Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School Lesson

Living for God

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The Papal Sun Day

Supported by the Heathen in America

And Congress?

Pope Calls for Sunday Rest

After the Vatican has called for national Sunday laws, the pope now calls it "freedom" to rest on the sun day.

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Nature Testifies of God

Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity

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Christ says, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, . . . and have the keys of hell and of death."     Revelation 1:18.

Looking upon His disciples with divine love and with the tenderest sympathy, Christ said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him." Judas had left the upper chamber, and Christ was alone with the eleven.

Justification by Faith

Signs of the Times

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Jesus said "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars....For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."

 

 

Christian History

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In the great final conflict, Satan will employ the same policy, manifest the same spirit, and work for the same end as in all preceding ages. That which has been, will be. Satan's deceptions will be more subtle. If possible, even the very elect would be deceived.

A Faithful Record

Nature God's Second Book

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Nature is an open book which reveals God. All who are attracted to nature may behold in it the God that created them.

Book of Nature

 

Church in North Mexico Advances Community Health

[photo: North Mexican Union]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church's Northern Mexico territory recently entered into an historic agreement with the French National Academy of Medicine. The memorandum of understanding was signed between the two entities at the Academy's headquarters in Paris, France. The signing on March 17 marked the first time the international organization partnered with a church in an effort to advance medicine within the public sector.

This isn't the first time the Church reached out to make an impact with the Church's health message. Last year, the church in North Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the city of Monterrey to promote a healthy lifestyle in more than 300,000 homes. Church leaders have implemented the territory's "I Want to Live Healthy Initiative" program, which focuses on the physical, mental and spiritual well- being of the person.

Leaders say the collaborative understanding is meant to coordinate research efforts to implement sanitary and educational models to improve the health and well-being of the Mexican population. The collaboration will also help with information exchanges and will create better public health practices and medical attention in North Mexico.

 

 

Church Votes Statement on Transgenderism

                                                                        Vice-president Stele speaks during the discussion on the transgender statement [photo credit: ANN/Brent Hardinge]

 

The following statement on Transgenderism, or Gender Dysphoria, was voted by the executive committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during their annual Spring Meetings.

In his role as chair, Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church urged the statement be voted “with the understanding we may be able to adjust a little phrasing here or there that might make it less abstract.” He went on to say, “The last thing we want to do is chase people away from Christ and the Church. We want them to come to the foot of the cross and His changing grace.” 

The Biblical Research Institute Ethics Committee, let by Ekkehardt Mueller, associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, along with ethicists, Biblical scholars, theologians, sociologists, psychologist and members of the medical community, was put in charge of writing the statement. 

“Statement on Transgenderism”

The increasing awareness of the needs and challenges that transgender men and women experience and the rise of transgender issues to social prominence worldwide raise important questions not only for those affected by the transgender phenomenon but also for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. While the struggles and challenges of those identifying as transgender people have some elements in common with the struggles of all human beings, we recognize the uniqueness of their situation and the limitation of our knowledge in specific instances. Yet, we believe that Scripture provides principles for guidance and counsel to transgender people and the Church, transcending human conventions and culture.

The Transgender Phenomenon

In modern society, gender identity typically denotes “the public (and usually legally recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man or woman,” while sex refers “to the biological indicators of male and female.”[1] Gender identification usually aligns with a person’s biological sex at birth. However, misalignment may happen at the physical and/or mental-emotional levels. 

On the physical level ambiguity in genitalia may result from anatomical and physiological abnormalities so that it cannot be clearly established whether a child is male or female. This ambiguity of anatomical sexual differentiation is often called hermaphroditism or intersexualism.[2]

On the mental-emotional level misalignment occurs with transgender people whose sexual anatomy is clearly male or female but who identify with the opposite gender of their biological sex. They may describe themselves as being trapped in a wrong body. Transgenderism, formerly clinically diagnosed as “gender identity disorder” and now termed “gender dysphoria,” may be understood as a general term to describe the variety of ways individuals interpret and express their gender identity differently from those who determine gender on the basis of biological sex.[3] “Gender dysphoria is manifested in a variety of ways, including strong desires to be treated as the other gender or to be rid of one’s sex characteristics, or a strong conviction that one has feelings and reactions typical of the other gender.”[4] 

Due to contemporary trends to reject the biblical gender binary (male and female) and replace it with a growing spectrum of gender types, certain choices triggered by the transgender condition have come to be regarded as normal and accepted in contemporary culture. However, the desire to change or live as a person of another gender may result in biblically inappropriate lifestyle choices. Gender dysphoria may, for instance, result in cross-dressing,[5] sex reassignment surgery, and the desire to have a marital relationship with a person of the same biological sex. On the other hand, transgender people may suffer silently, living a celibate life or being married to a spouse of the opposite sex. 

