Never Too Old Or Isolated For God to USe

Heron Channelside (5)
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jean just passed away at the age of 94. She lost her husband a couple years earlier, and then became ill with cancer. She was telling her daughter she did not even know why she was still living. She felt old and useless. But one day her young health care nurse came for a routine visit. She told Jean about her own mother who had Alzheimer’s and would cry and shake constantly. Jean suggested buying a doll for her to hold. The young nurse did so and came back to tell Jean that it worked! No more shaking and crying. Jean was still helping people even though she was widowed, old and sick.

John was quite old when he was banished to the Island of Patmos. He may have been tempted to feel old and useless. But his best days were still ahead!

Remember Psalms 23:6, God’s goodness and mercy shall be with me all the daysof my life! And that was definitely true in John’s case.

When John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, there were many who thought him to be past service, an old and broken reed, ready to fall at any time. But the Lord saw fit to use him still. Though banished from the scenes of his former labor, he did not cease to bear witness to the truth. Even in Patmos he made friends and converts. His was a message of joy, proclaiming a risen Saviour who on high was interceding for His people until He should return to take them to Himself. And it was after John had grown old in the service of his Lord that he received more communications from heaven than he had received during all the former years of his life. (-Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, Pages 572-573)

John wrote,

I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. Revelation 1:9 NLT

Evil people thought to put the old man away in isolation, but instead he spoke with an angel, looked into heaven and wrote the book of Revelation, reaching billions of people around the world throughout the ages!

And it didn’t matter if everyone else thought John was old and useless. God had work for him when no one else did, and God has work for you too, no matter what age you are. Even if you are old, God may still have big plans for you. God was not just talking to young ones when He said,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

The Head of the Body Always Feels the Pain First

DTTFL

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

…Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. Ephesians 5:23 NLT

When you pray and tell Jesus about the trials of your day, do you ever stop and ask Jesus how His day was? Remember, while you may have seen one person being abused, Jesus saw every soul that was abused that day. You hay have seen one hungry child. Jesus saw every hungry, hurting child.

A few years ago I was playing a Bible game with my 5th and 6th grade Bible-chain referencing class. One student was trying to guess what Bible character the rest of the class was thinking of. Before he could guess, a 5th grade boy accidentally let it slip, and gave the answer away. The class voiced their disapproval of his gaffe and the embarrassed boy was in tears, as he put his head down on his desk in shame. Before I could even say anything, a 6th grade girl instinctively got up and walked over to him, and put her hand on his shoulder, and patted his back, resembling more of a mother than a grade school girl. She told the class it was an accident that any of us could have made. The class quickly changed its behavior, though I am sure they never intended their slight show of disapproval to cause so much pain. I remember thinking at the time, that the girl acted so quickly and instinctively, that it was as though she actually felt his pain.

The Bible tells us the church is the body of Christ, and Christ is the Head of the body. Just to show how important every member of the church or body of Christ is, consider this. When you get up in the middle of the night and stub you tiny toe on the night stand, damage-detecting sensory neurons flash a message to the spinal cord, spinal cord neurons relay the message to the brain and the brain is the first part of the body that feels the pain. Likewise when the weakest member of the church gets hurt, Christ, the Head of the church is the first One to feel the pain.

When you hit your little toe on the night stand, your hands immediately go to the aid of the little toe. Your brain sends them there, to comfort and support the smallest member of you body. In relieving the pain of the toe, the hands are also relieving the pain of the brain, the head of the body. Likewise when we rescue the abused, and feed and comfort the smallest hungry child, we are relieving the pain Jesus feels as the Head of the body.

For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.Psalms 22:24 NLT

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. Isaiah 63:9 NLT

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

Letting the Bible Explain Itself

Seabasin Park

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

When we allow the Bible to explain itself, God can use ordinary people to do great things.

Years ago, when I worked on the sort isle at UPS, our supervisors would occasionally bring in food to eat, while we worked at four in the morning. One such time, my supervisor, who was also a Protestant seminary student, offered me a slice of pizza with pepperoni. I asked him if there was any pizza with just cheese. He knew I was a Seventh-day Adventist and did not eat pork. Still he asked me, “What about the vision Peter had in Acts 10?” I replied, “You mean the one where Peter said,

God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Acts 10:28 KJV

My supervisor said, “You know your Bible!” He understood right away that the Bible left no mistake about what the Peter’s vision meant. The Bible does not say Peterrealized he should not call any animal unclean. Peter and the Word of God are clear. God showed Peter he should not call any man unclean.
Likewise when Jesus was asked why His disciples did not follow the traditional ceremonial washing of hands, many jump to conclusions when Jesus said, The Bible will explain itself if we let it. That is one reason why it is so easy to be a Bible Worker, like I am and give Bible studies. You don’t have to be a brilliant philosopher. All you need to do is show people the Word of God, and let God’s Word explain itself.

