The Choices We Make

Scripture: Joshua 24:15, Ephesians 1:1-4, Matthew 22:35-37
Date: 04/13/2019 
Lesson: 2
"This week, we will look in a very broad way at the question of the choices we make, how we should make them, and what impact these choices can have on ourselves and our families."
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Hello and welcome to another edition of the Sabbath School Study Hour. It's always good to be able to see each and every one of you that is joining us from different parts of America as well as different parts of the world. And we want to welcome you to our church here in Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Greater Sacramento area. It's always good to have each and every one of you that is here with us here today, of course, in our church family. It's always encouraging to be able to see all those faces of my church family. And it's always good to be able to come together for the most important reason of all, which is to worship God and to study His Word. And that we're here for both. And so I welcome everybody that is here. And again, welcome everybody that is watching online. Now before we open it with prayer, and we get into our subject that we have here today, want to take advantage, or I'll invite you to take advantage of a special free offer that we have available just for you. It's called "Keys to a Happy Marriage, Keys to a Happy Marriage." Now, this is one of the best studies that I've ever used in the past years, and I know that it will be a great benefit to you as well, especially if you're looking at marriage, or you're involved in a marriage even right now. Keys for a Happy Marriage, you can text or you can call in. Now, the number that you can call in for is 1-866-788-3966. Again, that's 866-788-3966 and ask for free offer number 164, that's free offer164. We'll be happy to send that free to you in North America or different American territories available to you as well. Now, if you don't live in North America, or you don't want a hard copy, and you'd like to be able to get a digital copy, we also have that available for you as well. You simply need to text the code, "SH046." That's SH046, and you want to text that to the number 40544, as you can see on your screen as well. And so please, I want to encourage you to take advantage of that, as we have that available for you. Now, for those of you who don't have the lesson quarterly study that we started just two weeks ago, entitled Family Seasons, I want to invite you to be able to take advantage of a free copy of that as well. Now we can't mail a hard copy out to you, but what we can do is encourage you to go and get a free digital download of this particular quarterly. And you can go to Now, again, I'm gonna say it one more time, because you might be running for your phone, plug it in or to be able to write it down. It's Please take advantage of that and get yourself a copy. That way you can kind of take a daily devotion as you study the different topics, even before we get together, as we are looking at lesson number three here today. Well, with that being said, I want to invite all of us to come to the Lord as we ask Him to be with us in prayer.

Father in heaven, we're thankful here this morning to be able to worship You. We're thankful for Your Word. We're thankful for the truth that You give to us, and the great encouragement that You offer to us in the subject that we look at here today. God, we want to pray that You will help us to take it to heart, that Your Holy Spirit will guide us and lead us as You promise, and we pray all these things in Christ's name, amen.

Well, today we are looking at lesson number three, lesson number three and what is the title? Preparing for Change, I hear some of you calling that. Okay, that's right. Okay, Preparing for Change, and let's look at the memory text that we find on page 22 at the very beginning of this particular lesson study. It comes from Psalm 85:13. It says, "Righteousness will go before him, and shall make his footsteps our pathway." Now, how reassuring is that? Very reassuring. Let's stop and think about that for a moment. God is telling us that if we submit to God, if we worship and if we trust God, He will go ahead of us. That's what He just said, didn't He? We simply follow in His footsteps. Now, I don't know about you, but I've come to recognize and realize that God's footsteps are much larger than mine. And I have come to recognize that God is much smarter and wiser than I am. And I've also come to recognize that God has a special plan for me and so He's watching out for me. In other words, this verse is saying, He's got our back. Isn't that reassuring? Every time I get up in the morning as I go through the day, I keep reminding myself as I talked with the Lord that He's going before me. All we need to do is simply follow in His footsteps is what the Word has just told us. And so it's not our footsteps, it's His. Now, can this reality help us in handling unexpected, sometimes unwanted change in life? Sure, it can, can't it? Of course, yes. One of the deep realities of living in this life is that there's a lot of changes in there. Okay. Now, I wish I could say that all the change was positive, but is all the change always positive? No. A lot of the times that change is negative. A lot of the times there's change that is unwanted, it's uninvited. It's something that we would rather not have in our life. And so God gives us this powerful promise in Psalm 85:13. Now, it is true that there are some that might say that this may help us in a psychological way. But that's kind of the end of the story. That's it, the best of it in concern to realities, or I should say verses such as we just read in Psalm 85. But that's not what the Bible offers. That's not what the Bible is saying. The Bible offers something more. God is offering a psychological benefit to be sure. My heart is at much more peace, my mind, my emotions are much more controlled when I lean upon the Lord, when I know that when I am worshiping and putting my trust in Him, that His footsteps are making the trail ahead of me, that God is my trailblazer. And so to be sure, there is a psychological benefit. But that psychological benefit does not come because we can imagine a God going before us in an imaginary way as some might try to conclude or suggest. No. The Bible makes it very clear. What the Bible is offering is that because we can know that God is literally going ahead of us, because we can know that He is preparing us a future, we can lean upon Him and have that benefit. And so it's more than psychological, even though it also includes that psychological benefit. Now, last week, we shared an old saying, and it's an old saying that we chuckle out through the years, you know, there's two things that is certain in life, death and taxes. For those of you who were here last here, about last week, you