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Some time ago Google changed its spam catching algorithm in a way that flags posts to this community far more aggressively than it did before. An automatically flagged post remains invisible to the community until a moderator approves it. This is a double-edged sword: On one hand, this community receives a tremendous amount of spam, and the aggressive flagging tends to keep pornography and other inappropriate content out. On the other hand, legitimate posts are flagged far more frequently. Because of the volume of flagged posts, it's nearly impossible to review everything.

Most of the time a user's posts are flagged because the user posts the same content to many different communities at once, and so Google's algorithm believes the content is spam. Users should not be syndicating content to this community anyway as those kinds of posts violate the community guidelines.

If anyone believes their posts are being inappropriately filtered, they should bring it to my attention.

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Monster Waves - Amazing Facts Devotional
Jul 16, 2018

AN AMAZING FACT: Tsunamis are among the most destructive of natural disasters. This is due in part to the fact that much of the world’s population lives within a mile of the ocean. Tsunamis are sometimes called tidal waves, but they really have nothing to do with the tide. They are actually seismic sea waves caused by earthquakes, undersea landslides, volcanic eruptions, or even asteroids striking the ocean that results in a sudden colossal movement of the sea water.
Tsunamis can look like great, massive, towering waves or appear as quickly rising monster tides that surge in without warning. Out in the deep ocean a tsunami wave can travel at speeds over 500 mph. That’s as fast as a jet plane! These killer waves may be only a foot high in the deep ocean, and might not even be noticed by boats in the area, but as they reach shallow water the waves grow slower and taller, some to over 100 feet high!

Perhaps thousands of tsunamis occur all the time—the majority in the Pacific Ocean—but most are too small to even notice. But every few years, some seismic event will produce a large tsunami wave that kills thousands of people. The famous volcanic explosion of Krakatoa on August 27, 1883, generated terrifying tsunami waves that were up to 151
feet in height. These waves destroyed 295 towns and villages in Western Java and Southern Sumatra, and over 36,000 people were drowned.

The largest tsunami wave ever recorded in modern times was in Lituya Bay, Alaska, in 1958 and is described as a mega-tsunami. It was caused by a massive landslide triggered by an 8.3 magnitude earthquake. When the wave rushed across the bay it ran up the valley walls to a height of 1,720 feet.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said one of the signs of the end will be “distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). Natural disasters are increasing, signaling Earth’s grand finale. This could be a frightening scenario, but we don’t need to be afraid. In the words of Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength,” even if the mountains fall into the sea. As long as we have Jesus, we are safe.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Luke 21:25

The Wise Virgins Let Their Light Shine, July 16

The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Matthew 25:4.

In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching. It helped to swell the illumination for the bridegroom’s honor. Shining out in the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast.

So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His Word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The coming of the bridegroom was at midnight—the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history. The days of Noah and Lot picture the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures pointing forward to this time declare that Satan will work with all power and “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10). His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine.

He causes “the light to shine out of darkness” (2 Corinthians 4:6). When “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:2, 3). So in the night of spiritual darkness, God’s Word goes forth, “Let there be light.” To His people He says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1).

“Behold,” says the Scripture, “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee” (verse 2).—Christ’s Object Lessons, 414, 415.

This text is from the book Reflecting Christ by Ellen G. White.

The Social Relations
The usefulness of young ministers, married or unmarried, is often destroyed by the attachment shown to them by young women. Such women do not realize that other eyes are upon them, and that the course pursued by them may have a tendency to injure the influence of the minister to whom they give so much attention. If they would strictly regard the rules of propriety, it would be much better for them and much better for the minister. Their failure to do this places him in a disagreeable position, and causes others to look upon him in a wrong light. GW 129.1
But the burden of this matter rests upon the ministers themselves. They should show a distaste for such attention; and if they take the course which God would have them, they will not long be troubled. They should shun every appearance of evil; and when young women are very sociable, it is the ministers’ duty to let them know that this is not pleasing. They must repulse forwardness, even if they are thought to be rude, in order to save the cause from reproach. Young women who have been converted to the truth and to God, will listen to reproof, and will be reformed. GW 129.2
Jesting, joking, and worldly conversation belong to the world. Christians who have the peace of God in their hearts, will be cheerful and happy without indulging in lightness or frivolity. While watching unto prayer, they will have a serenity and peace which will elevate them above all superfluities. GW 129.3
The mystery of godliness, opened to the mind of the minister of Christ, will raise him above earthly and sensual enjoyments. He will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The communion opened between God and his soul will make him fruitful in the knowledge of God's will, and open before him treasures of practical subjects that he can present to the people, which will not cause levity or the semblance of a smile, but will solemnize the mind, touch the heart, and arouse the moral sensibilities to the sacred claims that God has upon the affections and life. Those who labor in word and doctrine should be men of God, pure in heart and life.—Testimonies for the Church 3:241. GW 130.1
Young men are arising to engage in the work of God, some of whom have scarcely any sense of the sacredness and responsibility of the work. They have but little experience in exercising faith, and in earnest soul-hunger for the Spirit of God, which ever brings returns. Some men of good capabilities, who might fill important positions, do not know what spirit they are of. They run in a jovial mood as naturally as water flows downhill. They talk nonsense, and sport with young girls, while almost daily listening to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths. These men have a religion of the head, but their hearts are not sanctified by the truths they hear. Such can never lead others to the Fountain of living waters until they have drunk of the stream themselves. GW 130.2

