The Christmas season is peppered with gift-giving to loved ones and those dear to us. But it’s also a very important time to “pay the blessings forward.” Is that part of your holiday experience? To close out another year of producing Adventist Review, members of our team share their holiday experiences—precious traditions and ways to pass the blessings along to others. We hope it will inspire you to make new Christmas memories that are just as much about giving as they are about receiving.—Editors. 


Several years ago we decided with our teenage daughters to change the way we do Christmas gifting. Each member draws one family member’s name and buys a special gift for that person. We usually put a monetary top limit on this gift. Then we put the remainder of the money we all budgeted for more gifts into a bucket, count it, and spend one joyful evening selecting several meaningful gifts from the ADRA Christmas gift catalog, thus blessing others. It’s a great way to remember that Christmas is all about giving to those in need, not gifting those who already enjoy plenty.

Gerald A. Klingbeil


Over the years, during the holiday season of gift giving, we have always welcomed the opportunity to lend our musical talents to numerous cantatas and musical programs with the hope that others would be blessed. We have also consistently identified and delivered gifts to needy children as well as participated in the church’s food, toy, or shoe box gift-giving programs. 

Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste


For the past couple of years, my husband and I have done a mega shopping trip at Costco for food and food-type gifts (fancy cookies and chocolates) to contribute to the OneVision program, where the items are distributed to needy families. I’ve made almond/coconut cookies, wrapped them in pretty cellophane tied with red ribbon, and delivered them to our neighbors with a Christmas card and holiday greeting! 

Sharon Tennyson


One of my favorite holiday traditions is our family’s “gratitude” jar. Starting in January, we write down any answers to prayer or divine interventions we’ve recognized. Carefully folding the paper, we place it in a special jar. It’s exciting to watch the pile of papers build over 12 months. After worship on Christmas Eve, we take turns drawing from the jar and reading aloud the praises we’ve written. It’s a wonderful reminder of God’s grace and care!

Beth Thomas


On Sundays since 2015 we’ve been going across the English Channel to the town of Dunkirk in France as often as we can. This is where a lot of the Syrian (and other) refugees “camp” waiting to find a way to cross the channel into England. In collaboration with the local ADRA effort and Newbold church, we’ve been helping with bringing the refugees a warm meal and also listening to their life stories.

Daryl Gungadoo


We love shopping for children. So whether it’s coats, toys, or food for families, we have made it a tradition to ensure children have a happy holiday. We also sponsor a child through Compassion International and give to their Christmas fund every year. 

Lisa Krueger


We like to find out if there are any families in need in our church and community or through other contacts and “secret Santa” them. What that means is we will find out what gifts would be of particular enjoyment to the children in the family and send those gifts anonymously if we can. Amazon makes this so easy too! It always feels good to pay forward all the blessings we’ve been given—regardless of whether the “source” can be traced.

Wilona Karimabadi


I often volunteer my time for the UK-based homeless charity Crisis (crisis.org.uk). Crisis at Christmas provides a safe, warm place for homeless individuals to stay, hot food, and free health care. However, they don’t do this simply on Christmas Day, but for a few weeks leading up to Christmas and through the new year. Perhaps the most impactful aspect of volunteering at Crisis—and the reason I feel utterly blessed—is the opportunity to talk to those in need, to hear their unique stories; to simply be a kind, listening ear. 

Daniel Bruneau


I’m blessed to be a member of a very active local church regarding community outreach and service. Our church’s community service team regularly feeds homeless individuals, holds free food pantries, and provides clothes and other necessities to local shelters. Although we offer these services year-round, we place a special emphasis on blessing others during the gift-giving season. We give a little extra and also focus even more fully on Jesus and His love. People are generally more open to receiving Bibles and other forms of Christian literature. The dog therapy team that my dog Brody and I have been a part of for six years also steps up its visits to hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospice patients, and children’s events during the season. Dogs are often dressed in holiday attire and provide a happy distraction in people’s lives.

Sandra Blackmer


My family likes to send anonymous surprises to people during the Christmas holidays, especially to those in need. The grandchildren enjoy baking cookies and delivering them to elderly individuals, and last year had an actual live Nativity scene in their front yard—yes, with a cow, rabbits, and a goat! They also distributed GLOW tracts and hot drinks to passersby. 

