"Do We Take God For Granted?"

It is easy in this life to take those closest to us for granted! We have all been guilty of such actions in our daily lives and that is certainly something we need to work on. When we are on the receiving end of such an error, we do not appreciate it.

But – do we allow ourselves this same prerogative with our God? If we are not careful, brethren, this can become a very easy thing to do and can become habitual. Generally our lives are filled with activities and at times it becomes difficult to keep all the balls in the air simultaneously. The tendency becomes one of selecting what we feel is important and letting everything else go. However, God is very clear about certain priorities we are to have in our lives.

In Exodus 20:3, God is very clear in His statement where He tells all who would follow Him – “You shall have no other gods before me.” He adds, in verse 5, “For I am a jealous God…” Brethren, it becomes very easy, in our hectic lives, to allow ourselves to put off doing things that even we consider very important, thinking “I can do that later,” in order to accomplish what we feel pressured to do. Therefore, many times we let our Bible study and time for meditation, our time for prayer and fasting to slip, in order to accomplish the tasks which are a part of our everyday routine.

We must not allow ourselves to do this. God gave special instructions regarding those who would be established as kings over the nation of Israel, ruling over the Children of Israel. Note in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 17, beginning in verse 18 –

“And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.”

You and I have been called to be kings and priests in the Kingdom God will soon establish on this earth. God has thus given to us an awesome responsibility, in which we must not be negligent.

Anything we put before our God and the responsibilities He has given us at this time becomes an idol before Him, and we become guilty of breaking His law. We must not do this. We must learn to put first things first in our lives; and, in so doing, fulfill the royal law of love. Let us not be negligent in this important area of our Christian lives.

The Law and the Covenants

God’s covenants with His people, His Law being an integral part of that covenant, is an agreement, solemnly binding, under which God promises rewards and blessings for obedience to His Way and punishments or cursings when disobedience occurs. Do we understand how these affect our lives today?

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Prepare To Endure

If one would endure God’s Way of Life while on this earth; he will be stirred-up for God’s Way, guarding against temptations, being careful not to give in to the pressures and cares of this life. In so doing, he would not be negligent to the calling of this Way. We must prepare to endure!

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The Trial of Your Faith

Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve had just about all you can take – that you have come to your wits’ end? Perhaps certain problems have continued to go from bad to worse as time goes on. You wonder why God doesn’t hear your prayers and intervene to correct the situation you find yourself in, and give you relief. How much is too much?

Paul makes an interesting remark in Romans 8:18, where he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Do we ever think of our problems in the light of this statement relative to our future opportunities, realizing it is God Who has called each of us according to His holy purpose?

Just as God worked with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – with Joseph, Moses, Lot and David – we understand that He will direct our lives if we continue to be faithful to our calling. Paul continues to instruct us in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”

To be content with what we have can become quite difficult, if we are not letting God’s Spirit direct our minds and our thoughts. Yet, in I Timothy 6:6, Paul notes that “…godliness with contentment is great gain.” He tells us to withdraw ourselves from “…disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (verses 4-5).

Paul continues in Philippians 4:11, that he had “…learned in whatever state …” he found himself in, “…to be content.” Have we been able to come to that state of mind, brethren?

Peter tells us in I Peter 4:12-13 – “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

And in I Peter 1:6-9 – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”

Endure To The End

Is ‘Once saved always saved’ a legitimate concept? We see by example that God rejects those who reject Him and His teachings, and replace it with their own ideas & desires. Is God admonishing and putting in order His Church today? We learn that God does in fact purify his Church. Even in groups that He sees are producing fruit. This process is uncomfortable to endure, but something to rejoice in. As God purifies, it is important to not become deceived by false teachings. How do we endure? By looking to Christ as our example.

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Spiritual Growth

Grow in God’s wisdom and knowledge. There is a battle of warfare in the mind. God’s spirit is like water poured out on us. Use and utilize it.

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Thanksgiving — Should We Observe It?

Thanksgiving – Should We Observe It?
By J. Edwin Pope

Next Thursday, November 28, the United States will be celebrating the national holiday of Thanksgiving. While some question whether members of the church should observe this annual holiday, since it is not one of God’s Holy Days, established by Him and recorded in Scripture – the principle of participating in and celebrating national holidays is made clear in the Scripture.

The first observance of this holiday occurred in the fall of 1621, when the Governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, appointed a day for feasting and thanksgiving. That observance was established to show gratitude to the Almighty as that difficult year drew to an end and the harvest was plentiful. Following that first observance, the colonists continued to celebrate days of thanksgiving annually, in recognition of the blessings received of this new land. When we observe this day traditionally, we think of that group of Englishmen who settled at Plymouth in 1620.

This day has been preserved and continued by Presidents of these United States who believed in God and the Bible as a source of national greatness and integrity. Our first President, George Washington, issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in honor of the new Constitution. He stated, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

God illustrates this principle in Deuteronomy 17:18-19. He specifically shows that it is His desire that the leaders of nations govern based upon the principles and laws of the Bible.

Abraham Lincoln recognized the need for the people of this nation to stay close to God if we would continue to receive the blessings, which were being afforded us by the Almighty. On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day; a day set aside to give God thanks for the blessings He continued to bestow upon the nation.

Then in December 1941, the U.S. Congress established the fourth Thursday of November from that year forward, officially, as Thanksgiving Day.

But would God have us keep this day as a national holiday in respect of all that He has done for this people and nation, since this is not a day He established and specifically requires in Scripture?

