzstaffel (SS) executioner raised his pistol to shoot the priest, the priest raised his fist in defiance and shouted blasphemies at the God in whom he no longer believed.

Maybe you have heard of a man named Ryan Bell. Ryan Bell is a former Seventh-day Adventist minister who is now an atheist. He was ordained and had nineteen years of experience as a minister. He served eight years as a senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hollywood, California, but in the spring of 2013, he was released from being the pastor by the Southern California Conference because of his belief and promotion of marriage equality. In other words, he believed that the sacred institution of marriage should be extended to homosexuals. He was released from his position of pastor for this and for other reasons, as well, but some sources also state that he had publicly expressed doubt even in his belief in the reality of God. Bell has stated:

I was asked to resign, and I agreed to resign because I was no longer Adventist enough to be employed as a pastor. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/2014/07/02/where-i-stand-a-six-month-report/).

By his own admission he realized that he was not an Adventist anymore.

At the beginning of the next year, 2014, Bell began a unique journey. Every year people make New Year’s resolutions, such as I am not going to eat candy anymore, I’m not going to drink tea, or I am going to exercise more. Bell had a New Year’s resolution that he was going to give up God. He decided to live a year without God, to see what would happen. As hard as it is to believe, this is exactly what he did. He decided to live as if God did not exist and to see if he could find a reason to believe in God. After making this announcement, he was asked to resign from the two schools at which he taught—Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary. The year was up recently and after a year without God, Bell now states that he is, in fact, an atheist.

In an interview with National Public Radio, he stated:

I think at this point, you know, I’ve looked at the majority of the arguments that I’ve been able to find for the existence of God. And on the question of God’s existence or not, I have to say I don’t find there to be a convincing case, in my view. I don’t think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience.”

You know, I think there are much more important issues to be focused on - . . . my focus is I want to have a closer relationship to reality. I think before I wanted a closer relationship to God, and today, I just want a closer relationship with reality. (http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=373298310)

I am going to ask you a question: How do you have a relationship with a non-person? But this is what Bell now wants. Bell says he is still dedicated to helping people, but he now finds it simpler to do without God.

Now let us move from what Bell calls reality to supposition. Suppose your mother or some other person very close to you and whom you really love decided to live a year without you. They would live as if you never existed. How would you feel? Rejected? Unloved? Unappreciated? You would question why anyone would want to do this.

Can you imagine, beloved, that you would ever want to break off communication or a relationship for a year with someone you really loved? If you really love that person, I do not believe that you would ever, or could ever, do this. Think of the mental and emotional anguish that men and women face who have spouses in the armed forces who are deployed sometimes for over a year. All they think about is that husband in Iraq or that wife in Sioux City, Iowa. No, I do not think that they would ever voluntarily decide to live without each other for a year without any communication. We will call our army specialist Charles Brown. Specialist Brown may be deployed in Iraq, but he can at least write letters home. He can send emails. He may be able to Skype and see and talk to his family on occasions. But to live without them and with no communication, that is not reasonable, if he loves his family.

Ryan Bell

Ryan Bell: Courtesy of Ryan Bell

In the past the most anticipated time of any solider was mail call. In days there when there were no text messages, emails, Skype, or Internet phones,people lived for mail call and for a letter from home. To hear from those they loved, that was what they wanted, and it was not what they tried to avoid!

Only God knows Ryan Bell’s heart, but if I were to put myself in his place, the only way I could do what he did would be if I first questioned the existence of God before I started the experiment, and, in fact, the evidence is that is what he did. Ryan Bell stated in one of his blogs, as he was half way through this so-called journey:

When I started the journey I think I was 3—Weak Theist (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/2014/07/02/where-i-stand-a-six-month-report/).

That is a 3 on what is called the Dawkins Scale, constructed by well-known atheist Richard Dawkins. The Dawkins Scale speaks about the theist versus the atheist. The strong theist says, I do not question the existence of God. I know he exists, but the strong atheist says, I am 100% percent sure there is no God. Number 3, the weak theist says, I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.

So when Bell began this journey, he was not even certain that there was a God in heaven. In fact, he wrote on the sixth month into his journey that he was 5, a weak atheist. It only took him six months to become an atheist, even though a weak one at that point.

The truth of this matter, however, is that true believers have a personal relationship with God, one that is loving, tender, intimate, and fulfilling. They could never decide to walk away from the one they love and who loves them, and certainly they could never deny God’s existence.

So I ask you today, could you become an atheist? I would like to propose that if you have a truly vibrant and living relationship with God, you could not. You might lose that relationship and decide that you do not want God anymore. You might backslide, but if you are honest at heart, you will not deny, as an atheist does, that God exists because you know by your own personal relationship and experience that he is real. Whether you choose to follow him or not, you will admit that he exists, that he has worked in your life, and that he has had your welfare in his hands, but you have simply decided that you did not want to give your life to him anymore.

On the other hand, if you have never had a personal relationship with God and if you have never known by experience that he is real and exists, then you, indeed, do not have a safeguard from becoming an atheist. Maybe God has simply been an intellectual part of your life and you have thought, I studied the prophecies, and the prophets said that there would be this succession of nations and it has come to pass, so God must be real. I will, therefore, serve him and since he says that if I confess my sins, he will forgive me, I do not have to worry about going to hell but will go to heaven since I have confessed my sins. Have you thought this way? If so, you are using God as an insurance safeguard. Perhaps you are battling between being a theist or an atheist and think, If I become an atheist, what good does it do me? If I am a theist and believe in God, even if the atheists are right, I do not lose out on anything by serving God, but if the theists are right, and I become an atheist, I lose all. So just to make sure, I will confess my sins and be a Christian. And it seems, intellectually, the right thing to do, if you read the Bible. Is this your position? If it is, then you could become an atheist.

Ellen White insightfully wrote:

Like our Saviour, we are in this world to do service for God. We are here to become like God in character, and by a life of service to reveal Him to the world. In order to be co-workers with God, in order to become like Him and to reveal His character, we must know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself.

A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character.

This is the knowledge needed by all who are working for the uplifting of their fellow men. Transformation of character, purity of life, efficiency in service, adherence to correct principles, all depend upon a right knowledge of God. This knowledge is the essential preparation both for this life and for the life to come.” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 409)

When the testimony of Jesus speaks about a knowledge of God, do you think it is speaking about getting the encyclopedic facts? If you research the biographic data of someone in an encyclopedia, you will get the name, place and date of birth, family relatives, cause and date of death and many of the facts in between. Is Jesus speaking in the spirit of prophecy only about the biographical information of God?

We can know a lot about various people. We can know about people we have never met. I dare say any reader of this article will know something about President Barack Obama. We know certain statistics about him, but do any of us personally know Barack Obama? I dare say not one of us knows him. We have never been introduced to him personally. We have never had interaction with him. There is a lot of difference between knowing someone and knowing about that person.

In John 17:3, Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

One translation of the Bible from a church that places almost no emphasis upon having a personal relationship with God takes great pains to twist the Greek of this text to say that salvation is knowing about God. The translation of John 17:3 by the Jehovah’s Witnesses says: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”

The Greek does not say that it is life eternal to take in knowledge about God. That is a corruption of the text. The Greek text says that it is life eternal to know the only true God. It is interesting that the Greek word translated know is ginosko, and it means:

 to learn to know a person through direct personal experience, implying a continuity of relationship. (Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on Semantic Domains, Reference 27:18)

It is also interesting that ginosko was chosen by John, when there are twenty-five other Greek words for know that he could have used. In other words, if you look at all the vocabulary in the Greek, there are twenty-six words that John chose from to express what Jesus was saying, and he chose ginosko.

 The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Abridged, page 119, says that “ginosko . . . is a perception of things as they are, not an opinion about them.” Jesus is speaking about knowing God—that is life eternal.

Jesus said in John 17:25, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.” When he said “I have known thee,” he used the same Greek expression ginosko—I have known you; I have had this personal experience with you— and this is what God wants us to have. Jeremiah 9:23, 24 proclaims:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

God says that we should glory in that we understand and know him. It is interesting that the Hebrew word translated understand means to have cognitive understanding (Bible Sense Lexicon, Logos Software). The Hebrew word translated knoweth means “to be or become familiar with something through experience” (Ibid.). Jeremiah is telling us that we are to glory in being knowledgeable about God through experience.

 To know God is not merely to know things about him or even to know things such as what his character is like, but it is to experience his presence and power.

God’s Revelation to Humanity

We are to know that Christ is our personal Saviour because we have found him our personal refuge. To know God is to be transformed by him, and, I would like to suggest, this human knowledge of God is a result of God’s revelation of himself. We could not know about God if God did not give us a revelation. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). How do we know that? Do we see it in the rocks? Well, some people think that we do, but this kind of science could be controverted by some people. Maybe it is accurate; maybe it is not, but one thing that cannot be controverted is the word of God. That word states:

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)

God himself claims to be the source of everything, and we would never know of God without his revelation of himself.