remember that and you've heard it before, I'm sure. And, of course, last week, we added at least one and today we're adding the second one. This week and last week study, add at least two more to that saying, and that is Choices, as we studied last week, and now also Change. Those two things are certain as well. In fact, we can't get through the day without facing both of those. We have to make several choices every day. And we also have to face change every day as well. Every day we face changes. In fact, we can even start with our face, our physical face. Does our physical face experience changes? Sure, it does. Okay. All right, it starts right from the get-go, doesn't it? When we're born, do we have a certain face? Yes, we have that cute little pudgy. You know, and sometimes not even pudgy face, but then as that mommy keeps feeding the little one, you know, the cheeks kind of puff out a little bit more and you have that kind of squirrel or go for kind of look, and we enjoy that look for a while and it's important to have that extra body fat because the brain requires that. As the brain is developing that the body draws on that extra body fat to be able to develop the brain in a very healthy way. And so it's healthy to be able to start with kind of pudgy cheeks, and a pudgy body. And then as we continue on, of course, that body fat is drawn into the brain development and, of course, they get more and more active as they start to run around on their little feet, legs for the first time and that body fat is burned off, and then pretty soon the face changes and you look at them from two months old, or six months old, to two years old, and they almost look like a different person, don't they? And so the face changes in a very noticeable way. And then even from two years old, if you're out of town for three months, you come back, that person, that child looks different again, doesn't he or she? And so our face continually go through different changes as we experience and grow into our adulthood, but doesn't stop there? No, of course not. Now, of course, as we continue to grow in teenage years, but also for many of us, in our adult years, there's acne that comes and goes. Our face has experienced bumps and bruises, and cuts and swelling. For those who are a little bit more of pale skin, sometimes we look pale in the winter and our face would look tanned and brown in the summer. Sometimes it will even be burnt. All kinds of changes we find in our faces. Sometimes our faces are green with envy, or is that just the saying. Doctor Friend, is that? I think that's just to say. What about seasickness, does seasickness turn us green? Well, we say it, I'm not sure, I can't remember seeing somebody seasick, and if they're green or not, but we think of green, don't we when we are seasick. And, of course, we can be green with envy. Sometimes our face is turned red when we're blushing or we have a high fever. Then sometimes our faces can turn blue, when we're too cold. Sometimes we have crooked noses, because we've just had an accident and it broke our nose. We might have missing teeth. Sometimes our face has experienced black or swollen under the eyes as we've been underslept, or overstressed, or both. And then, of course, our face is changed hundreds of times every day because our expressions change. Sometimes we have looks of confusion, sometimes we have looks of anger, sometimes we have looks of happiness and joy, sometimes sadness. And so our faces go through hundreds of different changes, just through that alone every single day. For those of us who are over 40, we're also daily… We have a daily reminder that we are growing older. Why? Because as we stare in our face, in the mirror every day, it gets different, doesn't it?

I have to chuckle still, and I still have to look back on. It was just a few weeks ago or maybe a couple of months ago, when our lead pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor was up front here. And he was saying that, you know, every, every morning, I look in the mirror and it gets worse. And I'm still chuckling over that, you know, our faces go under transformation, doesn't it? Sometimes transformations that we're not excited about, some of us are spending thousands of dollars to be able to avoid and resist that change in our faces as we grow older. And so just our faces alone can represent much change that there is in the life and in this world. Now, some of the change that we experience, we expect that change, we know it's coming. We all know that we're gonna grow old, don't we? We all know that that's gonna take place for all of us. Now when we were 17, sometimes we think, tempted to think it'll never happen, but it doesn't take long till you're 40, and all of a sudden you recognizes, I'm in the same boat he was or she was. So some of that we expect, some of that comes unexpected. Some changes comes right out of the blue. We didn't know it was coming. Some of that change is good. And very sadly, some of that change that comes, we wish had never happened. Now, did I talk about old age yet? I fear that too many of us fear change and resist it at all costs when it comes to negative changes, like contracting a new disease, or financial bankruptcy. Well, I can't blame you, you know, who would want to embrace that? Who would not want to resist these different unexpected and unwanted changes that come into our life? But I think at the same important point, it's also important for us to be able to understand that, that change is God given, do you believe that? Do you understand that change is God given? God came up with the idea of change. Now, can you imagine how boring life would be if we didn't have change? I want to invite you to think with me as we think this through. There's a very good reason why your hymnal is this thick. Okay. There's a very good reason why we have hundreds of hymnals and not just one or two. Why? Because we like variety, don't we? We like the whole gamut. And some of those hymns say the same thing. It's not like everyone says different things. But we like different tunes, we like different, we like different hymns as we continue to sing and to worship God. Why? Because God has given us a desire and a need for change. We don't want to sing the same hymn every single week. Now God created change, continual change right from the get-go. As soon as we open the Bible, we find change. We come to Genesis in Chapter 1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And then it tells us that on day one, He created light. He said, "Let there be light and there was light," was there not? Now, did He keep it light? No. Now, he turned on the lights, and you know, of course, then He started to create the daily cycle. But was the daily cycle intended? Did God say, "Well, now that we have light, let's just kind of try to hold it there. Let's just stay with light. No, it tells us that He turned