Wisdom Has Built Her House

Do we look upon ourselves as wise? God inspires Paul to reveal that “…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Having had our eyes opened to God and to His Wisdom, how can we ever look at our lives and come to the determination that we are wise?

In fact, Christ said of Himself (in the flesh) He was able do nothing! And without the sacrifice of Christ, the grace of God, and the revealed knowledge which we receive as the Called of God, we would never attain to the wisdom, which God desires that we achieve.

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Stand Against the Wiles of the Devil!

When Terry Ratzmann entered the rear of the Church hall at a Living Church of God service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, this past Sabbath and began firing his 9mm handgun, unloading 22 rounds from his weapon directed at his Church brethren, the members of the local congregation were stunned and in dismay, as were all members of the Churches of God when they heard of this horrific story. Ratzmann completed his horrifying deed, after having killed seven of his brethren and injuring another four critically, by turning his weapon upon himself and firing his last shot.

There can be no doubt that the true adversary of all of mankind, and especially of God’s Church at this end time, had inspired Ratzmann to carry through with this heinous attack against God’s people. Of course we understand that Satan may well have begun to increase his evil attacks as his time draws short and we approach the end of the time allotted by God for him to carry through with his evil thoughts to destroy all of mankind. In just a few short years now God will restrain Satan’s activities against mankind for 1,000 years and Satan knows this is certain.

Some have asked why God would allow such a thing to happen, especially in the Church. We do know that we are entering that time period when Satan’s evil tactics will increase considerably, compared to what God has allowed him to do in recent years. We are coming down to the end of this present age and God describes the events to befall mankind in great detail in numerous passages throughout His Word relative to Satan’s wrath. We must not lose sight of the fact that Satan is the present ruler over this world (Luke 4:5-7; John 14:30). However, that rulership is coming to an end, and Jesus Christ will soon replace Satan and will sit on the throne of His forefather, David, which has been reserved for His rulership (Luke 1:32-33), and He will rule with power over this world.

In Zechariah 13:8 we are told that after these things come into full force, two-thirds of the people in all the land will have been cut off (destroyed) and that one-third will have had to go through the fire (face severe trials) in order that they might be refined. Zechariah 14:3-4 tells us that in that day the LORD will be going forth to fight and that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. The second coming of Christ will occur during a time of great turmoil upon the earth, specifics of which are outlined in Revelation 12:9-17.

We, in the meantime, must be preparing our own lives in order to stand in that day. In speaking to the churches in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, it is revealed by Jesus Christ that remnants of four of the Churches of God (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) may be extant upon the earth during this eventful time revealed as “the time of the end,” as Christ comes to establish rule upon the earth.

Christ’s admonition to three of the groups (Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia) is to “hold fast” to what they have been given. Two of the groups (Sardis and Laodicea) are admonished to repent. Specific promises are given to those who overcome Satan, the flesh, and this present evil world. Christ notes specifically that some, and specifically those of Laodicea, will have to go through further testing and refinement in order to become ready.

In addition to these prophecies, the Scriptures reveal more information relative to Satan’s end-time wrath which is coming to try the whole world, as is noted by Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:10 and in Matthew chapter 24. When we understand all these prophecies as noted here in this Editorial, we realize we all have much work to do in preparation. And added to this is our obligation to get a warning message out to the world and to reveal the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, which will usher in a time of peace and prosperity upon the earth the likes of which no one on earth today has ever seen.

You and I are admonished to be ready, for as Christ reveals in Matthew 24:36, “…of that day and hour no one knows … not even the angels in heaven, but My Father only.”

We must never become discouraged, dear brethren, as these horrific events unfold before us; but let us draw closer to one another and to our God, never letting down our guard. Let us ask our Father for the strength and courage provided to us through His Spirit, and let us do His Will in all things as these times draw to their conclusion. We must never forget Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian Church of his time and to you and me as members of the end-time Church of God:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

Responsibilities in Judgment

Who is responsible for judgment? Where does judgment lie in the overall panorama of God’s Great Purpose? Are we to make judgments today as the people of God?

The process of judgment is ongoing, as we work toward the calling we have received, according to God’s Plan! We know we are not to make judgments based on appearance. We know that when we do judge, that judgment must be based on God’s Will, and that judgment cannot be made without knowledge. We know that we cannot live according to God’s Way without judgment.

The Father has placed all Authority for judgment in Jesus Christ. The process for judgment has been established by God. Christ has prepared His Throne for judgment. And judgment is on the House of God, today!

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What Does God Require?

