Copyright by the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists All rights reservedPublished by Review and Herald Publishing AssociationWritten by: Ioan Campian-TâtarEdited by: Sandra BlackmerCover: Synesthezia Emotional Marketing, LLCLayout and Design: Johnetta B. FlomoThis material may be translated, printed, or photocopied by any Seventh-day Adventist entity without securing further permission. Republished documents must include thecredit line: “Stewardship Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, used by permission.” Selling this work for profit is prohibited.Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture taken from the New King James Version . Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.Holy Bible, New International Version , NIV. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

DAYDAYDAYDAYFromSadness toSingingBackto BethelStewardFor TheEnd TimeTable of ContentsDAYNo CompromiseIn BabylonDAYTheDelight ofKindness InReal LifeDAYDAYMissionaryIn SamariaHealingTimeThe GiftOf LoveIntroduction 05 Commitment Cards 04 About the Author 853TA B L E O F CO NTENTS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M


IntroductionAs we approach the end of the year,we invite you to pause and reflect onsome major life issues. From a globalperspective, for many of us, will godown in history as a terrifying and disruptive year. The events took us by surprise,though we are attentive to the unfoldingof biblical prophecies. A significantamount of energy was mobilized to adaptto new realities and to shift into a protective mode. Too much for just one year!Going through such a whirlwind has thecapacity to drift us away from our anchorpoints. A spiritual checkup is necessaryfor our well-being.The Stewardship Revival Week, writtenby Pastor Ioan Câmpian Tâtar, the Stewardship Ministries director of InterEuropean Division, serves as an instrumentfor a thorough introspection exercise. He5I NTRO D U C TI O Nprobes into some Bible stories and leadshis readers to ask the fundamental lifequestion: Am I seeking God first in thenitty gritty of my existence?This year’s World Stewardship Emphasis Day will be held on December 5. The week prior is recognized asStewardship Emphasis Week, a time whenAdventist stewardship leaders around theworld will lead out in the morning worshipservice and conduct afternoon seminars;encouraging members to put God first inall aspects of their lives.We encourage each local church toplan and organize the “God-First” week ofprayer to nurture God’s stewards for theirjourney to eternity. The GC Stewardshipteam prays that this program will serve asa refreshing and refilling stop for each ofus.S EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

DAYFrom Sadnessto Singing6FRO M SA D N E S S TO S I N G I N GS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

DAY 1 From Sadness to Singing“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:27).time of the judges. It was one of the mostof believers, the local church, or even thetroubling periods in the history of thewrong step, and Elkanah’s case is no ex-church as a whole should look. We wantpeople of Israel. The moral and members to be eager to studydeterioration is obvious; this period canthe Word of God, like those in Bereabe called the Dark Ages of the Old Testament.A Family and A Nation In CrisisThe first two chapters of the book ofThe narrator presents the tense re-1 Samuel present the real life, withoutlationships within this family. Exactlyretouching, of a family of those times.when they most needed a joyful atti-Elkanah gathers all the members of histude for their worship to become a realfamily every year and goes to Shiloh, theheartfelt experience, everything turnedspiritual and religious center of Israel, “toto bitterness, strife, and disappointment.worship and sacrifice to the Lord (1 Sam.Elkanah had two wives—Peninnah and1:3). Seeing the whole family heading toHannah—and there was much tensionthe place of public worship was some-between the two of them. Even at the(Acts 17:11), with an active prayer life andthing to be appreciated in those days, asplace of worship, Peninnah continued toinvolvement in mission. Of course, a livingit is today.denigrate Hannah because Hannah wasand spiritually powerful church is madeInstead, the reality beyond the ap-childless in words that hurt her soul (1up of consecrated families, families thatpearance was different. According to theSam 1:6). The only thing Hannah couldstudy the Word of God and make a dailycustoms then, if a family did not havedo was to withdraw from the celebrationhabit of praying to and praising Him.children, some would take a second tears. A family in spiritual and rela-All such examples in the Bible speak oftional crisis actually showed what wasI invite you to go in your mind to the7the negative consequences of such aWe all have an image of how a familyFRO M SA D N E S S TO S I N G I N GS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

