Sabbath Afternoon

 

Memory Text: “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.” Isaiah 1:21

 

When I was young I often heard the phrase often, “Rome was not built in a day” which is to say that it takes time for certain things to happen. Think about your reaction to driving along a road and seeing homeless people living under a bridge.  You may think that some recent calamity caused their condition however if you get to learn their individual stories you will find that they did not get there overnight, and many times there is a story of why they are there. The same can be said of gaining victories in life, it doesn’t happen overnight. The large victories that are gained are a result of gaining smaller victories over the course of a period of time. Failure or success is a gradual process which we become better at step by step. No one has ever attained the skill of playing an instrument without developing the hand coordination. No one has ever developed the ability to read without learning the alphabet. No one ever became a drunk without first acquiring the taste for alcoholic beverages. No one ever became 600 hundred pounds without first practicing to overeat.

 

We learn to gain victories in this life by simply setting our mark to overcome something in our life and presenting it to the Lord and overcoming it in His strength. Every victory gained in our life gives us more power to gain other victories.

 

This week we are exploring how to gain victories.

 

 

Sunday                                                                                                                                  May 22

 

Title: Set Your Mark High                                                

 

If we don’t attempt to gain victories in our life, we will simply not gain any. Often when we make an attempt, we make a feeble effort that will result in no success or at least we will not gain any lasting results. It takes time to attain to any meaningful success and because of this we have to put make a valiant effort in order to be in the process long enough to get the desired result. Although many say they have tried something, the reality is that they never made a serious enough attempt for success to be realized. Imagine having a bad habit that you have practiced for many years and thinking that you are going to overcome it by simply praying one or two times, and then trying to kick it out of your life with a two-day effort, only to give up and despondently say, “I tried”.

 

“Many whom God has qualified to do excellent work accomplish very little, because they attempt little. Thousands pass through life as if they had no definite object for which to live, no standard to reach. Such will obtain a reward proportionate to their works. { MYP 99.3}

Remember that you will never reach a higher standard than you yourself set. Then set your mark high, and step by step, even though it be by painful effort, by self-denial and sacrifice, ascend the whole length of the ladder of progress. Let nothing hinder you. Fate has not woven its meshes about any human being so firmly that he need remain helpless and in uncertainty. Opposing circumstances should create a firm determination to overcome them. The breaking down of one barrier will give greater ability and courage to go forward. Press with determination in the right direction, and circumstances will be your helpers, not your hindrances.” {E. G. White, MYP 99.4}     

 

What was God’s intention for Israel?

Deuteronomy 28:13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do [them]:

 

 

 

How do you gain victories in this life?

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. 

 9:11  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 

 

 

 

Monday                                                                                                                                May 23

 

Title: Fight Valiantly                                                          

 

The sin problem is deep rooted and hard to eradicate but victory over sin is possible. Like trees, sin has roots which grow deep below the surface. This is why it is hard to overcome sin;  it must be removed at the root. When dealing with sin or any other problem we must get to the root of the problem. We must remember that any problem we will face or any sin we will face, many others are going through the same problem and that we will have to give a greater effort than the average person is putting out, in order to gain victory.  You must remember that “this” problem (whatever particular problem) is causing havoc in many lives and that it is worth fighting hard to overcome this problem so it does not wreak havoc in your life. When we fight valiantly against any sin and overcome it, we will always look back and acknowledge that the effort was minor in comparison to the rewards of getting rid of the problems or finding a solution.

 

What is the reason why most of humanity will not be saved?

Luke 13:24   Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 

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Have you ever thought what the deeper reasons are why people use drugs and alcohol?

 

 

Tuesday                                                                                                                                May 24

 

Title: Seek Higher Heights

 

If you seek to live a low life, having low expectations, and conduct yourself with low behavior you will have a life that is filled with low results and failure. The mindset that you approach life with will determine how you live and how successful you are at every task you attempt. Purpose in your mind that in all things you do that you will take the higher ground and you will see that you will get the desired result.

