Luke: The Account, part 22
For a few years prior to my surgery in 2020, I was finding myself getting depressed. I was feeling tired and couldn’t understand why I was winding down in my abilities. After surgery it became obvious that the bacteria had been slowly strangling the life out of me. I just thought it was old age. But the bacteria were slowly growing and squeezing my spinal cord into deterioration. Now I have great energy, I’m just missing a body that can use it.
We can all find difficulties in our lives. Understanding why can be a real challenge. That is why it is very important that we don’t judge other people and their conditions. We never know what is going on in their lives. I sure had know idea what was going on in my own life and body. Only the power of God was able to save me and take me from being a paralyzed man to one who can walk and work. Sometimes it felt like I was buried under a ton of weight. But now, I have the energy and am working at restoring my body to match the energy.
We must roll away the barriers, even if they are made of stone, that keep the Lord entombed away from us. We must let the Lord of Life rise up in our lives and fill us with His light. We must put forth the effort to pray for His joy, happiness and peace. He will give it when we accept it. Instead of looking around at all the difficulties and problems in the ministry and in my life, I must look around at all the blessings the Lord has given me. It isn’t easy looking past the problems, but it can be done. With the power of God in our lives we can look up into the sky, instead of down at the earth. God is waiting for us to see the good, pleasant, beautiful and holy in and around our lives.
Luke 24:1 to Luke 24:53
But at early dawn on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. Many of us go to our churches, church meetings and church gatherings as if we were going to a funeral. We take what we have prepared, but forget what God has prepared for us. We are looking down, not up. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn't find the body of the Lord Jesus. Most go to church, church meetings and church gatherings expecting to find Jesus. Probably He isn’t there. Jesus wants to meet us in our hearts. He wants to meet us individually where He can address our personal needs without a crowd to get in the way. While they were puzzling over this, two men in dazzling robes suddenly stood beside them. Many are standing by puzzled and in confusion since they go to church, meetings and groups to find Jesus, but don’t. Yet, if they would look away they would find the angels of God waiting to talk to them. While the women remained terrified, bowing their faces to the ground, the men asked them, "Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is living? When we bow before the truth, with our faces to the ground, we will hear the truth. Why are we trying to find a living Jesus among churches and meetings and groups who are dead in their sins and know not the power of Jesus? Bad company corrupts good character, said Paul. Just because they maybe in church doesn’t mean they aren’t “bad company”. After all, that is where the bad company was who yelled out to crucify Jesus. They were all good church members. He is not here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee: Get away! Go to Jesus. He has told us to meet with Him in the fields, the lakes, the forests and any place where it is quiet. Never has He told us to meet Him in church. 'The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day.' " How did He know He would rise on the third day? He read His Old Testament! For years I was troubled by that. He kept referring back to the Old Testament with regards to His resurrection on the third day. But I couldn’t find it. After reading the Bible cover to cover over 150 times I was unable to see it. One day I asked the Spirit to guide me and show me. He did. “ For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, you will not allow your holy one to experience corruption.” Psalm 16:10. There it was all along. After doing a Google search and learning that “corruption” of the body begins about 36 hours after death, the math is simple, Jesus died at 3 pm on Friday and 36 hours later, 3 am on Sunday morning “while it was still dark”, Jesus rose from the tomb. That puts an end to all discussion as to when Jesus died or rose from the tomb. Dying on Wednesday or rising on Monday would make a liar out of the Old Testament. This verse was used by the apostles in their defense of the resurrection of Jesus. On the day of Pentecost Peter used this verse twice to convince the Jews that the prophecy had been fulfilled in Jesus. (Acts 2:27, 31). Paul used this text in Antioch to defend the resurrection of Jesus to the Jews. (Acts 13:35, 37). This had nothing to do with just a “resurrection”. Moses was resurrected from the grave. Lazarus was resurrected from the grave. At the resurrection of Jesus, a multitude of people had been resurrected from the grave. No, it had to do with the fact that Jesus is the only person, in recorded history, to have ever been raised from the grave without experiencing corruption. That is significant! Then the women remembered Jesus' words. It is easy to be distracted from the words of Jesus. That is why I am constantly reading the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy over and over and over again. Each time I find new things, but also, I refresh the old. We must never forget the words of Jesus. We must never mix them with human wisdom. Remember Jesus’ Words! They returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven disciples and all the others. We have a responsibility to report “all these things” to those around us. Never let the hope and joy of eternal life be dimmed by earthly things. Go from your dead churches and share the good news to all around you. The women who told the apostles about it were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some others. There are times when a message may come to you by a most unlikely source. Don’t dismiss it just because the messenger is a woman, a child, a homeless person, an inmate or a person of another religion or race. Listen! Research, not from your church, pastor or denomination’s perspective, but by the Bible. But what they said seemed nonsense to them, so they did not believe them. Typical behavior of church people. I get it all the time. Since what this ministry teaches doesn’t align with what the churches, denominations and pastors teach or believe, it seems like “nonsense” to church people. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. He stooped down and saw only the linen cloths. Then he went home, wondering about what had happened. It is a good thing Peter was impulsive and an individual renegade. He was a person who liked to think for himself. Yes, it may have at times gotten him into trouble, but God likes us to be a bit crazy. Noah was crazy. He built a boat in a forest. Abraham was nuts for picking up and leaving his relatives to follow a “voice” in his head to a strange land. Moses was seeing things. David was in La La land making music on his harp and throwing stones at giants. Elijah was walking around in a camel’s suit pointing fingers and making crazy predictions. Get the point? God needs people willing to be “crazy” and listening to Him. The world is “normal” and doesn’t want to listen to Jesus. Go to the crazies. On the same day, two of Jesus' followers were walking to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about all these things that had taken place. I am sure they were not the only ones talking about “these things”. All Jerusalem was. The priests, Pharisees, teachers of the law and even the beggars were talking about all these things. What made these two different was the fact that they were not making fun of these things, or being cynical, or putting everything into a church paradigm, no they were searching their minds and pulling out Scripture and trying to understand with a heart of faith, love and truth. While they were discussing and analyzing what had happened, Jesus himself approached and began to walk with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. Often the Lord will be right beside us, but He doesn’t want us to know Him just yet. We must first learn to listen to Him. We must understand His words before we can appreciate Him. Too many churches are simply speaking His name and entertaining with feelings and objects of “worship”, but few are listening to His words. He asked them, "What are you discussing with each other as you're walking along?" They stood still and looked gloomy. Many times we forget to see the human side of Jesus. Quietly, respectfully and with true interest, He asked them what they were talking about. He could have just blurted out, “I’m Jesus”! But that would not have solved the problem. What was the problem? They knew Jesus, they had been walking with Him for about three years, but they didn’t know Jesus from prophecy. Sometimes we can get too close to something and not see it, or understand it completely. Sometimes you have to back up and see the whole picture. Jesus was backing them up and taking them back into Old Testament history to see the prophecies that pointed to Christ. That would allow them to place their faith, not just in the person of Christ, but in the prophecies that pointed to Him. They needed to have their faith in the Old Testament strengthened. We don’t do enough of that today. The devil is working very hard to take our faith away from the Old Testament. Paul worked very hard to bring the people back to the Old Testament Scriptures. “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to give you the wisdom you need for salvation through faith in the Messiah Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good action. 2 Timothy 3:15-17. Notice, he didn’t tell Timothy to go to church to learn, he told him to go to Scripture, Old Testament to Paul. The one whose name was Cleopas answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who doesn't know what happened there in the past few days?" He asked them, "What things?" They answered him, "The events involving Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in what he said and did before God and all the people, and how our high priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and had him crucified. Did you hear that? They had been looking at Jesus from His present situation: a prophet, mighty in works and words. But they didn’t know Jesus from Scripture, the Messiah. It is prophecy that builds our faith. God has always given prophecy in order to help us have faith in Him as the only One who knows what the future holds. We need that kind of faith in our lives today. Trust in God by living in obedience to His Word and believe the prophecies! Also, as stated many times, it was the church that handed Jesus over to be crucified. Stay away from churches. But we kept hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel. What is more, this is now the third day since these things occurred. They were looking to the future in selfishness. They should have been looking back in faith. If they had put Scripture to Jesus they would have found a beautiful fit. But they were more involved with the future of Israel, and themselves, than in the prophetic understanding of Jesus and His work. They wanted a Messiah who would conquer their enemies and make Israel great. Even some of our women have startled us by what they told us. They were at the tomb early this morning and didn't find his body there, so they came back and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who were saying that he was alive. Do you see? It is so easy to let our church and selfish desires cloud our perceptions. Many are doing the same today with the “coming of Jesus”. They have allowed their selfish desires cloud their perceptions and the truth about the “coming of Jesus”. He isn’t coming as they have been told. They are just expecting Him to “pop” out of the sky. Won’t happen that way. Just as there were prophetic events that pointed to Jesus at His first coming, so there are prophetic events pointing to Jesus and His second coming. But today people are still looking for Jesus to “pop” out of the sky as the church was looking for Jesus to just “pop” out of nowhere. But he “grew up” among them. That was too slow for the church. Many prophecies still need to be fulfilled. But most are not understanding or looking for them. Running around looking for Jesus to “pop” out of the sky is done with pride and selfishness thinking they will be picked up and all the rest destroyed. How prideful! Then some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. However, they didn't see him." There are events that will happen, but people don’t want to hear of them because it means they will not see Him come as they want Him to