Kim Brown

Who Cares

Reading through the October issue brought to mind my caregiving experience working for the elderly in many nursing health-care facilities. The time came for me to take care of Mom for four years in my home. She lived in Maine, and the transition was a little difficult for her to adjust to. Her religious preference was different than mine, but she still came to church with me weekly and attended many Bible studies. During my last time with her after a stroke that left her speech slurred, I greeted her and the first thing she said to me: “Guess what? I joined the church last night.” Undoubtedly a dream or vision; she never did say. I had her call her sister in Maine now that she could speak clearer words, and the first words she spoke to her sister were “Guess what? I joined the church last night.” Mom died the following day on Sabbath. I thank God for the reassurance that Mom would be with Him one day and allowing me to care for her physical and spiritual needs. 

Robert Rouillard 

Lakewood, Washington 


Inspiring Issue

Thank you for the most outstanding and inspiring issue of the November Adventist Review about the wonders of the universe from some of our Christian scholars. Amazing to know that to the naked eye several thousand stars are visible and that there are around 200 billion trillion stars in the universe. Even though we have the most powerful telescopes the human mind is not capable to understand the vastness, immense wonders of God’s creation. My wife and I have just finished reading again the book Home at Last by Walton Brown about the visions of E.G. White and what will be open for the redeemed as they are flown into heaven. She says that “we learned that there were millions of inhabited worlds, and that our own planet was but an atom in the universe.” Thanks, again, for giving us a glimpse of what the redeemed is going to explore when we get to heaven and meet with our Creator! 

Leo Ranzolin

Sr. Estero, Florida 


God Has Called You to Be the Bible to Non-Christians

Well done! I wish this to everyone who believes in Christ and wants to be there for others in helping them in their faith and salvation! 

Elena Georgieva Vasileva 


Indianapolis Will Host 2030 General Conference Session

I wonder if this [the General Conference Session] can be done through Webex? There are probably many other ways to invest the cost of the event to share the gospel with the world. 

Eulises Canada 

Planning to attend. God willing, I am still alive, or maybe the next GC will be in heaven. 

Arlie Medenilla Geniza 


Southern Adventist University Holds Inaugural Community Event

This is awesome! Great idea! Hats off to the planning team who thought of and put this together and those who executed what sounds like a great event for reaching leaders, politicians, officials, and businesspeople in the community while getting them involved and raising awareness of all the university has to offer. 

Nathaniel Oregon 


Let’s Embrace God’s Mission of Restoration, Church President Says

Very needful! May the Lord fill His vessels to do needful work. 

Adegbite Mofoluwaso 


Local Church in the U.S. Receives a $1 Million Gift

What a blessing and example of allowing God to lead. Praying for God’s continued blessings on both congregations. 

Patricia Andrews-Pierre 


Is It Possible to Live With No Fear of Death?

We watched the events associated with Queen Elizabeth’s passing and were impressed by her trust in the resurrection and meeting her loved ones again. She did not exhibit fear, but trust! 

Dorothy McKinney 


Adventists Seek to Assist Puerto Rico After Hurricane Fiona

Prophecy is fast coming to pass. Our King is coming sooner than we anticipated. 

Akwasi Danso 


Leaders Train Young People to Become Digital Evangelists

Wish it could be held thru Zoom so that many from other countries can join in to glorify God. 

Le Thi Anh Tuyet 


What a Waste!

Some good ideas of how to share tracts. If put into things people receive (stuck into something), it will probably go to waste. But if it’s set out in public, a person has to make a decision to pick it up to read, and then it is more likely to be kept. Just my experience. 

Richard Ramey 


God’s Unfailing Promises in My Life

What a wonderful testimony, and very inspiring. Makes me think about the ones who did not have the opportunity to go to church in childhood. Yet we are still afraid to go out and tell the world the amazing love that comes from God. 

Diana Polo 

Wonderful testimony. God kept His hand on him. 

Barb Davis Guenterberg 


Micropantry Extends Work of Feeding the Hungry

In Waxahachie, Texas, we call ours the “Blessing Box” and have also added literature. 

Nancy Martin


Your Turn

We welcome your letters, noting, as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specific, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone number—even with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: [email protected]

The concept of gratitude is on the minds of many, particularly during this holiday season. But the practice of gratitude—which is really a daily moment of reflecting and giving thanks—has become a topic that even mental health experts advocate for as a form of self-care. Taking a moment to give thanks is good for the soul. During this time of year when being thankful makes many conversational rounds, we asked staff members from the Chesapeake Conference and Columbia Union Conference to tell us about their thoughts on gratitude and what they are most thankful for at present. We hope reading their words will inspire you to stop for even the smallest things, and give thanks to our Creator.—Editors. 


Learning about God’s love and generosity inspires me to emulate Jesus Christ by loving Him and living generosity. I am so grateful for God’s creative love, salvation, sense of purpose, and inspiration to serve others. 

