Present Advantages and Future Benefits, November 15
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2. TDG 328.1
We should ever cherish feelings of gratitude to those who have shown us favors in times of need. But these feelings that are so readily called into exercise by the kindness and disinterestedness of our friends should respond to the love and compassion of our benevolent heavenly Friend…. The friendship expressed by nearest and dearest relatives and friends is so far surpassed by the revelation of Jesus Christ that the former is dumb and expressionless when compared with the latter. It is natural that the heart should entertain sentiments of the warmest affection toward those who have done or suffered something for us. TDG 328.2
Let me lead you to the scene of the crucifixion and show you the Son of God dying in your stead. Will not the spectacle of the cross of Christ awaken every feeling of gratitude? Will it not sweep away the coldness and indifference which steels the senses to the great sacrifice made in our behalf? … TDG 328.3
Satan, the adversary of souls, is constantly at work with his devices and enchantments, stealing away the senses and deadening the feelings to our highest interest. To all the little matters of life the affections are given free play, but in eternal interest the affections are trammeled, bound as by magical cords…. TDG 328.4
There are so many who endure privation and pursue at considerable sacrifice a course which promises advantages in the future. They forego present comfort for a future inducement as an equivalent, but here Jesus presents eternal life as the reward of obedience, and if paltry things of earthly gain will be sacrificed for some future good, how much more should ease, pleasure, and present worldly advantages be sacrificed for the incomparable riches and glory of the future immortal life. Let not the sorcery of earthly enchantments steal the affections from God and harden the heart to eternal interest. Look at the things that are unseen. Enshrine Jesus in the heart. Love Him with your whole soul.—Letter 15a, November 15, 1871, to Edson and Emma White. Edson was 22 and Emma was 23. TDG 328.5
Our Refuge and Strength, November 16
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…. The Lord of hosts is with us. Psalm 46:1-11. TDG 329.1
Faith is not the ground of our salvation, but it is the great blessing—the eye that sees, the ear that hears, the feet that run, the hand that grasps. It is the means, not the end…. TDG 329.2
We have every encouragement that, if we daily surrender our wills to God, the promise will be fulfilled, “And of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Every revealing of the grace of Christ in our behalf is for us. We are to reveal His grace in our lives, in thought, word, and deed. Let us not lose our opportunity to speak and act Christ Jesus. We are to represent the mercy, the love, and the power of Christ—the power that He has given us…. TDG 329.3
Were it not for the power received through Christ, we would have no strength. But Christ has all power. “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20). TDG 329.4
Here is our power, our comfort. Of ourselves, we have no strength. But He says, “I am with you alway,” helping you to perform your duty, guiding, comforting, sanctifying, and sustaining you, giving you success in speaking words that will draw the attention of others to Christ, and awaken in their minds the desire to understand the hope and meaning of the truth, turning them from darkness to light and from the power of sin to God. TDG 329.5
It is a wonderful thought that human beings can speak the Word of God, in simple words of comfort and encouragement. The humblest instruments will be used of God to sow the seeds of truth, which may spring up and bear fruit, because the one in whose heart they were sown needed help—a kind thought, a kind word, made effective by the One who has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—Letter 329a, November 16, 1905, to her 19-year-old granddaughter Mabel.
Our Special Work, November 17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17. TDG 330.1
The Lord has given His church a special work of personal service to do. God could have sent angels to work for the reformation of man, but He did not do this. Humanity must touch humanity…. TDG 330.2
Christ’s commission is to be received and acted upon. We are to go forth in faith, with earnest prayer for the presence of One who has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). With the promise of such companionship, we are guilty of great unbelief and disobedience if we refuse to take up the cross of self-denial and self-sacrifice…. As we communicate the light that has found entrance to our souls, the Holy Spirit gives increased light, and our hearts are filled with the precious joy of the Lord…. TDG 330.3
We have a crucified, risen Saviour to present to the people. All who have come to Jesus for pardon have found Him ever ready to take their sins, and to impute His righteousness to them. He who has come to Christ and has been truly converted will have a longing to save the souls that are out of Christ. He who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself cannot rest content with doing nothing…. TDG 330.4
God will use humble men as His instruments. Even though they have but one talent, if they trade upon it, it will increase. The great fault in the church is that the work of saving souls is so limited, that the advancement of the kingdom of God is slow. A backslidden church is the sure result of a selfish church, a church that does not use her talents in the work of cooperating with Jesus to restore the moral image of God in man. We are to minister to every creature. A responsibility is laid upon us to work for all, our friends, our acquaintances, those that are bound up with the world and alienated from God. The apparently amiable and agreeable are to come into the sphere of our labors. The truth is for them as much as for us, and we must say, “Come.”—Manuscript 123, November 17, 1897, “Christ’s Commission.”
God Loves the Beautiful, November 18
Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40.
God is not glorified by those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light being untidy, careless, and slovenly. We want to copy the heavenly Pattern as far as order and neatness are concerned, and, if heaven is desirable and attractive, I want that my premises shall be attractive in their simplicity and order. We all need to consider that thoroughness, neatness, and order should prevail among those who love and fear God, for in this we are recommending our faith.
We are making an impression upon the beholders. Our connection with God will increase our desire to be cleanly in our houses and about our premises. Fruit trees, ornamental trees, and flowers cultivated about our dwellings, pay in more ways than one.
The Lord is a lover of the beautiful, for He has made the lofty trees, the spears of grass, the beautiful shrubs, the delicate flowers, and all these have a softening, subduing influence upon the beholder, and, as their senses are charmed, they are involuntarily drawn from nature to nature’s God. If the Lord is mindful of us in giving us this expression of His love in the variety of beautiful flowers growing in their natural loveliness, shall we not be grateful to Him? Shall we not do just as Jesus told us to do, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28, 29). Here the Lord contrasts the artificial with the natural….
I expend wisely some means to have God’s precious things in my sight and to have everything healthful about my premises. I do this that all may see we do not, because of our faith, descend to commonness, and become lax and loose and untidy….
Let all see that, because you believe the Lord is coming, you are preparing for a pure and holy heaven by being pure and cleanly and holy here. Then you will be at home when called to the holy mansions above. What saith the Lord to us through His inspired apostle? “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him” (1 Peter 2:9).—Manuscript 28, November 18, 1889, “A Significant Dream.”