Discipling or Cloning?

I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma.

While living in Texas I was taking a Texas history class at a community college. In writing a paper for class, I mentioned a political figure who was assassinated. I contrasted the pomp and circumstance of his funeral with the plain funeral of the man who killed him and was killed shortly after. I pointed out in my paper that, humanly speaking, the political figure was not any more of a saint than the man who killed him, yet he received greater honor. I then feared that my opinion might cost me a grade. Yet when I got my paper back, the professor had circled where I had written my opinion, and he wrote “Good point!” I got an “A”.

Later I told my friends that maybe the professor was not a big fan of the political figure I referred to. He agreed that that was probably why I got the good grade. Another friend responded, “Your professor may or may not have agreed with your statement. He did not give you an A because he agreed with your thinking. He was just glad to see you thinking!” In other words, my history professor was not trying to clone himself. He was trying to get people to read, study and think for themselves.

In evangelism it is very easy to try to clone people instead of making disciples for Jesus. Sometimes, while telling people to go by the Bible and the Bible only, we are blinded by our own traditions and can’t see to separate our traditions from plain Bible teaching. We end up teaching our view of what the Bible says instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible to others.

2 Timothy 3:16 reads,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

A while back I was working as a Bible worker in a church out in West Texas. A young man from a nearby college would visit our church and attend prayer meetings. We were glad to have him! He would come wearing a t-shirt and shorts. One night after prayer meeting an elder came up to me and said, “You need to talk to that boy and tell him we don’t dress like that for church.” There was only one problem. I couldn’t find anywhere in the Bible where it said you can’t come to church dressed like that. Sure there is counsel that we should wear our best and so forth, but who was I to decide what this young man’s “best” was?

Once a lawyer asked Jesus how to have eternal life. Jesus, while being God, set us an example on how to answer such theological questions. Jesus did not give His personal opinion or philosophy. He directed the man to the Scriptures.

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 

He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” Luke 10:25-26 NKJV

Notice Jesus pointed the man to the law in the Scriptures and then asked him how he understood it, instead of telling him how to understand it. Jesus was allowing both the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to do their work. We mustn’t think that people have to think just like we do in order to be led by the Spirit.

In Wesley’s time, as in all ages of the church’s history, men of different gifts performed their appointed work. They did not harmonize upon every point of doctrine, but all were moved by the Spirit of God, and united in the absorbing aim to win souls to Christ.-Ellen White, Great Controversy, Page 257.

Did you catch that? They were all led by the Holy Spirit even though they were not thinking exactly like each other.

I have met too many Christians who believe that if you are led by the Spirit that you will think exactly like them, because, of course, they are led by the Spirit. I have heard people say, the Holy Spirit will lead everyone to become vegan because that is what the Holy Spirit led me to become, and so if they are led by the same Spirit they will do the same. But consider this, Jesus was led by the Spirit and never became vegan! He did, however, practice a Bible principle of eating and drinking only to glorify God. See 1 Corinthians 10:31. Jesus followed the Bible principle of eating the best foods available, which were also biblically clean, in His time and place. We are to do the same. In some places that may mean eating vegan. In other places it may not.

We need to be careful not to confuse our personal preferences with biblical truth. While the Bible teaches religious liberty, many think that means they can just follow their personal whims and tastes, instead of real personal convictions of Bible truth. This is why Ellen white wrote,

Ministers who labor in towns and cities to present the truth should not feel content, nor that their work is ended, until those who have accepted the theory of the truth realize indeed the effect of its sanctifying power and are truly converted to God. God would be better pleased to have six truly converted to the truth as the result of their labors than to have sixty make a nominal profession and yet not be thoroughly converted. These ministers should devote less time to preaching sermons and reserve a portion of their strength to visit and pray with those who are interested, giving them godly instruction, to the end that they may “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”  –Testimonies to the Church  Vol. 4, p. 317. 

Consider this,

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NKJV

 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 NKJV

Never should the Bible be studied without prayer. Before opening its pages we should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and it will be given.-Ellen White, Steps to Christ, Page 93.

Instead of cloning people to think and act exactly like us, shouldn’t we rather train them to study the Bible and rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth? When they study the Bible, the same Holy Spirit that moved the writers to write those words thousands of years ago is right there with them to help them understand those words today.

We need to remember that we all are human, and we all have human philosophies and traditions, no matter how biblically sound we think we are. Our job is not to clone people to be exactly like us, but to point them to the Perfect Example which is Jesus. This example is found in the Scriptures.

