R O I (Return on Investment)

Any investor planning an investment, whether in stocks, bonds or precious metals, has to analyze the risks involved. Some risks are high but produce big results; low risks usually produce lesser results as far as returns are concerned, so investors look at the potential Return On Investment or what kind of profit they can expect from their investment and how much risk they are prepared to take, and also, how much they are prepared to lose financially which in some cases may be all of their investment. 

These are factors involved in investing in the markets. If one doesn’t want to incur any potential losses, then one  should stay out of the market and keep their money in what the banks have to offer for term investments, with minimum losses, if any.

When we were called by God, He had to evaluate the risk involved in regard to our remaining faithful to the end. It was not an easy choice in some ways because of the human factor—the sometimes unpredictable reaction to certain events. Christ was frustrated at times, dealing with Israel, and He was prepared to start all over again through Moses, had not Moses talked Him out of it.

That same evaluation had to be done when creating angels since as free moral agents, they could rebel against Him, so in a sense, there was a risk involved in the process, and history shows that indeed thirty percent of the angels did rebel under the influence and leadership of Satan—an unredeemable, corrupt and evil being. 

We were predestined before the creation of the world to be called at this time which is a great privilege since we can become part of the first resurrection, but the success of this calling is in our hands, in that we have to follow through to the end in order to stand before Christ at His coming. The investment by God is a portion of Himself in the form of His Holy Spirit in us and also the Spirit of Christ, so they are invested in us and want the correct outcome at the end of this process.

They are there to help us along the way, but we have to walk the path of this life, following the footsteps and perfect example of Jesus Christ. We are not going to be carried automatically into the Kingdom.

If we fail, we can never blame God but must only blame ourselves.

God has not left us without tools for the success of this task, and that is that we must draw close to God using prayer, bible study, fasting and meditation as the means to achieve our goal of being in God’s Kingdom as God beings and being subject to God the Father, as Christ was and is.

God and Christ are on our side and in a way cheering us on, and the holy angels want us to succeed also, so let’s ensure we do not let God down.

Our golden crown and white garments await us.

Not As I Will…

Christ gave us this powerful promise in John 14:13-14:

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

He adds in Matthew 21:22: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Further, we read this in 1 John 3:22: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

So, all of this sounds pretty straightforward. If we ask God the Father to do anything for us, He will do so, if we ask in Christ’s name (with His authority and on His behalf); if we believe that God will do it; and if we keep His commandments and do the things which are pleasing to Him.

And still, even though we might fulfill all these requirements, we still might not receive the desired answer to our prayer. Does this mean, then, that God did not hear us; that He broke His promise; or that He is displeased with us for not being obedient and faithful enough? Does this mean, then, that it makes no difference whether we believe and keep His commandments?

If there was one Man who never disobeyed God; in whom the Father was well pleased; and who had full, total and complete faith, it was Jesus Christ. He even said that He knew that His Father would always hear Him. But at one time, He did not receive the answer from God the Father which He had desired.

Even though He came for the purpose of suffering and dying for mankind, when He was faced with the reality of torture and death, He did not want to go through it. He prayed to the Father to spare Him from this terrible ordeal which was awaiting Him. He told His disciples who were with Him: “‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me…’” (Matthew 26:39).

Although hoping that there could be another way to accomplish the purpose of His coming, He knew, deep down inside, that there was really no other way, and so He added: “‘… nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’” (same verse).

He submitted to God’s Will and made it His own. When Peter was willing to defend Him against the soldiers with the sword, trying thereby, however foolishly, to prevent His arrest, Jesus told him: “‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?’’ (John 18:11).

And so, we read in 1 John 5:14-15:

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

But how do we know whether our requests are in accordance with God’s Will? And if we don’t know, doesn’t this mean that doubts come in and diminish our faith? The answer is “No; that does not have to be the case.” When we pray to God, we must have the unconditional and unwavering faith that He will hear and answer us in the way we hope. And that He will make it abundantly clear to us if His Will differs from ours. Sometimes, that answer comes rather soon. After Jesus had finished His prayer, He knew that there was no other way; the soldiers came to arrest Him, and there was no escape. 