Sean Robinson


During the most difficult times of life, it is sometimes difficult to feel grateful. However, once I get through the trial, I have always been able to look back and see how, even though I couldn’t see it at the time, God was taking care of me and carrying me through and on to better things. As time has passed and I have experienced His ways more and more, I can now practice gratitude during the trial because I know that I can trust Him to provide for all my needs. I am eternally grateful for a God who loves me with everlasting love and for my family.

Janesta Walker


The practice of gratitude in the Christian life reminds us that life is a gift. God’s gift to us began with His detailed beauty of creation and extended to the sacrificial gift of His Son, Jesus. Because of this amazing gift, we have been gifted with grace and mercy, as well as the gift of salvation. Gratitude is essential to our well-being; if you are never grateful, you can become bitter and disillusioned, changing your outlook on life. God’s provision and love for us all came before we knew His name or understood a glimpse of the magnitude of His love. I am grateful because although I may not fully understand the big picture for my life, my God is in control of everything! 

I am most grateful for people—family, surrogate family, friends, strangers. I learn from everyone I encounter: sometimes I learn things that can uplift me, and sometimes I learn things that are not needed in my life. For each person God has allowed to impact my life, there have been lessons to grow me positively. I look at Joseph and his many encounters, and to my amazement, Joseph through the storms experienced extreme growth. Instead of becoming bitter and manifesting hurt and pain, he realized God’s plan for his life was bigger. I focused on Joseph because each of these four groups I am grateful for hurt Joseph in some way and blessed Joseph as well. Everyone isn’t perfect, but God can use people to bring about some blessing on the path of life. 

Vanessa Waite


I believe it’s important [to give thanks], because we go through life, and sometimes it can be hard, discouraging, and emotional, but if we take the time to reflect on the blessings—whether great or small—we are reminded of God’s love for us. Gratitude or counting our blessings provides peace and gives us the strength to push through difficult times and trust God. That way our smiles and joy can be our testimony. I am most grateful for my relationship with God. I can go to Him with anything, and He will listen and direct my path. It is the most freeing and comforting feeling. 

H. Candace Nurse


I believe that gratitude keeps you aware of all the blessings you have, and therefore your perspective of life changes: you are happy, and depression goes away. If we are grateful, we will be happy Christians, and it will be easier to show Jesus through our lives. Right now I’m very thankful for my family. 

Domitila Rosette


A Note of Appreciation

What a privilege it is for me to write and let you know how much I appreciate receiving the Adventist Review. It has helped me to understand the times and seasons we are living in. Each article stirs my heart to want more and more of God’s Word in my life. I truly have been blessed and edified by reading the magazine. I appreciate the great work everyone is doing at Adventist Review. The message conveyed has been a great source of nourishment and energy for all readers. May God’s grace abound more as you all keep making the magazine. 

Kenneth Wells, Jr. 

Maryland


Song of the Himalayas

I was delighted to see Gerald Klingbeil’s book review of Song of the Himalayas, by Abigail Follows. This is the most inspiring book I’ve ever read. I have followed this gifted writer since before she went on her first Adventist Frontier Missions assignment. Abigail’s recent Review article “The Son Shall Set You Free (Even From Your Phone)” is much needed in our tech-addicted society. 

LaRenne Lacey 

Wenatchee, Washington 


How We Vote

I want to thank the Review and commend Ms. Krause for the excellent article on voting. This piece is one of the very best I have ever read in our publications. With rare attention to detail and sophistication in the grasp of a very challenging topic, Ms. Krause has given great clarity to how this exercise of voting should be approached. First, we need to come from the depths of a truly identified place in Christ not allowing for political formations of our faith. Indeed, as stated, it is a “herculean effort” to overcome a submission to political identity over our position in Christ. Yet as citizens first of the kingdom of Christ, we are called to express ourselves in what we do, say, and vote as an extension of God’s character and will. 

Kevin James 

Lawrenceville, Georgia 

Editor’s Note: “To Vote or Not to Vote” by Bettina Krause, originally appeared online as part of our premium content. If you missed reading it, you’ve been given a second opportunity. The article appears in this issue, beginning on p. 52. 


ADRA

What a wonderful focus on ADRA (September 2022), with the added short piece asking readers to share their favorite charities. I had no idea ADRA was involved in so many countries, was so well respected, and committed to the “longer view.” As a result, I have decided to give a small monthly contribution to ADRA, asking that it be used for one of the long-range sustainable projects. I wish that you had raised a warning about some charities that are masters of pulling at heartstrings and taking advantage of generosity while doing little of what they promise. Luckily, several websites do an excellent job of evaluating charities. Readers, please do your research before giving! 

