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What Might Have Been...Can Be!


After the 1901 General Conference Session, Ellen White had a vision in which she saw church leaders reconciling their differences and confessing their sins against each other. When she awoke from the vision, Mrs. White realized that what she had witnessed was not a reality. Pride and hardened hearts prevented God's people from being united. Deeply grieved, she understood that the Lord could have come in their lifetime, but His people did not surrender their thoughts and opinions to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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Brother Irwin, you look troubled, what could be weighing on your heart?

I am troubled brother Daniells. The 34th session of the general conference begins tomorrow morning in Battle Creek.

It’s 1901 and Jesus still has not come. I have been researching some of the counsels from Sister White

I could really be blessed if you would share that with me.

It’s very hard to read.

“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan.

In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsercration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.”

Well, the servant of the Lord is straight forward Concerning God’s people: Unbelief, worldliness, unconsecration, and strife. This delay is our fault... well, my fault.

It is, let me share something I found that she wrote just 36 months ago. This one’s really kind of shocking, especially to me since its during my term in office.

“Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would have been warned and the Lord Jesus would have come to earth in power and great glory.”

She wrote that 36 months ago during my term as president. It is our fault. We have let God down my brother, we as leaders, have let God down. We must humble ourselves. We must become living examples of what a leader can be when Jesus is in his heart.

I don’t even know how to pray it anymore. How can we beg God to shake away this Laodicean Slumber?

Oh, I could not agree more. I have been experiencing the same burden of heart as I perceive you are. Let’s seek God’s help right now.



Oh, my brother.

Lord of glory, you have been ready to come for so very long and yet, you have been waiting for us. Please forgive us and help us as leaders to surrender all of self to you. You know this sin lies at OUR door. Change us. Help us die the death of self and live in you. Please take our lives. . .

Brother Butler, I feel that the Lord is going to do something wonderful among us. I’m looking forward to this session. For months now He has been speaking to my heart through my private sessions of study and prayer.

I couldn’t agree with you more brother Haskell. I sense His leading in my life. He’s been revealing to me that, although I believed I was humble, it is not the case. I have been very arrogant! He’s leading me to die a greater death to self than ever before. I cannot explain it but I know that I must change dramatically.

Please join with me as I read a portion of Psalms 106

We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.

Save us. O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord”

Fellow believers, please join me as we kneel for prayer.

Lord how desperately we need you. We cannot continue as we have. We must learn humility before you. Teach us humility, I Pray! Help us die to self, and surrender all to thee! Let us be led as little children by thy hand. Walk among us in these meetings. Help us put away all strife among us. “O Holy Father! We pray for a manifestation of thy power. We ask thee to forgive our sins — our neglect to follow as we should have in the past. Lord, help us to follow in thine opening providence and understand the mind of thy Spirit.” In Jesus name. Come quickly. Amen.

“The time has come for the opening of the General Conference. The 34th seasion of this body. I believe, this conference, will be the most important ever held by the Seventh-day Adventist people.”

In light of the scripture reading, I believe that it is essential for each of us to call on God for forgiveness. And to seek for the powerful presence of the in dwelling Holy Spirit in our lives. Please, today, seek God with all your being. Confess sins one to another, and may we during this conference discover oneness of heart. May this conference be a time when we can truly be woven together in His grace.

“The light given me is that this people should stand higher than any other people on the face of the earth, we should be a loyal people, a people who will rightly represent the truth. The sanctifying power of the truth, revealed in our lives, will distinguish us from the world. We should stand in moral dignity, having such a close connection to heaven that the Lord God of Israel can give us a place in the earth.

Year after year the same acknowledgment has been made, but the principles which exalt a people have not been woven into the work. God has given us clear light as to what we should do, and what we should not do, but we have departed from that light, and it is a marvel to me that we stand in as much prosperity as we do today. It is because of the great mercy of our God, not because of our righteousness, but that His name should not be dishonored in the world... The word of God should be our guide. Have you given heed to the Word? My writings should in no way take the place of the Bible. They are to bring you to that neglected Word, that you may eat the words of Christ that you may feed upon them, that by living faith you may be built up upon that which you feed. If you live in obedience to Christ’s Word, you are eating the leaves of the tree of life, that are for the healing of the nations.

Let us right here at this meeting see that the converting power of God is essential. If we take hold of the Master, take hold of all the power he has given us, the salvation of God will be revealed.”

In the past, in the past I have not been in union with some of you, and today I see myself more and more as God must see me.

For in his word, lets read together “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Oh my, in my self-sufficiency I have been just like that, “and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Oh, I now see that this is my condition. Not someone else’s, but mine! My eyes, my eyes are being opened. My spirit has been harsh, it has been unjust. And I have thought myself righteous, and yet today my heart is breaking, for I sense that I’m desperately in need of the counsel of the One who has searched me. Listen: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

My brother, Please forgive me. I have made of your life a living hell.

I have been arrogant. It is my fault as well. Please forgive me.

Brothers and sisters, we have received had a great light from the Lord! It is time we believe, and walk in that light.

We have something to do. We must repent of our sins, and humble our hearts before God.

I have found it difficult as a leader to detach from the clutches of the world and to. . .to get rid of self with so many eyes upon me, I know I must.

Please forgive my angry words and my actions against you.

I do forgive you but it is not just you, it has been me... my self-seeking. I tried to influence others against you. Can you ever forgive me?

