Michelle Gustafson Discusses Faith
The church service in the Laurelbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church on December 19, 2015 began with an introit by Min Sterling on the piano. Elizabeth Castle had the Personal Ministries Corner. There was a prayer of dedication for the group from this area going on the Mexican church-building mission. Three groups will come together in Mexico, comprising 85 people in all going on this church-building trip to build four to five churches and holding an evangelistic series. They will be handing out stuffed animals to the children during the meetings. There will be a fellowship lunch at Jacqueline Miller’s place.
Bob Gustafson welcomed everyone and followed with the announcements. There will be a Mexico Mission trip meeting at 4:00 p.m. at the Gustafsons’ house across from the CNA building.
The congregation had a silent invocation. The congregation then sang “Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow”. Bob Gustafson then had the Morning Prayer; the congregation sang “Hear Our Prayer”. Elyjah (9th grader) and Scott Sterling then collected the morning offerings; the loose offering went to the local church budget. The congregation sang the doxology, and Bob Gustafson prayed for the offering.
Juanita Smith told the children a story about a boy named Jim. Someone invited him to a party that had a large Christmas tree with a fire truck on the tree. He really wanted the truck but picked a doll for his sister. He ran home and gave the doll to his sister who was really happy for the gift. Then the lady from the party knocked at the door. She gave him the fire truck and told him the children were sorry they had teased about the doll.
Bob Gustafson read Romans 1:16-17 “16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” TJ (sophomore) played “What Child Is This?” on his recorder, accompanied by Min Sterling and Jairit (junior) on the piano for special music with the congregation joining in part way through.
Michelle Gustafson discussed the topic “How Big Is Your Faith?” The congregation sang “Faith Is the Victory” and the first verse of “O Come All Ye Faithful”. Michelle Gustafson had the closing prayer.
Personnel Other Than Students:
Bob Gustafson – Laurelbrook vice-president and farm manager / local church elder
Elizabeth Castle – works in the Laurelbrook Nursing Home
Juanita Smith - academy registrar
Michelle Gustafson – wife of Bob Gustafson / organizes the student vocational program
Min Sterling – wife of Scott Sterling / works with the music program
Scott Sterling – teaches some of the academy science classes and works on the vocational program / on leave from a mission program in Bolivia
Following are some notes on the sermon by Michelle Gustafson:
- Sabbath, a gift from God, is better than Christmas. And it comes every week.
- Romans 1:16-17 “16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
- How big is your faith? But what is faith? Trust God and His Word.
- God often works things out in our everyday lives when we have faith in Him.
- Faith – complete trust or confidence / firm belief without logical proof / religious belief/ spiritual apprehension of divine truth / things believed / duty or commitment to fulfil a trust or promise
- Belief – firm opinion / trust or confidence / accept as truth or conveying the truth
- There are many stories of God’s faithful people – Daniel and David especially.
- Daniel 1:8-14 “8 ¶ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which [are] of your sort? then shall ye make [me] endanger my head to the king. 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.”
- Daniel risked his life to do what God wanted him to do; he had faith in God’s protection. As he was faithful to God, Daniel was placed in successively higher positions, dying to self as he exercised his faith.
- Daniel 6:1-23 “1 ¶ It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God. 6 ¶ Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. 10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11 ¶ Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask [a petition] of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 14 Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself, and set [his] heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. 16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions. [Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. 18 ¶ Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: [and] the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.”
- As Darius takes over the kingdom, he noticed Daniel as more distinguished than the other governors; he had God in his heart. Faith is a relationship with God.
- When we fall short, do we repent? If we don’t, have we really served God?
- The other governors wanted something to use against Daniel.
- Darius saw something different in Daniel; God had put Daniel where he was.
- Those jealous governors used self to persuade Darius to order all to exclusively worship him for 30 days. At this point, the king was not thinking about Daniel.
- Verse 8 emphasized that the law could not be changed when Darius sealed the law. Note, however, that Daniel prayed to God nevertheless. So he was thrown into the lions’ den.
- Only today is promised to each of us so we need to use faith in our daily lives.
- Daniel was thrown into a den of very hungry lions. The governors figured that Daniel was history. But the king couldn’t sleep but got up early in the morning to go to the lions’ den.
- David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king.
- 1 Samuel 17:32-40 “32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. 38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved [it]. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved [them]. And David put them off him. 40 ¶ And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”
- David chose to fight as he always did without armor.
- 1 Samuel 17:41-50 “41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield [went] before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was [but] a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 43 And the Philistine said unto David, [Am] I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. 45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. 48 ¶ And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang [it], and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but [there was] no sword in the hand of David.”
- 1 Samuel 17:51 “Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.”
- 1 Samuel 17:4 “And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height [was] six cubits and a span.” Goliath was 9 feet, 9 inches tall.
- How big is your faith? David killed Goliath with one stone and plenty of faith.
- Matthew 6:25-34 “25 ¶ Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.”
- Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
- God grows each of us through trials, giving us faith in the process.