Note: Gabriel tells Daniel that 490 years are “cut off” (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word chathak, sometimes translated “determined”). Cut off from what? It could be the only other time prophecy alluded to here: the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. These 490 years, a time prophecy, is directly linked back to the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14, the only part of the vision left unexplained in Daniel 8 and the only time prophecy in Daniel 8, as well. Thus, we can see that Gabriel with this prophecy is coming to help Daniel understand what he didn’t understand in the previous chapter: the 2,300 days.
Study: What was to happen at the end of the 2300 days?
Apply: Why is it significant that the death of Jesus, as revealed in Daniel 9:24-27, is directly linked to the judgment, in Daniel 8:14? What great truth is taught here by this link?
Study: What are God’s people to be doing during this time? What happens to those who do not repent and turn from open sin?
Apply: How might Galatians 5:19-26 help us to understand what it means for us to “do not work” during the literal atonement we are in today?
Share: Your friend asks, how does God’s people being purified help others to see God as a God of love? What do you tell your friend? Hint: An ancient philosopher once told a group of Christians, “If you want me to believe in your Redeemer, you are going to have to start looking a lot more Redeemed.”
When people ask me why Adventists do not keep the feast days, I tell them we do – literally! At the cross we had the literal Passover. Ever since 1844 we have been living in the literal Day of Atonement. When Jesus returns it will literally be the Feast of Trumpets. As Colossians 2:14-17 points out, we do not need to keep the feast sabbaths which were a shadow of things to come, because now we had the literal Passover when Jesus died on the cross. Now we are living in the literal Day of Atonement.
I have heard people say there is no such thing as a literal Day of Atonement, but that makes no sense to me, because how can there be a shadow to something that doesn’t even exist? Also the sanctuary building itself shows me there has to be a literal Day of Atonement and cleansing of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is an illustration of the gospel. Many try to tell me the gospel ended at the cross. If that is so then the sanctuary would have ended in the courtyard where the sacrifice was slain. The fact that the sanctuary continues to a holy and most holy place, tells me the gospel goes beyond a literal cross into a literal holy and most holy place. Besides, if the Passover had a literal cross and the Feast of Trumpets has a literal second coming then reason tells me the Day of Atonement must have a literal Day of Atonement as well.
A friend pointed out to me that there was no reason for a literal Day of Atonement beginning in 1844 because sins were forgiven and cleansed right away. There was no need for a cleansing of the sanctuary. Yet Peter refers to a future day of refreshing or cleansing of sin still to come.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19 KJV
Still I have heard people say there is no reason for a Day of Atonement or investigative judgment because God already knows everything and does not need to investigate. However in Genesis 3 God comes into the Garden of Eden to investigate after Adam and Eve disobeyed. Again in Genesis 18:21 God investigates Sodom and Gomorrah. So we cannot say there is no investigation because God already knows. Besides, all arguments aside, Daniel 8:14 says after 2300 days (a day for a year Ezekiel 4:6) the sanctuary shall be cleansed. The prophecy of Daniel 8 and 9 mesh together. If you try to make the cleansing of the sanctuary in 2300 literal days then you have to make the coming of the Messiah in 483 literal days which would make it impossible for Jesus to be our Messiah and Savior. But as Daniel 8 and 9 clearly teach, in A.D. 27 at the beginning of the 70th week, Jesus came as our Messiah and in 1844 He entered the Most Holy Place in heaven to complete the Gospel with the Day of Atonement and Cleansing of the Sanctuary.
Since the Old Testament Day of Atonement was a shadow or illustration of what would occur during the literal Day of Atonement when Jesus entered the Most Holy Place for us, let’s review what happened in that service:
What was to happen at the end of the 2300 days?
The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.” Daniel 8:14 NLT And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel 8:14 KJV
Note: The Bible refers to two sanctuaries, one on earth and the other in heaven.
After what, was Moses to build the sanctuary?
“Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you. Exodus 25:8- 9 NLT
Where is the location of the original?
Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. Hebrews 8:1-2 NLT
They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:5 NLT
How many apartments did it have?
Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.Exodus 26:33 NLT
When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. Hebrews 9:6 NLT
How frequent was it in the second apartment?
But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. Hebrews 9:7 NLT
When did the high priest do this?
“On the tenth day of the appointed month in early autumn, you must deny yourselves. Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. Leviticus 16:29 NLT
What was he doing?
On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the Lord’s presence from all your sins. Leviticus 16:30 NLT
How did he do it?
Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. Leviticus 16:7-9 NLT
What did he do with the blood?
“Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood. Through this process, he will purify the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. Leviticus 16:15-16 NLT
What did he do with the sins?