Ellen White, one of the primary founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, spoke these as her last words to the church body, as she held the Bible extended on her hands:

“I commend unto you this Book.” – W. A. Spicer, Certainties of the Advent Movement, p. 202.

Our church founder’s job was not to do our thinking for us, just as my professor’s job was not to do my thinking for me.

Let’s exalt the Scriptures as our church founders did and, even more importantly, as Jesus did. As we study this quarter’s lesson together, let’s ask God to show us the difference between just cloning people to be like us, and making disciples for Jesus.

Age Old Mystery Solved and Didn’t Even Need Google

I am writing tonight from beautiful Tulsa Oklahoma.

I am writing tonight from beautiful Tulsa Oklahoma.

I have always found cemeteries to be intriguing places. No, I am not morbid or obsessed with death. I am a people person, and people’s biographies interest me. I like reading the information on people’s gravestones and putting their stories together.  When I was 14 my family visited Washington D.C. and Arlington National Cemetery. While there I somehow made a wrong turn, and lost my family for a while, causing me to roam  the cemetery, contemplating the sacrifices represented by all the grave stones, as I wandered alone, lost in my own thoughts. Looking back, I think I got more out of the visit by being alone for a while.  I also published a blog post a while back about another encounter I had, while exploring a cemetery.  When I have time, I enjoy going to the Find A Grave website and reading people’s biographies. It is not about their death it is about their life.

Late this afternoon I visited the Oak cemetery in Fort Smith Arkansas, and solved an old mystery. When I was a kid I would go with my parents to see my maternal grandfather’s grave. While there I ran across another grave stone which became a perplexing mystery to me. As I remembered, the tombstone had two pictures, one each of twin boys who both died on their 16th birthday.  It haunted me, how  they died and why  they both died on their birthday? Did they get a new car for their birthday and have an accident? A swim party turned tragedy? I knew there was a story. Sometimes I feel sad, because I don’t have my own kids to tell my life story to. Everyone deserves to have their story told, and I wanted to know their story. Why did they both die on their 16th birthday?

Decades after last visiting my grandfather’s cemetery, I was on the Internet one night and decided to try to find their story. I did not remember their names or any dates, so I just tried Googling search terms like, “Twins die on their birthday Fort Smith” and so forth but found nothing. I then decided I had to return to the cemetery, find their gravestone, get their names and Google them to find their story.  While spending time in nearby Tulsa, Oklahoma this week, I decided now is the time. My mother graciously agreed to make the 100 mile trip, just to search for a tombstone and get the names off it. Well, that is not all we accomplished. My aunt Mary from Gentry  Arkansas and her daughter Eva, who both used to live in Fort Smith agreed to meet us in Fort Smith, along with a couple of my mother’s cousins still living in Fort Smith, so we could go to dinner tonight, after visiting the cemetery.

Driving down I was sure we would find it, as I remembered it being near grandpa’s grave. But I had no way to be sure of that. We arrived at the cemetery and started looking around, finding nothing. Then my mother’s cousins arrived. Jeannie, one of her cousins, thinking we were there to find a family grave, told us we were looking in the wrong place. I then told her about my mission, only to find that she had the answer to my age old mystery all along. I didn’t even need Google. I should have just asked Jeannie decades ago.

I told her I was looking for a grave stone for two twin brothers who both died on their 16th birthday. “The Bull boys?” Jeannie asked. “There is a picture on their tombstone.” “Yes!” I said, “That’s it it had pictures on it!” She marched me right over the their grave, which was nowhere close to where I remembered it being. This is where I am now realizing how much I can forget or not remember exactly right after a few decades. On the way to the grave, she told me, they were not twin brothers, they were cousins. I was not sure we were talking about the same boys until we came to the grave and I immediately  recognized the pictures. The picture on the left looked very familiar, almost exactly as I had remembered as a child.

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It was the same grave but the facts are not exactly as I remembered them. Imagine that! Things are not exactly as I remember them decades later. They were not twin brothers. They were not even brothers, they were cousins. However one of them did die at 16, and the other one did die on his birthday, and they both did indeed die on the same day. No wonder my Google searches were futile. However I did not even need Google to find their story. Cousin Jeannie remembered the grave from her youth, when her and her cousin would explore the cemetery, as it was right by her house. She knew the story too. Donald Joe was in the military and during a leave came to visit. He picked up 16 year old Thomas during school, at Fort Smith Central High School,  so he could play hooky, and they would spend the day together. Sadly, after Donald helped Thomas escape from school, their car was hit by a train and they both died. Jeannie was in high school at the time, and while she did not know Thomas personally, she did remember all the other kids talking about it.

