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Weekly sermons from the Raleigh congregation of the United Church of God.

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How To Honor Your Parents & Why
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-59YBUdcphvA/WaWMuid0PNI/AAAAAAAAAhY/cYDU_XgloZgSG_N59AHgLYJFWPXgOQ4zwCLcBGAs/s1600/age.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1065" height="200" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-59YBUdcphvA/WaWMuid0PNI/AAAAAAAAAhY/cYDU_XgloZgSG_N59AHgLYJFWPXgOQ4zwCLcBGAs/s200/age.jpg" width="132" /></a></div>God our Father has placed the principle of honoring our parents within His 10 commandments Exodus 20:12, <b>Deuteronomy 5:15</b>. So we know it’s a highly important matter to Him. Yet its sometimes hard to be certain of exactly what is expected in fulfilling God’s 5<sup>th</sup> commandment.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We’re going to look at what is expected under ideal circumstances... and why. Also, we’ll look at what might be expected under less than ideal circumstances, even rotten circumstances… and why.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> If one’s parents are among those who live according to the principles of Godly living and we get along well with them, the idea of honor toward parents is more straight forward. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When we are young we should obey our parents and pay attention to their instruction and discipline. Later, when we are older, we leave and set up our own household. We then make our own choices and are responsible for those choices. When we marry and have children we then assume the role of parents ourselves. But that does not mean we have no further responsibilities toward our own parents.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If our parents become incapable of taking care of themselves through sickness, disability, or the natural decline of old age, we should help and assist them.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Whether we are young or old we should never strike our parents in anger or frustration. We should not speak harshly to them. We should not speak about them to others in a manner that is hateful, dismissive, or demeaning. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">An affectionate, harmonious relationship with your parents certainly makes following God’s command to show honor to parents seem a lot more natural. However, it still requires self control and sacrifice even when you both share the same faith towards God.</div><h3 class="western">Related Scriptures:</h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do</b> obey them – <b>Colossians 3:20, Ephesians 6:1-2</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do</b> submit to their discipline – <b>Hebrews 12:9, Proverbs 13:1</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do</b> provide for them – <b>1 Timothy 5:4, Matthew 15:3-7</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do Not</b> strike or verbally abuse them – Matthew 15:3-7, <b>Exodus 21:15,17</b></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: some people point to this as an example of the impracticality and harshness of the scriptures: “if you try to follow this literally every child would end up dead”. How among us has not violated this command in some form as children?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Exodus 22:18-21</b> </div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">this is not a punishment for a single infraction rather it is for one who is habitually disobedient.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the parents do not take such action into their own hands… they submit the charge to the legal authorities of the community. In that way the act could not be one based on emotion or momentary rage, rather it would have to be a deliberate decision based on evidence.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the parents fulfill the role of the 2 witnesses who bring the evidence forward. By law a person who was ever found to be a false witness would bring upon themselves the very punishment they sought to bring upon the accused. </div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Both parents would have to agree that this was the only course of action</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">By the laws of witnessing in a court case if the parents were ever found to be lying they would be the ones put to death instead of their child</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As the accusing witness(es) the parent would have to cast the first stone only then would the rest of the community also cast their stones. This would be highly emotionally painful and culturally shaming. It would not be an action lightly taken.</div></li></ol></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">However, God views habitual disobedience towards parents to be a form of cultural rot that should be cut out of the community like a cancer. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 1:29, 1 Timothy 3:2</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Clearly honoring your mother and father is a big deal to God. The instructions and consequences we have just gone through are based on a scenario involving parents who are themselves leading godly lives and who follow God’s instructions.</div><h3 class="western">What About Parents Who Make Bad Choices?</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Lots of parents out there do not live godly lives. Even parents who try to live according to God’s way can make terrible mistakes. Some people’s parents are abusive, some are neglectful, some are addicts, selfish, foolish, lazy or unfair. Under such circumstances following God’s command to honor parents can seem strange and difficult to do.</div><h3 class="western">God Wants Us to Respect His Authority</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Malachi 1:6</b> honoring parents is analogous to honoring God [see also Hebrews 12:9, Ephesians 3:14]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s command to honor our parents establishes a root concept of respect for, and honor towards authority in what we say and do. All authority whether in heaven or on earth begins and ends with God. For now, we experience this authority as it has been delegated to others both spiritual and human.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The command to honor parents is given to begin teaching us this attitude from our earliest formative years. It is built around the most fundamental and universal of all human relationships… parent and child. In other areas of scripture God expands His expectations regarding our approach to authority such that we also have respect for and show honor to human government, officials, kings, rulers, etc. God requires us to show respect for authority whether the person wielding it is righteous or not.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Peter 2:13-18 </b>in the world <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Hebrews 13:17 </b>in the church [also Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 5:17-18]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s program is that we learn to show honor toward fallible and flawed human authority. These situations can be difficult and trying. However, our efforts show Him we can be trusted to respect God’s own authority if and when we are granted eternal life within God’s own family. Challenging and questioning God’s authority disrupts peace and harmony and has no lasting place in eternity.</div><h3 class="western">Showing Honor &amp; Respect in Difficult Situations</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A favorite example of showing honor for human authority that is not acting in an honorable manner is David’s dealings with Saul, the king of Israel. For no good reason Saul declared David his enemy, called David an enemy of the state, and tried repeatedly to kill David. Yet, David continued to speak and act with honor and respect towards Saul because of Saul’s position as king of Israel. While he showed respect and honor toward Saul David wisely kept away from the man and removed himself from harm and danger. </div><h3 class="western">Honoring Parents in Difficult Situations</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Showing honor and respect does not demand that we subject our self to abuse, violence, or harm. Like the practical example of David mentioned previously you may find that for various reasons you need to practice respect and honor toward your parents from a distance in order to protect yourself emotionally or physically.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As a young person still under your parents control your responsibility to obey your parents does not require you to do anything that is contrary to the express will of God. If you are ever compelled to do anything disobedient to God the responsibility for such actions will be upon your parents not you. Neither should you feel compelled to obey parental instructions that put you in danger, or are exploitive. If you find a way of escape from such situations you should take it. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Be careful you don’t use this as a clever argument to avoid legitimate requests made by parents [refer to Matthew 15: 3-7 Corban etc]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ezekiel 20:18-19 </b>you do not have to follow your parents in their disobedience toward God.</div><h2 class="western">Healing the Breach Through Forgiveness</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When you reach the point of adulthood and have established your own household you may find yourself still struggling with how to show respect and honor towards your parents. Emotional scars may run deep, bad parenting may have left you bitter, or deep divides in respective lifestyles may divide you. The only effective solution begins with forgiveness. Forgive your parents for whatever mistakes they have made. Let go of the condemnation you feel in your heart and mind and leave the matter with God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Forgiveness does not mean you must agree with or approve of whatever your parents have done, or do. Your forgiveness is not for their benefit… its for yours. Forgiveness means you are willing to put the past behind you and move on to a better future. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You may be able to repair a damaged relationship with your parents through gestures of kindness and a gentle humility. You may find that for your own well being you still need to keep some distance between you and your parents. Restoring an affectionate relationship with parents is a desirable goal but not necessarily the same as showing respect and honor.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You can show honor to your parents by taking care of their needs if they become incapable of taking care of themselves through sickness, injury, or old age.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You also show respect and honor towards your parents by what you do not do. Do not treat your parents harshly. Do not speak of your parents, or speak to your parents, in a manner that is disrespectful, insulting, demeaning, dismissive, or impolite. In this way you will avoid showing contempt for the authority God has delegated to parents. </div><h3 class="western">A Commandment With a Reward Attached</h3><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Work to overcome the negative elements of your relationship with your parents and follow God’s command to honor your mother and father. You will be rewarded for it by God your true Father and creator, <b>Ephesians 6:2</b>. With this promise of reward, the 5<sup>th</sup> command is unique among the 10 commandments God has given us to live by. Honor toward parents is a fundamental principle of God’s way of thought. Respect and honor toward parents leads to more harmonious relationships within human families but most important it will lead to harmony within the eternal family of God. &nbsp;</div>View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlXV_VQMfA">How to Honor Your Parents</a><br /><br />Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/08/how-to-honor-your-parents-why.html">How to Honor Your Parents</a><br /><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/wlpLkYPuoec" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Grief is Part of the Human Experience
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MMBqH4j2wpw/WhTRgFWmTkI/AAAAAAAAApo/YbhqO5Coz3E-HcFIbnAXPIHuIDLd3GDKACLcBGAs/s1600/ben-white-194220.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MMBqH4j2wpw/WhTRgFWmTkI/AAAAAAAAApo/YbhqO5Coz3E-HcFIbnAXPIHuIDLd3GDKACLcBGAs/s320/ben-white-194220.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><b>1 Thessalonians 4:13-18</b> does this mean we should not allow ourselves to be sad when faced with the loss of a friend, comrade and brother? </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We know they have a future. We know they will be resurrected. We know we will see them again. Why are we still sad? Is our sadness a weakness of faith… a pull of doubt against our confidence?</div><h2 class="western"> What is Grief?</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grief can be hard to explain. It’s a powerful emotion – often it’s a set of emotions which can be simultaneous and conflicting. We may experience feelings of relief and great sadness at the same time.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For example: In the case of someone who has passed away only after a long stretch of sickness or pain… we may feel <u>relief</u> that they will no longer have to suffer. At the same time we are <u>sad</u> because the inevitability of death has confronted us in an undeniable way.<br /><a name='more'></a></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Familiar patterns, behaviors, interactions we have grown accustomed to will no longer be possible. We are left to adapt with a new reality. The world we have known will now never be the same. We feel loss knowing that we will never again be able to reach out for that person who has always been there before.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grief can be our reaction to other events, a friend moves away, or we find ourselves an empty nester. More negative situations include divorce, loss of a job… and then there is death.</div><h2 class="western">Grief is Part of the Human Experience</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s people grieve just like all people. We have records in scripture of the grief experienced by people like: Job, Naomi, Hannah, David who experienced great loss and sadness. We also have record of Jesus weeping in grief for Lazarus His friend.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 11:32-38 </b>Jesus was moved by their grief but also by the fact of Lazarus’ death. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He had perfect faith that the Father would answer His prayer for Lazarus to be restored to life. He could have simply said “have no fear” but instead He shared in the grief of the situation.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 4:15</b> This is an example of how Jesus is a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grief, weeping and sorrow is natural and normal. Its not a demonstration of any lack of faith. We do not want to be overcome by our grief as if we had no hope. </div><h2 class="western">Grief Serves a Purpose</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ecclesiastes 7:2 </b>grief can refresh and inform our understanding and perspective on our life. While we do not want to be obsessed with a fear of death we should use it as an occasion to remember that our own days are numbered and finite. Grieving over death is a time for us to ask “what am I doing with the days of life that I have left”?</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 30:5 </b>grief and sadness serve a purpose. But grief also has its limits and it will come to and end. We do not forget those who have died but in time we adjust to our new reality.</div><h2 class="western">God is Beside Us in Our Grief</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God is our master, our creator, our father and friend. God is faithful and we can count on Him to walk with us in our sadness. Jesus used His days in the flesh to show us what God is really like in human terms that would add depth to our understanding. His grief for Lazarus was a demonstration of God’s emotional solidaity with us… even in grief and sadness. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 23:1-4 </b>we will walk through valleys of darkness and death. Through it all He is with us as our guide and protector.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 56:8</b> God sees our grief. When we grieve He does not think of us as weak, lacking in faith. Like we saw with the example of Jesus mourning for Lazarus… God enters into our grief, He feels it. Yet He also wants to reassure us that all is not lost <b>Psalm 46:10, Psalm 91:1-2, Romans 8:28.</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Consider: </b>If God engages with our grief and seeks to appreciate what it means. Perhaps the flow of understanding should also flow in the other direction as well. We are grieved by loss, separation, death. What causes God grief… can we enter into and share His emotional reactions.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We are hardwired for grief. It’s a natural and normal reaction. It may be there as a learning tool so we can understand how God feels about being rejected by those He has created and loved… His reaction when we willingly separate themselves from Him through the terrible choices we make.</div><h2 class="western">Processing Our Emotions</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">An important part of working our way through grief is expressing it to God. The Psalms are filled with any examples of opening up raw emotions of pain, doubt, anger and sharing them with God. However, the psalmist never ends up where he began. He may begin with an outpouring of grief but works through the emotions applying a God focused perspective, putting the emotions of the moment into a larger perspective. For Example Psalm 13 or Psalm 30:11-12, or Psalm 56.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Another important step in working our way through grief is to share it with others. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Galatians 6:2</b> the body of Christ is designed to ease the burdens of its individual members</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 12:15 </b>fellow believers have the ability to mourn with you</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Often grief makes us want to stay apart from others to hold our emotions close to us and not let others know about them. Everyone processes their emotions such as grief in their own way. However, shutting ourselves off from others physically, mentally, emotionally can have the effect of increasing feelings of isolation and sadness.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When we share our stories with God and others our grief is lessened. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 “<i>therefore encourage one another with these words</i>”.</div><h2 class="western">Focus on the Hope</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> Grief is a part of the human experience that is almost impossible to avoid. Loss is a part of life and grief is a natural response to it. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Through God’s word and the faith He has planted in us you have hope. You have confidence He is with you as you carry your heavy load… willing and able to help you with it along the way. Open up our heart to Him and trust Him because He cares for you <b>1 Peter 5:7</b>.</div><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">His spirit is alive and in you… speaking to you of hope and visions tommorow… encouraging you with confidence and faith for today. Cast your burdens on Him, rely on the community of the church, dig into the truth of the word and experience hope. <b>Hebrews 6:17-19</b></div></div>Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/08/grief-is-part-of-human-experience.html">Grief</a><br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAuGVhlS1wA">Grief</a></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/WQzRSGsfEMM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Tithing is an Act of Worship
