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Birthday

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Quotation from Spirit of Prophecy

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Birthday

  1. 1. Birthday Counsel onsteward Satan's suggestions are carried out in many, many things. Our birthday anniversaries and Christmas and Thanksgiving festivals are too often devoted to selfish gratification, when the mind should be directed to the mercy and loving-kindness of God. God is displeased that His goodness, His constant care, His unceasing love, are not brought to mind on these anniversary occasions. {CS 295.2} If all the money that is used extravagantly, for needless things, were placed in the treasury of God, we should see men and women and youth giving themselves to Jesus, and doing their part to cooperate with Christ and angels. The richest blessing of God would come into our churches, and many souls would be converted to the truth.--R. & H., Dec. 23, 1890. {CS 295.3} Parents are to bring up and educate and train their children in habits of self-control and self- denial. They are ever to keep before them their obligation to obey the word of God and to live for the purpose of serving Jesus. They are to educate their children that there is need of living in accordance with simple habits in their daily life, and to avoid expensive dress, expensive diet, expensive houses, and expensive furniture. The terms upon which eternal life will be ours are set forth in these words, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; . . . and thy neighbor as thyself." {CS 295.4} Parents have not taught their children the precepts of the law as God has commanded them. They have educated them in selfish habits. They have taught them to regard their birthdays and holidays as occasions when they expect to receive gifts, and to follow the habits and customs of the world. These occasions, which should serve to increase the knowledge of God and to awaken thankfulness of heart for His mercy and love in preserving their lives for another year, are turned into occasions for self-pleasing, for the gratification and glorification of the children. They have been kept by the power of God through every moment of their life, and yet parents do not teach their children to think of this, and to express thanksgiving for His mercy toward them. {CS 296.1} If children and youth had been properly instructed in this age of the world, what honor, what praise and thanksgiving, would flow from their lips to God! What a revenue of small gifts would be brought from the hands of the little ones to be put into His treasury as thank offerings! God would be remembered instead of forgotten. {CS 296.2} Not only on birthdays should parents and children remember the mercies of the Lord in a special way, but Christmas and New Year's should also be seasons when every household should remember their Creator and Redeemer. Instead of bestowing gifts and offerings in such abundance on human objects, reverence, honor, and gratitude should be rendered to God, and gifts and offerings should be caused to flow in the divine channel. Would not the Lord be pleased with such a remembrance of Him? O how God has been forgotten on these occasions! . . . {CS 296.3} When you have a holiday, make it a pleasant and happy day for your children, and make it also a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted. Do not let the day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank offerings to Jesus. Let parents and children now make earnest effort to redeem the time, and to remedy their past neglect. Let them follow a different course of
  2. 2. action from that which the world follows. {CS 297.1} There are many things which can be devised with taste and cost far less than the unnecessary presents that are so frequently bestowed upon our children and relatives, and thus courtesy can be shown, and happiness brought into the home. You can teach your children a lesson while you explain to them the reason why you have made a change in the value of their presents, telling them that you are convinced that you have hitherto considered their pleasure more than the glory of God. Tell them that you have thought more of your own pleasure and of their gratification and of keeping in harmony with the customs and traditions of the world, in making presents to those who did not need them, than you have of advancing the cause of God. {CS 297.2} Like the wise men of old, you may offer to God your best gifts, and show by your offerings to Him that you appreciate His Gift to a sinful world. Set your children's thoughts running in a new, unselfish channel, by inciting them to present offerings to God for the gift of His only- begotten Son.--R. & H., Nov. 13, 1894. {CS 297.3} Desire of Ages Herodias knew that by direct measures she could never win Herod's consent to the death of John, and she resolved to accomplish her purpose by stratagem. On the king's birthday an entertainment was to be givento the officers of state and the nobles of the court. There would be feasting and drunkenness. Herod would thus be thrown off his guard, and might then be influenced according to her will. {DA 221.1} 2T 38 - A Birthday Letter My Dear Son: I write this for your nineteenth birthday. It has been a pleasure to have you with us a few weeks in the past. You are about to leave us, yet our prayers shall follow you. {2T 261.2} Another year of your life closes today. How can you look back upon it? Have you made advancement in the divine life? Have you increased in spirituality? Have you crucified self, with the affections and lusts? Have you