Bruce McClay, M.A., M.L.S. 

Battle Ground, Washington 


Hurting Families

Wow! The short article “Hurting Families” hit me in the heart and mind. So many parents wonder what to think when an adult child/child turns from what was shown at home, but Andy Nash has given us something to ponder. Thanks for encouraging us to be intentional with adult children/children around us and keeping Christ at the center (where He always belongs). 

Mary Sailo 

St. Joseph, Michigan 


365 Days With Jesus

Just a word of appreciation for the “365 Days With Jesus” guide for reading through the four Gospels, along with The Desire of Ages and Christ’s Object Lessons. My husband and I had been thinking of the new year and new beginnings when we saw this. It looked doable, so we started it. We have kept up with the readings and read ahead in anticipation of vacations, having house guests, etc. Both of us have enjoyed it and been blessed through it. We are so grateful. The assignments have been well thought out and “right-sized,” and our thanks go to Merle Poirier for the thought and work that went into this. Thank you to the editor and the entire staff. 

Linda Currier 


Civil Disobedience

The August 2022 article by General Conference lawyer Jennifer Woods titled “The Christian’s Call to Civil Disobedience” was informative and excellent as a preparation for the last days of earth’s history. She referred to John Yoder, a Mennonite theologian and ethicist, who said, “The conscientious objector who refused to do what his government asks him to still remains under the sovereignty of the government and accepts the penalties which it imposes.” That same John Yoder also wrote, “Servanthood replaces dominion. Forgiveness absorbs hostility.” From The Great Controversy: “We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God.” 

Richard Lane 

Livonia, Michigan 


Your Turn

We welcome your letters, noting, as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specific, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone number—even with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: [email protected]

Caregiving is not an easy calling regardless of whom one is caring for—be it an elderly parent or a small child. While it comes with challenges, some rewards exceed anything earth has to offer. What does the Bible say about caregivers and the act of caring for others? Read on to learn more.* 

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them— not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” - 1 PETER 5:2-4 


“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.” - 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11-21 


“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” - HEBREWS 6:10 


Encouragement for Caregivers

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” - JEREMIAH 29:11 


“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” - MATTHEW 25:40 


“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - MATTHEW 6:34 


“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” - PSALM 121:1, 2 


“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” - PSALM 23:1-4 


“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” - JOHN 15:12, 13 


“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” - 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 


“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” - ROMANS 8:28 


“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” - GALATIANS 6:9 


“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” - ROMANS 5:3-5 


On the Value of Serving Others

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” - JOHN 13:3-5 


“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - MATTHEW 20:28 


“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” - MATTHEW 25:35, 36 


“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” - 1 THESSALONIANS 5:14 


“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” - MATTHEW 10:42 


* All Bible verses are taken from the New International Version. 

Confronting Painful Self-Discovery

Thank you, Judith Fockner.

As a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist, I had become adept at playing the “Good SDA” game.

So good that I fooled even myself. Your devotional (June 6-11, pp. 7, 8) was spot-on, a needed but unwelcome truth. Praise God that the love and grace of Jesus is more powerful than even my hypocrisy. 

Bruce Mc Clay 

Washington


In the Shadow of the Decree

Thank you for the comprehensive explanation and update of the Adventist interpretation of Revelation 13 in your article “In the Shadow of the Decree.” However, regarding the notion that a Sunday law in the U.S. is the fulfillment of the mark of the beast, I will offer the following: Germany (my home country) has had laws protecting Sunday rest since 1891. Since 1919 Sunday has even been protected by the respective constitution in force. Stores are closed on Sundays (with a few exceptions), no noise may be made, and workers may be employed only in exceptional cases (e.g., for social services). At the same time, there is freedom for several decades to keep the Sabbath. The Sunday law has not helped the Catholic and Protestant churches at all. People are leaving these churches by the millions. The Christian faith is declining more and more in society and has now become a marginal phenomenon. The Catholic Church in particular is only a shadow of its former self and is rocked by numerous scandals. Its influence on society has never been as small as it is today. Given this historical experience, many Adventists in Germany find it difficult to regard a Sunday law as a mark of the beast, because they have been living under this mark since 1919 at the latest without the power of the Catholic (or Protestant) Church having increased—on the contrary.