the darkness into light, but then He mixed it up a bit, He kind of mixed it up and He said, you know what? Let's bring some variety to this. Let's bring the darkness back for half. And so we're gonna have half light, we're gonna have half dark. we're gonna bring some change every single 24 hours, every 12 hours, things are gonna mix it up just a little bit. And then after He created us. After He created us, He didn't tell us to hunker down and maintain the status quo, no matter what the cost. Is that what He said? No, not at all. When we read the original Genesis record, we find that God says, "Okay, now, look and embrace the world that I have given to you. Go and be fruitful and multiply." Now, let's think about that for a moment, friends. As we think through that commission that God had given to the first man and the first woman, the first husband and wife as they looked out into the grand world that God had created. Friends, we find here that there's all kinds of change that is implied with that commission. Okay, there's travel, there's exploration that is involved. There's all kinds of change that was involved in that particular commission. Change is the spice of life. And again, friends, I fear that too many of us fear change. And some of us make the mistake of resisting change at all costs. But that's not what God intended for us. God intended for us to embrace change, to look for good change, of course, and not negative change. And even when we have negative change, to be able to look for God's hand and His help as we go through it and for… What is He going to say, accomplishing in spite of the negative change. God calls us to set new goals, to accomplish things that keeps us growing and getting, and keeps us younger. God wants us to continue to, to stay as young in our hearts and our minds as possible. And one of the ways that He does that is He calls us to set goals. He calls us to embrace change, He calls us to be able to continue to grow and to embrace new things and to accomplish things that God has set upon our hearts. Now, this week's lesson touches on two of life's most largest positive changes that most of us experience in this life. Now, when I say positive, of course, that comes with a bit of an explanation or explanation that is necessary, which is that if you do it right, it can be one of the most positive, and was intended to be one of the most positive changes that we bring in our life. And that is marriage and children. Okay, having children, raising children. So these are two that are looked at two of the biggest, largest positive changes if we do it right, that can come into our life that God has planned for many of us. And then the lesson study also touches on two of life's most challenging and unwanted changes. And that is old age and death. So two positives, potentially positives and two negative changes that come into our life as well. Now, we're not gonna be able to address all four topics in this program. I just want us to know that up front because we just won't have the time allotted for us here to be able to study through them all. But I do want to encourage you to read the quarterly. If you haven't read through this week's quarterly, go back and look at some of these in regards to these four big changes that most of us experience in life. And there's great counsel, there's great tips for us to be able to, to benefit from. Now, of course, old age and death can represent all the negative changes that are involved in this life and, of course, that all came since sin and rebellion against God entered into the picture. And so what is the key to handling all these negative changes? Negative changes are inevitable. That's just one of the realities of this life and has been ever since sin but how do we handle them? What is the key to them? Somebody else said, John had said, put our trust in God. Yes. Good. And that's why I believe that the authors of this week, they put in there Psalm 85, you know, trust in God and allow Him to make the footsteps. Let Him go ahead. Good. Yeah. How do we handle all the negative changes? Well, one of the ways that I think we can do that is to imitate one of the models that God has given unto us in the Bible. Now, his name is very familiar to many of us. His name is Daniel. And Daniel was no small person. Now, he was a great man of faith. He was one of the greatest examples that God has given to us in all history and all the Bible. Now, the question that we need to ask first off. Did Daniel face any negative challenges, any negative changes that came unexpected and unwanted in his life? Some of you are smiling and it say, well, yeah, of course, He did. He faced all kinds of negative changes. Now, Daniel probably faced more negative change in his life than most of us in this room have ever faced and will ever face. Not all of us, but most of us. Daniel, first, was about 17 years old, 17 years of age. He was enjoying his home city of Jerusalem. He was enjoying his friends, his cousins, his families, his uncles and aunts, his uncles, his grandma, his grandpa, you know, he was enjoying all the things that many of us have the privilege of enjoying in life. He was enjoying his home country and then suddenly, this foreign war came into his land, a foreign army that came in and began to conquer the land of Jerusalem. Now Daniel was close enough to God that he was probably listening to the Prophet Jeremiah very closely, he understood that things were not as they should be. Unexpected and unwanted change was already entering in his life before Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army had come into town. But nevertheless, he, his world was turned upside down literally, wasn't it? He was taken a captive during that war. We can only imagine that it was almost for certain that he had seen with his own eyes, some of his own friends, some of his own family members that were killed by some of those Babylonian soldiers. And so the trauma that Daniel went through was no small trauma. And then after that, the Bible record tells us that he was taken a captive along with many hundreds and thousands of other Israelites. And then he was marched over 1000 miles to a land that he had never seen and probably never wanted to see. He was taken to the land of Babylon over 1000 miles away. And then when he arrived in Babylon, rather than being the one, some of the ones, the majority of the Israelites who were set free to be able to, to be able to make a life for themselves, to build houses, to be able to plant vineyards, and gardens, and so on. No, Daniel was young and he was one of great health and intelligence, and so he was recruited into the king's palace. Now we might be thinking to ourselves, well, that's better than having to build a house and try to, you know, kind of homestead out in the land and make a life for yourself and all the vigors and stresses that come with that. He'd