come. Selfishness. Pride. Ego. How foolish we are. Then Jesus told them, "O, how foolish you are! How slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! The Messiah had to suffer these things and then enter his glory, didn't he?" You see, it was hard for them to believe if it entailed suffering and rejection by the church. The same today. We want the show. We want the praise. We want the honor. There is a lot of suffering yet to come if you want to get to Heaven. Then, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them all the passages of Scripture about himself. We need to go back to Scripture and start listening to them explain what is coming. Our website and the book, “Change Your Life Biblically” explains some major events that still have to take place. As the Lord continues to reveal to me, I update the book and the website. As they came near the village where the two men were headed, Jesus acted as though he were going farther. Don’t let this opportunity go by! But they strongly urged him, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the daylight is nearly gone." So he went in to stay with them. Go to our website and learn! While he was at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it in pieces, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew who he was. And he vanished from them. Jesus wants to sit with us in our everyday lives. He wants to bless our meals, our work, our everyday activities. We need to open our eyes to see all the blessings He has, is and wanting to give us. I try to look around every day and thank God for everything He has and is doing for this ministry. Then they asked each other, "Our hearts kept burning within us as he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us, didn't they?" I have discovered the same burning in my heart when the Spirit of God opens Scriptures to me. It is hard to explain. Since the work I do involves lots of time on the internet, it drains my soul. Then, when I return to the Scriptures my soul is refreshed. There is something about us humans that need to be in the presence of God to rebuild and rejuvenate us. The creative power of God is in His Word! That is the only explanation for my not being paralyzed today. They got up right away, went back to Jerusalem, and found the eleven disciples and their companions all together. They kept saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two men began to tell what had happened on the road and how they had recognized him when he broke the bread in pieces. That is the true church. There was no one person telling others how to think, what to do or preaching at them. They were all animated with the Spirit of God and shared that animation with each other. Our churches need to take out the pews and put in tables from which we can share with each other our walk and talk with Jesus. Our churches today have lost the Spirit of God and have become like Jews and Catholic in their formal rites, rituals and traditions. There no longer is personal interaction with Jesus. It is all about church, our pastors and leaders. We need to go and find Jesus. While they were all talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and told them, "Peace be with you." People go to church thinking they will find Jesus and His peace. You can’t. Jesus isn’t there. He would be if the churches would let Jesus stand among them. But they don’t want Jesus. Anything that would distract from their authority, control and praise of men, they don’t want. They were startled and terrified, thinking they were seeing a ghost. If Jesus were to stand in our churches, they would be “startled and terrified”. Why? Most think Jesus is still dead and buried. They really don’t believe He is alive. It is all about church, but no personal relationship with Jesus. But Jesus told them, "What's frightening you? And why are you doubting? In actuality, we go to church because we doubt. Jesus wants to come to us and remove all doubt. Instead of going to church, stay home, or go to God’s church: His nature. Spend time alone with Him, listening to Him and talking with Him. If you do you will find your fright and doubt disappear. Look at my hands and my feet, because it's really me. Touch me and look at me, because a ghost doesn't have flesh and bones as you see that I have." Have you touched Jesus? Have you looked into the nail-scarred hands and feet of Jesus? Do you recognize that Jesus is truly “flesh and bones” and is ready to become your personal Friend? Have you really contemplated the pain and suffering Jesus went through for you? After he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. Jesus is ready to reveal Himself to you. You can have a personal relationship with Jesus. He wants to walk and talk with you. But you have to believe that He is real and not just a talking point in church. Even though they were still skeptical due to their joy and astonishment, Jesus asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" Too often we get involved in theological discussions trying to show how intelligent we are; trying to show off. Jesus didn’t try to show off. There was no “Wow, that was incredible. You should have seen Me rise and light up!” No, “Do you have anything here to eat?” How humble. He identified with them as one of them, hungry and needing something to eat. Do we show off? I know I have. It is so easy. And, unfortunately, it is done without even knowing it. It comes so naturally with us humans. I am trying very hard to identify and recognize my foolish behavior before I “show off”. I am so sorry if my behavior has hurt anyone reading this. Please forgive me. I keep asking Jesus, how did you put out information without getting a “high-head”? They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. Instead of showing off, He sat among them and eat with them. How touching. What a Friend. He still wants to sit and eat with us. He wants to walk with us. He wants to listen to us. He wants to be our best Friend. I try to take Him everywhere I go. I want to spend time with Him. Thanks to my health condition, I am finding time with Him in the pool and while on the exercise equipment. Then he told them, "These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms had to be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds so that they might understand the Scriptures. The people I come across online, along with their statements that are put up, show that most Christians