Larger font
Smaller font

General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font


    L. T. NICOLA

    Reading for Sabbath, December 21


    IT is customary with us to set apart a week near the close of each year, for prayer and special devotion, and at that time to make contributions to our foreign missionary work, according as God has prospered us. One week given up especially to prayer, cannot, of course, make up for lack of devotion during the year; but what can be more proper, as we near the close of the year, than to call a halt, review the experiences we have passed through, recount the mercies of God, and with renewed consecration commit ourselves and our all to him?GCB December 1895, page 595.5

    God’s people are always in need of the divine power, but this need would seem to be especially great at the critical time in which we live, in view of the largeness of the field and our utter inability to meet its wants. On every side the fields are white; from every land is heard the Macedonian cry, “Come over and help us.” Time is rapidly passing, only a short period remains in which to work. Alas for those who remain indifferent now; they will surely find themselves among the lost in the day of final reckoning.GCB December 1895, page 595.6

    The light we have received, the profession we make, and the position we occupy in the world, place us under solemn obligations to God and to our fellow-men; - to God, because all that we have and are, belong to him, and he in mercy has made us the bearers of his last warning message to the world; while to our fellow-men we owe the solemn duty of giving this message with clearness and power, that they may be fully advised of the things that are now developing so rapidly, and the judgments soon to overtake the ungodly.GCB December 1895, page 596.1

    If we prove unfaithful to this sacred trust, it will be taken from us and given to another people. God cannot be represented by an unfaithful people. This would be compromising his character. Earnest, persevering effort, a mind awake to the solemn realities of the hour, a heart-felt burden to save perishing souls, a willingness to give freely of our means to support the work, — these are a few of the things which God expects of his people to-day. Brethren and sisters, is this our condition? — It may be. God’s requirements are not arbitrary. He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him, than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children. His grace is sufficient for every one of us, his strength is made perfect in weakness. But he surely will have such a people ready to meet him when he comes, and the only question is, Will you and I be among that number? God grant that we may!GCB December 1895, page 596.2

    Let us now consider the general condition of the world, and note some of the events which mark this as the time of the end. In a wonderful manner the way is opening to carry the gospel to every nation and people, even those most remote from the centers of civilization. The facilities for travel, and the rapid and easy communication of knowledge by means of the press, post, and telegraph, are marvelous. They all contribute toward the work of spreading the news of the gospel far and wide. We should also observe the wonderful manner in which God is preparing hearts to receive the truth. From every direction urgent calls are coming for men to preach the gospel to them as it is in Jesus. The benighted heathen appeals to us in piteous tones for instruction in the knowledge of the true God. Our experience with the people living in the interior of Africa is most touching. A native chief came to Brother Sparrows, and with tears streaming down his face, pleaded for a missionary to come and teach him and his people how to serve the God of heaven. Similarly urgent requests have been made to our missionaries in the South Sea Islands. And in South America many people have entreated Brother Westphal with tears, to come and explain to them the truth of God for this time. Thus is the Spirit of God going out before us, and moving the hearts of people everywhere. Surely the fields are ripe, and the harvest great, but the laborers are so few.GCB December 1895, page 596.3

    There is another phase of the world’s condition to-day, which is worthy of mention, and that is the general spiritual declension. Religion exists in form in a large part of the world, but it lacks the divine power. The spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice is rarely seen. The light that should shine bright and clear, has grown dim, and in many places has gone out. And the result may be described in the language of the prophet, “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” There never was a time when more people professed Christianity, and it may be doubted if there ever was a time when the power thereof was so small in comparison with the profession. The last days are described in the Bible as perilous, and the reason is given: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, ... having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” This is precisely the condition of things as it exists to-day, and it is not wholly confined to the popular churches. We ourselves are in danger of being carried away by the spirit of the age. Perils threaten us on every side. Our only hope is in God. He is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”GCB December 1895, page 596.4

    Another interesting phase of the present situation, is the spirit of persecution that is taking possession of many professed Christians, and leading them to seek to enact and enforce oppressive measures against commandment-keepers. This does not come unexpectedly. We have looked forward to it for many years, for prophecy has indicated this as one of the very last developments in the great controversy which Satan is carrying on against God in this earth. There has been a marked increase in the number of arrests of our brethren during the past year, and also a very noticeable increase in the number of States that have raised the hand of persecution. This dragon spirit is a significant feature of the day, and ought of itself to arouse every one to a realizing sense of the grave issues that are right before us.GCB December 1895, page 596.5

    We might further mention the vast warlike preparations that are going on, especially in the Eastern World. Thoughtful men have expressed grave apprehensions of impending, universal war. Some have been at a loss to understand why it has not broken out before. But to those who have studied the prophecies, all is clear. We know that angels of God are holding the winds while the last message is going to the world, and the servants of God are being sealed. O what a momentous time is this! How full of eternal consequences! God grant that his people may awake out of slumber.GCB December 1895, page 597.1

    Is it not our duty to stop and give careful consideration to these things? They deeply concern us as a people. Raised up by the manifest providence of God, in fulfillment of prophecy, to be the Lord’s special people, and the instrument in his hand of doing a solemn and important work, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?GCB December 1895, page 597.2

