“He went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day.” I Chronicles 11:22
“They [the children] should be taught that this world is not a parade ground, but a battlefield.” Education, 295.
“We do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Over every man, good and evil angels strive. This is no make-believe conflict. It is no mimic battle in which we are engaged. We have to meet most powerful adversaries, and it rests with us to determine which shall win. We are to find our strength where the early disciples found theirs.” Evangelism, 704.
After I was baptized and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the fall of 1976, the Lord opened the way for me to move into a small cabin in the country near two Adventist families. It was extremely primitive, but I enjoyed the adventure. I attended a small church in Pittsboro, North Carolina, helping teach Sabbath School and singing in the choir. Building houses was also a big part of life.
The next summer I attended my first camp meeting at Mount Pisgah Academy. After attending some meetings on colporteur work, I decided to give it a try. This was a major challenge, as I had been unnerved at school when asked to talk in class. But because I loved the Lord, and the special books that He had given, I moved forward in faith.
After wandering in darkness for 24 years, then trying to understand the Bible alone for two years, the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy through Ellen G. White has become invaluable to me.
“So those who are the partakers of the grace of Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that others for whom He died may share the heavenly gift. They will do all they can to make the world better for their stay in it. This spirit is the sure outgrowth of a soul truly converted. No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. If we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good we shall have something to tell. Like Philip when he found the Saviour, we shall invite others into His presence. We shall seek to present to them the attractions of Christ and the unseen realities of the world to come. There will be an intensity of desire to follow in the path that Jesus trod. There will be an earnest longing that those around us may ‘behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
“And the effort to bless others will react in blessings upon ourselves. This was the purpose of God in giving us a part to act in the plan of redemption. He has granted men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature and, in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellow men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men. Those who thus become participants in labors of love are brought nearest to their Creator.” Steps to Christ, 78, 79.
As I shared God’s blessings, these rich promises were being fulfilled in my life. I felt called, and others encouraged me to go into full-time pastoral ministry. I was accepted at Andrews’ seminary on condition of one quarter’s probation.
In my favorite class, Faith and Prayer, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy were our only textbooks while the small group setting provided good interaction. One day, a special guest, a seminary graduate working with the team at Weimar Institute, in California, described its hopes and plans. I was drawn toward that type of education.
Another memorable event took place at a meeting one Sabbath afternoon. A young lady described her experience at Wildwood Institute, in Georgia. Once again, I was encouraged by what I heard.
After counseling with some of the leaders and pleading with the Lord for wisdom and guidance, I believed that I should move in a different direction than Andrews. So I informed the school, and moved to Weimar.
There, I worked on the farm, took classes in the basics of medical missionary work, enjoyed fellowship with like-minded people, and helped with evangelism. I also found Ira Gish to be a most interesting man. He was one of the co-authors of the book Madison: God’s Beautiful Farm, and one of the few still alive from the early days of Madison. I asked him why the Madison school had changed from their original plan. He said that there were two main reasons. In order to understand his answers, we need to consider one important part of God’s counsel on education.
“In attending our colleges many of the youth are separated from the softening, subduing influences of the home circle. At the very time of life when they need vigilant supervision they are withdrawn from the restraints of parental influence and authority, and are thrown into the society of a large number of their own age, of varied characters and habits of life. Some of these have in childhood received too little discipline and are superficial and frivolous; others have been governed too much and have felt, when away from the hands that held the reins of control perhaps too tightly, that they were free to do as they pleased. They despise the very thought of restraint. By these associations the dangers of the young are greatly increased.
“Our school homes have been established that our youth may not be left to drift hither and thither, and be exposed to the evil influences which everywhere abound; but that, as far as possible, a home atmosphere may be provided that they may be preserved from temptations to immorality and be led to Jesus. The family of heaven represents that which the family on earth should be; and our school homes, where are gathered youth who are seeking a preparation for the service of God, should approach as nearly as possible to the divine model.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 168.
In the beginning, Madison had school homes where the students and staff members lived together. Brother Gish shared that many of the staff members were unhappy with the personal challenges and self-denial required in having the youth in their homes. The second major problem was a desire for higher wages.
