This is a tool for you to use if you lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or small group. It is keyed to the Bible texts used in the current week’s Adult SS Lesson and includes a brief story from current news you can use to introduce the discussion and then a series of discussion […] Source: https://atoday.org/sharing-scripture-for-november-17-23/
Read Nehemiah 10:30-39. What are four things the Israelites pledged to do as part of the renewed covenant?
The people pledged the following:
1. No mixed marriages (no marriage to an individual who could lead one into idolatry);
2. True Sabbath observance (no distractions through business transactions);
3. Debt cancelation and Sabbatical year observance to care for the poor and give them freedom;
4. Financially supporting the temple, its services, and personnel through bringing the firstfruits, the firstborn, and the tithe, thus ensuring the continuation of true worship.
The first three pledges related to relationships with others (marriage and debt cancellation) and with God (Sabbath), while the last one (Neh. 10:32-39) deals with temple regulations.
The goal of the community was to demonstrate that they were committed to the covenant, and therefore would implement practical ways of building their relationship with God and others. Even if they didn’t always keep the covenant perfectly, they understood that right habits and practices would influence the future. If the Israelite nation was going to get on the right path, they had to establish practices and habits that would be conducive to where they wanted to be. If they wanted to have a close walk with God, then making the Sabbath important and taking care of the temple were important steps in that direction.
Unfortunately, they didn’t keep their pledges very well, as demonstrated in the last chapters of Nehemiah. Yet, even if everyone didn’t keep them, some or many people did. With God’s help and keeping our focus on Him, we can develop the right habits and stick to the right path.
|“Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith” – Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 48. What’s holding you back from experiencing what’s written here?|
[He] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.
Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey….
This is the mystery of godliness, that One equal with the Father should clothe His divinity with humanity, and laying aside all the glory of His office as Commander in heaven, [should] descend step after step in the path of humiliation, enduring severe and still more severe abasement. Sinless and undefiled, He stood in the judgment hall, to be tried, to have His case investigated and pronounced upon by the very nation He had delivered from slavery. The Lord of glory was rejected and condemned, yea, spat upon. With contempt for what they regarded as His pretentious claims, men smote Him in the face….
Pilate pronounced Christ innocent, declaring that he found no fault in Him. Yet to please the Jews, he commanded Him to be scourged and then delivered Him up, bruised and bleeding, to suffer the cruel death of crucifixion. The Majesty of heaven was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and amid scoffing and jeers, ridicule and false accusation, He was nailed to the cross. The crowd, in whose hearts humanity seemed to be dead, sought to aggravate the cruel sufferings of the Son of God by their revilings. But as a sheep before His shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was giving His life for the life of the world, that all who believed in Him should not perish…. UL 90.4
Christ bore the sins of the whole world. He endured our punishment—the wrath of God against transgression. His trial involved the fierce temptation of thinking that He was forsaken by God. His soul was tortured by the pressure of a horror of great darkness…. He could not have been tempted in all points like as man is tempted had there been no possibility of His failing. He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam and as is man. Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation comes and is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action, and knowing that he can do it, resists by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power.—Manuscript 29, March 17, 1899, “Sacrificed for Us.
The Upward Look p. 90
—-Please pray for Ilene who just had a hysterectomy yesterday and the doctors found out that she has tumors on her thyroid. Esther
—-Please pray for my niece and her boyfriend. They are both out of work for medical related issues. Mike is having surgery today on his back. Pray all goes as planned and that his ongoing pain will disappear. Also, that he will heal quickly so he can get back to work asap.
Pray also for my niece. She just had a baby a couple days ago . I pray they will not lose the home they rent while they heal physically. Thank you. Cora
Until I was seven, I was allowed to play anywhere on our block. That was really quite a large area, as it was a double block. Often I would be gone for hours, but my grandmother didn’t worry about me. She knew that I was safe. Rarely were there any of the crimes that plague our society today.
One day when I was a little older and had broadened my horizons, my grandfather was reading his newspaper about a kidnapping that took place in Grand Rapids, a town about fifty miles north of us. The thought that the “pride and joy” of his life was no longer safe as I played outside, filled him with fear. He began to tell me frightening tales of children being kidnapped by strangers. He went a little “overboard” and caused me to eye any stranger with suspicion. Whenever a man came toward me on the sidewalk, I quickly crossed over to the other side of the street. I can still remember the puzzled looks I got from the many innocent people who were just going about their daily business. That was what my grandfather had wanted, so he again felt safe in letting me go to the store alone to get the little items that he would always forget when he did the grocery shopping or just go play anywhere in the neighborhood.
How much our world has changed in just my lifetime. Even though there was an occasional crime back then, things remained safe for all of my growing up years. Crime began to become more frequent and of greater magnitude, until today this world is filled with violence. People shoot one another over something as simple as a parking space. There is little safety anywhere. Truly we live in the time Paul spoke of when he said that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Tim 3:13,1-5
Even as bad as all the crimes that are committed, all the heartache in this world, all the strained relationships within or without our family circle, there is one on Paul’s list that is the most dangerous, namely “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” By this deception, many people are destroyed by being lulled to sleep by the evil one. They, themselves, think that they are Christians, others consider them to be Christians; but they do not have an intimate, saving relationship with their Only Saviour, nor do they do the works of Christ. As the saying goes, they “talk the talk” but do not “walk the walk.”
