11: Waiting in the Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, September 10, 2022.

Main Theme: It may not seem like it to us, but God’s time is always perfect. That is why we need to wait on Him.

Read in Class: Romans 15:4-5, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7, Romans 5:3-5. Discuss the common thread in these passages.

Study: What are these verses saying to us? What does patience lead to?

Apply: What things are you desperately waiting for? How can you learn to surrender everything to God and to His timing? Are you willing to pray your way into an attitude of complete surrender and submission to the Lord.

Share: Your friend says she was praying and waiting for God to heal her father, but He never did, and her father died. Another couple have been waiting for a long time to have a child, but have been unable to have children. Meanwhile they lament the fact that so many abusive parents are allowed to have children while they have none. What do you tell each of your friends? What examples found in the Bible might you use for each case?

Read in Class: Romans 5:6 and Galatians 4:4 and Daniel 9:24-27. What is the common thread of these two passages?

Study: What do these passages tell us about God’s timing? What was the time period for Daniel 9 and why such a long time?

Apply: What examples can you find in the Bible of God’s doing things in His own time that can help you learn to trust that He will do for you what’s right in His own time, as well? (Think, for instance, about Abraham and Sarah and the promise of a son.) At the same time, ask yourself, “What might I be doing that could be delaying the answer to a prayer that could have been answered long ago?”

Share: Your friend says in 2 Peter 3:12 it tells us to hasten Jesus’ second coming. If God’s timing is always perfect why do we need to hasten His coming? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Samuel 26:8-11. Discuss the most important idea in this passage.

Study: Why doesn’t David kill Saul and just become king? After all, God has already anointed him as king, and taken the kingdom from Saul. What is there to wait for?

Apply: How much patience and trust in God do you have when you are waiting for a job, promotion, soulmate, or other?

Share: Your friend says David should have taken Abishai’s advice. How do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Kings 19:1-9. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: After such a powerful intervention by the Lord on Mount Carmel, Elijah should have been full of faith and trust; instead, he runs in fear for his life. What lesson can we learn from this bad example?

Apply: Have you ever been tempted to run away from a situation instead of waiting on the Lord to take care of things? What did you do? How did it turn out? What did you learn?

Share: Can you think of someone who has been waiting a long time for a certain blessing? How can you encourage them this week?

 At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen. Isaiah 60:22 NLT

A Young Maiden Exhibits Grown-up Meekness

Imagine being captured as a young child or teenager, and being dragged away from your family, to be a slave to total strangers in a foreign country. If you are like me you would feel resentful, and would be seeking a way to escape. I would be tempted to wish harm on those who thought they were my masters. However a young maiden in 2 Kings 5:1-19 was meek and thoughtful of others, even her masters. In this way she turned out to be a light in Syria. 

The young maiden was the servant of the Syrian army leader, Naaman and his wife. It turned out Naaman had leprosy. If most people were in her place, I imagine they would be thinking, “Good! I’m glad he has leprosy! It serves him right.” But even as young as this girl was, she was seeing a bigger picture. I wonder if instead of seeing herself as a slave girl, I wonder if she saw herself as a missionary for God? Turns out she was a missionary. Instead of cursing her master she found a way to be a source of salvation even in her crucible. 

Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:3 NKJV

The story goes on about how the King of Syria reached out to the King of Israel, which led to Elisha coming to heal Naaman. Because of this young girl a great political figure like Naaman got to learn about God. Instead of wanting the freedoms her masters had, she wanted them to have the freedom in God that she had. Just like Paul, later in Acts 26:1-32, told King Agrippa that he wished Agrippa had the salvation in Christ that he enjoyed. Paul told King Agrippa,

“I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:29 NKJV

Paul did not need the freedoms Agrippa had. Agrippa needed the freedom in Christ that Paul enjoyed. Both Paul and the young maiden saw themselves as missionaries for God instead of prisoners of men. They appreciated God’s love so much they wanted others to have what they had instead of wanting what others had. Its very possible both Paul and the young girl may have had to battle some pretty resentful emotions, but if so, they overcame them and humbled themselves as meek missionaries. As humble missionaries they reached some pretty powerful people for God. Imagine what powerful missionaries we can be if we are meek and humble in our crucible? 

