One hundred newsletters on!!!

Yes, you are reading the 100th newsletter published by the ministry of Autumn Leaves, and the 50th edition of Healthbites, both falling on December 2014. As this marks a distinction in this little ministry, we have dedicated this newsletter to wind the clock back to what was happening 100 years ago in the world and in the Seventh-day Adventist movement.

1914 — First World War

For most of us, in fact just about all of us, have to look back to stories and testimonies of our parents or grandparents to have any relevance to 1914. I would venture to say that very few, if any would have any physical memories of that year. But while it may seem ancient, there is enough technology available, along with accurate records from those in the past, to have an understanding of what happened in that year. Much was going on in the world. July 28, 1914, war was declared in Europe between the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire; against the central powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Sadly over the duration of the four years of the First World War, more than 9 million combatants lost their lives. Not a bright note on our world calendar.

1914 — End of the World

Also in 1914, there was another event that was meant to happen. Charles Russell, leader in the reasonably newly formed Jehovah’s Witness faith, had coupled with Nelson Barbour to produce a book entitled ‘Three Worlds’. It was a revolutionary book with end time prophecies which stated that Christ had returned as an invisible spirit being in 1874, and that 1914 would mark the end of a 2520-year period called ‘The Gentile Times’, at which time world society would be replaced by the full establishment of God's kingdom on earth.

1914 — Seventh-day Adventist Movement

By this year, the Seventh-day Adventist Movement was well established. It had formed into a church in 1863 and remained pretty much a pure church without doctrinal problems for about eight years, then the Three Angels started sounding, Jones and Waggoner started preaching the Righteousness By Faith Message and by the time 1888 came, there were some serious divisions in the denomination. Ellen White had been sent to Australia, of which she made good use of time establishing a strong presence  in Australia and New Zealand, expanding into the South Pacific Islands. By 1914, she was back in USA, now living in Elmshaven, California. This was her last full calendar year of life. A real bonus came to her home in that year, electricity. As Ellen White and family members moved from room to room, just a turn of the switch unleashed a flow of light filling the whole room. Now they could work on into the evening hours more efficiently, rather than huddled over oil lamps.

1914 — Her Last Letter

On Sunday, June 14, Ellen White wrote her last letter. It was a five page letter to a lady who was troubled with anxiety. Her optimistic and confident nature which she had exhibited right throughout her life came through very clearly in her opening thoughts to this stricken soul.

My Dear Sister,

“The Lord has given me a message for you, and not for you only, but also for other faithful souls who are troubled by doubts and fears regarding their acceptance by the Lord Jesus Christ. His word to you is, ‘Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.’ You desire to please the Lord, and you can do this by believing His promises. He is waiting to take you into a harbour of gracious experience; and He bids you, ‘Be still, and know I am God.’ You have had a time of unrest; but Jesus says to you, ‘Come unto me...and I will give you rest.’ The joy of Christ in the soul is worth everything. ‘Then they are glad,’ because they are privileged to rest in the arms of everlasting love.

“Put away your distrust in your Heavenly Father. Instead of talking of your doubts, break away from them in the strength of Jesus, and let light shine into your soul by letting your voice express confidence and trust in God. I know that the Lord is very nigh to give you victory, and I say unto you, be helped, be strengthened, be lifted out of and away from the dark dungeon of unbelief.”

She went on to write of God’s waiting to bestow the blessing of forgiveness, ‘the gifts of righteousness,’ and of her privilege to ‘trust in the love of Jesus.’ She then asked a pertinent question, “Is Jesus true? Does He mean what He says? Answer decidedly, yes, every word. Then if you have settled this, by faith claim every promise that He has made, and receive the blessing; for this acceptance by faith gives life to the soul.”

As she endeavoured to give courage and hope to the disheartened sister, she declared; “I rejoice in the bright prospects of the future, and so may you. Be cheerful, and praise the Lord for His lovingkindness.”

She closed with these words, “Respond to the call of God’s mercy, my sister, and say, ‘I will trust in the Lord and be comforted. I will praise the Lord; for His anger is turned away. I will rejoice in God, who gives me the victory.’”