Thomas Lobitz 

Artlenburg, Germany


From a New Reader

I had to write and say as a new subscriber to Adventist Review your magazine is great! I am not a baptized member of the church, but I have always followed the health message. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the articles “A Hilarious Paradox” and “A Changing National Landscape.” I thoroughly enjoyed Sister Hyveth Williams’ column the most. She hit the issue right on the head. It’s said that Christianity is being attacked on a daily basis around the world, but to remain strong. I must say that all members of the Adventist Church must continue to follow God’s Word and remain strong as one group. 

Donald L McClelland 

McKenney, Virginia 


Adventist School in Chicago to Offer Free Tuition

I can’t express how much of a difference having a Christian education has benefited my life even though I attended only first through sixth grade. I’ll never take for granted my biblical knowledge and how pivotal it is in creating peace for me in my soul. I know with every bone of my existence that God created me and that Jesus died for my sins so that I will one day be in the kingdom of God and not of my works because everything I do is tainted no matter how well intended I am. I wish everyone had this same foundation. 

Oneina Million 

This is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time! I can’t wait to see how God provides. We have not because we ask not and we believe not. So proud of the team who made this decision. 

Ann Marie Brown-Mitchell 


Holbrook Indian School Mourns Loss of Student in Bus Accident

Prayers and condolences to the families. May the good Lord heal those injured and heal the broken hearts. 

Coreana Foster Kuras 


Students Help Reclaim Role of Women in Adventist History

My father bought me a gift—a book titled Women in the Church. It details the history and contribution of women in the church and the many roles they may continue to serve the Lord in. I just treasure that gift. Thanks for sharing this too. 

Tabitha Latelang 


Campus Security Officer Returns Bag With Load of Cash

God bless you above all else. This is a Christian. 

Adwoa Asamoah 


From Student to Nonprofit Organization Founder

This means a lot. My aunt is a Venezuelan refugee. Great to see one of my peers engaged in good Samaritan work. I may never achieve my dream of going to Adventist college, but I love reading articles like this. 

Christian Rubert 


Grant Funds New Plant-Based Eatery on Southern Campus

Yes! This is how it should be. And hopefully affordable and filling enough. 

Kristy Jones 


Andrews University Secures Grant to Help Exploring Vocation

This is tremendous. Andrews University is a world-class institution. There is a lovely synergy between Andrews University and the University of the Southern Caribbean. 

Clive Dottin 


Growing the Church by Having Babies?

The birth rate is down, along with marriage rates. There is a reason for both. I think that needs to be examined and addressed first. 

Quita Bee 

Well, I am a little old for that at 74. So I think I’d better stick with evangelistic efforts. I will go! 

Gloria B. Dorsey 


Your Turn

We welcome your letters, noting, as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specific, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone number—even with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: [email protected]

Whatever peace is, it must be highly important or very attractive or totally necessary—to judge by how much Jesus wants us to get it: He comes back from the grave, shows up in a room filled by His followers—cowering together “for fear of the Jewish leaders”—and frightens them dramatically more by getting in without knock or key. He says, “Peace be with you!” They talk for a while, especially about the physical evidences of His crucifixion. Before He leaves, He says the words of blessing again, “Peace be with you!” (see John 20:19-21). A week later He repeats the frightening drama for Thomas’ sake, showing up unannounced and unadmitted. Thomas has spent the week disputing last week’s story simply because he wasn’t there when it happened. Jesus greets everyone again: “Peace to you!” (verse 21). We must really need this peace. And not just us! 

Jesus Speaks Peace

to stormy waves: “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39, KJV). 

to a woman, now healed: “Go in peace” (Mark 5:34, multiple versions). 

to His disciples: “Be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50, NRSV) 

to His disciples about mission strategy: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house’ ” (Luke 10:5, NIV). 

to a gawking crowd: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace” (Luke 11:21, NKJV). 

grieving over Jerusalem: “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace . . .” (Luke 19:41, NIV). 

Jesus is clearly alien. Regular earthlings fight and quarrel with anyone, for everything or nothing at all; even against the claim that we are contentious, because we so naturally are (James 4:1). To win the fight against the truth that we are naturally bellicose, we redefine the word “peace,” as a “nonwarring condition.”1 Then when one definition isn’t enough to win, we also carefully define “war.” Getting to true peace, the shalom of Klingbeil’s article (see pp. 48-50) takes great effort. But thankfully, blessedly, Jesus is willing to put in that effort and turn us into lovers of peace, lovers indeed of Himself, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), because of whose awesome sacrifice it now is said: He is our peace (Eph. 2:14).

Between His sacrifice and His insistent repetitions, the point comes through: everybody must have this peace. So: 

Peter speaks of peace: It’s “the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36, NIV). 