Naaman seemed like a pretty generous man all things considered. He tried to pay Elisha for his kindness. I wonder how Naaman rewarded the young maiden for her kindness? I know one thing for sure, God will reward the young maiden for her kindness. When we are building our new mansions in the new earth, don’t be surprised if you see a beautiful young woman decorating her home, with a strong man carrying heavy gems wherever she wants them placed. Don’t be surprised if while they are working and laughing together if she calls him, “Naaman.” 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

10: Meekness in the Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, Sabbath September 3, 2022.

Main Theme: Meekness makes us a witness and example even in our crucibles.

Read in Class: Exodus 32:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What role is Moses playing here, and why does he ask God not to destroy Israel?

Apply: Think about the people around you who you think are the least deserving of grace. How can you, with meekness and selfless humility, be a revelation of God’s grace to them?

Share: Your friends seem to think that the pastor is doing a good job when he is making them all happy, but he is doing a poor job when he upsets everyone. How might you use the example of Aaron in this story to help illustrate how we should and should not judge our pastors?

Read in Class: Matthew 5:43-48. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Jesus calls us to love and pray for our enemies. What example from nature does Jesus give us there that helps us understand why we should love our enemies? What’s the point He is teaching us?

Apply: When you look at your “enemies,” what do you normally see — the pearl or the dirt around it?

Share: Your friend says he can never forgive his enemies because of what they have done to him. He feels like forgiveness is just sweeping it under the rug. How can you assure your friend forgiveness is not just sweeping it under the rug? See Forgiveness is not saying it is okay.

Read in Class: 1 Peter 2:18-25. Discuss the key point of this passage.

Study: Peter is offering some surprising advice to slaves. He describes how Jesus responded to unjust and painful treatment and suggests to them that He has left them “an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21, NKJV). What principles of meekness and humility in the crucible can we learn from Jesus’ example, as expressed here by Peter?

Apply: How do you deal with situations in which you have been treated unfairly? How can you better apply some of the principles looked at here today to your own life? See Let God be the One to pay you Back.

Share: Your friend asks you to what extent should we get involved in social justice issues? Was Jesus involved in social justice issues? How do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: Psalm 62:1-8. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What seems to be the background for this psalm? What points is David making? What spiritual principles can you learn from what he is saying? Most important, how can you learn to apply these principles to your own life?

Apply: How immune are you to the reproaches and barbs of others? Most likely not that immune, right? How can you cleave to the Lord and anchor your sense of self-worth on the One who loves you so much that He died for your sins, and thus help protect yourself against the slights of others?

Share: Can you think of someone this week who may be going through a crucible who you may encourage?

How I Ruined Satan’s Day

Has Satan ever tried to ruin your day? Well let me tell you about when I ruined his day. Years ago, I was driving in the middle of the night across country to see my sister and see about a job. I had just quit a job that was not working out and had no idea what the future held. I had no job, no money, no future, as far as I could see, and then, to make matters worse, I looked in my rear view mirror and see lights flashing! Just what I needed— a speeding ticket while I was broke without a job! I honestly had no idea I was speeding enough to warrant a ticket, but the officer was not the least bit sympathetic.

Photograph by William Earnhardt

Needles to say I was very frustrated. I was already feeling down before I got the ticket. Now I was in despair and gloom, as I asked God how He was going to take care of this ticket for me, since He knew I had no money when He allowed this to happen. (Never mind the fact that it was my foot and not His on the gas pedal!)

As I was complaining to God about the situation He had just placed me in and asking Him in despair how in the world He was going to provide the money for the ticket, I suddenly realized the obvious: God does not have to provide for this ticket. God does not have to do anything for me! God does not owe me anything! Then it hit me what I was doing. After He created me and died for me, I was withholding my praise from Jesus until He took care of this ticket for me. All at once it dawned on me, if God never provided the money for this ticket and stopped giving me any more blessings from this day forward, He still had already given me way more than I deserve! As a matter of fact, Calvary alone warrants all of my thankfulness, praise and devotion, without God ever giving me anything else.