just don’t get it. Like the Jews of Christ’s day they want to prove Jesus by His miracles and great works. But that was not the intent of those miracles and works. The Law of Moses proved Jesus. How? Jesus lived the Ten Commandments perfectly. The Prophets and the Psalms that related to living the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life, He lived! The prophecies pointing to His experiences as a man, He fulfilled. All they had to do was go to the prophecies and compare them with His life. But instead, they were looking for the show, miracles, entertainment and the glory the Messiah was to bring to their nation and church. Same expectations today. He told them, "This is how it is written: the Messiah was to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and then repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Instead of glory, the prophecies and the sacrifices pointed to a Messiah who “was to suffer”. The Jews, as Christians today, don’t want anything to do with “suffer”. And there it is again, “it is written: the Messiah was to . . . Rise from the dead on the third day.” 36 hours after His death at 3 pm on Friday, Jesus would rise the third day at 3 am on Sunday morning. They would have known that if they paid attention. And why was the suffering important? To bring repentance and forgiveness of sins to the world. It had nothing to do with the resurrection. Even if Jesus had never risen from the grave, we would have had repentance and forgiveness of sins. In the temple services, the lamb was slain, it didn’t rise. It was the dying for our sins that gave us eternal life. However, I am very thankful that the prophecy told of the resurrection of Jesus. Praise God. You are witnesses of these things. Have you been a good witness? I am sending to you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." God is a God of order. Here at the ministry I work very hard to keep order, routine and cleanliness. Today, in early May, 2022 (yes, I have to start newsletters early.) I was finally able to clean up the last of the construction mess. The property now looks clean and neat. I truly believe that the Spirit of God will come where His presence is desired by our clean, neat and orderly lives. The disciples had to do the same. They had sins in their lives that needed to be removed. Over the next 30 days they were to help each other and encourage each other to remove all sins from their lives. As they did, they came into oneness with God and that brings oneness with each other. There can be no dissention where we are one with God. God cannot be in dissention with Himself. As the Spirit of God was working on their hearts, they were preparing themselves for the physical outpouring of the Spirit in a special manifestation. Not that it was the first time the Spirit was given to the world, but it was a special manifestation of the Spirit. The Spirit of God has always been working since the creation of the world. Only through the Spirit are we able to recognize our sins. “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” Psalm 143:10. Later, he led them out as far as Bethany, lifted up his hands, and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. I am guilty of not doing enough of that. Of what? Blessing those I leave behind when I leave. We need to lift hands up more often, not in show but in blessing those we love. How different our relationships would be with each other if we blessed each other in our hearts. I try to do that many times a day for each one who is involved in this ministry. They worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. They were continually in the Temple, blessing God. We don’t have to be in a church or temple to be continually blessing God. In our homes, at work, at play, with our children, shopping and in every place we are, let us be filled with great joy and blessing God for the many blessings He has given us.
Prison Mission Report
Hello There,I am an inmate in jail. I await my transfer to reception so I can finish my sentence in a state prison. So, I write to the representative of the free Bible studies to see if someone can send me a Bible study. Jason, CA
Brother Ron,Thank you for sending me your booklet. Your story is truly beautiful and I will keep you in my prayers. It is beautiful how God works. It really is. See, I’m in prison for burglary, which was how I fed my addiction to heroin. I can relate to your words, cause I used to be one of them inmates who would go to service, then walk out and be right in the mix of prison politics. See, I got involved with the gangs in the Kentucky prisons, a branch of the Arian Nation. About 7 months ago I woke up and it was like a switch flipped. I wanted to learn about God. See, I grew up going to church, but in my heart, I felt I had to start from the beginning in Genesis and read every day so I could seek what I was looking for without any influence. So, when I read the “History of the Ministry” I was in total awe. I will admit for the first month or two, I battled on what to do with my gang affiliation. Well, it was a battle and a situation landed me in the hole which is where I am now. I prayed and prayed for answers. I knew that the answer was to serve one Master, our Lord Jesus. Following the leader of the gang was foolish and wicked. It led me to dark situations and to harm innocent people. I really relate to how you picked the Bible up to find your own answers. It’s exactly what I did. So, I’d very much like to join your Bible study. I thank you for sharing your story. I can’t wait to read your book, “Change Your Life Biblically”.Jason, KY
Dear Ron,I just finished your introductory pamphlet and I was quite impressed. My cellie Jack was absolutely right about telling me to check it out. I would love to start your course as soon as you can get it to me. William, AR
JCPM,Someone showed me your book, “Change Your Life biblically”. It says what I’ve been trying to tell people for years. I’d like to do that book.James, OH
JCPM,All I can say is, “Thank You”. You guys sent my bunkie this paper. He is not Christian, he is Muslim. I would like to start your Bible study.Sean, NJ