But this realization of God’s Will, being contrary to ours, may not be manifested right away. It may take some time.

The Apostle Paul was a man after God’s own heart. He seemed to have suffered from an incurable sickness, and He asked God three times—apparently asking Him three times during the formal procedure of anointing by other ministers—to be healed from this sickness. Only after the third anointing did he know that God would not heal him, as this was not His Will. Paul describes this realization in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9:

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’”

Paul accepted God’s Will. He continued: “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (same verse). 

It took Paul a while to come to this conclusion. In the meantime, he had continued to ask God for healing. When we do not know yet whether God’s Will is contrary to our request, we have to continue to ask in faith. Giving up prematurely is not the answer, when God’s Will contrary to our desires had not been made clear. Christ said in Luke 18:1, 7:

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart… And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”

God will make His Will abundantly clear to us, either immediately or in time. He may do so, for instance, by circumstances. We should know, however, that it is never God’s Will that we sin by not keeping His commandments. Even if circumstances might “indicate” that we “cannot” keep the Sabbath or the annual Holy Days, to draw the conclusion that we don’t have to would never be in accordance with God’s Will. 

We are faced many times with difficult and uncertain situations. God’s Will might not be what we would like to see, and disappointment in the case of “unanswered” prayers may be the inevitable result. We all go through these emotions, but it is important to realize that God has the best for all of us in mind. And in time, we will clearly see why God’s decisions have always been the right ones.

Other People’s Problems

Within families, there aren’t a lot of secrets. Family members know one another pretty well—both each other’s good points and bad; each one’s strengths and each one’s weaknesses.

Invariably, problems arise. Regardless, families most often stand by and offer great support in times of trial. It is rare to hear of a parent renouncing their child even when he or she commits terrible crimes.

Within our spiritual family, the Church of God, we also get to know one  another quite well—the good, the bad, and, yes, even the ugly.

How do we operate within that spectrum? Regardless of the relationship, the goal should be one emphasizing this foundational approach:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

We probably have all heard someone say about another that they were there for them when they needed them the most. Paul wrote:

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

But it isn’t just the big problems other people have for which they need our help. Life is made up of many, many little things and that includes problems—challenges which might go easier with another person’s help.

Let’s make it a point to do what we can when the opportunity and the need arises to serve, remembering that we, too, can fall into that category of being the other person—with a problem!

Why You Cannot DIY!

I enjoy watching Do It Yourself (“DIY) videos on YouTube. From an amateur watch maker who restores old mechanical watches, to a farmer in Ohio who is building his backyard pond, the ability to transform and create something of value is impressive. Many of us have experienced the sense of satisfaction that comes along with building something by hand. Perhaps the task is woodworking, metalsmithing, creating a piece of art, writing something with enduring quality, and even gardening. The feeling that we can derive from a job well done is hard to describe but one knows the feeling. People use the word “satisfying” to describe that sensation of accomplishment that comes from completing a task. It is good to use the skills we have been given by God, but not good to believe that we are independent of God’s grace in our lives.

I have a work-colleague who has mentioned a prior life near the beach in Costa Rica. He would fish for the family dinner, pick fruit from a tree for breakfast, and in general live a self-sufficient lifestyle. He makes it sound wonderful and free of the usual stress and hassle that everyday life typically includes. The positives of such a life seem to outweigh the possibility of negatives but they do exist. Perhaps you will wake up ill one day and be unable to fend for yourself. One would quickly come to understand they are not quite so self-sufficient.

In Proverbs 3, and in verses 5-8, we are directed to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”

This is antithetical to the DIY philosophy, but to us as true Christians, it is essential that our toolbox be grounded in our faith, obedience, and trust in the Father. It is also true that God wants those He calls to be productive and use the talents and abilities He gives them. This is not a DIY contradiction because we must remember that despite all that we do and may be proficient at, we must rely on God for blessings and deliverance from the challenges we face.