an increased interest in the study of God's word? Have you gained decided victories over your own failings and waywardness? Oh, what has been the record of your life for the year which has now passed into eternity, never to be recalled? {2T 261.3} As you enter upon a new year, let it be with an earnest resolve to have your course onward and upward. Let your life be more elevated and exalted than it has hitherto been. Make it your aim not to seek your own interest and pleasure, but to advance the cause of your Redeemer. Remain not in a position where you ever need help yourself, and where others have to guard you to keep you in the narrow way. You may be strong to exert a sanctifying influence upon others. You may be where your soul's interest will be awakened to do good to others, to comfort the sorrowful, strengthen the weak, and to bear your testimony for Christ whenever opportunity offers. Aim to honor God in everything, always and everywhere. Carry your religion into everything. Be thorough in whatever you undertake. {2T 261.4}
  3. 3. You have not experienced the saving power of God as it is your privilege, because you have not made it the great aim of your life to glorify Christ. Let every purpose you form, every work in which you engage, and every pleasure you enjoy, be to the glory of God. Let this be the language of your heart: I am thine, O God, to live for Thee, to work for Thee, and to suffer for Thee. {2T 262.1} Many profess to be on the Lord's side, but they are not; the weight of all their actions is on Satan's side. By what means shall we determine whose side we are on? Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Upon whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are on the Lord's side, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. We have no friendship with the world; we have consecrated all that we have and are to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His Spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things. {2T 262.2} You should pursue so decided a course that none need to be mistaken in you. You cannot exert an influence upon the world without decision. Your resolutions may be good and sincere, but they will prove a failure unless you make God your strength and move forward with a firm determination of purpose. You should throw your whole heart into the cause and work of God. You should be in earnest to obtain an experience in the Christian life. You should exemplify Christ in your life. {2T 262.3} You cannot serve God and mammon. You are either wholly on the Lord's side or on the side of the enemy. "He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad." Some persons make their religious life a failure because they are always wavering and do not have determination. They are frequently convicted and come almost up to the point of surrendering all for God; but, failing to meet the point, they fall back again. While in this state the conscience is hardening and becoming less and less susceptible to the impressions of the Spirit of God. His Spirit has warned, has convicted, and has been disregarded, until it is nearly grieved away. God will not be trifled with. He shows duty clearly, and if there is a neglect to follow the light, it becomes darkness. {2T 263.1} God bids you become a worker with Him in His vineyard. Commence just where you are. Come to the cross and there renounce self, the world, and every idol. Take Jesus into your heart fully. You are in a hard place to preserve consecration and to exert an influence which shall lead others from sin and pleasure and folly to the narrow way, cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. {2T 263.2} Make an entire surrender to God; yield up everything unreservedly, and thus seek for that peace which passes understanding. You cannot draw nourishment from Christ unless you are in Him. If not in Him, you are a branch that is withered. You do not feel your want of purity and true holiness. You should feel an earnest desire for the Holy Spirit and should pray earnestly to obtain it. You cannot expect the blessing of God without seeking for it. If you used the means withinyour reach you would experience a growth in grace and would rise to a higher life. {2T 263.3} It is not natural for you to love spiritual things; but you can acquire that love by exercising your mind, the strength of your being, in that direction. The power of doing is what you need. True education is the power of using our faculties so as to achieve beneficial results. Why is it that religion occupies so little of our attention,
  4. 4. while the world has the strength of brain, bone, and muscle? It is because the whole force of our being is bent in that direction. We have trained ourselves to engage with earnestness and power in worldly business, until it is easy for the mind to take that turn. This is why Christians find a religious life so hard and a worldly life so easy. The faculties have been trained to exert their force in that direction. In religious life there has been an assent to the truths of God's word, but not a practical illustration of them in the life. {2T 263.4} To cultivate religious thoughts and devotional feelings is not made a part of education. These should influence and control the entire being. The habit of doing right is wanting. There is spasmodic action under favorable influences, but to think naturally and readily upon divine things is not the ruling principle of the mind. {2T 264.1} There is no need of being spiritual dwarfs if the mind is continually exercised in spiritual things. But merely praying for this, and about this, will not meet the