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December 2011 Table of Contents

 
    January 22, 2012 - January 28, 2012
 
 

God’s Spirit and Providence

 

Key Text

“The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Isaiah 50:5.

 

Study Help: Historical Sketches, 189.

 

Introduction

“Through nature and revelation, through His providence, and by the influence of His Spirit, God speaks to us.” Steps to Christ, 93.

 

1          WATCHING HOW GOD WORKS

 

a.         What does God intend us to realize through the varied circumstances of our daily life? Psalms 33:5; 107:43.

 

Note: “God speaks to us through His providential workings and through the influence of His Spirit upon the heart. In our circumstances and surroundings, in the changes daily taking place around us, we may find precious lessons if our hearts are but open to discern them.” Steps to Christ, 87.

   “God’s providence is a continual school, in which He is ever leading men to see the true aims of life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 444.

 

b.         How does faith in Christ affect the way we see things? Titus 1:15; Matthew 13:13, 16.

 

Note: “We are not to go through human wisdom, which is termed foolishness, to seek true wisdom. For men to learn science through man’s interpretation, is to obtain a false education, but to learn of God and Jesus Christ is to learn the science of the Bible.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 414, 415.

   “In that which seems to the worldling an inexplicable mystery, God’s children see light and beauty.

   “God speaks in His word, and fulfills this word in the world. We need now to seek to understand the movements of God’s providence.” The Review and Herald, February 6, 1900.

 

2          A CALL TO PURITY

 

a.         What principle continually affects spiritual vision? Matthew 5:8.

 

Note: “The first great lesson in all education is to know and understand the will of God. Take the knowledge of God with you through every day of life. Let it absorb the mind and the whole being. God gave Solomon wisdom, but this God-given wisdom was perverted when he turned from God to obtain wisdom from other sources. … The confusion in education has come because the wisdom and knowledge of God have not been honored and exalted by the religious world. The pure in heart see God in every providence, in every phase of true education. They vibrate to the first approach of light which radiates from the throne of God. Communications from heaven are made to those who will catch the first gleams of spiritual knowledge.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 414, 415.

   “It is the pure in heart who shall see God in His true character, as a God of love. He who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart, will reflect the purity and love which exist in Jehovah, and which Christ represented in our world. He who has the love of God in his heart has no enmity against the law of God, but renders willing obedience to all His commandments, and this constitutes Christianity.” The Youth’s Instructor, July 26, 1894.

 

b.         In order to develop keener spiritual vision, what must we seek? I John 3:2, 3; Hebrews 9:14.

 

Note: “The pure in heart shall see God. This seeing God in a clear, spiritual light is salvation to the soul of every believer. As soon as a soul decides to die to self, the new light begins and grows stronger and more decided until he is able to endure the sight of Him who is invisible. And as he sees God, he becomes fashioned in character after the divine similitude.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 369.

   “When the Lord speaks to us, saying, ‘Go forward,’ it is not for us to stand and talk of difficulties, but promptly to obey, knowing that God understands the nature of every difficulty. If those in His service will stop talking unbelief and magnifying difficulties, and will move forward in humble obedience, God, in His providence, will co-operate with the finite efforts of man, and thus testify to the world of His omnipotence.” The Review and Herald, November 1, 1898.

 

3          RESPONDING TO PROVIDENCE

 

a.         In a parable about a rich farmer, what warning does Christ give us? Luke 12:14–21.

 

Note: “He [the rich man] did not think of God, from whom all his mercies had come. He did not realize that God had made him a steward of His goods that he might help the needy. He had a blessed opportunity of being God’s almoner, but he thought only of ministering to his own comfort.

   “The situation of the poor, the orphan, the widow, the suffering, the afflicted, was brought to this rich man’s attention; there were many places in which to bestow his goods. He could easily have relieved himself of a portion of his abundance, and many homes would have been freed from want, many who were hungry would have been fed, many naked clothed, many hearts made glad, many prayers for bread and clothing answered, and a melody of praise would have ascended to heaven. The Lord had heard the prayers of the needy, and of His goodness He had prepared for the poor. (Psalm 68:10.) Abundant provision for the wants of many had been made in the blessings bestowed upon the rich man. But he closed his heart to the cry of the needy.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 256.