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our world has some serious problems. Humanity seek to solve them through better technology, better distribution of material goods… and lots of wishful thinking. The real answers to humanity’s quest for meaningful and joyful living are spiritual not material. Those answers are available within the message of the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The creator makes that knowledge available in a written document [bible]. Understanding of what that document is actually there to teach us is darkened, confused, seemingly contradictory, seemingly discredited. God has allowed it to be so.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God has provided a beacon of right teaching, true doctrine, and spiritual understanding to cut through the fog. That beacon of light in a darkened world is the church. Not a nation, not an organization… a spiritual organism drawing from all humanity. A body of people commissioned as servants of Jesus Christ to take the message of the kingdom an of Christ to the world. Matthew 28:18-20.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">It is God’s will and purpose to work through humans as partners. At one time He worked through a physical entity… a nation, Israel. At present He works through a spiritual entity… the church of God. A spiritual entity operating in a very material world. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_LT6FUijw6E/WaWJkpsTi3I/AAAAAAAAAhA/il0PGMxKfwkkiRrFoAULd9UXmOHsiirBQCLcBGAs/s1600/the-poor-shall-be-with-you-always_1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="251" data-original-width="350" height="228" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_LT6FUijw6E/WaWJkpsTi3I/AAAAAAAAAhA/il0PGMxKfwkkiRrFoAULd9UXmOHsiirBQCLcBGAs/s320/the-poor-shall-be-with-you-always_1.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>God provides for this very spiritual work in this very material world through tithing. When you tithe you not only honor God with your possessions, you partner with Him is accomplishing His spiritual goals for this world.</div><h2 class="western">A Tithe is a 10<sup>th </sup>of Your Increase or Net Gain</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Leviticus 27:30-33</b> a tenth part</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 14:22 </b>on the increase, gain, or profit</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The reality of life on earth is that everything belongs to the Creator. God just lets you use it for a while. When you are gone it passes to another. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 8:17-18 </b>we are wrong when we think it belongs to us</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 28:47</b> we are to serve Him willingly, which includes showing honor towards Him with our material goods by giving 10% back to Him [of what is really His anyway].</div><h2 class="western">Tithing is a Form of Worship</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Tithing is a form of worship that exists outside the bounds of the covenant God made with Israel. Abraham tithed hundreds of years before the covenant was put in place with Israel. Abraham gave 10% of what he gained. He gave it to the high priest of God… which at that time was Melchizadek. Abraham honored God with his material goods and gave thanks for the blessing from God [the blessing of victory]. <b>Genesis 14:18-20</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 28: 20-22</b> when God reaffirms the covenant He made with Abraham through Jacob [Abraham’s grandson]… Jacob responds with a declaration of loyalty and a dedication to tithing… I will worship you through titihing. [to Melchizadek?]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Tithing is part of the covenant of faith that began with Abraham and which remains today for the people of God.</div><h2 class="western">Tithing in the Sinai Covenant</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God established Israel in the land of Canaan to perform His great work in the world. To act as a living demonstration of His way of living among the nations which they could admire and imitate. With this new method of revealing Himself to humanity there was also a change in the administration of the priesthood. Instead of the order of Melchizadek the tribe of Levi were set apart to do the priestly work of God on earth [the role of high priest was delegated specifically to the family of Aaron].</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers 18:21-24 </b>the priests would not work the land to make a living, they would do the work of God… temple service… sacrifices… teaching the word of God to the people. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers 18:26-28</b> they in turn tithed to the High Priesthood</div><h2 class="western">Tithing Badly Neglected in Israel</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When Judah was expelled from the land for violating the terms of the national covenant they were condemned by God to 70 years of exile in Babylon and Persia. Once the 70 years were up a small group headed by Ezra and Nehemiah were sent back to re-establish the nation.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Neglecting God’s commands had become a way of living and thinking for these people and it would take some hard work to get the people set back on the right path. A lot the responsibility for making this restoration happen would depend upon the priesthood.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Things were going badly… the people seemed to be slipping back into the same old habits of neglect that had caused their national defeat and exile. Toward the end of the book named after him Nehemiah puts his finger on why the program was falling apart.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Nehemiah 13:10-13</b> the priests were not doing their job… the people were not funding the work of the priesthood with their tithes. Instead of properly managing the temple service, administering sacrifice and teaching the people from God’s word… the priests were out plowing in the field to earn a living.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The need for steady funding for the work of God was not a surprise to Nehemiah. He had planned a system for collecting, storing and distributing the tithes… and written it into a legal agreement with the remnant settlers.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Nehemiah 10:37-39 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Nehemiah 12:44</b></div><h2 class="western">The Same Principles [and Expectations] Are At Work Today</h2><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Personal worship </b>– honor God with our material wealth</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acknowledgment/Thanks</b> – recognize and appreciate God’s authority over, and ownership</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Funding</b> – God allows us to partner with Him in the work He is doing on earth</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We saw Nehemiah’s view about the importance of tithing and the bad results from neglecting to tithe… what is God’s view?</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Malachi 3: 7-12</b> failure to tithe is a serious issue with God</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 23:23 </b>Jesus reaffirmed the need to tithe</div><h2 class="western">Tithing in the New Covenant</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">After Jesus’ death and the establishment of the new covenant there was once again a change in the administration of the work of God on earth. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God would no longer perform His work through a physical nation… Israel. The new covenant would be established with people from all nations and backgrounds whom He would call to form a spiritual nation… the Israel of God… the church of God.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Galatians 6:16 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>1 Peter 2:9-10</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">With this new administration the institutions of sacrifice, priesthood, and temple were not done away with… they have been re-aligned and re-applied to a world forever changed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In Ephesians Paul spoke of himself as a servant of God within this new administration but in the same epistle also confirmed that it was built on the foundation of the Old Testament writings yet with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 15:4</b> this should be our attitude toward the OT writing and instructions</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Many of the changes in the administration of God’s work in the world under the new covenant are explained in the book of Hebrews. The high priest is now the risen Jesus Christ… the office is not done away with it is completely changed and improved. This change in the administration of the priesthood is discussed from many angles [sacrifice, temple] and in chapter 7 the change in the administration of tithing to the priesthood is addressed.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You now tithe to Jesus Christ the High Priest of the new covenant.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 7:1-10 </b>Abraham [the father of the faithful] gave his tithes to Melchizadek [who was the one who later became Jesus Christ the son of man]. Levi is the lesser by comparison.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 7:11-12 </b>there is a change in the administration of the priesthood and therefore a change in the instructions on tithing. They are still to be given to the priest of God but the administration of the priesthood is forever changed.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 7:15-22</b> Jesus is that new High Priest which is to the Melchizadek administration. Although it too is better and improved since it now also encompasses the perfect and complete sacrifice for sin. The following verses 22-28 discuss that in greater detail.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Under the new covenant administration you tithe to the living Jesus Christ your high priest. The living Jesus Christ is also the head of the spiritual organism… His church. The work of God in the word is now performed through that church. As head of the church Jesus Christ delegates to those who minister. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 9:13-14</b></div><h2 class="western">Tithing is an Act of Worship</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Through tithing you honor God with your material goods.</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Teaches you the attitude of thankfulness, humility, and giving</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Funds the work of God on earth and allows you to partner with Him in what He is working to accomplish</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As befits an act of worship… tithing is something you do willingly. The church does not check up on you or attempt to enforce tithing [nor lying, adultery, theft etc for that matter]. In the new covenant administration the assembly of God has neither power of enforcement or of punishment. Those prerogatives are left to the nations and states in which we live to whom God has given the power and authority of government. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The worst the church could ever do is say we don’t want to associate with you. </div><h2 class="western">Is There a Penalty For Not Tithing?</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As just mentioned the church does not enforce nor punish. But disregarding God’s instructions does have personal consequences. Failure to tithe could:</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Diminish your potential for effective service to God through godly stewardship of your wealth. You are effectively saying “I love you God… but I don’t want to help you perform the work you are doing”.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Neglect to tithe and you will probably miss out on the blessings God promises</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You may bring God’s curse upon yourself</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">Tithing is an act of Faith</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You may think you only have enough for yourself. You earn so little that whatever you give would be a drop in the bucket. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> All I can say is step out on faith. God has promised He will bless those who act upon their faith. God does not evaluate based on hoe much you give but on how faithfully you give. Your tithe is not a drop in the bucket.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Do not ignore you opportunity and calling to partner with God in the work He is performing on earth. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Worship you creator through tithing!</div>View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rHJqhekJJU">Tithing: A Form of Worship</a><br /><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Read this message at our blog 📘<br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/09/tithing-is-act-of-worship.html">Tithing is an act of worship</a><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GXDQfjhxFEM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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How to Love Fellow Members in God’s Church
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iWvpLevVsn0/WiWWkmKQCOI/AAAAAAAAArA/egJ7hto-5H0u84FQJHWCO5xrmFJWDGtCgCLcBGAs/s1600/phil-coffman-161251.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="font-size: large;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iWvpLevVsn0/WiWWkmKQCOI/AAAAAAAAArA/egJ7hto-5H0u84FQJHWCO5xrmFJWDGtCgCLcBGAs/s320/phil-coffman-161251.jpg" width="320" /></span></a><span style="font-size: large;">Can one person make a difference in our congregation?&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span> <span style="font-size: large;">Can one family make a difference in our congregation… setting an example that inspires others?</span><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><b><br /></b></span> <span style="font-size: large;"><b>The answer is yes.</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">When a person begins really trying, and making an effort there may be some snags long the way:</span></div><ul style="text-align: left;"><li>they may feel self conscious [this isn’t really me, I’m a fake]</li><li>others may put them down or make fun of them [they are just trying to impress people, they just want to impress the ministry, they are trying to exalt themselves]</li></ul><ul></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Also, a person’s enthusiasm might outweigh their wisdom [their efforts may be clumsy]… but if they are</span><br /><a name='more'></a><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> trying to please God He looks at their attitude more than on their accomplishments. We are pleasing to god when we are committed to Him, to His Church, and to one another. And to be committed means to be involved.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 13:8 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">we owe it to one another.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">We all need to change an to grow in the ability to love one another, serve one another, to help and to give. You may not have thought about it this way but all these Godly goals revolve around FELLOWSHIP.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">We are going to talk about what god expects of us. We will see that one person can make a difference. You can make a difference. And a biblical understanding of fellowship will guide us.</span></div><h1 class="western">1. To have fellowship with one another we must begin with our fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Definition:</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> fellowship means a community, an association, a group in which we participate. Our place within that group is based on what we share, what we have in common.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Corinthians 1:9</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> you have been brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ. We share things in common with Jesus the messiah. We have a close relationship with Him based on our mutual interest. We also have a family relationship with Him… He is our elder brother.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>2 Corinthians 13:14</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> we hold to the same convictions through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. </span> </div><ul><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">There is a particular quality of fellowship we share because of the holy Spirit</span></div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">There is a power of love and concern for others that flows into us through the Holy Spirit. Be we have to act upon it.</span></div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Because of our common conviction and spirit we can understand the trials others go through a bit better. So we share those trials and tests with one another.</span></div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 John 1:1-3 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">John wrote to the church about his personal experience with Jesus so that they might all have joint participation in the knowledge of all that Christ did, who He really was, and what He taught.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Fellowship with God means we have such understanding in common… we have are to share the outlook and attitudes of God through Christ. </span> </div><h1 class="western">2. We have fellowship with one another</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Acts 2:42 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">fellowshipping has always been important to the church from the very beginning. Such things as the humble potluck… or perhaps praying with someone about a situation.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Corinthians 10:16 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">we share the participation in the symbols and signs of God’s process for bringing us into his family. Beginning with Passover all the way through to the last Great Day. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>2 Corinthians 8:1-7</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> “fellowship” or sharing in taking care of the needs of God’s people. Note that the people asked “can we be part of this project”? They accomplished this through giving. The Good Works projects we have around the world are just this kind of projects. Where a collection is made to help out God’s sanctified people… back then it was Jerusalem, today it might be Guatemala.</span></div><h1 class="western">3. God wants us to serve to benefit others</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">All too often we only serve for selfish reason, or to impress, or only when it is convenient for us. But serving for the benefit of others will work for our own good… in that we will grow into a person patterned after Jesus Christ. A person who has the capacity to enjoy eternal life.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Take every opportunity for personal growth through service. You might say, “I don’t have the energy for that”… but this type of personal growth takes effort. Our default setting seems to be to think of ourselves rather than others. God wants to turn that way of thinking around. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">When we make that change of orientation and serve within the body we benefit the church, our family, our marriages, and ultimately ourselves.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Corinthians 12:4-7 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">God gives us all certain gifts and wants us to work together harmoniously for the common good. Not comparing our gifts with others and trying to raise ourselves above others or draw attention to ourselves. [read the rest of chapter 12]</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 12:3-4 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">we do not all have the same function. [verse5-9] Paul then follows with a list of doing…. Because in God’s word love is experienced by doing. [verse 10-13] </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><i>Philadelphia</i></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">, brotherly love, which focuses on our dedication to one another, and by what we do.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>James 2:15 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">you could just as easily substitute the word “love” in the place of faith here.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Other needs to consider, the sick need caring for, the elderly need company, widows and single parents need assistance. Share with others and share yourself </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 12:15-16</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Philippians 2:1-2</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> It sometimes seems it is the same one who volunteer time and time again. We should all help to bear the burdens. Lets all be on the same page on this… with common cause… fellowship.</span></div><h1 class="western">4. We are told to visit one another</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">We tend to think of visiting as a social call. The word here is </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><i>episkeptomai</i></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> - means to look in on one another, to check up on, in order to help or benefit, to look after to have a care for, to provide for.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Matthew 25:34-36 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">[expand on what prisons were back then]</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>James 1:27 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">to look in upon the weak members of the body in order to help them, to encourage, and to benefit. There are some logistic concerns that hold us back from doing a better job at this… distance, time.</span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b> Idea: circle principle</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> – visit with those within a radius of 25 minutes. If everyone were doing so then few people would be neglected.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">What about visiting at church services or on Sabbath afternoons? To be friendly, make strangers feel comfortable. Are we trying to benefit and build the church of God? Or, are we merely looking after our own group or circle. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">This is a form of visiting, but lets not have it be the only way we practice fellowship. If that’s all we do them we are being weak. </span> </div><h1 class="western">5. We are to practice hospitality among one another</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Hospitality means “love of strangers”, “interest in people other than our circle”. Extend yourself, get to know new and different people. </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 12:13</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> says “actively seek out opportunities to express interest and love to new and different people” [diokos, philoxenon]</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Hebrews 13:1-2</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Peter 4:8-10 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">use hospitality! It is one of God’s methods for drawing people closer together. It is an active demonstration of Godly love. </span> </div><h1 class="western">What do all these points have in common? </h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">They are the active practice and doing of what you all say you believe. We have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Maybe you are waiting for someone else to do it. Maybe you’re afraid of feeling fake or put on, maybe you’re worried other will look at you as a goody-goody. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">One person, one family can make a huge difference.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Ask yourself: how much of a benefit am I&nbsp;to God? How much of a benefit am I to His church? Am I really taking full advantage of what God is revealing to me?</span><br /><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">You might like this free ebook as a bible study guide&nbsp;</span><br /><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col style="width: 43.25pf;" width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody><tr height="19"><td class="et1" height="19" style="color: black; font-size: 10.0pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: 400; height: 14.28pt; mso-protection: locked visible; text-align: general; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: bottom; width: 42.77pt;" width="57" x:str="">https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-church-jesus-built</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/yB5roIcsQ7g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Clean And Unclean Meats - The Spiritual Principle Behind the Physical Discipline
