Friday, July 27, 2018



Leadership is the theme of our lesson this week. We don't have to look too deeply into Scripture, church history, or even probably our personal experience, to discern the critical role that leadership portends for right or for wrong. With almost no exceptions, as the leadership goes, so goes the people. All throughout the Old Testament Jewish monarchy both in Israel and Judah, when the king was rebellious and an idol worshiper, the people largely followed suit.

In New Testament Judaism, the people were largely confined intellectually and experientially by the beliefs and dictates of Sadducees and Pharisees. In the Dark Ages, again, the people were limited by the thinking and proclamations of the clerical leadership.

In our own SDA history, we find frequent counsel regarding the impact for good or for error of leadership.

"Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator-- individuality, power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprise, and who influence character. Instead of educated weaklings, institutions of learning may send forth men strong to think and to act, men who are masters and not slaves of circumstances, men who possess breadth of mind, clearness of thought, and the courage of their convictions." {Ed 17.2}

In our Seventh-day Adventist 1888 history we see the dramatic impact the errors in leadership can have:

"Now, this is the last ministers' meeting we will have unless you wish to meet together yourselves. If the ministers will not receive the light, I want to give the people a chance; perhaps they may receive it." {1888 152.6}. This was the last "up-front" presentation Ellen White gave at the 1888 minister's meeting.

"An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message through Brethren Waggoner and Jones. By exciting that opposition, Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world." {1888 1575.2}

Leadership matters! And lest we be tempted to look at those "others" in leadership as the responsible parties and deem ourselves free and clear, let us remember that leadership includes elders, deacons and deaconesses, SS teachers down to the cradle roll, etc.

The message to Laodicea, as with all the messages to the churches in Rev.2-3, is primarily to leadership. The messages are directed to the "angels" of the churches. Revelation 1:20 says that the seven angels to the churches are the seven stars, and Ellen White says that the stars are the leadership:

"God's ministers are symbolized by the seven stars, which He who is the first and the last has under His special care and protection. The sweet influences that are to be abundant in the church are bound up with these ministers of God, who are to represent the love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under God's control. He fills them with light. He guides and directs their movements. If He did not, they would become fallen stars. So with His ministers. They are but instruments in His hands, and all the good they accomplish is done through His power." {GW 13.3}

So with this foundation regarding the critical role that leadership plays, let's appreciate the qualities that our passage in the Book of Acts brings out in regards to leaders – in this case deacons – of the early church.

"seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom" Acts 6:3
"they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit" Acts 6:5
"Stephen, full of faith and power" Acts 6:8
In a similar vein, notice Peter's description of the qualities of Biblical leadership:

"Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;" 1Pet.5:2-3

So what do we see? Good reputation - full of Holy Spirit, wisdom, faith, power – leading not by compulsion – not leading for selfish reasons but with eagerness – not "lording" your position over others – being an example! I wonder how often these traits are the foundation of the discussion at nominating committee? In simplified form – full of faith and wisdom and the Holy Spirit, humble. Sometimes these are hard to quantify. But can we know it when we see it?

Stephen had these qualities. Stephen, when brought before a body of accusers with whom he shared common heritage, demonstrated his wisdom by reviewing their history as a people. Good leadership necessitates a knowledge of denominational history – and its meaning! Remember Moses, a leader who was described as a friend of God, also reviewed denominational history for the people. Whatever our leadership position, remember:

"The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. In reviewing our past history, having travelled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as Leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history. We are now a strong people, if we will put our trust in the Lord; for we are handling the mighty truths of the word of God. We have everything to be thankful for. " {GCDB, January 29, 1893 par. 8}

The greatest trait of leadership that we see in Stephen's life is manifested at the end of his life. The ultimate manifestation of leadership is following the example of Christ. At the end of Christ's life, as Jesus was being crucified, He had this to say about those who had positioned themselves as His enemies:

"Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Lk.23:34

Stephen said:
"Then (Stephen) knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:60

The ultimate manifestation of quality leadership, is the sacrifice of self – the giving of self – for the uplifting and salvation and benefit of others – even your enemies. Stephen was "leading" his enemies to repentance as surely as Jesus on Calvary was "leading" His enemies to repentance. It is the goodness of God – whether in God or Jesus or us – that "leads" to repentance. Stephen was leading, as all of us as leaders ought to – by giving ourselves for others. That is true leadership. That is how God leads the universe. That is how His true followers will "lead".

May God give us the power to lead by sacrifice and service that we can lead and be led to repentance.