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matthew 15:11 KJV

Some claim Jesus was declaring unclean meats clean, but unclean meat is nowhere in the context of conversation. Once again you don’t need an ordained minister to figure out what Jesus as talking about. He tells us very plainly what He was talking about.

to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matthew 15:20 KJV

Jesus tells us plainly He was talking about eating with unwashed hands. He was not referring to unclean foods. Once again the Bible clearly explains itself without any fancy human philosophy.

Many famous philosophers used witty human reasoning to impress their followers. Jesus does not use human wit and reasoning. Jesus stuck with the Scriptures and a plain “It is Written” or “What saith the Scriptures?” He let the Bible explain itself. Jesus has given us the only weapon we will ever need on the war against evil. It is not human wit or philosophy. It is the plain Scriptures.

The plan of holding Bible-readings was a heaven-born idea. There are many, both men and women, who can engage in this branch of missionary labor. Workers may thus be developed who will become mighty men of God. By this means the word of God has been given to thousands; and the workers are brought into personal contact with people of all nations and tongues. The Bible is brought into families, and its sacred truths come home to the conscience. Men are entreated to read, examine, and judge for themselves, and they must abide the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the divine enlightenment. God will not permit this precious work for Him to go unrewarded. He will crown with success every humble effort made in His name. –Ellen White, Gospel Workers, Page 191. 

Please notice, you don’t have to be a smooth talker with witty illustrations and philosophy. Only present the plain Word of God and let men judge for themselves. And no matter how humble you think your efforts are, “He will crown with success every humble effort.”

In Luther’s Day,

Crowds would gather to hear the truth advocated by men of little education, and even discussed by them with learned and eloquent theologians. The shameful ignorance of these great men was made apparent as their arguments were met by the simple teachings of God’s Word. Laborers, soldiers, women, and even children, were better acquainted with the Bible teachings than were the priests and learned doctors. –Ellen White, The Great Controversy, Page 195.

The humble men, women and children gained knowledge the way Jesus did, and every man woman and child today can do the same.

Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters will be elevated and refined. We shall become more like our Saviour…. Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things. –Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, Page 70.

God blessed my ordinary effort as an ordinary UPS worker, when I convinced a seminary student of truth, by simply referring to Simple Scriptures. As you became acquainted with your Heavenly Father through studying His Word and prayer, the Holy Spirit will use you also to help others to know the truth about God’s love.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

The Three Angels’ Messages and the Triumph of the Gospel Over Legalism Part 2

Indian Rocks 2
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.Revelation 14:8 

Many say that Babylon means confusion. Well it may, but it is not so much confusion about certain doctrines as much as it is about the gospel itself. When legalism mixes our works with God’s grace, it gets confusing. In Galatians 2:20 Paul gives us the pure gospel when he says, “Not I but Christ.” So many of us want to make it a combination of me plus Christ. Problem is, any time I make “me” a part of the gospel I have a corrupt gospel because “me” is corrupt. Does this mean doing away with good works? Not at all! It just means realizing that it is God who is working in us and not us. Philippians 2:13

Seventh-day Adventists teach that Babylon is a religious system which it is, but it is more than that. It is an attitude – an attitude that can be found in any system. Babylon is the attitude that I can save myself by my own works. It began with the tower of Babel.

Babel meaning “gate” and El meaning “God.” At the tower of Babel man decided they could work and build their own way to heaven. They did not think they could trust God to save them from another flood so they decided to build a tower and by their works save themselves. Thus Babylon symbolizes salvation by our own works, or legalism. Cain had the attitude of Babylon when he brought the works of his field and offered his own system of worship. But God could only accept Abel’s sacrifice – a lamb which pointed to the Lamb of God who could only save. Since then man has been presenting his own system of worship and even day of worship thinking he can save himself by inventing his own religion instead of accepting the gospel.

Years later Daniel 1 tells us that God gave Jerusalem into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, but in Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar says “is this not Babylon which I have made?” And God says, “No! I made it and gave it to you.” But here is the attitude of Babylon again – that it is my works that save me.