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LmqXQkZO_r0/W_Wy-oti_sI/AAAAAAAABA0/g_YHn0IC-dcTbnWwDhcgbcJ6UuVeG_APACLcBGAs/s1600/elle-hughes-1090594-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LmqXQkZO_r0/W_Wy-oti_sI/AAAAAAAABA0/g_YHn0IC-dcTbnWwDhcgbcJ6UuVeG_APACLcBGAs/s320/elle-hughes-1090594-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Clean and Unclean</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator has given very specific written regulations regarding clean and unclean meat. He gives us His commandments, laws, statutes, and judgments with purpose. With regard to avoiding unclean meat, God is seeking &nbsp;much more than obedience. We start there but our Father Creator wants to change the way we think. He wants to be fundamentally change the way we assess, evaluate, and then act upon things.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To distinguish good from evil... helpful from harmful... holy from unholy... what is set apart from what is common. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><ul style="text-align: left;"><li><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The Sabbath</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;--&gt; the physical discipline is the first step in changing the way we think about time</span></li><li><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Tithing</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;--&gt; the physical discipline is the first step in changing the way we think about money, wealth, personal resources</span></li></ul><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We could say similar things about regulations regarding sex, family relationships, worship which begin changing the way we think about our relationships with other beings and with our Creator.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In all these matters we begin with physical disciplines which are meant to teach us spiritual principles. Spiritual principles which are intended to transform the way we think.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Instruction A</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">bout Food</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God provides us with a listing of creatures we may eat for food and those we may not. He asks us to make a distinction between what is clean and unclean. &nbsp;He sets before us a physical discipline meant to teach a spiritual principle(s). If we only go so as far as the physical discipline without learning and applying the spiritual principle then we are missing the mark.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s look into</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the spiritual principle behind making a distinction between clean and unclean meat?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Is It A Matter of Health? </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Over the years people have tried to validate the practice of avoiding unclean meat by citing possible health dangers related to pork, shellfish etc. Reports and statistics used to make such a case and these may, or may not, be true. But such an approach still does not present us with the spiritual principle God wants us to make part of our thinking.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">It's like saying that laws concerning fornication and adultery were designed the avoid STDs. Having a no fornication or adultery policy has the extra benefit of keeping you safe from STDs ... but that's not the real reason for God's instruction on the matter. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If modern science can free us from the physical dangers of crispy bacon or free love would that make them acceptable to God?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What Is Acceptable To God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Its interesting to speculate on why God tells us certain animals are unclean based on criteria such as cloven hoofs, chewing of the cud, scales, fins and so forth... [I have heard and read some good ones, some plausible... some possible... some probable] but in the end God has not given us all the details and reasons why certain combinations are clean and some are not.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What we know for certain is that some things are acceptable to God and others are not. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator is operating on a different plane... He has a different approach... different strategies... different goals.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 55:8-9; Jeremiah 10:23</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Where Are These Instructions </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">About Animals </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Found?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The first mention of the concept of there being animals God considers clean [as opposed to unclean] is found in </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 6:19: 7:2.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;From this brief record of what God said to Noah we learn that the distinction between clean and unclean animals was in place long before God entered into &nbsp;His covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God does not provide Noah with a list of clean versus unclean animals. But Noah understood what God's instruction meant and was able to make it happen. The listing of clean versus unclean animals was not spelled out for us until Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, which were recorded many centuries later. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Some argue that the termination of the old covenant means the termination of the distinction between clean and unclean meat. The key takeaway I want you to remember here is that the concept of separating clean and unclean animals did not originate with the old covenant... or Mt. Sinai covenant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Since its important to the discussion of clean and unclean meat, let</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s take a moment to review what the termination of the old covenant meant for God’s law.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Temporary Administrations Of God's Eternal Principles</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God bases His instructions to humanity on spiritual principles that have always existed. Instructions and applications regarding priesthood, sacrifice, temple are all still present in the new covenant. However, the administration and application of them has changed.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Even the administration and application of the 10 commandments has changed under the new covenant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A significant part of God's old covenant instructions for Israel were about how to administer the everlasting principles within the context of a nation/state with borders, courts of law, people tasked with maintaining law and order [judges, king, elders etc].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">By contrast, the new covenant Church is not tasked with punishing people for violating God's commands. The church has no mandate from God to execute people for idolatry or adultery... we are not the ones to enforce restitution for personal injury or theft. We are tasked with the job of teaching people about these life giving truths... to convince and persuade people, then encouraging and exhorting them to stick with it. The Church of God has no police force to make people obey... nor should it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 3:7-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the administration of Israel had the power of life and death in their hands. To teach and to enforce with the full power of the state. This was only meant to be a passing phase until Christ came and initiated the administration of the spirit... writing those laws on the heart and mind of those who are willing.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The eternal spiritual principles and laws of God have not changed. But, the administration of them has. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 7:14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The scriptures contain laws but it is not a book of law. It is a set of instructions for how to develop a positive relationship with your creator </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 17:2-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Learn what is acceptable… in what we think… in how we do things </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 14:12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s way of doing things transcends time and administration.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Clean &amp; Unclean </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Meat </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">In the Old Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God gave Israel [and us] a written list of clean animals versus unclean. It could be the information was lost or forgotten since the days of Noah [Noah must have had this same list either written down or committed to memory]. It could also be that due to the nature of the covenant with Israel God simply wanted everything in writing. Either way, we now have access to that information in written form... but we also have a beginning of the explanation of the spiritual principle behind this physical discipline of making these distinctions between clean and unclean meat.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The pursuit of holiness!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 11:45</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to be holy one must avoid the unclean [at end of list]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 14:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;set apart for God's special purpose. [at the end of the list]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The old covenant instructions have a lot to say about cleanness versus uncleanness. Because God himself was present within the camp, the nation, the tabernacle, the temple... cleanness and holiness was demanded. The spiritual principles behind these regulations are alive and well within the new covenant! For example; the laws of temple cleanliness are now applicable to the individual who is called and chosen of God. Because He is present within them though the Holy Spirit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Corinthians 6:15-20 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we have been purchased by Him through Jesus' blood. He wants to dwell within us and He does not want us to contaminate ourselves with any kind of spiritual defilement or uncleanness and bring that into His presence.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The physical discipline of avoiding unclean meat is relatively easy. Its sort of a beginners step, simple, straightforward, with a specific list of do's and don'ts. Some folks really get into it. But we don't want that to become our righteousness! God wants our obedience on unclean meat to lead to something more. God wants holiness within... in our thoughts... in our actions. So that we might dwell with Him, with others, and with ourselves... in peace. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jesus Teaches on Spiritual Uncleanness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Mark 7:1-8 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: this is not a discussion about unclean meat. It is a discussion about Jewish traditions about performing a ceremonial washing of hands before eating so they could consider themselves first clean and then holy. The practice was a tradition of the elders, the pharisees tried to apply instructions for the levitical priests to themselves and everyone to build up the idea of a priesthood of all believers... also as a means of determining who was righteous and who was not [Exodus 30:19; 40:13]. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">They would do it after being out in the marketplace where they might have contact with unclean people such as non-Jews, tradesmen, people who had themselves touched an unclean thing and transmitted the uncleanness to others... that sort of thing. They did not want this sort of contamination entering in to them through &nbsp;food which they would pick up and eat with their hands. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">As Jesus pointed out these were mere human rules.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">After showing them what a bunch of hypocrites they were He offers up a very clear explanation of what uncleanness means spiritually.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Mark 7:14-23 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">this is the spiritual principle behind discerning between the clean and the unclean.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Ironically, verse 19 is used by some to say Jesus is using this teachable moment to declare all formerly unclean meats now clean. Let me take a minute to explain...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><ol style="text-align: left;"><li>This is based on a dispute about the verb tense in the original Greek manuscripts. The traditional translation has been <span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">“thus making all foods purified’ - </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">that all food eaten is purified by the process of digestion and then excretion in the toilet [this is the way its found in the majority of Greek texts]. The modern translations say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">“thus He declared all foods clean” </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">meaning it was Jesus who was proclaiming all foods clean [this is the way it is found in some of the oldest Greek texts].</span></li><li>We don't need to be a textual scholar to notice that the conversation was not about what meats were clean or unclean... it was about hand washing to avoid contaminating foods. To then say all unclean meats are now clean, &nbsp;Jesus would have been making a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from what was previously said about hand-washing and defilement. Notice that, the very next thing Jesus is recorded as doing [verses 24-30] is interacting with a gentile woman, whom the Jews would have considered unclean.</li></ol>Jesus teaching is that evil thoughts and actions are what make a person unclean. He corrected them for making an external show of separating clean and unclean while letting evil and greed within themselves [for example, through their ridiculous corban laws which contradicted the 5<sup><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; vertical-align: super;">th</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;commandment].</span><br /><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Physical Discipline Of Avoiding Unclean Meat</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Pharisees hand washing rules were something God had never required. But m</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">aking a distinction between clean meats and unclean meats </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">is</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a requirement God has set before people... it was there before the covenant with Israel, it was written into the covenant with Israel, and it will be in the future. Don't add to it... or take away from it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 18:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in the future days when God sends Jesus to judge the nations He still considers certain animals unclean.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 66:15-17</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God has always considered certain animal flesh to be unclean and not acceptable for food.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator tells us to not eat these things. Its a physical discipline to remind us always of the spiritual discipline we must also practice. Do not let unclean meat enter your body... do not let unclean thoughts, attitudes and actions enter your mind.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Be Holy for I am Holy.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: calibri;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">Listen to this message on Youtube</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: calibri;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di_78m-khPQ">Clean And Unclean Meats</a></span></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/4c0CL3KUQv4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Career Advice From Scripture
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You will spend most of your waking hours working in one form or another. Does the God of Israel have anything to say about work? Does how you approach work affect your spiritual life? Does you spiritual life affect your approach to work? Or are they separate matters?</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QDkezOu7G-s/WhMLWUbnOtI/AAAAAAAAAoc/feINRA4WaG4aahzpb19WfIIC_40TmAPPwCEwYBhgL/s1600/michael-browning-14090.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="266" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QDkezOu7G-s/WhMLWUbnOtI/AAAAAAAAAoc/feINRA4WaG4aahzpb19WfIIC_40TmAPPwCEwYBhgL/s400/michael-browning-14090.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><h2 class="western">Career Advice From Proverbs</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 6:6-11 </b>the ant is gives us a good example to follow:<br /><a name='more'></a></div><h2 class="western">The Ant Is Self-Motivated [verse 7]</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">No one has to tell the any what to do. There is no boss prodding the ant onward. The ant sees what needs to be done and takes care of it. The ants motivation comes from within.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person with internal motivation makes a valuable employee. A person who constantly needs to be told what to do is: </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Less valuable:</b> If a manager constantly needs to watch over an employee to make sure they are doing what needs to get done it’s a drain on their time. An employee can be counted on to take care of what needs doing frees up that manager so they can be somewhere else getting other work done.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Less successful:</b> lack of internal motivation and drive shows there is little potential for advancement. Employers will give more money to employees with drive in order to keep them. Employers will give promotions to employees with drive so they can take on greater responsibilities.</div><h2 class="western">The Ant Prepares For The Future [verse 8]</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When the ant sees the opportunity to gather food the ant jumps on it [even if its not hungry at the moment]. The ant stores up for the times when nothing will be there to gather. </div><h2 class="western">Hard Work, Works! [verses 9-10]</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To be successful requires hard work. No employer is going to make efforts to reward a worker who is always looking for excuses and ways to get out of the task in from of them. Such people end up poor and not having much.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>IMPORTANT</b>: this doesn’t mean that poor people are all lazy people… ie. you’re poor, therefore, you’re lazy. That is a fallacy as much as the idea Job’s afflictions were caused by sin.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Some people are born poor and its not any fault of their own… it could be because of family legacy, or social injustice. However, the way <u><b>OUT</b></u> of poverty usually involves hard work and drive. Social programs can help give people <u><b>opportunity</b></u> but the way to make those opportunities successful is through hard work and drive. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">[verse 11] The consequences of their behavior come upon the lazy person as a surprise… like a bandit, or an armed robber. They were not expecting it. The proverbs have been placed within God’s word so that you may avoid such nasty surprises. God’s word says “<i>you don’t have to learn the hard way, I [God] can tell you the wise way to proceed in life</i>”.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 26:16 </b>Some people don’t see the consequences of the approach they are taking. Their way seems perfectly sensible and logical… until the moment it isn’t. Consider Proverbs as God’s advice… from one who knows. </div><h2 class="western">Learn From The Example of Others</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 24:30-34 </b>try to recognize the cause and effect at play around you. Learn what leads to success and what leads to poverty. The person with the overgrown vineyard and the broken down property probably thinks he’s the smart one for not working… at first these things don’t seem like such a big deal… then you reach a tipping point when the unattended matters add up so that fixing them isn’t even possible any more. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You might have a house that needs new shingles to keep out the rain. Its going to cost $5,000. You’ can handle the cost but it will mean you have to put off some fun stuff you had planned. The leak is not in the living area so why bother fixing it. A few years go by and the beams get rot in them and now the roof needs to be completely replaced and is in danger of caving in… repairs are going to cost $50,000 which you cannot afford!</div><h2 class="western">The Lazy Mindset</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The lazy person [sluggard] dreams and talks but never makes it happen</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 14:23</b> diligent work is what makes dreams come true… not good intentions</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 13:4 </b>you have to act on the desire, or the idea, to get the good results</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 22:13</b> those who don’t want to work an be very creative in finding excuses</div><h2 class="western">The Diligent Mindset</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Hebrew word translated diligent literally means sharp pointed. For example: its has teeth. The diligent mindset has initiative, motivation, drive, foresight, and enthusiasm. The lazy person and the diligent may both have wishes and dreams but the diligent is the one who acts… who sinks their teeth into it</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 12:24 </b>the person who has the diligent mindset is usually the one who gets promoted. Note: maybe you don’t want more responsibility buts its also the diligent person who usually keeps their job, especially when times get tough.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">So, if you want to be that person who gets promoted, who gets better and more interesting opportunities, who has greater job security… cultivate the traits of the diligent . How? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Do the best you possibly can in your current position to show you can handle more… and it will come. Don’t be a dreamer who says “if I were put in charge then ‘d be able to show them what I can really do!