Yuri Gagarin was the first person to fly into space in a rocket. This Soviet cosmonaut bragged about being in space and failing to see God: “I looked and looked but I didn’t see God.” Other Soviet cosmonauts gave similar testimonies.

In the nearly twenty-five years that the Hubble space telescope has been photographing space, it has never recorded a single picture of God or of an angel, but is this lack of evidence proof? No, not at all. In fact, we would not expect God to be seen by these unbelievers because to all but those whose eyes are opened, the Father is “the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

Remember the story of Balaam when he was riding his ass, and an angel stopped him? God allowed that animal to see the angel, but Balaam could not see until his eyes were opened. (Numbers 22:21–31). Except by revelation, we will never see God or angels, but God has given us knowledge of his reality. He has told us through his word, and he has even told us through creation, whether the cosmonauts saw it or not.

Romans 1:20 declares: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” God says that whether they see me up there or not, they are without excuse because the very heavens declare me. There is a grandeur and there is a beauty to the heavens.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun. (Psalm 19:1–4)

Heilx Nebula

Helix Nebula:
Courtesy of NASA

One of my favorite images from the Hubble telescope is the Helix Nebula. This nebula is about seven hundred light years from earth. Due to its unique appearance, it is often called The Eye of God.

 God gives knowledge of his mercy and of his will through the Scriptures. Both through his law and through his gospel, he helps us understand this. Writing to the Romans, Paul says:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:16, 17)

This Scripture tells us about God. It speaks about his law and his grace. Paul says, “for therein is the righteousness of God revealed.” Where is the righteousness revealed? If you go back to verse 16, you will read it is in the gospel. What is God’s righteousness? In Psalm 119:172, we are told: “All thy commandments are righteousness.” All his commandments are righteousness and his law is the truth. (See Psalm 119:142.) The law and the gospel are revelations of God and his character, and they are interlaced and inseparable from each other.

God’s love for his people and his desire to have them in harmony with himself is expressed in the New Covenant. Paul, quoting from Jeremiah 31, wrote:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:10, 11)

God makes a promise of putting his law in our hearts, and he can do this because he has given us a new heart. Remember what David prayed in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart.” He wanted a new heart, for he realized that his old heart was a heart of stone, and he needed a heart of flesh. In Ezekiel 36:26, 27, God promises us a new heart:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26, 27)

In this new heart he will write his law for us. This is part of his revelation to us, and we would never have any knowledge of this without him. God writes his law, his character, in our hearts, and that is as intimate as it gets. God wants to have an intimate, close relationship with us.

God also gives knowledge of himself through Jesus Christ. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus says: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” And so we understand this being who created all things, who is the author and source of all things and by whom all things exist, through his Son, Jesus Christ.

 Second Corinthians 4:6 declares, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” This light, the glory of God that is in the face of Christ, has been shined into our hearts by his Father. He wants us to have that kind of experience.

God wants us to know he is for us. In Psalm 56:9–11, David wrote: “When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” David could put his trust in God because he knew that God existed, he knew that God was real, and he knew that God was on his side.

During World War II, the United States went through a great transformation. It went from being one of the smaller industrial nations in output, to being the largest industrial nation in the world. It went from having a standing army, smaller than the standing army of Romania, to having one of the most powerful armies in the world.

There were virtually no protests against the war, as happened during the Vietnam War. The United States knew it had a righteous cause. We were fighting for something more than just our own preservation. We were fighting for the preservation of the world and society. The people understood that what was happening in Europe by the Axis powers was intrinsically evil. We believed, as Americans, that even if we did not have an army any bigger than Romania’s army, God was going to give us the victory because what we were standing for was right. I realize that we might not be able to say that today, unfortunately, but at that time we were standing for things that were right and true, and we believed that God was with us. That made a difference, and if we believe that God is with us, it will make a difference. The Psalmist said, God is with me.

If our eyes are open, we know that the Lord is God of all. Consider, for example, Egypt just before the Exodus. The plagues have begun to fall, including the hail, and Moses has been called to ask Jehovah to stop the hail. Moses declared to Pharaoh, “As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’S” (Exodus 9:29). Though the hail was killing people, destroying animals, and ruining the crops of Egypt, Moses, without a thought of fear, walked out in the midst of it “and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth” (Exodus 9:33). God wanted Pharaoh to know that he existed and that he was the ruler of all things. Sadly, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

The Nature of Knowing God

Jonah believed in God and knew his character. Jonah was the reluctant prophet because he wanted to be taken seriously. After his great fish adventure, Jonah went to Nineveh and announced that in forty days the city was going to be destroyed. And then it did not happen. Jonah did not like that because it made him look like a false prophet. In Jonah 4:2, we read: “And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.”

Jonah knew enough about God’s character that he attempted to avoid his calling to Ninevah. He figured, If I go tell this people that God is going to send fire, they will repent and he will not do it, and I will appear like a false prophet. I am not going to do it because I know how God works.

Do we know God today? Do we understand his character? Over and over in the Bible, the writers of Scripture speak of personally knowing God and his ways.

The Psalmist said, “For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods” (Psalm 135:5). As your read through the Scriptures, you find these kind of statements over and over. In 1 John 4:8, 16, 19, John could positively write:

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. . . . We love him, because he first loved us.

Maybe in your life you read certain things in the Bible and sometimes you have to think deeply on what something means, and sometimes, especially when you read the Apostle Paul, you find there are things that can be hard to understand. Sometimes our culture creates a little bit of a block. For instance, the Apostle Paul tells the aged sisters to teach the younger sisters how to love their husbands (Titus 2:4). And the young girls today read that verse and might think, What does it mean “to love their husbands”? Of course I love my husband. I would not have married him if I did not love him. We have to understand that in Paul’s day most of the marriages were arranged marriages, and a woman might not even know her future husband before she became married to him. She would have to learn to love him. God, in his wisdom, instituted this program and though it seems strange to us today, it worked well. But continuing on the point, an unbeliever might think, How do I learn to love God?

When someone does something dramatically great for you, dynamic and personal, it plants a seed of love in your heart to be able to love and appreciate that person for what he or she has done. And the more you see the love of someone toward you, the more you love that person. That is the way you were made, and God designed us to see and understand his love, so that we will love him in return.

In the time of arranged marriages, when the husband would righteously love his wife and show his concern, care, and kindness, she would understand that this is what love is, and she would learn to love him back.

It will work with us, too, as we see the love of God, but it cannot work if we are not experiencing firsthand the love of God. We will not find this love at the ball games. We cannot do so at the night clubs. We cannot find it at the dances. These places are not where we find the love of God because this is not where God is found. He is found in his word. Love for God happens when you are with God. It happens through a view of his creation. It happens through prayer. It happens through observing the providential leading and guidance of God in our lives.

God is an individual who wants to reveal himself and his ways to humanity. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). God has repeatedly done this through the course of history. God planned to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. “And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do” (Genesis 18:17)? And he revealed his plans to Abraham his prophet.

God revealed himself to Egypt and to Pharaoh. He gave him two dreams—the dream about the ears of corn and the dream about the kine. And then he sent a man, whose name was Joseph, to interpret those dreams so that Egypt could be prepared for the coming famine. (See Genesis 41:25–36.)

Even when there arose a new Pharaoh who knew not Joseph, God still tried to warn those people about what would happen in the plagues so that they might know what was coming (Exodus 6:6–7; 7:5, 17; 18:11), and even when it did happen, Moses said, We are going to stop this so you will know that the earth is the Lord’s.

Now we come to the end times, and God has decided to warn the last generation. In Revelation 1:1, 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.” God wants us to be aware of what is to come. He wants us to be aware of him, of his ways of working, and of who he is.

Beloved, God has sent us his Son so that we can know him and understand him and so that we can see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). As we come to know Jesus, we can come to know the true God of the Universe. Jesus said: “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19).

 As we know Christ, we know the Father. Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

 As we know Christ we know God, and he has taught us about the Father.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (John 15:15)

All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:15)

Jesus said he had declared the name of God to the disciples:

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:26)

Do you know how many times Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record Jesus’ use of the divine name (Jehovah or Yahweh or whatever pronunciation you favor)? Zero. In fact, in all of the New Testament, the divine name is never used, not once, but Jesus said: “I have declared unto them thy name.” What he meant is that he has declared God’s character to us, what he is like, and Jesus did that repeatedly.

To Know God Is To Experience His Salvation

Jesus said, “And this is life eternal [that is, salvation], that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

In the book The Desire of Ages, on page 347, we are told:

It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 347).

With whom do you confide? Do you confide with just anyone and everyone? You confide with the people that you know, that you love, and that you trust. How do you have a confiding trust if you do not confide in anyone? You do not do that unless you are having a personal relationship with that person. Friends, we cannot find that kind of relationship with God by simply knowing him intellectually. We have to know him personally.

First John 5:20 states, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” John does not say we think or we hope, but “we know.” He says that we may know.

