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December 2019 Signs of the Times Newsletter!


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December 2019 Signs of the Times Email Newsletter

Don't miss Cyber-Monday at www.AdventistBookCenter.com FREE shipping on December 1 and 2, 2019.

The Signs of the Times newsletter is a collection of stories and quotes from past issues ofSigns and These Times.
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 Usually the stories in this newsletter are short. This story is an exception. The powerful reminder of God’s care, combined with a Christmas story makes it one well worth reading during this holiday season.

     I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold, our salary had not been regularly paid, and it did not meet our needs when it was.
     My husband was away much of the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing, and at best none of us were adequately clothed. I patched and repatched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well, and the wind blew through cracks in the floor.
     The people in the parish were kind, and generous too; but the settlement was new, and each family was struggling for itself. At the time I needed it most, my faith began to waver.
     Early in life I was taught to take God at His word, and I thought my lesson was well learned. I had lived upon the promises in dark times until I knew, as David did, who was “my fortress, and my deliverer.”
     My husband’s overcoat was hardly thick enough for December, and he was often obliged to ride miles to attend some meeting or funeral. Many times our breakfast was cornbread and a glass of milk.
     Christmas was coming; the children always expected their presents. I remember the ice was thick and smooth, and the boys were each craving a pair of skates. Ruth, in some unaccountable way, had taken a fancy that the dolls I had made were no longer suitable; she wanted a nice large one and insisted on praying for it.
     I knew it seemed impossible; but, oh! I wanted to give each child his present. It seemed as if God had deserted us, but I did not tell my husband all this. He worked so earnestly and heartily. I supposed him to be as hopeful as ever. I kept the sitting room cheerful with an open fire, and tried to serve our scanty meals as invitingly as I could.
     The morning before Christmas James was called to see a sick man. I put up a piece of bread for his lunch—it was the best I could do—wrapped my plaid shawl around his neck, and then tried to whisper a promise as I often had; but the words died away upon my lips. I let him go without it.
     That was a dark, hopeless day. I coaxed the children to bed early, for I could not bear their talk. When Ruth went to bed, I listened to her prayer. She asked for the last time most explicitly for her doll and for skates for her brothers. Her bright face looked so lovely when she whispered to me, “You know, I think they’ll be here early tomorrow morning, Mom,” that I thought I could move heaven and earth to save her from disappointment. I sat down alone and gave way to the most bitter tears.
     Before long James returned, chilled and exhausted. He drew off his boots; the thin stockings slipped off with them, and his feet were red with cold. “I wouldn’t treat a dog that way, let alone a faithful servant,” I said. Then as I glanced up and saw the hard lines in his face and the look of despair, it flashed across me that James had let go, too.
     I brought him a warm drink, feeling sick and dizzy at the very thought. He took my hand, and we sat for an hour without a word. I wanted to tell God His promise was not true, for my soul was so full of rebellious despair.
     Suddenly there came a sound of bells, a quick stop, and a loud knock at the door. James sprang up to open it. There stood Deacon White. “A box came by express just before dark. I brought it around as soon as I could get away. Reckon it might be for Christmas. ‘At any rate,’ I said, ‘they shall have it tonight.’ Here is a turkey my wife asked me to bring along, and these other things, I believe, belong to you.
     There was a basket of potatoes and a bag of flour. Talking all the time, he hurried in the box, and then, with a hearty good night, he rode away.
     Still, without speaking, James found a chisel and opened the box. He drew out first a thick, red blanket, and we saw that beneath, the box was full of clothing. It seemed at that moment as if Christ fastened upon me a look of reproach. James sat down and covered his face with his hands. “I can’t touch them,” he exclaimed; “I haven’t been true, just when God was trying me to see if I could hold out. Do you think I could not see how you were suffering? And I had no word of comfort to offer. I know how to preach the awfulness of turning away from God.”
     “James,” I said, clinging to him, “don’t take it to heart like this. I am to blame; I should have helped you. We’ll ask Him together to forgive us.”
     “Wait a moment, dear; I cannot talk now,” he said, and left the room. I knelt down, and my heart broke; in an instant all the darkness, all the stubbornness, rolled away. Jesus came again with the loving word, “Daughter!”
     Sweet promises of tenderness and joy flooded my soul. I was so lost in praise and gratitude that I forgot everything else. I do not know how long it was before James came back, but I knew he, too, had found peace.
     “Now, my dear wife,” he said, “let us thank God together.” He poured out Bible words of praise, for nothing else could express our thanksgiving.
     It was eleven o’clock and the fire was low; and there was the great box, with nothing touched but the warm blanket we needed. We piled on some fresh logs, lighted candles, and began to examine our treasure.
     We drew out an overcoat; I made James try it on. It was just the right size, and I danced around him; for all my lightheartedness had returned. Then there was a cloak, and he insisted on seeing me in it.
     There was a warm suit of clothes also, and three pairs of woolen hose. There was a dress for me, yards of flannel, and a pair of arctic overshoes for each of us—in mine was a slip of paper. I have it now and mean to hand it down to my children. It was Jacob’s blessing to Asher: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” In the gloves, evidently for James, the same dear hand had written, “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
     It was a wonderful box, and packed with thoughtful care. There was a suit of clothes for each of the boys and a little red gown for Ruth. There were mittens, scarfs, and hoods; and down in the center, a small box—we opened it and there was a great wax doll. I burst into tears again; James wept with me for joy. It was too much. Then we both exclaimed again, for close behind it came two pairs of skates. There were books for us to read—some of them I had long wished to see—stories for the children to read, aprons and underclothing, knots of ribbon, a gay little tidy, a lovely photograph, needles, buttons and thread, a muff, and an envelope containing a ten-dollar gold piece.
     At last we cried over everything we took up. It was past midnight, and we were faint and exhausted even with happiness. I made a warm drink and cut a fresh loaf of bread; James boiled some eggs. We pulled the table before the fire, and we enjoyed our supper.
     You should have seen the children the next morning! The boys raised a shout at the sight of their skates, and Ruth caught up her doll and hugged it tightly without a word, then went into her room and knelt by her bed.
     “Look here, wife; see the difference?” We went to the window, and there were the boys out of the house already, skating on the ice.
     My husband and I both tried to return thanks to the church that sent us the box, and we have tried to return thanks unto God every day since.
     Hard times have come again and again, but we have trusted in Him, dreading nothing so much as to doubt His protecting care. Over and over again we have proved that “they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”—Anonymous, These Times, December 1958.