be able to… He got to be able to enjoy the luxuries of the king's palace. But it wasn't quite like that, was it? When he got there, not only was it against his free will, he was a slave for life, for the rest of his life. Daniel was commissioned to be a slave. And not only that, but when you're assigned to the king's palace, and you're a man, you are physically castrated, that was standard procedure. And so Daniel had experienced that in a very real way. Now, why is that? Well, because he's near the king's harem. And so if you have access to the king's harem, why? You are physically castrated. And so Daniel was traumatized physically, emotionally in some very, very serious ways. When he also experienced that particular procedure by the Babylonian army or powers to be, of course, then that caught off any, any hopes of being married or having children. Two of the biggest positive changes that we can bring into our life. Did Daniel experience negative changes? Sure he did, he experienced huge, massive negative change. Now, in spite of all this negative change, did Daniel achieve positive changes for himself? Did he shine and interact in a positive way to those around him? He did, didn't he? It's a resounding yes. It's a resounding yes. And so it's important for us to be able to understand that, that there are a number of things that we can remember if we've read the Book of Daniel in the past and there are number of things that, that, of course, if you're reading this and studying it for the first time, maybe new to you. Now one of the first things that God did in life of Daniel, is that He rose Daniel to the top of the Babylonian government. Not only was he a slave in the king's household, but then he became the right hand man of the king. He was the prime minister of the entire grand empire of Babylonia. And so that was no small thing. And so he rose and he shone within his sphere of influence. He made decisions and choices and trusted in God to the point where God's large and powerful and wise footsteps went ahead of him and brought him all the way down right next to the throne of the king himself. Not only that, but he led that same king to a saving faith relationship with the one and only true God. Not only through his example, through the interpretations of the prophetic dream that God had given to that Babylonian king. In fact two prophetic dreams that he had given to the Babylonian king. And all those different things, the model that Daniel had the different conversations that he inevitably had with Nebuchadnezzar as they discussed the things of life and the philosophies of religion and gods and so on. And all of that culminated completely into the full conversion of this powerful ancient king called Nebuchadnezzar. And so Daniel had made choices and positive change in his life to the point where he had converted the most powerful man of his day. Not only that, but we also read in the very first chapters of Daniel that he was also the leader of his faithful four friends, that small circle of the ones that decided not to compromise. They wanted to follow, and worship, and submit themselves to God fully. And so he had, they had determined that they would not eat of the king's diet. Now the king's diet was very deadly. It had lots of alcohol, and unclean foods, and meats, and so on, and so they had decided to be able to request the one that was in charge of them if they might be able to eat only vegetables or a vegetarian plant based diet only. And so Daniel was the spokesperson, he's the kind of, was the head of that, that faithful circle, and he was the one that approached the powers to be and… So because of that, they were able to live a much healthier life, eat a much healthier diet, a God given diet rather than the king's much more deadly diet. And then the fourth positive change that he brought into his life, and God brought into his life is that because of his faith in God, he had received the most important, and powerful, and longest reaching prophecies in the future that any human being has ever received. Now, friends, that's no small thing, is it? Because of Daniel's positive choices, and bringing positive change into his life, in spite of all these massive negative changes, he was able to accomplish great things for God. I would propose to you that indeed the prophecies of Daniel are the most important prophecies of the future than any other Bible prophet. Now, some of you might be saying, well, what about Revelation? I thought Revelation was the most important and the most powerful book that points us into the future. And certainly is a very, very close number two, but let me tell you why I put still Daniel on the top. As it turns out, many of us that have studied the Book of Revelation have discovered that most of the symbolism and you can't understand unless you have the book of… Unless you have the prophecies of Daniel. And so the Book of Revelation is largely useless unless we have the Book of Daniel to be able to interpret the great deep symbols that God had revealed in the Book of Revelation. And so that's why I still put Daniel at the top of the list with Revelation being a very close, brother, in second place. And, of course, they're sister or brother books. And so these are some massive great examples of somebody in great distress, massive negative change that was able to shine for Jesus in some of the most powerful ways any human being has ever shined. And so the question again. What enabled Daniel to handle these massive negative changes so well, that he accomplished such great positive changes? Well, first and foremost, he chose a faith relationship with God every single day. And, of course, this was the key, it was the bedrock, it was the cornerstone, it was the foundation for his success in life. Now, of course, he had that and he was setting that foundation before the negatives came, that's where you want to be, is it not? Friends, you want to be in that foundation and that cornerstone of faith before the storms of life come. Now, some of us, you know, we make foolish choices and we don't set that bedrock. And we don't come to the rock and make sure we're connected with it. And so when the storms come, now we're searching desperately for the rock and the Lord is merciful. He will use those times quite often to be able to start connecting with us. But, friends, those storms are gonna be much harder to handle because of that. And so you want to be able to set that foundation, even right now, just as Daniel did in the very earliest years of his life. And so that's the bedrock that's the cornerstone of his success. Now, Daniel had an experience that's very similar, not in the circumstances so much, but in their feelings and the great negative changes and challenges that came upon their shoulders in their life. And the other figure that I'm thinking of is another prophet by the name of David. David went