In the book Christ’s Object Lessons, we are told:

Moral perfection is required of all. Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong-doing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin. All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole, and every one who receives Christ as a personal Saviour is privileged to possess these attributes” (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 330).

How do we get these attributes if we do not have Christ as our personal Saviour? We cannot, and we will not! When we have Christ as our personal Saviour, however, then we can have all of these beautiful, holy attributes of God. We might say they just rub off on us. This kind of learning is exhibited sometimes in couples who spend years together—they pick up traits from each other.

To have this kind of relationship, we have to spend time in the study of God’s word. We are not going to find it somewhere else. To have this kind of relationship, we have to spend time not only in the study God’s word, but also in prayer. We are not going to find it at worldly events. We are not going to find it reading novels. We are certainly not going to find it in the evolutionary science books. To have this kind of relationship with God, we must spend time with God’s word in study and prayer. It is not going to happen any other way.

How can you have a personal relationship with God? First of all, you need to acknowledge that you are a sinner and that your sins have separated you from God.

Secondly, you must believe that Jesus Christ came to be your substitute. “God so loved the world . . .” (John 3:16). Yes, he loved the world, but friends that is not how the verse ends. “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.” The gift is for the world, but the call is to the individual. You need to believe that Jesus died for you, that the LORD put on him the iniquity of us all. (See Isaiah 53:6.) He has laid on him my iniquity, as well as your iniquity.

Thirdly, you must continue on, even if you fall down. In 1 John 2:1, we have the promise: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Acknowledge that when you come to Jesus you have not yet fully arrived. You have the source, but you have not tapped fully into the source yet. God wants you to walk fully in him, but if you stumble along the pathway, you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

You need to accept the love that God has for you as a father. Preachers can introduce you to Jesus. They can talk to you about Jesus, but you and Jesus have to become friends. Nobody can introduce someone to you and then become a friend by proxy for that person. It just does not work.

Remember Ryan Bell? In his sixth-month blog report on his journey, he also wrote this:

As Hebrews 11 says, “Faith is the evidence of things unseen.” In the biblical book of Joshua, God tells Joshua that he will part the Jordan river so they can cross, but it is only as they step into the water that it opens (Joshua 3). To change the metaphor, imagine a bridge that is only visible to those who take the first step off the cliff. This is what we usually mean by a “leap of faith.” The problem is that most skeptics, myself included, have already leaped and discovered that the bridge isn’t there. Or it isn’t there for us. Or at least not anymore” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/2014/07/02/where-i-stand-a-six-month-report/).

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Maybe Ryan Bell jumped where God did not tell him to leap, but I have made that leap of faith, and I found a solid bridge that has held me up. A bridge joins two sides together. Jesus joins us to the Father. He is our mediator, whose strong grasp will never let go. He is there for me, and he is there for you. It is eternally true that those who “cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

There are some very intelligent and articulate men who teach creation science. People like Ariel Roth, Ken Ham, and others have done a good service for the cause of believers; however, I do not base my relationship with Christ upon what they, or any of the creation scientists, teach. I think they have interesting and good ideas, as well as studies, but I do not base my Christianity upon them and their teachings. This is because when you just look at the science alone, both evolutionists and creationists can make compelling arguments. I know creationists have the correct picture, but I can see that if you just look at the scientific standpoint, there is a lot of evidence on the other side. I do not base my faith in Christ on science. I do not base my faith on the testimony of others (and I have heard some really good testimonies). No, I must base my faith with Christ on my personal relationship with him.

I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

(Alfred Henry Ackley)

Friends, until you taste and see that the Lord is good, you will never know him. If you have never had a personal relationship with him, or if you have lived a life in which you thought you had a relationship with Christ but now realize it was just an intellectual relationship, I encourage you today to turn your life over to Jesus Christ. Find out what it is like to really walk with Jesus and to talk to him. And find out what it is like to know God through Christ. You can do this as you surrender to his will and as you confess your sins and ask him to come enter your heart.

A word of caution, though. Some people expect to have a warm, euphoric feeling when they confess their sins and come to Jesus. This is usually not the case. God does not want us to base our faith or our experience upon feelings, but rather upon his word.

In the Mormon Church there is a teaching called the burning of the bosom (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8, 9). Mormons will share their doctrine with possible converts and then ask them to pray and ask God if the teachings are true. If they are, the learner is supposed to have a warm sensation over their chest and in their bosom. This, they claim, will be the evidence that the teaching is true; however, friends, God does not work that way because Satan can give us a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Part of the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, and peace, but do not depend upon feelings to be a test. Truth is the test and our obedience to that truth. God has promised us that if we will surrender our wills to walk in his ways, he will walk with us personally. This will bring joy and happiness to our hearts. It will bring warmth in our hearts, but it will come in the right way. It comes in harmony with the word of God.

Today the door of invitation is open. You do not need a minister to accept Christ as your personal Saviour. You simply need Christ. A minister can be your friend. He can introduce you to his friend, Jesus Christ, but then you have to become Christ’s friend, and you have to do it in a personal way. He offers this to each one of us. “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). Whosoever means you. You can give your heart to Jesus Christ today. Allen Stump


God’s Plans Are Perfect

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:9, 10)

Jesus ascended to the Father as a representative of the human race, and God will bring those who reflect His image to behold and share with Him His glory. There are homes for the pilgrims of earth. There are robes for the righteous, with crowns of glory and palms of victory. All that perplexed us in the providences of God will then be made plain. The things hard to be understood will then find an explanation. The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken purposes, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying and hard to bear. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. In the home of the redeemed there will be no tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” (Isaiah 33:24). One rich tide of happiness will flow and deepen as eternity rolls on. Think of this; tell it to the children of suffering and sorrow, and bid them rejoice in hope.

The nearer we come to Jesus, the more clearly we behold the purity and greatness of His character, the less we shall feel like exalting self. The contrast between our characters and His will lead to humiliation of soul and deep heart searching. The more we love Jesus, the more entirely will self be humbled and forgotten. . . .

He who is meek in spirit, he who is purest and most childlike, will be made strong for the battle. He will be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. He who feels his weakness, and wrestles with God as did Jacob, and like this servant of old cries, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me,” will go forth with the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere of heaven will surround him. He will go about doing good. His influence will be a positive force in favor of the religion of Christ. . . .

Our God is a very present help in time of need. He is acquainted with the most secret thoughts of our hearts, with all the intents and purposes of our souls. When we are in perplexity, even before we open to Him our distresses, He is making arrangements for our deliverance.—Letter 73, Feb. 1, 1905, to Drs. D. H. and Lauretta Kress. (Ellen White, The Upward Look, p. 46)


Signal Lights for the Homeward Bound

“There’s a buoy on the starboard bow,” said a friend, coming down the companion way.

“Already?” I cried. “Impossible! We are a hundred miles from port.”

“Well, it’s there,” he said, “and it isn’t a barrel.”

I ran on deck. There was nothing to see but the great, restless ocean and the whitecaps streaking its gray, heaving surface. And nothing to hear save the scream of the wind in the rigging and the swish of the spray over the bow.

“Where is it?” I cried.

“There,” he cried, pointing. “Over there!”

He was right. Only a pinpoint in the vast expanse, but unmistakable nevertheless. A buoy!

It was incredible. A buoy this far from port! There was no land anywhere in sight. North, south, east, west—nothing but windswept waves that merged into the haze of the horizon.

We were not due in port for six hours at least; yet here was this buoy. Surely, I thought, it must have a meaning. Perhaps it marked the beginning of the channel to the distant harbor. It did.

An hour passed. A second buoy appeared, this time on the port bow.

Half an hour more, and across the surging waves came the tolling of a bell. It was another buoy, one with a bell attached. As the buoy rolled in the trough of the sea the bell clanged out its mournful warning note.

Now, far in the distance and low down on the horizon I saw something that seemed more solid than cloud, an irregular line that might be hills and mountains.

“Land!” I cried jubilantly. But it was gone again engulfed in mist and the gathering gloom of eventide.

Then a light shone out. Only a light, but cheering as the lamp on the porch at home. Darkness had set in operation the automatic switch on yet another buoy.

Soon another light appeared. Then another and another. Some were red, some green, some amber, and the ship was going between them, while everywhere around, it seemed the warning bells were tolling as the buoys were tossed by the waves/

“We must be nearly there,” I cried.

We were. Suddenly, making a sharp turn, the ship bore us into a quiet and tranquil bay, where the gay lights of a city just ahead beamed their welcome. We were in port at last.

Even so has been the voyage of the advent people since that day in 1844 when as a little, lonely band they set out on their journey to the kingdom.

Scarcely had they embarked when someone raised the cry, “I see a sign of the end!” And people clustered on deck, as it were, and talked of it and believed in it. It may have been but a tiny buoy on the mighty ocean of history, but to them it marked the entrance to the channel that led to the harbor of heaven.

As the years passed by, other markers appeared. “Look!” cried the advent people. “See the signs of the coming of the Lord.”