JCPM,I came across your book, “Change Your Life Biblically”. It has literally opened my eyes to the truth about the Bible and has given me a renewed sense of hope. For the longest time I really just thought the Bible was “just the Bible”. Now that you have given me proof that Jesus and God are real, I’m really getting into the Bible. I’ve already read it all the way through once and I’m at it again. Your book is the same way. The “Change Your Life Biblically” that I came across had the answer sheets already ripped out. Will you please send me another copy so I can pass this book on to others that need it? Keith, IN
Ronald,I hope when this letter reaches you, your recovery is continuing to get better and stronger. Somehow your JCPM booklet has found its way to me. I thank God it did. Your story is very impactful and motivating. I appreciate the fact that you know what it is like to be in this position of struggle. I’m ready to change my life and would love a copy of your book so I can get deeper into studies.Donald, IL
Dear Jesus Christ Prison Ministry,I want to thank you for reaching out to me with the Spirit of God. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m enclosing the filled out answer sheets and I’m looking forward to receiving certificates for all three volumes. Chiron, IL
Dear Brother Ron,Sorry for the delay. I am no longer on my old unit. I finally made it over here. Sorry I haven’t been able to do another assignment, but I am still waiting for my property to catch up to me from my old unit. It was good to hear from you. I see that Duke and Butch have been pitching in with all of the work. Duke looks mighty tired! Brother Ron, you are absolutely correct though, with your assessment about how God will direct me to people that want to change their lives. That’s really what this program is about. I’ve already encountered several people that read and study the Word and are Christians. I’ve already sent a couple of them your way to request their copy of “CYLB”. I do see the Spirit of God at work. It’s a really good feeling. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and want everyone to get a copy of CYLB, but I know that I must be patient and like you said, “Change the thinking of one inmate at a time.” Ricardo, TX
Testimony for God's Children
Choosing Earthly Treasure
I have been shown the condition of God's people. They are stupefied by the spirit of the world. They are denying their faith by their works. I was pointed back to ancient Israel. They had great light and exalted privileges; yet they did not live up to the light nor appreciate their advantages, and their light became darkness. They walked in the light of their own eyes instead of following the leadings of God. The history of the children of Israel was written for the benefit of those who live in the last days, that they may avoid following their example of unbelief. Brother (church member), you were shown me enshrouded in darkness. The love of the world had taken entire control of your being. The very best of your days are past. Your vitality and power of endurance, as far as physical labor is concerned, are enfeebled; and now, when you should be able to look back on a life of noble effort in blessing others and glorifying God, you can only have regret, and realize a want of happiness and peace. You are not living a life which will meet the approval of God. Your spiritual, your eternal interests, are made secondary. Brain, bone, and muscle have been taxed to the utmost. Why all this expenditure of strength? Why this accumulation of cares and burdens for your family to bear? What is your reward? The satisfaction of laying up for yourself a treasure upon earth, which Christ has forbidden and which will prove a snare to your soul. In Christ's Sermon on the Mount He says: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” If you lay up treasures in heaven, you do it for yourself, you are working for your own interest. Your treasure, my dear brother, is laid up on the earth, and your interest and affections are on your treasure. You have cultivated a love for money, for houses and lands, until it has absorbed the powers of your mind and being, and your love for worldly possessions has been greater than your love for your Creator and for the souls for whom Christ died. The god of this world has blinded your eyes so that eternal things are not valued. In the wilderness of temptation Christ met the great leading temptations that would assail man. There He encountered, singlehanded, the wily, subtle foe, and overcame him. The first great temptation was upon appetite; the second, presumption; the third, love of the world. Satan has overcome his millions by tempting them to the indulgence of appetite. Through the gratification of the taste, the nervous system becomes excited and the brain power enfeebled, making it impossible to think calmly or rationally. The mind is unbalanced. Its higher, nobler faculties are perverted to serve animal lust, and the sacred, eternal interests are not regarded. When this object is gained, Satan can come with his two other leading temptations and find ready access. His manifold temptations grow out of these three great leading points. Presumption is a common temptation, and as Satan assails men with this, he obtains the victory nine times out of ten. Those who profess to be followers of Christ, and claim by their faith to be enlisted in the warfare against all evil in their nature, frequently plunge without thought into temptations from which it would require a miracle to bring them forth unsullied. Meditation and prayer would have preserved them and led them to shun the critical, dangerous position in which they placed themselves when they gave Satan the advantage over them. The promises of God are not for us rashly to claim while we rush on recklessly into danger, violating the laws of nature and disregarding prudence and the judgment with which God has endowed us. This is the most flagrant presumption. The thrones and kingdoms of the world and the glory of them were offered to Christ if He would only bow down to Satan. Never will man be tried with temptations as powerful as those which assailed Christ. Satan came with worldly honor, wealth, and the pleasures of life, and presented them in the most attractive light to allure and deceive. “All these things,” said he to Christ, “will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Christ repelled the wily foe and came off victor. Satan has better success in approaching man. All this money, this gain, this land, this power, these honors and riches, will I give thee—for what? His conditions generally are, that integrity shall be yielded, conscientiousness blunted, and selfishness indulged. Through devotion