through a lot of hard years, great challenges. Now, be it, it is true that some of them he brought upon himself and he had reaped those consequences for years. But even before that, I mean, can you imagine, you marry into the family and your father-in-law, you know, my father-in-law's here today. I'm thankful to be able to have such a good loving relationship with him. But can you imagine if your father-in-law was out to get your head? Okay, so imagine if my father-in-law turned on me and he was doing everything within his power to be able to take my life. That's where David was. That's where David was, is that a negative change? Sure, it's a great negative change and challenge in his life and he had a number of those. And so David experienced a lot of negative changes, massive negative changes, just like the Prophet Daniel. And I believe that's why when he was inspired to write the 23rd Psalm, it's something that not only David could relate to, but of course, Daniel would be able to relate to that as well. And so Daniel would have leaned upon Psalm 23, I'm sure more than once during his experiences. And so I'm gonna invite Denise to be able to read that Psalm in its fullness, ‘cause it's just so fitting on this topic here today.

Psalm 23, " Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Amen. Do I hear an amen out there?


You know, I don't think there's any passage of scripture in history, at least in American history that has been memorized by American Christians than that particular Psalm. How many times have I been at the deathbed or the sickbed of different church members that are reciting the 23rd Psalm? That 23rd Psalm kind of encapsulates the heart of God and encapsulates the hard experience of David, Daniel and many of us sitting in this room as well. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He leads me beside still waters. It's reflective and I'm unpacking really the first verse, the memory text in Psalm 85 that we read, did we not? That it is God that goes ahead. He's the one that's in charge. He's the leader of our life. Is He the leader of your life? That's what God wants in our life. Well, Daniel made it a regular habit of looking to His God for help. He learned to trust in Him in all circumstances, no matter how overwhelming and negative they might become, as change, inevitable change came into his life. As the famous pastor by the name of Chuck Swindoll once had stated, it's a statement that has echoed through the years ever since it's been repeated by many of us is that life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% of how you react. Isn't that true? Life is 10% of what happens to you, but it's 90% of how you react. And if your heart is connected to God, if your heart is connected to the one that made the heavens and the earth, the one who has a desire to prosper you and to give you hope and a future. Friends, you can, there's nothing that you can't handle. There's been examples that are too strong, that are too deep, even as we looked at Daniel's life itself. Now, Daniel made choices that armed him with the armor of God, so that when the storms and negative challenges of life came along, they surely, as they surely do, for every one of us. None of us is exempt from the storms and the negative changes that life brings in this life. If you have not experienced it yet, just wait until tomorrow. Because, friends, I'm telling you, none of us comes out exempt, none of us comes out without being challenged by the negative storms of life. But Daniel was able to handle those storms, he was able to stand for the right, he was able to persevere in achieving positive changes in spite of the negative changes that this world brought upon him. And God may be speaking to you right now. You may know in the depths of your heart that you have not been making the choices that Daniel made. You may know in your heart of hearts that when things get tough and unwanted change comes into your life that you react in some very unhelpful ways. Let me give you some examples. Perhaps you're one of those that when negative changes come into your life, unwanted changes, negative changes, you blow your top, you lose your temper, you find yourself in uncontrollable anger, perhaps that's been your unhealthy and unhelpful way of handling negative change. Or perhaps you're one of those types that just wants to curl up in your bed into the fetal position, pull the covers over your head and hope that it all goes away. And by the way, friends, even if you're not finding yourself in bed all curled up, and you're at the bar, you're drowning your woes and your negative changes in alcohol, or drugs, or in your work. Friends, that's the same thing. It comes under the same category. Unhelpful ways. Maybe you immediately compromise what is right, and you find yourself lying, and cheating, and stealing. You're betraying as much as you need to, to be able to make things good for yourself again. These are all very common, unhelpful, unhealthy ways of handling negative change in our life. And, friends, if you're finding yourself in that position, and God is calling to you, and He wants to help you to be able to connect with Him and to be able to make those good choices and stand for the right though the heavens fall. To be able to maintain and develop an integrity that regardless of the storms that come around us that I will be able to handle it, I will be able to lift up my head and keep it high and find myself on a regular basis on my knees. So that I can allow the God, the Lord and the God of the universe to be able to go ahead of me and make those footsteps. Then I can leave all these negative, unhelpful ways, and unhealthy ways behind and handle them in a positive and productive way. I want to invite you here today to surrender to the God that loved and help Daniel in a 100 different ways that allowed him to shine, even in the darkest valleys. Daniel was able to shine. This is the one and only way that you can really come through this life and end up on top, that you can really find yourself undefeated when it's all said and done. Isn't that the way you want to end your life? Don't you want to end your life on top? Now, I'm not talking about the one who dies with the most toys wins. No, I'm talking about really being on top, knowing that I have followed the Lord, knowing that I have stood for the right, knowing that I have lived the truth and the life that God has given to me. This is the way that God wants us to live our life and to end it, to be able to end up on top when it's all said and done. Well, we have a little bit of time to look at one of our subjects here today. But I want to invite our last volunteer. He's a young man by the name of Ben, and he's agreed to be able to read for us from Matthew 11:28-30. And so if you have your Bibles, you want to follow along, that's Matthew 11:28-30, as we come to the words of Christ.

