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The Needs of Humanity

Liberality both in spiritual and in temporal things is taught in the lesson of seed sowing. The Lord says, ?Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.? Isaiah 32:20. ?This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.? 2 Corinthians 9:6.

To sow beside all waters means a continual imparting of God?s gifts. It means giving wherever the cause of God or the needs of humanity demand our aid. This will not tend to poverty. ?He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.? The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away. So it is with those who are faithful in distributing God?s gifts. By imparting they increase their blessings. God has promised them a sufficiency that they may continue to give.

And more than this is wrapped up in the sowing and the reaping. As we distribute God?s temporal blessings, the evidence of our love and sympathy awakens in the receiver gratitude and thanksgiving to God. The soil of the heart is prepared to receive the seeds of spiritual truth. And He who ministers seed to the sower will cause the seed to germinate and bear fruit unto eternal life.?Christ?s Object Lessons, pp. 85, 86.

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Completeness of Character

The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within. It is the atmosphere of this love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life and enables God to bless his work.

Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another?this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. ?We love Him, because He first loved us.? In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around.?The Acts of the Apostles, p. 551. 

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Experienced Grace

As Bible-believing Christians, we do not give because we have too much. We give in response to experienced grace and in thanksgiving for God?s blessings. We give to the programs and areas we believe will advance the cause of God. We understand that since God is the rightful Owner of everything, once our needs are met with the resources that He has entrusted to us, we return the surplus to Him by helping others or making contributions to advance His cause.

It is satisfying to know that our church has a worldwide impact and that thousands are becoming members every week. Our financial faithfulness brings us God?s wisdom and blessings and spreads the gospel to every corner of the earth. 

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Spirit in the Bones

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. ?Ecclesiastes 11:5

The miracle of life is an incredible thing. God gave earth a superpower the devil is incredibly jealous of: the ability to create life. Everything on this planet has the ability, from bugs to whales to humans! But even with our ability to create, God is still the one who gives us the ability. Like the verse says, it?s a miracle of the Holy Spirit that enters the bones of a little fetus and helps it grow! All of God?s creation was made with intense attention to detail.

King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes when he was an old man, reflecting back on his life and what he learned from it. At the beginning of the book he says, ?Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity? (Ecclesiastes 1:2). His major impression of life was its meaninglessness. In chapter 2, Solomon experienced every pleasure he ever wanted, gathering wealth, women, and everything his eyes desired (verse 10). But Solomon observed something God gave to humans also: ?He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man?s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end? (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

God gave us the ability to sense that there is something beyond this world, a heaven we were meant for. In everything, we have to trust that He is God, the ultimate Builder and Creator, who will make our meaninglessness meaningful through His power and significance.

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From North and South to the Beautiful Land

Daniel 11 is probably the longest, most detailed prophecy of the Bible. It mentions wars, persecution, and suffering in connection with alliances and conflicts. National politics, world governments, and power plays involving nations and ideological factions seem overwhelming. All of this can easily cause believers to retreat or, just as dangerously, to embrace worldly methods to advance God?s work. Many Christians have fallen into either of these extremes. Some have cowed before the challenge, while others have joined the world to advance God?s kingdom.

Beyond this important lesson, what else can we can learn from Daniel 11 that is relevant and meaningful to our lives? This complex chapter shows that the powers of the world by themselves can neither thwart nor advance God?s work. This truth is of great practical significance. In times of personal uncertainty, whether we face financial, health, or any other crisis, we can cling firmly God, knowing that everything is subject to His sovereignty. Even when evil is perpetrated against us, God can turn it into something good (Genesis 50:20).

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Who is Jesus?

But we need to ask, What does the Bible teach us about Jesus? One thing that it tells us is that Jesus is a unique individual and that there has been no one like Him in the history of the world.

How is that? you may be thinking. The Bible?s answer is that He is both divine and human. Thus the apostle John tells us that ?in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God? (John 1:1). John continues on to tell us that ?the Word became flesh and dwelt among us? (verse 14). That Word is none other than Jesus.

The Gospel of Matthew is even more specific about the person of Jesus. ? ?Behold,? ? we read, ? ?the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,? which is translated, ?God with us? ? (Matthew 1:23). That Son, of course, was Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit (verse 18).

In summary, Jesus is not only the center of the Bible and history, but He is also a bridge between God the Father and the human race. His unique divine-human nature did not come about by accident. That thought brings us to the question of why Jesus became human; a topic on which the Bible is very clear.

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The Fall of Jerusalem

Jesus had warned His disciples that when they would ?see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,? they should know that its desolation would be near, and they should flee from Judaea to the mountains (Luke 21:20, 21). Another historian, Eusebius, explains that ?Before the war began, members of the Jerusalem church were ordered by an oracle given by revelation to those worthy of it to leave the city and settle in a city of Perea called Pella.?