During the Dark Ages people were taught that their works would save them. They could buy and work their way to heaven. They were also given a work day to worship instead of the Sabbath day of rest. So they were like Cain, worshiping their works instead of our Creator and Redeemer. When the everlasting gospel is proclaimed in all its glory, Babylon will fall! Man will see that we are not saved by our own religious works and inventions but rather are saved by the grace of God alone!

The third angel’s message assures us of the victory of grace over the legalism of Babylon.

Ellen White comments:

Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message, in verity.”– The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. {1SM 372.2}

If you are like me, your first glance at the third angel’s message does not make you think of justification by faith. As a matter of fact many people get wrapped up in works over this passage. Let’s take another look and see why it’s not about works but rather justification by faith.

Revelation 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

The third angel’s message is justification by faith in verity because those who refuse the mark of the beast will not be allowed to buy or sell or do any business to provide for themselves or their families. They will be resting on the Sabbath and not working. Therefore they trust God to provide for them, and not their own works. This is justification by faith. Those who accept the mark so that they can buy and sell are not resting in Jesus or trusting Him to provide for them. Rather they are saying, “I do not trust Jesus to provide for me, so I am accepting the mark so that I can work and provide for myself.” This is salvation by works.

It is very important to notice that the ones who accept the mark and are trying to be saved by their works are rejecting the cross of Christ. The “cup of His indignation” is the cup that Jesus asked to be passed from Him, in Gethsemane. However, He drank that cup for us, at Calvary. Those who reject the seal of God, and the Sabbath are really rejecting the cross. They say, “I will accept the mark of the beast and provide my own salvation.” When they do this they reject the Salvation provided at Calvary, and instead of letting Jesus drink that cup for them, they must drink it themselves!

After all, if you do not trust Jesus enough to provide your daily bread, but rather accept the mark so that you can do business and put bread on the table yourself, how can you trust Him to provide for your eternal salvation? On the other hand, by rejecting the mark (works) and keeping the Sabbath and seal of God we are accepting the cross and justification by faith. Jesus drinks the cup mentioned in the third angel’s message so we don’t have to! We can all exclaim with Abraham at Moriah, “Jehovahjireh” My Lord Will provide!”

The third angel’s message is the climax of the battle between faith and works. For centuries man has been taught by tradition to save himself by worshiping a man made religion and even a man made Sabbath which is Sunday. Those who put their faith in Jesus triumph over the legalism of man made religions as they rest their faith in the One who gave all to save them. They cherish His Sabbath which is a sign that we are not saved by works but rather by His amazing grace!`

The Three Angels’ Messages and the Triumph of the Gospel Over Legalism Part 1

Ciera 013
Journaling Through Revelation in the Beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Here is a post I shared on the Sabbath School Network a few years ago.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” Revelation 14:6.

Who is this first angel and who are the three angels?1

Revelation 1:20 says that the seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches. So an angel would be like a leader or messenger to a church. Jesus begins His message to each church with, “Write unto the angel of the church of…” so He must be referring to an angel as being a terrestrial leader. When John saw the seven stars in Jesus’ hand, those stars were the angels, or ministers and leaders of the church.

Jesus calls us all to have a ministry in the church and a message to share with the world, and it’s comforting to know, that while we are messengers for Jesus,  He holds all of us in His hand. Wherever in the world you are reading this – whether in a country with few Christian churches, and even persecution, or whether you are trying to share Jesus with your family members who all seem opposed to your message – rest assured, Jesus has you right in His hand and you are very special to Him! He will take care of you and make your ministry prosperous. You may find your ministry in a difficult place, but it is right in Jesus’ hands.

I believe the three angels in Revelation 14 make up the message that the Seventh-day Adventist church has to give to the world. These angels are sent out after the rise of the United States in Revelation 13, so this would fit the time prophecy. Thus I believe that the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are the three angels in Revelation 14, and, even more specifically, the three angels are you and I.

The Seventh-day Adventist church has a very important message to give to the world, so let’s see what it is.

The first angel has the everlasting gospel.

Now don’t all churches have the gospel? Yes, many people will be in the kingdom because a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or Lutheran etc. missionary shared the love of God with them. However, as the book of Revelation changes scenes from the dark ages to the earth being “lightened with His glory” the gospel will be shining brighter than ever before.

The everlasting gospel which the Seventh-day Adventist church shares overcomes the legalism of Babylon. This last message is filled with grace and the glory of God and not the works of man. It shows the love of God more clearly than the gospel presented by most other churches.

Many churches preach that Jesus died for us, and then they turn around and tell uspeople don’t really die. If that is the case, then Jesus did not really die, and if He did not really die, then He did not die for us.