There in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, I changed my attitude from gloom and despair to joy and praise. I decided not to ask God to help me pay for the ticket, but instead just thank Him and praise Him for everything else He has already done for me. I then remembered reading a passage from inspiration about how Satan cannot stand to be in our presence when we praise God, “When the evil one begins to settle his gloom about you, sing praise to God. … strike up a song about the matchless charms of the Son of God, and I tell you, when you touch this strain, Satan will leave you. You can drive out the enemy with his gloom; . . . and you can see, oh, so much clearer, the love and compassion of your heavenly Father. (Ellen White, Heavenly Places, p 95.)

Considering the above passage, I thought to myself, “Hey, if Satan is going to try to ruin my day by giving me this ticket (Remember it’s never my fault when I get a ticket), then I am going to ruin his day by singing praises to my God. I started singing praises at the top of my lungs. I was traveling in the middle of the night hundreds of miles away from my friends or family, but I felt the presence of angels as they sang with me. I wasn’t worried about the ticket any more. I was worried about making sure God knew I appreciated His sacrifice at Calvary. By the way, God did take care of the ticket for me. My sister also happens to be an angel. But even more impressive were the two lessons I learned that night:

One: God owes me nothing and I owe Him everything. After Calvary if He never gave me another gift, I still have cause to praise him for the rest of my life!

Two: If Satan tries to ruin your day, instead of murmuring and complaining, start singing songs of praise and ruin his day instead!

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

9: A Life of Praise-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class on Sabbath, August 27, 2022.

Main Theme: Praising God not only changes our attitude. It can also change our situation.

Read in Class: Philippians 4:4-7. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: How do you think Paul could have written such things when he himself was sitting in a prison? In this passage, what are the keys to gaining the “peace of God”?

Apply: What reasons do you have to praise God even in the worst of circumstances? See Ruin Satan’s day.

Share: Your friend asks, is there a difference between praising God in all things and praising God for all things? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Joshua 6:15-17 and Hebrews 11:30. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What was God trying to teach His people here?

Apply: How does Psalm 66:1-2 help you understand the meaning of Hebrews 11:30?

Share: Your friend says there is no way we can have total victory over addictions in this life. How can you sue Hebrews 11:30 to show how faith makes victory a reality.

Read in Class: Acts 16:16-34. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Why did this event cause the jailer to focus on his own need of salvation? What role do you think Paul’s and Silas’ prayers and songs played in the prisoners’ not running away, and in the conversion of this man and his whole family?

Apply: Who do you think could be influenced for God by a song of praise that could come from your heart? Make a concerted effort to be more open and effusive in your praise to God around others. You don’t know the positive effect it could have.

Share: Your friend asks if Paul and Silas sing hymns of praise caused the earthquake? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 2 Chronicles 20:3-12. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: When you see a “vast army” approaching, what is your instinctive reaction? From Jehoshaphat’s response in 2 Chronicles 20:3-12, what can you learn about dealing with overwhelming opposition?

Apply: What spiritual principles can you find in 2 Chronicles 20, that can apply to your own walk with God, especially in times of trial and stress?

Share: Can you think of a friend who could use some encouragement from the Bible passages in this lesson? How can you share it with them this week?

When Everything Seems to go Wrong

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Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to see all this trouble. Job 3:10 NLT

While our experience may be different than Job’s, many of us have been in situations, so dire, that we even question our existence.

Wayne’s parents never married. Growing up, he learned to shrug off the names he was called on the church school playground, and ignore the older ladies whispering behind his back in church.

Wayne managed to work his way through school. He got a job, and then got engaged to his best friend. Finally he had someone who loved him and would never leave him, unlike the father he never even knew. He vowed to himself as much as to his fiancee that he would create the perfect home for her, and unlike his biological father, would always be there to provide for his future children. As he looked forward to the wedding, he hoped to begin a new and better life.

But then Wayne’s whole world came crashing down. First, his fiancee broke off their engagement. Then he lost his job. And when he thought he had found a new job at least, his new supervisor told him things were not working out.