Yet the pioneers were still far from their goal. There was no land in sight, though in moments of ecstasy and high expectation some thought they saw it now and then.

Eighteen fifty-four, sixty-four, seventy-four, eighty-four, ninety-four. The years rolled by till the nineteenth century merged into the twentieth. Nineteen hundred and four, nineteen fourteen, twenty-four, thirty-four, forty-four.

Slowly but surely the advent ship steamed on its divinely charted way. Every decade the night grew darker, the storm more fierce, the sea more boisterous. And every year the warning signs have become more numerous, until now the lights are flashing all about us while the warning bells are tolling out their message with an insistence and a gravity never known before.

“Near-ly home, near-ly home,” they boom across the boisterous waves of these turbulent times.

(Arthur S. Maxwell, The Youth’s Instructor, October 17, 1944, p. 6)


Mission Appeal

Peruvian Health Mission

Recently a burden was laid upon the hearts of a generous couple for the health work in Peru, and in the fall of 2013 they donated a 2.468 hector (about 6 acres) property to the Seventh Day Home Church Fellowship for such purposes. (This couple has family and loved ones in this area of Peru and has a desire to better their physical and spiritual welfare.)

For those who may not know, Seventh Day Home Church Fellowship (SDHCF) is an association of Sabbath-keeping home churches committed to upholding the historic principles and doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. SDHCF firmly bases its foundation upon the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. It provides the members a vehicle for discussion, study, and a means of organizing to work together for various missionary projects. For more information about SDHCF, go to: http://www.seventhdayhomechurchfellowships.org

This property is located on the outskirts of Tarapoto, Peru. Tarapoto is a quaint city of approximately 120,000 population yet still has a small town atmosphere. It is situated at the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, just west of the Amazon jungle basin (northeast of the capital city, Lima). Tarapoto has a temperate climate that averages from the low 70’s to the high 80’s every day, year round. There is a dry season and a rainy season, and it would be considered a subtropical environment.

The countryside surrounding Tarapoto is largely agricultural and grows a variety of foods, like beans, corn, rice, potatoes, and quinoa. Many fruits and nuts grow in abundance, as well, such as aloe vera, avocados, bananas, breadfruit, citrus, coconut, grapes, mangos, noni fruit, olives, papaya, pineapples, Peruvian plums, star fruit, sugarcane, yucca, Brazil nuts, cashews, and several other types of tropical fruits, in addition to many of our normal vegetables, like beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, squash, tomatoes, and several different herbs and seasonings.

There is a small airport, with service of approximately ten flights per day to and from Tarapoto. Automobiles are a widespread form of ground transportation, but the most common method is the moto-taxi (a motorized tricycle taxi).

The people living out and around Tarapoto seem to be simple, hard-working farmers and artisans, while the people in town appear to be looking for an alternate way of life through commerce and various business endeavors. Crime is low, and Tarapoto seems to be a safe city (as cities go), but one can see the influences of the big city life encroaching on this old-world town.

Tarapoto hosts several religious persuasions, including Catholicism, several “Protestant” faiths, and various New Age spiritualists. There is a strong Adventist presence, as well, with several churches (including a reformed church), with elementary and secondary schools, and with an Adventist university. The people of the local Adventist churches are very gracious and kind, yet they seem to be ignorant of many of the basic fundamental principles and doctrines of our faith. As with many of the churches of this land, there is definite room for improvement!

The property itself is located about a ten minute walk from town. Vehicles can drive down into the valley, but most of the motor-taxis don’t like to leave the flat, paved streets.

Nestled at the bottom of the hill, with a beautiful stream crossing through the middle of the property, sits the “Tarapotillo Farm.” The gravel road passes around and through the property, making easier access to it. In the front of the lot stands the remains of a block home that was destroyed by fire, yet it appears that some of the structure could be utilized to rebuild on the site. There are a few large mango trees and several citrus trees around that homestead, too. Other than that, no additional development has taken place on the property. Electricity is accessible, and there is cell phone reception, as well.

The terrain is rather hilly and very beautiful, but would not be the best for large-scale agriculture. However, several fruit trees and small areas could easily be planted for more adequate food supplies. In addition to the creek that passes through the property, there are two or three fresh and pure springs that originate on the property and feed into the creek.

This past May, Wally and Ana Maria Woodward, Michael Woodward, along with Todd and Caleb Brown, visited the farm and evaluated the mission potential in this area of Peru. After assessing the town, the people, and the property and after reporting back to the SDHCF board, it was determined that a health retreat would be an ideal wedge that God could use to introduce both physical and spiritual reform to the community in and around Tarapoto.

Peru is a country where GMO foods are not allowed, and one could easily and economically grow and eat healthy foods and educate people of the area about a healthy vegan lifestyle. There seems to be a real area of ignorance when it comes to health reform in this part of Peru, and healthy living is scarce among the people. The community is ripe for a clinic that offers simple natural remedies and educational classes to the public. Intermingled with these natural remedies, the gospel would be presented to open the way for spiritual growth.

Another self-supporting Adventist mission, Peru Projects, located in central Peru, reported in their May 2014 newsletter that the people of Peru are ripe for “cooking classes and health seminars.” No question, the needs are great and the people seem to be ready!

We are looking to construct two homes of approximately 2,000 square feet each. One would be of a conventional floor plan with a kitchen, living room, three bedrooms, etc. The other would consist of a small apartment with a treatment facility and an all purpose living/meeting room. After doing research as to some of the local building regulations, as well as looking at material costs, we believe that $30,000 (USD) will be enough funds to make some of the first stages of this project a reality.

Temporary housing is available while undergoing this initial stage of development, and then these two homes would provide housing for at least two or three couples or families.

While building we would also like to begin making contacts in the community and start with simple house-to-house treatments and educational presentations. (At present, there are two ladies who have repeatedly requested help for their physical infirmities.)

Qualified couples and families have been contacted, and they are praying about joining these efforts, as well! We believe God has a work to be done in Tarapoto, and now we are openly informing the brethren of our plans and intentions.

We are looking for your support. Primarily we need prayer for God’s leading in these efforts. Please keep the Peruvian Health Retreat in your prayers! We also need well-balanced, converted personnel who are willing to give of their time and energies. People, young and older, are needed on a short-term basis to help with some of the initial development and infrastructure. People are needed to help construct housing and treatment facilities and to plant and clear for gardens and water systems. We are looking to coordinate short-term mission trips for such people who love the Lord and who want to support these efforts.

Also, we need people of like mind and faith who know and can share God’s word, people who are skilled in the medical missionary field, people who can speak Spanish or who are willing to learn, people who are willing to take a year or two out of their lives to help spread the gospel in Tarapoto!

Lastly, we need to raise the financial resources to help get this project started. We want to start small, and we should never despise the day of small beginnings, but even with small beginnings, it takes money to get started. Please pray and see if the Lord leads you to partner with us in the Peruvian Health Retreat!

For additional information, comments, or questions, please contact Todd Brown by phone at 256–610–3350, or email at tbjbrtown@aol.com and reference the subject line as “Peruvian Health Mission.”

Center_Spread_February_2015

Missionary School in Philippines and Elsewhere

The work of the gospel is moving forward in the Philippines. Many individuals and groups have accepted the good news about God and there are many young people wanting to be trained and educated under the principles of true education.

Because of this need, Restitution Ministries has started a missionary school in the Philippines. The desire and goal for this school is to follow the blueprint of true education. Although currently located in Ilocos Sur at Brother Carlos Romero’s Health Restoration country site, it is still in need of more land to provide the necessary agricultural and industrial training. There are eleven students attending the school right now, and others that are ready to attend at the beginning of the next session. We have a few small hand and power tools to teach some trades, but there is still a great need to purchase more tools and equipment. We need table saws, chop saws, reciprocating saws, drills, sanders, planers, a lathe, drill press, as well as sewing machines, farm implements, etc.

There is need of proper education. Schools should be established for the purpose of obtaining not only knowledge from books, but knowledge of practical industry. (Ellen White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 316)

Our purpose is to bring the school into the position of being self-supporting, so it does not need to constantly be supported from overseas. Also, the students need to be able to earn their own tuition, so even those who otherwise could not afford it may attend. This requires some initial funding to get things started, and may require donations from time to time for help with special projects. To accomplish this, we need to establish industries, where the students and teachers can work to help support the school. These industries are of great importance for the growth of the students and for any Christian school that wants to be established upon the principles of true education. There is a great need for trained, consecrated young men and women to work in the vineyard of the Master.

In acquiring an education, many students would gain a most valuable training if they would become self-sustaining. Instead of incurring debts, or depending on the self-denial of their parents, let young men and young women depend on themselves. They will thus learn the value of money, the value of time, strength, and opportunities, and will be under far less temptation to indulge idle and spendthrift habits. The lessons of economy, industry, self-denial, practical business management, and steadfastness of purpose, thus mastered, would prove a most important part of their equipment for the battle of life. And the lesson of self-help learned by the student would go far toward preserving institutions of learning from the burden of debt under which so many schools have struggled, and which has done so much toward crippling their usefulness. (Ellen White, Education, p. 221)

The need for schools founded upon true education is not only present in the Philippines, for we are also actively working to begin a similar school in another island country as well.