On September 7, AD 70, Jerusalem was completely overtaken by the Romans. But all who followed Christ?s warnings and left the city were saved! Just as Christ described signs of the fall of Jerusalem, He also outlined events that would indicate the nearness of His second coming and the end of the world. In His own words, ?When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near? (Luke 21:28)! 

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Brothers and sisters living under the same roof can develop distinct characters and follow different paths, as in the case of Esau and Jacob (e.g., Genesis 25:21?34). In James and Ellen White?s family, their oldest son, Henry Nichols, had a more stable personality, while his brother, James Edson, was full of ups and downs, especially in financial matters. But even his spiritual life was not as it should be. Over the years, Ellen sent him several letters appealing to him, but without many positive results.

One time Edson even confessed in a letter to his mother, ?I am not at all religiously inclined.? Ellen realized that Satan was leading her son astray. She prayed fervently on his behalf and sent him a long, appealing letter. She said, ?Your religious history need not have been vacillating, but firm and true; but you would be independent and take your own course. You have been strong one hour, vacillating the next. I am now determined to press upon your notice and make you hear: ?This is the undertow.?? This appeal turned his life around.

Perhaps you, too, have tried unsuccessfully to manage your life in your own way. Don?t wait. Surrender your life and all your plans to God right now. If needed, you can even have a reconversion experience as dramatic as the prodigal son?s (Luke 15:11?32). Our heavenly Father is more than willing to embrace you and transform you into a citizen of His everlasting kingdom.

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The Tithing Contract

All the good things we have are a loan from our Saviour. He has made us stewards. Our smallest offerings, our humblest services, presented in faith and love, may be consecrated gifts to win souls to the service of the Master and to promote His glory. The interest and prosperity of Christ?s kingdom should be paramount to every other consideration. Those who make their pleasure and selfish interest the chief objects of their lives are not faithful stewards.

Those who deny self to do others good, and who devote them­selves and all they have to Christ?s service, will realize the happiness which the selfish man seeks for in vain. . . .

Christians forget that they are servants of the Master; that they them­selves, their time, and all that they have belong to Him.?Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 397, 398.

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The Central Storehouse

Just before he died, Moses gathered all Israel together and gave them a series of sermons or public presentations. They are recorded for us in the Bible as the book of Deuteronomy. He stated that even though the children of Israel were to be settled and scattered all over Canaan, they were to assemble three times a year at the Lord?s house for praise, worship, and the delivery of their tithes and offerings. ?But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord? (Deuteronomy 12:10, 11, KJV). 

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The Seventh Day

In every religion, men revere something? shrines, cities, even people. They kiss holy land; their ears clutch the syllables of holy men; they immerse themselves in holy water. Tangibles, touchables, holy things that they can see, revere, feel.

In Genesis, however, the first thing declared holy is not a hill, a shrine, or a place, but a block of time, the seventh day. ?Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it? (Genesis 2:3). The word sanctified is translated from the Hebrew qadosh, which means ?to set apart for holy use.? Though Creation dealt with the heavens, the earth, the birds, the sea, and the beasts of the earth, all things of space?it was time, not space, that God first pronounced blessed and holy. This action makes sense, because, besides space, time is the dimension in which God?s creation?the heavens, the earth, the birds, the sea, and the beasts of the earth?exist.

Also, if God had made one specific place holy, a hill, a spring, a city, not all people would have easy access to it. They would have to travel to worship there. But time comes to us, instead of us going to it. Once a week, at a thousand miles per hour (the approximate speed at which the earth rotates on its axis), the Sabbath circles the globe. Arriving on one sundown, leaving on the next, the seventh day washes over the planet each week like a huge cleansing wave. We never have to seek it. The day always finds us.

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How Do They Do That?

On a warm summer night, it?s fun to watch fireflies flying around outside. They?re a kind of beetle that produces light. That?s pretty wild if you think about it, since they don?t have any batteries!

Special little organs called photophores on the underside of their abdomen make the light. The firefly?s light-producing cells have nerves, air tubes, and two types of chemicals: luciferin and luciferase. When these chemicals combine with oxygen from the air tubes, the reaction produces a greenish-yellow to reddish-orange light.

Not only are these little beetles cool, their light is cool too. Unlike natural and human-made light, their light gives off no heat. This complex process is called bioluminescence, which means ?living light.?

This reminds me of another Living Light, Jesus! ?I am the light of the world,? He said. ?Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life? (John 8:12). Hey, that means you can glow too!

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