Paul speaks of peace, in blessed introduction and with minimal variation, to every congregation or individual his letters address: 

to the Romans—Romans 1:7
to the Corinthians, twice—1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2
to the Galatians—Galatians 1:3
to the Ephesians—Ephesians 1:2
to the Philippians—Philippians 1:2
to the Colossians—Colossians 1:2
to the Thessalonians, twice—1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2
to Timothy, twice—1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2
to Titus—Titus 1:4
to Philemon—Philemon 3 

Jesus’ Peace: Contradicted, Contrasted, Contextualized

On Jesus’ birthday the angels already knew what would happen. They were ecstatic. They came to earth singing about it. But then . . . 

Angels’ song about peace: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14, NIV).

Jesus states an apparent contradiction: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division” (Luke 12:51).

Isaiah lays out the contrast: I have seen what they do, but I will heal” “and comfort them, helping them to mourn and to confess their sins. Peace, peace to them, both near and far, for I will heal them all. But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still, but always churns up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, for them!” (Isa. 57:18-21, TLB).2 

Jesus puts things in context: “I am leaving you with a gift— peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives” (John 14:27, TLB). 

Jesus contextualizes and contrasts again: “In just a little while I will be gone, and you will see me no more; but just a little while after that, and you will see me again! . . . I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:16-33, TLB). 

Jesus’ Peace Benedictions

Old Testament: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace [shalom]” (Num. 6:24-26, NIV). 

New Testament: “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, . . . equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20, 21, NIV). 


1 “Peace,” definition 1, DICTIONARY.COM unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc., 2022: https:// www.dictionary.com/browse/peace. 

2 Texts credited to TLB are taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill. Used by permission. 

Guns or Roses?

In the pro and con articles about owning a gun, I thought Frank Hasel’s con article was much stronger. The pro article by Joseph Olstad ignores the fact that guns in homes are often misused. I recall a story a few years back about an older Adventist pastor whose granddaughter was staying with him. Very late one night he awoke to hear someone quietly entering the back porch door, took his gun, and shot (and killed) the intruder, who turned out to be his granddaughter coming home late. Just this morning I read a headline: “Toddler Finds Gun, Shoots Brother.” And with depression so prevalent around the world these days, there is the danger of someone with suicidal thoughts who has access to a gun using it at a low moment. I also thought Olstad’s “theology of protection” was a little strained when applied to gun ownership. I also appreciated Shawn Brace’s article, “We Know in Part,” about how Christian maturity is shown when we realize how limited our knowledge is and how foolish it is to think we already know everything! 

Carrol Grady 

Snohomish, Washington 


I read with interest “Guns or Roses?” April 2022; both points of view can be accepted. As for me, I tend to disagree with relying on the Christian men in blue to have to use a gun to protect me from the violence of those who would harm us, for in the process, couldn’t they lose their lives? They also should love their enemies. I have three Christian friends who are police officers, and they are now choosing to leave the state they live in for fear of being injured through defunding. I have heard their stories. I would imagine they too would model this love, the love of Jesus to not hurt or kill another human, with the courage to learn from Him to be the agents of peace. 

Robert Rouillard 

Lakewood, Washington 


My Favorite Edition

What a wonderful Adventist Review (April 2022)! I was moved to tears, joy, and deep thought. Over the years of being a subscriber, this edition will be my favorite! I was so moved by the article “Finding Disruption, Finding Church.” It reminded me of when I was a teenager who attended my parents’ Seventh-day Christian church. It was a God-fearing church with loving members, good sermons, etc. While I enjoyed it, I left church each Sabbath feeling that I was not growing spiritually. I don’t know why, because, as I said, it was a lovely Christian environment. I was so disturbed by this feeling that I left the church at 19 years old and went to a less-liberal church. The Seventh-day Adventist Church concerned me, but God said “just come . . . .” This is what God wanted me to do. That was 65 years ago. I grew one step at a time, and our loving God was patient and is still always by my side helping me to continue growing and molding me into the person He wants me to be. For 65 years I have been blessed and joyful and thank Him for helping me to be discerning of His voice and direction. Thank you for your excellent publication. 

Marilyn Marshall 


Catching up on Review reading, I ran across Paul Dybdahl’s article from November. I’m a 78-year-old with an impaired immune system and depleted energy from fighting cancer, and there is much I cannot do: no teaching Sabbath School, no active participation in the worship service, no in-person sharing, and only rarely attending church. It is easy to feel useless and worthless. Thank you, Paul, for your encouraging words and focusing on those words of Jesus to the woman with limited options: “She has done what she could” (Mark 14:8). 