We have examples of national holidays established by the Jews and recorded in Scripture for historical purposes – days, which were not established specifically by God to reflect His overall plan. Thus, the fact that Thanksgiving Day was established by the early colonists rather than by divine authority, does not, in itself, make it wrong for a Christian to celebrate such a day.

In John 10:22-23, we find Jesus attending the “Feast of Dedication,” which was established by the Jews to commemorate the purification of the Temple at Jerusalem. That feast was celebrated on the anniversary of the day that the re-establishment of divine worship occurred, after Antiochus Epiphanes had been vanquished and the Temple purified. This occurred around 165 A.D.

Thus, Christ’s attendance at the annual holiday clearly illustrated that it was good and right to attend and celebrate a national holiday established for the right purposes. There was nothing wrong in celebrating this holiday and giving special thanks to God on that day!

God led Esther and Mordecai to establish the Feast of Purim to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from Haman (Esther 9).

A very significant point here is that in neither of the Jewish holidays of the “Feast of Dedication,” nor the “Feast of Purim,” is there any hint of a pagan origin. That is true also in relation to the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. It is not true with Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, all three of which were originally celebrated in honor of pagan gods and pagan traditions and which, today, continue to be used as counterfeits of God’s ordained Holy Days.

Numerous Scriptures reveal to us that we are to submit to the laws and ordinances of the land as long as these laws and ordinances do not conflict with God’s Laws and His Way of life. Examples of such Scriptures are: I Peter 2:13-18; Matthew 22:21; and Romans 13:1-4.

The overall point in these Scriptures is that orderly government is part of God’s provision for the land, even in a wicked world. No ruler exercises control except as God permits (Daniel 4:17). Under normal circumstances, one who would follow God’s Way is to be obedient to the laws of the land except where those laws contradict the Laws of God. In such a situation – the Christian must obey God, rather than men (Acts 5:29; Daniel 3:16-18; and Daniel 6:10-28).

Of all the national holidays observed in this great land today, Thanksgiving stands out as one that we as Christians can truly embrace.

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, Tuesday, November 19, 2002, there is an article of significance, in which a federal judge in Montgomery, Alabama, ruled a day earlier that a Ten Commandments monument installed in Alabama’s judicial building must be removed (within 30 days) because it violates the separation of church and state. One might wonder how long a national holiday of the stature of Thanksgiving will continue to be allowed in this country.

Thanksgiving is a day that points the family and the nation to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is that God Who will soon be returning to this earth to establish a Kingdom and a Government, which will rule this world based upon the Laws of God. In the meantime we must utilize every opportunity to direct those we come in contact with – to that One, True God. Time for this world is swiftly running out!


Living Faith

Will JC find faith when he returns? We receive faith before receiving what is wanted. Don’t trust our 5 senses or live by sight. Biblical examples like Shadrach and Noah. Use God’s light to shine the way so we don’t stumble.

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Halloween — Holy Times???

We have just completed the observance of God’s fall festivals and in so doing have now for another year kept God’s Annual Holy Days in accordance with His instructions (Lev. 23, Numbers 28 & 29, Deut. 16).

Upon returning home we now must immediately face the holidays of this world’s religions, which have been established by men in the keeping of their religious ideas. These days have been set aside by men for the intended purpose of honoring God. Yet, He admonishes us not to do such things! (Deut 12: 29-32).

Just today, I read an article in The Californian, an edition of The North County Times, in which author Caryl Krueger, in an effort to “focus on fun” in the observance of Halloween, suggests that youngsters be educated in the tradition of Halloween.

Quoting from this article, Ms. Krueger writes, ” What can we do to reinvent this celebration, formerly beloved by families?

“Well, Halloween can be saved. First, let’s consider how the word is pronounced since that has something to do with how it is celebrated. It is not hollow-een, as many say. Hollow means empty or worthless. It is Hallow-een. To hallow means to make holy or blessed. Halloween means holy evening, the night before All Saints’ Day.

“Share with your youngsters the way some Halloween traditions started. The Irish contributed jack-o’-lanterns. These commemorated a miserly person named Jack who was unable to enter heaven because of his sins, nor could he go to hell since he had played pranks on the devil. So he was doomed to walk the earth with his lantern.”

She goes on to write of, “… the ancient Druids, who thought that witches, ghosts, fairies, and spirits roamed about trying to harm people. They also thought that cats were sacred and they were formerly human beings being punished for evil deeds.

“These same Druids held a festival each autumn called Samhain (pronounced SOW-en, with the first syllable rhyming with plow) to honor the end of summer. Other Europeans had a similar harvest celebration.

“Then in the year 700 when the Roman Catholic Church established November 1st as All Saints Day, all the old pagan customs and the Christian feast day were combined into one grand festival for October 31, the night before All Saints Day.”

What has God continually told His people concerning such pagan practices and the combining of His truth with the teachings of this world, which we know as syncretism?

“You shall not worship the Lord your God that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deut. 12:31).

God tells us in Amos 5:21 – “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.”

Yes, God hates the traditions that have been established by men in the worship of their gods and he forbids us to have a part in such doings, especially in our worship of Him. They are anathema to God and to His Way and we must not have anything to do with those ways.

Let’s be aware now, more than ever before, as the evils of this world and their leader, Satan the devil, try to beguile God’s chosen people away from the One True God and His Truth – For we must be diligent to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4: 23-24).

Anything contrary to His teachings is unacceptable to God!

Doctrine – How Important? Part 2

Withdraw from folk not in line with God’s ways. Guard treasures He has given us. Be diligent, we can effect the faith of others. Edify by our actions. Imitate Jesus Christ – keep traditions as delivered. Contend earnestly and don’t let heresy creep in. Hold fast, keep that good thing.

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