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">[use example of film stripping , art degree, got job as film stripper, took night courses, was very fast, got bored, asked for side projects to do, got the attention of the plant manager, got promoted to assistant plant manager].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 10:4 </b>– get the knowledge you need to get more done</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ecclesiastes 9:10</b> – work hard at whatever situation you find yourself in</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 22:29 </b>– who knows where diligence will lead you! [where laziness leads is fairly certain]</div><h2 class="western">Preparation Before Pleasure</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 24:27 </b>the setting is a farming culture. The field was the main arena of work. From the field a person got the food they needed to keep alive and all their potential wealth. A nice house to live in was something you could build once the field starting producing food to eat and money to buy building materials. In that setting a house was a place of comfort.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The principle is to get yourself set up with a means to earn a good living before you start enjoy the material goods that go with a good living. When you are just getting started, make do without the finer things of life until you can afford them… like that fancy sports car, or fine furniture.</div><h2 class="western">All This Takes… Self Discipline</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Proverbs 25:28</b> learn to control your impulses, desires, emotions instead of them controlling you. We are asked to imagine a city with its defensive walls broken down [imagine your house with the front door gone]. You don’t feel safe! You no longer have control of what comes into or out of your house!</div><h2 class="western">Career Advice For Followers of Jesus Christ’s</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The work you do in a significant part of your discipleship before God. It is the arena where deep spiritual lessons are learned and put into practice. <span style="background-color: yellow;">Your</span>&nbsp;job is not in a separate compartment isolated from your spiritual life and development. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ephesians 6:5-8 </b>approach your job as if you were working for Jesus Christ. In other words, work knowing that God is watching, and taking account of what you are doing [and not doing] even if the boss isn’t. And what does God want to see?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The advice given in Proverbs was presented as stuff you can do to succeed in life, better your condition, perhaps gain some wealth. Putting the good advice from Proverbs into practice is in your own best interest. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">That same advice is also useful for pleasing God. But gaining material wealth or status is not the goal God is interested in… God wants you to become a particular type of person. A useful and profitable servant… a diligent and conscientious member of His family… the royal family of the universe! </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Put for the your best effort with all diligence… to be fearful of wronging your employer [and visa versa]… to deal with one another honestly, in a straightforward manner, trustworthy. To work wholeheartedly, with politeness and respect, even cheerful.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 17:7-10</b> an unprofitable servant just does what he is told. Clearly implies that a profitable servant in God’s eyes is one who goes above and beyond his duty [what the master expects].</div><h2 class="western">Responsibilities of Employees</h2><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 6:1</b> show honor and respect</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 16:10-11 Matthew 24:45 </b>faithful, trustworthy and not deceitful</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Titus 2:9</b> patient, and do as asked</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Peter 2:18-20</b> even when your employer is unworthy</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Thessalonians 4:11-2, 2 Thessalonians 3:7</b> work and don’t be lazy</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">Responsibilities of Employers</h2><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ephesians 6:8 </b>don’t threaten… using your power of coercion to demand employees do anything illegal [offering bribes to clients, sexual favors, cheat clients]</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Safe working conditions <b>Exodus</b><b> 21:28-29, Deuteronomy 22:8</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> Not to take advantage of peoples lack of bargaining power with exploitative wages <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Proverbs 22:16, Mal 3:5</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Don’t hold back the wages but pay on time <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Leviticus 19:13, Deuteronomy 24:14-15</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Established rest day must be given <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Deuteronomy 5:14-15</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Treat employees as if they were a son or daughter <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Philemon 16</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Fairness – not to give someone more or less for reasons of family, ethnicity, gender</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">Conclusion</span></span></span>:</div><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In times of economic uncertainty…. Financial uncertainty… the best way to gain job security, perhaps even to get ahead is to take this valuable career advice from God’s word. The application of that advice is also a deeply spiritual matter and how you approach work has a lot to do with how God sees you.<br /><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11.0000pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-font-family: SimSun; mso-spacerun: 'yes';">View this message on YouTube - &lt;br&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWbjMG4MvSM"&gt;Career Advice From Scripture&lt;/a&gt;</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11.0000pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-font-family: SimSun; mso-spacerun: 'yes';"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/5ge_brNIYvk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Get Wisdom
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fAWdHaPISLg/W-tlBUzP65I/AAAAAAAABAo/YPYmgsNPEdMWZ0q8zODPCBm4g75V-0MZwCLcBGAs/s1600/jeremy-bishop-408926.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fAWdHaPISLg/W-tlBUzP65I/AAAAAAAABAo/YPYmgsNPEdMWZ0q8zODPCBm4g75V-0MZwCLcBGAs/s320/jeremy-bishop-408926.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What is wisdom? Definition:</span></b></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l5 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the quality of having experience [Karen has been with the company 20 years, she has a great deal of wisdom regarding actuary statistics]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l5 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">soundness of actions or decisions - sometimes this is a natural ability but most often it is gained through experience and applying that experience or knowledge [Karen's decision to use the new actuary tables in the Wilson case was a wise decision]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l5 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a body of knowledge written/oral that develops within a community - the advice of those who had wisdom codified for the benefit of others [Karen has written an orientation handbook for newly hired actuaries, its a great way to pass along the wisdom she has gained and help newbies avoid common mistakes]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are going to discuss all three senses of wisdom, but we are not going to talk about actuary statistics:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The body of knowledge</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is the holy scriptures "able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus"</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Soundness of action and decision</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is godly living through obedience, good works, and following the lead of &nbsp;the Holy spirit</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Experience</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is your perseverance and endurance unto the end</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Wisdom in the Bible</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 4:5-7 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word as a body of knowledge codified for your benefit so you can avoid common mistakes</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The Hebrew word is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">khokmaw</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">khokmaw </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is the same word used for the wisdom of Solomon. When Solomon was made king. One night as he was praying:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God said to Solomon, "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">ask Me for what I should give you</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">". </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Solomon said, "I lack experience, please </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">give me an understanding heart [mind] so I can better govern as king and make sound judgments that rightly discerns between good and evil</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">"</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God said, "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Good request, better that wanting riches or long life! I am going to give you a wise and discerning mind like none before you and none who will follow</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Did you know you can make the same request of God? </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Did you know that He says if you ask for it I will certainly grant your request?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 1:5 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">many of us have probably gotten on our knees to pray and asked for this very thing! We usually ask when we are faced with a tough decision, a course of action we are unsure of, we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place… then we cry out for wisdom. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What should I say or do... tell me please... give me wisdom</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Who is telling me the truth... give me wisdom to discern</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Should I demand my rights... or should I let it go and forgive?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">[Jean-Luc Picard example]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We all want wisdom and guidance when we are in a tough spot, but we also need wisdom and guidance to answer life's bigger questions.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo3; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to understand and discern what is important in life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo3; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to rearrange or balance our priorities with eternal goals in mind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Getting this right is the substance of making right choices and character... Godly character... and the only thing that matters in the end is the character you build.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God wants you to become wise</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Scripture tells us that if we ask for something according to God's will we can have every confidence we will receive it. It is within God's will that you have wisdom.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom has benefits for eternity... and it has benefits for TODAY.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:1-4 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">These words are spoken from the viewpoint of a father to his child. Notice that the foundation or base on which wisdom is built are the Father's commands. There are benefits for your physical life... longevity and peace.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The word translated peace is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">shalom</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Its a little word with a lot of meaning packed in to it. The general sense of the word is completeness, wholeness, sound in body, prosperous, quietness and tranquility, contentment, fellowship. Well being that is physical, financial, and social.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom is meant to bring you all these various blessings. Note: some people don't want these, preferring excitement, intrigue, or domination over others.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom is inner integrity, converting who you are from the inside, so Godly perspectives and attitudes be written on the tablets of your heart [which sounds like what's meant to happen within the new covenant]. &nbsp;To change the way you think about life rather than merely changing your external appearance or behavior [compare to other wisdom traditions].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:5-12 Steps to gaining Godly wisdom</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Intellectual humility before YHWH - </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">God asks you to do stuff that is counter intuitive. But He has a reason and a purpose behind what He requires. He wants you to live the good life... but first He has to re-define for you what the good life really is.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Your hormones, self preservation instinct, and ego are telling you one thing. Listening to and believing what God your Father tells you is the beginning of wisdom.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Submission of material wealth before YHWH </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">- we show our honor toward God with our tithes, beyond what we practice generosity toward others using the blessings God gives us. Godly wisdom understands our material wealth will only be ours for a short time. We can use it in a way that builds in us the mind of God... which is generous, compassionate and wants to build others up.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">We may think that being wise with our money means being a shrewd investor but Godly wisdom understands that building everlasting character is truly being wise with our money. God's purpose in blessing us is not so we can enjoy being rich, but that we might grow in Godly wisdom. Honor God with your possessions.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Patient acceptance of discipline from YHWH - </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">discipline is different from punishment. The sense here is of training. We tend to think of unpleasant events as punishment... why is this happening to me?... what have I done to deserve this? Godly wisdom helps us see the same events in a different light... as training from a Father who loves us so that we can become something truly wonderful and everlasting. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:13-18 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Wisdom is a </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Change of Perspective: Building What Lasts</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Godly wisdom is better than money... God tells you it will give you a better payback for your investment than silver or gold. God tells you that it is more beautiful and pleasing than fine possessions like jewelry. Plus, its something you can take with you when you die.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Godly wisdom can make your life joyful and pleasant. Don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;look at God's way of life and see only the doors that are closed off to you... "don't go there", </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">“can’t do that”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">... Be wise and consider all the doors that are open to you... some doors which you didn't even know were there before God brought them to your attention. Doors that lead to </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">shalom</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Finally, Godly wisdom is like the tree of life (vs.18). Developing the mind... the perspective... the attitudes of God are pathway leading out of the curse of death... so you might eat of the tree of life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:19-20 Wisdom &amp; Creation</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God tells us that the wisdom He is offering is the wisdom upon which the world, the universe, reality, and life itself is built. Think about that...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The principles and approach to life God presents to you in His word are a revelation, a pulling back of the curtain, a glimpse of how life everlasting is actually lived. Its priorities are different, its attitudes are different, its perspective is different. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Much of what folks experience right now is built on lies.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Survival of the fittest... whoever gets the most toys wins... what the flesh desires is natural and therefore good... Each of these is carefully crafted lie or distortion. You truly are living in the Matrix!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:21-26 What The Father Wants For You</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Personal security and freedom from anxiety... every loving parent</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">s desire for their child.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God does not promise that your life will never have trials, tests, or adversity... but He does promise that He will provide you with a way out. Often times this means physical deliverance. Sometime it means setting our eyes upon the promised path of resurrection, glory, and access to that tree of everlasting life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You might have street smarts… You might have common sense… You might have people skills... But there are times when even the best practices of all these are not enough without God's intervention and protection.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom is faith and confidence in His power to deliver you from death.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:27-30 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Godly Wisdom is Helpfulness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;&amp; </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Goodwill</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom means to do good when the opportunity presents itself</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom does not hold back</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom means to treat our neighbor with dignity and respect. He is protected from any harm from us because we are people of integrity and truth. We are not looking for ways to get the better of him. What a different world it would be.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Godly wisdom is careful with words .</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Proverbs 3:31-35</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Godly Wisdom is not Envious</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">One of the big questions of those who look to God is: Why do the wicked prosper?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why is THAT person wealthy... why do people admire HER... aren't riches and honor the blessings God grants to the wise? What about me?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God expects and acknowledges that you are going to have envious thoughts toward people who get ahead by breaking the rules. People who are rewarded for ungodly boldness, violence, or deceit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God let's you in on a secret. He lets you tap into His wisdom. God tells you what He really thinks about what He sees people doing to themselves and to one another:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo6; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">He detests those who do such things: but He will talk with you and cause you to grow in wisdom</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo6; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">He curses people who walk that way: but He will bless your life with fruits of wisdom, tranquility, wholeness, security… </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">shalom</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo6; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">He laughs at them: but he will smile upon you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo6; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When you rise up in the resurrection you will inherit glory… the fullness of inheritance and son-ship in the family of God will be yours.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When they rise up in the resurrection they will be ashamed of themselves as the reality of God and His wisdom is displayed to them. When the curtain is pulled back. Some might say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“ we didn’t know, God never told us, so its not our fault its His. But </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God says that His wisdom is available to all through the witness of creation... by observing how the world works:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Many have come to the conclusion that humility leads to more satisfying results than pride</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Many have come to the conclusion that greed leads to emptiness while generosity leads to a fuller richer life. They can see this by observing the results.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Many have realized that relentlessly pursuing satisfaction of bodily desires [food, sex, drugs, alcohol] is vastly inferior to a life of self control. They see the results. But all too often such lessons are learned too late or after the damage is already done.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To whatever measure people perceive and live by these nuggets of wisdom they are blessed with good fruit. Some will have far less to be ashamed of in the resurrection than others. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Completeness of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Wisdom</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You however are a different case. God has called out to you as a Father. For whatever reason He has called you near and opened up the completeness of His wisdom to you. Wisdom that is the basis for life everlasting... You do not have to strain for little nuggets here and there... you do not have to learn the hard way... God your Father is offering you access to all wisdom… now.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">He says to you "ask for wisdom and it will be given to you"</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Seek for wisdom and you will find it.. this is God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s will for you.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/aPYuArnQ9wQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Financial Security and Peace of Mind