    And what can be more proper, in view of these circumstances, than to set apart a period of time for earnestly seeking God, and obtaining grace and strength to keep us in this time of need. But we entreat of you, Do not be satisfied with a mere formal observance. Let no one enter upon this solemn week in a spirit of unconcern. The matter of our relation to God is of more serious consequence than anything else that could engage our attention. We are living sadly behind our privileges. Many messages of warning and entreaty have come to us from the Spirit of God; but lukewarmness, worldliness, spiritual apathy, still prevail to an alarming extent. It is not for us to compare ourselves with the standard of Christianity that is most prevalent in the world to-day. No! no! Christ is our standard of comparison. God is now calling out a people that will reflect his character in the midst of a world of darkness and sin. (See Isaiah 62:2.) Such a people must have a close personal connection with Christ. There must be a general awakening, for many are asleep, with no sense of their danger.GCB December 1895, page 597.3

    The spirit of earnest, faithful activity in the Lord’s work is sadly lacking. Personal devotion is neglected. Men and women are so taken up with the cares of this world and the bustle and hurry characteristic of the time, that they do not find opportunity to commune with God. Many go through a form of family worship, but it is so wholly mechanical and devoid of the spirit of worship, that it affords no nourishment to the soul. This is all wrong. Such a course of action will never develop a healthy Christian life. A radical change must be made.GCB December 1895, page 597.4

    The instruction of the Lord is: “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:1, 2. Yes, we must awake, or we are lost. The beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness are offered us. How many have them on? Some are slaves to wrong practices and sinful habits, and cry in despair, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Thanks be to God, help is within reach. Jesus is mighty to save to the uttermost all that will come to him. We entreat you, dearly beloved, be not indifferent. Consider the faithful warnings given us in Zephaniah 2:1-3 [These scriptures should be read in the congregation. We think it would be well to select some person before the meeting, and assign them each one of these passages of Scripture. They will then have them looked up, and when this point in the article is reached, the reader can call upon them in the order in which the references occur, when they will arise in the congregation, and read them aloud.]; James 4:8-10; Isaiah 59:1, 2; and Revelation 3:14-20. Then ask yourselves individually, What is my condition to-day? Is sin in the way? Then confess it and put it away, and open your heart to the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit.GCB December 1895, page 597.5

    The following extracts from the Spirit of prophecy are worthy of our careful study at this time:—GCB December 1895, page 597.6

    “All heaven is represented to me as watching the unfolding of events. A crisis is to be revealed in the great and prolonged controversy in the government of God on earth. Something great and decisive is to take place, and that right early. If any delay, the character of God and his throne will be compromised. The armory of heaven is open; all the universe of God and its equipments are ready.GCB December 1895, page 597.7

    “Intensity is taking possession of every earthly element; and as a people who have had great light and wonderful knowledge, many of them are represented by the five sleeping virgins with their lamps, but no oil in their vessels; cold, senseless, with a feeble, waning piety. While a new light is being diffused, and is springing up from beneath and taking fast hold of all Satan’s agencies, preparatory to the last great conflict and struggle, a new light and life and power is descending from on high, and taking possession of God’s people who are not dead, as many now are, in trespasses and sins...GCB December 1895, page 597.8

    “Those who are carnally minded now, notwithstanding the warnings given of God in his word and through the testimonies of his Spirit, will never unite with the holy family of the redeemed. They are sensual, debased in thought, and abominable in the sight of God. They have never been sanctified. The same plan followed in some of the other readings would help to give variety to the exercises. through the truth. They are not partakers of the divine nature, have never overcome self and the world with its affections and lusts. These characters are all through our churches, and as the result, the churches are weak and sickly, and ready to die. There must be no indifferent testimony borne now, but a decided, pointed testimony, rebuking every impurity, and exalting Jesus. We must as a people be in the attitude of expectation, working and waiting and watching and praying.” — “Appeal to Ministers,” pp.38-40.GCB December 1895, page 597.9

    In these impressive words, the situation is plainly set before us. Now that we have, in view of our great need, set apart a season for prayer, reflection, self-examination, and earnest seeking of God, let us make the very most of the opportunity. Lay by work as much as possible, dismiss worldly care from the mind, and make it a week of prayer indeed. God has great blessings in store for his people. The Holy Spirit awaits our demand and reception; and never were we more in need of its enlightening and reviving power than just now.GCB December 1895, page 598.1

    A keen sense of unfaithfulness in the past, brings feelings of sadness and regret; but the situation is not a hopeless one if we will now turn to God with all the heart. He has done wondrous things for us. The light of his glorious truth has shone upon our pathway, and evidences of his loving care are seen all around us. Let us make the week of prayer a season also of thanksgiving. In the words of the psalmist, let us “be thankful unto Him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” The meetings should not be allowed to drag. They should be full of life and sunshine, for there is genuine joy and peace in serving God.GCB December 1895, page 598.2

    Then while you are seeking the blessing of God, may your soul be drawn out for those who are in darkness, with no knowledge of the truth that is so precious to you. Think of the thousands who are begging for the bread of life. You may not be called upon to go in person to some foreign land, but remember that God holds you responsible for the means he has entrusted to you. You can help those who do go, and thus unite with them in bearing fruit for the Master. Show your love for souls and interest for their salvation by denying self, and making a liberal offering to the foreign missionary work. Thus will God be glorified, his work in the earth advanced, and we individually greatly benefited. God grant that this season of prayer may be a sweet refreshing to God’s people in every part of the world! O.A. OLSEN.GCB December 1895, page 598.3

    Larger font
    Smaller font