 

Have you ever watched a hawk in pursuit of a timid dove? Instinct has taught the dove that in order for the hawk to seize his prey, he must gain a loftier flight than his victim. So she rises higher and still higher in the blue dome of heaven, ever pursued by the hawk, which is seeking to obtain the advantage. But in vain. The dove is safe as long as she allows nothing to stop her in her flight, or draw her earthward; but let her once falter, and take a lower flight, and her watchful enemy will swoop down upon his victim. Again and again have we watched this scene with almost breathless interest, all our sympathies with the little dove. How sad we should have felt to see it fall a victim to the cruel hawk! { MYP 103.2}

We have before us a warfare,—a lifelong conflict with Satan and his seductive temptations. The enemy will use every argument, every deception, to entangle the soul; and in order to win the crown of life, we must put forth earnest, persevering effort. We must not lay off the armor or leave the battlefield until we have gained the victory, and can triumph in our Redeemer. As long as we continue to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith, we shall be safe. But our affections must be placed upon things above, not on things of the earth. By faith we must rise higher and still higher in the attainment of the graces of Christ. By daily contemplating His matchless charms, we must grow more and more into His glorious image. While we thus live in communion with Heaven, Satan will lay his nets for us in vain.—The Youth’s Instructor, May 12, 1898. { MYP 104.1}     

 

What is the goal that Jesus has set for you?

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

 

 

What should be your attitude for life and salvation?

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 

 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 

 9:26  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 

 

 

What do we become when we accept Jesus as our King?

1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 

 2:10  Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 

 

 

 

Wednesday                                                                                                                         May 25

 

Title: Improve Your privileges                                        

 

Make the best of it, while you have it, before you lose it. Life comes with varying situations at varying times. The circumstances and privileges that you have in your life now will not be there a few years (or months, or days, or hours) from now. The privileges we have today are often not what we will have tomorrow because events like death, a geographical move, loss of job, graduation, divorce, aging, etc. can cause opportunities to be lost forever. An example of this are penniless heirs who were members of affluent families.  When you ask them what happened to their wealth, they then explain to you that when it was their time to manage the money they wasted and lost it, they simply did not improve upon their privilege. God created us to be fruitful and multiply, to increase on what is already there, and so we improve upon whatever privileges we have in our lives, no matter how large or small they are because these situations often only comes around once in our lifetime. God will providentially open up privileges for you but He will not lift your hand and force you to improve upon it. Every privilege you improve upon will strengthen your ability to gain greater victories.       

 

What could happen to us if we delay taking the opportunity we have to accept Jesus?

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 

 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 

 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; 

 3:15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 

 

 

 

Thursday                                                                                                                              May 26

 

Title: Make up your mind to serve God                                  

 

A great tool for long term success is to be able to understand circumstances or tasks presented and to come to a decision as to what you are going to do, being decisive. Inaction, being undecided, or existing between two opinions causes so many people to have failed lives. In everyday life and in making a decision for your salvation being decisive is very important. Many live for years, almost saved but totally lost, because they cannot make up their mind if they are going to be entirely Christian or just be part sinner and part saint. If you ask them are you going to heaven or hell, some will answer verbally heaven, others will say they don’t want to make up their minds right now, and still others will say yes but in lifestyle practice they are really answering that they are going to hell. An indecisive mindset is a mindset that will find it hard to gain victories in this life. If you are “going to do this” then just do it and you will find that moving forward will be much easier in anything you do in life. If you are going to be an A student, then be an A student and not be like back and forth, no matter what difficulties come your way. Make up your mind to be a Christian come what may and you will find that because of this firm decision, that you will gain success in the Christian walk. Just by simply making up your mind, you will see other areas in your life shine.

 

What does the Bible teach us about an indecisive person? 

James 1:8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways. 

 

 

 

 

Friday                                                                                                                                        May 27

 

Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life. The impossibility lies in your own will. If you will not, then you cannot overcome. The real difficulty arises from the corruption of an unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the control of God. { MYP 99.2}

 

The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our characters. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process, it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 10

 

Discussion questions

Share with the class what section of this week’s study you find inspiring, challenging, and difficult to understand.

 

Prepare to discuss with the class what is the benefit of seeking higher heights in your life choices.

 

What is your understanding of the importance of gaining small victories?