 

b.         What is often the hidden cause of apparently mysterious misfortunes, and why should we find in them a call to prayer? Malachi 3:8; Haggai 1:4–10.

 

Note: “Those who are selfishly withholding their means need not be surprised if God’s hand scatters. That which should have been devoted to the advancement of the work and cause of God, but which has been withheld, may be entrusted to a reckless son, and he may squander it. A fine horse, the pride of a vain heart, may be found dead in the stable. Occasionally a cow may die. Losses of fruit or other crops may come. God can scatter the means He has lent to His stewards, if they refuse to use it to His glory. Some, I saw, may have none of these losses to remind them of their remissness in duty, but their cases may be the more hopeless.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 661, 662.

 

c.         How do we too often hurt Christ—and our own selves—by resisting His voice? Malachi 3:9, 10; Proverbs 3:9, 10.

 

4          LIGHT POURING FROM HEAVEN

 

a.         What must God’s children realize about vital, practical messages He is continually sending to us? Isaiah 30:21; Jeremiah 42:2, 3.

 

Note: “The human family is the object of the special care of God and heavenly beings. Man is not left to become the sport of Satan’s temptations. All heaven is actively engaged in the work of communicating light to the inhabitants of the world, that they may not be left in the darkness of midnight without spiritual guidance. An Eye that never slumbers or sleeps is guarding the camp of Israel. Ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels are ministering to the needs of the children of men. Voices inspired by God are crying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” My Life Today, 88.

 

b.         How do we too often hurt ourselves by turning from God’s voice? Isaiah 55:2; 59:1, 2.

 

Note: “How few of those who claim to believe the truth carry it out practically in their characters. He who possesses the Christlike spirit will possess the child-like faith. God’s blessing is on those who hear and those who recognize the light which He sends, who behold the traces of His footsteps and hear His voice.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 587.

 

c.         How should the servant of God respond to the voice of the Almighty? Isaiah 50:4, 5. How far did Christ’s submission extend? Isaiah 50:6, 7; Matthew 26:67.

 

Note: “Christ was continually receiving from the Father that He might communicate to us. … Not for Himself, but for others, He lived and thought and prayed. From hours spent with God He came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily He received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with grace, that He might impart to others.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 139.

 

d.         When God speaks to our heart through difficult providences and frustrating disappointments, how should we respond—and why? Romans 8:18; I Peter 1:7.

 

Note: “Through trial and persecution the glory—the character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576.

 

5          THE CROSS IN THE PATH

 

a.         What warning should we heed from the bitter reaction of Judas when the ways of Christ crossed against his material lusts? Matthew 26:6–11, 14, 15.

 

Note: “Genuine self-denial will be practiced by all who follow Christ. Judas undertook to follow Christ, and at the same time to carry out his selfish, covetous plans. He had the same privileges as had the other disciples. He had the same privileges of hearing the lessons of Christ, which plainly presented practical godliness; but he was not always pleased with the plain truth. It cut him, and instead of taking up personal labor with Judas Iscariot, he found fault with the words and works of Christ, and criticized His plain teachings. Instead of being transformed in character, he was cultivating self-love, self esteem, and the love of money.” Our High Calling, 287.

 

b.         What founding principles underlie the entire Christian experience? Luke 9:23.

 

Note: “The believers in Christ, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. On earth they walk in narrow paths; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576, 577.

 

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

 

1          What are four ways through which God speaks to us?

2          How can we clear the way for greater spiritual discernment?

3          When God speaks either by a still, small voice or by His providence, how must we respond?

4          How can we be sure that God is leading us even when circumstances are hard? 

5          Why does the scene of Calvary need to affect our everyday decisions?

 

 

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

 

 

   
   

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