necessities of the case. You must habituate the mind to concentration upon spiritual things. Exercise will bring strength. Many professed Christians are in a fair way to lose both worlds. To be half a Christian and half a worldly man makes you about one- hundredth part a Christian and all the rest worldly. {2T 264.2} Spiritual living is what God requires, yet thousands are crying out: "I don't know what is the matter; I have no spiritual strength, I do not enjoy the Spirit of God." Yet the same ones will become active and talkative, and even eloquent, when talking upon worldly matters. Listen to such ones in meeting. About a dozen words are spoken in hardly an audible voice. They are men and women of the world. They have cultivated worldly propensities until their faculties have become strong in that direction. Yet they are as weak as babes in regard to spiritual things, when they should be strong and intelligent. They do not love to dwell upon the mystery of godliness. They know not the language of heaven and are not educating their minds so as to be prepared to sing the songs of heaven or to delight in the spiritual exercises which will there engage the attention of all. {2T 264.3} Professed Christians, worldly Christians, are unacquainted with heavenly things. They will never be brought to the gates of the New Jerusalem to engage in exercises which have not hitherto specially interested them. They have not trained their minds to delight in devotionand in meditation upon things of God and heaven. How, then, can they engage in the services of heaven? how delight in the spiritual, the pure, the holy in heaven, when it was not a special delight to them upon earth? The very atmosphere there will be purity itself. But they are unacquainted with it all. When in the world, pursuing their worldly vocations, they knew just where to take hold and just what to do. The lower order of faculties being in so constant exercise, grew, while the higher, nobler powers of the mind, not being strengthened by use, are incapable of awaking at once to spiritual exercises. Spiritual things are not discerned, because they are viewed with world-loving eyes, which cannot estimate the value and glory of the divine above the temporal. {2T 265.1} The mind must be educated and disciplined to love purity. A love for spiritual things should be encouraged; yea, must be encouraged, if you would grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Desires for goodness and true holiness are right so
  5. 5. far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Good purposes are right, but will prove of no avail unless resolutely carried out. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians; but they made no earnest effort, therefore they will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. The will must be exercised in the right direction. I will be a wholehearted Christian. I will know the length and breadth, the height and depth, of perfect love. Listen to the words of Jesus: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Ample provisions are made by Christ to satisfy the soul that hungers and thirsts for righteousness. {2T 265.2} The pure element of love will expand the soul for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of divine things, so that it will not be satisfied short of the fullness. Most professed Christians have no sense of the spiritual strength they might obtain were they as ambitious, zealous, and persevering to gain a knowledge of divine things as they are to obtain the paltry, perishable things of this life. The masses professing to be Christians have been satisfied to be spiritual dwarfs. They have no disposition to make it their object to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; hence godliness is a hidden mystery to them, they cannot understand it. They know not Christ by experimental knowledge. {2T 266.1} Let those men and women who are satisfied with their dwarfed, crippled condition in divine things be suddenly transported to heaven and for an instant witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever abides there,--every soul filled with love; every countenance beaming with joy; enchanting music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb; and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the saints from the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne, and from the Lamb; and let them realize that there is higher and greater joy yet to experience, for the more they receive of the enjoyment of God, the more is their capacity increased to rise higher in eternal enjoyment, and thus continue to receive new and greater supplies from the ceaseless sources of glory and bliss inexpressible,--could such persons, I ask, mingle with the heavenly throng, participate in their songs, and endure the pure, exalted, transporting glory that emanates from God and the Lamb? Oh, no! their probation was lengthened for years that they might learn the language of heaven, that they might become "partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." But they had a selfish business of their own to engage the powers of their minds and the energies of their beings. They could not afford to serve God unreservedly and make this a business. Worldly enterprises must come first and take the best of their powers, and a transient thought is devoted to God. Are such to be transformed after the final decision: "He that is holy, let him be holy still," "he which is filthy, let him be filthy still"? Such a time is coming. {2T 266.2} Those who have trained the mind to delight in spiritual exercises are the ones who can be translated and not be overwhelmed with the purity and transcendent glory of heaven. You may have a good knowledge of the arts, you may have an acquaintance with the sciences, you may excel in music and in penmanship, your manners may please your associates, but what have these things to do with a preparation for heaven? What have they to do to prepare you to stand before the tribunal of God? {2T 267.1}
