“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
“You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.”
“Satan gathered the fallen angels together to devise some way of doing the most possible evil to the human family. One proposition after another was made, till finally Satan himself thought of a plan. He would take the fruit of the vine, also wheat, and other things given by God as food, and would convert them into poisons, which would ruin man's physical, mental, and moral powers, and so overcome the senses that Satan should have full control. Under the influence of liquor, men would be led to commit crimes of all kinds. Through perverted appetite the world would be made corrupt. By leading men to drink alcohol, Satan would cause them to descend lower and lower in the scale” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, April 16, 1901).
GET A LIFE
Dave and Lisa are brother and sister; so are Kate and Chris. Both sets of kids lost a parent when they were in middle school. They became step-siblings as teenagers when Kate and Chris’s mother married Dave and Lisa’s dad. Everything was fine the first couple of weeks, then everyone started fighting about everything. To keep the peace, their parents allowed them to each have their own computers in their rooms. Kate and Chris had lots of other activities to keep them busy, so they didn’t spend much time on the computer.
Dave was different. He holed himself up in his basement room with his headphones on so he couldn’t hear anything. Many times he missed dinner with the family because his siblings thought he wasn’t there when he didn’t respond to them pounding on the door. When he went to college, the computer was his only friend. He stayed in his dorm room for hours playing fantasy games online with strangers. He bought lots of soda to drink and had food delivered to his room so he wouldn’t have to interrupt his 20-30 hour game-playing sessions. He was short with his family when they called. Looking back he says, “I was too busy wanting to go back to the game . . . it’s almost like you would get with a drug addict.”
After he almost flunked out of school, Dave realized that he had been wasting his life. He quit playing so often and got a real life that involved real people.—From the Washington Post Magazine, Sunday, July 13, 2003.
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
“The strongest bulwark of vice in our world is not the iniquitous life of the abandoned sinner or the degraded outcast; it is that life which otherwise appears virtuous, honorable, noble, but in which one sin is fostered, one vice indulged. To the soul that is struggling against temptation, trembling on the very verge of yielding to evil, such a life is one of the most powerful enticements to sin.
“God calls for strong, brave Christians, whose influence is always exerte for the right. His cause needs men and women whose every word and act draws those around them to Christ, binding them to Him by the persuasive force of loving service. Men and women who commune with God, who, because they co-operate with the heavenly angels, are surrounded by a holy influence, are needed at this time.
“It is only through the grace of God that we can make a right use of our influence. There is nothing in us of ourselves by which we can influence others for good. If we realize our helplessness, and our need of divine power, we shall not trust to ourselves. We know not what results a day, an hour, or a moment may determine, and never should we begin the day without committing our ways to our heavenly Father. His angels are appointed to watch over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship, then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand. When unconsciously we are in danger of exerting a wrong influence, the angels will be by our side, prompting us to a better course, choosing words for us, and influencing our actions. Thus our influence may be a silent, unconscious, but mighty power in drawing others to Christ and the heavenly world” (Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times, October 21, 1903).
Your friends ask you to meet them after school, saying they have something for you. When you arrive, one of them is showing the others how they can get high sniffing glue they bought with their money. When they offer it to you, you turn them down. One of them says, “Why not? It’s not like it’s illegal. It’s not marijuana or alcohol.” Do you agree with them? What is your response to them?
Log on to http://guidemagazine.org/rtf to post your responses. Be up-front and honest. Say what you think. The lines below are provided as an alternative to posting. You may also wish to record your thoughts and share them with your class later.
Please read the following chapter of Daniel and then answer the questions that follow.
“It was the third year of King Jehoiakim's reign in Judah when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon declared war on Jerusalem and besieged the city. The Master handed King Jehoiakim of Judah over to him, along with some of the furnishings from the Temple of God. Nebuchadnezzar took king and furnishings to the country of Babylon, the ancient Shinar. He put the furnishings in the sacred treasury.
“The king told Ashpenaz, head of the palace staff, to get some Israelites from the royal family and nobility—young men who were healthy and handsome, intelligent and well-educated, good prospects for leadership positions in the government, perfect specimens!—and indoctrinate them in the Babylonian language and the lore of magic and fortunetelling. The king then ordered that they be served from the same menu as the royal table—the best food, the finest wine. After three years of training they would be given positions in the king's court.
“Four young men from Judah—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—were among those selected. The head of the palace staff gave them Babylonian names: Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah was named Shadrach, Mishael was named Meshach, Azariah was named Abednego.