"Comes to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Thank you, Ben. One of my favorite scriptures, is Christ again, the heart of God calling out to us, and saying, learn from me. Jesus wants to be our teacher. He wants to be our leader, but He also wants to be our teacher. Now, both my daughters can tell you about some very, very awesome and amazing teachers that they've had during their grade school years, as they look back, and my youngest one, even if she's experienced, a good teacher even right now. But, friends, none of them compared to the greatest teacher of all. And that's Jesus Christ. Come unto me and learn from me, Jesus says, enter into the school of Christ, be a disciple, a student of the master. Come to the one that knows life and is the creator of life and will be able to give you a life that you can never find without Him. Well, earlier on we are talking about old age and I heard somebody in the audience, I think they said, "You're not old yet." How can you talk to us about being old? Well, I don't know if my Mom just gave me the right vitamins or what it was, but you know, I'm 51, and so I'm old enough to say that I'm not old as in a senior, but I'm certainly old enough to know what it's like to be on the other side. And I certainly know what it's like to be able to start going down the other direction. And there's different changes that have started to develop into my life that I'm not exactly excited about. And, you know, of course, as I visit and pastor different members that are a few years ahead of me, they share some things that I can expect and look forward to. And I'm not sure I'm all that excited about it. You know, preparing for old age and accepting the fact that we all grow old, it's not exactly something that we all get up in the morning and go, hey, great, I'm older again today. You know, when we say we're over the hill, there's a real reality to that. You know, you kind of peek and then things start to kind of go down the other direction. And so let's look at that for a little bit. Psalm Chapter… Not chapter, there's no chapters in Psalm really, it's a collection of 150 songs, did you know that? It's 150 songs. So these were really inspired by God to be sung. And they were sung originally. Psalm is an old English word for song. And so really, it's the book of songs. Let's go to the 90th Psalm which is verse 10. Now, you can look at it in your Bible or you can go to your quarterly study, if you desire, on page 26. And on page 26, at the very top, we find that verse Psalm 90:10, it says, "The days of our lives are seventy, and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. " And, of course, the flying away is that we start to disappear and we go to our rest until Jesus comes again and so…That's one of the realities of life. One of the realities of life is that life doesn't last forever in this life. There's an intermission for most of us until Jesus comes again. Now, we have the hope that God is gonna resurrect us from that death. Death is an enemy that has overcome and this lesson study wisely points that out, as the Bible tells us, death is an enemy that Jesus had conquered. And so it's good to be able to know that even if we go to our rest today, that Jesus is still there for us, and He will wake us up tomorrow. So preparing for old age. Now, on Wednesday's lesson, we looked at Psalm 71. And that's the key passage that we look at and it speaks to aging with success. Now, the best way to maximize success in growing old is beginning to invest early on. You need to start investing early on to prepare for old age. You don't want to wait until you're 50, or 60, or 70 to be able to prepare for old age. You want to start investing now. And so what does that mean? Well, does that mean that I should start looking and studying stocks, and bonds, and real estate? Well, it's good to have a good retirement plan. I don't want to advise against that, I've got a retirement plan, conference, you know, gives us a retirement plan, we have different options to look at. So it is good to be able to look into your future financially and make sure that you're not a burden as much as possible on yourself, your family and such. But there's more to it than that. I'm talking about investing in other very important areas of life. So that when you do reach your old age years, that you're prepared. Now, the most important investment that we can make, of course, we already spent most of our lesson study looking at and that is, that is our faith in God, investing spiritually in your relationship with God. So that when our older years do come along, we can lean upon Him because we do, we need God perhaps even more when we find ourselves in our senior years. In some ways, yes. We need to be able to lean upon Him to be able to, to make sure that we have a rock in which we can lean upon and look to. And we want to start that now. Again, just like Daniel before the storms came and the challenges, and the negative changes came, he had already established himself with the rock. He had already established himself with God. And so Psalm 71:5, it points out for us and says, "You are my hope, oh Lord God, you are my trust from my youth, from my" what? "From my youth." And so it's in our youth that we want to start depositing those investments so that when we reach our senior years, that we can have a rock solid relationship with God. And we can also have better memories as well. When we're in the latter stage of our life, we can be able to lean upon those and reflect upon all the different ways that God had led you in your life, all the different beautiful relationships that you have developed in the church of God over the years, and with your neighbors as you've loved them with the love of Christ. And then, of course, we also want to invest depositing our families. In Proverbs Chapter 31, we find one of the most