  6. 6. Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Nothing but holiness will prepare you for heaven. It is sincere, experimental piety alone that can give you a pure, elevated character and enable you to enter into the presence of God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable. The heavenly character must be acquired on earth, or it can never be acquired at all. Then begin at once. Flatter not yourself that a time will come when you can make an earnest effort easier than now. Every day increases your distance from God. Prepare for eternity with such zeal as you have not yet manifested. Educate your mind to love the Bible, to love the prayer meeting, to love the hour of meditation, and, above all, the hour when the soul communes with God. Become heavenly-minded if you would unite with the heavenly choir in the mansions above. {2T 267.2} A new year of your life now commences. A new page is turned in the book of the recording angel. What will be the record upon its pages? Shall it be blotted with neglect of God, with unfulfilled duties? God forbid. Let a record be stamped there which you will not be ashamed to have revealed to the gaze of men and angels. Greenville, Michigan, July 27, 1868. {2T 268.1} Sonsand Daughterof God In Recognizing God as the Giver of All Gifts Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Psa_68:19. {SD152.1} Under the Jewish economy, on the birth of children an offering was made to God, by His own appointment. Now we see parents taking special pains to present gifts to their children upon their birthdays; they make this an occasion of honoring the child, as though honor were due to the human being. . . . For life, health, food, and clothing, no less than for the hope of eternal life, we are indebted to the Giver of all mercies; and it is due to God to recognize His gifts, and to present our offerings of gratitude to our greatest benefactor. These birthday gifts are recognized in heaven. {SD152.2} If Christian parents had accustomed their children to present offerings to God in acknowledgment of His great gift of salvation to men, how different would be the character of the young. Their minds would have been called away from themselves to the blessed Saviour. They would have been taught to feel that He loved them, and that He is the source of all blessing; that He is their hope of happiness and eternal life. {SD152.3} If this kind of education had been given to our children, we should today see far less selfishness, far less envy and jealousy; we should have more manly young men and womanly young women. We should see the youth coming up with moral strength, with
  7. 7. pure principles, with well-balanced minds and lovely characters, because the Model would be ever before them; they would be impressed with the importance of copying the excellence of Jesus, the Pattern. . . . God wants the youth and those of mature age to look to Him, to believe in Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and to have Him abiding in the heart; then a new life will quicken every faculty of the being. The divine Comforter will be with them, to strengthen them in their weakness, and guide them in their perplexity. . . . It will make plain to them the path of life. {SD152.4} RH1 – EGW – March 11, 1873 – John’sMissionandDeath The unnatural exhilaration which intemperance gives to the mind and spirits, lowers the sensibilities to moral improvement, making it impossible for holy impulses to affect the heart, and hold government over the passions, when public opinion and fashion sustain them. Festivities and amusements, dances, and free use of wine, becloud the senses, and remove the fear of God. Herodias had prepared everything within her reach, which would flatter his pride and vanity, and indulge his passions. "And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." RH1 – EGW – April 08, 1873 – John’sMissionandDeath In the martyrdom of John, we have the result of intemperance. This eventful birthday of Herod should carry an earnest and faithful lesson of warning, and exhortation to Christian temperance. The lovers of pleasure should look upon the birthday feast of Herod as a warning to beware of self-indulgences and popular pleasure. Herod and his guests were partly intoxicated. Reason was servant to the baser passions. And after Herod and his guests had gorged themselves, like beasts, with luxurious food, they added to their surfeiting, drunkenness. The mental powers were enervated by the pleasure of sense, which perverted their ideas of justice and mercy. Satan seized upon this opportunity, in the person of Herodias, to lead them to rush into decisions which cost the precious life of one of God's prophets. The minds of Herod and his guests, under the effects of intemperance in eating and in drinking, were in a state of animal excitement. Herod was under the delusion that his oath, made under the excitement of feasting, dancing, and revelry, when nothing was too sacred for them to profane, must be kept. The life of one of the greatest prophets that God had sent as a messenger to the earth, was in the balance, and this company of great men pronounced sentence of death after the intellect and manhood had been sacrificed to sensual indulgence.
