Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

1904

Letters

Lt 1, 1904

Brethren and Sisters

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

December 31, 1903

Portions of this letter are published in HP 83, 176, 226, 242; TDG 374; 11MR 29. +Note

My dear Brethren and Sisters,—

I pray that you may be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 15:58.] We are living amidst the closing scenes of this earth’s history, and to us comes the warning, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 1

Those who proclaim the third angel’s message must put on the whole armor of God, that they may stand boldly at their post, in the face of detraction and falsehood, fighting the good fight of faith, resisting the enemy with the Word, “It is written.” Keep yourselves where the three great powers of heaven—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—can be your efficiency. These powers work with the one who gives himself unreservedly to God. The strength of heaven is at the command of God’s believing ones. The man who makes God His trust is barricaded by an impregnable wall. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 2

Be careful of your words. If any one speaks evil of you, even though it be without occasion, do not retaliate. It will not pay. Accuse no one wrongfully, and if you are wrongfully accused, keep silent. Live peaceably with all men, and let the atmosphere surrounding your soul be sweet and fragrant. If you will battle against selfish human nature, you will go steadily forward in the work of overcoming hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. By patience, longsuffering, and forbearance you will accomplish much. Remember that you cannot be humiliated by the unwise speeches of someone else, but that when you speak unwisely you humiliate yourself and lose a victory that you might have gained. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 3

Be faithful in the daily duties of life. Many Christians are working at cross-purposes with God. They neglect the daily duties of life and tell us that they are waiting for some great work to come to them. The daily duties seem to them to be unimportant and uninteresting. They long restlessly for a large place. Day by day they lose opportunities to show their faithfulness. While waiting for some great work, their life passes away. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 4

Do not fail to discharge your daily duties with the strictest fidelity. In the plan that God has for every Christian there are no nonessentials. There are lessons for each one to learn in the daily experience. Be patient, and perform faithfully the work given you, however humble it may be. Go about your work calmly, relying upon God for strength. Look not anxiously into the morrow. Today employ your time to the very best account. Today let your light shine for Christ, even in the performance of little duties. Tomorrow again present yourself to Jesus as one ready to do any work, be it ever so humble. The faithful performance of today’s duties will prepare you to take hold of tomorrow’s work with fresh courage, saying, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped me.” [See 1 Samuel 7:12.] Ever stand as minutemen before God. Let the prayer of your hearts be, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? Imbue me with Thy Spirit, and strengthen me for Thy work.” Thus you will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. Pray much. Much prayer is necessary to successful effort. Prayer brings power. Prayer has “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, ... turned to flight the armies of aliens.” [Hebrews 11:33, 34.] 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 5

Prayer is the breath of the soul. Jesus lived in dependence upon God and communion with Him. To the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, men now and then repair; they abide for a season, and the result is manifest in noble deeds; then their faith fails, the communion is interrupted, and the lifework marred. But the life of Jesus was a life of constant trust, sustained by continual communion; and His service for heaven and earth was without failure or faltering. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 6

Christian workers can never attain the highest success until they learn the secret of strength. They must give themselves time to think, to pray, to wait upon God for a renewal of physical, mental, and spiritual power. They need the uplifting of His Spirit. Receiving this, they will be quickened by fresh life. The wearied frame and tired brain will be refreshed, the burdened heart will be rested. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 7

The Christian worker must study the Word of God. Many are surprised into the commission of sin because of a failure to study the Scriptures. They were off their guard, and Satan found them an easy prey. The psalmist declares, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” [Psalm 119:11.] And in Paul’s letter to Timothy we read, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 8

The life of God, which gives life to the world, is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons. And by His word He stilled the sea and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken it to all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ. It is our only source of power. <Do not rely upon any human agency for your wisdom. Take the Lord at His word, believing you do receive the things you ask of Him. Matthew 28:18-[20].> 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 9

As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life is sustained by the Word of God. And every soul is to receive life from God’s Word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the Word for ourselves. <From the Scriptures there is the very instruction you need. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” [John 5:39.]> 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 10

Yea, the Word of God is the bread of life. Those who receive and assimilate this Word, making it a part of every act, of every attribute of character, will grow strong in the strength of God. It gives immortal vigor to the soul, perfecting the experience, and bringing joys that will abide forever. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 11

Do not allow anything to turn you aside from the path of self-denial. Of those who in ancient times engaged in contests of physical strength, we read, “Every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” [1 Corinthians 9:25.] As we engage in the great struggle, let us think of what we shall lose if we fail. We shall lose the eternal life purchased for us by the blood of the Son of God. Shall we, then, grudge the toil of eternal vigilance? If we do all in our power to resist evil and surmount obstacles, we shall gain the victory. Vigor will reward the efforts made to press toward the prize of our high calling in Christ. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 12

Worldly attractions will be presented to draw the attention from the Lord Jesus; but laying aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets, we are to press forward, showing to the world, to angels, and to men that the hope of seeing the face of God is worth all the efforts and the sacrifices that the attainment of the hope demands. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 13

“What things were gain to me,” Paul declares, “those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed unto His death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead. ... 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 14

“I count not myself yet to have laid hold; but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press toward the goal, unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 3:7-11, 13, 14.] 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 15

“One thing I do.” [Verse 13.] Paul allowed nothing to divert him from the one great purpose of his life. He did many things. He was a wise teacher. His letters to the different churches are full of instructive lessons. He worked with his own hands at his trade, in this way earning his daily bread. “These hands,” he said, “have ministered unto my necessity.” [Acts 20:34.] He carried a heavy burden for the churches and sought earnestly to lead them in the right way. He was always seeking to help them in their difficulties, yet he declared, “This one thing I do.” In the busy activities of life, he never lost sight of his one great purpose—to press on toward the prize of his high calling. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 16

My dear fellow workers, let the great purposes that constrained Paul to press forward in the face of hardship and difficulty lead you to consecrate yourselves wholly to God’s service. Whatever your hands find to do, do it with your might. Make your work pleasant with songs of praise. If you would have a clean record in the books of heaven, never fret or scold. Let your daily prayer be, “Lord, help me to do my best. Teach me how to do better work. Give me energy and cheerfulness. Help me to bring into my service the loving ministry of the Saviour.” 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 17

Look upon every duty, however humble, as sacred because it is part of God’s service. Do not allow anything to make you forgetful of God. Bring Christ into all that you do. Then your lives will be filled with brightness and thanksgiving. You will do your best, moving forward cheerfully in the service of the Lord, your hearts filled with His joy. 19LtMs, Lt 1, 1904, par. 18