powerful examples of that as we read through that, that Psalms, particularly the last half of Proverbs 31, we find there that there is a wife and a mother that is pouring her life out into her family, beautiful scriptures. She's depositing something there that she's gonna reap in her senior years, is she not? Sure, she is. She's investing in her future, even as she's investing in her family in the present. And so investing in your family relationships, and making sure that your family doesn't fall to the wayside in that most important circle, social circle is protected and that you're investing in it in a regular basis, so that you can have a bright future when you reach your senior years. And then, of course, our marriage, Ephesians Chapter 5, God calls husbands and wives to invest in each other, to bring lots of love and respect to one another as you make your way through the years together in your marriage relationship. It is God's plan, is it not for us to be able to become closer? If you're celebrating your silver anniversary, and then your golden anniversary after 50 years of marriage, should you be closer together at the golden than you were at the silver? Sure, that's God's plan, is it not? God has called the husband and wife to invest into their marriage, and how many of us have made the mistake of not investing into their marriage relationship? How many tragic stories that we have represented just in this room alone. Now, I'm not talking about you individually, but people that you know, you know, in your families and so on, the pain and the hurt that is resulted because there's couples that have been married for 10, 20, 30, sometimes even 50 years, and then all of a sudden they make this grand announcement to the family, we're separating, we're getting a divorce. Why? Because they had made the tragic mistake of not investing in that marriage relationship all the way through those years so that when they reach their senior years, they have the companion that God had designed you to have. That you have that lifelong friend that knows you, that the only person that knows you better is God Himself. Isn't that the plan that God has? Invest in your marriage now, if you're not investing in your marriage, God is speaking to us today. And He's calling us to be able to, to do some soul searching and find ourselves realigning our lives in such a way that we're investing in that which is so important that we can have the best, most successful senior years possible. Well, I think we're running out of time. Psalm 71:14 also talks about developing good habits and attitudes. So that when we reach our senior years, we can find ourselves developed into the character and people that He wants us to be. Psalm 71:14, it says, "But I will hope continually," I will what? I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more." And so having a lifetime of good habits of praising God clinging on to hope, and recognizing that God always has a future and He desires to prosper us and give us a positive future and bring positive changes into the lives of those in whom we touch. Developing good attitudes, how sad it is that so many of us, we find ourselves at the end of our life, and we find ourselves with the worst attitudes when we're retired. How many cranky, crankity, grumpy people do we find, you know, in the last years of our life? Friends, we should be the sweetest, most loving, most godly, most caring people by the time we reach our senior years. God is finishing a work that He had already begun in you. It hurts my heart sometimes. And this might sting a little bit for some different pastors and world leaders. And I'm just saying that as an example, because that's my world, you know, I rub shoulders with church leaders and pastors and so on. And more than once, and this is still the exception and not the rule. So don't get me wrong. This is not the general pattern. But I've seen more than one that has found themselves retired, they're not accountable to them, they've got an empty nest, their house is empty. And so now they're not accountable to anybody, and they could just be as grumpy and cranky as they possibly want to be. And they do. Is that what God wants? No, He doesn't want that, He wants us to be the opposite. We should be at the pinnacle of our Christian character. We should be reflecting Christ more in the last years of our life than at the beginning. And yet the devil is convinced too many of us when the accountability has gone on earth that now we can just kind of be as cranky and grumpy as we want. Investing into the passion of God's mission. Psalm 71:15 will be our last verse. It says, "My mouth shall tell of your righteousness and of your salvation all the day." Friends, having a passion for God's mission both now through the years and through your retirement years as well. Just because you've retired from your job, your career should never include retiring from helping people to find faith. From being a witness, a mouthpiece for Jesus to be able to continue to spread the good news and to be able to contribute to His mission in other ways as much as possible, volunteering in the church, volunteering in our neighborhood and different community events and touching people's lives. Well, we're at the end of our study here today, and I'm just so glad that all of you were able to join us both here at the Granite Bay Church as well as online and the different television networks. Don't forget to take advantage of our free offer, which is Keys for a Happy Marriage. This is Amazing Facts study guide number 5, and you just have to dial 1866-788-3966 and ask for free offer number 164. And again, you can see that the number, free offer number 164 and the number is on the screen. And I encourage you to take advantage of that. One of the topics on positive changes was marriage. Thank you for joining us, and we will see you next week.

