07/02/2011: A Privilege-not a Duty

A Privilege not a Duty

Philippines

“He began to preach and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17-24; Luke 4:16-18, 38-43. “Christ spent the largest part of His ministry in restoring the suffering and afflicted to health. Thus He threw back upon Satan the reproach of the evil which the enemy of all good had originated. Satan is the destroyer; Christ is the Restorer. And in our work as Christ’s co-laborers, we shall have success if we work on practical lines.” Medical Ministry, 240.

Joyce Ann Pulido was not able to finish her high school because of a stage-one brain tumor, meningitis and rheumatic heart. She frequently experienced seizures throughout the day. Her parents would watch their daughter with great pain and sorrow. Their finances had drained already due to large hospital bills. Different doctors and hospitals had examined this young lady but found no hope. Unfortunately, the diseases progressed, and her body became almost like that of a polio victim. This family was quite well known in their town and quite well off before Joyce got these diseases. They are Catholic and not familiar with the words of the Bible. As I worked with a company that establishes natural health clinics in various localities, Joyce was brought to the area where I was working. I was so surprised when I saw Joyce in seizure that I asked the parents to excuse me for a moment and went back to my room. I claimed the promises of God that say, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not,” and “God’s everlasting arm encircles the soul that turns to Him for aid, however feeble that soul may be.” Jeremiah 33:3; Mount of Blessing, 99. As I pled and pled with God, a flood of ideas that I had never prepared came forth. God gave me the courage now to speak and make instructions as though I had confidence that Joyce could recover. Around a week later, the seizures stopped. Joyce is making progress. Her mother told me in a phone text message that she learned from me to trust more in God. At that moment I was reminded how Satan flooded the earth with woes that mankind may look upon these as made by God. “From the opening of the great controversy it has been Satan’s purpose to misrepresent God’s character and to excite rebellion against His law, and this work appears to be crowned with success.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 338. With this idea in mind, I gave her the book Steps to Christ and shared with her through my testimonies the love of God and that Satan is the originator of diseases.

Joyce with her baby cousin, who has been delivered from a neuron problem.

I was convicted that encouraging by words and giving books was not enough. So I prayed again for them. The Lord inspired me to give Joyce herbal medication for rheumatic heart for free to assist in their financial problem. The company that I worked with had no certain herbs that I needed for Joyce’s problem. So I cut some money from my weekly allowance that I receive from the company just to formulate the herbs. To cut off my allowance is to forget my wants and sometimes things that I believe to be a necessity. “We are to give in sincerity, not to make a show of our good deeds, but from pity and love to the suffering ones. Sincerity of purpose, real kindness of heart, is the motive that Heaven values. The soul that is sincere in its love, wholehearted in its devotion, God regards as more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Mount of Blessing, 81. To support this was the only way I could help them. I wanted to help them financially, but I was not able. So I took it to the Lord in prayer.

One day the mother shared her testimony of how the Lord helped her in times of need. She was walking on the street to find financial help to buy what she needed for her daughter. She had no idea where to go other than to God in prayer. As she walked, she was communing with God and asking for guidance as tears flooded her eyes from thinking about her daughter’s health. Suddenly and unexpectedly a friend approached her and graciously lent some support. Every time she has a need, the Lord supplies, she said. Praise God! Through these hardships and miracles as well as encouraging words that I texted and phone calls, conversions started! The herbs that I gave, the Lord has also blessed for Joyce’s rheumatic heart and other issues. What was the most exciting thing to ponder was when this mother said to me. “Thank you for helping me to know God better.”  “Acts of kindness performed in secret will bind hearts together, and will draw them closer to the heart of Him from whom every generous impulse springs. The little attentions, the small acts of love and self-sacrifice, that flow out from the life as quietly as the fragrance from a flower—these constitute no small share of the blessings and happiness of life. And it will be found at last that the denial of self for the good and happiness of others, however humble and uncommended here, is recognized in heaven as the token of our union with Him, the King of glory, who was rich, yet for our sake became poor.”  Mount of Blessing, 82.

The prophet Isaiah says, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily…. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought…and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:7-11.

Today, after no less than five months of treatment, though the medications sometimes were unavailable after I got laid off from the company and went back to my home, Joyce is now progressing in health and her family is contented to see her situation compared to her previous condition. But I feel it is not enough. There is a more earnest work to be done. There must be more glory to the Lord! God could heal Joyce in a twinkling of an eye. But God, I believe, is waiting for His children to participate, not just to imitate, Him—to participate by doing to others what the Lord has done to us. “He who gives increased talents to those who have made a wise improvement of the gifts entrusted to them is pleased to acknowledge the service of His believing people in the Beloved, through whose grace and strength they have wrought. Those who have sought for the development and perfection of Christian character by exercising their faculties in good works, will, in the world to come, reap that which they have sown. The work begun upon earth will reach its consummation in that higher and holier life to endure throughout eternity.” Mount of Blessing, 83.

Today Joyce’s mother asked me for a Cebuano Bible. I am planning to send her our Bible correspondence course. I would like to appeal for support with the Cebuano Bibles. The price is 250 pesos ($5.80) each. If anyone knows of a much cheaper price than this, we would appreciate knowing.

This is our privilege my brethren. Oh, I should say, it is not a duty but a privilege! “All the privileges and opportunities given us by God are designed to make us better men and women. The people of God must move from settled principle, making it their first concern to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then go on from light to still greater light. If we fail to profit by the light, and become cold and hard-hearted, and are not easily impressed with the truth, and the energies of the soul become palsied, we cannot reasonably expect that judgment will be given in our favor, because, like Capernaum, we are exalted to heaven in point of privilege.” Review and Herald, April 12, 1887.

“By their good works, Christ’s followers are to bring glory, not to themselves, but to Him through whose grace and power they have wrought. It is through the Holy Spirit that every good work is accomplished, and the Spirit is given to glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. When the light of Christ is shining in the soul, the lips will be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. Your prayers, your performance of duty, your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your thought or conversation. Jesus will be magnified, self will be hidden, and Christ will appear as all in all.” Mount of Blessing, 80.

May God help us to realize the importance of working hand-in-hand for the salvation of our dear fellow mankind, is my prayer. To God be the glory!

By Joseph Brian C. Palange. Email: jbrian_palange@yahoo.com. Cebuano Bibles are this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Project. Send your donations marked “Thirteenth Sabbath Offering” to  Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.

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