We are brothers, united in Christ. The answer is yes. Yes!!!

I must ask forgiveness of you. I am so very sorry. You are my brother. But I have not loved you as my own flesh and blood. I must ask God to give me the love for you that I profess for Christ.

And I, I must fall in line with God’s will and calling, forgive me my brother for talking behind you in committee, and behind your back. I cannot love Christ if I don’t love you... I’m so sorry my brother, I’m so sorry.

“Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

is like to that above.

Ellen... Ellen,

Where, am I?

You were in a vision. The Lord wanted to show you what might have been... what might have happened at the General Conference Session.

What I just saw wasn’t real?

I’m afraid not... The Father was ready to pour out His Spirit upon the assembly and finish the work in this world and cut it short in righteousness but the delegates would not humble themselves. Had they, in humility of soul, led out in the work of confession and consecration, giving evidence that they received the counsels and warnings sent by the Lord to correct their mistakes, there would have been one of the greatest revivals that there has been since the day of Pentecost.

It never happened.

Ellen White was heartbroken because I revealed to her that within the past history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, God was ready to return to earth to take His children home... ending this long night of strife and sadness... but like Israel of old, you refused to enter Canaan. You would not follow after God and trust in Him. You became a rebellious people. The Lord’s Messenger has been witness to the glory of heaven and has experienced the joy of walking with Jesus... This is why her heart was broken.

The narrative you have just watched is an earnest appeal to seek the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the finishing of God’s work on earth.

It is a message that speaks to each of our hearts—individually.

When Ellen G. White was present at the 1901 General Conference Session —it was a landmark moment in our church’s history.

There were great strides in organizational development …

But in her 1903 vision, recounted here, she was shown that leadership did not fully enter into the experience of the total surrender that God intended.

While we humbly recognize that God is sovereign and that there are issues that we may not fully understand regarding why Jesus has not yet returned, we also acknowledge that both the Bible and God’s last day messenger to the remnant, earnestly appeal to us to surrender fully to His matchless love… so that His Spirit can completely control our lives and work through us for the completion of His mission here on earth.

The angel said of the vision: It was what might have been. Ellen White said of the delegates in that meeting: “had they, in humility of soul, led out in the work of confession and consecration, giving evidence that they received the counsels and warnings sent by the Lord to correct their mistakes, there would have been one of the greatest revivals that there has been since the day of Pentecost. But the work that all heaven was waiting to do as soon as men prepared the way, was not done; for the leaders in the work closed and bolted the door against the Spirit's entrance. There was a stopping short of entire surrender to God.”

If we cooperate with God and humble ourselves, standing upon the heavenly shores will soon become a reality! I have been a pastor, teacher, and administrator, throughout my career... I’m retiring this year and I want to go home. Not to an earthly home but to our eternal home. The Lord is waiting with open arms for us to surrender every bit of self. But even surrender is impossible without God’s help and strength. Please join me in praying this prayer: “Lord make me willing to be made willing.” If asked in sincerity, God will answer you. And the results will reach to eternity. Brothers and Sisters in this world, the Promised Land is waiting…let’s go home!

I, like Dr. Schoun, am retiring this year. And I thought I would see Jesus come before now, but like Israel of old, we have become attached to this world… Yes, I’m not immune either. We sing the song, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Brothers and Sisters, It is time to put into practice what we sing. Please join with me, and all of God’s people around the world, and behold Him…our strength and power, the One who can change and transform us. Then, what might have been…can be!

Our pathway home has been made very plain. Someone once said, “It only took God 1 night to take Israel out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel. We must allow God to separate us from this world and all it pretends to offer.

Far too many of us are dying in the desert of this sin-choked world.

Now the key to victory for Israel was humility and 100% trust in God. The same holds true for us today!

One of Ellen white’s prayers, found in Christ’s Object Lessons, page 159, has been stirring my heart for some time. Allow me to share it with you:

“Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, un-Christlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.”

My friends, I desperately want to change and become what God wants me to become and I know you do to. This is a prayer God will answer! And I invite you to make it your prayer as well.

Let’s join together and plead with God to make us willing to be made willing.

We need to make this our very first work each day...

If we humble ourselves and seek oneness with our fellow church members and workers—as God revealed to Ellen White, He will fill us with the Holy Spirit, the loud cry will radiate to the world and very soon Jesus Christ will come. That is His plan! It is within our very grasp. We choose our destiny. We can look back at what might have been or we can choose what will be! Let us go forward boldly in Jesus Christ!

Some of you may not have been aware of Ellen White’s vision given by the angel. It is exciting and disconcerting at the same time. Just think, our Lord was ready to come in our past to break us free from the clutches of the devil and to take us home... and we failed. God will never force anyone against their will to face the giants of Canaan. I am urging you to lift up every church leader to God in prayer, especially those who will be in attendance at the upcoming General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas. According to God’s prophetic voice, I believe, this session can become the launching pad toward eternity for God’s people — you and me. But your prayers will be the fuel—the power—to start the engine. Please pray as you have never prayed before for Revival and Reformation in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pray every day for yourself, your families, your pastors, and conference leaders. Make a list of their names and ask God to give them a heart bathed in the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for your prayerful intervention and participation in, what may be, the most important moment in our church history. Because... “What Might Have Been… Can Be!


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