“Christ demands all. If he required less, the sacrifice made by him was too dear, and too great to bring us up to such a level. Our holy faith cries out separation. We should not be conformed to the world, or to dead, heartless professors, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is a self-denying way. But if we think it too straight; if we think that there is too much self-denial in this narrow path; or if we say, How hard to give up all, let us ask ourselves this question, What did Christ give up for me?
“The infinite sacrifice He made eclipses all we call self-denial. Behold Him in the garden sweating great drops of blood. Follow Him on His way to the judgment hall, while He is derided, mocked and insulted by that infuriated mob. Behold Him clothed in that old purple robe. Hear the coarse jest and cruel mocking, see His enemies place upon that noble head the crown of thorns, and then smite Him with a reed, causing the thorns to penetrate His temples, and the blood to flow from that holy brow; hear that murderous throng eagerly crying for the blood of the Son of God; see Him delivered into their hands, and led away, pale, weak, and fainting, to His crucifixion; see Him stretched upon the wooden cross, and the nails driven through His tender hands and feet; behold Him hanging upon the cross in agony, until the sun refuses to shine, and the angels veil their faces from the horrid scene—then ask yourself the question, Does He require too much in asking me to give up the world and deny self? No, no.” The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1880.
At Weimar, I attended an important meeting where the principles of true and false education were discussed. I believed that some decisions that were made regarding the direction of the program being planned were not in harmony with Inspiration.
So when a friend told me about the two New Earth vegetarian restaurants in Wheaton, and North Chicago, Illinois, I decided to go there. Working with the team and sharing with the people in those communities was a valuable experience. Another blessing was meeting an older couple from Broadview Academy who had previously been at Wildwood. The sister, recognizing my need for better training in a more stable environment, recommended that I consider going to Wildwood. Through a series of providences, I arrived there in May.
Jesus invites us to “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14.
“If you would climb the path of spiritual life, you must constantly ascend; for it is an upward way. You must go with the few; for the multitude will choose the downward path.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 138.
For three years, I received a basic training in many areas. The first year, I worked in the lifestyle center in the morning and attended classes in the afternoon on a variety of health and spiritual topics. Friday vespers was a highlight of the week, along with helping in some of the area churches on Sabbath.
My work during the last two years I was there was largely on the farm and caring for the grounds. These areas have interested me most of my life. Both of my granddads were farmers. My mother’s dad was one of my very favorite people.
“Working the soil is one of the best kinds of employment, calling the muscles into action and resting the mind. Study in agricultural lines should be the A, B, and C of the education given in our schools. This is the very first work that should be entered upon. Our schools should not depend upon imported produce, for grain and vegetables, and the fruits so essential to health. Our youth need an education in felling trees and tilling the soil as well as in literary lines. Different teachers should be appointed to oversee a number of students in their work and should work with them. Thus the teachers themselves will learn to carry responsibilities as burden bearers. Proper students also should in this way be educated to bear responsibilities and to be laborers together with the teachers. All should counsel together as to the very best methods of carrying on the work.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 179.
At that time, Wildwood still had student homes, which were one of the greatest blessings in my life. In that setting, with young and old together, we learned how to behave in a Christian home. I still believe that student homes are one of the greatest needs in our schools, as well as the greatest challenge to accomplish. There are so few who have the training and experience to be successful in their own home life, or who have the ability to teach others to be successful in theirs.
Elder Frazee, who was still active at Wildwood, greatly helped me with an understanding of the sanctuary, true education, and medical missionary work. I would highly recommend wdfsermons.org as a valuable resource on the history of Adventist education and other vital topics.
Two other excellent books on true education are Living Fountains or Broken Cisterns and Studies in Christian Education by E. A. Sutherland. The pdf’s of these books are offered free on the web.
The Lord next led me to work with the Country Life Restaurant team in New York City for my advanced training. God’s plan for His people was to work the cities from outpost centers.
“The cities must be worked. The millions living in these congested centers are to hear the third angel’s message. This work should have been developed rapidly during the past few years. A beginning has been made, for which we praise God. Outpost centers are being established, from whence, like Enoch of old, our workers can visit the cities and do faithful service.” The Review and Herald, July 5, 1906.