Biblical Principles Relating to Sexuality and the Transgender Phenomenon

As the transgender phenomenon must be evaluated by Scripture, the following biblical principles and teachings may help the community of faith relate to people affected by gender dysphoria in a biblical and Christ-like way:

1.   God created humanity as two persons who are respectively identified as male and female in terms of gender. The Bible inextricably ties gender to biological sex (Gen 1:27; 2:22–24) and does not make a distinction between the two. The Word of God affirms complementarity as well as clear distinctions between male and female in creation. The Genesis creation account is foundational to all questions of human sexuality.

2.   From a biblical perspective, the human being is a psychosomatic unity. For example, Scripture repeatedly calls the entire human being a soul (Gen 2:7; Jer 13:17; 52:28-30; Ezek 18:4; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor 15:45), a body (Eph 5:28; Rom 12:1–2; Rev 18:13), flesh (1 Pet 1:24), and spirit (2 Tim 4:22; 1 John 4:1–3). Thus, the Bible does not endorse dualism in the sense of a separation between one’s body and one’s sense of sexuality. In addition, an immortal part of humans is not envisioned in Scripture because God alone possesses immortality (1 Tim 6:14–16) and will bestow it on those who believe in Him at the first resurrection (1 Cor 15:51–54). Thus, a human being is also meant to be an undivided sexual entity, and sexual identity cannot be independent from one’s body. According to Scripture, our gender identity, as designed by God, is determined by our biological sex at birth (Gen 1:27; 5:1–2; Ps 139:13–14; Mark 10:6).

3.   Scripture acknowledges, however, that due to the Fall (Gen 3:6–19) the whole human being—that is, our mental, physical, and spiritual faculties—are affected by sin (Jer 17:9; Rom 3:9; 7:14–23; 8:20–23; Gal 5:17) and need to be renewed by God (Rom 12:2). Our emotions, feelings, and perceptions are not fully reliable indicators of God’s designs, ideals, and truth (Prov 14:12; 16:25). We need guidance from God through Scripture to determine what is in our best interest and live according to His will (2 Tim 3:16).

4.   The fact that some individuals claim a gender identity incompatible with their biological sex reveals a serious dichotomy. This brokenness or distress, whether felt or not, is an expression of the damaging effects of sin on humans and may have a variety of causes. Although gender dysphoria is not intrinsically sinful, it may result in sinful choices. It is another indicator that, on a personal level, humans are involved in the great controversy.

5.   As long as transgender people are committed to ordering their lives according to the biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage they can be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Bible clearly and consistently identifies any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage as sin (Matt 5:28, 31–32; 1 Tim 1:8–11; Heb 13:4). Alternative sexual lifestyles are sinful distortions of God’s good gift of sexuality (Rom 1:21–28; 1 Cor 6:9–10).

6.   Because the Bible regards humans as wholistic entities and does not differentiate between biological sex and gender identity, the Church strongly cautions transgender people against sex reassignment surgery and against marriage, if they have undergone such a procedure. From the biblical wholistic viewpoint of human nature, a full transition from one gender to another and the attainment of an integrated sexual identity cannot be expected in the case of sex reassignment surgery.

7.   The Bible commands followers of Christ to love everyone. Created in the image of God, they must be treated with dignity and respect. This includes transgender people. Acts of ridicule, abuse, or bullying towards transgender people are incompatible with the biblical commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

8.   The Church as the community of Jesus Christ is meant to be a refuge and place of hope, care, and understanding to all who are perplexed, suffering, struggling, and lonely, for “a bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (Matt 12:20). All people are invited to attend the Seventh-day Adventist Church and enjoy the fellowship of its  believers.  Those who are members can fully participate in church life as long as they embrace the message, mission, and values of the Church.

9.   The Bible proclaims the good news that sexual sins committed by heterosexuals, homosexuals, transgender people, or others can be forgiven, and lives can be transformed through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:9–11).