Isaiah 41 outlines the many things that God does and will do for His people. It is a catalogue of His power and majesty and encapsulated in verse 13: “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” Is this not what we all require—God to take our hand and guide us through the difficulties? As we apply our skills and energies to a problem, we must understand that we must rely on Him. The part that many of us struggle with is that if it is not God’s Will to grant a desire, or an outcome He favors, it will not happen, regardless of our skill. As He did with Moses in the Wilderness, God made the impossible occur. He brought forth living water from stone. Later in Isaiah 41,we see His powers clearly, as stated in verses 18 through 20:

“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

As humans, we are not capable of miraculous achievement, regardless of our skill. Even musical and technical prodigies must develop and are flawed. Only God is defined by perfection. He has, however, given us a glimpse of His magnificence through His creation of all of us and the universe around us.In 1 Peter 5, and in verses 6 and 7, we are admonished as follows: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

True Christians must understand this and ensure that they do not fall back on the carnal expectation to rely on oneself, or one’s family, friends, or colleagues for salvation. All good things flow only from God. This includes all blessings, skills, sustenance, and even the challenges we face. In Philippians 4, and in verse 6, we understand that we are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

In our society today, we are accustomed to receiving immediate updates for packages we are expecting. We have similar expectations for resolutions in our lives. Problems we face, health issues, and challenges involving work, are just a handful of matters we deal with in which our expertise may have little impact on the outcome. Yet, our human existence has trained us to believe that we can fix the situation. We also see the reliance that so many people in the world place on governmental leaders to deliver peace, prosperity, and well-being. Political parties and activists promote their ability to provide the answer. As true Christians, we know that this is not accurate, nor is it possible.

As we conclude, let us consider Christ’s words in John 15:4-5: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” This is what it boils down to: We can do nothing without God’s intervention and influence in our lives. When He calls us, we have a choice to make, and as the builder counts the cost of the project, true Christians must understand the full benefit that comes with trusting and relying on God.

Be Prepared

This past week, I was involved in a Jiu-Jitsu competition where I sparred with two other guys and came out in second place. 

The past few weeks though, leading up to this competition, have been tough in training and preparing for this moment. Almost 6 weeks ago, I pulled the ligament in my foot and had to take a week off, and I also had to be very careful now during training. All said and done, while it was fun to win second place, the most important thing I felt was not getting reinjured. 

While this has all been going on, even more importantly, I have been writing Q&As and messages for the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles. In all of our lives, we have moments that we prepare for. We must continue to prepare in our lives. Once we reach one milestone and one goal, more goals appear and the cycle continues.  

The Bible encourages us to be prepared in many areas of our lives. 

Specifically, we are told: 

  • To prepare by working to be able to provide for our family, and to be able to give tithes and offerings (compare Proverbs 21:20; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:8);
  • To be prepared to give an answer about our faith and what we believe (1 Peter 3:15-16). This means that we have to know what we believe which takes studying God’s Word. We have so much material on our website https://www.eternalgod.org/ that can be used. If we cannot give an answer to people, then we are not prepared and we should dig in a little more;
  • To prepare to be counted worthy to stand before Christ at His return (Luke 21:36; Matthew 24:42);
  • To prepare for the Feast of Tabernacles. Some will be giving messages, some will be translating, some will be giving special music, etc. All of this takes preparation and time. It should be something that we do with joy and great excitement. Whether or not we have been specifically assigned to serve at the Feast in some capacity, we should be prepared for this time and enjoy it with enthusiasm and great attitudes (Leviticus 23:33-44).

We are not the only ones preparing. Christ is preparing “a place” for us, as we read in John 14:3. 

The opportunities to prepare are given to us so that we can learn not to neglect the important things in life. The most important thing is living in a way that God is happy about. This challenge is laid out for us so that we may prove to Him that we want to be in His Family. This is an all-encompassing Way of Life that has to be studied and acted upon throughout our entire lives. 

What do you consider the most important thing in your life? How much do you prepare? 

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

Preparations are happening for all of us in various ways. Let’s make sure we are preparing properly and with the right intent and motivation. It is then that we can make progress in our life. 

Beauty Comes From Within…

Some time ago, I found myself in the middle of a debate on how to behave towards other people. I mentioned the need for respect towards other people and that one should express oneself well and carefully by choosing one’s words without being hurtful.

My counterpart responded: “I just am who I am.”