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God's Bountiful Country - Amazing Facts Devotional
Jul 14, 2018

AN AMAZING FACT: The most densely concentrated area of life on the planet is the tropical rainforest. In fact, researchers found that just a 4-mile-square patch of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles, 60 species of amphibians, and 150 different species of butterflies. A single pond in Brazil is home to more fish species than can be found in all of Europe’s rivers, while the fish species in the Amazon River outnumber those in the Atlantic Ocean! But of the estimated 5 million species in the rainforest, only a small percentage has been named, much less studied.
The rainforest is also a cornucopia of produce, with over 3,000 varieties of fruit. Fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangoes, and tomatoes all originated in tropical rainforests. Even so, the rainforest’s bounty is largely undiscovered by the Western world: of the 3,000 varieties,
Westerners only use around 200.

In addition, the rainforest contains a pharmaceutical gold mine. Nearly half of our medicinal compounds come from the plant life in the tropical rainforest, including drugs for childhood leukemia and heart disease. Yet these riches are largely unmined, as less than 1 percent of tropical plants and trees have been tested by scientists.

Rainforests are a living dynamo of animals, plants, and medicines, but instead of discovering and enjoying its bounty, man is destroying it at the rate of 1 acre every minute. While rainforests used to cover fifteen percent of the Earth’s land area, today they cover less than seven percent. In the book of Jeremiah, God expresses His displeasure over how Israel treated the Promised Land: “I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination” (Jeremiah 2:7). The book of Revelation makes it plain that God will eventually “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). As the Earth’s caretakers, shouldn’t we do our best to preserve His bountiful country?
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. Revelation 11:18

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Amazing Facts Daily Devotional

Raining Fish

Jul 15 2018 12:00 AM PDT

Average reading time is about 6 minutes

An Amazing Fact: You have probably heard the expression “raining cats and dogs.” While there is no record of the sky ever showering canines and felines, other creatures have rained from the sky. For example, on March 5, 2000, farmers tending their fields in southern Ethiopia reported seeing, and smelling, an unusual downpour on their drought-stricken land. Suddenly they were being pelted by millions of falling fish. For a country crippled by famine, this was a welcome and unexpected answer to their prayers.

Reports of falling fish, frogs, tomatoes, and even coal date back to antiquity. In the first century, Pliny the Elder mentioned storms of frogs and fish. Jellyfish reportedly fell from the sky in Bath, England, in 1894. Worms dropped from the sky in Jennings, Louisiana, on July 11, 2007, and spiders fell out of the sky on April 6, 2007, in Salta Province, Argentina!

The phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” probably comes from an era when animals walked on the thatched roofs of homes that became soft during rainstorms, and the household pet came through the roof. Actually, most countries have strange expressions for heavy rain. In Bosnia they say, “It’s raining crowbars.” In Czech it’s “wheelbarrows,”
and the Dutch say, “It’s raining like kittens.” That’s probably better than the Serbians, who refer to “axes,” or the Welsh, who speak of it raining like “old ladies and sticks!”

Meteorologists say it is more common than you might think for cloud bursts to open and release a hail of small fish, snails, or tadpoles. Weather experts explain these freak showers occur because powerful updrafts generated during thunderstorms form mini-tornadoes. If the storm brews out at sea, or crosses a river or lake, the tornado can suck up small fish or frogs swimming close to the surface. These water spouts can then carry away the raptured creatures and deposit them several miles away. Sometimes while still alive! In 1930 an eight-inch turtle fell from the sky during a storm in Mississippi.

The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns the saved will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. But many Christians misunderstand how this will happen. Unlike the popular notion that Christians will be raptured before Christ returns, the Bible teaches that when Jesus comes and the dead in Christ rise, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hebrews 11:13

Two Classes of Watchers, July 15

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105.