to worldly interests, Satan receives all the homage he asks. The door is left open for him to enter as he pleases, with his evil train of impatience, love of self, pride, avarice, overreaching, and his whole catalogue of evil spirits. Man is charmed and treacherously allured on to ruin. If we yield ourselves to worldliness of heart and life, Satan is satisfied. Christ's example is before us. He overcame Satan, showing us how we may also overcome. Christ resisted Satan with scripture. He might have had recourse to His own divine power, and used His own words; but He said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” To the second temptation He said: “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Christ's example is before us. If the Sacred Scriptures were studied and followed, the Christian would be fortified to meet the wily foe; but the word of God is neglected, and disaster and defeat follow. Dear brother, you have neglected to heed the testimonies of warning given you years ago showing you that the enemy was upon your track to open before you the charms of this world, urging you to choose earthly treasure and sacrifice the heavenly reward. Brother (church member), you cannot afford to do this; there is too much at stake. “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” You are selling your soul at a cheap market. You cannot afford to make this great sacrifice. God has entrusted talents to your stewardship. They are your means and your influence. He wishes to test and prove you. You should have lost no time, but should have commenced immediately to increase your Master's store. Had you done this, your success would have been equal to your industry, perseverance, and zeal in applying the capital placed in your hands; your talents or influence—setting aside the means which you could have called to your aid—would have turned many souls from error to truth and righteousness. These souls would have labored for others, and thus influence and means would have constantly increased and multiplied in the Master's cause; and for the faithful improvement of your talents you would have heard from the Master the most gracious words that shall ever fall upon the ear: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Brother (church member), had you directed the powers of your intellect into the right channel, serving your heavenly Father, you would have been growing stronger in the truth, stronger in spirit and power, and would now be a pillar of the church in -----, and, by your example as well as by giving the reasons of our faith from the Scriptures, would be a successful teacher of the truth. Had the powers of mind which you have employed in getting property been used to bring souls from darkness to the light, you would have met the approval of God and been highly successful. Those who have but small capacities, sanctified by the love of God, can do good for the Master; but those who have quick, discerning minds may employ them in His exalted work with grand results. To wrap in a napkin the talents God has entrusted to them, and hide them in the earth, thus depriving Him of their increase, is a great wrong. We are probationers. The Master is coming to investigate our course, and He will inquire what use has been made of the talents lent us. Brother (church member), what use are you making of the talents God has placed in your care? Have you done what you could to enlighten the minds of men in regard to truth, or have you found no time from your business cares and perplexities to devote to this work? It is a crime to use the bounties of God as you have done, to diminish your physical strength and separate your affections from God. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” You cannot love this world and love the truth of God. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” You are not a happy man. Your family is not a happy family. Angels of God do not come in and abide with you. When the religion of Christ rules in the heart, conscience approves, and peace and happiness reign; perplexity and trouble may surround, yet there is light in the soul. Submission, love, and gratitude to God keep sunshine in the heart, though the day may be ever so cloudy. Self-denial and the cross of Christ are before you. Will you lift the cross? Your children have been blessed by a mother's prayers. They have loved religion. They have tried to resist temptation and to live lives of prayer. Sometimes they have tried very hard; but your example before them, your love and devotion to the world, and your close application to business, have withdrawn their minds from spiritual things and turned them to earth again. Satan has been upon their track to lead them to love the world and the things of the world. They have gradually lost their confidence in God, have neglected secret prayer and religious duties, and have withdrawn their interest from holy things. Dear Brother (church member), you have made a great mistake in giving this world your ambition. You are exacting and sometimes impatient, and at times require too much of your son. He has become discouraged. At your house it has been work, work, work, from early morning until night. Your large farm has brought extra cares and burdens into your house. You have talked upon business; for business was primary in your mind, and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Has your example in your family exalted Christ and His salvation above your farming interest and your desire for gain? If your children fail of everlasting life, the blood of their souls will surely be found on the garments of their father. The mother did her duty faithfully. She will hear the “Well done” as she rises in the resurrection morning. Her first inquiry will be for her children, who were the burden of her prayers during the latter portion of her life. Can you present them with beautiful characters that will give them a moral fitness for the society of angels, or will they be tarnished and sullied by the pollutions of the world? Will they be found “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”? Will they be as pillars polished after the similitude of a palace; or will they be found lovers of the world, cursed with the spirit of avarice, and their bright and noble qualities buried in oblivion? Your course will do much to determine the future destiny of your children. If you continue to drown your powers of mind in worldly care and