“When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. Leviticus 16:20-22 NLT
“Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets. You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselves and present special gifts to the Lord. Do no work during that entire day because it is the Day of Atonement, when offerings of purification are made for you, making you right with[the Lord your God. All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. Leviticus 23:27-29 NLT
What happened to those living willfully in open sin?
All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. And I will destroy anyone among you who does any work on that day. Leviticus 23:29-30 NLT
Note: Jesus has begun the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary or the blotting out of the record of confessed sins there, as well as from our lives here.
What pronouncement will Jesus soon make?
Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.” “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. Revelation 22:11- 12 NLT
What happens to those still sinning willfully?
And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 NLT
What happens to the righteous?
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NLT
Which group will you be found in?
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:21-27 NLT
What should we be doing in this time of judgment?
“Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” Revelation 14:7 NLT
What assurance do we have?
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 1:1-2 NKJV
An advocate speaks up for others and looks out for them. A teacher friend of mine told me about a student who was getting bullied. Another student saw this and it made her mad, so she took her bullied classmate to the teacher to find some justice in the situation. The other student had nothing to gain personally by stepping in as an advocate, but she could not just watch this happen and do nothing to help.
Another teacher friend of mine told me about a student who is always leaving his assignments on his desk, forgetting to turn them in. Another student will often see the other student forgetting to turn in his work and will pick it up and turn it in for him. The thoughtful student has nothing to gain by his kindness. He is simply looking out for his forgetful classmate. The thoughtful student is an advocate for his forgetful friend. You may think the forgetful student just needs to remember to turn in his work, and you are right, but hasn’t Jesus acted as an advocate for you, even when you were undeserving?
How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour…. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor [assist or aid] those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks up to Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. If you make failures and are betrayed into sin, do not feel then you cannot pray … but seek the Lord more earnestly. The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love. Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our Advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. We may trust in our Advocate; for He pleads His own merits in our behalf…. He is making intercession for the most lowly, the most oppressed and suffering, for the most tried and tempted ones. With upraised hands He pleads, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16. I would I might sound the glad note to earth’s remotest bounds. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Oh, precious redemption! How broad this great truth is—that God for Christ’s dear sake, forgives us the moment we ask Him in living faith, believing that He is fully able! –Ellen White, Our High Calling, Page 49.
Jesus is not just our advocate when we are righteous; He is our advocate when we are sinning against great light! Jesus is truly a friend of sinners. In Psalm 32:1-6, David writes about confessing his sin to Jesus and finding forgiveness. Then he says,
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
David does not call God his hiding place when he is doing everything right, but in the context of when he is doing everything wrong. The sanctuary is a safe place. The sanctuary is a safe place for sinners. In the sanctuary service, sinners find forgiveness and healing from sin. Satan offers the sinner no safety, no forgiveness and no healing. Satan’s plan is to destroy sinners. Jesus is the sinner’s only friend, as Jesus offers a safe place in His sanctuary. Jesus offers forgiveness and healing from sin. When you sin against great light, Satan is not your friend! Jesus is the sinner’s only friend.
The Bible is chock full of promises like 1 Corinthians 10:13, promising us we do not have to give in to sin. The Bible is clear there is no excuse for sin. John writes in 1 John 2:1 that we are not to sin. John goes on to tell us, though, that if we do sin — Go to Jesus! Jesus is your advocate. Jesus is the one pleading your case when you fall victim to the bully Satan. Jesus is the one looking out for you when you forget your homework or forget to claim a Bible promise keeping us from sin. Jesus is the sinner’s friend and advocate.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.
“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:7 NKJV
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:17-18 NKJV
The first angel John writes about tells us to fear God because of the judgment. Later, though, the same John writes that perfect love removes fear during the judgment. So, are we supposed to fear, or not to fear? I believe a healthy understanding of Exodus 20:18-21 helps us reconcile these two passages, and helps us learn how to fear God without being afraid of Him.
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’”
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” Exodus 20:18-21 NKJV
In this passage Moses tells the people not to fear and then turns around and tells them to fear. What is up with that? Verse 18 tells us they are afraid or in terror of the presence of God. Moses did not want them to be afraid of God. He did not want us to be terrorized by God’s presence. God does not want us to be afraid of Him. He wants us to find love and security in His presence.
And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27 NKJV
Here the disciples are afraid of the presence of Jesus because they didn’t know that to think or what to expect. They did not know what was going on and it frightened them. Quickly Jesus let them know that He was there to comfort and cheer them, not to terrorize them.