What a beautiful letter to close off her letter writing, a letter of encouragement to a soul that is struggling to face every day. We too, 100 years later, can draw much comfort even with this little portion of that five page letter. I would wish that my own last letter could be of such encouragement to some dear soul struggling with the wiles of the adversary every day. But in saying that, may every letter from my hand as of today, to my last letter when my life closes, be of such admonition to offer people hope in Jesus Christ.

1914 — Ellen White First World War

Clarence Crisler was married to Minnie Hawkins and were of great benefit to getting the Spirit of Prophecy messages from her pen, into the whole field for the blessing of the whole church. On Monday, October 19, Clarence came into Ellen Whites home and found her sitting by the fire, enjoying its warmth. During that evening Clarence talked to her about the World War and the difficulty some of the European Adventists were having because of draft laws. He reported her reactions, “I can gather but little from Sister White as to the attitude we should take, further than the counsel she has given more than once in this connection; namely, that God is not pleased to have His children act presumptuously when brought into strait places; and further, that when our brethren are brought into trial, they will be given wisdom from on high.”

A little later, on Sabbath evening, November 7, the Crislers joined the White family for worship. Clarence read a letter from Elder Guy Dail, the European Division secretary, in which he inquired to Ellen White about military service. Reporting on this, Clarence wrote, “She takes no position either way, as regards the enforced military service, but seems to understand fully... and she admits that the brethren are placed in a strait place.

1914 — Review and Herald

During the year of 1914, Ellen White’s pen was still very active and there was a ever increasing need for her articles for the people of the church. She wrote approximately 40 articles that appear in the Review & Herald. Because this newsletter falls in December of 2014, we will only concentrate on the articles she penned during this month, 100 years ago.

First article –  December 10

Women as Missionaries

“In the various branches of the work of God’s cause, there is a wide field in which our sisters may do good service for the Master. Many lines of missionary work are neglected. In the different churches, much work which is often left undone or done imperfectly, could be well accomplished by the help that our sisters, if properly instructed can give...

“My sisters, do not become wary in the distribution of our literature. This is a work you may all engage in successfully, if you are but connected with God... All who with humble heart take part in this work, will be educating themselves as acceptable workers in the vineyard of the Lord.

“In the various lines of home missionary work, the modest, intelligent woman may use her powers to the very highest account.

“Let every sister who claims to be a child of God, feel a responsibility to help all within her reach. The noblest of all attainments may be gained through practical self-denial and benevolence for others’ good. Sisters, God calls you to work in the harvest field, and to help gather in the sheaves.”

Second article – December 17

Medical Missionary Work

“Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel, the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes. God’s people are to be genuine medical missionaries; for they are to learn to minister to the needs of both soul and body. The purest unselfishness is to be shown by our workers as, with the knowledge and experience gained by practical work, they go out to give treatments to the sick. As they go from house to house, they will find access to many hearts. Many will be reached who otherwise never would have heard the gospel message.

“Christ’s work in behalf of man is not finished. It continues today. In like manner His ambassadors are to preach the gospel and to reveal his pitying love for lost and perishing souls.”

Third article – December 24

Missionary Nurses

“From Christ’s methods of labour, we may learn many valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways he sought to gain the attention of the multitude, and having succeeded in this, he proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel. His chief work lay in ministering to the poor, the needy, and the ignorant. In simplicity he opened before them the blessings they might receive, and thus he aroused their soul’s hunger for the truth – the bread of life...

The Lord wants wise men and women, who can act in the capacity of nurses, to comfort and help the sick and suffering. Oh, that all who are afflicted might be ministered to by Christian physicians and nurses who could help them to place their weary, pain-racked bodies in the care of the Great Healer, in faith looking to him for restoration! If through judicious ministration the patient is lead to give his soul to Christ and to bring his thoughts into obedience to the will of God, a great victory is gained.”

1914 — Signs of the Times

To add to the Review & Herald articles, during the year of 1914, Ellen White’s pen was also active in writing for the Signs of the Times. As with Review & Herald, we will only concentrate on the articles she penned during the month of December 100 years ago.

First article – December 1

One of the Greatest Temptations

“One of the greatest temptations that man has to meet, comes upon the point of appetite. In all ages, temptations appealing to the physical nature have been most effectual in corrupting and degrading mankind. Through intemperance, Satan works to destroy the mental and moral powers that God gave man as a priceless endowment; and it is impossible for those who yield to him, to appreciate things of eternal worth. Through sensual indulgence, Satan seeks to blot from the soul every trace of likeness to God.