happening at that time on a differentand the lack of children was a shame inscale, at the level of the whole nation.The strongest proof that God does nother culture, a sign of divine displeasure.Pilgrims from all over the country camegive up on us is the book of Judges, theLittle by little, however, this dream of hersto Shiloh for one reason, to worship. Thosebooks of Samuel, the entire Bible, anddied and had become the object of Pen-there who should have led all the peopleespecially the cross at Golgotha. God isinnah’s mockery. This time, though, whenin the holy act of worship “did not knowworking, but He chooses people to carryPeninnah mocked her, Hannah did some-the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:12). This is the mainout His plans.thing completely unusual. She rose fromreason for the moral and spiritual crisisHe chose Hannah, an ordinary womanthe table, not to mourn in solitude, but tothat the people of Israel were experienc-who was not a prophet like Deborah orcarry the burden of her soul before Goding. Compromise led to conflict and chaos.Hulda, but who had a spiritual sensitivityin prayer. The expression repeated manyExternal enemies attacked the nation (1and fear of God. Her name appears ontimes regarding this event is, “before theSam. 4-7), and corruption prevailed within.the pages of the Holy Scriptures alongLord” (1 Sam. 1:12). “Before the Lord” sheThe sons of Eli, the high priest, were guiltywith the great men of faith for the simpleprays and cries; she makes a promise;of a great sin because they “abhorredreason that she prayed. As a result of herhere, she stays for a long time, and maybethe offering of the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:17).prayer, the history of the people of Israelshe would have stayed longer if she hadFrom this sad story, we see thatturned and took a new direction. If shenot been interrupted by Eli, the highthe devil’s strategy is to ruin God’shad not prayed, would we be talking todaypriest.children. When worship is absent orabout Samuel, the prophet and judge,This expression is one consecrated inbecomes a failure at a personal, family,whose leadership resulted in real moralthe Old Testament; the worship had toor church level, the devil’s victory isand spiritual reform? He is the one whotake place before the Lord. God and notassured. For this reason, “the word ofensured the transition from the period ofman should be in the center of worship.the Lord was rare in those days; therethe judges to the monarchy. He wept forWhat a need we have today of such awas no widespread revelation” (1 Sam.Saul, but he had the privilege of anointingworship, in which singing, praying, preach-3:1). Like Hannah, who could not haveDavid, a man “after His own heart” (1, or any other element of worship ischildren, Israel had become a fruitless13:14), as king.done to the Lord and not for other people.people,8God Still WorksabarrenandfruitlessFRO M SA D N E S S TO S I N G I N Gland.Hannah longed to become a mother,Hannah asked God for a child, andS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

And she said, “O my lord! As yoursoul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, prayingto the Lord. For this child I prayed,and the Lord has granted me mypetition which I asked of Him.Therefore I also have lent him tothe Lord; as long as he lives heshall belent to the Lord.” So theyworshiped the Lord there.1 Samuel 1: 26-289FRO M SA D N E S S TO S I N G I N GS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