In Exodus 20:18 the people were terrorized by the presence of God because they did not know what to think or expect or how to react. Moses told them not to fear, meaning don’t be afraid. But then, in Exodus 20:20, he tells them to fear God. However this time Moses is talking about a different kind of fear which actually means respect. A police officer does not make me afraid, but I do have respect for his position and what he is capable of. His power and capabilities are actually what make me feel secure instead of afraid. If I am on the right side of the law, I respect what the officer is capable of, and that makes me feel secure. If I am on the wrong side of the law, I am now afraid because of what I know the police officer can do. If I know him well, and am on good terms with the officer, I have great respect for his power and resources, and my respect and appreciation is what makes me feel safe and secure instead of afraid. When Moses told the people, in Exodus 20:20, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin,” He was telling them that their being in awe of His power, and respecting that power, would keep them from sin. Perhaps the Easy-to-Read Version will help us understand better what Moses was saying.
Then Moses said to them, “Don’t be afraid! God has come to test you. He wants you to respect him so that you will not sin.” Exodus 20:20 ERV
When Moses told the people not to fear, he was telling them not to be afraid. When he was telling the people to fear, he was telling them to be respectful. Likewise, when Jesus was telling the disciples not to fear, He was telling them not to be afraid. When the angel in Revelation 14:7 tells us to fear, it means to be respectful.
If we fear God by being in awe of Him, and respect His love and saving power, then we do not have to fear God by being afraid of Him. Perfect love, being in total awe of God’s love and power, keeps us from being afraid of the judgment.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.
Apply: What has been your own experience of fearing God? How would you explain to someone, in a positive way, why “the fear of God” is something good?
Share: Your friend quotes Ecclesiastes 8:11, and says that people today have no reason to fear God, because sinners never get their just due anymore. They get away with everything! What do you tell your friend? See Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
Apply: How do Jesus’ words here “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28, NKJV) help us understand what it means to fear God?
Share: Your friend states, that Revelation 21:7-8 says the fearful will be thrown into the lake of fire. Why is God throwing the fearful into the lake of fire if we are supposed to fear God? How would you answer your friend, and how would what we read in Matthew 10:28 help?
I always did what was best for you. I told you the Good News about Jesus in public before the people and also taught in your homes. Acts 20:20 ERV
We are all encouraged, like Paul, to share Jesus in the homes of our friends and loved ones. This is something we all can do.
Among the members of our churches there should be more house-to-house labor in giving Bible readings and distributing literature…. As we sow beside all waters we shall realize that “he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” –Ellen White, Maranatha Page 104
As we study the three angels’ message, we must remember we are the angels who give this last message to the world. In the book of Revelation, angels are messengers, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church members are the messengers giving the message in Revelation 14:6-12. Of course there are many ways this message can be shared, but both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White talk about the importance of giving Bible studies in small group studies, as well as personal Bible studies. Some think they are not skilled enough to give simple Bible studies or readings in people’s homes, but it really is not that hard. Without any formal training, I have given Bible studies leading to well over 400 baptisms over a 30-year period. If God can use me, He can use anyone! After all, in Numbers 22 God spoke through a donkey. If God can speak through a donkey, he can speak through me too. He can speak through anyone, and that includes you.
If you feel the Holy Spirit impressing you to give a Bible study, but you need some encouragement, here are 5 quick and easy tips I have found for giving effective Bible studies over the years.
Don’t pretend to know it all. Many people tell me they are afraid to give Bible studies because they don’t know enough. That’s okay, No one wants to learn from a know-it-all anyway. The fact that you don’t know it all will make others more comfortable studying with you. I actually began my Bible worker career by telling my friends and co-workers that I needed to practice giving Bible studies, and asked if I could practice giving Bible studies to them. Many agreed, some attended church with me, and one still does attend church with me whenever I return to visit his area. If you’re not a know-it-all, you will be great at giving Bible studies.
Stick with the study guides or chain referencing format. Don’t adlib or try to philosophize. Many tell me they are afraid to try and give Bible studies because they don’t know what to say. That’s perfect. The study guides ask questions, and then share Bible verses that give the answer. The answers are provided in the Bible passages provided by the study guide or chain referencing format you are following. When I train people to give Bible studies, one of the common mistakes many make is feeling like they have to adlib and add to what is already in the guide or Bible text. When they adlib, they get distracted and wander from the thought process already provided in the format. Each question and Bible answer, in the Bible study guide, builds upon the next in a logical sequence. Simply point out the answer in the text. Don’t adlib. That only distracts from the logical sequence. See? You can do this!