Cousin Jeannie on the left helped me find the grave and story that had haunted me for years. On the right is my cousin Eva who also helped put some of the pieces together for me.

Cousin Jeannie on the left helped me find the grave and story that had haunted me for years. On the right is my cousin Eva who also helped put some of the pieces together for me.

So tonight I finally got the story that had been haunting me since childhood. I learned some more valuable lessons in the process. With modern technology and the Internet being a wealth of information, nothing beats people knowledge. Of course the Internet only knows what people tell it. Google is no substitute for people knowledge. The wealth of information on the Internet is no substitute for the wealth of knowledge and experience in the people who are all around us, if we just take the time to talk to them.  I did not need to wait for Google to solve this mystery. All the time my cousin Jeannie knew the story, and lived her whole life right there in Fort Smith. All I had to do was ask. (Though to my credit I had mentioned it to my mother and aunt.) The amazing thing is, the gravestone was nowhere close to my grandfather’s grave, so I must have been doing some real exploring when I found it as a child. I never could have found it on my own tonight, but once I mentioned the story to Jeannie, she knew exactly what I was talking about (Even with my misinformation) and marched me right over to the grave. Jeannie knew the grave location and story. I didn’t need Google.  (Come to think of it, Jeannie remembered exactly where the grave was, based on her memory as a youth. She must have a better memory than me.)

I learned my memory is not 100% accurate. The information on the tombstones was not exactly how I remembered it as a child, and as I said earlier, the grave location was nowhere near where I remembered it. I remembered it being much closer to my grandfather’s grave.  Now I have to be more careful declaring things are exactly as I remember. Though I did remember enough over the last 38 years or so for my cousin to know what I was talking about. Also after all those years the pictures were exactly like I remembered. Especially the one on the left of Thomas.

So the mystery has been solved. Neither Thomas or Donald probably had children to tell their story to, just like I don’t have any children to tell my story to. But tonight we got to share their story. I guess the good news is you don’t have to have children in order to share your story.

Thanks to all you who read my blog and let me tell my stories.

By the way, here is the only website I have found so far with reference to the train wreck. 

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 25 (The Father’s Sacrifice)

I am writing today from  cold and freezing, beautiful Tulsa.

I am writing today from cold and freezing, beautiful Tulsa.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

For years I always pictured Jesus as the one making all the sacrifices when He came to earth, and lived and died for us, while the Father just stayed up in heaven and watched. I never realized that it was the Father who was making the greatest sacrifice. That is until one night many years ago, when I got a call from my mother. A young man in his 30’s who was very dear to our family, had just died from a heart disease. He was waiting on a heart transplant, which did not arrive in time. As my mother was telling me all this, she started crying and telling me how she wished she could have just given him her own heart. She said as she sobbed, “I have already lived me life, and he had a young family, why couldn’t I have just given him my heart!” I sat stunned on the other end of the line, thinking, “because you are my mother! That’s why! No way would we let you do that!” 

When I hung up the phone, that is when I realized for the first time, that our heavenly Father was not just simply watching His Son make all the sacrifices. It was actually the Father who was making the greatest sacrifice in allowing all this to happen to His Son. Many of us would rather suffer than to see our family suffer. While the angels longed to rescue Jesus from this cruel world, I imagine the Father would rather have traded place with Him, but that was not the plan.

I see adds where a family is having to move to another city and can’t take their dog for whatever reason.  They have to leave the dog behind.The adds read that they want to make sure their dog goes to a good home. They want it to be well taken care of. If people want their dogs to be well taken care of, then don’t you imagine the Father wanted His Son to be well taken care of? Yet there are dogs who have been treated better than the way Jesus was treated. How this must have hurt the Father, yet He did it because of His love for you! He gave His precious Son to ransom you from the power of sin and the grave. How much He must love us!

 

The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift.
Through that gift there comes to us day by day the unfailing flow of Jehovah’s goodness. Every flower, with its delicate tints and sweet fragrance, is given for our enjoyment through that one Gift. The sun and moon were made by Him; there is not a star that beautifies the heavens which He did not make. There is not an article of food upon our tables that He has not provided for our sustenance. The superscription of Christ is upon it all. Everything is supplied to man through the one unspeakable Gift, the only-begotten Son of God. He was nailed to the cross that all these bounties might flow to God’s workmanship.
In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Isaiah 9:6. God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. . . . Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.
Christ bowed down in unparalleled humility, that in His exaltation to the throne of God, He might also exalt those who believe in Him, to a seat with Him upon His throne. –Ellen White, The Faith I Live by, Page 45.