Bruce McClay, M.A., M.L.S. 

Battle Ground, Washington 


From Facebook


Confessions of an Adventist Mom

Parents need to pray not only for their children but for those who will have an impact on their lives. I wish I had realized that when my children were little. 

Debbie Burns 


Children Learn How to Serve From the Heart in Mongolia

Thank you for the wonderful news from Mongolia, though a picture of a Mongolian mother with her child would have been more powerful. 

King-Yi Eugene Hsu


The Christian’s Call to Civil Disobedience

Let’s pray that church members can see/know when that happens. 

Linda Parks Chapin 


God Speaks Through Introverts Too

Thank you so much for this article. I also judge myself for not wanting to go onto the podium to speak for any reason or to offer a public prayer, and do feel as if I’m being judged for this, as if I’m lacking in faith. However, I’m always willing to help with anything else that needs to be done. 

Alicia Cardona 


Fire Hits Adventist Regional Headquarters in Central Philippines

Thankful for the protection. Praying for all who were affected by the loss. 

Sandra Holt 


After Evangelism, Churches and Radio Stations Are Rising in the Philippines

May God bless your ministry! 

Teresa Schultz 


Evangelistic Series in Central America Results in More Than 21,000 Baptisms

Praise God and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Coreana Foster Kuras 


2022 General Conference Session

Official notice is hereby given that the postponed sixty-first session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will be held June 6-11, 2022, in the America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The first meeting will begin at 8:00 am, June 6, 2022. All duly accredited delegates are urged to be present at that time. This Session will also be accessible for delegates remotely by electronic means. 

Ted N C Wilson, General Conference President Erton C Köhler, General Conference Secretary 


Your Turn

We welcome your letters, noting, as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specific, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone number—even with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: [email protected] 

A Multimedia Review

Thanks for the “good old Review,” soon to be 175 years old, which has morphed into a full-fledged multimedia powerhouse! Nothing better to describe the impact of the worldwide magazine in the life and ministry of our church, and it has blossomed into many countries. I’ve read the English and Portuguese editions for many years, and it has been a privilege not only to contribute but to receive inspiration and learn about the progress of our church worldwide. Praise God for Ellen White and other pioneers who had the vision to start the printed ministry to help our members to be informed and prepared for the second coming of our Savior. May the Lord continue to bless the excellent team and the responsibility of the editor, as he said, “ to pay attention to the Spirit.”

Leo Ranzolin, Sr.

Estero, Florida


During the Internment of Japanese-Americans

We applaud you for being brave enough to write and have printed in the Review such a serious and factual account of what was happening during that time. What happened was wrong. We have a camp not far from us that has been made into a historical site. Sobering. However, what have we learned as a church from our lack of backbone to take a stand for what is right? We see the same issues today in our church that no one is willing to address correctly. Enough said. We pray for our church administrators that God will give them the wisdom to make wise decisions and that they will have the courage to follow His lead.

God bless. We’re blessed by your weekly GraceNote devotions.

Louise and Don Driver


The Lab of New Things

In your March 2022 issue I was surprised to read in Daryl Gungadoo’s article, “The Lab of New Things,” that the new VR First multiplayer game Babylon-Quest has placed the famous Hanging Gardens in Babylon, even though no Babylonian writings or modern archaeological evidence supports that view. According to Cambridge University archaeologist Stephanie Dalley’s 2014 research, the Hanging Gardens were built by King Sennacherib in Nineveh, not by Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Dalley found evidence of aqueducts 100 meters wide and 50 meters deep capable of bringing 300 tons of water daily from the nearby Khinis Mountains; that water was then raised by an Archimedean screw device into elevated canals built from 2 million stone blocks.

Brian E. Strayer

Berrien Springs, Michigan


Return to Normal

As I read the article by Bill Knott about the state of affairs in the churches after the trauma of the past two years, my heart filled with thanksgiving for my local church. While we do have some who have not as yet returned, the fear and foreboding of the past have gone and the life and joy of worship and study is again very much a part of church. And to add to the blessing, several additional families have joined us and become a very great blessing. I am very thankful that the “return to normal” has returned to our local congregation.

Junior Scoggins

Ozark, Arkansas


Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes

Upon reading the review of this book, I immediately ordered it on Amazon. All the subtleties of how I have in many instances been misreading the Bible began to appear, and it’s not just me—it relates to how I’ve been taught as well. I highly recommend this book; it’s an enjoyable read.

