“You may as well know … that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian, for men  will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad.” 2 Timothy 3:4, The Living Bible, Paraphrased.

As we begin the Week of Prayer at a time when the world is in turmoil on many fronts and the religious world celebrates the 500th anniversary of an important moment in the Protestant Reformation, it is appropriate that we focus on Jesus and “Righteousness by Faith.” The principle of Sola scriptura (Scripture alone) preached and practiced by the Reformers of the Sixteenth Century has to a great degree shaped Western society. The idea that there are absolute laws in nature as well as in human behavior has in many ways created the world in which we live. Believing in the consistency of natural law, man has learned to fly above the clouds, create communication networks, and glimpse some of the truly amazing workings of the amazing web of life.

However, while we enjoy the fruits of advanced knowledge, the human race has unfortunately turned its back on the most important knowledge by failing to apply the absolute laws of human interaction and the spiritual side of man. God has truly blessed this world with rich physical and spiritual treasures. but the corresponding fruits of gratitude and humility have not appeared.

Today “there is need of a return to the great Protestant principle–the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty…. The same unswerving adherence to the Word of God manifested at that crisis of the Reformation, is the only hope of reform today….” –The Great Controversy, 1888, pp. 204, 205.

“At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 136.

As the principles of God’s law have not changed and cannot change, let us be transformed into new men and women in Christ Jesus. By beholding and following Him, the Rock of our salvation, we will indeed reflect His image. The secret is simple: “We become overcomers by helping others to overcome.” –Review and Herald, February 25, 1909.

Let us shake ourselves, arise, and rekindle our lamps to reflect God’s character to all around us and send His saving message into the world through our actions, gifts, and prayers. He has ordained that our lives and our unselfish gifts of love will bless many both near and far with a revelation of Himself to earth’s last generation. Considering the times and God’s great mercies to us, can we be too giving? Let our hearts burn with that “first love” as we see Jesus’ coming drawing near.

Sabbath, December 9, the final day of the Week of Prayer, is a day of fasting and prayer. The annual Week of Prayer offerings will be gathered for the General Conference. They will be disbursed across a broad spectrum of missionary outreach and will bless God’s work.

The church leaders are requested to visit and share the Readings with those who are unable to attend the meetings because of illness or infirmity. Let everyone participate wholeheartedly in this Week of Prayer as the believers across the globe unite in prayer to God to shed His righteousness into every heart that is surrendered to His will. This is the only way that the promise can be fulfilled, that “God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.” –The Great Controversy, p. 595.

The brothers and sisters of the General Conference