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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 37

Laying Aside Every Weight...

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We invite you to pray with us:
Father,

Once again we come to You, asking You to open our hearts and minds to Your precious teaching.

We know that true happiness dwells in obedience to Your will, and this is why we want to open Your Word.

May this lesson reveal more about what You expect from each one of us, and may Your Holy Spirit work within us, so that we put into practice what Your Word teaches us. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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1 John 3:22 Comments
Whatever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. In our previous lessons, we have seen the importance of God’s commandments in our spiritual lives.

The apostle John tells us that we must not only keep God’s commandments, but also seek to «do those things that are pleasing in His sight.»

We will thus grow in the knowledge of the Lord.
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Hebrews 12:1 Comments
Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us. God asks us to seek what is pleasing to Him, not only for our happiness, but also because we must set an example to the people around us in order to attract them to Christ.

As ambassadors for Jesus, we must watch over the purity of our behavior, words, and thoughts.

This is why we must lay aside every weight that would prevent us from reaching this goal.
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Mark 4:24 Comments
And [Jesus] said to them, «Take heed what you hear.» First, the Word of God asks us to be careful what we hear. It is so easy to lend an ear to gossip... but not so uplifting.

The Christian will also carefully select the kind of music he listens to. Nowadays, there are a lot of songs whose content only promotes sin.
Isaiah 33:15,16
[He] that stops his ears from hearing of blood (...) shall dwell on high.
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Isaiah 5:12 Comments
The harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord. The Old Testament was already reporting the existence of music whose style and lyrics were inviting to evil, and meeting places where such music could be heard.

Still today, God asks His people to refrain from these things.
Isaiah 23:16
Take a harp, go about the city, you harlot that have been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.
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1 Samuel 16:14,17,23 Comments
The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit (...) troubled him. (...)

And Saul said to his servants, «Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.» (...)

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit (...) was on Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
A bad choice of music can exert a disastrous influence on us.

On the other hand, a good choice of music can help to purify our thoughts.
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Colossians 3:16 Comments
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. These two passages show us excellent examples of music furthering our spiritual growth in Jesus.
Ephesians 5:18,19
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
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Matthew 6:22,23 (NKJV) Comments
The lamp of the body is the eye.

If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.
What we hear and see feeds our thoughts, and these thoughts will then influence our words and deeds.

This is why we have to watch what our ears and eyes pick up.
Proverbs 23:7
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
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Psalm 101:3 Comments
I will set no wicked thing before my eyes. We must act with proper judgment concerning how we feed our mind.

Movies, television, books, and magazines can easily poison our thoughts if we don’t make wise choices.
Isaiah 33:15,16
[He] that stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil, he shall dwell on high.
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Proverbs 3:31 Comments
Envy you not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. Violence, illicit sex, drugs, and other inducements to evil: this is the menu often offered by movies, television, books, and magazines.

God invites us to take care of what we hear and see, in order to preserve purity of mind, and thus to foster a better relationship with Him.
Psalm 119:37
Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity.
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Matthew 5:28 Comments
I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. The quality of nourishment we give our minds influence our thoughts which will be purified or perverted accordingly.

It is our responsibility to make the best choices.
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Psalm 119:136 Comments
Rivers of waters run down my eyes, because they keep not Your law. Let’s ask ourselves: do we shed rivers of water, just like David, when we see people transgressing God’s law?

Everything we have seen in movies and on television, everything we have read in books and magazines, has hardened our hearts.

But there’s good news: our condition is not hopeless, since our hearts can still be softened through the work of the Holy Spirit.
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Philippians 4:8 Comments
Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. By giving healthy food to our minds, we facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit who will gradually purify our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5
(...) bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
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Exodus 19:10 Comments
Then the Lord said to Moses,

«Go to the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes.»
God also asks us to set an example by our outward appearance.

Proper hygiene and neat dress should characterize every ambassador of Christ.
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Genesis 35:2,4 Comments
«Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments.» (...)

