Today Helli was presented with her Profession of Faith certificate as she rejoined the Homosassa Seventh-day Adventist Church. When someone who has already been baptized by immersion becomes a Seventh-day Adventist member they have the choice of being re-baptized or joining on profession of faith.
Helli was born in Finland in the 1930’s. She had 7 brothers, one of whom was a Seventh-day Adventist. When Helli was 16 she studied to become a Seventh-day Adventist and was baptized and attended an Adventist academy in Finland.
In 1957 Helli came to the United States to study nursing at Washington Missionary College. In nursing school Helli made a life long Adventist friend named Sue. Over the years Helli drifted away from the church and what she had learned in the Bible. Now in her golden years she has moved near her lifelong Adventist friend Sue in Homosassa Florida. Helli lives in an assisted living center and visited the Homosassa Adventist Church before the quarantine. Helli became convicted of her need to practice the Bible teachings she discovered in the Bible so long ago. I studied with Helli through a screen window at her living center as we reviewed the Bible teachings she studied decades ago on another continent. Helli is once again an avid Bible student and also loves reading books from the Spirit of Prophecy like “Great Controversy” and “The Desire of Ages.” Helli once sold these books in Finland as a student Literature Evangelist. Today she is falling in love all over again with the books and the truth she knew so long ago.
Today As we presented Helli with her certificate she told us how happy and excited she is to be back home with Jesus in the Seventh-day Adventist family.
Helli did not let the sun set on her life before coming back to the One who gave His life for her. Please do not let the sun set on your life before you make the most important decision of your life. To give yourself to Jesus who gave all of Himself for you. I would love to help you with this decision and I would be happy to study with you no matter where in the world you are. You can contact me at email@example.com.
Thank you for considering contributing to my ministry so I can continue leading people to Jesus!
As Adventists we understand from the book of Revelation that the anti-Christ is the papacy putting itself in the place of God. Of course any system putting itself in the place of God is an anti-Christ. I was surprised a while back to learn that John the Revelator wrote his epistles after writing Revelation. in 1 John 2:18, John writes, “even now are there many anti-Christs; whereby we know that it is the last time.” So was John implying their were more anti-Christs besides just the papacy? If so could you or I have anti-Christ characteristics?
To answer this question, let’s back up a little. In studying the Three Angels Message, we see that a so-called religious system, Babylon, falls. Again we know from studying Revelation that this is a specific system. However, we also see that this system has an attitude. That attitude is legalism. Man-made laws and a man-made day of worship combine to make a man-made way of salvation, outside of trusting in the merits of Jesus. While Revelation pinpoints this system, it is clear that this attitude can be found in other systems as well, and history has demonstrated it. Were not the Sadducees and Pharisees making their own laws and trusting their own works for salvation? Yet they were not Babylon. So could it be that if I am not careful to crucify self and die daily, that this same attitude of Babylon could be found in my heart too?
So, if it is possible for me to have the attitude of Babylon, would it also be possible for me to have the same attitude as the anti-Christ, thus making me one of many anti-Christs? An anti-Christ is someone who sets himself up as Christ, just as the man of sin mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Here we see that the man of sin, or anti-Christ sits in the place of God. So how could I possibly be an anti-Christ, sitting in the place of God? Isaiah 33:22 tells us; “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver.” Our Lord God is our lawgiver and judge. So, when I set myself up as judge of other people’s motives, or think that I can interpret the law for everybody, I am usurping the seat of God and setting myself up as God, and thus becoming an anti-Christ!
Like Babylon, Anti-Christ is more than a system. It is an attitude. Ellen White explains, that while the pilgrims came to the new world, to escape the anti-Christ, that they carried the attitude of anti-Christ with them to the New World:
“It was the desire for liberty of conscience that inspired the Pilgrims to brave the perils of the long journey across the sea, to endure the hardships and dangers of the wilderness, and with God’s blessing to lay, on the shores of America, the foundation of a mighty nation. Yet honest and God-fearing as they were, the Pilgrims did not yet comprehend the great principle of religious liberty. The freedom which they sacrificed so much to secure for themselves, they were not equally ready to grant to others. “Very few, even of the foremost thinkers and moralists of the seventeenth century, had any just conception of that grand principle, the outgrowth of the New Testament, which acknowledges God as the sole judge of human faith.” (W. Carlos Martyn, The Life and Times of Luther, Vol. 5, p. 297.) The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors.-Ellen White, The Great Controversy, pp. 292-3
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Scriptures are profitable for doctrine and correction. I can only define God’s law by what is in the Scriptures , but not by my personal opinions or traditions, like the Pharisees in Christ’s time and religious leaders in the Dark Ages did. I am not the interpreter of the Law for the whole world, nor, can I think to change times and laws to meet with my own opinions or inclinations. Since I am not the Lawgiver, I cannot judge people by my own standards.
While open sin must be dealt with by the community of believers, according to 1 Corinthians 6, I as an individual cannot judge inward motives. In judging outward actions we must still be careful. Joseph almost put poor Mary away thinking he had all the evidence of an affair. Even with his overwhelming evidence, he was wrong! Even with all his evidence, he tried to put her away privately, without any public embarrassment. What a great example for us to imitate. Even with his incontrovertible evidence, Joseph was not going to judge Mary’s heart.
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul teaches that churches, not individuals, to judge open and outward actions very carefully. He teaches no one to judge the heart and inward motives. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us God and the Scriptures alone tell us what is right and wrong. I am not the Lawgiver or the interpreter of the law for the rest of the world.