  8. 8. RH1 – EGW 239 – January15, 1884 – Notesof Travel While at South Lancaster, the record of another year of my life closed and passed into eternity, and I entered upon my fifty-seventh year. I did not feel like making this an occasion of merriment, of exalting self, and of receiving presents, as is the custom of the world; but I felt more like reviewing my past life, and, with a sense of my own weakness and deficiencies, humbling my heart before God, pleading for his grace, and for health of body and clearness of mind, that the year just entered upon might be productive of more good than the past year had been. And yet I feel deeply grateful to God that he has blessed me in these respects beyond what I could reasonably expect. He has been better to me than my fears; and on this birthday the peace of Christ abiding in my heart was to me of priceless value. RH1 – EGW 288 – December23,1844 –ThanksgivingSermon Parents, do not neglect to impart to your children the very education they should have. Upon their birthdays, instead of calling their attention to themselves by giving them presents, teach them to come with an offering to God. It is a sad fact that there are many children who have been left to come up willful, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy, yet whose birthdays are respected and honored with feasting and with gifts, when it would have been better had they never been born. Their birthdays might better be observed with fasting, clothing them with sackcloth, instead of making them occasions of amusement and giving gifts; for their steps are rapidly leading to perdition and ruin. In many cases, birthday gifts have proved a detriment rather than a blessing. The children should be educated to look to God as the giver of life, their protector and their preserver, and to come to him with an offering for all his favors. Every opportunity should be employed to implant in their hearts right views of God and his love for us. Nothing should be done to foster in them vanity, self-esteem, or pride. Teach them to review the past year of their life, to consider whether they would be glad to meet its record just as it stands in the books of heaven. Encourage in them serious thoughts, whether their deportment, their words, their works, are of a character pleasing to God. Have they been making their lives more like Jesus, beautiful and lovely in the sight of God? Teach them the knowledge of the Lord, his ways, his precepts. "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." We want the children to learn to look away from self to heavenly things, there to bestow their thanksgiving. RH1 – EGW 601 – February16, 1892 – On the Way to Australia Nov. 26, the day before we reached Samoa, was my birthday. Another year of my life had passed into eternity, and my record for a new year was begun. As I contemplate
  9. 9. the past year, I am filled with gratitude to God for his preserving care and loving- kindness. At times I have been afflicted in body and depressed in spirits, but the Lord has been my Redeemer, my Restorer. Many have been the rich blessings imparted to me. In the time of my greatest need, I have been enabled to hold fast my confidence in my heavenly Father. The bright beams of the righteousness of Christ have been shining into my heart and mind, the powers of darkness are restrained; for Jesus our advocate lives to make intercession for us. He is able to save us, soul, body, and spirit, and to make us vessels unto honor, meet for the Master's use. We are living in a perilous time, when all our powers must be consecrated to God, to do his will and keep his way, irrespective of circumstances. We are to follow Christ in his humiliation, his self-denial, his suffering. The Lord requires his people to be holy in all manner of living. His command is: "Be ye holy; for I am holy." My heart is hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Through faith in Christ I am made a partaker of his heavenly benefits. The exalted privileges, the great grace, revealed through Christ are for all who will believe and obey the words of God. There are given to us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. I receive and enjoy these promises, full of divine mercy and truth. It is given me to know for myself individually that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all unrighteousness. We owe everything to Jesus, and renewedly I consecrate myself to his service, to work for him in a strange land, to lift him up before the people, to proclaim his matchless love. My prayer ascends day and night for the presence of Jesus to go before us. While lying in my state-room, the language of my heart has been, "My Redeemer, I beseech thee to engage for me in every conflict. I know in whom I have