This statement was very disappointing to me at that moment, showing a lack of respect and making it clear that there was a complete unwillingness to make a necessary change.

Unwillingness to change also means that one is not prepared to look at one’s reflection in the mirror to examine oneself, and to alter existing faults.

Conducting one’s life in such a way shows an utter indifference to other fellow human beings and a lack of concern for the behavior towards them, and such a person has no place in the Kingdom of God, for he literally would stop at nothing, thus making himself hideous. His heart is cold, and he will not find true peace in this cruel world; something that Christ wants to give us.

In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

This is precisely what we are to do as true Christians: We must critically examine ourselves to see if there is not some bad characteristic clinging to or in us that needs to be banned from our lives. It does not matter how long we have been part of the Body of Christ, regardless of whether we have been converted Christians for 10, 20, 40 or even more than 50 years.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, chapter 13 and verse 5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” There is simply no age limit for this since self-examination is a lifelong process.

Being respectful to our fellow human beings, and showing kindness and helpfulness, is a huge responsibility that God bestows upon us, especially among true Christians. If we develop such respect for others, God will be very pleased with us. And how to cultivate such respect is explained by David in his Psalms: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).

Christ expects us to interact properly with our fellow human beings, and He is the supreme role model for us that ever walked the earth as a human being, for He set an example of what is good and had it written down for the end time, for He was the light of the world (compare John 8:12).  He also taught several times, that “[n]o one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light” (Luke 11:33). And He also tells us: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

It is everyone’s own decision, how bright and beautiful this light is radiating from us; however, we must ensure that it glows powerfully both within and out of us. When it does shine brightly within us and people recognize this, then we will be beautiful to look at, for this beauty does indeed come from within us!

Initial Translation: Daniel Blasinger

A Song in Your Heart

There are moments in life that are utterly delightful if we are wise enough to take the time to appreciate them. A quiet, sunny summer morning conversing uninterrupted with my wife over a good cup of coffee is what does it for me. I’m sure you have moments that fit your own formula of delight.  Those kinds of moments are the easy ones to appreciate, of course. When there’s not a problem in the world that comes to mind and everything is wonderful, the experience of joy is readily available.

The thing about delightful moments is that they tend to pass by. If we don’t take the time to acknowledge the good things for which we have reason to be grateful, we can miss out on our opportunity to enjoy the gifts of momentary gladness that God gives us. I dare say that every single day is laden with delightful moments if we are attentive enough to capture them.  But we have to be adept enough to notice them, and deliberate enough to spend our time experiencing them.

For as many reasons that we can find to be delighted, we can find just as many reasons – or more – to be disgruntled. Being human, the disruptive elements in a moment can easily inundate our otherwise blissful state of being. The neighbor’s gas-powered leaf blower on a quiet, sunny summer morning is enough to ruin everything!

Acknowledging that life’s frustrations are abundant, how is it possible to find any meaningful, lasting joy in our life? Jesus Christ gives us a clue in John 16:33, “‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’”

The Bible is very clear in letting us know that life is hard, especially living as a Christian! But Jesus doesn’t tell us that we just have to be tough and suffer through it without any hope of relief in this life. He encourages us to rise above the reasons that we have to complain, and focus instead on the reasons we have to be cheerful. This world in which we find struggle is the same world that Jesus Christ has overcome. And in doing that, He has given us a hope that is far greater than relief from the struggles in life. We have the kind of hope that makes all problems infinitesimally insignificant – if we take the time to acknowledge and meditate on the infinite wonder of eternal life.

We have to look in the right places to find joy. It is not too difficult to indulge in a temporary hedonistic experience, but those will inevitably lead us down the wrong path. We obtain lasting joy by being filled with the Holy Spirit, which helps us understand our life with the mind of Christ and overflow with positive emotion. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul shares his perspective that a delightful state of being is attainable to us all, inspiring us to have a song in our heart!

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:17-20).

Our state of mind and Way of Life is filled with inspiration of God’s Spirit. Having God live with or even within us through His Holy Spirit allows us to be thankful for ALL things. Even the hard things that attempt to disrupt our delight serve a meaningful purpose for us in our spiritual growth as we learn to overcome (compare Romans 8:28). By setting our outlook in this way, we understand that each moment is a gift from God that offers us an opportunity to be thankfully delighted, with a song in our heart, knowing that His Will is working in our lives.