A Christian is presented in Scripture as one who is a true follower of Jesus Christ. But what does that entail? What does that require?

The Scripture tells us such a one is to “fulfill all Righteousness”! It further shows that Righteousness includes all of God’s Commandments; including God’s Law, His Statutes, His Judgments, His Testimonies, and His Precepts. These are all to be incorporated into our everyday lives, thus helping to form our very character – our being!

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Peace in Our Time?

On the Sabbath of January 29, one day before the elections were to take place in Iraq, there was an article in “The Californian” in which three Iraqi scholars, who are presently students at the University of Arizona in Tucson, were interviewed. These three individuals, two men and a young woman, would travel approximately 1,000 miles round trip from Tucson to the nearest polling place for them, to cast their vote. This polling place was in Irvine, California, at El Toro, the former Marine Corps Air Base, one of five polling places established in the United States for this election.

Iraqis were to choose a 275-member assembly that will draft the country’s new constitution and appoint a president and a vice-president.

When asked their feelings concerning the potential turnout for the election in Iraq, which election was being held to establish a democratic form of government to replace the dictatorship which existed under Saddam Hussein; these three scholars (one a Shiite lawyer, one a Kurdish – Sunni lawyer, and one a Chaldean Catholic who is working toward a masters degree in teaching and teachers education) were in agreement that the people of Iraq are looking for leadership to improve the safety and economic health of their nation.

Additionally, they were unanimous in their belief there would be a “big turnout” for the election in Iraq, in spite of the threats of insurgents and terrorists expected to create violence inside their country. They felt that many of these people causing fear in their country are from neighboring countries “who fear a unified, economically powerful, democratic Iraq.” They were adamant in their belief that the people would no longer put up with the likes of a Saddam Hussein and his “false elections,” and that the people of Iraq are “anxious” for a change. They also felt that the new government will not become a religious government, because the people of Iraq have learned from the bad experiences with such governments in surrounding countries.

Articles in the same newspaper gave many other such examples of Iraqis with similar beliefs. Editorials by Thomas L. Friedman and Jay Bookman seemed to reflect much the same feelings about the Iraqi elections and the new government to be established.

It does appear on the morning following the elections in Iraq that perhaps as many as 60-72% of those qualified to participate in these elections have turned out to support the dream which surely the people of Iraq have had in spite of such odds against them. This has been the vision of many of the Iraqi people for a long time. Of course, we are told in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

It is easy for you and me to understand how a people who have lived under the rule of tyranny for a long period would look longingly to such an opportunity that is before the Iraqi people today. No country desires to be ruled by a conquering nation or a tyrant, no matter where he is from. We all desire to live in peace and freedom.

When the people of this country, the United Sates of America, first came to this new land, they were desirous of a government to be established where all men would have an opportunity to live in peace and harmony with religious and political freedom. They were finally able to establish such a government that has existed now for over 200 years. However, we must realize that the freedom guaranteed by that government has been terribly abused by some, if not many, who have misused it as a license to sin in manifold ways.

The people of Germany, at the end of World War II, desired to live in peace and freedom without the rule of an individual over them in the manner that they had been under with the rule of Hitler. Many in the democratic “Federal Republic of Germany” (BRD) and the communist-ruled so-called “German Democratic Republic” (DDR) had a vision of a unified Germany with the freedoms that would allow each individual to live peaceably, each man able to support himself and his family without having to live in fear of those who ruled over them. And it was years later before they would fully realize that vision, with the fall of the Berlin wall.

Today, however, many Germans are unhappy with the German unification, and anti-American feelings and sentiments are being heard in Germany. Some have long forgotten or are deliberately willing to ignore Germany’s liberation after World War II through the Allies and the American support of the free part of Berlin, when the entire city was isolated by the Russian Communists.

The future will show what the elections in Iraq have accomplished. Commentaries warn that the elections should not be over-evaluated, as they are mainly symbolic in nature. The grim facts of violence and bloodshed will continue to occur in Iraq. The Scripture mentions in Jeremiah 6:14, and in other places, people who speak of peace, when there is no peace! That is certainly occurring on a continuing basis, today. And the main reason there is no peace in this world today is that the world does not look to God for His Divine guidance. The people look to themselves, never considering the fact that the inspiration of this world comes mainly from Satan the devil, who is the real ruler of this present world and its systems.