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XLxcoJIrOK0/WjnXz_LkAfI/AAAAAAAAAsw/omiColM1l3Qj1hVjoQU_-7o-QsrLvAl1ACLcBGAs/s1600/fabian-blank-78637%2Bcopy.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="720" data-original-width="1280" height="225" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XLxcoJIrOK0/WjnXz_LkAfI/AAAAAAAAAsw/omiColM1l3Qj1hVjoQU_-7o-QsrLvAl1ACLcBGAs/s400/fabian-blank-78637%2Bcopy.jpg" width="400" /></a></div>Concerns about money and wealth dominate relationships among nations, national politics, our businesses and jobs, our families, and our own internal dialog. We highly esteem the acquisition of wealth yet it ends up weighing us down like an unbearable burden… either obsession with how much we have or worries about what we lack. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Without the wisdom and perspective we get from God and His word the place and position of wealth in life gets out of balance.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Your Creator knows that money, wealth, and stuff are important to you. Actually, He is very interested and has plenty to say about how we handle our money, wealth, and stuff. God wants His children to prosper, work hard, and be content. He offers lots of guidance to help make that possible. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As with other matters like, sex, law, worship humanity makes a huge error… we think we can handle it alone. What does God know about slugging it out day to day… trying to make a living… trying to make ends meet? He knows a lot because: a) He created all things b) through Jesus, God has lived it.<br /><a name='more'></a></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But humanity does not give God credit for having the answers. We want to figure out our own answers… cutting ourselves off from His favor, and His advice. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Today we are going to review what God’s word has to say about financial security, and peace of mind. I have 6 action points:</div><h2 class="western">Guard Your Mind Against Materialism</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our brains are wired to understand reality through what we can feel, see, hear etc. We know there is a spiritual component to our minds but our first instinct is to go with what it material, or physical. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">That is why God’s advice [which is oriented toward the development of the spirit] is hard to swallow. Much of what God reveals to us is contrary to human nature. He tells us not to make accumulation of wealth and goods our top priority. While our human nature screams “no, gather as big a stash as you can… its your ticket to survival, dominance, and happiness”.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 6:33 </b>God tells us to make spiritual development, building the mind of Christ needed for success in the coming rule of God on earth through Christ. He adds to that, saying that if you make this your focus He will take care of the necessities of life [but that’s not a promise of a life of ease and comfort… many aspects of your spiritual development come only through perseverance in trial].</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s warning about the wrong mental outlook regarding wealth, money, and stuff is actually one of God’s TOP TEN guidelines for living: <b>Exodus 20:17</b> [also applies to sex, status etc.]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Covetousness</b>: intense/obsessive desire for more… “I’m not content with what is legitimately mine… I want to possess yours as well”.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 13:5</b></div><h2 class="western">Remember That The Source of All Wealth is God</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This is a subset of remembering God as Creator. As creator of all things… they are His to freely give to whomever He chooses… for whatever reasons He chooses.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 </b><b>Chronicles 29:11-12 / Psalm 24:1</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Here’s your first TO DO item: acknowledge God for His gifts to you:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Say thanks</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Put your money where your mouth is. Give back 10% of all your increase.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This 10% give back to God accomplishes takes your thoughts and puts it into concrete action. It also puts you in the position of participation in, and support of, the proclamation of His truth to others so they might also learn and benefit.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Abraham did it, Jacob did it, all Israel was instructed to <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/09/tithing-is-act-of-worship.html" target="_blank">tithe</a>, Jesus endorsed it!</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This willingness to acknowledge and obey God is the first step toward learning important spiritual lessons, through the management of your personal finances. Note: God also promises material blessings to those who obey and acknowledge Him through tithing. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Putting God first in your financial plans is a demonstration of intent and a re-alignment of priorities <b>Leviticus 27:30 </b>the 1<sup>st</sup>10<sup>th</sup> set aside for His purpose not your own.</div><h2 class="western">Make a Conscious Decision What Will Be Your Highest Priority</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 </b>pleasure, wealth, stuff is futile</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ecclesiastes 5:10 </b>it fails to satisfy [at some point you realize, you will have to leave it all behind, worse, it will all be given to someone else who didn’t have to work for it, probably will never appreciate it]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 6:24</b>– You might think you can give equal focus to both God and the pursuit of wealth… but you cannot have 2 top priorities. You need to make a conscious choice.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Riches: </b>God acknowledges you need money to survive and promises to help. But it can seem a lot more sound and secure to rely on a horde of cash, property, precious metals. We can see those things. And they do have some power to keep us from many troubles, trials… but not all. Like the death of a child, or a divorce. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Riches are vulnerable. They can be suddenly taken away from you… a stock market crash, flood or storm, and of course your own day of death. [Steve Jobs]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 12:15-21, 32-34 </b>– rich man’s wealth and accomplishments die with him</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Serving God: </b>if you put your primary focus on building the mind of Christ in you, then you are investing in something that will not ever be taken away from you. Even on the day you die. It is there waiting for you on the day of resurrection. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 </b><b>Corinthians 3:12-15</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 13:22 </b>if you do try to have them both, money will probably end up choking out it rival. </div><h2 class="western">Fulfill Your God Given Financial Responsibilities Toward Others</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Pay your taxes <b>Romans 13:1-7</b>. We are not exempt from government authority.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 22:17-21</b> pay your taxes but don’t neglect God.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Be generous and willing to contribute to the needs of others. <b>2 Corinthians 9:6-15</b>, </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ephesians 4:28 </b>a God given rationale for the work ethic. We tend to think of money as a way to satisfy personal needs and wants. Therefore, money is a “me” thing. But in God’s eyes money is just one of life’s many temporary experiences we can use to build Godly thinking. In this case to not only take care of our own needs but have some extra so we can help others in need. </div><h2 class="western">Develop A Mindset of Contentment</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Philippians 4:10-13 </b>Paul is here presenting contentment as a form of mental discipline.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Focus on your genuine needs rather than the extras, the frivolous, the flashy things you see on Facebook or that advertisers say you simply must have.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 6:6-12 </b>there is great spiritual danger in always wanting more.</div><h2 class="western">Fulfill Your Personal Responsibilities Before God</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Contentment does not mean laziness. God’s plan and purpose for you involves working hard, being self-sufficient, not taking advantage of others. The mandate for generosity is not to create a haven for freeloaders. Its to create an environment where people are given a way to get back up on their own 2 feet and start becoming a productive person.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Thessalonians 4:11-12</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 3:7-13</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 5:8 </b>families should take care of their own</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a><b>1 Timothy 6:17-19 </b>share blessings with others who are in need</div><h2 class="western">Conclusion</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Money itself is neutral, neither intrinsically good of bad. Love of money, the pursuit of wealth and stuff… that’s what is bad. If we have the wrong mental outlook on money we can be guilty of covetousness, or idolatry. If we have the right mental focus on money it can be a wonderful vehicle for us to learn important spiritual lessons and practice God like patterns of thought.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Money is merely a tool.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our challenge is to establish our priorities and practice the financial principles pleasing to God.</div><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/nxDoq1cX93U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Does Tithing Only Apply To Agricultural Produce?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-p5HXOTYdkiw/W-BukYCX2HI/AAAAAAAABAI/s-k72dBcmk8tSuvzbMN45Q34iXqgv5CeACLcBGAs/s1600/megan-hodges-96122-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-p5HXOTYdkiw/W-BukYCX2HI/AAAAAAAABAI/s-k72dBcmk8tSuvzbMN45Q34iXqgv5CeACLcBGAs/s320/megan-hodges-96122-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Tithing is a physical discipline intended to teach spiritual &nbsp;principles: one of these spiritual principles is understanding that our physical possessions are not our own. Every piece of land, every animal, every plant belongs to God who created them</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">, </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Psalm 50:10-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">. He has given human beings control over all the earth's resources</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;[have dominion, rule over etc]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">... but God retains ownership [refer to handout]</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: , &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">The handout referred to is a listing of scriptures. Here is a link to the sheet&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/all_things_belong_to_god.docx" rel="nofollow" style="-webkit-text-stroke: 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; color: #346593; font-family: minion-pro, Georgia, serif; line-height: inherit;">https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/all_things_belong_to_god.docx</a></span><br /><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Tithing In the Old Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When God acted to establish Israel as a nation on the world scene He gave them the land of Canaan. The territory belonged to God. He took it from its previous tenants and granted full use of its resources and bounty to Israel </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 4:1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. This gift of land was formalized in a covenant agreement between Himself and Israel [commonly called the old covenant or Mt. Sinai covenant]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Within Go</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s covenant with Israel He gave </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;instructions regarding tithes and first fruits </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 27:30-32</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;or </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 14:22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The physical act of tithing was meant to acknowledge basic spiritual and eternal truths.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The people were to always offer a small percentage from the increase of their crops and herds back to God. This act would serve as a reminder that God was the true owner of these lands, plants, and animals. Even though Israel was given complete control over the resources of Canaan, God retained ownership </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 25:23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;tithes could be likened to rent paid by tenants. These offerings to God [the true owner] were to come first, after which, Israel could use the remaining portion as they chose </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 26:1-15, Leviticus 19:23-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Some read these instructions and say they only itemize agricultural produce. The self serving conclusion drawn is that agricultural products are the only items subject to the tithe. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Does this mean people who made their living at a trade such as carpenter, or an accountant, didn't tithe?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Economy of Israel</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's part in the covenant with Israel was a grant of land. Which He subsequently fulfilled. God also would provide blessings of good weather for crops and protection from invaders who wanted to take the land away from them. &nbsp;The covenant picture of Israel was built on a foundation of all the good things this land would produce. The land would allow them to raise crops and herds. But is that meant to be the limit of items to offer a tithe from?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Re-read Leviticus 27:30, it starts off saying </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">all the tithe of the land</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”, then lists grain, fruit and herds as examples.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Suppose a man of Israel was given a piece of land which had deposits of tin, copper, or gold which he then mines, shouldn't he first acknowledge God's prior claims to ownership with a tithe? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Haggai 2:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What about processed goods that are not direct products of the field or herd but rather products created by human ingenuity derived from those crops or animals? For example: wine, oil, leather goods, or dairy. Note: tithing on oil and wine are specifically addressed in </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 14:23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The covenant language does not make specific reference to eggs, milk, or cheese, but shouldn't these be tithed upon as wealth gained from the land in the same way as wine and oil? What about textiles derived from sheep's wool or cotton plants? The language of the covenant was intended to provide a principle to be applied in all areas of life rather than a complete, exhaustive, 4,000 page listing of items subject to tithe. The principle was that Israel should offer up a tithe of all the wealth they were able to generate as a result of controlling the land.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God also told Israel that He was the one who gave them the power to "get wealth" </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 8:18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The carpenter receives the power he has to swing a hammer from God. The accountant has the wit and understanding to tally numbers from God. Shouldn't they too acknowledge that God has given him the power to gain wealth?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Biblical</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Example of Tithing </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Outside The Sinai Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tithing was a practice long before the introduction of God's covenant with Israel. We have a biblical record of tithing at least &nbsp;430 years before God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">covenant with Israel </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 14:16-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Abraham, the father of the faithful, offered a tithe to God by giving it to the high priest Melchizedek.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The items of which Abraham offered a tithe were not agricultural, they consisted of a wide variety of stuff he was able to recapture from the kings of Shinar return to the people of Sodom, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah verse </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">11… I.e. moveable wealth, riches, stuff.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When Abraham came before Melchizedek to offer this tithe, Melchizedek spoke a blessing. This blessing pointed to the key spiritual principles of tithing later to be found in God's covenant with Israel:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">First, God is acknowledged as the owner of all things in heaven and on earth</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Second, God is acknowledged as the one who had given the person offering the tithe the power to get the goods he had </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">who delivered your enemies into your hand</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham then gave Melchizedek, the high priest of God, a tenth of everything he had gained in the rescue operation. The physical act of giving the tithe provided a witness to the underlying spiritual principle at hand which Abraham knew and wished to acknowledge.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 28:20-22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;offers another biblical reference to tithing long before the covenant with Israel. Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, vows to faithfully tithe to God!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob had been sent to a distant land by his father Isaac to find a suitable wife, but probably also to keep away from his brother Esau who wanted to kill him. One night during his journey Jacob encountered the reality of God during his sleep. Jacob was profoundly moved by the experience and vowed to become a dedicated man of God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The physical act Jacob intended to do as a sign of this spiritual awakening and new found commitment to God was to tithe! Jacob vowed to return to God a full tenth of ALL that God gave him. At this stage of his sojourn Jacob could only assume he would be a wage earner until he saved enough money to buy his own land and animals. Yet, Jacob vowed to give a full tenth of ALL he received from God. This would include whatever wages he earned until he could afford fields and animals of his own.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob's vow also addressed the spiritual realities the physical act of tithing represented. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob acknowledged that God would provide for him, they were God's to give since God owned all things in heaven and on earth</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob's act of tithing would serve as a confirmation of his personal dedication to God; He would acknowledge YHWH as the true Creator and owner of all things</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob's tithe would go to support God's house [symbolized by the rock]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Not only the act, but an understanding of the spiritual realities behind the physical discipline of tithing was already in place long before the covenant at Sinai between God and Israel.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham, the father of the faithful, understood tithing to include everything he gained by the skill of his hands. His faithfulness in tithing was not limited to crops and animals. Jacob, the father of all Israel, understood his tithing commitment to encompass ALL that God gave him and was not limited to crops and animals. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Why Did Abraham Tithe?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham believed God was WHO &amp; WHAT He said He was. &nbsp;Abraham believed YHWH was the Creator and owner of all things in heaven and on earth. He said </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">"</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth...</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">" [Genesis 14:22]. Abraham understood and believed this important spiritual reality.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham also chose to express this faith by what he did. Abraham's faith was </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">active along with his works, and [his] faith was completed by his works</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 2:22-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tithing was one of the ways Abraham expressed his faith. He chose to honor God with all his possessions.