If you are impressed to help with these projects that will bring true education to our young people in these countries, please contact David Sims: admin@seventhdayhomechurchfellowships.org. Thank you for your help. David Sims


Tasty Recipe — Jeff Burgers

If you are like a lot of people, you may need food that is easy and quick to make, but that is also nutritious. For a sandwich, some folks choose MorningStar Farms Grillers® (burgers). They certainly seem tasty, and they are vegetarian, right? Well, if you mean they have no meat, that is correct, but they are not free of animal products, as they contain egg whites and whey. Grillers® contain large amounts of vegetable oil, and they also contain autolyzed yeast extract and calcium caseinate, which contain MSG and maltodextrin, another ingredient which also contains MSG, but to a lesser degree.

According to the MorningStar website, Grillers® contain:

Textured vegetable protein (wheat gluten, soy protein concentrate, water for hydration), egg whites, corn oil, calcium caseinate, contains two percent or less of modified tapioca starch, onion powder, canola oil, triglycerides from coconut oil, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (corn gluten, wheat gluten, soy protein), dextrose, salt, soy protein isolate, autolyzed yeast extract, sugar, natural and artificial flavors from non-meat sources, caramel color, cultured whey, maltodextrin, garlic powder, spice, cellulose gum, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), vitamins and minerals (niacinamide, iron [ferrous sulfate], thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin b6], riboflavin [vitamin b2], vitamin b12), sesame seed oil, celery extract, soy lecithin. (https://www.morningstarfarms.com/products/burgers/grillers-original, emphasis supplied.)

These burgers contain 130 calories, 50 of which are from fat, meaning that they are over 38% fat by calories. So, although they are lower in fat than beef, this does not mean a lot. Furthermore, the soy they contain is not listed as being non-genetically modified. They are also high in sodium (260 mg). These burgers are neither healthy nor vegan.

One of Boca’s vegan burgers has a much better ingredient list. Boca’s website gives the following ingredients for one of its vegan burgers:

Water, soy protein, concentrate*, wheat gulten, contains less than 2% of dried onions, yeast extract, modified cellulose, natural flavor (non-meat), salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sesame oil. Contains Soy, wheat, sesame. *Made with soy protein from non-genetically engineered soybeans. (http://www.bocaburger.com/nongmoproducts.html)

These burgers do not contain genetically modified soybeans and are truly vegan. We are not told this about the wheat in them. These burgers contain 100 calories, 20 of which are from fat, meaning that they are 20% fat by calories. While these burgers are lower in fat then the MorningStar Grillers®, they cannot be considered low fat. They do not have the MSG of the MorningStar Grillers®, but they are much higher in sodium (470 mg).

Both of these products cost about a dollar per serving, so they are costly to use. We have found a healthy, vegan, and low-cost alternative.

Perhaps you know of Jeff Novick, food nutritionist and health speaker. He is the author of Fast Food, a DVD that explains how to make healthy food fast. Jeff has created another DVD on healthy burgers, and it truly is a simple approach to making different kinds of burgers that are easy, fast, healthy, and low cost.

The ingredients call for five basic items, and by varying the items you can have different kinds of burgers.

The five basic items are:

The procedure is to place the well-drained beans in a mixing bowl and to use a potato masher to mash the beans thoroughly. (Jeff says to not use a food processor, as the beans become too liquidly.) Then mix in all the other ingredients, until all is well-blended, and form into burgers. For firmer burgers, form the patties, place them on a baking sheet, and put into a refrigerator for 20 minutes before baking. Bake them in an oven at 350°F for 5 minutes, flip them and bake for another 5 minutes. If you are inclined to use a non-stick skillet or a no-stick spray, you may fry them until brown on both sides.

Jeff Burger
Our Version of the Jeff Burger

A specific recipe that I typically use contains:

Why are these burgers better? They are composed of unprocessed foods, which can all be organic, if you prefer. These burgers have no added salt, sugar, or oil and they are inexpensive to make, about twenty-five cents per burger.

The taste of the burger may vary, depending upon the seasonings you use and upon the type of beans, and they can be served with lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumbers, and whatever else you like. The burgers form the basis of a tasty and healthy sandwich, one you can eat with a clear conscience. Remember that the wise man said, “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness” (Ecclesiastes 10: 17)! We will be blessed, too ,when we eat for strength and not for drunkenness. Allen Stump


 Youth’s Corner

(Our story this month is the concluding installment from the book Youthful Witnesses, by W. A. Spicer.)

Jim and the Idol Stone

A young African mission outschool teacher named Jim Mayenza was stirred to emulate Gideon’s example in destroying an idol.

Gideon, it will be recalled, went out one night and cast down the altar of Baal. When the men of the place next morning saw what had been done, they said, “Who hath done this thing?” and threatened death to the man who did it. Gideon’s father said: “Will ye plead for Baal? . . . If he be a god, let him plead for himself.” The people thereupon let Gideon alone.

So the people of an African kraal, by Jim’s vigorous action, had witness borne to them that their idol was helpless.

“Tell us the story of the idol stone,” we said, at the Solusi station, Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe], where Jim had been interpreting for us. This, in brief, is the story he told:

I had just begun to be a teacher. The children came to the outschools from different kraals. Near the school was an idol stone that the people worshiped. It was only a common stone, standing upright, half buried in the earth; but the witch doctors had traditions about it, and offerings and sacrifices were made to it—to the spirit that was in it. It was said to be able to make rain, and to do anything.

It was very much against the school. The boys believed in it. The chiefs were saying that the idol would be displeased with the mission teaching.

“There is nothing to it,” I said; “it is only a stone.”

“But there is a god in it,” they said. “If you touch it or hurt it, it will kill you.”

At last I was driven to show them that there was nothing to it. I told them I would smash it up. “You will die if you do,” they said. But one day I took the boys down and carried an axe and smashed up the old stone altogether. The people looked to see something happen to me; but as time passed, and nothing came of it, they saw that I had spoken truly. There had been threats at first against me; but the breaking down of the idol stone had a good effect in turning the people to think more of the teaching about the true God.

It took more courage than one might think for an African youth at an outpost thus to defy age-long superstition and the vengeance of the rain doctors in a dark corner of Africa.

So in many a dark region of earth, witness is being borne under circumstances like these, calling for courage and action on the part of youth just beginning the service of the living God. The grace of Christ makes the young converts of the mission fields strong to do and dare for God and His cause of truth.

Father, hear the prayer we offer!
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wand’rings be our guide;
Through endeavor, hardships, danger,
Father, be Thou at our side.

The Secret of Courage and Constancy

Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28: 2)

What made these youth of whom we have read, strong to bear their testimony, unmoved by scorn or threat of sword or flame? We find the secret of it in the life motto of one who was called as a youth to show how great things he should suffer for the sake of Christ: “The love of Christ constraineth us.”

This love that won the heart of the youthful Saul of Tarsus brought such an experience of the forgiveness of sins and fellowship with the Saviour that nothing else mattered. “None of these things move me,” he said, in face of waiting perils.

We find the secret of courage in the promise of Christ’s presence with His own. Weak in himself, longing for human companionship in trial, the Apostle Paul once sadly wrote, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me.” But there was one who stood by, the Master who had known in His own soul’s agony what it was to have His friends leave Him along in the hour of trial. “Notwithstanding,” added Paul, “the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.”

This presence of Christ, bringing assurance of the forgiveness of sin, is the secret of constancy and courage. The Form that once appeared walking in the midst of the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew youth, has ever, though by mortal eyes unseen, walked the way of trial with His own. “I am with you,” whispered to the ear of faith, has held hearts true.

As the angry chief on cannibal Tanna held the musket at John Paton’s head, the missionary’s thoughts were upon Christ’s promises. No theory or doctrine, however true, sufficed. It was personal experience in the living Christ that held. Paton wrote afterward:

Looking up in increasing prayer to our dear Lord Jesus, I left all in His hands, and felt immortal till my work was done.

Trials and hairbreadth escapes strengthened my faith, and seemed only to nerve me for more to follow, and they did tread swiftly upon each other’s heels. Without that abiding consciousness of the presence and power of my dear Lord and Saviour, nothing else in all the world could have preserved me from losing my reason and perishing miserably. His words, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” became to me so real that it would not have startled me to have beheld Him, as Stephen did, gazing down upon the scene.

And how the power of the “word of His grace ” has comforted and supported in the trying hour! The witnesses for God have rested their helpless souls upon the promises of the blessed Bible. With his hand upon the open Book, wherein he had found salvation, Luther could say, expecting death: “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.” Martyrs at the stake have found support in repeating over and over the promises, or singing the inspired psalms of prayer and trust. Margaret Wilson, watching the “cruel, crawling foam,” pleaded with God, and not in vain,

O do Thou keep my soul!
Do Thou deliver me!
And let me never be ashamed,
Because I trust in Thee.

