Sabbath Afternoon

 

Memory Text: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17

 

Our devotional life has to do with our love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for God, the activities related to Him, and for His cause. This thought brings this text to mind, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:37-29 To have a devotional life takes in the idea of being faithful and reverent to anything having to do with worship and the study of God, but also involves humans because the salvation of humanity is God’s cause.

 

A devotional life is a practical life that will never lead a person to join or become part of a cloister or monastic order. Over the millennia many religious groups have had their devotees believe that the only way to live unspotted from the world is to be separated from it and live in a monastery type setting. A devotional life is part of our self-discipline because it teaches us to stop and turn off the world and focus our minds and hearts on things pertaining to God. A truly devotional life gives us the power we need to be in the world but not of the world.

 

This week we are exploring the devotional life.

 

 

 

Sunday                                                                                                                                  May 29

 

Title: Prayer

 

Our prayer life is very important to our relationship with God and our faith in Him. The more we pray and the better we understand about prayer the more our faith will grow. These following statements, when put into practice, will help you to increase your trust in God.

 

This statement gives us some practical instructions as to how to pray, as talking to a friend about things on our heart:

“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.

When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.” (E. G. White, Steps to Christ, 93.)          

 

In this quotation we see the faith building aspect of praying:

“But prayer is not understood as it should be. Our prayers are not to inform God of something he does not know. The Lord is acquainted with the secrets of every soul. Our prayers need not be long and loud. God reads the hidden thought. We may pray in secret, and he who sees in secret will hear, and will reward us openly.” {YI August 18, 1898, par. 2 }           

                                   

The quotation below supplies ample reason and Biblical passages as to why we kneel in worship:

“Both in public and in private worship it is our privilege to bow on our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, “kneeled down, and prayed.” Luke 22:41. Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, “kneeled down, and prayed.” Acts 9:40. Paul declared, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:14. In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5. Daniel “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.” Daniel 6:10. { PK 48.2}

True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence. With this sense of the Unseen, every heart should be deeply impressed. The hour and place of prayer are sacred, because God is there. And as reverence is manifested in attitude and demeanor, the feeling that inspires it will be deepened. “Holy and reverend is His name,” the psalmist declares. Psalm 111:9. Angels, when they speak that name, veil their faces. With what reverence, then, should we, who are fallen and sinful, take it upon our lips!” { PK 48.3}

 

Why should we pray and not faint?

Luke 18:1-8

 

 

 

Monday                                                                                                                                May 30

 

Title: Pray for Strength                                                    

 

You will notice below that the prayer of a devotional person, is for practical everyday struggles:

“The strength acquired in prayer to God will prepare us for our daily duties. The temptations to which we are daily exposed make prayer a necessity. In order that we may be kept by the power of God through faith, the desires of the mind should be continually ascending in silent prayer. When we are surrounded by influences calculated to lead us away from God, our petitions for help and strength must be unwearied. Unless this is so, we shall never be successful in breaking down pride and overcoming the power of temptation to sinful indulgences which keep us from the Saviour. The light of truth, sanctifying the life, will discover to the receiver the sinful passions of his heart which are striving for the mastery, and which make it necessary for him to stretch every nerve and exert all his powers to resist Satan that he may conquer through the merits of Christ.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 18, 1898.

 

Notice in this next quotation that prayer does not remove our responsibility.

“Prayer is not intended to work any change in God; it brings us into harmony with God. It does not take the place of duty. Prayer offered ever so often and ever so earnestly will never be accepted by God in the place of our tithe. Prayer will not pay our debts to God. The servants of Christ are to rely upon God as did Daniel in the courts of Babylon. Daniel knew the value of prayer, its aim, and its object; and the prayers which he and his three companions offered to God after being chosen by the king for the courts of Babylon, were answered.” {YI August 18, 1898, par. 4 }

 

From the text below, please list the practical request we are taught to bring to God.

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 

 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. 

 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread. 

 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 

 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you had a need to pray for food?

 

Tuesday                                                                                                                                May 31

 

Title: Study the Most Engaging Subject

 

The most engaging subject to study is the plan of salvation as outlined in the Bible because we learn of Christ’s life and death to save us and we learn about our choice in the whole matter. Our eternal destiny hangs upon this subject. Yet the plan of salvation is deeper in that it not only calls us from a life of sin but it is designed to keep us from a life of sin. The second aspect of keeping us from sin is of great importance to us but of even greater importance to the unfallen worlds. One of the saddest things to watch are people who once accepted Jesus fall out of their Christian experience and live a life that was worse than the life they lived before accepting Jesus. For this reason, the realization of the power of the gospel to keep a person living in this world of sin from falling is most interesting to understand and experience.     