-Bob Hunsaker

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Friday, July 20, 2018


JULY 21, 2018

As we look back at the early church, there are many valuable lessons for God’s last day church today as we look forward to Christ’s second coming.
First, we need to recall that, following Christ’s death on the cross, the disciples were in hiding, afraid for their lives and in despair because their Saviour had been put to death.  Despite 3½ years with Jesus, they had not understood His mission on earth or His plan of salvation for mankind.  Jesus had to come back following His resurrection and spend 40 days with them to show them from the Scriptures why He had come, and the depth of God’s infinite love and sacrifice as embodied in His birth, life, death on the cross, and resurrection fulfilling God’s plan of salvation for the human race.  With this true everlasting gospel in their hearts and minds, they were changed men with a burning desire to share this gospel message to the world.  They were on fire for Christ and through His strength, filled with the Holy Spirit, they were fearless and unstoppable in their mission.
Only then, were the disciples able to fulfil the commission Jesus gave them (Mark 16:15): “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
As God’s last day church, this responsibility continues today for as Matthew 24:14 states: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come.”
But God saw that His remnant church needed to see His complete gospel message in order to share it with the world and so in 1888:
“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus.  They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.  All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.”
With this true everlasting gospel in our hearts and minds, God’s last day church will also be changed and will also have the same burning desire as the disciples and the early church had to share this gospel message to the world. With our focus on Christ and Him crucified, relying on His strength, and filled with the Holy Spirit, it will indeed be time for Christ to take us home.
Let’s now take a look at some of the characteristics of the early church, as guidelines for God’s remnant church in these final days of earth’s history.
Let’s look at EGW’s description of the disciples and the early church following Christ’s sharing with them from the Scriptures concerning Himself and His mission:
“Under the training of Christ the disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit.  Under the Spirit’s teaching they received the final qualification, and went forth to their lifework.  No longer were they ignorant and uncultured.  No longer were they a collection of independent units or discordant, conflicting elements.  No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness.  They were of “one accord”, “of one heart and soul.” Acts 2:46; 4:32. Christ filled their thoughts; the advancement of His kingdom was their aim.  In mind and character, they had become like their Master, and men “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13.” (AA pg. 45).
AT Jones addresses this same issue of being “of one mind” and its importance for God’s last day church as well in the following comments:
"LET this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." In the verses previous to this Paul exhorts us to likemindedness. It is not in this epistle alone, but in several others that he presents this subject. Indeed, it is the chief duty of Christians to be of one mind. In 1 Cor. 1:10 it is written: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." In Rom. 15:5, 6 we read: "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And in Phil. 2:2 Paul says: "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. . . . Let each esteem others better than themselves." {April 23, 1885 ATJ, SITI 262.1}
In that last prayer of Jesus, before he went over the brook Cedron into Gethsemane, this was His one great request, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in Me, and I in thee, that they also may be one, even as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." John 17:21-23. Here three times in quick succession the prayer is that all who believe on Him may be one; and twice is expressed the consequence of such unity, "That the world may believe" that He is the Son of God. The great heart of Him who gave his life for the world, yearns for the belief of those for whom He died. A few then believed in Him, and through these is He to be made known to the world, and that the world may believe their testimony they must be united. Burdened with this great argument, He prays with an earnestness only second to that in Gethsemane, that all His followers may be one, that so the world may believe that He was sent of God, and so believing be saved. {April 23, 1885 ATJ, SITI 262.2}
Christ not only prayed thus but He made ample provision for the fulfillment of His prayer. "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." "If ye love Ne, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." "If a man love Me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and We will come unto Him, and make our abode with Him." John 14:15-17, 23. Thus "our fellowship is "formed "with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ." And this is the only possible way in which we can have true fellowship one with another. For if this man has, by the Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Father and with the Son; and if that man has, by the Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Father and with the Son, they must have fellowship one with another, for the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one; and those who have fellowship with these must be one likewise. {April 23, 1885 ATJ, SITI 262.3}
Similarly, EJ Waggoner in the following quote, stresses the importance of God’s true church being of one mind, as well as being humble and loyal to the word of God. Once again, the power source is Christ and Him crucified:
The true church is the body of Christ, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." Eph. 1:22, 23. Therefore we find this exhortation: "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye My joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant." Phil. ii. 2-7. {December 14, 1893 EJW, PTUK 579.11}