“God’s Holy Word was prized when it was unsafe to read it.” Johnnie Davis, at the age of twelve, was imprisoned in England for reading the New Testament. By promising not to read it, he could have escaped at any time, owing to his being but a child, who had to be lifted up in court so the twenty-four judges could see the Bible-reading heretic. He was proved by the candle, the blaze being held first under one finger then another. Months he spent in prison; but finally the death of the king and a change of policy released him. In the days when Foxe wrote his Book of Martyrs, the lad, grown old, was still living, and was a minister of the gospel.

Even those of tenderest years were made strong by trust. Crockett writes of the little Galloway children who would not tell where the forbidden field meetings were held. Threatened with shooting, they were made to kneel in a row with eyes blindfolded. A maid of eight said: “Let me hold my little brother’s hand, will you? We could die better that way.” The threat, however, was but an attempt to frighten the children into telling; the soldiers’ muskets were loaded with powder only. But children’s hearts were strong in childlike trust in Jesus.

The promises of God have power to sustain under trial the youth who have made the word of God the man of their counsel in daily service. Acquaintance with the source of strength is not usually made in emergencies. When Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Study,” he meant the daily study of the word of God, able to build up and fortify for common service as well as for the supreme trial.

It is still the same, no matter where, no matter who. The Malagasy girl, shown from the precipice the mangled forms of the convert martyrs of Madagascar, far below, remembered how dark a place the world would be without the Saviour, and when asked to deny her part with Christ, said: “I am a Christian, too; you may throw me over.” Those boys of Uganda, just emerged from heathen darkness, found in the salvation of Jesus something more precious to them than life itself, when their heathen persecutors demanded that they come back to the jungle gods. As Dr. A. T. Pierson says:

In these lowly lads, with their dark skins, there was a heart made white in the blood of the Lamb; and the spirit of the martyrs burned within, while the fires of the martyrs burned without; and so in the flames, and until their tongues, dried and shriveled in the heat, could no longer articulate, they sang in the Luganda:

Daily, daily, sing to Jesus,
Sing, my soul, His praises due;
All He does deserves our praises,
And our deep devotion, too:
For in deep humiliation,
He for us did live below,
Died on Calvary’s cross of torture,
Rose to save our souls from woe.

From out the noise of conflict which loyal soldiers of the cross have waged in all past times, there comes the word of cheer and shout of victory from the lips of youth and children. Moody gave a good answer to the man who thoughtlessly asked him if he had faith to be a martyr. “No,” he replied; “but when God wants me to be a martyr, He will give me a martyr’s faith.”

The grace sufficient comes with the time of need and testing. It is as mighty now as in the days of old, and young people of today have found it so. Canon Langbridge’s verses answer truly the question of present-day faith and courage for the right, because Christ’s grace is still sufficient, and true courage and constancy are all of grace, and not of self:

Tell me: if Smithfield blazed again,
Would new confessors rise
From farm and wynd and rural lane,
Calm hearts with constant eyes!

Would the old weaver watch his hand
Waste in the candle blaze?
The nursemaid at the fagot stand,
And turn the pain to praise?

Would men in boots of village make
And frieze of homespun wear,
Trudge on serenely to the stake,
As if to church or fair?

Would milking maid and village sire,
And lad in ’prentice gray,
Tread the fierce ecstasy of fire
Into a homely way?

Where keeps the faith that lit their eyes,
Who sank to Stephen’s sleep?
Perchance the Book that sixpence buys
Grows vulgar now and cheap.

Enough of questioning, enough —
Too much of bitter doubt:
If Ridley’s candle craves the snuff,
No time shall put it out.

They do but ask the beck of God,
The cause of instant need,
To spring from England’s every sod,
Men of the martyr breed:

Men of the breed no fear can tame,
True to the hard-won right,
Ready to pour their souls in flame
To spread the larger light.

It is the gift of God to His children of every age and of every land.

The call to service for Christ and the right comes now as never before. No generation of youth that ever lived had such call to devotion and activity and ambition to be strong in service, as comes to the youth of this generation. The last witness is to be borne to all the world, at home and abroad. The young people are needed now.

With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world! (Ellen White, Education, p. 271)

The great controversy between Christ and Satan is soon to be finished; and age and youth and childhood are summoned to follow to final victory in the ranks of our Prince Immanuel.

The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain;
His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink His cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears His cross below,
He follows in His train.

A glorious band, the chosen few
On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
And mocked the cross and flame:
They met the tyrant’s brandished steel,
The lion’s gory mane.
They bowed their necks the death to feel:
Who follows in their train?

A noble army—men and boys,
The matron and the maid—
Shall round the Saviour’s throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed:
They climbed the steep ascent toward heaven,
Through peril, toil, and pain:
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train!

W. A. Spicer

w-a-spicerSPICER, WILLIAM AMBROSE (1865–1952). Missionary, editor, administrator. Born into a Seventh Day Baptist home, he early became a Seventh-day Adventist and at 16 was employed as a callboy at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, later as a secretary to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, the medical superintendent of that institution. He went to England in 1887 as secretary to S. N. Haskell. While there, he served for a time on the editorial staff of the Present Truth. There he married Georgia Eleanora Harper, whom he had met at Battle Creek Sanitarium when she was taking nurse’s training. He returned to America in 1892 as foreign mission secretary of the General Conference, and the next year helped to establish Solusi Mission in Matabeleland on 12,000 acres (4,900 hectares) of land obtained from Cecil Rhodes, then prime minister of Cape Colony.

In 1898 he went to India and the next year became editor of the newly founded Oriental Watchman. He also became leader of Seventh-day Adventist work in India. He was the only ordained SDA minister in Southern Asia at that time. In 1901 he was appointed secretary to the Mission Board at Battle Creek, Michigan, becoming in 1903 secretary of the General Conference.

When A. G. Daniells relinquished the presidency of the General Conference in 1922, Spicer succeeded him and held the office until 1930. He then served as general field secretary of the General Conference until his retirement in 1940. He continued as associate editor of the Review and Herald, and for a short time was its editor.

Spicer wrote continuously for the Review and Herald for 50 years, and produced numerous books, such as Our Day in the Light of Prophecy, Miracles of Modern Missions, The Hand That Intervenes, and The Spirit of Prophecy in the Advent Movement.

He is remembered as a man of the people, inspiring confidence by his simple habits and reports of mission experiences. Only four years (according to one record, two years), between 1900 and 1940, did not find him overseas inspecting or supervising the rapidly expanding world program of the church. (The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia.)


Some Thoughts on Health

Have you ever thought about the question, What is health? How would you answer? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines health as “the state of being free from illness or injury.” This definition simply gives health as a state of being, minus negative components.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its 1948 constitution, in a more positive manner, as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/80(12)981.pdf).

In whatever way we define health, we know that:

Health is a blessing of which few appreciate the value; yet upon it the efficiency of our mental and physical powers largely depends. (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 346).

Health is a great treasure. It is the richest possession mortals can have. Wealth, honor, or learning is dearly purchased, if it be at the loss of the vigor of health. (Ellen White, Christian Education, p. 16)

Thinking about health may bring about thoughts of physical well-being, but it also encompasses mental and spiritual well-being. Paul writes:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The importance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being all have to be considered when we speak of health, with the latter being the most important component but with all being interconnected with each other. We have been told:

The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize. Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death. (Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 241)

Looking at salvation as spiritual health helps us to keep a good prospective on the importance of spiritual health. David said:

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. (Psalm 38:3)

Here we see the relationship that exists between the mind and the body. It is the anger of God that caused David’s flesh to have no soundness, and there was no rest in his bones because of the guilt of sin.

Yet God has promised salvation (spiritual health) to his people. Moses could write:

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2)

God is our strength, and the context is spiritual strength, for he is our salvation. The Bible assures us that:

God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

This promise is that salvation, and not wrath, is appointed to each by God. It is true that not all will be saved because many will choose the way of evil instead of Christ, but for all who do not wish wrath, salvation, spiritual health, is freely available.

The experience of salvation, spiritual health, brings joy to the believer. “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5, 6). God says, “With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation” (Psalm 91:16).

Our faith is important not only for salvation, but for our total health. We have been told:

Pure and undefiled religion is not a sentiment, but the doing of works of mercy and love. This religion is necessary to health and happiness. It enters the polluted soul-temple, and with a scourge drives out the sinful intruders. Taking the throne, it consecrates all by its presence, illuminating the heart with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. It opens the windows of the soul heavenward, letting in the sunshine of God’s love. With it comes serenity and composure. Physical, mental, and moral strength increase, because the atmosphere of heaven, as a living, active agency, fills the soul. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, October 15, 1901; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

Pure and undefiled religion, which is defined as doing works of mercy and love, is necessary for health and happiness, and it is the whole person who is here brought to view, for we are told that it includes the physical, mental, and moral aspects.