In Ephesians 2:2 we read of “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” It is this being who directs “the course of this world” and who inspires men to “conduct” themselves as they do in the lusts of the flesh, “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” and “are by nature children of wrath…”

However, Satan’s time is short, and you and I look to the day when his rule will be put down. You and I have this vision, which is the reason we take no part in this world’s political systems. We look forward to the time when the Government of God will be established over this earth – and finally this entire universe – with Jesus Christ taking His rightful place on the Throne of David, and removing Satan from his seat of authority. He will then replace the false systems, which have been inspired by Satan, with God’s Righteous Government. At that time, there will be safety and economic health, as well as true freedom, established around the world, and God’s peace will rule over all of mankind for 1,000 years!

Your Personal Relationship with God – Part 5

This Part 5 of the series of sermons covering the Book of Genesis will complete our present review of this most important book of the Old Testament. In this sermon we observe Jacob’s shock and joy when he comes to the realization that his son, Joseph, whom he thought dead for so many years, was in fact alive and prospering as the ruler over the nation of Egypt, directly under Pharaoh.

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Your Relationship with God – Part 4

In this fourth part in the series of sermons covering the Book of Genesis, Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob becomes the central figure in the story of God’s blessings promised to Abraham which were determined by the Almighty. This story is filled with intrigue and with hope!

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Where Are Your Loyalties?

Jesus Christ cautions His Church in Matthew 24 that there would come a time when loyalty would become a real problem for many who have been called to God’s Way of life. He noted that “…many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matthew 24:10). This potential problem for many in the Church is a matter all of God’s people need to be aware of. We all must be careful that we do not get caught up in this problem.

When we examine the life of David, we observe a wonderful example of loyalty on David’s part in his relationship with Saul and with God, as described in the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel. We see the details of this example of loyalty described in 1 Samuel 24:6-10 and 26:6-16, and in 2 Samuel 1:14. Yet Saul, by his example, did not demonstrate that he was one deserving of this loyalty and devotion on the part of David.

The Scriptures noted also reveal David’s loyalty to the position of authority God had given to Saul as king of Israel. David reveals his subjection with the words whereby he states: “The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed.”

This loyalty on the part of David may well have inspired some of his own men, at a later time, to demonstrate similar loyalty and devotion to David. We read of this example in 2nd Samuel 23:15-17, where we see three of David’s men willing to sacrifice their lives for David.

We each need to be cognizant of those who deserve loyalty and we need to take every opportunity to be faithful in such loyalties. First and foremost, we must be loyal to our God, Who has revealed Himself and His Way of life to us. Christ explains the principles in Matthew 10:22-41.

Second, we must all be loyal to our brethren in the Way to which we have been called. The principles for such loyalties are described in Galatians 6:10, which admonishes us as follows: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith.”

Third, while we may not think about this often, we must have certain loyalties to those that rule over us in the various governmental jurisdictions within which we live. The basic principles are outlined in Jude, verses 8 and 9, and in 2nd Peter 2:9-11, clearly revealing our responsibility in this area. While we do understand that Satan is in charge of this world’s systems at the present time; Romans 13:1-2 clearly reveals that: “…there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” In 1 Peter 2:13-15 we are instructed to: “…submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God…”

We must, therefore, follow the rules of these governing authorities, as long as those rules do not come in conflict with the laws of God. As much as is possible, within God’s established rules, we are to follow the laws of the land. As Paul notes in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

Noted last here, but certainly not least, next to our loyalty to God and to His Work, He holds us particularly responsible for our loyalties to our mates and to our children, whom God has given to us for our personal care. In the process, we need to teach loyalty as an integral part of the training of our children. Husbands must demonstrate love and concern for their wives, and wives are to be submissive to their husbands.

Of course, the most positive method of instruction relative to our families, as well as to all others we come in contact with, is our own personal example of loyalty, as we live our lives according to the ways of God. If we husbands expect our children and our mates to follow in God’s Way, we must be walking in God’s Way as living examples to them of our approach to His Way of life!

Thus, loyalty is an important part of the Christian character which must be developed if we are to be pleasing to our God as we walk in His Way!

Your Relationship With God – Part 3

In this sermon we continue to examine the lives of men and women God first began dealing with on an intimate basis. It picks up with God’s dealings with Isaac and continues as God chooses Jacob through whom He would pass the blessings of Abraham and as He reveals even more of Himself and His Way to Jacob.

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Your Relationship with God", Part 2

We noted in Part 1 of this series, that once a person is called of God, there is a special relationship established between that person and God. As we examine the lives of men God established such relationships with, as inspired to be written in His Holy Word, we can learn much from the information recorded relative to those relationships. This second part of this series is a continuation of this examination.

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