It was the mind that Christ had when He was in heaven, that led Him to do that. In heaven He had the spirit to serve, and it only needed that He should take the form of a servant, for men could not look upon Him in His glory. In Him we see in what His church must be. He "went about doing good," living among men as one that served. So, it is said to us, "By love serve one another." Gal. 5:13. This mind can be in men only as they yield themselves to the Word of God, for the word is spirit and life. The prophecy concerning Christ was, "I will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him." Deut. 18:18. And when He came, He took as the rule of His life, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Accordingly, we find that the characteristics of the church at the time when the Spirit of God dwelt in it were humility and loyalty to the word of God. "They were all with one accord in one place." Acts 2:1. "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." Acts 4:32. Their prayer was that with boldness they might speak the word. Verse 29. When they were dispersed from Jerusalem, they "went everywhere preaching the word.' Acts 8:4. {December 14, 1893 EJW, PTUK 579.12}
As we look at the deteriorating situation in the world around us, these are indeed perilous times for God’s last day church but we can derive encouragement from the experience of the early church and their source of strength, Jesus Christ, as we can see in this quote from AT Jones:
"Jesus is as willing to impart courage and grace to His followers today as He was to the disciples of the early church…..
The disciples and apostles of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His inexhaustible wealth. Thus, strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not in the service of their Master." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 166.15}
What an equipment that is, though! Think of that equipment! Strength, wisdom, righteousness, wealth! Those are the very things that we need in the face of the things that are against us, for we cannot make any calculations upon any power of earth nor reputation that men will give nor upon any wealth that this world might furnish or any considerations of it or of life. So here are almost the very things enumerated that we considered in a previous lesson. {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 166.16}
But how was it that they obtained strength? By acknowledging their weakness, confessing their weakness. How did they get wisdom? By confessing their ignorance. How did they get righteousness? By confessing their unworthiness. How did they get wealth, inexhaustible wealth? By confessing their poverty. {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.1}
Now then that is the situation in which we are to be: inefficient, ignorant, poor, unworthy, and blind. Is not that just what the Laodicean message tells us--that we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked and do not know it? Someone was reading that the other day and he touched upon that word "blindness," and immediately my mind ran to the ninth chapter of John and the last verse. All turn to that, if you will. John 9:41. It is at the end of the account of that man's healing from the blindness and restoration of sight to the man that had been born blind. What does that verse say? {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.2}
"Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remaineth." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.3}
When Jesus tells you and me we are blind, the thing for us to do is to say, "Lord, we are blind." He told those folks they were blind and they were blind, but they said it was not so. It was so. If they had confessed their blindness they would have seen God in that man's healing from his blindness. Well, then, brethren, the thing for us to do is to come square up to that Laodicean message and say that every word He says is so. When He says you and I are wretched, tell Him, "It is so, I am wretched; miserable; it is so, I am miserable; poor, it is so; I am poor, a perfect beggar, I shall never be anything else in the world; blind, I am blind, and shall never be anything else; naked, that is so; and I do not know it; that is so, too. I do not know it at all, as I ought to know it." And then I will say to him every day and every hour, "Lord, that is all so. But, oh, instead of my wretchedness, give me thine own satisfaction. Instead of my misery, give me thine own comfort. Instead of my poverty, supply all thine own riches. Instead of my blindness, be thou my sight. Instead of my nakedness, oh, do thou clothe me with thine own righteousness. And what I know not, Lord, teach thou me." [Congregation: "Amen."] {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.4}
Brethren, when we come with one heart and one mind to that place, we shall have no difficulty at all in repenting. It will not be difficult to repent and there will be no lack of repentance. That next verse will be fulfilled: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.5}
The difficulty about our not being able to repent is that we have not confessed that what the Lord has told us is the truth. When I know that I am wretched then I know that I need something that will satisfy me. And I know that nothing but the Lord can give that, and I depend upon nothing but Him to give it. And if I have not Him, why it is only wretchedness. Any moment that I have not Him it is only wretchedness, and any moment that I have not His comfort it is only misery. Any moment that I have not absolute dependence upon His unsearchable riches--the unsearchable riches of Christ--I am utterly poor, a complete beggar. And every moment that I do not see and confess that I am blind and have Him as my sight, I am in sin. He says so.” {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.6}
So, we can see clearly from this statement that the early church had the solution for our Laodicean condition.  This is indeed good news for God’s last day church. As EGW says in Acts of the Apostles (pg. 57):
“The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth.  Thus, strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master.”
Similarly, in Acts of the Apostles (pg.77), we read as follows: “It was the cross, that instrument of shame and torture, which brought hope and salvation to the world.  The disciples were but humble men, without wealth, and with no weapon but the word of God, yet in Christ’s strength they went forth to tell the wonderful story of the manger and the cross, and to triumph over all opposition.  Without earthly honor or recognition, they were heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence that shook the world.”
And so, in closing, may it be our prayer, that through His strength, God may use us to share to the world this most precious message, His true everlasting gospel, that will once again shake the world so that Christ may soon come to claim His bride and take us home!
Blessings, John and Monica.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