Good health is certainly something we should strive to have and something that heaven wishes for God’s people. John writes, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2). The health spoken of here is physical and mental health, for John parallels it with spiritual, or moral, health. In fact, Jesus stated that he came from heaven so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (see John 10:10).

God’s word brings health to us. Solomon wrote:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20–22)

The Bible says that God’s words are not only food for the soul, but that they bring health to the flesh. Because the body and mind sympathize so much with each other it is very important to bring the body under the care of the mind instead of the mind under the control of the body. What does this mean? Simply that God wants to use the mind, or spirit, to control the flesh and its lusts. Satan, on the other hand, wants to use the lusts of the flesh to control the mind! Both want total control of the individual, but each works from a different basis. Satan works from the passions of the flesh. This is one reason that the Pentecostal movement is so successful. Through the passions of the flesh, Satan disguises his deceptions with a cloak of pretended light. God, however, works from the intellect of the mind, or the spirit. God wants to control us through the decision-making of the mind. That is one reason that habit-forming drugs and substances are not proper for Christians, for they allow Satan to control the mind through the flesh.

I once remember talking about health with a man who strongly opposed smoking. He said, “I don’t know where the verse is, but I know the Bible says ‘thou shalt not smoke the filthy weed!’” The Bible does not have any such verse. The Bible, though, declares that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and if we practice health-destroying habits that destroy this temple, God will destroy us (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17). But even beyond that is the spiritual issue of control. Romans 6:16 says:

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Paul also said: “I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Any habit that controls us takes control away from God, and we become its servant instead of being the servant of God. How can Christians have good mental and spiritual health when they know that they do not belong totally to the Lord? They can’t! Sinful, health-destroying habits are forms of idolatry, and there can be no peace with God while serving another.

Have you ever considered what makes you, you? Is it your legs? If you were to have your legs amputated, would you still be you? If your arms were amputated, would you still be you? Of course, you would. You would be no less of a person, even though there is less of your body. While we have reason to keep the body healthy simply because God asks us to, we need to realize that the real goal of health reform is to enable the mind to use its mental and spiritual powers to the utmost to serve God. Let us, therefore, explore a little more on the issue of mental health, for there is a lot of confusion upon this subject. It is true that much physical illness begins in the mind.

Disease is sometimes produced, and is often greatly aggravated, by the imagination. Many are lifelong invalids who might be well if they only thought so. Many imagine that every slight exposure will cause illness, and the evil effect is produced because it is expected. Many die from disease the cause of which is wholly imaginary. (White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 241)

No wonder the Bible says that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22)!

Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house? (White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 251)

Remembering that the body and the mind sympathize with each other, we can see that gratitude and praise not only help our spiritiual health, but our bodies and our mental health, as well. God also tells us that “heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad” (Proverbs 12:25). So the good words of God’s word makes the heart glad! This is certainly needed today, due to the great abundance of mental health issues people are facing. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health tells us:

In 2012, there were an estimated 43.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. with AMI [any mental illness] in the past year. This represented 18.6 percent of all U.S. adults. (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml)

. . . approximately 13 percent of children ages 8 to 15 had a diagnosable mental disorder within the previous year. (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml)

Furthermore, children between the ages of 13 and 18 have a lifetime prevalence of 46.3% for any mental disorder. (See preceding link for children at the National Institute of Mental Health.)

Realizing that many issues are never diagnosed, we can begin to see the magnitude of the problem.

While much illness begins in the mind, it must not be overlooked that there are many people who have mental health issues which are derived from physical problems. The following are some common physical issues that cause mental health issues.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

We mention Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy first because it is such a dramatic illustration of how physical disease or trauma affects the mind. According to Boston University’s CTE center,

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau.These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia. (http://www.bu.edu/cte/about/what-is-cte/)

Mike Webster, former All-Pro center for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, is a sad example of CTE. Webster played college football at the University of Wisconsin. After moving to the National Football League, he played well enough to be considered the best center ever, and his accolades and list of awards could fill this page. Webster was nicknamed “Iron Mike” because he played with injuries. “Some doctors estimated he had been in the equivalent of ‘25,000 automobile crashes’ in over 25 years of playing football” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Webster).

Though Webster had been a strong competitor on the field, he was known for being very slow to anger off the field. Yet in his later years, he became violent with a bad temper. He died when he was only fifty. His autopsy revealed he had severe CTE.

John Grimsley is another professional football player who died from CTE. A section of his brain is in the middle photo below:

CTE John-Grimsley

Photo Courtesy of Boston University

In both sets of photographs, above, the brain tissue has been immunostained for tau protein, which appears as a dark brown color. Tau immunostained sections of medial temporal lobe from 3 individuals

Top left: Whole brain section from a 65 year old control subject showing no tau protein deposition

Bottom left: Microscopic section from 65 year old control subject also shows no tau protein deposition

Top middle: Whole brain section from John Grimsley showing abundant tau protein deposition in the amygdala and adjacent temporal cortex

Bottom middle: Microscopic section showing numerous tau positive neurofibrillary tangles and neurites in the amygdala

Top right: Whole brain section from a 73 year old world champion boxer with severe dementia showing very severe tau protein deposition in the amygdala and thalamus

Bottom right: Microscopic section from a 73 year old world champion boxer with severe dementia showing extremely dense tau positive neurofibrillary tangles and neurites in the amygdala (http://www.bu.edu/cte/about/what-is-cte/)

While CTE affects only a select group of people, it clearly shows a link between the physical and the mental. Some more common and more widely-spread issues will now be considered.

Vitamin Deficiencies

B12 is a vitamin that many vegans are concerned about because it is not found in plant-based foods in sufficient quantities to supply the needs of humans. Many vegans take a supplement of, or eat foods fortified with, vitamin B12. The Journal of The Association of Physicians of India published a study stating that:

B12 deficiency is widely prevalent and usually presents with haematologic and neuropsychiatric manifestations.

. . . a large number of psychiatric patients have low serum B12 levels. (http://www.japi.org/february2008/CR-115.htm)

The Israel Medical Association Journal also published a study declaring that B12 deficiencies caused psychotic behaviour which was reversed when patients were given ample B12. (See http://www.ima.org.il/FilesUpload/IMAJ/0/60/30288.pdf.)

An AARP®-approved Medicare supplement ad noted that irritability and confusion can result from a lack of B12 (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172774.php), and Mother Earth News reported:

Vitamin B12 deficiency can often be mistaken for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. (http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/physical-causes-of-mental-illness-zbcz1304zhei.aspx#axzz3PV1cf45c)

According to WebMD, low levels of vitamin D3 produce “cognitive impairment in older adults” (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/vitamin-d-deficiency).

Nature News reports that one of the ten most common problems with vitamin D deficiency is schizophrenia and depression:

These disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. In a study, it was discovered that maintaining sufficient vitamin D among pregnant women and during childhood was necessary to satisfy the vitamin D receptor in the brain integral for brain development and mental function maintenance in later life. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035089_vitamin_D_deficiency_signs_symptoms.html)

Also, concerning minerals, we know that:

Magnesium deficiency also heavily contributes to anxiety, depression, and insomnia, which can lead to psychosis.

Men with a deficiency in the essential mineral zinc often have low testosterone levels, which can lead to irritability, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. (http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/physical-causes-of-mental-illness-zbcz1304zhei.aspx#axzz3PV1cf45c)

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats. It is estimated that 1 in 88 people are unable to successfully digest this protein. In addition to chronic digestive problems, gluten intolerance can also lead to psychiatric symptoms including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and psychosis.

Gluten acts as neurotoxin to the intolerant person, which destroys brain cells and leads to the symptoms of mental illness. Gluten intolerance can also lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome, where the lining of the intestines are more porous than they should be.

This causes undigested food particles, toxins, and yeast to leak into the bloodstream, leading to multiple food and chemical intolerance and symptoms of mental illness. (http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/physical-causes-of-mental-illness-zbcz1304zhei.aspx#axzz3PV1cf45c)

If you have questions about the validity of this issue, please read the paper “Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity” published by the National Institute of Health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641836/). This site lists the following as some of the possible effects of gluten intolerance:

Thyroid Disease

According to Todd D. Nippoldt, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic:

. . . thyroid disease can affect your mood — primarily causing either anxiety or depression. Generally, the more severe the thyroid disease, the more severe the mood changes.

If you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), you may experience:

Unusual nervousness

Restlessness

Anxiety

Irritability

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), you may experience:

Mild to severe fatigue

Depression (http://www.mayoclinic.org/thyroid-disease/expert-answers/faq-20058228)

Chronic Candida Syndrome

Candida is a type of yeast found in small quantities in the digestive tract and genitals. Overuse of antibiotics and a diet high in refined flour and sugar feeds this yeast and can cause it to overgrow.

When yeast become systemic, it ends up in the bloodstream, where it slowly infects the entire body. This leads to a host of mental and physical symptoms that often baffle doctors and leads to inaccurate diagnosis.