 

I previously mentioned the unfallen world; here is a way to explain why the gospel is important for them personally. You (young adult reader) are innocent to a certain degree, but we can all agree that a child would be considered innocent. There are certain practices you or a child don’t partake of because of your innocence and the protection granted you because of certain circumstances. We know, based upon the experience of history, that innocence does not guarantee protection from sinning and that if given time you or any child which is innocent will partake of certain practices. Therefore, the plan of salvation is important for those that are innocent, and also for the committed Christian, because it keeps them from falling. It does this by explaining the problems with sin and by also giving a knowledge of God or to be more specific a knowledge that God lives to serve. For example, the unfallen worlds learn, through our experience, the failure of stealing and they can see all the bad that happens to thieves, and how they easily lose the ill-gotten gains. The fallen and unfallen get this lesson but this knowledge is not enough to keep the innocent straight. Even though it helps many, it does not change the mindset of us fallen sinners because it does not deal with our selfishness. Through the understanding of the character of God, as being a loving selfless servant willing to die to save us, we receive a saving knowledge that can transform our selfish characters and for the unfallen world it gives them the power to maintain their innocence (theft is a very mean and selfish act). For this reason, the study of the plan of salvation is part of our devotional life here and for eternity.    

 

What is the main focus of God?

Matthew 18:11-13

 

 

What two great events are here described?

Hebrews 1:1-3

 

 

What was the mystery that was being revealed?

Romans 16:25, 26

 

 

 

Wednesday                                                                                                                         June 1

 

Title: Reverence

 

An important aspect of our devotional life is reverence, which is to show deep respect. So many successes can be attained in this life when you have respect and if you want to be respected you must show others respect. This is even more important when pertaining to the things of God, and for God. Many think that they are showing respect to benefit others but they are mistaken because they are the ones who receive the most benefit. When you sit down to study the Bible, do it with reverence and you will see that your mind will be abler to receive a mental and spiritual blessing. A natural example is if you eat food like a pig, you will see (and feel) the negative results but if you eat with respect for your stomach, you will see the superior digestive results. When praying show some reverence and the God who calls us to be reverent will attend to your prayer. As you attend worship, both at home and at church, be reverent and you will see that you will receive greater benefits than those who have no respect for what is going on. When a person asks you a question pertaining to salvation or shows interest in their own salvation be more mindful and attentive when communicating to them and be more interested in answering their question and not focus on yourself. They use to say, “have some respect in yourself and show some decency”. Let us repeat it one more time “have some respect in yourself and show some decency”. This is very true when it comes to our devotional life.

                                   

What should mark our behavior when it comes to the things of the Lord?

Leviticus 19:30 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I [am] the LORD. 

 

 

 

Thursday                                                                                                                              June 2

 

Title: Why we do things this way                                              

 

Over the years many pastors have argued that we should do church in an irreverent way to reach those who are irreverent (secular folks) so that they can feel comfortable when visiting our church for worship service. The problem with that argument is that part of life is simply learning how to do things. We spend the beginning part of our life learning how to become productive citizens so we are not a burden on the rest of society. As we get older we see the sad result of those in our community who fail to learn these lessons. They become a burden on society whether they are living inside or outside of prison. It is only right that a person that is new to Christianity learn, as a disciple, how to walk with God instead of going to a church where he has nothing to learn because the church conducts itself like any common event. As we become more devoted to God we will learn why and how for dress, grooming, behavior, speech, thought, and action. Salvation is a life and death issue, so we must approach it with deep respect because it is our life on the line. Christ already died once to save us from eternal death, and He was very devoted to this cause. How devoted are you to your cause? 

 

What should be our attitude towards God? 

Psalms 106:1-3

 

 

 

 

Friday                                                                                                                                        June 3

 

“We should come with reverence to the study of the Bible, feeling that we are in the presence of God. All lightness and trifling should be laid aside. While some portions of the Word are easily understood, the true meaning of other parts is not so readily discerned. There must be patient study and meditation, and earnest prayer. Every student, as he opens the Scriptures, should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; and the promise is sure that it will be given.

The spirit in which you come to the investigation of the Scriptures will determine the character of the assistant at your side. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. But if the Bible is opened with irreverence, with a feeling of self-sufficiency, if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God’s word in a perverted light.” Testimonies to Ministers, 107-108.

 

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 how the study of the Bible keeps us from falling.

 

 

What is your understanding of the importance of learning to be reverent in all aspects of your life?