“But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king's food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the palace staff, by God's grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, ‘I'm afraid of what my master the king will do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he'll have my head!’
“But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: ‘Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see.’
“The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu. So the steward continued to exempt them from the royal menu of food and drink and served them only vegetables.
“God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams. At the end of the time set by the king for their training, the head of the royal staff brought them in to Nebuchadnezzar. When the king interviewed them, he found them far superior to all the other young men. None were a match for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
“And so they took their place in the king's service. Whenever the king consulted them on anything, on books or on life, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom put together.
“Daniel continued in the king's service until the first year in the reign of King Cyrus.”
“But if anyone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’ then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake[— the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
Is it possible for us to be a stumbling block to others by what we do, even if it isn’t wrong? Explain.
“Satan has succeeded in turning the world from God. The blessings provided in God's love and mercy he has turned into a deadly curse. He has filled men with a craving for liquor and tobacco. This appetite, which has no foundation in nature, has destroyed its millions, yet it is indulged by high and low, rich and poor. Too often those appointed to guard the interests of the people are under the power of this appetite” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, April 16, 1901).
If I’m not using tobacco, drinking, using drugs, or having sex, what does it matter if I spend all my free time watching TV, surfing the Internet, playing video games, or participating in other activities I enjoy? You may ask.
The answer is that, as an agent of the kingdom, you are not your own. You and all that you are and have—including your time—belong to God. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have down time to enjoy yourself. What it does mean is that you shouldn’t spend so much time on one activity that it crowds out time and energy for doing anything else, especially if that something else is serving others and building your relationship with God.
As an agent of the kingdom, you are called to be ready at all times. It’s like being a soldier in a war. You always have to be on the alert, because you never know when or how your enemy will approach you. A lot of activities, even if they aren’t bad in themselves, distract from your mission in life which is to serve God and other people. So you have to stay plugged-in to God’s Spirit so that you’ll recognize the enemy, be prepared for the enemy, and ultimately defeat the enemy in the Holy Spirit’s power.
Match the text with the phrase.
“From age to age the Lord has made known the manner of His working. When a crisis has come, He has revealed Himself, and has interposed to hinder the working out of Satan's plans. With nations, with families, and with individuals, He has often permitted matters to come to a crisis, that His interference might become marked. Then He has made manifest that there is a God in Israel who will maintain His law and vindicate His people” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 178).
This can be the best and the worst time of your life. It can be the best because you are young and energetic and have your whole life ahead of you. At this point, you can choose to be whoever and do whatever you want to. It can be the worst time because decisions you make now can affect you for a long time, if not for the rest of your life.
God invites you at this time in your life to choose Him, and He will be with you in your entire decision-making process. Also, even if you end up doing something that you know is not best for you, He is still there ready to forgive you. He may not reverse the consequences of your unfortunate decision, but He will help you do the right thing next time. He will never leave you nor abandon you.
“It is just as convenient, just as essential, for us to pray three times a day as it was for Daniel. Prayer is the life of the soul, the foundation of spiritual growth. In your home, before your family, and before your workmen, you should testify to this truth. And when you are privileged to meet with your brethren in the church, tell them of the necessity of keeping open the channel of communication between God and the soul. Tell them that if they will find heart and voice to pray, God will find answers to their prayers. Tell them not to neglect their religious duties. Exhort the brethren to pray. We must seek if we would find, we must ask if we would receive, we must knock if we would have the door opened unto us” (Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times, Feb. 10, 1890).
“Daniel's parents had trained him in his childhood to habits of strict temperance. They had taught him that he must conform to nature's laws in all his habits; that his eating and drinking had a direct influence upon his physical, mental, and moral nature, and that he was accountable to God for his capabilities; for he held them all as a gift from God and must not, by any course of action, dwarf or cripple them. As the result of this teaching, the law of God was exalted in his mind and reverenced in his heart. During the early years of his captivity Daniel was passing through an ordeal which was to familiarize him with courtly grandeur, with hypocrisy, and with paganism. A strange school indeed to fit him for a life of sobriety, industry, and faithfulness! And yet he lived uncorrupted by the atmosphere of evil with which he was surrounded” (Child Guidance, pp. 166, 167).
Practice makes perfect. One of the best ways to avoid destructive behavior is to practice ahead of time what you will say if confronted with a temptation to do the wrong thing. Following are some situations. Write down or role play with a friend how you would respond to the following challenges”