JULY 7, 2018

Yesterday as I traversed the highways of Northern California my attention was riveted to a billowing mushroom cloud produced by a wildfire in the mountains west of the freeway. I snapped photos with my phone to share with my family. Winds propelled smoke over San Francisco causing the sky to turn brown. News reports carried the story of a fast-growing wildfire fueled by high winds and high temperatures. In California, sometimes it seems we have only two seasons, winter and fire.

Wildfires aside, the point I wish to make is that we naturally testify to what we have seen and experienced. It isn't hard or awkward. It's natural.

When Jesus ascended into the clouds from the mount of Olivet, the disciples and 500 or so friends gathered there that day were astonished. Aside from seeing Elijah taken up in a fiery chariot, had anyone ever witnessed someone rising from the earth unaided by mechanical means? More than that, the disciples had spent the past three and one half years with Jesus. After the events of the cross and resurrection, their eyes were opened to the true import of His mission on earth. Now they were gazing into heaven, stunned as it were, when two angels brought their attention back to earth:

"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" Acts 1:11.

Jesus' last words to His disciples were these: "And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" Acts 1:8.

As witnesses for Christ, the disciples would be the means of communicating the gospel to the world. They could not help but tell what they had seen and heard. The Gift of heaven had been received into their hearts and it was promptly shared with the world.

Our Sabbath School lesson this week introduces the book of Acts, which will be the topic of our study for the next quarter. As we review the story of the early apostolic church, as we experience in our imaginations what it must have been like to see Jesus taken into heaven and to converse with angels, please join me in praying that God will restore the vividness of that gospel story to our minds. Even though we did not have the privilege of walking and talking with Jesus while He was here in this world, we do have access to the most precious message of Jesus Christ and His righteousness which brings this narrative home to our hearts. By the grace of God it can be as real as though we had witnessed His ascension yesterday.

When we see the beauty of Jesus in a new, richer and deeper way, it will be natural to share what we have seen and heard.

The General Conference Bulletin of 1897 gives a brief report of how this message impacted those in attendance at the meetings that year. From this report we read:

"THE last Sabbath of the Conference was in many respects a most remarkable day. That which made it so was the presence of the power and blessing of God in unusual measure. There was nothing unusual in the form of services. There was no special effort made to create any extraordinary impressions. All felt that the occasion was one of peculiar interest and solemnity; but there was throughout the day a calm and quiet spirit. The discourse on the eve of the Sabbath was by A. T. Jones on the theme of Coming out of Egyptian Bondage. 'Out of Egypt have I called my Son.' This declaration was applied as a general principle, and was traced through the Scriptures with clearness, the Holy Spirit witnessing to the truths with power. On the following morning the Sabbath-schools were well attended, and characterized with much interest. The forenoon discourse was by Elder Waggoner, on the subject of Witnesses for God. The basic scripture was Acts 1:4-8; the essential words, 'Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me.' In reference to the Judgment it was shown that not only have we a case pending there, but that God is on trial also. He has placed the vindication of his character in the hands of his children. Isaiah forty-three was brought out, in which the Lord appoints his children his witnesses. The fact that God has, as it were, risked his reputation or character in our hands, and that we are in our lives to bear witness to his goodness and justice, was dwelt upon at some length.
{March 8, 1897 N/A, GCDB 319.19}

"No outline of the discourse can give any idea of the spirit that came upon the meeting as the speaker proceeded. No appeal was made to the feelings of the audience, but at the close of the sermon many were in tears, and after the dismissal the people lingered weeping in silent and inexpressible gratitude and awe at the wonderful grace of God. It was not an occasion for words, for no words could give expression to the deep feelings of the heart. Never have we seen such a manifestation of the subduing power of the Holy Spirit."
{March 8, 1897 N/A, GCDB 319.20}

Does your heart long to experience this subduing power of the Holy Spirit? It can and will happen as we open the curtains of our heart heavenward.

"One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct, and lays bare the deformity and defects of the human character. It makes apparent the unhallowed desires, the infidelity of the heart, the impurity of the lips. The sinner's acts of disloyalty in making voice the law of God, are exposed to his sight, and his spirit is stricken and afflicted under the searching influence of the Spirit of God.