believed, and thy grace alone is my trust." It is my prayer that I may the coming year be a co-worker with Jesus in saving my own soul, which he has bought with his precious blood, and that every day I may learn his meekness and lowliness, that he can use the frail, unworthy agent to bring souls out of darkness into light. I look unto Jesus; for his holy life is a faithful example. I must be daily molded as the clay in the hands of the potter. I must educate my soul, that my confidence in God may be unlimited. Jesus said: "I can of mine own self do nothing." How much more is this true of us. The hope that I can be true or useful is through faith in the atonement made for me. O, that this sixty-fifth year of my life may be one of progress and perfection in the work which the Master has given me to do! I want clearer perceptions of truth daily, that I may act in harmony with its holy principles. I have no happiness aside from doing the will of Christ and proclaiming to others his grace and truth. Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, Dec. 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday. At daylight of Dec. 3 the coast of New Zealand was in sight, and soon after noon our boat reached the wharf at Auckland. Here is a beautiful harbor, and the town, on the hills above, presents a fine appearance. We had hoped to meet Elder Gates of the
  10. 10. "Pitcairn" here, but in this we were disappointed. He had come here a month before, expecting to meet us on the arrival of the "Monowa." As we did not come, he decided to make a trip to Norfolk Island, and return before our arrival. For some reason he failed to meet us. As our boat touched the wharf, a number of brethren stepped on board, and introduced themselves to us; we had a glad meeting. On landing we rode to the house of brother Edward Hare. Here we found a pleasant home, and were refreshed with delicious strawberries, oranges, bananas, and more substantial viands. Then we had a very enjoyable ride into the country. The fresh, sweet air, filled with the fragrance of wild roses, sweet-brier, and new-mown hay, reminded us of our northern summer; the green hedges separating the fields, make one think of England, while there is much in the landscape to resemble California. The vegetation and the general appearance of the country is that of the temperate zone rather than the tropics. In the evening we met with the church at their house of worship, and I spoke to them in regard to the necessity of receiving Christ as their personal Saviour. When we thus accept him, the beauty of truth will be revealed through us; for in our words and our life it will be presented as it is in Jesus. There will be no strife to see who shall be greatest, but we shall individually seek to represent Christ, and thus let our light shine to the world. If the words of Jesus dwell in us, we shall represent his love, in kindness, in humility, in goodness, coming in close union with the people of God, and working as missionaries of Jesus wherever we have opportunity. Instead of seeking to glorify ourselves, we shall exalt the name that is above every name, Jesus, the center of all attraction. All who believe the truth should remember that they are to bear the credentials of Christ to the world, in their firm unity, their Christian courtesy and love to one another. Wherever he may be, every follower of Jesus can give to the world a practical illustration of the purity and power of the truth. We should ever bear in mind that the world will criticise us in the conduct of our temporal affairs. Do we work as Christians? Do we buy and sell as Christians? That which we may speak in the church is not of half as much consequence as the influence we exert in our daily business life. We are constantly making either favorable or unfavorable impressions to the truth. We should manifest kindness, forbearance, and generosity, not to our brethren merely, but to all who do not love the truth. No man can have a sound, healthful experience unless he shall practice the instruction that Christ has given through the apostle Peter: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity." "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." To be converted daily is to renew the soul's life by receiving vital power from Christ, as the branch receives nourishment from the vine. The growth of every Christian is from within, not from without. It is only as the Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart by faith that we can grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. Only through the grace daily drawn from Jesus can the heart be kept. There can be no