scheming, you will remain a stumbling block to them. They see that, while professing Christianity, you have made no spiritual advancement, but are morally dwarfed. This is true. Your mind has been concentrated on earthly things, and, as a result, you have developed great power in this direction. You are decidedly a worldly businessman, but God designed that you should use your ability and influence in a higher calling. You are dazzled and blinded by the god of this world. Oh, what a terrible insanity is upon you! You may gather together earthly treasure, but it will be destroyed in the great conflagration. If you now return unto the Lord, use your talents of means and influence for His glory, and send your treasure before you to heaven, you will not meet with a total loss. The great conflagrations and the disasters by sea and land that have visited our country were the special providences of God, a warning of what is about to come upon the world. God would show man that He can kindle upon his idols a fire that water cannot quench. The great general conflagration is but just ahead, when all this wasted labor of life will be swept away in a night and day. The treasure laid up in heaven will be safe. No thief can approach nor moth corrupt it. A young man came to Christ and said: “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus bade him keep the commandments. He returned answer: Lord, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” Jesus looked with love upon the young man, and faithfully pointed out to him his deficiency in keeping the commandments. He did not love his neighbor as himself. Christ showed him his true character. His selfish love of riches was a defect, which, if not removed, would debar him from heaven. “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.” Christ would have him understand that He required nothing of him more than He Himself had experienced. All He asked was that he should follow His example. Christ left His riches and glory, and became poor, that man through His poverty might be made rich. He now requires him for the sake of these riches to yield earthly things and secure heaven. Christ knew that while the affections were upon worldly treasure, they would be withdrawn from God; therefore He said to the lawyer: “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.” How did he receive the words of Christ? Was he rejoiced that he could secure the heavenly treasure? He was very sorrowful, for he had great possessions. To him riches were honor and power. The great amount of his treasure made such a disposal of it seem like an impossibility. Here is the danger of riches to the avaricious man. The more he gains, the harder it is for him to be generous. To diminish his wealth is like parting with life. Rather than do this, he turns from the attractions of the immortal reward, in order to retain and increase his earthly possessions. He accumulates and hoards. Had he kept the commandments, his worldly possessions would not have been so great. How could he, while plotting and striving for self, love God with all his heart, and with all his mind, and with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself? Had he distributed to the necessities of the poor and blessed his fellow men with a portion of his means as their wants demanded, he would have been far happier and would have had greater heavenly treasure and less of earth upon which to place his affections. Christ assured the young man who came to Him that if he would obey His requirements, he should have treasure in heaven. This world-loving man was very sorrowful. He wanted heaven, but he desired to retain his wealth. He renounced immortal life for the love of money and power. Oh, what a miserable exchange! Yet many are doing this who profess to keep all the commandments of God. You, dear brother, are in danger of doing the same, but you do not realize it. Be not offended because I lay this matter so plainly before you. God loves you. How poorly have you returned His love! I was shown that in your first experience your heart was all aglow with the truth; your mind was absorbed in the study of the Scriptures; you saw new beauty in every line. Then the good seed sown in your heart was springing up and bearing fruit to the glory of God. But after a time the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choked the good seed of the word of God sown in your heart, and you failed to bring forth fruit. The truth struggled for supremacy in your mind, but the cares of this life and the love of other things gained the victory. Satan sought, through the attractions of this world, to enchain you and paralyze your moral powers so that you should have no sense of God's claims upon you, and he has nearly succeeded. Now, dear brother, you must make a most earnest, persevering effort to dislodge the enemy and assert your liberty; for he has made you a slave to this world until your love of gain has become a ruling passion. Your example to others has been bad; selfish interests have been prominent. By profession you say to the world: My citizenship is not here, but above; while your works decidedly say that you are a dweller on the earth. As a snare shall the day of judgment come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth. Your profession is only a hindrance to souls. You have not corresponding works. “I know thy works” (not thy profession), says the True Witness. God is now sifting His people, testing their purposes and their motives. Many will be but as chaff—no wheat, no value in them. Christ has committed to your trust talents of means and of influence, and He has said to you: Improve these till I come. When the Master cometh and reckoneth with His servants, and all are called to the strictest account as to how they have used the talents entrusted to them, how will you, my dear brother, bear the investigation? Will you be prepared to return to the Master His talents doubled, laying before Him both principal and interest, showing that you have been a judicious as well as faithful and persevering worker in His service? Brother (church member), if you follow the course that you have pursued for years, your case will be correctly represented by the servant who wrapped his talent in a napkin and buried it in the earth, that is, hid it in the world. Those to whom talents were entrusted, received reward for the labor expended in exact proportion to the fidelity, perseverance, and earnest