10. Those who experience incongruity between their biological sex and gender identity are encouraged to follow biblical principles in dealing with their distress. They are invited to reflect on God’s original plan of purity and sexual fidelity. Belonging to God, all are called to honor Him with their bodies and their lifestyle choices (1 Cor 6:19). With all believers, transgender people are encouraged to wait on God and are offered the fullness of divine compassion, peace, and grace in anticipation of Christ’s soon return when all true followers of Christ will be completely restored to God’s ideal.


[1]Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. (DSM-5TM), edited by the American Psychiatric Association (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013), 451.

[2] Those born with ambiguous genitalia may or may not benefit from corrective surgical treatment.

[3] See DSM-5TM, 451–459.

[4] This sentence is part of a succinct summary of gender dysphoria provided to introduce DSM-5TM that was published in 2013: https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Practice/DSM/APA_DSM-5-Gender-Dysphoria.pdf (accessed April 11, 2017)

[5] Cross-dressing, also referred to as transvestite behavior, is prohibited in Deuteronomy 22:5.

 

 

Kellogg Fired Sabbath Employees Lose in Court

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   iStockPhoto

On March 22, 2017, two former Kellogg employees made their appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit after a lower court found insufficient evidence that the two Adventist plaintiffs were treated unfairly when they were fired for failing to work on Sabbath. A decision from the court of appeals, located in Denver, Colorado, is expected in approximately three months.

The United States District Court for the District of Utah granted Kellogg’s motion for summary judgment on the claims for disparate treatment, reasonable accommodation, and retaliation on July 7, 2016. At that time, the court also accordingly denied Richard Tabura and Guadalupe Diaz’s motion for summary judgment.

Tabura and Diaz were both fired in 2012 from their manufacturing jobs at a Kellogg USA, Inc. plant in Utah for missing work on Saturdays as they honored their religious belief to observe Sabbath. In 2011, Kellogg increased production and implemented a new work scheduling program known as “continuous crewing.” This program created four separate, rotating shifts, in which employees were to work approximately two Saturdays a month—26 Saturdays a year. While both plaintiffs made attempts to use paid days off and work swaps with other employees they eventually were assessed too many absence points within a 12-month period and, after what Kellogg describes as “progressive-discipline measures” were exhausted, were terminated.

“The plaintiffs lost at the trial court level,” said Todd McFarland, associate general counsel for the General Conference (GC or world headquarters) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “The court said that Kellogg offering the use of their vacation time and swaps was enough. They didn't have to actually eliminate the conflict; they just had to give them the opportunity to do it, and that the fact that there wasn't enough vacation time or enough people to swap with wasn't Kellogg's problem.”

The Office of General Counsel was part of the Tenth Circuit appeal. The appeal argues that the district court erred in holding that an “accommodation” can be legally sufficient even if it does not eliminate the conflict between a work requirement and a religious practice. It also contends that treating the forfeiture of vacation and sick time as a legitimate accommodation is not appropriate.

“It's a ‘cold comfort’ to an Adventist to say, ‘You only have to break half the Sabbaths.’ If you don't have to eliminate the conflict, then that does no good,” said McFarland. “So this [case] is important to people of faith about what's required from employment to accommodate Sabbath.”

For some, the irony is unavoidable. Kellogg, a food manufacturing company, was founded as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906 by Will Keith Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg. John Harvey, at the time, was a Seventh-day Adventist and director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, owned and operated by the Adventist Church. The sanitarium’s operation was based on the church’s health principles, which include a healthful diet, regimen of exercise, proper rest, and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.

According to the Kellogg website, the brothers “changed breakfast forever when they accidentally flaked wheat berry.” Will Keith kept experimenting until he was able to flake corn, creating the recipe for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. John Harvey eventually turned away from church beliefs, espousing what many believe was a form of pantheism.

The case was argued at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals by Gene Schaerr of Schaerr Duncan. The case was handled at the district (trial) court by Alan Reinach of the Pacific Union Conference’s Church-State Council along with Erik Strindberg and Matt Harrison of Strindberg & Scholonick.

 

 

 

Evangelize With a Church Garden

Women in rural communities across East-Central Africa are now experts in the art of vegetable farming and evangelism. The women recently attended a one-week training at the church headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The event was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Africa, in partnership with the women's ministry department in East-Central Africa. The women were trained with essential vegetable farming skills which allows them to be independent. This self-sufficiency is necessary for the eradication of poverty in their rural communities.

Zivayi Nengomasha, program and planning director of ADRA-Africa, said "Doing vegetable evangelism is a good way of changing lives for not only nonbelievers but for church members as well since many people lack the knowledge of how to eat healthily and take care of their bodies."

