September 10, 2019—Itú, Brazil
Just over two-hundred delegates and some staff joined their voices together this morning to sing the beautiful hymn “I Stand Amazed in the Presence” to open our morning worship.
This hymn’s culminating line is the following: "How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Saviour’s love for me." We can truly experience that during this delegation session. God's love and mercy is renewed every morning, and we have the hope and His promise that it will continue to be renewed each day of our life.
Brother T. Batiwale of Fiji conducted the morning worship expounding on the subject: “Body and Mind Inseparable.” He spoke about our body being the temple of the Holy Spirit. What we eat affects our mind and our mood. Since there is such a connection between the body and the mind, how careful we should be in what we eat, and how we eat!
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.". "One of the strongest temptations that man has to meet is upon the point of appetite. Between the mind and the body there is a mysterious and wonderful relation. . . . To neglect the body is to neglect the mind." —Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 485, 486.
"Christ knew that the world was given up to gluttony, and that this indulgence would pervert the moral powers." —Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 54.
"The relation of diet to intellectual development should be given far more attention than it has received. Mental confusion and dullness are often the result of errors in diet." —Education, p. 204.
The question is, how do emotions harm our body? Anger weakens the liver; grief weakens the lungs; worry weakens the stomach; stress weakens the heart and brain; fear weakens the kidney.
"Christ knew that in order to successfully carry forward the plan of salvation He must commence the work of redeeming man just where the ruin began." —Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 54.
"The first work for those who would reform,is to purify the imagination." —An Appeal to Mothers, p. 30.
The body and mind are inseparable. Why do we need to have our body and mind inseparable? "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." Ephesians.
Our body needs to be ready for the Holy Spirit. "And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. . . . " The condition followed, "if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.", .
Brother R. Dumaguit, the Assistant Chairman of the Session and also the GC 1st Vice President-elect, addressed the delegation session before the session began. He spoke about our work as missionaries and asked: Who sent us to work today? He quoted from the Bible: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”. "Brethren," he explained, "it is God that gives the will to go and also the power to do our work. God does not force us to do anything. He will not force us to go and work, but His love compels us to do so."
"I was born in the Reform Movement," Brother Dumaguit explained. "Growing up, my belief was based on fear. My father was a strict man, and he would punish us if we were not doing things that were according to our beliefs. This was a dry religion that I didn’t really benefit from it, but when I understood God’s love towards me, my religion came alive. I was serving not because of fear, not because I was told to do this or that, but because I understood the price that was paid for my salvation. Doing was a pleasure because I was compelled by that love God has shown towards me. Then, those who love God with all their heart will render the best service of their life. Serving God will no longer be a burden but a joy. Love of God will be the driving force, although sometimes our work will be difficult, His love will enable us and give us the courage to go on."
After a session of prayers, our work continued on and Brother Tenorio, the Temporary Secretary and GC President-elect, read the minutes of the previous day, and it was accepted by all the delegates.
Brother P. Lausevic addressed the delegation session on the tabled doctrinal resolution of the communion cup. The summary of his speech is below:
“As human beings, we all have our viewpoints and we have our differences of opinions, but we in the General Conference meet together to be able to come to unity and understanding. A lot of things that we talk about, we have a misunderstanding with because we don’t have the capacity to actually listen to each other.
"I am reminded of the experience in the time of Joshua when the tribes of Ruben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh that were living on the other side of the Jordan River, felt that their children would misunderstand their relationship to Israel and that the other tribes also might not recognize them as the same people because there was the Jordan River dividing them. So they built an altar unto God, but this altar was a memorial altar rather than an altar of sacrifice. God had been very clear that there was to be only one altar in Israel and that was in Shiloh at that time.
"When the other children of Israel heard about this new altar, they actually prepared for war against the apostate tribes on the other side of the river. They selected as the leader Phinehas who was the leader in defending the truth. He was the one who dealt with another case in Israel just before they crossed the river Jordan. Israel fell in apostasy of immorality. When the leader boldly came into camp with the Midianitish woman, he took a javelin and stopped the plague actually by executing them instantly in their own tent. This was the person that was chosen to lead the children of Israel against the ones on the other side of the river.
"They came together. They were prepared for war, and when they met they accused the other ones of apostasy. But the others instead of responding in like manner took God as the witness of their intentions to serve the Lord. They explained that this altar was not for sacrifice but was a memorial. When Phinehas heard this, he was satisfied and the Bible says he was actually blessed because the Lord prevented bloodshed in Israel.
"The lessons we can learn from this is that many a time we make severe mistakes in wanting to defend the truth, and we DO want to defend the truth. The problem is that we don’t listen to others. We may sometimes find that they are not in apostasy. They are also trying to defend the truth, but we have some misunderstandings. As a delegation session, we need to remember that past experience. We need to try to find ways that we can unite together and work together, and have the blessings that come as a result of a united effort.”
After this appeal, the delegates had a season of prayer and divided into their respective committees for work which continued for the rest of the day.
The full session came together at the end of the day for the evening worship presented by Brother E. Bigirimana from Burundi, on the topic, "Minds Filled with God’s Promises." “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”.
When the truth of the Bible comes into our heart, a change takes place. The habits change day by day. Our righteousness becomes nothing, but Jesus Christ is the one that does the work and the difference is huge. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”, .
If we have Jesus in our heart, if He dwells in there, our words or actions will no longer be condemning us. Brother Bigirimana explained, "we need to keep our hearts pure. We need to reserve it only for Jesus. Satan wants that place and he tries to come into it every moment. But if Jesus is the resident of our heart, then Satan cannot enter there." "But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." Deuteronomy.
Brother Bigirimana told an experience of an elderly brother in Burundi who quickly became very sick. They took him to the hospital and gave him oxygen for 5 hours after which he fully recovered. Then he received the bill, and, as he was looking at it, he became very sad and start crying. The doctor asked him: "Why are you crying? Do you not have enough money to pay?" The brother replied, "I came here, and you gave me air for five hours, and I have to pay BIF 500,000 (Burundian Frank). I am not crying for this. I have money to pay for this," the elderly brother said. "But I was wondering if I was here for a year and you gave me this air it would have cost me BIF 876,000,000 (Equivalent to USD $473,476). I am now 78 years of age, and when I look back at my life, all along I received air for free. And now I realize that if God would charge me for all that air, it would be a sum I would not be able to pay. But God has given all this air for me for free. How much God loves me, doctor! Can you tell?" Then they both cried together.
Dear Brethren, this is our heavenly Father. The One who is willing to give us not only free air but everything we do not deserve. He gave His Son’s life for our redemption. Can we not give our heart to Him solely? I pray we all think about this tonight.
"May God bless you, my brethren," Brother Bigirimana concluded.