Subheadings include:

    Through Indulgence of Appetite
    When Struggling Against the Power of Appetite
    The Essential Power
    Awaken to Self Mastery

Under this last heading she closes with, “The requirements of God must be brought home to the conscience. Men and women must be awakened to the duty of self-mastery, the need of purity, freedom from every depraving appetite and defiling habit.”

Second article – December 15

Surpassing Love

“The law of love is the foundation of God’s government, and the service of love the only service acceptable to heaven. God has granted freedom of will to all, endowed men with capacity to appreciate His character, and therefore, with ability to love Him, and to choose His service. So long as created beings worshipped God, they were in harmony throughout the universe. While love to God was supreme, love to others abounded. As there was no transgression of the law which is the transcript of God’s character, no not of discord jarred the celestial harmonies.”

Subheadings include:

    Kept in Silence from Times Eternal
    Redemption Not an Afterthought
    Made Known in His Love
    Heaven in Sadness – The Angels Perplexed
    He Alone Could Save
    He So Loved that He Gave

Under this last heading she closes with, “The grace of Christ alone could change the heart of stone to a heart of flesh, make it alive to God, and transform the character, so that a degraded child of sin might become a child of God and heir of heaven... Christ came to the world, and in carrying out the plan of salvation, revealed the fact that ‘God is love.’”

Third article – December 22

Inexpressible Joy

“When the plan of salvation was revealed to the angels, joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. The glory and the blessedness of a world redeemed out-measured even the anguish of the Prince of life. Through the celestial courts echoed the first strain of the song that angels sang above the hills of Bethlehem, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.’”

Subheadings include:

    The Earth as Well as Man to be Redeemed
    A Demonstration to the Universe
    Plan of Saving Sinners Ever the Same
    The Centre of Both Dispensations
    Exchange a Throne for Suffering and Death

Under this last heading she closes with, “In becoming man’s substitute, in bearing the curse which should fall upon man, Christ has pledged Himself in behalf of the race to maintain the sacred and exalted honour of His Father’s law. He came to convince men of sin, which is the transgression of the law and through divine meditation bring them back to obedience to God’s commandments... He came from heaven to earth, clothed His divinity with humanity, and bore the curse as surety for the fallen race. He was not compelled to do this; but chose to bear the results of man’s transgression, that man might escape eternal death. ”

Advance the Work

In the last full calendar year of her life, although the articles quoted from above don’t really do justice to her messages because of space restraints, Ellen White was active with an urgency to the people of God to spread the message to the world. Coming back to Clarence Crisler, who worked with her preparing her materials to be published, he wrote to Willie in Michigan on December 2, 1914 with these words. “She says she does not wish to make any great noise about having courage continually, although she has; and she adds that the very fact that members of the household are woken in the night at times hearing Mrs White repeating the promises of God and claiming them as her own is proof that she still has battles of her own to fight against Satan. The enemy is still in the land of the living, as we must needs plead the promises; but we may have strong faith in God’s power to deliver, and our hearts may be filled with courage.

The next day as Clarence went to visit with her to work, she said that during the night season, she heard voices saying, “Advance! Advance! Advance! Press the battle to the gate.” Clarence wrote, “She seems to apply this to the completion of the work of the Lord in all parts of the earth... I believe the Lord would have us all take courage, and press forward steadily.”
~ Elmshaven Years, p402-414

Dear friends, 100 years has passed since this counsel was written. It is absolutely as important for us today as it was back then. It was never the intention of God that we should still be here to read these articles. This world should have finished long ago, but because of our Laodicean condition, we are still here. Arouse brethren and sisters, advance in your personal spiritual experience, and advance the work of God and turn this Seventh-day Adventist Church into a Seventh-day Adventist Movement – 100 years on.

Our Privilege

October 25, 1914, Dores Robinson called for a little visit to Sister White. Her closing words to his visit were as follows;

“The Lord is good to me. He gives me strength. I am so thankful that I do not have a crushing burden to bear, and that it is my privilege to rise above discouragement. And if it is my privilege to rise, it is the privilege of every Christian. I have had a lot to deal and contend with, but I thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice. I will praise Him; He is my keeper and my conqueror.”