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">How Does Any of This This Matter Under The New Covenant?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Scripture speaks of the covenant God made with Abraham as one based on the promise of God and the faith of Abraham. Galatians speaks of the new covenant as being built upon the principles of that original covenant God made with Abraham </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 3:7-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">430 later God made another covenant with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. This covenant was in addition to, not in place of, the previous covenant with Abraham. The Mt. Sinai covenant was added as a temporary way to deal with sin so man might draw closer to God </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 3:15-19b</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a system of sacrifice to atone for sin</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a priesthood to act as intermediaries between a Holy God and unclean people</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a clean and holy temple wherein God could be present with these unclean people and accept their sacrifices</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">That system lasted about 1,500 years starting around &nbsp;1440 BC. and was terminated in 33 AD. After which, a better way to deal with sin was provided... namely the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When the Mt. Sinai covenant was terminated the older covenant God had previously made with Abraham over 4 centuries earlier was still valid and the NC is built on that foundation. The foundation of God's promise and the faith of Abraham. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">A faith which expressed itself through righteousness acts.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 3:14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;it is by this same faith that we receive God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s promise. Under the New Covenant we do not have a promise of land, but a promise of His Holy Spirit, a down payment of life everlasting.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Walk as Abraham Walked</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:5 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The father of the faithful expressed his faith through what He did. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Of all that we have recorded of Abraham's doings... noteworthy among them is honoring God, the owner and possessor of all things, with a tithe. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 3:29</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 8:39</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Conclusion: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tithing is among the works of righteousness God has set before you to do. So, do it in faith as Abraham did.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tithing did not begin nor end with the covenant at Mt. Sinai.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tithing is not a quirky old covenant law only related to agricultural produce.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tithing is a way for the faithful and righteous to show honor toward God with all their possessions.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/7U0Wkk5rRK0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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What You Can Do To Grow Your Faith
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8z_HXqwJk4c/WUPzSuj4J4I/AAAAAAAAAec/LJpZFklrQssEa-jurymDk6OEI_Sed90bACLcBGAs/s1600/chrissie-kremer-259099.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8z_HXqwJk4c/WUPzSuj4J4I/AAAAAAAAAec/LJpZFklrQssEa-jurymDk6OEI_Sed90bACLcBGAs/s320/chrissie-kremer-259099.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2 class="western">At times life comes at you with all its force and you feel weak or inadequate... you can become discouraged and feel like you lack faith… “<i>if only I had faith I wouldn’t be afraid… I wouldn’t be overwhelmed</i>”.</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Does courage mean you experience no fear… or is courage standing firm even with a shaking hand. A quivering lip, or a racing heartbeat? Even the great heroes of faith struggled with trials and challenges… sometimes crying out to God with great anguish and despair. <i>What is God’s purpose in all this?</i></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 11:34 </b>out of weakness they became strong</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">They grew in faith as a result of the trials and tests they faced, not in spite of the trials <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> You will grow in faith through the trials and test you face. But its not the mere presence of a trial that grows faith… it’s the way you face it… with the active work of the holy spirit in you.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Timothy 3:12</b> We tend to think of persecution as Gestapo officers coming to arrest and drag people off to jail… but the meaning of the word <i>dioko</i> = chased after, harassed, troubled (same word in in verse 2:22). You could also be pursued by spiritual forces. You could have health issues, job issues, family issues.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Where do you go when you’ve got such trouble? <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>Go to God. Like the man said when Jesus told him anything was possible for those who believe “I believe, help me in my unbelief”! And Jesus gave him what he needed. He healed his son from possession by a demonic spirit.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus will not condemn you or turn you away when and if your faith falters… He will help you. Note: there were times when He said he could do nothing for certain people who had zero faith… but faith that is struggling, faith that is struggling with fear, doubt, anxiety… He is willing to help those who cry out “I have faith, help me in my lack of faith”!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">Christ wants you to participate in the process.</span></span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus Christ is active and living in you through the power of the Holy Spirit working together with your spirit… bringing into the fullness of the mind and character of God. One of the great products of that active working of the Holy Spirit in you is FAITH.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">Grow in Faith</span></span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Faith is the key to everything good and worthwhile. First and foremost it is through faith we receive God’s favor, His approval, which leads to resurrection at Christ’s return. </div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ask for it</b> – ask for greater and stronger faith in prayer. Ask for it often. It is God’s will that you grow in faith and He s glad to work with you to increase it. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Prayer is a vital part in our lifelong conversation with God… through it we express our concerns, our love, wisdom and understanding.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When we ask for wisdom in a trying situation are we not also asking for faith? To see and understand things as they really are?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You did not find God rather He has found you and made himself known to you… but once He has made himself known… He wants you to seek Him. And if you seek Him you will find Him… if you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul [Deut 4:29]</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Interaction with His word – Romans 10:17</b></div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><u>HOW</u> - Regular bible reading on your own – direct interaction</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><u>HOW</u> - Christ has commissioned teachers within His church whose are to explain and fill out the meaning of God’s word. So you also interact with His word through hearing sound teaching and instruction. However, you are also responsible to know the scriptures yourself so you can check and verify the truth of what you are taught.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><u>WHY</u> - In its simplest form faith is believing God exists and can do what He promises. To know what God promises you need to read His word.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><u>WHY</u> - We also learn how He wants us to live &amp; think, what He is willing to do for us, examples of His interactions with humanity… which we can learn from, which provide inspiration etc. <b>Romans 15:4-5</b></div></li></ol></li><li><div style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Obey</b> – acting upon God’s commands is an expression of your faith. Faith is not bliss… faith is putting what we know to work. We will lose our way if we confuse faith with a desire for constant happiness, delight, ecstasy, or a seeking to be oblivious to the perils around us. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Obedience is powered by faith – put the word of God in your heart and in your mind so it can become your way of thinking and acting… powered by faith in the one who gave you this word.</div></li><li><div style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 14:21-23</b> Jesus promises that any who obey Him will have a special bond with the Father</div></li><li><div style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You grasp the reality of His presence in your life through obedience</div></li></ol></li></ol><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You, or I, can say “I’m going to fully obey God”! </div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… yet I know its impossible to do on my own. Scripture tells us that… but for most of us its also played out in bitter personal experience where we fall short of the glory of God. BUT… I go ahead anyhow… we step out in faith.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To the degree that you, or I, yield ourself to Christ living in us I am able to keep His commands. <b>Galatians 2:20</b></div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To yield I need to:</div><ol><li><div style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Believe that Christ is in me and truly acts [if Christ were sitting next to me would I do that?]</div></li><li><div style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Make an effort myself. Note: this effort of my own would never go anywhere without the help guidance and active work of Christ in me through the power of the Holy Spirit. But I must yield to that Spirit of Christ in me. If I do nothing He will not drag me against my will. I must willingly follow the lead of His Spirit. <b>Colossians 1:24-29</b>, Ephesians 1:18-20 </div></li></ol><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This is living faith… expressed in righteous works.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 15:5-6 </b>Abraham declared to be righteous through his faith</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>James 2:22</b> which then leads to obedience</div><h2 class="western">Faith &amp; Deeds</h2><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Think of playing catch with a little child. You [the parent] throw the ball to them… usually a soft little lob with a light ball. Then they respond by throwing it back to you. Wobbly at first then getting stronger as they do it over and over again. You move up to a harder ball, a further throw… etc. etc. The more you do it the stronger and better at it they get. <b>Romans 1:17</b></div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">All this requires a good understanding of His word… His commands, statutes, judgments, promises, prophecies, corrections, and examples from the lives of those who have gone before us.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This is how you can walk with God and grow in faith!</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Prayer <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> study/instruction <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>obedience <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> repeat cycle. Faith increases with time. Sometimes in small incremental steps, sometimes in huge leaps [often associated with trial]. But it is a daily process. Don’t look down on those small incremental steps… they help prepare you for the huge leaps we sometimes have to make through trial and testing. [PRACTICE VS. GAME DAY]</div><h2 class="western">Everyone Who Has Faith Will Have Their Faith Tested</h2><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Peter 1:1-9</b> [word picture—gold does not oxidize]</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Trials and troubles are not pleasant… they are traumatic, frightening, painful. But they are the stuff that grows faith.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Your test may be health problems, finding a mate, a threat to your life, family, job problems. God knows how to test your faith. There is not one size that fits all… but He will do His perfect work in you.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our Father Creator is kind and understanding of our weaknesses… but still expects us to move forward in faith. So, as part of your prayer for faith ask for wisdom… <i>open my eyes… help me to see and understand</i>. <b>James 1:2-5 </b></div><h2 class="western">Prepare Now For What May Lay Ahead</h2><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We cannot choose the time, or the manner, of our testing… so prepare now. A life of prayer, God’s word, and humble obedience strengthen your faith in the good times so you may be better prepared when a time of testing comes.</div><h2 class="western">Hold on to the Promises of God</h2><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The present can seem dark and grim…but know the future is bright and filled with God’s glorious purpose. </div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The rule of Christ on earth…</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; text-indent: 0.5in;">A role for you to partake in it…</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; margin-left: 0.5in; text-indent: 0.5in;">A resurrection to eternal life for you…</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Those who have gone before us in faith have not yet received the promises they set their hopes on. Through faith they saw it and believed in the inevitability and sureness of it. So can you.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To inherit so great a future requires faith.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A life of Faith means we must step into… endure and persevere in difficult, uncomfortable, even threatening situations. At such times stay focused on the kingdom of God… </div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 11:39-12:2</b></div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>We make our stand based on the word of God <b>1 Peter 1:23-25</b> </div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For those who seek first and foremost the kingdom of God there is great reward. In the meantime while we persevere and endure He offers us comfort. We get that through His word… but He does not leave us alone with only a book to read… He gives us one another… so that through Christ living and active in you comfort is given to others.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Corinthians 1:3-5 </b></div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The English word comfort is ok but it limits the scope of what is being considered here. The word is <i>paraklesis</i>. It’s the same word Jesus used when He spoke to the disciples about the workings of the Holy Spirit which was to come after He was executed. He called the Spirit… the comforter (KJV), helper (NKJV), advocate (NIV). In our day and language “<i>comforting someone</i>” conjures up images of being tucked up in a cozy blanket with a warm mug of chicken soup. And sometimes that might be part of the work of the Holy Spirit. But…</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Paraklesis</b> [ie. comfort] is a calling, a summons, exhortation, encouragement… cheering one another on, admonition [authoritative counsel, warning], consolation, refreshing of the thoughts and emotions, persuasion, and a call to action. </div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">It is for theses things that our Father wants us to spend time with one another. Let’s make sure not to neglect His will in the good times so that we are able to do this good work in the bad times.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18 </b><i>paraklesis</i> one another</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Not everyone is call to the understanding and future that God has called you to. The time to put this calling to action is now.</div><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grow now in all the good things of faith so you are prepared for the days ahead.</div><br /><div class="western" style="background: #ffffff; line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GVItY3PD5uw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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You Need The Faith Of Jesus Christ
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EimT7sXbSVg/WUP3OfY2R6I/AAAAAAAAAeo/7XtpMxLutiISkAOKKa-A5OvT6SbFP--hQCLcBGAs/s1600/rachael-crowe-94006.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EimT7sXbSVg/WUP3OfY2R6I/AAAAAAAAAeo/7XtpMxLutiISkAOKKa-A5OvT6SbFP--hQCLcBGAs/s320/rachael-crowe-94006.jpg" width="320" /></span></a></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">God’s word contains the record of many people’s lives, their challenges, their failings, and their faith. The record is not so much an example of good people doing good things as it is people overcoming themselves and learning to have trust and confidence in God. Abraham, who is called the father of the faithful, David who was a man after God’s own heart, Daniel who was deeply loved [precious].</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">You could look at such heroes of faith and conclude they are in a special category… “their example doesn’t apply to me”. You might assume they were so spiritually strong that the faith needed to get them through their trials came easily… that it just flowed naturally. You could say, “that was them, it will never be me”.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">But you can have faith like that. </span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">You can have the faith of Jesus Christ Himself</span></h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">I’m not talking about having faith IN Jesus Christ… I’m talking about having the faith that Christ had [what English Bibles used to call the faith OF Christ]. The faith that got Him through His trials, difficulties, and tests… yes, He had trials and troubles… He didn’t go through His flesh and blood life floating 2 inches off the ground with a golden glow around His head.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Hebrews chapter 11 is a sort of Hall of Fame for faith. Read it and you’ll see Abraham gets a lot of attention and elsewhere he is spoken of as the father of the faithful. </span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">But the greatest example of faith was Jesus. </span></h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Hebrews chapter 11 ends after 40 verses… then chapter 12 starts [naturally]. But the beginning of chapter 12 is really the end of our Hall of Fame for faith. The grand finale of the heroes of faith is Jesus.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Hebrews 12:1-2 </b>Jesus is described as the author and perfecter of your faith, meaning He is the one who creates faith in your heart and mind [author]. He is the one who brings it to the point of fullness or completeness [perfecter]. The verse also points out his greatest trial… being executed, dying to pay the penalty… for you.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Jesus was faithful in that He did what the Father wanted Him to do:</span></div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Gave His life to redeem others</span></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">As He said of Himself “ I have kept my Father’s commandments”</span></div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">For you to have the faith that Jesus had… the faith OF Christ… means that you live your life like He did. You present your self to God as a living sacrifices holy and blameless… live a life of righteousness practicing judgment and mercy… keep His commands and let them be written on your heart and mind with greater depth and understanding.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">That is what scripture means when it says the righteousness that comes by faith <b>Philippians 3:9</b>. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Note: Here is an example of what English bibles used to call the <i>faith OF Christ</i>. Modern translations [NKJV included] now translate this <i>faith IN Christ</i>. Implying that simply believing Jesus was who He said He was and believing He sacrificed Himself as a payment for your sins now counts as the righteousness God is going to evaluate you by.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Head knowledge and emotions are not the criteria for your final assessment by God!</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Galatians 2:16</b>here’s another one… the verse actually uses both wordings first is mentions the faith OF Christ… then it says we also have faith IN Christ [there are two different grammatical constructions side by side]. Which is exactly how it works. You need the head knowledge [belief IN Christ] AND you need the living active faith [belief OF Christ]. You need both in order to be justified [declared righteous] in God’s eyes.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Paul’s making a parallel between the two. But modern translators have made both phrases the same which renders the sentence into nonsense. [He’s not just repeating himself, we are justified by faith in Christ plus we’re justified by faith in Christ]</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The phrase “faith of Christ” in verses like this is telling you is that you can be declared/made righteous through Christ’s own faith being implanted in you through the power of the Holy Spirit… the power of God in you… the power of Christ in you… or Christ living in you. These are just different ways of saying the same thing.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Galatians 2:20 </b>at the tail end of this section of teaching the older traditional translation “faith OF the Son of Man” makes more sense. The context adds weight to this conclusion. Paul is talking about Christ living in him, the active living faith Jesus had… active and living in Paul… the faith of Christ.