Jack Waller


Gracenotes

I would like to express my thankfulness to you for the quite fantastic and extraordinary GraceNotes, which I now with great pleasure and benefit have read. I am a former pastor and college teacher from Denmark. Two Sabbaths ago I made even a PowerPoint sermon on the subject “Stay in Grace”—giving you of course due credit for some titles and the Review for some pictures. Thank you for your meaningful thoughts. I would like to encourage you to publish these GraceNotes as a worship book.

Richard Müller

Daugaard, Denmark


Toxic Teaching

Very well-written article describing what the relationship between men and women should look like, with the ultimate goal being to honor God.

Carina Gisela Ramos


Battle Cry (Battle Creek Academy to Celebrate 150th Anniversary This Year)

My great-grandmother Clara Alice Barnum and her brother George attended Battle Creek Academy in the late 1870s or early 1880s.

Connie Florey Wright


2022 General Conference Session

Official notice is hereby given that the postponed sixty-first session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will be held June 6-11, 2022, in the America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The first meeting will begin at 8:00 am, June 6, 2022. All duly accredited delegates are urged to be present at that time. This Session will also be accessible for delegates remotely by electronic means.

Ted N C Wilson, General Conference President Erton C Köhler, General Conference Secretary


Notice of Regular Meeting of Members of the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-Day Adventists

Notice is hereby given that the next regular meeting of the members of the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists will be held in The Dome of America’s Center, St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States of America, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. for the transaction of any business that may come before the meeting.

The members of this corporation are the delegates to the sixty-first session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Daisy Jane F. Orion, Corporate Secretary


Your Turn

We welcome your letters, noting, as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specific, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone number—even with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: [email protected]

Coaches are the prima donnas of sports, and their quips are its unforgettable arias. There’s tautology from the legendary Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” And contradiction: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”1 And euphemism from Vince Lombardi: “We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.”2

Words from the sports world, whether from a coach or other source, often bear compelling import for Christians in their striving for the mastery. Paul acknowledges the spiritual power of evocations from the athletic world: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training” (1 Cor. 9:25, NIV).

Here, now, are words to hear—from the world of sports and from the Lord of life—on (a) effort—what it takes; (b) quality—what’s better, or worse; (c) personnel—who qualifies; (d) the goal—hitting the bull’s-eye and knowing you’ve made it:

Michael Phelps, on Effort

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever, with 28 medals, including 23 gold, says: “I think goals should never be easy. They should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”3

And sacred Scripture says:

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, 7, 8: “To everything there is a season,..: a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Leviticus 26:18, 20: “if you do not obey Me, . . . your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce.”

Psalm 127:1, 2: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”

Hebrews 12:1-4: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, . . . For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, . . . You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”

Billie Jean King and Marnelli Dimzon, on Quality

King , American tennis star, founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, says, “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”4

Dimzon, also called “Coach Let,” former Pilipino soccer player, national team assistant coach, says, “I took note of all the things Master Kim would say.”5

And what does the Bible say about quality?

Isaiah 13:12: “I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir.”

Job 23:10: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

1 Peter 5:10: “[M]ay the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34: “You have heard . . . . But Isay....Youhaveheard....But I say . . . . Furthermore it has been said, . . . But I say. . . . Again you haveheard,...ButIsay....”

Vince Lombardi on Personnel

Lombardi, perhaps the most oft quoted coach in American sports, said: “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”6

Who qualifies, according to the Bible?

1 Corinthians 1:30, 31: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”

John 3:15, 16: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

“Coach Let,” on the Goal

“The thing with me is when I set my mind to things I do them.”7

And in the mind and program of God, who makes it? How does anyone know they’ve made it?

Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Revelation 7:9: “I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all na-tions, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”

1 John 5:4: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”


1 “The Random Vibez: Quotes, Memes and Sayings,” https://www.therandomvibez.com/ yogi-berra-quotes-sayings/. Yogi Berra, baseball catcher, manager, and coach, won 10 World Series titles—more than any other player.

2 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ vince_lombardi_103598. Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers football team to five national championships in seven years.

3 https://www.swimmingworldmagazine. com/news/4-michael-phelps-quotes-to-keep-you-motivated/

4 King insisted on women being fairly reimbursed; she was awarded the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Find her quote at. https://www.goodreads.com/ quotes/209337-champions-keep-playing-until-they-get-it-right

5 Female Coaching Network [FCN], “Marnelli Dimzon – Interview”, Feb 7, 2016: https://femalecoachingnetwork.com/2016/02/07/ marnelli-dimzon/

6 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ vince_lombardi_382625.

7 See again, note #5.