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 24 (Beyond the Manger, the Passover Visit)

I am writing tonight from  beautiful, icy cold Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I am writing tonight from beautiful, icy cold Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Luke 2:41-50 Tells about  Mary and Joesph taking Jesus to the Passover, when He was 12 years old. On the way home Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus was in their company, however He was not with them. He was back at the temple,  or what we would call the church of the day.  Do we sometimes assume today, that so long as we are with “church” people that Jesus must be with us? The story of the Passover visit, the Jews demanding Pilate to crucify Jesus, and even the whole Israeli nation and its leaders worshiping Baal back in the days of Elijah, show us that we can’t afford to make the same mistake Jesus’ parents made, in thinking that so long as we are with a church that we must be with Jesus. Mary and Joseph were with “church” people traveling back home from the temple, but they weren’t with Jesus.

So how do we make sure we don’t make the same mistake?

If Joseph and Mary had stayed their minds upon God by meditation and prayer, they would have realized the sacredness of their trust, and would not have lost sight of Jesus. By one day’s neglect they lost the Saviour; but it cost them three days of anxious search to find Him. So with us; by idle talk, evilspeaking, or neglect of prayer, we may in one day lose the Saviour’s presence, and it may take many days of sorrowful search to find Him, and regain the peace that we have lost.
In our association with one another, we should take heed lest we forget Jesus, and pass along unmindful that He is not with us. When we become absorbed in worldly things so that we have no thought for Him in whom our hope of eternal life is centered, we separate ourselves from Jesus and from the heavenly angels. These holy beings cannot remain where the Saviour’s presence is not desired, and His absence is not marked. This is why discouragement so often exists among the professed followers of Christ.
Many attend religious services, and are refreshed and comforted by the word of God; but through neglect of meditation, watchfulness, and prayer, they lose the blessing, and find themselves more destitute than before they received it. Often they feel that God has dealt hardly with them. They do not see that the fault is their own. By separating themselves from Jesus, they have shut away the light of His presence.
It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.
As we associate together, we may be a blessing to one another. If we are Christ’s, our sweetest thoughts will be of Him. We shall love to talk of Him; and as we speak to one another of His love, our hearts will be softened by divine influences. Beholding the beauty of His character, we shall be “changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 83

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 23 (Beyond the Manger,Loneliness)

I am writing today from my parent's beautiful icy home near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I am writing today from my parent’s beautiful icy home near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5 NKJV

I love being with my family and friends. I love people. But you know what? I also enjoy being a lone. When I moved to Texas, 20 years ago, there was no texting or -email (that I knew of at least) and it took time to make friends. So, I would go to restaurants by myself, and bring a notepad and write hand written letters home, the kind that you mail with a stamp, to family and friends while I enjoyed my meal. However, soon I started making lots of friends in Texas, and so I had people to go dine with, and so the letter writing stopped.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, living in Tampa Florida now.  I was sitting at a stop light, looking at a nice restaurant on the corner, which for some reason reminded my of my letter writing days long ago. I decided, even though I have lots of friends I enjoy dining with here in Florida, that I kind of miss the days when I would go into a restaurant alone and write old fashioned hand written letters, so I did so!

I don’t feel lonely when I am eating by myself. I don’t feel lonely when I take a solo bike ride down the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. I don’t feel lonely when I enjoy a good book on a park bench near the beach. I know I have friends even if they are not right with me at the moment. I know they are just a call or text away. So what does make me feel lonely? When people misunderstand me. When people misjudge my motives and intentions. When that happens it does not matter how many people are around. If they don’t understand me, that makes me feel alone. Thankfully I have good friends who are very understanding. Still, I think there are moments in our lives when we at least “feel” like no one understands. That can be a very lonely feeling.

Jesus knows how that feels.

 Yet through childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus walked alone. In His purity and His faithfulness, He trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him. He carried the awful weight of responsibility for the salvation of men. He knew that unless there was a decided change in the principles and purposes of the human race, all would be lost. This was the burden of His soul, and none could appreciate the weight that rested upon Him. Filled with intense purpose, He carried out the design of His life that He Himself should be the light of men.  -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 92 

We can ease that loneliness by joining Jesus in His cause. When we lay aside our own ambitions and join Jesus in His ambitions,  we have fellowship with Him.  In Gethsemane, Jesus longed for someone to pray with Him. Everyone was too sleepy and tired to appreciate what was going on at the moment. Jesus freely excused their weakness and human flesh, while in His humanity He longed for fellowship and someone to pray with. Some one to understand and join in His sufferings. It is not too late. We can have fellowship with Jesus today, by appreciating His sacrifice and praying with Him for the salvation of others, so that His sacrifice will not be in vain.