"The tears of the penitent are only the raindrops that preceded the sunshine of holiness. This sorrow heralds a joy which will be a living fountain in the soul. 'Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou has transgressed against the Lord thy God'; 'and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord.' Jer. 3:13, 12. 'Unto them that mourn in Zion,' He has appointed to give 'beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness' " (The Faith I Live By, p. 127).

~Patti Guthrie

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Waiting for the Wedding-Michael Duncan




JULY 14, 2018


"The Camp Meeting. Church Government" The Topeka Daily Capital, 11, 113, p. 4.

by A. T. Jones
May 12, 1889

Mrs. White being unable to speak, Elder A.T. Jones continued his sermons on "church government." Beginning at 1 Corinthians 14:11-25, when it is shown that the church at Corinth seemed to more earnestly desire the gift of tongues than any other; so Paul tells them rather to desire prophecy, because an unknown tongue was a sign to unbelievers, while prophesying was for edification of the church, speaking in tongues being of no profit to the hearers unless interpreted. Now read verses 26 and onward. Here we have the direction to keep silent if one has the gift of tongues and there be no interpreter. Then what is the use of the gift if it requires the two to make the gift available? Why not let the interpreter tell it at once? Because, verse 22, it is for a sign to unbelievers. Now, if all spoke with tongues the unbelievers would think all were lunatics, but if one prophecy his inmost secrets maybe revealed and he be convicted and repent. For an unbeliever to hear his neighbor whom he knows gets up and talks in an unknown tongue, and another of his neighbors arise and explains his words he is forced to realize there is some high power exercising all. This I introduce to show you how the gifts work together. Now, verse 27, 28 and onward—ye are members of the body and God has set them in the body as he pleases, illustrating the church and its members under the figure of the body, and has set the members not to please them, but to please himself. Therefore if you and I try to set the members in the church as it suits us, will it be likely to do good work as it would if we let God do it? If all are controlled by the Lord will my actions please him if I take out of his hands the control of the members? How has God set the members; apostles, prophets, teachers, after that miracles, helps, governments, diversity of tongues. The gift of teaching then is not to be counted as one of the least, standing third in the list and before miracles, so then it is a greater thing to instruct others in the word of God than it is to work miracles. {May 12, 1889 ATJ, TDC 4.8}

Now turn to Romans 12:6-8 and read of other gifts that are compliments to each other. One may have the faculty of teaching, yet he may not be able to exhort which another does possess without the ability to teach. They working together are a help to one another. God could and would bless each separately, but united they would become a power. That being so then there never ought to be room in the church of Christ for jealousy or envy. Paul carries these things further, 1 Corinthians 12:31. But he says "covet earnestly the best gifts." Is not that then a commandment of the Lord? Are we doing it? If not why not? Read also 14:1, desire spiritual gifts; also chapter 12:1, who would not leave you ignorant—Christ. Are we ignorant? Do we study spiritual gifts? If we do not believe in them we shall be ignorant of them, because faith must always go before knowledge. If we believe, desire follows, and what next: covet earnestly the best gifts." "Yet show I you a more excellent way." {May 12, 1889 ATJ, TDC 4.9}

Suppose we could get all these gifts by desiring them, what good would it do us? None whatever. If a company in this place could speak with the tongues of angels and had all the other gifts, and had all benevolence and faith, they would be worthless. If then we could obtain all these gifts simply by coveting them they would be profitless without the love of God in the heart shed abroad by faith in Jesus Christ, we would be a tinkling cymbal. How then do we obtain them that they may be a benefit to us? By getting the love of God. If given to us because we want them simply, we would not appreciate them and use them to the honor and glory of God. What then is charity and what does it do? "Charity suffereth long, and is kind." Will suffer and be kind while it continues, will not rebel or lose temper. If we are wrongly accused ought we to be glad that it is not true, and thank God that it is not? 1 Peter 2:19-23. It is no glory if we be corrected for our faults and submit, but if we exercise patience under wrong reproach then God is pleased with us, that is acceptable with God. That is the grace of God, which enables us to bear it. One who is in the right can afford to wait and will never lose by doing it. Christ is an example of this to us…That was Christ's method and He was the embodiment of charity. Charity envieth not. Envy means; to see against, to look askance at pain, uneasiness or discontent excited by anther's superiority or success, accompanied generally with a desire to see him unsuccessful. So then whoever envies another confesses his own unworthiness. Have we had such feelings? Very well, that is envy and not charity. {May 12, 1889 ATJ, TDC 4.10}

~Patti Guthrie

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