Church leaders said the current situation in the region is alarming. According to the latest statistics from the World Food Program of the UN, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger. One out of every three people is either malnourished or undernourished. [photo: North Tanzania Union Conference]

 

 

 

Brazil Allows High School Exam on Sunday

A public vote held by the Ministry of Education of Brazil that resulted in changes to the National High School Exam (Enem) is a victory, not only for Sabbath keepers, but also for religious liberty.

Minister of State Mendonça Filho shared on March 9 that of the more than 600,000 people who participated in the national vote, 64 percent favored holding the Enem on two consecutive Sundays instead of a Saturday and Sunday, marking the official change of the exam’s schedule effective immediately. 

Every year it is estimated that more than 70,000 students request an alternative time to take the Enem. 

Those who set aside Saturday for religious activities and community service have felt discriminated against since the exam was created. In the past, Sabbath-keepers arrived at the exam’s location on Saturdays and sat in an isolated room until after the Sabbath ended, which was when they would begin their test. 

“I think that a young person who sees himself in front of this exam, which is already exhausting, from the effort every young person does, and even more, having to be confined for 4 hours, is in a disadvantage in relation to everyone else”, said Filho.  He went on to say, “We need to promote this exam, but treating everyone with dignity, respecting human rights and, providing equal ideals and conditions to evaluate it.” 

Freedom of Thought Principle

Recently, individuals in Brazil have fought to have their rights respected when faced with situations that involve freedom of thought and worship. By changing the Enem testing day, the Brazilian government showed it is interested in understanding the reality of thousands of people who not only see Saturday as the Sabbath, but as an opportunity to obey a divine commandment.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil praised the efforts of the Ministry of Education and Brazilians who participated in the vote for respecting the faith of Sabbath observers.

“Sabbath-keepers, especially Seventh-day Adventists, are not seeking more privileges than other candidates,” said Erton Köhler, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America. “Quite the opposite, they desire to have the same opportunity when it comes to such an important program that can not only guarantee, but define the professional future of thousands of people.” 

“The results of the public poll makes this reality equal to everyone. And I take this opportunity to thank all Seventh-day Adventists that voted and did something to make this a reality,” said Köhler.

The Seventh-day Adventist World Church is made up of more than 20 million members in more than 200 countries, 1.6 million of which live in Brazil alone.

 

 

AWR Leads to Romanian Baptism

 

 

      AWR president Duane McKey, wife Kathy (center) Ilie (left) wife, Lydia (right).        [Photo courtesy of Duane McKey]

 

Change was in the air in 1989. The Cold War ended. The Berlin Wall came down. Romania’s communist government was overthrown. Ilie and his wife, Lydia, felt free for the first time in their lives.

Ilie embarked on a search for answers about God and the state of the dead, questions that had been burning in his heart for years. He obtained his first Bible and began to attend an evangelical church in Pitesti, a city of about 165,000 people located 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Romania’s capital, Bucharest. 

After a few years, Ilie and Lydia discovered to their surprise that Jesus had been baptized by immersion in the Jordan River. Ilie immediately asked his church family to baptize him like Jesus. He was told that he had been sprinkled as a baby and that was enough.  

Devastated, Ilie intensified his reading of the Bible. He befriended Christians from another evangelical denomination who gladly baptized him and his wife by immersion. Ilie threw himself into his new-found faith. He even led construction of a new church building and became one of the church’s evangelists.

But Ilie’s Bible studies weren’t finished. 

Four years ago, Ilie was working for the railroad, switching tracks as trains rolled through a railroad yard, when he noticed that a coworker listened to the radio from a cellphone app. Ilie decided to do the same and quickly became engrossed with programs about prophecy and end-time events on Adventist World Radio (AWR). He read his Bible like never before and discovered to his shock that he was worshipping on the wrong day of the week. He told his Christian friends about what he had found and showed them texts in the Bible. But they grew angry and refused to listen. 

Ilie told me that he was puzzled about what to do next. He had never met a Seventh-day Adventist and thought that he was alone in his search for a church that observed the biblical, seventh-day Sabbath. He searched and searched and finally found an Adventist church not far from his home. He visited the Pitesti Seventh-day Adventist Church for the first time in 2015. 

Lydia cried and cried. She loved her friends at their Sunday church and refused to go with her husband. But Ilie refused to relent, and he worshipped at the Adventist church with their two teenage daughters every Sabbath.  