  11. 11. safety in extolling self; we must hide self in Jesus. Christ abiding within, is the life of the soul. And we are to receive Christ through his word. It is the truth that sanctifies the soul. We should study the Scriptures, evenupon our knees, with earnestness and sincerity. The love of Jesus in the heart will create a love for the searching of his word. The work of every child of God is to impart the knowledge of Christ to those who have it not. We must plant the seeds of truth wherever we can. The words of eternal life, sown in many hearts, will bring forth fruit unto righteousness. The heavenly intelligencies are waiting for God's human agencies to consecrate themselves fully to him, that he may use them as channels of light. We need to realize our responsibility, to co-operate with the heavenly agencies. We belong to God; he has purchased us with the blood of his only begotten Son; we are to represent to the world what Christ is to us. RH2 – EGW 549 – December27,1906 – How we shall observe the holiday? I have said to my family and my friends, I desire that no one shall make me a birthday or Christmas gift, unless it be with permission to pass it on into the Lord's treasury, to be appropriated in the establishment of missions. I will greatly praise the name of the Lord if his people, at this time, by the exercise of benevolence, will increase the facilities for successful work in many needy fields. I long to see among Seventh-day Adventist an increase of faith and courage, and more praise and thanksgiving to God, so that where in the past there has been a withholding of means, there shall from henceforth be seen the evidences of a grateful heart,--the faithful bestowal of gifts and offerings, to supply the needs of many destitute fields. Signof the Times – 0108 January15, 1880 – The Great Controversy "And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand; but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him." The butler was guilty of the sin of ingratitude. After he had obtained relief from his anxiety by Joseph's cheering interpretation, he thought that he should, if restored to his position, certainly remember the captive Joseph, and speak in his favor to the king. He had seen the interpretation of the dream exactly fulfilled, yet in his prosperity he forgot Joseph in his affliction and confinement. Ingratitude is regarded by the Lord as among the most aggravating sins. But although abhorred by God and man, it is of daily occurrence. Signof the Times – 0237 January4, 1883 – The OldYear and New
  12. 12. I have resolved from this time to make Christ first and last and best in everything. I will not sanction feasts made to celebrate birthday or marriage anniversaries, but will bend all my energies to lift up Jesus among the people. I will seek to impress upon the minds of my brethren and sisters the great necessity of preparation of heart, by confession and humiliation, to be accepted of God and acknowledged as his dear children. My heart has ached as I have seen men honored, while Jesus was neglected and almost forgotten,--liberal gifts for earthly friends, but poor and meager offerings for him to whom we owe our all. Christ opened before us the bright path of peace, of joy, of Heaven; and what have we done for him on these occasions when every word and act should express our gratitude for his wondrous love? How stands the record of the past Christmas? Have we given to Jesus all that there is of us? Have we denied self that we might show our affection for our best friend? Have we made a record that we shall not be ashamed to meet in the day of final accounts? If all realized as they should the shortness of time, the backslidings of our people, the perils which beset our pathway, the deceptions of Satan, and his victories over unguarded souls, there would be no feasting, no mirthful gatherings to pay honor to the human; but there would be a great humbling of heart before God, and earnest prayer for pardoning and sanctifying grace. Temperance She covered her hatred as best she could, looking forward to the birthday of Herod, which she knew would be an occasion of gluttony and intoxication. Herod's love of luxurious food and wine would give her an opportunity to throw him off his guard. She would entice him to indulge his appetite, which would arouse passion and lower the tone of the mental and moral character, making it impossible for his deadened sensibilities to see facts and evidences clearly, and make right decisions. She had the most costly preparations made for feasting, and voluptuous dissipation. She was acquainted with the influence of these intemperate feasts upon the intellect and morals. She knew that Herod's indulgence of appetite, pleasure, and amusement would excite the lower passions, and make him spiritless to the nobler demands of effort and duty. {Te 49.4}

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