The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God. The psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Spirit is represented in the prophecy of Zechariah.... “I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, ... and two olive trees by it.” ...

From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His Word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” ... many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit....

The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan....

Character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working.—Christ’s Object Lessons, 406-412.

This text is from the book Reflecting Christ by Ellen G. White.

When parents and children meet at the final reckoning, what a scene will be presented! Thousands of children who have been slaves to appetite and debasing vice, whose lives are moral wrecks, will stand face to face with the parents who made them what they are. Who but the parents must bear this fearful responsibility? Did the Lord make these youth corrupt? Oh, no! He made them in His image, a little lower than the angels. Who, then, has done the fearful work of forming the life character? Who changed their characters so that they do not bear the impress of God, and must be forever separated from His presence as too impure to have any place with the pure angels in a holy heaven? Were the sins of the parents transmitted to the children in perverted appetites and passions? And was the work completed by the pleasure-loving mother in neglecting to properly train them according to the pattern given her? All these mothers will pass in review before God just as surely as they exist. Satan is ready to do his work and to present temptations which they have no will or moral power to resist. 3T 568.2
Our people are constantly retrograding upon health reform. Satan sees that he cannot have such a controlling power over them as he could if appetite were indulged. Under the influence of unhealthful food the conscience becomes stupefied, the mind becomes darkened, and its susceptibility to impressions is blunted. But because violated conscience is benumbed and becomes insensible, the guilt of the transgressor is not lessened. 3T 569.1
Satan is corrupting minds and destroying souls through his subtle temptations. Will our people see and feel the sin of indulging perverted appetite? Will they discard tea, coffee, flesh meats, and all stimulating food, and devote the means expended for these hurtful indulgences to spreading the truth? These stimulants do only harm, and yet we see that a large number of those who profess to be Christians are using tobacco. These very men will deplore the evil of intemperance, and while speaking against the use of liquors will eject the juice of tobacco. While a healthy state of mind depends upon the normal condition of the vital forces, what care should be exercised that neither stimulants nor narcotics be used. 3T 569.2
Tobacco is a slow, insidious poison, and its effects are more difficult to cleanse from the system than those of liquor. What power can the tobacco devotee have to stay the progress of intemperance? There must be a revolution in our world upon the subject of tobacco before the ax is laid at the root of the tree. We press the subject still closer. Tea and coffee are fostering the appetite which is developing for stronger stimulants, as tobacco and liquor. And we come still closer home, to the daily meals, the tables spread in Christian households. Is temperance practiced in all things? Are the reforms which are essential to health and happiness carried out there? Every true Christian will have control of his appetite and passions. Unless he is free from the bondage and slavery of appetite he cannot be a true, obedient servant of Christ. It is the indulgence of appetite and passion which makes the truth of none effect upon the heart. It is impossible for the spirit and power of the truth to sanctify a man, soul, body, and spirit, when he is controlled by appetite and passion. 3T 569.3

The Ten Virgins Represent the Church, July 14

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Matthew 25:6.

Christ with His disciples is seated upon the Mount of Olives. The sun has set behind the mountains, and the heavens are curtained with the shades of evening. In full view is a dwelling house lighted up brilliantly as if for some festive scene. The light streams from the openings, and an expectant company wait around, indicating that a marriage procession is soon to appear.

In many parts of the East, wedding festivities are held in the evening. The bridegroom goes forth to meet his bride and bring her to his home. By torchlight the bridal party proceed from her father’s house to his own, where a feast is provided for the invited guests. In the scene upon which Christ looks, a company are waiting the appearance of the bridal party, intending to join the procession.

Lingering near the bride’s house are ten young women robed in white. Each carries a lighted lamp and a small flagon for oil. All are anxiously watching for the appearance of the bridegroom. But there is a delay. Hour after hour passes; the watchers become weary and fall asleep. At midnight the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The sleepers, suddenly awaking, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

The ten maidens seize their lamps and begin to trim them, in haste to go forth. But five have neglected to fill their flasks with oil. They did not anticipate so long a delay, and they have not prepared for the emergency. In distress they appeal to their wiser companions, saying, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out.” But the waiting five, with their freshly trimmed lamps, have emptied their flagons. They have no oil to spare, and they answer, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”

While they went to buy, the procession moved on, and left them behind. The five with lighted lamps joined the throng and entered the house with the bridal train, and the door was shut. When the foolish virgins reached the banqueting hall, they received an unexpected denial....

As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, He told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming.—Christ’s Object Lessons, 405, 406.

This text is from the book Reflecting Christ by Ellen G. White.
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