Many churches preach that sinners will be eternally tormented in hell while John 3:16, which is the crux of the gospel, says that sinners will perish. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, not eternal torment in hell. It’s impossible to fall in love with a God who has a “love-me-or-I’ll-torment-you-for-eternity-in-hell” mentality. While sin and those who cling to it at any cost must perish, God will not be delighting in their eternal torture. The punishment, which is death, is eternal; the punishing is not.

Many churches focus on the physical torture Jesus endured. The physical torture  was terrible, but Jesus suffered way more than a six-hour pain endurance marathon. Hebrews 2:9 tells us Jesus “tasted death” for all men. It obviously was not the death of the righteous that He tasted; we all taste that first death for ourselves. Obadiah 16 tells us the wicked will be as though they never were. Jesus faced more than nail-scarred hands and feet on the cross. He tasted the death of the wicked, which means He experienced total separation from God. This could be why He was crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” instead of singing hymns of praise while He died, like John Huss did. You see, Jesus died a totally different death than John Huss. John Huss died the death of the righteous while he burned at the stake for his faith. Jesus was dying the death of the wicked.

Many teach that Jesus saves us in our sins while Matthew 1:21 tells us clearly that Jesus will save us from our sins. We can’t call Jesus a Savior unless He actuallysaves us, and according to Ephesians 2:1-10 we are saved by grace. What His grace saves us from is our sinful life.

So we see, Seventh-day Adventists not only teach a different day of worship, we also teach the fullness of the gospel. Our job description, in being messengers for Jesus, is to let the whole world know the love of Jesus.

You don’t have to be a TV evangelist to have a ministry and share this message. This gospel is so amazing that many will not even believe it when they hear or read about it. However, they will believe it when they see these principles of self-sacrificing love manifested in your life.

I remember a story about a man who was married for 50 years. At breakfast he always insisted on having the heel of the bread loaf for toast. He acted as though it was his favorite part of the bread. Fifty years later after his wife died, he stopped eating the heel. His nephew asked him why he didn’t like it any more. The old man explained that he never did like it. He just knew his wife did not like it either, so for fifty years he pretended he loved it so she would not have to eat it. That made a great impact on the nephew, and it helped him understand the gospel better than any evangelist preacher ever could.

The first angel teaches about judgment

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation 14:7

This angel is telling us of the judgment which began in 1844. Interestingly the angel says the hour of His judgment has come. What does this mean? It means God is the one being judged!

The judgment is not to see if God will accept us, Ephesians 1:6 tells us we are already accepted in the Beloved. The judgment is to see if we will accept God. Seventh-day Adventists preach a time of probation, but many do not realize that it is actually God who is on probation. God is being judged by the universe: Is God the mean control freak and tyrant that Satan makes Him out to be, or is He a God of love? Is God a good God or some psychopath saying, “Love me or I’ll kill you?”

Satan first attacked the character of God in heaven. Revelation 12 says there was war in heaven, but not with machine guns and tanks; it was a battle of the minds. Satan wanted God’s power but not his character.

I can see Satan playing mind games with the angels. I can see him going up to one of the other angels and saying, “You did a great job on that project God gave you. Did God give you any special recognition for it? He didn’t? Why that’s too bad. You know if I was God I would have thrown a banquet in your honor.”

And so Satan started these mind games trying to make the angels believe that he should be God and that God was not a God of love who was interested in their welfare.

Satan got a third of the angels to buy his lie. There may have been some angels who stayed in heaven but were not convinced who was right or wrong, until the cross. Then the whole universe saw the true character of Satan, who was willing to kill anyone who got in his way of being number one, contrasted with the true character of God who was willing to die on a cross and say goodbye to life forever to save others.

This is why Satan does not want us to understand the everlasting gospel. The everlasting gospel tells the truth about the character of God and the character of Satan. In the hour of His judgment those who clearly understand the everlasting gospel, free of legalism, will demonstrate that God is indeed a God of love. When we accept God we accept more than eternal life, we accept God Himself, along with all of His righteousness and goodness and power to live a victorious life.

The second half of this verse – “and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” – reminds us of the language used in the fourth commandment about the Sabbath. Many times we quote the fourth commandment from Exodus 20: 8-11 but let’s take a look at it in Deuteronomy 5:12-15.

“Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.”