The work there began with a restaurant in Peekskill, New York, with the workers living in Putnam Valley, close to Living Springs Retreat. Before I arrived they had opened a restaurant in downtown Manhattan, one block from Wall Street. Then the Lord provided a 250-acre farm about an hour and a half outside the city, near Newton, New Jersey, and another restaurant was opened in mid-town Manhattan. I worked with the team for about three years in a variety of responsibilities. Eventually, through corruption in the leadership, everything was lost, except for the experiences and the people who were influenced for the Lord.
One of the main lessons from this experience was the danger of having too much power and authority in a single person. Before the end, the Lord will have a people working together as a family. Even if we are following God’s plan outwardly, there is the danger of pride and self-sufficiency in any of us.
“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 other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:2, 3.
There is one main principle, with two aspects, involved with these experiences of life that is a vital part of the science of redemption.
“ ‘Learn of Me,’ says Jesus; ‘for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest’ (Matthew 11:29). We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God.” The Desire of Ages, 330. [Emphasis added.]
This training should be the focal point of education, as it is essential in order to have happy homes that reflect God’s character.
“The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family. This will recommend the truth as nothing else can, for it is a living witness of its practical power upon the heart.
“The best test of the Christianity of a home is the type of character begotten by its influence. Actions speak louder than the most positive profession of godliness.” The Adventist Home, 32.
“The system of education established in Eden centered in the family. Adam was ‘the son of God’ (Luke 3:38), and it was from their Father that the children of the Highest received instruction. Theirs, in the truest sense, was a family school.” Education, 33.
The topic of marriage, as explained in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, is a topic worthy of careful attention.
“To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 45. [Emphasis added.]
Fourteen years after my divorce, through prayer and counsel with Godly people, the Lord led me into a courtship with Lorraine Butler. Following is the key to success at each stage of our development:
“No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.
“It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely.” Christ’s Object Lessons. 159.
The relationship between men and women has always been the greatest challenge in life. Eve was the special gift to Adam from his Creator. Yet, she became part of the greatest test in his life. Why was this?
“He proves those who profess to love Him by placing means [or any gift] in their hands, and then tries them to see if they love the gift better than the Giver. God will reveal, in time, the true feelings of the heart.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 660.
“There is need for constant watching that the principles which lie at the foundation of family government are not disregarded. The Lord designs that the families on earth shall be symbols of the family in heaven.” The Adventist Home, 306.
“There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bears the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him. The evil consequences of poor marriages are numberless. They are contracted from impulse. A candid review of the matter is scarcely thought of, and consultation with those of experience is considered old-fashioned.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504.
Lorraine’s parents became involved with self-supporting work early in their marriage. Her dad, a medical doctor, and her mother, a registered nurse, were involved in health education as well as raising their four children. Lorraine was educated with practical work and home school in Mexico. In academy, and at Eden Valley Institute, this same plan continued after which she spent ten years helping to develop a training school in Zambia, Africa, after God’s plan.
These educational experiences have been very significant in revealing God’s purpose for our lives. It is written, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3. It is essential that we allow God to direct us in the choice of our life partner if we want true happiness.
Before the end, it will be clearly revealed that God’s grace is sufficient to restore His image in us, beginning with the fathers.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5, 6.
“What was it that made John the Baptist great? He closed his mind to the mass of tradition presented by the teachers of the Jewish nation, and opened it to the wisdom which comes from above. Before his birth the Holy Spirit testified of John: ‘He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. … And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’ (Luke 1:15–17).” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 445.
“Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God.” Christian Educator, August 1, 1897.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.
Lynn Alan Humes became a Christian in 1974 at 24 yrs of age, and a Seventh-day Adventist two years later. Since then he has worked in many parts of the United States, doing canvassing, restaurant work, teaching, preaching, writing, building, agriculture, and whatever needs to be done. He and his wife, Lorraine (Butler) Humes, care for her father, Dr. Maurice Butler, and are involved with many aspects of Gospel Medical Missionary work, building and agriculture in rural Tennessee. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.