And they gave to Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears.
God also asks His people not to wear jewelry.
Exodus 33:5,6
The Lord said to Moses, «Say to the children of Israel, “You are a stiff necked people: I will come up into the middle of you in a moment, and consume you: therefore now put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what to do to you.”»

And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments.
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Hosea 2:13 Comments
And I will visit on her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels. Jewelry only feeds pride and covetousness.

Let us abstain from it.
Isaiah 3:18-21; 4:4
In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels. (...)

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion (...).
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Revelation 12:1 Comments
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. We will soon study the two women of Revelation:
  • the first one is pure, clothed with the sun;
     
  • the other is impure, covered with jewels.
Which one of these two women will we identify with?
Revelation 17:3,4
I saw a woman sit on a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
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1 Peter 3:3,4 (NKJV) Comments
Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel.

But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
What is worthy in God’s eyes is not a costly appearance, since He expects from us a sober appearance.

God values a purified heart and a sincere commitment toward Him.
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1 Timothy 2:9,10 Comments
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with modesty and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, which becomes women professing godliness, with good works. Although addressed to women, these counsels aim at men as well!

Let’s note that in this passage, «braided hair» means more than a simple plait. In those days, wealthy women were often making braids adorned with jewelry.
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Ezekiel 23:40,43 Comments
You painted your eyes, and decked yourself with ornaments. (...)

Then said I to her that was old in adulteries, «Will they now commit prostitutions with her, and she with them?»
Still concerning outward appearance, let’s note that the Word of God associates gaudy cosmetics with apostasy and paganism.
Jeremiah 4:30
And when you are spoiled, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you deck you with ornaments of gold, though you rend your face with painting, in vain shall you make yourself fair.
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2 Kings 9:30 Comments
And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face. Jezebel, symbol of the apostate woman, is exactly the example not to be followed by the believer.

The Christian woman should avoid gaudy make-up, and choose instead to maintain a natural and healthy appearance.
Revelation 2:20
I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
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John 17:15,16 Comments
[Jesus said,]

«I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.»
To lay aside all those weights, we do not need to exile ourselves on a desert island! Indeed, it would be difficult to preach the gospel on a desert island...

What we need is the presence of Christ within our hearts.

Although we are surrounded by those weights, God will give us the strength we need to avoid them and resist Satan’s snares.
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God urges us not to love the world nor the things in the world:
«Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.» (1 Peter 2:11)

«Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever.» (1 John 2:15-17)

«Know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.» (James 4:4)
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We must not touch the unclean things that are in the world:
«Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel? (...) Why “Come out from among them, and be you separate,” said the Lord, “and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”» (2 Corinthians 6:14,15,17)

«For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, above all the nations that are on the earth.» (Deuteronomy 14:2)
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With the help of God working within us, we can lay aside every burden:
«I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.» (Philippians 4:13)

«For it is God which works in you both to will and to do.» (Philippians 2:13)

«Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.» (Galatians 5:16,17)

«Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.» (Hebrews 12:1,2)
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1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 Comments
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it.
If we really desire it, God will progressively transform us into His image, so that we may be ready for Jesus’ coming.
Philippians 1:3,6
I thank my God on every remembrance of you, (...) being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
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1 Thessalonians 5:21,22 Comments
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. Nothing is more important, for the Christian, than seeking to know God’s will and putting it into practice.
Ephesians 5:8,10,11,15-17
Walk as children of light, (...) proving what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (...)

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Why be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
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Let’s not be conformed to the world, but let’s seek to do God’s will:
«Be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.» (Romans 12:2)

«Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, “Be you holy; for I am holy.”» (1 Peter 1:13-16)
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Ephesians 4:17-20 Comments
From now on walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

But you have not so learned Christ.
Let’s be careful. Ignorance and hardening of the heart prevent us from discerning the snares of the world.

Fortunately, the Holy Spirit clearly reveals these snares to anyone who wants to do God’s will.
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Philippians 2:5 Comments
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Is it difficult for us to lay aside every weight?