Quote: “The word of God is solid; and it will stand a thousand readings; and the man who has gone over it the most frequently and the most carefully is the surest of finding new wonders there.”—By James Hamilton, Signs of the Times, June 17, 1908.

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Don't miss the January, 2020 issue of Signs of the Times: To order Signs, call: 1-800-765-6955 or CLICK to online.
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NEW from Pacific Press—Christmas In My Heart, Vol. 28--When the first Christmas in My Heart book rolled off the presses in 1992, Dr. Joe Wheeler had no idea it would develop into the longest running Christmas story series in America. Book 28 is a collection of Dr. Wheeler’s favorite entries from books 1–13, including three of his original stories. To get into the holiday spirit, gather your loved ones around the dinner table or snuggle into a favorite chair with a steaming cup of cider and read a story each day in the weeks before Christmas!

CLICK to read the first chapter of this book online.

Order online or from your local Adventist Book Center--1-800-765-6955.
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     An old Scotchman was asked whether he ever expected to go to heaven. “Why, man, I live there,” was his quaint reply. Let us all live in those spiritual things which are the essential features of heaven. Often go there before you go to stay there.—Unknown,Signs of the Times, April 16, 1894.

Quote: “When we look into the long avenue of the future, and see the good there is for each one of us to do, we realize, after all, what a beautiful thing it is to work, and to live, and be happy.”—Unknown, Signs of the Times, October 28, 1913.

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Place this in your church bulletin or newsletter: Send a GIFT that helps your friends and neighbors find hope and meaning in these momentous times. Each month Signs of the Times takes on a broken world and directs hearts to Jesus for relevant answers. The result is changed lives! Order from your Adventist Book Center. Call 1-800-765-6955 or go online at: http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/signs-of-the-times-magazine-yearly-us-subscription.html
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     A small boy was perched far out on the branch of a tree, enjoying a luscious red apple, when a kindly passerby offered a word of warning. “Sonny, it is dangerous out there. That limb might not be very strong; and, should you fall from away up there, I am afraid you would be hurt.”
     “I’m all right, mister,” bluntly  came the reply. “I’ve been up here lots of times, and this old limb doesn’t even crack. Watch!” And, with this invitation, he began to swing the branch violently up and down like a springboard.
     There was a loud crackling noise, and a very surprised little lad found himself half stunned on the hard ground. Between sobs, he lamented: “I didn’t know that limb was all rotten in the heart! It looked strong from the outside.”
     Many things appear to us as that limb looked to that lad before he learned its true condition. We are not as Christians to put our faith in material things—things of the world—or to trust too much in men, even though from all appearances they seem trustworthy. From such trust can come only disappointment. Our faith must be in God. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Psalm 146:3.—By Alexander Clark, Signs of the Times, January 20, 1942.

Quote: “I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the disciples, but a great deal about the Acts of the Apostles.”—By Horace Mann, Signs of the Times, January 8, 1908.

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Are you looking for a gift to give a friend this holiday season? A gift that will remind them of Christ and His love? Check out the books and materials atwww.AdventistBookCenter.com
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Our Friend
By Mark Vanderbilt
Signs of the Times, February 11, 1913

God sent His singers to the earth
To tell us of our Saviour’s birth,
And shepherds watching in the night
Heard voices praising in the height.

A holy Friend from heaven came
To win our hearts from sin and pain,
A Friend whose merits can suffice
To win us back to Paradise.

A Friend so close I can not tell,
A Friend who doeth all things well,
A Friend more close than any ties
Of human love or sacrifice.

His love has bridged the gulf of sin.
Accept His love, and peace within
Will fill the soul, and there abide
In heavenly graces glorified.

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Compiled by Dale Galusha. Please pass this newsletter on to others.
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