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Jesus lived His flesh and blood life filled with faith and perfect obedience to His Father’s will and commands. Now… today… through the power of the Holy Spirit He will plant that faith in you… like a seed… so it can grow to become strong and powerful in you [like a mustard seed that grows into a mighty bush].</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Two Erroneous Conclusions</span></h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">At this point its possible to get the wrong idea. First, that Jesus puts His own faith in you in place of… or as a replacement for, your own inadequate faith. This can lead to belief that there is nothing more you need to do. Christ does it all for you.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Another equally wrong idea is that Christ is working in you to strengthen your inadequate faith. To make it stronger and stronger until it reaches His own level, or at least a level that is adequate for God’s purposes. Sounds good but still misses the mark.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">You receive a measure of Christ’s own faith as a gift from God through the power of His Holy Spirit. This is a measure of the actual living faith of Jesus Christ at work within you. Remember from previous messages that you are created in the likeness of God, you have a spiritual component in you [the spirit in man]. <b>Romans 8:16 </b>God’s spirit works with your spirit throughout the course of your life to bring about something totally new. A new creation, a new person, born again… like the two different sets of chromosomes that came together to form YOU… some from your mother and some from your father. but that is a different message.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Faith is a product of the spirit [a fruit of the spirit, what the Holy Spirit brings forth]. Jesus faith works together with your faith. Not just His faith given as a substitute for yours. Not just your faith grown up big and strong… its something different, a new creation! </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">John 14:23</span></b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">I Corinthians 3:16</span></b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>I John 3:24</b>anyone could say “the spirit of God is in me”. How would you know if that is true or not? To the law and the testimony… is that life in conformity to the boundaries provided by God’s commandments… Is it all a dream? Is it all in my head? NO. To answer that question we have [and still need] a written code… carved in stone… or written on paper… provided by God. With it we can check and verify what’s going on within us against something concrete that exists outside our own thoughts, emotions, and subjective experiences.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Test the spirit… hold fast to what is good [read John 4:1]</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Paul writes: Do not quench the spirit and let its fire go out… Do not despise and consider the written teachings of no value… <u>test</u> and <u>prove</u>everything… hold on to what is good.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>Jesus Christ Actually Lives in You</span></h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The holy spirit in you, Jesus living in you, the presence of God… these are all different ways of saying the same thing. His thoughts and actions impact, influence, and direct your thoughts and actions… to the extent that you let Him. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">In this manner you can live like Jesus did… exhibiting His character, following His pattern of faith… and He will actively intervene… empower and assist</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Galatians 5:22</b>faith is one of the fruits of the spirit… there are others Christ wants to build in us also</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Romans 12:3</b>we receive faith not as an all or nothing brain dump… we are given a measure</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>1 Corinthians 12:9</b> the amount of faith given is unique to the individual… not one size fits all</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>1 John 5:4</b>our success in growing into the fullness of Christ is accomplished through faith but also is faith.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Ask God To Increase Your Faith</span></h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">I have an assignment for you, a takeaway, a call to action: Ask God to increase your faith.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Mark 9:24 </b>cry out, I have faith! Please grow and build the faith of Christ in me!</span></div><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Luke 17:5</b>thank you for the small seed of faith your have given… help it to grow in me to be a strong and mighty tree.</span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/PCC96vyLjCI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Active Living Faith
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The end times… the end of the age… the days when Christ returns… we think of mighty armies at war, horrible religious repression, greed, violence, arrogance and so forth. Have you ever thought of <u>faith</u>as an issue related to the end times?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Luke 18:8</b> Jesus positions faith as a question for the end times… when He returns. His question Jesus asks you to think about the possible answers. What is the answer? Yes or No? Are we close to that end time? If so, what do we see? What would faith look like?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If you consider faith as simply belief in any entity; a body of teachings, an institution, or perhaps even a person, then on you could argue people show plenty of faith.</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">in all the various religious dogmas out there [belief and confidence they have truth]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">in science &amp; technology [belief and confidence in observable data]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">in political ideologies [belief and confidence their way will work]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">in persons of fame and talent [belief and confidence the right person can get it done]</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Yet, all these objects of faith are fickle and with enough passage of time prove unreliable.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our age also shows a great loss of faith… in marriage, in government, in the military, in journalism, in education… a loss of faith that truth even exists and is knowable… a loss of faith that there is meaning and purpose to life… a loss of faith in any kind of positive future.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Many people are turned off and tuned out… immersing themselves in alternate worlds of drugs, social media, entertainment, and sex. Our young are taught life is merely a series of highly personal choices and experiences, each person alone and adrift. Captain of your own ship… but going nowhere.</div><h2 class="western">The Faith We Need [You Need] is Active Living Faith</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sy2zWaMQtZM/WV0RL5JduEI/AAAAAAAAAgk/zxhmZwfyWWsG1KE-k4MtVFMz9EP2OGe3ACLcBGAs/s1600/banner_ActiveLiving.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="370" data-original-width="640" height="185" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sy2zWaMQtZM/WV0RL5JduEI/AAAAAAAAAgk/zxhmZwfyWWsG1KE-k4MtVFMz9EP2OGe3ACLcBGAs/s320/banner_ActiveLiving.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Living faith is an active living trust in, and relationship with, your Father Creator. that is the faith we are here to learn more about. Living faith is not all in your head, or in your heart… its also in your hands and your feet. Living faith takes what you think and feel and puts it into action. Lets start with a simple example:</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in; margin-left: 0.25in;">Will you worship God YES/NO? If yes, then how does that become active and living...</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in; margin-left: 0.25in;">Will you worship God as He has instructed or as you please? Will you get up out of your sofa and come before Him at the time He has appointed?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">… to do as He has instructed, rather than how you please, is <u>active living</u> faith in God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Luke 18:1-8</b> another example of active living faith. Why is this active living faith? [answer: perseverance]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Was her confidence that the judge’s better self would eventually shine forth? No, the circumstances and situation indicated she would fail. The judge was unjust, he didn’t care about people. She won out through sheer endurance. How much more should we expect an answer to a request made to God the righteous judge in accordance with His will!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God promises “I will answer”… at the right time and in the right way to get you to the point where you can achieve the fullness of your potential as a child of God. Have confidence that this is so! Have active living faith!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Question</b>: When the Son of Man comes… will He find people with active living faith?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I started off listing things humanity commonly puts their faith in, science, politics, religious dogma, human goodness etc. The very idea of faith presupposes some ideal outcome, some goal, or end game.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Humans want to “feel good” or “be happy”. That future happiness usually takes place in a setting of prosperity, health, and peace [a setting without fear or worry]. We hear a lot about this goal of peace.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">People light candles for peace, they hold seminars for peace, they propose treaties for peace, they protest for peace… even beauty contestants tell us that what they want is world peace and an end to hunger. It seems like a universally desired outcome.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Imagine Miss Universe [as the representative of humanity, <i>Serena Strawman</i>] standing before God… “we want peace, and an end to world hunger”.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God says</b>: ok, I’ll show you how to have world peace, but all of you have to do the stuff I tell you to do.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Serena</b>: like, what?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God</b>: here’s the list of stuff</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Serena</b>: [reads list]… hmm, there are a few problems in here. Like item # 7… by that you mean no sex outside of marriage… I don’t see what that has to do with world peace. Can’t we just strike out a few of these items?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God</b>: No, it doesn’t work that way. You have to buy into the whole program. TRUST ME</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Serena</b>: Your list isn’t quite what we had in mind… we sort of saw it as… no killing, justice, lots of personal freedom, people get to do what they want, pursuing personal happiness.. you know</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God</b>: That won’t make you happy. That is not how I designed you to operate. TRUST ME</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Serena</b>: Why didn’t you just make us to work that way… like make us want the things that lead to peace?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God</b>: I want you to think for yourself. I want you to choose what is good. I want you to be on my level.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Serena</b>: this list of stuff to do isn’t going to work. There has to be a different way.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God</b>: There isn’t any other way. TRUST ME</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Serena</b>: Well, I think were going to try some other options. We’ve got some pretty good ideas of our own we want to explore. Your list has some real keepers on it… maybe we’ll use some of those in the mix.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>God</b>: You’re going to get mixed results. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>James 4:1-3</b> we want what God has to offer [peace, health, prosperity] but we don’t trust Him to show us how to get it. We want things our way. When Christ, the Son of Man, returns will He find faith? Will he find people actively living in faith?</div><h2 class="western">What is Faith?</h2><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LOdaxsXq2GM/WUP526gVebI/AAAAAAAAAe0/PHsCvniDI3Yk82kn5NgrAhsSJFehdNJ_wCLcBGAs/s1600/Dictionary.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="310" data-original-width="496" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LOdaxsXq2GM/WUP526gVebI/AAAAAAAAAe0/PHsCvniDI3Yk82kn5NgrAhsSJFehdNJ_wCLcBGAs/s320/Dictionary.png" width="320" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Is faith an emotion? Is faith how I feel about myself and my standing with God? Is it more?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 3:25,28 </b>faith begins in your mind and heart [your spirit]. You begin with a mental acceptance that you need your record cleared and that you can be cleared of all charges through the blood of Jesus Christ.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Once you have made peace with God the substance of your ongoing relationship with Him is faith. You learn and accept His plan for humans, and for you. You gain confidence that He wants good things for you. But you also move from merely believing <u><b>IN</b></u>God… to believing God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 3:31 </b>you express faith through what you do. You uphold and follow His instructions. [from Strong’s <i>to uphold </i><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"><i></i></span><i>sustain the authority or force of anything</i>]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>James 2:14-19 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Satan and demons believe in the existence of God. They just don’t believe what God says and they won’t do it. They believe there is another way. But, God who made them, and made us, says there isn’t.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Many people on earth believe <u><b>IN</b></u> God, but do they believe God… do they trust He knows the way to peace, prosperity, healthy life, and happiness? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I’ll go further… Satan believes Jesus is who He said He was, the Son of God. Its no stretch to say Satan believes and accepts <u>the fact</u>of Jesus death… and that Satan gets the logic of how Jesus death can pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, believing those two things cannot be the sum total of faith?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hebrews 11:6 </b>two elements of faith are itemized here: you must believe that God exists and that He is judge and rewarder. If you see injustice God will judge and reward. If you do wrong God will judge and reward. Plus, there is a third element: to seek out God… ACTION.</div><h2 class="western">Definition of Faith</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The word translated faith is <i>pistis</i>. In Greek it means a sense of conviction, that you have been persuaded, convinced, especially conviction based on hearing. So, faith can be understood as a feeling. It could also be understood as a collection of ideas that represent your personal creed. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How the word [pistis] is used in scripture adds depth and dimension to our definition:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Mark 1:14-15 </b>Acknowledgment of God’s revelation of truth</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 2:11-12</b> a flawed set of teachings produces a flawed faith. To seek God is to seek the truth [Kingdom of God, New Covenant, Jesus’ sacrifice]. What we teach matters.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>John 1:12</b> personal surrender – I do not know the way to peace, prosperity, health, life, and happiness. I need you, my Father and Creator, to show me.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>2 Corinthians 5:7 </b>conduct inspired by such surrender. I am going to do the things you show me and I’m going to stick to it. Even if circumstances appear [by sight] to demand other options.</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Faith… begins with thought. Acceptance that there is a living God, and acceptance of the truth He reveals to humanity. But real living faith is active and doing.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Real living faith changes minds [thoughts, emotions]… and faith changes how we live by changing what we do. Through faith we <u>uphold</u>God’s law, His instructions about how to attain all our hopes and dreams, and the hopes and dreams of humanity… for peace, prosperity, life, and happiness.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You can get all those things… when we <u>have</u> faith, and when we <u>live</u> in faith.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?</div><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/81vDHlxtJG0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Church of God In Today's World
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XM5Zc3SAQ3s/Wgh4jGdOK1I/AAAAAAAAAnI/h8QdAhnKUYsdYXBzBN1V3iv6KCQ2Gbp_QCLcBGAs/s1600/natalia-y-339474.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="900" data-original-width="1600" height="180" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XM5Zc3SAQ3s/Wgh4jGdOK1I/AAAAAAAAAnI/h8QdAhnKUYsdYXBzBN1V3iv6KCQ2Gbp_QCLcBGAs/s320/natalia-y-339474.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Jesus promised He would establish an assembly of followers on a rock solid foundation and that assembly (church) would not die out. So, its reasonable to expect there to always be an assembly of His… active somewhere in this mixed up world. Can it be identified?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus also told us many imposters would come in His name, and they would lead many people astray. When they come before Him saying look what we did! His reply to them will be “<i>I never knew you. Get away from me you lawless people</i>”.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 7:20-27</b> in that same section of His teaching Jesus tells us we can know the true from the false. His church will be an assembly of people who “<i>do the will of the Father</i>”. That is the rock solid<br /><a name='more'></a>foundation.</div><h2 class="western">Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Pharisee is a man of obvious religious practice with an impressive list of good works. He tithes, he spurns injustice and immorality, he prays regularly, he fasts frequently, he is thankful to God for making him a righteous person.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The tax collector would have been a person despised by most people. Because of his profession people would naturally assume he was a greedy, corrupt, extortioner. Now consider how this man he sees himself. He sees his faults, how he appears in God’s sight, how much he has fallen short of God’s standards. With this realistic view of himself he seeks God’s forgiveness. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If you didn’t know what these men were thinking and praying, if all you could see was the clothes they wore and the badges of social standing they wore… you would probably make some superficial assumptions about which was most pleasing to God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But, Jesus uses the imaginative power of a parable to give you a God’s eye view of what the two men are thinking and praying:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">One is confident and self assured… convinced that his approach is correct… not examining his life for ways he needs to change but exalting himself before God.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The other comes before God, not expecting acceptance and praise, but asking forgiveness.</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">With this insight into their thoughts… which of these two would you imagine would be more willing to adjust his outlook, and his actions, to make the changes needed to please God… to really do His will?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Beyond the world of parables we don’t get to know what people really think, and pray, and feel. God does… God can enter into thought, mind, and feeling [1 Samuel 16:7 God looks into the heart]</div><h2 class="western">Paul Was a Real Live Pharisee</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Pharisee of the parable was a fiction. But Saul of Tarsus was a real Pharisee before his transformation into Paul an Appostleof Jesus Christ. What does Paul say?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Philippians 3:4-6</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 10:1-3</b> Paul says the religious Jews are fired up about God, <u>but</u>not according to proper understanding [<i>epignosis</i>]. Paul tells us part of their problem was they substituted their own ideas and religious practices in place of what God desires, or God’s will.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 1:12-13</b> super religious Paul, spoke evil of the church, did bodily harm to members of the church. Paul the Pharisee, and others like him, considered themselves righteous, zealously doing what they assumed was the work of God… Paul the Pharisee was sincere, but sincerely wrong. He says he did what he did because he did to not knowing any better, and did not believe the teaching of the Messiah. </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">People can be Very Religious But Lack Proper Understanding</span></span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Today, we live in a world where many know the general outline and purpose of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Enough to be dangerous… We live in a world where many read scripture regularly and sincerely… but not according to proper understanding [epignosis]. Most have been tricked into ignoring obedience to God’s commands… yet sincerely convinced they are somehow doing God’s will.</div><h2 class="western">God Gives Credit Where Credit Is Due</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">People, nations, cultures that have contact with God’s word, whether in small measure or large measure, have an advantage by that contact and interaction. Those who practice even a part of what God’s word says have an even greater advantage. However, if we mix our good with evil then your blessings for good will be mixed with cursings for evil.