If so, let us ask ourselves this question, «What would Jesus do, if He were in my place?»

This simple question will help us to make the best decision. If we believe that Jesus would not take part in some activity, we should then choose to lay it aside.
1 Corinthians 2:16
We have the mind of Christ.
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Christians should contrast with people of the world:
«Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.» (Philippians 2:14,15)

«He that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have worked the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, parties, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.» (1 Peter 4:1-4)
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Like athletes, we must train in order to be ready for Jesus’ return:
«Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.» (1 Corinthians 9:24,25)

«If anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.» (2 Timothy 2:5 [NKJV])

«We beseech you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more.» (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
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Let’s put into practice what God teaches us, and He will be with us:
«I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called.» (Ephesians 4:1)

«Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.» (Philippians 4:8,9)

«Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.» (1 Corinthians 10:31)
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Let us pray together:
Our Father,

If happiness were dwelling in the things of this world, You would not ask us to lay them aside. But You know that they are weights which can only keep us away from You.

The apostle Paul wrote, «What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.» And he added, «I count them but dung, that I may win Christ.» (Philippians 3:7,8).

Please teach us to count these weights as rubbish that we willingly lay aside, so as to be ready for Jesus’ return. In His name we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 37 - Test The test of Lesson 37 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: In: «Adventist Review» (Special Edition - «Time to Go Deeper»), p.20. Screen 2: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (February 1, 1991), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 3: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 15, 1987), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.17. Screen 4: In: «Awake» magazine (September 22, 1994), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.7. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 5: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM064.BMP. Screen 6: In: «The Bible for Children - Retold by Bridget Hadaway & Jean Atcheson», London, Octopus Books Limited, 1973, p.125. Screen 7: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (October 15, 1986), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.23. Screen 8: HARLAN, Russell. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 3» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.172,173. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 9: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (November 1, 1987), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.17. Screen 10: HUTCHINSON, WM. In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.169. Used by permission. Copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 11: In: «Awake» magazine (July 22, 1994), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.26. Screen 12: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 1, 1994), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.3. Screen 13: Photo by SPRINGER, Joel. In: «Adventist Review» (September 1996), p.17. Used by permission. Copyright ©1996 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 14: Photo by Mark Bolster/International Stock. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (November 1998), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.18. Screen 15: RUDEEN, Herbert. In: «The Bible Story, volume 2» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.41. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. Copyright ©1954, 1982 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 16: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.239. Screen 17: First picture: BISHOP, Tom. «Woman of Revelation 12». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #40. Second picture: BISHOP, Tom. «Woman of Revelation 17». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #45. Composite picture by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 18: In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (March 1994), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.1. Screen 19: Advertisement for shampoo «Timotei». Screen 20: Booklet «Couleurs Extrêmes, Xpérience Couleur», L’Oréal Paris. Screen 21: Photo from PonoPresse. In: «Femme Plus» magazine (August 2000), p.40. Screen 22: HUTCHINSON, William. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 4» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.143. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 23: In: «Vous pouvez vivre éternellement sur une terre qui deviendra un paradis», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1982, p.229. Screen 24: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 1, 1993), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.17. Screen 25: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «The Bible Story, volume 10» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.140. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 26: SEDLACK, Andrew. In: «The Bible Story, volume 9» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.186. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 27: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 15, 1987), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 28: In: Revue «The Watchtower» (March 15, 1988), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 29: ZINGARO, Charles. In: «Votre Bible et vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.48. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 30: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.104,105. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 31: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (March 15, 1987), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.17. Screen 32: Photo by Peter Grumann - The Image Bank. In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (October 1995), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.1. Screen 33: NYE, Vernon. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 2» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.98. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 34: Picture Collection «Corel Gallery Magic» by Corel, 1997, CD #8, Photo Library 3, 424023.PCD.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 37 - Test The test of Lesson 37 is waiting for you!