Serve God With a Willing Spirit

What kind of attitude does God want us to have when we take a part in His Work? And, of course, His Work at times includes offerings as well as other actions. We know that God loves a cheerful giver which is something we are often reminded of before the Holy Day offerings (see 2 Corinthians 9:7).

In the Old Testament writings, when the tabernacle was being built, the term “willing” was used regarding the offering people gave for its construction. In Exodus 35, the term “willing” or “freewill” is used five times in the New King James Bible, showing how important this attribute is considered by God. The first mention is in Exodus 35:5 where we read, “Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD: gold, silver, and bronze…” The meaning of “willing” in this chapter is “generous, spontaneous, voluntary, abundant”—all being attitudes that God desires in us as we serve Him.

Much later, when King David was instructing his son to be the future king and to serve God, he used the terms “a loyal heart” and “a willing mind” in 1 Chronicles 28:9. In this case, willing is from a different Hebrew word meaning “delight in, desire, have pleasure.” In other words, delight in serving God and ruling His people correctly.

At the time just before Solomon began building the temple in Jerusalem, we also read in 1 Chronicles 29:6, “Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly.” They gave abundantly materials for the building of the temple as had King David.

There is an interesting example in the New Testament of a man who was willingly serving God, and that man was Cornelius. He was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). Doing good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith as we have opportunity, which would include giving alms or charitable gifts generously or willingly, is mentioned in Galatians 6:10 as good works we are to perform. What is also interesting in the account of the angel visiting Cornelius is that the angel puts the prayers of Cornelius first before the alms as a memorial before God. (See Acts 10:4 and Acts 10:31). So both are a memorial but God puts prayers first here while He placed alms first in Acts 10:2. Both are part of an important memorial.

Of course, there are warnings if we do not serve God willingly. Jeremiah 48 tells us that God was using an army (possibly the Chaldeans, depending on which commentary is referred to) to destroy ancient Moab because of their attitudes and actions. (We understand, of course, that this entire passage is mainly a prophecy for the “latter days,” note Jeremiah 48:47). In Jeremiah 48:10 we read, “Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD deceitfully, And cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood.”

The Pulpit Commentary shows the literal translation of “deceitfully” means “slackly, negligently.” And the New Testament mentions examples of people doing God’s Work deceitfully or negligently.

Early in the New Testament Church, a couple, Ananias and Saphira, tried to deceive the apostles and the Church by claiming their gift was the full amount of what they sold, whereas it was only a part. They were exaggerating their gift—possibly, to receive more praise. See Acts 5:1-2. God inspired Peter to see through the deception and the result was that God killed both the man and his wife because of them lying to the Holy Spirit.

In the letter to the Church of the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:14-22, God condemns the Laodiceans for not being zealous. They believed they were rich, had become wealthy, and had need of nothing, whereas God told them they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. By being self-satisfied and not being zealous in their lives, including their need to repent and to overcome, what little, if any, of God’s Work they were doing, they were doing negligently or with a slack hand. Because of this attitude, God intended to vomit them out of His mouth.

So, from these examples, we see that no matter whether we have a large or a small part in God’s Work, we must do our part willingly and zealously, and without any deception. When we do this, our efforts will be a memorial well pleasing to God.

Humility and Obedience

Humility and obedience are two characteristics which every Christian should have.

Modern man has a proud, self-satisfied attitude and thinks he can get along without God. Neither does he fear God nor does he respect God’s Word as an authority in his life. He is selfish and puffed up. Is it any wonder then that God does not hear the prayers of such people?

The most important requirement for knowing God is to fear or respect Him and to honor His Word. Psalm 111:10 tells us: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”

Man must realize that he is only dust and will return to dust when he dies. In James 4:14, we read: “… For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

However, if a person has received the Spirit of God in this life, he will inherit eternal life at his resurrection, which is a gift from God: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

We should be humble and show obedience, understanding that all the gifts and talents we possess were given to us by God.

If we approach God with such an attitude and if we acknowledge His power and authority over our lives, then He will hear us.