Just a few days before Jesus’ death, a woman anointed him with perfume. This was not just any perfume. This perfume was very expensive and potent. Back in those days, people did not shower every day, and so the perfume was made to last for days to make up for that. This perfume was especially rich and potent. Just a few days later, Jesus was hanging on the cross. When the people jeered and mocked Him, and Jesus in His humanity was tempted to think that He was alone, He pushed his feet into the cruel spikes, the heave Himself up, so He could take a breath. As He inhaled He took in the aroma of the perfume poured all over Him just a few days earlier. The aroma reminded Him, there is someone who cares and understands! It eased His  human loneliness.

So today, our prayers and gifts for the cause of Jesus are an aroma that Jesus loves to breathe, knowing His sacrifice was not in vain. He is not alone. We have fellowship in His sufferings and in His glory, and He has fellowship with us!

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 22 (Beyond the Manger, Words of Encouragement)

 

I am writing tonight near the beautiful campus of Southern Adventist University

I am writing tonight near the beautiful campus of Southern Adventist University

Have you ever heard somebody that you thought really had a gift for words? You know I don’t remember every gift everyone has ever given me, but I always remember how people’s words made me feel.

I remember working at the Campus Kitchen, a fast food restaurant, on the campus of Southern Adventist University back in the 1980’s. I was delivering people’s food to their tables. One day we were swamped and I was running way behind. People were complaining and rightfully so. However, when I finally got a lady in her 30’s or 40s her lunch, I apologized for her wait. She told me she could tell we were busy and that I was working very hard, running all over the place, as best I could. She did something nobody had ever done at the CK before or since. Tipping was not customary at the CK, but instead of complaining, she gave me a $5.00 tip, which at that time would have been about a 100% tip! She told me she wished she had more to give me. She told me she knew it was hard working your way through college and that I was doing a great job. You know, thirty years later, the $5.00 is long gone and has been for quite a while. But what is lodged into my mind forever are her kind words. Her kind words encouraged me long after Abe was gone. Let’s take a look at how Jesus used words as a gift even in His growing up years.

He passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the saving remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, He presented a lesson that was appropriate to the time and the circumstances. He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as the children of God. Often He met those who had drifted under Satan’s control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, and fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side, and would give them the victory. Those whom He thus helped were convinced that here was One in whom they could trust with perfect confidence. He would not betray the secrets they poured into His sympathizing ear. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Pages 91-92

Let’s remember during this season of family get togethers, and always, that words will be remembered long after the things we gave as gifts are gone.

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 21 (Beyond the Manger, Jesus’ Giving)

I am writing tonight from beautiful Panama City Beach, Florida.

I am writing tonight from beautiful Panama City Beach, Florida.

When I was in the 3rd and 4th grades at Tulsa Adventist Academy, we had our classes in the church building as the school was being remodeled, including the cafeteria. For those two years we had to bring our own lunch to school each day as there were no warm lunches. Occasionally, one of my classmates would forget their lunch. When this happened, the rest of us would share a portion of our lunch, maybe an apple or two, and part of a sandwich and some chips, so that with our combined offerings, they would have a complete lunch. However, I don’t remember any of us giving all of our lunch away, but look at what Jesus did, as a child growing up with his step brothers, when he found someone without a lunch.

Jesus sought out these very ones, and spoke to them words of encouragement. To those who were in need He would give a cup of cold water, and would quietly place His own meal in their hands. As He relieved their sufferings, the truths He taught were associated with His acts of mercy, and were thus riveted in the memory. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 87

Jesus gave all, and because of His acts of mercy people listened to what He taught. His acts of mercy gave to merit to what He taught. Later in His life it was said of Jesus,

“No man ever spoke like this Man!” John 7:46 NKJV 

The reason that Christ spoke as no other man spoke was that He lived as no other man lived. If He had not lived as He did, He could not have spoken as He did. His words bore with them convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, burdened with love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. . . .Ellen White, Heavenly Places, Page 237

Are your teachings accompanied  by acts of mercy and sympathy?