the reason she asked for this was clearlya sacrifice without the intercession of theIn special words, Ellen White expressesexpressed. It was not for the mockery e or to have the shame of infertilityBut the promise, or the vow, was then“When separated from her child, theremoved, but to give God a gift, the mostand continues to be today somethingfaithful mother’s solicitude did not cease.precious gift, a child. Hannah knows thatdone in direct relationship with God,Every day he was the subject of hera true relationship with God, like anywithout the intercession of any person.prayers. Every year she made, with herrelationship, develops not only by askingTrue worship costs. It costs time, prepa-own hands, a robe of service for him;but also by giving. This is why her prayerration, offerings, and tithe. David saidand as she went up with her husband tois unique in the Bible and becomes a vowhe could not bring God “a sacrifice thatworship at Shiloh, she gave the child this(1 Sam. 1:11). Hannah’s gift, just like Mary’swould cost him nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24).reminder of her love.”1gift (John 12:1-8), is so precious becauseBut, most of all, worship does not costmakes promises to God, but she alsoit is a gift of sacrifice. She promises andus, it costs God, by giving His Son. Thekeeps her word! (1 Sam. 1:26, 27).fulfills it with all her heart.One who first promised an offering is notHannah not onlyus, but God Himself (Gen. 3:15). Worshipwithout offering is not worship!A Promise Before OwningStaying“beforetheLord,”Hannah’s promise is the promise ofHannahfaith and love. Ellen White tells us that inmakes a promise to God that she willthose times, “such a prayer could rarelyreturn the child even before having seen. Eli’s reaction is obvious in thisA vow is an initiative of the worshiper; itregard” (1 Sam. 1:14). I believe that onis an act of worship. During the Old Tes-her behalf, God could say the words: “Otament period, most of the elements ofwoman, great is your faith!” (Matt. 15:28).public worship were conditioned by theHannah promised that the child wouldpresence of priests. One could not offerbe “consecrated to the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:11).110Hope For Difficult TimesThere are many precious truths that weEllen G. White, Christian Education, p. 214.FRO M SA D N E S S TO S I N G I N GS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

Questions:can learn from Hannah’s example. We canthrough prayer, we recognize His sover-see how God can use the negative expe-eignty; nothing is out of His control. Thereriences in our lives to create somethingis hope for times of crisis in the family, inhistory of a nation through God’s in-great. He can use the most painful trials tothe church, and in the whole world. Wetervention, what could happen todayteach us what trusting in Him means.have a God who takes care of and wantsHannah learned to trust God in allto work for those who trust Him. Hannah’sthose things that were beyond her powersong (1 Sam. 2:1-11) talks about this. Whento control. Now, as I write down theseyou see God’s intervention, you cannotthoughts (April 2), almost thestop singing!1.If a single prayer could change theif we pray?2.Standing “before the Lord,” what arethe things we promise, personally, inthe family or as a church?3.whole world is in quarantine, worriedAre there ways through which we canalso express our hope and trust inabout what could come next. The fear ofGod today?contamination and of what will happen4.Why do you think Hannah was abletomorrow has covered all humanity. Forto fulfill her vow and bring her pre-Hannah, suffering and the trial she wascious offering when she realized thegoing through was a call to prayer andcorrupt spiritual condition of religioustrust in God. She prayed, and when sheleaders at that time?left the place of prayer, “her face was nolonger sad” (1 Sam. 1:18). On her face therewere no more tears, but a smile of joy.Through trust and hope before the Lord atI Promise:Shiloh, Hannah found peace even beforeTo SET APART the first moments ofreceiving an answer to her prayer. Imagineeachday to commune with the Lord-Elkanah’s home the day Hannah saw thethrough PRAYER, the STUDY of the Bible,divine intervention and the answer to herSpirit ofProphecy and the Sabbath Schoolprayer in her life—when Samuel was born!lesson, and in FAMILY WORSHIP.When we come “before the Lord”11FRO M SA D N E S S TO S I N G I N GS EEK FI R S T TH E K I N G D O M

c h i l d r e n ’s s to ryJohnny’s Faithful Prayerserious financial crisis and struggling forshe had used the last flour to cook thattheir daily needs. The father had lost hisday’s bread. With a worried expression,job shortly before winter, and he had nothe father told her that in a few days they“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever doesmoney to cover the needs of his family.would also run out of wood to set thenot receive the kingdom of God as a littleHis wife and two young children did notfire in the stove, and he was concernedchild, will by no means enter it” (Markcomplain, even as the amount of foodbecause they expected the winter’s low10:15).became much less each day. The mothertemperatures to last a few more weeks.Jesus loves children in a special way,would cook bread from the little flour theyLittl