Friday, August 5, 2011

Stubborn Faith

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FRIDAY August 5
Further Study:  
  “Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.”—Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, pp. 19, 20.
Music “is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s—the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song,—and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls! . . .
“As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. . . .
“As our Redeemer leads us to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the glory of God, we may catch the themes of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir round about the throne; and as the echo of the angels’ song is awakened in our earthly homes, hearts will be drawn closer to the heavenly singers. Heaven’s communion begins on earth. We learn here the keynote of its praise.”—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 168.
Discussion Questions:
     In what ways do your culture and society impact the music in your church, or do you deny that it does?      Read the Ellen White quote in Friday’s study about music. How much of this do you experience with the kind of music that is part of your church’s worship service? What are ways that we can evaluate the role of music in our church services? How can your church work together to make sure that the music is, indeed, uplifting and encouraging, fulfilling the role that it should?  

I N S I D E Story    

Stubborn Faith JoAnne Lafever
“What? You’re not going to attend the study session on Friday night?!” Wa Wa’s English teacher, Mr. Peter, almost shouted at her. Wa Wa studied hard throughout high school, and ranked near the top of her class. But she loved God more than grades, and she had great faith that He would help her pass her tests so she could study at a good university.
The pressure to score well on tests mounted as Wa Wa entered her last year of high school. Teachers offered extra study sessions to help their best students score even higher. High test scores brought prestige to the schools and increased students’ chances to enter their choice of universities. Mr. Peter noticed when Wa Wa didn’t attend study sessions on Friday evenings or Saturdays. He encouraged her, pleaded with her, and even scolded her in an attempt to get her to attend the sessions. But she refused.
“No, on Sabbath, from sundown Friday till sundown on Saturday, I worship my God,” she told her teacher. Wa Wa was positive that God would help her do well on her tests if she was faithful to Him.
Eventually Mr. Peter realized that he couldn’t change her mind. He respected her determination, though he didn’t understand her religion.
When Wa Wa’s classmates learned of her refusal, they were shocked. But they, too, saw Wa Wa’s determination and accepted her decision to skip study sessions.
When the students’ test scores arrived, Wa Wa had scored in the top 10 percent of her class, even without the additional study sessions. Her teachers were shocked. Her classmates were shocked. “You haven’t studied nearly enough to do this well!” some said.
But Wa Wa wasn’t shocked. “I trust in God,” she told them. “He is a powerful God. I knew that He would help me.”
Wa Wa was accepted at a good university near her home in Taipei, Taiwan. She testifies to her classmates and teachers that God is leading in her life. And she continues to keep the Sabbath and worship God rather than attend classes and study sessions on His holy day.
One in every 4,300 people in Taiwan is a Seventh-day Adventist. Among the ethnic Chinese, only one in every 25,000 is an Adventist. Our mission offerings help spread the message of God’s love through the Adventist hospital, Adventist schools, health programs, and local evangelistic outreach in this nation.

JoAnne Lafever is director of education for the Guam-Micronesia Mission. Formerly she was principal of Taipei Adventist American School. Wa Wa Wang is a college student in Taipei, Taiwan.

Produced by the General Conference Office of Mission Awareness.
email:   info@adventistmission.org  website:  www.adventistmission.org


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