Only the Lord our God is our Lawgiver and Judge, and when we judge people according to our own standards, opinions and understanding, we usurp the throne of God and become an anti-Christ.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson at ssnet.org.Continue reading →
Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. Deuteronomy 14:22 KJV
Tithing on your “increase” is different than tithing on your “gross” or “net” as an employee. This affects people who are self-employed and/or invest in their business. An illustration I use when giving a Bible study on tithing is, that if you get paid $50.00 for mowing your neighbors lawn, and you paid $5.00 for the gas, then you actually made $45.00. $45.00 is your increase or profit. You would tithe on the $45.00 since that is what you actually made. By the way the $45.00 is what you would also pay taxes on, so both God and “Caesar” realize you made $45.00, and not $50.00.
Of course there could be other expenses too, like the cost of the lawn mower, but I think you get the gist of the illustration. Of course the cost of the lemonade you bought from the stand across the street would not count as a business expense because even though it quenched your thirst, it was not a direct business expense. Tithing on your “increase” is different than tithing on your “gross” or “net” as an employee.
I’ll give several other examples, as I see them, and I encourage our readers to contribute their examples.
Now “Caesar” realizes if you work in an office or campus, that driving to work and back is not a direct investment to your business. You do not write off travel expenses to work and back. However you do write off travel expenses while working. For example if I’m a courier doing deliveries, I would deduct travel expenses from what I am paid to find my actual profit, and then tithe and pay taxes on the actual profit. By the way your gross income would be considered your actual profit. Let’s say I pick up a kayak in Sydney and drive 170 kilometers to deliver the kayak in Newcastle, for $525. To find my profit I would subtract 66 cents a km, which would be $112, leaving me with a profit of $413. I would tithe on the $413, which would be $42 (rounded up). Of course I can round that up to $45.00 or even $50.00!
Now if I drove 10 kilometers to make the pickup in Sydney I would not count that against my profit because that was just getting to work. It was not an expense of the actual work itself. The way I see it, only things that you invested directly to making your profit would be deducted from your profit. Now if I traveled from my home to a courier training workshop in Melbourne, that would be a travel expense relating directly to my business and profit. Everyone needs to decide between themselves and God if something is a direct business expense.
Again, your profit is counted as your gross income which you would be taxed on and would tithe on. Sometimes when I am giving this study, people will ask me if they can deduct their home electric bill from their gross income and then tithe after that. The answer is “no.” Your home electric bill is not a part of your business or an investment in your profit. “Caesar” does not let you write off your home electric bill as it has nothing to do with your profit if you are not working at home.
You need to follow your own conscience and Bible principles on determining what your increase is, but as a general rule, if “Caesar’ sees an item as a business expense then it is reasonable to count it as a business expense regarding your increase (profit) and tithe.
I hope this conversation has been helpful, and we can discuss it further in the comment section.
When I first came to the Plant City SDA Church, Pastor James and Elder Jerry Hill, had a game night/Bible study group for the youth in our community, none of which were members of the church. We would have games and snacks followed up with a Bible study. Occasionally we would go go cart racing or to a restaurant in the area. I noticed with no design of Pastor James or myself, that the game time became shorter and the Bible study time longer. The youth had a lot of questions and we enjoyed helping them find the answers in their Bibles.
I soon began a baptism class with the youth on Sabbath mornings, which transitioned into a New Believer’s class with Pastor James and myself as the co-teachers.
While we had the youth Bible study groups going on Wednesday nights, the parents would invite me to their home to study with them. After a couple years, the parents started meeting at the church to study with me, while the kids studied with Pastor James, and our youth night became a family night. It was during these studies that Elia, the grandmother, and Amalia, the mother decided they both wanted to be baptized with their children and grandchildren.
Lilly was the first to be baptized, so she could lead the way for her family. In our new believer’s Sabbath School class, Lilly asked if we might one day be put in prison for being faithful to God. I told her that was possible, but one way to make sure it never happens is to not be faithful to God. Lilly did not even consider that as a possible scenario. She could see herself in prison but she could never imagine being unfaithful to Jesus!
Long before being baptized, Antonio has been one of our most faithful ushers, taking up the offerings every Sabbath in church. Anytime he sees anyone setting up tables or chairs, or doing any kind of work around the church during the week, he pitches in to help before anyone has a chance to ask him. Long before baptism, Antonio had a strong sense of belong to the Plant City SDA Church, and the church belonging to him. Antonio loves Jesus and His church!
Yessiana was the first to express and interest in baptism, and has been a positive role model for her younger brother and sister, and for anyone wanting to know Jesus. She is active in our Pathfinder club, especially when it comes to missions. She is earning her Bible marking badge in the Patfinders Bible marking class, and eagerly participates in all our community mission projects.
Every time I visit the home of Elia’s son and daughter-in-law Jose and Adella, and she is there, she loves to open the Word of God and have a Bible study. When we began the adult Bible study on Wednesdays at the church, she was the first to join. She also loves helping out with pathfinders, and is always helping out with fellowship lunches making sure everyone gets enough to eat and has a good time. She is the Abuela of everybody’s dreams.
Amalia loves to study God’s Word, and it was her idea for us to study the book of Revelation in our Wednesday Bible study. She wanted to follow the Bible exactly instead of tradition. When friends asked why she was making certain lifestyle changes, they asked if it had to do with the new church she was attending. She said, “No. It has to do with the Bible.” Amalia loves Jesus and wants to follow His example!
At the end of our service today, Pastor James welcomed our new members into the church, and gave them plants for each family. Pastor James explained that as plants need to be watered in order to grow and stay alive, so our relationship needs continual care, like personal Bible study, prayer and church fellowship, in order to thrive.
Don’t let the sun set on your life before giving yourself to the One who gave His life for you! If you are interested in baptism and following Jesus I would love to help you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always thank your for your much needed contributions to keep me sharing Jesus with others.