Wayne came home to his empty apartment and threw himself down on the floor. Feeling as low as you can get, Wayne felt a huge void in his life.

His fiancée did not want him. His old job did not want him. Now things were not working at at his new job, and he wondered if anyone needed him or wanted him at all? It sure did not feel like he was wanted or needed by anyone. He was all alone, and it seemed nobody cared if he lived or died. And if no one cared if he lived or died, why should he? Who would miss him if he just vanished away? Obviously no one from his work, or his ex-fiancée.

No one called from church to check up on him either. What’s the point of surviving in a world where no one cares if you survive or not? Wayne cried out, asking God why nothing was going right. Suddenly a thought came to him – but not from God. He reasoned that his parents never should have had the affair that brought him into this world, and therefore he was never supposed to be born! That has to be it, Wayne reasoned. Nothing works out for me, because God does not have a plan for my life, seeing how my parents never should have made me.

Wayne was so sure his theory was correct, that the following day at lunch he shared it with a friend from church. When Wayne explained that nothing was working out because he was not supposed to be born, his friend surprised him, by responding, “That is the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard!” Wayne’s friend was close enough that only he could get away with a response like that, but it woke Wayne up enough to realize his theory simply was not true. After all, Solomon was a product of Bathsheba and David’s sinful encounter, yet Solomon went on to write inspired proverbs and became an ancestor of the Savior.

Long story short, Wayne discovered that God did have a plan for his life. Although he’s had his ups and downs, he has had many opportunities to see God’s hand in his life. And God used him and is continuing to use him to pastor his flock.

Like Job, even though God greatly loved and had a plan for Wayne’s life, did not mean his life was just a walk in the park. Even Mary, Jesus’ mother had her moments.

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! ” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! Luke 1:28‭-‬30 NLT

Mary was chosen. She was favored and the Lord was with her. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when she heard her Son being called a demon and folks questioning the legitimacy of His birth, or when she watched Him being crucified. Still, she was chosen and favored, and God was with her.

If your heart is fully surrendered, take heart. Whatever storm you are going through. You are chosen. You are favored, and the Lord is with you. And yes! God has a plan for your life!

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

8: Seeing the Invisible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class on Sabbath, August 20, 2022.

Main Theme: God’s Word gives us real hope we can trust even in the worst circumstances.

Read in Class: Romans 8:28-39. Identify the main thought of this passage.

Study: How does this passage help us keep from doubting God’s goodness, even when things go wrong?

Apply: How is it possible for a truth (God’s goodness) to have a more powerful effect on you than your doubts? What does this do for your faith?

Share: Your friend asks you if all things work together for our good, does that mean that everything that happens to us is good? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: John 14:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus? Why does Jesus encourage us to pray this way?

Apply: What hope and encouragement can you draw from these promises? At the same time, ask yourself, “What things in my life could be standing in the way of having these promises fulfilled for me? What changes must I purpose in my heart to make?”

Share: Your friend asks, “Why did Jesus say in John 14:3 that He would come again so we could be with Him? Aren’t we with Jesus as soon as we die?” What do you tell your friend? Hint: See Death in Light of the Cross.

Read in Class: Ephesians 1:18-23. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Paul talks about the power of God. What do these verses teach us about the power of the Resurrection? What hope and promises for yourself can you find in these verses?

Apply:  what can we do better, what choices can we make, that can allow this power to work more freely in our lives?

Share: Your friend asks how the church can represent the fulness of God’s body? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22 and Matthew 6:25-33. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: It’s been said, “What we worry about the most shows where we trust God the least.” How can worry be a sin? How does worry expose our lack of trust in God?

Apply: What are things that cause you worry now? However legitimate they are, however troublesome they are, is there anything too hard for the Lord? Maybe our biggest problem is that even though we believe that God knows about it and can fix it, we don’t believe that He will resolve it the way we would like it resolved. Dwell on that last point and ask yourself how true it is in your own life.

Share: Your friend asks you, “Why should I cast all of my care upon someone who let His own cousin get beheaded in prison?” What do you tell your friend?