Don’t quote authors outside the Bible. This is a Bible study. A while back, I took a lay member with me to a Bible study I had just started. The man I had just begun studying with knew nothing about the Bible or the church, much less Ellen White. He asked if there was life on other planets. I told him we could study about that in the future, when the lay member with me blurted out. “Oh! Ellen White talks about visiting people on other planets!” The man we were studying with knew nothing about Ellen White, and wondered why the lay member even said that. I quickly changed the subject back to our topic for the Bible study. Of course I believe in Ellen White, but I also believe a Bible study should be a Bible study.
Get a decision. After every Bible study, ask for a decision on the topic. When I was a literature evangelist, after telling my customer all about the books, I never made a sale until I asked them to buy them. It is not enough to just share information. Ask your Bible student to make a decision based on what you studied. If studying about salvation, ask them to accept Jesus as their Savior. If studying about clean and unclean foods, ask them to follow the Bible counsel you both just read.
After the decision, have a prayer regarding their decision, and then leave! Do all your small talk before the Bible study. Get that pie recipe or discuss that ball game before the Bible study, not afterwards. At the end of the Bible study, you want to pray and then politely and quickly leave, so that you leave them with that prayer marinating in their mind and heart. Don’t distract them with small talk after the prayer. After the prayer, politely excuse yourself.
Of course you will want to be praying before, during and after your Bible studies. With God’s help, you can do this! You will make mistakes, just like the rest of us. If you don’t make a mistake, you will be the first person ever to give a perfect Bible study. Then you will become a know-it-all, and no one will want to study with you. Be humble. Be human, so people will feel comfortable studying with you. God will use you with all of your mistakes and shortcomings. Remember, I have studied with over 400 people who became baptized, and I made some big mistakes while studying with over 400 of them. I have never given a perfect Bible study — ever! But I don’t let that discourage me. I seriously doubt that the talking donkey in Numbers 22 was perfect, but God surely used it to get Balaam back on the right track. You and I are not perfect either, but God will use us to take the Gospel into all the world.
Now, in the Words of Jesus,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ” Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson on the three angels message here.
Study: What do these verses teach us about the plan of salvation?
Apply: Read Ephesians 1:4. Think about what it means that, even before the “foundation of the world,” you had been “chosen” in Christ to have salvation in Him. Why should you find this truth so encouraging?
Share: Your friend asks, “What does it mean that we were “chosen” before the foundation of the world? Does that mean that we are predestined to be saved or lost without any choice of our own?” What do you tell your friend? See Does Romans 9 Teach Predestination?
Study: What is the extent of the proclamation of the everlasting gospel, and why is the answer important to us and our mission and calling as a church? How does Matthew 28:19-20 link with the first angel’s message?
Apply: What has been your own experience in being involved in something bigger than yourself? How does that experience help you understand the point of this day’s study? Also, what could be bigger than being used by the Creator of the cosmos to make an eternal difference in the universe?
Share: Your friend asks, “How is the everlasting gospel going to be preached when many of the countries of the world are anti-Christian – either Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Shintu, Communist, or Atheist? How cam God’s people share this gospel in antagonistic areas?” What do you tell your friend?
Heather and her family came to the Homosassa Seventh-day Adventist church several months ago, and soon Heather asked for Bible studies and baptism. Heather and her family joined our Wednesday afternoon Bible study group, and Heather asked some very thoughtful questions as she expressed her desire to know what the Bible says about what is right and wrong, as she wants to make sure that her life is pleasing to Jesus, who loves her and died for her. Heather is very active in her local social organizations where she shares the love of Jesus with her community.
Mark, our food pantry leader met a very special friend Cindy, who decided to find out for herself exactly what the Bible teaches. Cindy studied with Mark, myself and other church family members as she enjoyes learning all that she can. Cindy writes,
“I was raised in a Christian household (16 years of “all-girls school”), where my parents took me to church every weekend to instill in me a sense of morality and values. I was introduced to Jesus at a young age, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with Him. As I grew older, religion stopped being a significant part of my life, and I found it hard to distinguish between right and wrong. I fell into a life of sin and temptation, which led to turmoil and misery. It wasn’t until later that I realized the error of my ways and that I was not living according to God’s will. I turned away from sinful relationships and instead turned to God to better my life. In doing so, God led me to wonderful people who helped me discover an even greater purpose, and I am blessed to know Jesus as my Savior. Through my relationship with Him, I have found joy, peace, and love, and I have been blessed with a wonderful God-centered relationship, supportive friends and family, a great job, and a sense of purpose. While I still experience challenges and difficulties, my focus is on serving God and living a life that honors Him. I believe that Christ died for my sins and that through His grace and forgiveness, I am saved. I am now ready to publicly declare my faith.” -Cindy Nichols