The Pitesti church pastor, Ovidiu Baluta, was surprised at how much Ilie knew about the Bible. When Ilie declared that he was ready to become a Seventh-day Adventist, the pastor replied, “You must study first so you understand clearly what Seventh-day Adventists believe.”  

“Ask me anything you want,” Ilie said. 

So, the pastor did.

“Ilie knew it all!” the pastor told me. 

After a few weeks, Lydia agreed to study the Bible with her husband. Soon she grew excited about what they were discovering together. Actually the information echoed what Ilie had been sharing with her as he listened to AWR at work for the past two years. 

After a while, Ilie, Lydia, and their eldest daughter were baptized. The younger daughter kept attending church with them but struggled over baptism. However, she accepted the Advent message during evangelistic meetings at the Pitesti church, one of hundreds of sites where Total Member Involvement evangelistic meetings were held across Romania in February 2017. She was baptized just a few days ago.

This is the power of AWR-360, as we are rebranding Adventist World Radio. AWR-360 is not just about radio broadcasts. It’s about the entire cycle — “from broadcast to baptism.” Ilie’s story, like the stories of many listeners of AWR’s broadcasts and podcasts, follows this same cycle from broadcast to baptism.

Today, Ilie loves AWR and encourages others to listen to its programs, which are aired daily on buses, in taxis, and in many stores in Pitesti and other Romanian cities, including Bucharest. Ten to 15 people visit the Pitesti church every week after hearing about the Sabbath or Jesus on AWR, Pastor Baluta said.

Seeing Ilie’s enthusiasm for AWR, my wife, Kathy, asked Lydia how actively her husband promotes AWR to the townspeople of Pitesti. 

Lydia rolled her eyes and smiled. “He can’t keep his mouth shut,” she said.

Papua New Guinea School

                                                                                                                                                                                                      photo: Operation Food for Life

Leaders of an independent Adventist ministry are celebrating the opening of a school that will cater to a remote village in Papua New Guinea. While serving villagers in Kivori-Poi, workers of "Operation Food for Life" or (O-F-F-L) noticed the village's lack of direct access to education for school- aged children.

The village of approximately 6,000 families is only accessible by helicopter or a four-wheeler, making it difficult for children to travel to another village or city to go to school. Now, the brand-new school with its 2 Seventh-day Adventist teachers are teaching lessons to 120 students free of charge.

Kivori-Poi's chief praised O-F-F-L for the school, saying it is the fulfillment of a long-held dream for the village to have a place for its children to receive education. The president of O-F-F-L , Dennis Perry, said, "During this year, OFFL will build a permanent two classroom facility with an additional first aid room to serve the school and the community. We want to give all the praise to Jesus for His leading guidance and blessings during the planning and completion of the temporary school."

 

 

 

Desmond Doss Testimony Film

 

 

                                                                          Photo: Hacksaw Ridge Resources

The testimony of Desmond Doss was made into a movie, Hacksaw Ridge. The movie was recognized by the world and nominated for a couple of awards, one which was for the best picture. God is bringing His church into a more visible place in the world.

There are a couple of Seventh-day Adventists serving in politics at the national level, Ben Carson was a candidate for president of the United States and is now serving in the Trump Administration as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Barry Black is the chaplain for the United States Senate. Both were keynote speakers at the national prayer breakfast last year and this year.

Jesus is coming soon! Prophecies are fast fulfilling. Let us hasten His soon coming!

 

 

 

Food For Life

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.       2 Corinthians 3:18

Tell of His Grace

Testimonies of the power of grace to change lives......

 

I was born into a non Adventist home, well that is an understatement really. My father was and still is a heavily practicing Satanist and as such, myself being a female, made me a target for ridicule and I was most certainly placed way below my brothers in the family......Tamara's Testimony

Country Living

Mar10 Demo Image Too late to move?

Moving to the country is becoming very hard in some locations. Selling a home and financing a new one is difficult. Some government agencies want to move everyone into the cities. God's people need to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of those who are opposed to the truth. Pray that God will open a way.

Religious Liberty

European Sunday Law?

The world will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. . . . The powers that be are ordained of God." But what has been the course of God's servants in ages past? When the disciples preached Christ and Him crucified, after His resurrection, the authorities commanded them not to speak any more nor to teach in the name of Jesus. "But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Today, our liberty is being threatened.

European Sunday Law

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