They are as the Pharisees of old upon whom Jesus pronounced a woe, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matt 23:25-27; 7:27
May we build our life upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. May we daily do our Heavenly Father’s will from a heart filled with love for Him. May we “be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” is my prayer. 2 Peter 3:14
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is collaborating with the North American Division (NAD) Office of Education to offer educational development assistance at schools in Southern Africa. Recently, ADRA accompanied ten NAD education leaders to evaluate and assess the needs of schools in Malawi.
“ADRA wants to ensure that every child has the best opportunities available to thrive and succeed,” says Matthew Siliga, vice president for marketing and development at ADRA. “Nothing…Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ann-en/~3/P20EqMrIaFI/
To help combat climate change, Pathfinders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took part in planting 1,400 trees in Dubai on November 10 as a part of the “Plant A Legacy initiative” spearheaded by a Dubai private school.
Seven Pathfinders, four Adventurers, two parents and fifteen Master Guides in Training and Master Guides from the Emirates of Sharjah and Dubai in UAE participated in the completion of planting 15,000 Ghaf trees in 65 days.
“Plant A Legacy” (PAL) project initiative by The…Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ann-en/~3/K2R32GI7vrQ/
Series EZRA AND NEHEMIAH with Pastor Kurt Piesslinger, M.A. |
8.GOD AND THE COVENANT |
A covenant is very important. Both partners promise to do what they have promised.
The Israelites promised to be loyal to God.
My God bless you today and always.
18 November 2019 | The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is collaborating with the North American Division (NAD) Office of Education to offer educational development assistance at schools in Southern Africa. Recently, ADRA accompanied ten NAD education leaders to evaluate and assess the needs of schools in Malawi. “ADRA wants to ensure that every […] Source: https://atoday.org/adra-taps-nad-educators-for-development-and-overhaul-in-southern-africa-schools/
You can view an in-depth discussion of “God and the Covenant” in the Hope Sabbath School class led by Pastor Derek Morris. Click on the image to view:
You may download an MP4 video file, and audio file or a PDF lesson outline from the HopeSS site.
With thanks to Hope Channel – Television that will change your life.
- A sure covenant. We have agreements, pacts, contracts, and other forms that lead to a commitment to carry out certain duties or fill requirements in business and other activities of life. What is the difference between the legal documents we use in business and the agreements we seal in our spiritual walk with Jesus? Are you encouraged about the beauty and finality we see in a covenant relationship as it applies to our daily life in Jesus? Are you ever tempted to resent having to agree to conditions of being a member of God’s family and long instead for freedom from all agreements?
- a. The idea of the covenant. How does our covenant relationship with God shed light on the experience of God’s creation of human beings? Was there a time when Adam and Eve were so new that they didn’t fully understand what a covenant meant in their new life? Or did they have full understanding from the moment of their creation? Considering the magnificence of life without sin and the power of God as revealed to our forefathers, are you ever puzzled about how our people could fall so soon and so far from the plan God had in mind for them? Has there ever been a time in your life when you drifted away and are full of bewilderment today about how that could have happened?
b. Choosing evil over good. Is it hard for you, as it is for me, to imagine God’s children at the beginning preferring evil to God’s goodness? The flood, our lesson author declares, was God’s method of intervention. He desperately wanted a family of love and joy. What did He have instead? The flood was a matter of de-creation. By their bad choices, humans ruined life as God created it. Nearly every human being on earth was destroyed. And God started over. Does that account ever install a sense of awe in your thinking?
- Covenants in history. This section of the lesson lists seven covenants of love as defined in the Old Testament. What is the difference between these covenants and the “everlasting covenant”? What is the relationship between these covenants and the plan of salvation? A suggestion: Covenantal structure. Choose one of the four elements in the everlasting covenant and spend an hour contemplating what that aspect of salvation means to you. (1) a preamble; (2) a long historical prologue; (3) blessings and curses; (4) special provision.
- Pledges. Think about each of these and ask the question: Is there any way these pledges can apply to our church life today? Even with minor changes for clarity? Do you ever encounter criticism about the way we Adventists set standards for not working on the Sabbath? Which of the standards listed in the lesson are the most valuable to you in your daily walk with God? Is it possible for you or for me to follow even one of those pledges with full dedication? What does our friend from the past, Ellen White,have to say about the possibility of our living a life of faith?
- The temple. Some churches are elaborate in their structure and design while others are simple and even run down and in need of repair or re-building. What do you think God wants us to do to improve the appearance and functionality of His churches around the world? Or does it matter to Him? Can a church building give the heavenly impression of “a vibrant spiritual life”? There may be changes that could be made in the church where you worship. Maybe it’s a rundown parking space, or furnishings that seem old and out of place. Is God pleased or upset when we work to build elements of beauty and praise into the sanctuaries where we worship him?
The covenant, in the Memory Text, was sealed by the leaders, Levites and the priests, just as much as God sealed the covenant with Abram in
Hymn 264, “O for That Flame of Living Fire”.
The Children of Israel had their special way of putting their covenant in place with God.
Hymn 347, “Built on the Rock” and
Hymn 522, “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” show us the way we are able to do this today. God promised to be faithful to the covenant, even when people were not:
Hymn 100, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. Let us all remain faithful to our God,
Hymn 602, “O Brother, Be Faithful”.
God has made a pledge with His people (Wednesday):
Hymn 532, “Day by Day” and Hymn 635, “Lord of All Good”.
The hymn representing The Temple (Thursday’s study) is one that can be used to draw us into our prayer time:
Hymn 692, “The Lord Is in His Holy Temple” or the alternate melody in
We are led finally to the plan for salvation at the end of the Thursday’s study:
Hymn 339, “God Is My Strong Salvation” and
Hymn 646, “To the Name That Brings Salvation”.
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”