Some of these symptoms include excessive fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, mood swings, impaired concentration, depression, PMS, cognitive impairment, chronic pain, and digestive malfunction. (http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/physical-causes-of-mental-illness-zbcz1304zhei.aspx#axzz3PV1cf45c)

Amy Myers, M.D. writes that “difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog” are symptoms of chronic candida syndrome (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8376/10-signs-you-have-candida-overgrowth-what-to-do-about-it.html)

Mercury Toxicity

The year was 1914, and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was checking the store room of his ship Endurance. He found the ship’s store manager, Thomas Orde-Lees, collecting bent nails and other seemingly useless items. He said to Orde-Lees, “You are a mad hatter, aren’t you?” He was saying, You are insane! Mad hatter disease was the “commonly used name for occupational chronic mercury poisoning among hatmakers whose felting work involved prolonged exposure to mercury vapours. The neurotoxic effects included tremor and the pathological shyness and irritability characteristic of erethism” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_hatter_disease). Mercury poisoning has long been known to be very dangerous to not only physical health, but to mental health, as well.

The eating of fish is the main suspect for mercury poisoning. Coal-powered electric generating plants account for about one-half of the atmospheric mercury. Mercury dental fillings are suggested to be a cause of toxicity in some people.

What Can We Do?

We need to recognize that the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of man are inseparably linked together, that physical sickness is not limited to physical issues alone, and that mental illness is not limited to simply poor thinking or to a lack of spiritual perception. A person with a vitamin deficiency may be depressed and think that he or she is simply not praying enough or submitting to the Lord enough, and that may not be true.

If we are sick, we may claim the promise of James 1:5 for wisdom to first understand the nature of our problem and then to seek for solid answers in how to solve the problem.

The most basic place to begin is with the eight basic principles of health:

Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. (White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 127)

Knowing how to apply these principles specifically to our needs is vital, for one size does not fix all. What may be considered a proper diet for some does not work for others. Some people can thrive on wheat products that contain gluten, while others find gluten a poison. This is why knowing our own system is so vital.

If you are or have been physically or mentally sick for a long time, first seek the Lord for wisdom and healing, but also remember that it is a part of God’s plan to use competent physicians who have a broad knowledge of health and physiology. Ellen White wrote to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, stating:

As you looked to God in your critical operations, angels of God were standing by your side, and their hands were seen as your hand performing the work with an accuracy that made the beholders surprised.—Letter 73, 1899 (Ellen White, Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 285)

If you are helping other people, there is an important rule that must be considered. As former President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” People need to be cared about; people need to be loved, but even if the world seems shut out from us, let us remember we may cast all our cares upon God because “he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God cared so much that he gave his only begotten Son, so that we might not perish but have eternal life. (See John 3:16.) Surely these are good words that, if taken to heart, will energize and revitalize the entire being!  Allen Stump


Report from Kenya

Dear Beloved Pastor Allen,

I greet you again in the name of our loving Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. I am doing well, and my family is also fine. Our boy turned one year on 12th this month, but I was away.

Family

Mary, Allen, Ben, and Sylvia Otieno

About my trip to Eldored: I just returned home yesterday (Wednesday) in the evening from Eldored. When I was there, I was unable to communicate because I never went to any cybercafe for Internet. My schedule was tight, and I was only able to communicate through my phone, which has no Internet connection, but I was in two areas. One place is called “Road Block” and another place is called “Tire Mbili” or “Two Tires.” Those are well-known places outside the center of Eldoret.

The mission went well, as was planned. I arrived there on Monday at nine in the morning and began the first meeting at eleven. These meetings took place in compounds and not in churches, as I thought. The first meeting and all Wednesday meetings took place in a compound of Brother David, and it ended at lunch time. In this first meeting I shared with them about the two Adams. From this study we saw that the first Adam gave life to all, but after sin he could only pass on a fallen nature to mankind. But the last Adam is a life-giving spirit. In Adam, all die physically, what we have received will all die, but in Christ, all will be made alive. We receive this life of Christ by the new birth. This birth is by faith. It’s faith that brings us into the kingdom of Christ. It’s faith that gives us this new life.

We need to die daily to allow Christ, the last Adam, to live and us to die. We need to carry our cross daily, when we deny ourselves and those sins that would separate us from him. We must surrender our will to God because it’s when we choose to place our life into the hands of God, to be molded and fashioned as he will, that our will is sanctified because it’s through this vital connection with Christ, that we can live that victorious Christian life. We have a choice to make.

After this study, three ladies gave their lives to Christ and five other people renewed their salvation. I prayed for them and promised to make several visits to nurture them in the Lord. There were twenty adults and four children attending this meeting.

After lunch we had another meeting at sister Rosebella’s house. The house was large enough for all of us. This meeting started at three in the evening and I talked for one and half hours and then introduced a DVD. This meeting was attended by four pastors from different Sunday churches. In total, seventeen people attended this evening meeting. They were all adults. I shared with them, “Are We on the Right Path?” After the talk, many admitted that they have been blinded by the traditions in their churches and that they now need to start following the path of the truth. This happened after I mentioned several doctrines that churches teach today, doctrines such as the trinity, the immortal soul, and false understanding about the role of the Ten Commandments. And it was a perfect time to introduce the DVD study, “The Roots of the Trinity”

After watching the DVD, they requested if they can burn copies so that they can watch in their houses. I carried with me three copies of “The Spirit of Antichrist,” “The God of the Bible,” “The Love of God,” “The Holy Spirit,” and “The Roots of the Trinity.” They are all from the series “The Good News About God.” I also carried three copies of “Crime of All Ages” from “Total Onslaught Series” to help people know the truth about the Sabbath.

Meeting with Sunday Church

Meeting with a Sunday church group

On Tuesday I worked with youth in the compound of a friend named Abraham Mlimo. He is a friend in Christ who, together with David, who hosted me, brought youth together. They were twenty-three total, all men from fifteen to twenty-three years old of age. We got this number because public schools were closed due to the teachers being on strike, demanding for a better pay. As you know, this age group is an age where they must be sure that they are moving towards manhood in the right way and to make sure that their day counted not only for themselves, but for God. I advised them to be addicted to the word of God because when people reject God, they struggle in vain to fill that black hole with some other obsession.

We must be filled with the mind which is in Jesus because when God is not the center of our lives we will desperately seek to fill that vacuum with something else. After advising them and sharing with them about Jesus and the hope we have in him when we believe in his name, seven youths raised their hands to receive Christ in their lives. I made several photocopies of the study about “The Two Adams” and gave them five copies so that those who have money can photocopy so that they, too, can have their own copies. The study I gave to them is called “Written To Young Men.”

Tuesday after lunch we met again at David’s compound and shared with them the study “Are We on The Right Path?” Five new people attended this meeting, and there were twenty-five adults, both men, women, and some children. After finishing this study, questions were raised by those who attended, and we answered these questions from the Bible. We closed at 5:20 pm because the ladies wanted to go home to prepare food for their children so that they could then come back for further answers concerning the question which was asked about the Holy Spirit by one pastor and because I already mentioned that I have several DVDs with very good teachings, nine men decided to come back. These nine brothers wanted to learn more about why I oppose the trinitarian doctrine.

Dear beloved, you understand how today people are worshiping a being that does not exist. And what does the Bible call that? Idolatry! False worship! No concept of God that is untrue can glorify God.

By 7:30 pm all who were able to make it were present. I began by noting that if they wanted to learn about this topic, they must have a good foundation so that they all will be able to understand in depth about the truth concerning God. They all agreed, and I requested them to come even the following day so that we can finish the study about this topic. That night I showed them “The Roots of the Trinity.” After that presentation, I shared a small talk about the subject, and we finished at 9:30 pm. We agreed to meet the following day to study about God and to show them the DVD entitled “The God of the Bible.”

On Wednesday they started arriving at 9:00 am and by 9:45 am, sixteen were present. We started, and I began by reviewing for them what we learned the night before. Then I started showing them “The God of the Bible.” We finished, and they went for lunch. David’s wife prepared a meal, and we enjoyed waiting for brothers to come from lunch.

Riding Bike

Transportation is interesting at times

After lunch all seventeen people came back, and we continued with the last DVD of that day. This time I showed them “The Holy Spirit.” When I finished I asked every person whether they still believed in the trinity. They all said “NO.” We prayed, and they all repented of their sins. I gave them the remaining copies so that they can make copies for themselves. I promised to visit them regularly to nurture them in the true foundation. If God will continue to open ways, I will be visiting them to teach them many things. I encouraged them to continue in the truth rather than the customs and tradition of men.

Thank you dear beloved brother in Christ. Thank you for your continual prayers. Sometimes my sentences are not perfect and, therefore, I urge you to bear with me. Today, Thursday, I am at home resting, and I will resume door-to-door and other group meetings tomorrow. Always remember us in your prayers. God bless you.

Kind Regards,Your Servant in Christ,

Benard Owino Otieno



 

Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, 750 Smyrna Road, 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 site. The url is: http://www.smyrna.org. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.