In Egypt the king made all the Hebrew slaves work so he could rest. God delivered the Hebrews from their works and gave them the Sabbath, explaining that it was God who created and made everything and did all the work so they could rest. God is reminding Israel that He saved them from the slavery of the Egyptians, and that it was not their works that saved them. Likewise God Himself will save us from the slavery of sin, by His grace and not by our works. The Sabbath is clearly a sign that it is God who sanctifies us and not our own works. We see this also in Exodus 31:13.We rest from our works on the Sabbath, remembering that our salvation comes from resting our faith in His amazing grace and not in trusting our works to save us.

The Sabbath also reminds us of our Creator whom Satan wants us to forget. If the Sabbath had never been forgotten, atheism would never exist. For example we use the sun to mark a year, the moon marks a month and the earth’s rotation marks a day, but what do we have to mark a week? The only thing we have to mark a week is the creation week which ends with the seventh-day Sabbath. So how do atheists explain the seven-day week?

During the reign of terror the French tried to do away with the seven-day week and replace it with a ten-day week. This did not work.

The Sabbath reminds us that we have a Creator who did all the work in creating us. It reminds us that we did not make ourselves by our own works. Even more, the Sabbath reminds us that we were redeemed by the works and sacrifice of our Creator and not by our own works. By resting on the Sabbath we show that the gospel is practical and not just a theory. He literally rested, and we literally rest our faith in Jesus, believing that He literally saves us.

By Whose Standard Does the Church Gage It’s Success? The Prince of This World or the True Witness?

DT Tampa july 4
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Revelation 12:17 NLT

Often we let the world perception of success overrule what the True Witness calls success. We think if we are at peace with the world than we are all right. If the world thinks we are cool and gives us the thumbs up then we must be okay. But who is the prince of this world? Doesn’t the Bible say that the dragon is at war with those who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus-the True Witness?

In Matthew 5  Jesus gives us the beatitudes. Each one is a stepping stone to a complete conversion. Once the conversion is complete and we are filled with God’s righteousness and pure in heart, Jesus says,

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:10 NLT

The persecution comes after the conversion. Why? Because those who are converted leave the others with no excuse for not partaking of God’s life changing grace as well. When I was taking 9th grade algebra, our teacher graded our tests on the curve. There was only one problem. The same girl always got a 100% on every single test. So we did not get a break or a curve. When we saw that this girl kept the standard right where it belonged, and did not bring it down for us, we ridiculed her. So it is today. A church that keeps the standards right where they belong, will suffer persecution. A church that upholds the testimony of Jesus over the prince of this world will sense a “war” and opposition.

When choosing a church let’s not look to see how well it fits in with the world. Let’s see how well it fits in with the Bible and Jesus, the True Witness.

 

How a Peruvian Girl Showed Me How Poor I Was.

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I am Journaling Through Revelation Here in Tampa Bay

 

I think I’ve made an interesting observation, at least to me. The church of Smyrna, which receives no rebukes, thinks that it is poor but is told it is rich.

I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! Revelation 2:9 NLT 

Later, Laodicea, the only church that gets nothing but rebukes, thinks that it is rich, but is told it is actually poor!

 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Revelation 3:17 NLT 

Reminds me of my mission trip to Peru about ten years ago. We came from America to help hold meetings in several churches in Chiclayo. Many of the churches had no roofs, and seemed to be made out of tin. We pitied them and gave them our projectors and other equipment they could not afford. We thought they needed what we have. But they had many committed, passionate members. Their lives revolved around God and His church. They even took turns sleeping in the church every night to guard it from thieves. They held meetings in their homes. Whenever they were not at their regular jobs they were out working for the church. We had 1,000 baptisms after our meetings, and while the missionaries from America took all the credit, the real credit belonged to the local Peruvian church members who were studying with people in their homes, and inviting them to church and the meetings.

When we first arrived at our hotel in Peru rather late on a school night, we were greeted by about a hundred Peruvian Pathfinders. I approached one girl, about 14, who understood English. I told her how nice it was for them to welcome us. I tried to give her some money for her group of friends to get some ice cream. Kids in Peru don’t get sweet treats like American kids do every day. She smiled, almost laughing, and told me “no thank you.” They did not need any treats. They were just very excited that we were here in her city to hold meetings, so the people they were working with could get to know Jesus better. He reward would not be ice cream. The reward she was desiring, was to see her friends get baptized in our meetings!

I thought I was a rich man offering a poor girl somethings she needed. But when she smiled and almost laughed at my offering, telling me how excited she was that we were in her city to talk about Jesus, was there was such a beautiful glow in her smile and gleam in her eyes the most skilled cosmetic surgeons in Beverly Hills could never recreate. I walked away with all my money still in my pocket, not feeling like a rich man anymore. I realized she did not need what I had. I needed what she had!