effort made in trading with their Lord's goods. God holds you as His debtor, and also as debtor to your fellow men who have not the light and truth. God has given you light, not to hide under a bushel, but to set on a candlestick that all in the house may be benefited. Your light should shine to others to enlighten souls for whom Christ died. The grace of God ruling in your heart, and bringing your mind and thoughts into subjection to Jesus, would make you a powerful man on the side of Christ and the truth. Said Paul: “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” God had revealed to Paul His truth, and in so doing made him a debtor to those who were in darkness, to enlighten them. You have not had a proper sense of your accountability before God. You are handling your Lord's talents. You have powers of mind that if employed in the right direction would make you a co-worker with Christ and His angels. Had your mind been turned in the direction of doing good, of placing the truth before others, you would now be qualified to become a successful laborer for God, and as your reward you would see many souls saved that would be as stars in the crown of your rejoicing. How can the value of your houses and lands bear comparison with that of precious souls for whom Christ died? Through your instrumentality these souls may be saved with you in the kingdom of glory, but you cannot take with you there the smallest portion of your earthly treasure. Acquire what you may, preserve it with all the jealous care you are capable of exercising, and yet the mandate may go forth from the Lord, and in a few hours a fire which no skill can quench may destroy the accumulations of your entire life and lay them a mass of smoldering ruins. This was the case with Chicago. God's word had gone forth to lay that city in ruins. This is not the only city that will realize the visible marks of God's displeasure. He has made a beginning, but not an end. The sword of His wrath is stretched out over the people who by their pride and wickedness have provoked the displeasure of a just God. Storms, earthquakes, whirlwinds, fire, and the sword will spread desolation everywhere, until men's hearts shall fail them for fear and for looking after those things which shall come upon the earth. You know not how small a space is between you and eternity. You know not how soon your probation may close. Make ready, my brother, for the Master to demand your talents, both principal and interest! To save souls should be the lifework of everyone who professes Christ. We are debtors to the world for the grace given us of God, for the light which has shone upon us, and for the discovered beauty and power of the truth. You may devote your entire existence to laying up treasures upon earth, but what will they advantage you when your life here closes, or when Christ makes His appearance? Not a farthing can you take with you. And just as high as your worldly honors and riches have exalted you here to the neglect of your spiritual life, just so much lower will you sink in moral worth before the great tribunal of God's judgment. How will this wealth for which you have bartered your soul be appropriated, should you be suddenly called to close your probation, and your voice no longer control it? What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Your means are of no more value than sand, only as used to provide for the daily necessities of life and to bless others and advance the cause of God. God has given you testimonies of warning and encouragement, but you have turned from them. You have doubted the Testimonies. When you come back and gather up the rays of light, and take the position that the Testimonies are from God, then you will be settled in your belief and will not thus waver in darkness and weakness. You can be a blessing to the church at -----. You can be a pillar there even now if you will come to the light and walk in it. God calls after you again. He seeks to reach you, girded about with selfishness as you are, and covered with the cares of this life. He invites you to withdraw your affections from the world and place them upon heavenly things. In order to know the will of God, you must study it, rather than follow your inclinations and the natural bent of your own mind. What wilt Thou have me to do?” should be the earnest, anxious inquiry of your heart. The weight of the wrath of God will fall upon those who have misspent their time and served mammon instead of their Creator. If you live for God and heaven, pointing out the way of life to others, you will go onward and upward to higher and holier joys. You will be rewarded with the “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” The joy of Christ was that of seeing souls redeemed and saved in His glorious kingdom. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” To gain the treasures of this world, and use them as you have done to separate your affections from God, will be to you in the end a terrible curse. You do not take time to read, to meditate, or to pray; and you have not taken time to instruct your children, keeping before them their highest interest. God loves your children; but they have had little encouragement to live a religious life. If you destroy their faith in the Testimonies you cannot reach them. The minds of poor, fallible mortals should be disciplined and educated in spiritual things. When the training is all in reference to the world, and to making a success of acquiring property, how can spiritual growth be attained? It is an impossibility. You, my brother, and your family might have risen to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus had you felt one half the interest to perfect Christian character and to serve the Lord that you have had to serve the world. God is not well pleased that His servants should be ignorant of His divine will, novices in spiritual understanding, but wise in worldly wisdom and knowledge. Your earthly interest can bear no comparison with your eternal welfare. God has a higher work for you to do than that of acquiring property. You need a deep and thorough work accomplished for you. Your entire family need it, and may God help you all to attain perfection of Christian character. Your children can and should be a blessing to the youth of your community. By their example, by their conversation and actions, they can glorify their heavenly Father and grace the cause of religion. 4T 43-54.