Don't forget to request today's life changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544, or visit the web address shown on your screen. And be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's more easier than ever for you to study God's Word with Amazing Facts, wherever and whenever you want. And most important, to share it with others.

Amazing Facts changed lives.

When I was a little boy, I grew up in a typical Christian family. We had the American dream, but I began to realize that something was not quite right. I wanted to be with the girls. I wanted to do girl things, I would pretend to be one person, but yet feel like I was trapped like this, this girl was trapped inside my body. You know, my parents would, would go to the mall or we'd be at a store and I would sneak off to, you know, the girl's department. I was living this double life. So as I started to attend college, on one hand, I would be going to school and on the other hand, I would be starting to dress up and something was working in my mind and in my heart to tell me that this is not right. And so I joined an on campus Christian group. We took several trips to overseas, to Taiwan. And after I graduated from the university, I got my ticket and I… It was a one way ticket, and I was planning on staying in Taiwan for a while. And there I met my wife, we finally came back to America. And I thought, well, maybe marriage, you know, would be the right answer. It was only a couple of years into our marriage and the desires to be a woman started to come back up again. I would get airline tickets and I would fly to get away from her so that I could live my lifestyle. You know, for 24 hour periods, for one week periods, to go shopping, just spending inordinate amounts of money, because I felt like I had missed so much and I was trying to be that person that I thought it was on the inside. And so I started to live my life full time. I started wearing women's clothes. I started to grow my hair out real long, and I just didn't see any way around it. So finally, I had made my transition and I had realized fully who I thought I was supposed to be. But there was still something missing, like I was… I felt empty inside. I decided to search online, I stumbled upon Amazing Facts. And I started to watch one and then I had watched the entire seminar series, and I started to see who God was, and who I was. That God loved me so much, that I just can't live this life anymore. He says to me, I'll work with you on this. I love you and you can change. Going through the central study hour Sabbath School lessons on the Amazing Facts website, I decided to finally change in the male attire for the first time in a couple of years. I still had my long hair. But you know, I'm gonna go to church, and I attended the AFCO to Go series. It was just an amazing experience. My life was totally different. That love that God showed me started to work in my life to where I wanted to do exactly the same for others. I started to want to give more, to give more of my time and give more of my energy and God continued to gradually change me. The desires to be that person finally then went away, and I finally felt free at last. And I can say with a big smile on my face that God has completely healed me through the process. I just thank God for giving me a second chance. I'm Wendell, and God has used you to change my life.

For over 60 years, Jeepneys have been the virtual king of the road here in the Philippines. These unique vehicles that are festive with colorful stickers, lights, and chrome have grown into the chief source of transportation in the country. Let's go. These iconic four-wheel drive military vehicles made by the Willys Company were known as Jeeps because it stood for general purpose. And it also came from a character in a Popeye cartoon that was known as Eugene the Jeep. He was an imaginary dog that could crawl across the ceilings and the walls, and these jeeps could go anywhere. When the Americans left the Philippines following World War II, it was just cheaper for them to leave these thousands of military vehicles behind rather than to transport them back to the States. The creative Filipino people modified these military vehicles by extending the frame about six feet. They added a couple of cozy inventions that are designed to carry about 18 people. They put a cab over it to prevent the water from coming in, but I've seen what looks like 20 to 25 people hanging on every possible edge and ledge of a Jeepney. They're jumping off, they're jumping on as it goes through congested Manila traffic. Every Jeepney is little bit different. Some are just held together with patches of daily wire and bubblegum, a little bit of duck tape. Some are little more ornate and modern, they've got chrome and stainless steel. And there's good reason that the ceilings are padded. When one of the local Filipinos wants to ride on a Jeepney, they just flag them down, they shout, they tap on the hood, and then they jump on board. They may not even slowdown when they do this. Then they pay about 8 pesos which is equivalent of 16 cents for us. It's by far the most economical way to get around in the country. Some Jeepneys are even equipped with an own emergency privy. One little downside to the Jeepneys is because the cabs are open like this, they're not air-conditioned, it gets very hot in summertime and all the fumes from the street coming in which can make it an exhausting experience. One of the downside of the Jeepney is they don't have all of the modern safety features, no seatbelts. You have to take advantage of the padding if you hit a hard bump. And if you're in a serious accident, there is no airbags other than the friends that might be sitting around you. And that's the upside of the Jeepney because you're up close and personal with everybody, you make some new friends. Riding on a Jeepney requires teamwork. If you buy something from one of the vendors, you all sort of pass it back to each other. And when passengers get on board, you just pass your money up front. Thanks a lot. Friends, it's safe to say there are no two Jeepneys that are exactly the same. They're all unique and distinct and so are you. Have you ever felt that you get lost in a massive humanity and God doesn't notice you? The Bible tells us that He knows your name, the very hairs of your head are numbered and He hears your prayers. More than that, the Lord wants to take you to His kingdom, you just have to get on board.

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