When Christ lived as a human being, He also feared or respected God, just as we should do. Hebrews 5:7 tells us, that “in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, [He] was heard because of His godly fear…”

An attitude of humility and fear of God is always essential in prayer. And by respecting God’s Word, we are obedient.

The requirement for an answered prayer is neglected and constantly disregarded by most professing “Christians.” Matthew 6:7 states, for example: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

Very few people know the true God. Most do not look towards God as the authority in their lives. Instead, the society of this world with its morals, customs, traditions and religious practices have become their “god.”

God inspired Paul to write: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).

When we are obedient to the ways of sin that are practiced in this world, we are replacing the true God with society and its pagan customs!  God does not want “lip service.” He demands humility and obedience!  If one has not learned to fear and respect the true God and accept His Word as authority in our lives, then one cannot even start to know the true God in the first place.

In 1 John 2:4, we read: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

So, how can people stubbornly refuse to keep God’s commandments and yet expect Him to hear their prayers? Peter gives us the following answer, “‘For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil’” (1 Peter 3:12).

Sin is the transgression of God’s law, as the Authorized Version accurately states in 1 John 3:4.  The New King James Bible translates it in this way: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

God will not hear the prayers of those who persist in sin and wickedness. If people were to obey God, they would receive answers to their prayers. In that case, God would not seem so far away and so unreachable.

If one goes to God with humility and a repentant attitude, and if one is determined to obey God, He will answer one’s prayers.

As true Christians, we can have extraordinary confidence that God will answer our prayers if we are humble and obedient. 1 John 3:22 confirms this: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Humility and obedience are very closely related, since without humility one cannot have obedience. Both are crucial for a good relationship with God and with our neighbor. Therefore, obedience and humility are two qualities that every Christian must have.

Fake News – and the Truth!

In an article in “Money Marketing” a little while ago, entitled “Why everyone is over-reacting to the mini-Budget,” the writer, Max King, made this observation:

“In the rush to publish and pontificate, media analyses of Budgets are, inevitably, simplistic, shallow and populist. They are often governed by consensus group-think and politically influenced. The interviews with ‘ordinary people’ are designed to support the narrative.” 

A short while before the above comment, I was talking to a near neighbour that I speak to occasionally, whilst walking my dog, about the state of the nation in general.   He seemed to be convinced that the media, and our national broadcaster in particular, were able to produce actors who supported the regular accusation of left wing bias.   In a BBC article in January of this year, we read: “The idea of ‘crisis actors’ – people who pretend or are hired to act out some particular tragedy or disaster – is part of many contemporary conspiracy theories.”

In this editorial, I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories or politics, but suffice to say that fake news is currently alive and kicking, and it seems to permeate the very fabric of western society.

In a Daily Mail article in 2019, it was stated that “The consequences of fabricated news stories may have lingering effects on your perception.  According to a new study, voters may develop false memories after reading a fake news report. And, they’re more likely to do so if the narrative lines up with their own beliefs. Researchers presented over 3,000 eligible voters in Ireland with legitimate and made-up stories ahead of the 2018 referendum on legalizing abortion. In subsequent questioning – and after being told that some of the reports were fake – nearly half of participants reported a memory for at least one of the fabricated events, and many tended to be steadfast in these beliefs.”

Trying to work out what is right and what is wrong, what is factual news and what is fake, can take quite a bit of research and discernment, and is necessary to ensure that we have the right narrative—and, never more so than in the realm of our calling.

Now, here’s a thought.   When Jesus was addressing the stubborn Jews, He said:

 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Matthew 24 gives us information from Jesus about the times to come:  “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (verse 11).   In verses 23-24, we further read: “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”   And in verse 25, we have this admonition: See, I have told you beforehand,” and so we have been warned!   A lot of fake news has been prophesied!

We must recognise that Satan is the father of fake news.   He has sold the world on his lies, which are manifold.  

When we keep the Feast of Tabernacles each year, we are showered daily with Truth from God’s Word, showing us the marvellous future that awaits those of us who remain faithful to our calling until the end.  

The Truth is far more interesting than fake news and will be the norm in the coming Kingdom of God.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God