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Scripture says that even those who have <u>no access</u> to God’s word yet do some of the things that are found in the word… are considered to have done good <b>Romans 2:14-15</b>. They will have an advantage when they rise up in the second resurrection.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But why not receive <u>ALL </u>the blessings and promises God has in store by making every effort to do <u>ALL</u> that God has commanded? … to do God’s will.</div><h2 class="western">Develop a Right Understanding Of God’s Word &amp; Will</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Proper understanding come through the power of God’s Holy Spirit in you. But, for your own part, there are some important areas to good hard look at:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does scripture teach about keeping God’s commandments?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does scripture teach about repentance and change?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does scripture teach about the purpose and goal of human existence?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is the real message regarding the kingdom of God?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is the meaning and process of salvation?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is the truth concerning the church Jesus established?</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If you are confused about any of these and want some answers, here’s what to do. Ask God for understanding in prayer. We can help, we can teach, guide, instruct… but you need the understanding that comes from God, His spirit, and His word. Ask Him for it.</div><h2 class="western">Finding God’s People</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We learned earlier that Jesus said His true followers will be people who do God’s will. Are there other identifying features?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 13:34-35</b> here’s another clue for finding the people of God among the crowd. Yet this too is covered by a veil of deception because we often approach it with incomplete and therefore un-biblical definitions of love.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>What is love? </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> accepting others as they are, seeking to live in peace and harmony with them, having empathy, giving them a little cash when they need it. If you go seeking the people of God with this definition in mind… you’re going to end up in some weird places.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">All those things matter and with a few minor tweaks fit within a biblical definition of love [see 1 Corinthians 13 for example]. But as a definition of love its incomplete. A biblical definition of love is built on the firm foundation of God’s commandments.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 5:2-3 </b>to love one another is to regulate our interactions with one another according to God’s commandments. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 13:9-10</b> love does not replace the commands. Full biblical, godly love is accomplished through doing the commands and building on top of them with the fruits of the spirit [1 Cor 13 , Gal 5:22]. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 22:36-40</b> this is not a revolutionary new concept never before revealed… Jesus is merely quoting OT verses [Deut 6:5, Lev 19:18].</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Treating others as God commands is love toward neighbor</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Treating God as He commands is love toward God</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s people will be an assembly of believers convicted through the power of the holy spirit to live differently. Convicted to actually do what God has commanded.</div><h2 class="western">The Church of God Will Be Filled With The Holy Spirit</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The power of the holy spirit makes living in Godly love possible. So… how does God go about dispensing His spirit? God gives His spirit to those who demonstrate a desire, a willingness, and a submission to changing… and conforming their life to His revealed will.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 2:38 </b>the ministry of Jesus Christ will instruct people to show evidence of their commitment to change and seek God’s will → then to be baptized → then to receive the holy spirit. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Believers accept the idea that they need to change, and that the change will take place within the guidelines of God’s commands. Otherwise, what does baptism really mean? The holy spirit would be like that river without any banks, flowing here and there with no forward movement or purpose… without banks to guide and channel it our river becomes a lake.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God does not give us His spirit to make us happy [its not spiritual Prozac or Zoloft]. God gives us His spirit so we might learn to do His will… so we might learn to live by His commandments… and build upon that with the other fruits of the spirit.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 19:1-5</b> Paul re-baptized folks who had previously been baptized but lacked sufficient knowledge and understanding of what God actually wanted them to submit to [note: what was lacking in this case was a clear understanding of the truth about the person of th Messiah]. They had been immersed in the water but not received the holy spirit until Paul had properly counselled and re-baptized them. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God wants us to know exactly what it is we are committing and converting to before He gives us His spirit. </div><h2 class="western">How Does This Affect Our Quest For The Church Jesus Established</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We live in a world where billions have been baptized but without a clear comprehension of:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the need to change</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the guidelines of what needs to change</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">a wide variety of false teachings on fundamental issues</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We live in a world where most are baptized into a wildly off-track understanding of God’s plan and purpose for humanity, without a clear understanding of the kingdom of God, not knowing the process of salvation. What exaclty have they been baptized into?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The great deception has gotten people to believe on Christ without understanding what it is He taught, what He practiced, or what He expects. Many in our world accept the idea of the bible being God’s word… while believing they can cross out the parts they don’t like about what it teaches. Worse yet, that humanity can substitute in our own ideas, or customs, and say they are of God. </div><h2 class="western">The Church of God Today...</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be people who believe, teach, and practice a change of heart regarding their previous disregard for God’s commands</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be people who’s way of thinking and acting is transformed by the baptism and the receipt of the holy spirit. Not without sin but committed to the ongoing process of conforming their lives in obedience to God</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be an assembly of people the living Jesus Christ uses to proclaim the truth of the kingdom of God, the truth about the family of God, the truth about eternal life</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be an assembly of people who wait in anticipation for a new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells… righteousness built on the foundation of the law, the prophets, and the apostles.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be an assembly of people awaiting Jesus Christ’s return and the role they will play in assisting Him bring true change and salvation to the earth and all its people</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To fulfill their mission and maintain the unity of the faith these people of God will somehow have to band together. They will probably form physical organizations to pursue the very spiritual goals itemized above. The COG cannot fulfill it purpose without some form of organization.</div><h2 class="western">Your Final Clue...</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 10:24-25 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"><b></b></span><b>Hebrews 4:9</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">There is a prophecy about the church of Jesus Christ in Revelation . The setting of the prophecy is just prior to the return of Christ at the end of this present age. It also provides a defining characteristic of the church…</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 12:17</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You might also like to request our free bible study aid&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built</a>. It will help you find the answers you want from the pages of your own bible.<br /><br /><br /></div>We have created a 3 part sermon series to help you take a good look at this important subject:<br /><ol style="text-align: left;"><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-lawlessness.html">The Rise of Lawlessness</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-rise-of-lawlessness.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/falling-away-from-truth-begins.html">The Falling Away From The Truth Begins</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-falling-away-from.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-church-of-god-in-todays-world.html">The Church of God in Today's World</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-church-of-god-in.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li></ol><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s1600/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="438" data-original-width="300" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s200/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" width="136" /></a>If you want to explore this subject as a personal study of your own, request a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built&nbsp;</a>and start finding the answers in the pages of your own bible.<br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GUTLsNeWM48" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Falling Away From the Truth Begins
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ne7E2FeZtQI/WfnWSmutA3I/AAAAAAAAAmg/UaP74IZpyVQ3KVTLrCEwwt-N-iCESrZ_gCLcBGAs/s1600/patrick-hendry-249303.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="266" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ne7E2FeZtQI/WfnWSmutA3I/AAAAAAAAAmg/UaP74IZpyVQ3KVTLrCEwwt-N-iCESrZ_gCLcBGAs/s400/patrick-hendry-249303.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><span style="color: #00000a;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #00000a;">It has been foretold that a mighty deception will settle like a veil over human history. The veil will cover and hide the truth of God… the whole world would be led astray, the truth will be hidden, the way will be narrow and few will find it, many would hear the call of the message but few would be chosen. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Doesn’t this seems contradictory to the accepted world history of a church, a religion, aggressively spreading and progressively growing over the centuries. Spreading and growing until it reached a </span><br /><a name='more'></a><span style="color: #00000a;">position of domination on our planet. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">What the word of God foretells and what history reports and records appear to be very different. The record of history is not up for dispute… so did the bible miss the mark? Did the word of God underestimate the power of the message and how it would spread across the planet?</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Prophecies of a Mighty &amp; Powerful Church</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 4:1; 5:1-2, 5; 6:2 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">the 7 seals give us a foretelling of the general themes of human history from the time of Jesus death up to the time right before His 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> coming. [provide chart of parallel to Matthew 24] </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The first seal opened reveals a mighty figure riding a white horse wearing a crown of authority and rule. The white horse and rider certainly makes us think of Christ coming in great triumph </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 19:11-16</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">. But the rider released with the first seal in Revelation 6 is not Christ… but looks like Christ. Instead this rider is one who goes forth in the name of Christ to create confusion and deception. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The coming Christ wears the mark of royal authority on his head… a diadem. The rider of the first seal wears only the wreath of victory [stephanos]. The false rider is indeed victorious… but he is no king of kings or lord of lords.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The coming Christ of Revelation 19 wields the sword of God’s word to gain his victories. The rider of the first seal uses the bow, the military weapons of human warfare, subjugation and power.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In Matthew 24:5 Jesus prophesied saying “</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>many will come in my name proclaiming ‘I am the Christ’ but will deceive many</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">.” The prophecy of the 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> of the 7 seals tells of the same deception but reveals to us that this deception will actually prevail, and conquer. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Deception will be the winner and wear the wreath of victory. </span> </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Where Did The Rider of the First Seal Come From?</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>2 Peter 2:1-3</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> the ride of deception begins in the Church of God… the very congregations formerly pastored by Peter, Paul, and John.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Note: Scripture predicts false teachings not only about ethical matters [sensual pleasure vs. the holiness of God], it foretells false teachings about the very nature of who and what Jesus Christ was and is. We are also told: </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><u>many</u></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> within the church will fall for it.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>1 John 2:18-19</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> a little over a decade later John reports that adversaries of Christ have risen up in the church. Sometimes they lead people off... presumably to create followings of their own. Sometimes they stay and later undermine the congregation they are part of.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>3 John 9-10 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">there is no specific indication of a doctrinal dispute. But John has written something Diotrephes does not want read or distributed in the congregation. Diotrephes even wants to put people siding with John out of the church congregation. Remember, John was an eye witness to the ministry of Jesus… but the church leader Diotrephes wanted to limit John’s influence in the church.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Church History Gets Murky After John’ Death…</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">If people like Diotrephes were getting the upper hand in local church congregations its plausible that true believers were losing control of the situation. Even to the point of getting forced out of their own congregations. Perhaps having to start up afresh somewhere else. Further and further to the fringes and then beyond the frontiers of the empire.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In the meantime a new brand of christianity began expanding rapidly. I would guess it had enough of the true message of hope to attract new believers… but it also had the additional appeal of confirming to deeply entrenched human philosophies and ideas.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">After the death of John in the 90’s any written record of what was going on in the church gets murky and scarce. Its as if a dark cloak were spread over the church. Then about 150 years later the dark cloak is taken away… but what is then revealed is very different from the Church Jesus Himself established. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">One obscure example can be found of this period is found in the reference to Polycarp. He seems to be a true believer from Ephesus. Polycarp attended a sort of church council in 150 AD to discuss keeping Passover instead of the new easter celebration popular in Rome. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The report from the original council was friendly and collegial [they agreed to disagree]… but by 193 AD Polycarp was kicked out of the church for his faithfulness to what had been passed along to him by John.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">By 250-300 AD the visible church was filled with controversy and doctrinal disputes. But those who held fast to the teachings of the apostles and Jesus had become a small minority pushed to the outermost fringes of the empire. By this time they no longer had a place at any of the church leadership meetings.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">The White Rider Emerges From the Shadows</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">During the decades of the early 300’s Diocletian became emperor of the Roman state. He greatly intensified persecution on this new religion called christianity. Diocletian’s persecution involved the burning all books, scrolls, manuscripts related to the church. This may account for the absence of information about the years from 100 AD to 250 AD.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">For example, the reference to Polycarp is a quote found in Eusibius’ history of the church. Eusibias is quoting from and earlier record of church history written by Papius. All Papius’ writings were destroyed. All we have are quotations of his writing referenced in other books. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">After Diocletian there was a 10 year period of political turmoil in the empire. Various factions fought what amounted to a small scale civil war to have their man placed on the throne. When the dust settled a guy named Constantine came out on top. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">During those challenging years the christians had not taken sides politically and retained at least some form of uncompromised moral authority.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Constantine sees an opportunity!</span><span style="color: #00000a;"> </span> </h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Perhaps this unaffiliated but very popular religion could be used to unite the fractured society and culture of the empire. Constantine makes 2 executive actions:</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Constantine legalizes christianity</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">2 years later, Constantine presides over the first of several church councils to resolve major doctrinal disputes. </span> </div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; margin-left: 0.5in;"><br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; margin-left: 0.5in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Note: to a man like Constantine such wrangling over words would only undermine the christian religion’s usefulness in bringing unity to the empire. Constantine himself presides over the meeting. He would provide the final judgment on which teachings would become the officially sanctioned doctrines of this church… backed up and enforced, if necessary, by police and military.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Constantine wasn’t even a believer, he wasn’t baptized, he still worshiped the mighty sun god. Constantine was a head of state looking for a way to provide social stability and unity for his empire. </span> </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">The Church Hits The Big Time!</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In exchange for government support and sanction these leaders of the christian church allowed the government assume the role of deciding and enforcing doctrinal and administrative matters. With the support of Roman police, military, and financial resources a church presenting itself as the proclaimers of Christ would grow in power and influence.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In the 400’s millions… all across the empire... began pouring into this church. Probably drawn more by the appeal of state sponsored religion than by any type of spiritual calling. History also records that these new converts never really gave up their pagan ideas and practices… strange rituals and folk celebrations… philosophies of immortality, heaven, hell, even the very idea of who and what God is.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Church leaders, who had themselves already accepted a lot of error, were simply unable to counteract these customs and superstitions. They baptized people </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>en masse</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> figuring they could sort out all the craziness later. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>What was the result?</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">State approved christianity was a strange mix of beliefs, practises, and customs from many sources. To this day it remains hard to tell where paganism ends and biblical truth begins.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus’ Message to the Church</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Before the 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> seal is opened and the white rider is revealed, there comes a long message from the living and glorified Christ addressed to His church. Its written to 7 congregations in existence in the 90s when the revelation was recorded. The number 7 is most likely meant to be understood to signify completeness. The message was to be to the whole church and gave a full picture of the trends and divisions already beginning in the church at that time. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Trends and divisions that would become so great, it would result in 2 separate groups pursuing very different agendas.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In His message, Christ makes note of obedience and disobedience… showing who He would bless and who He would reject. He offers praise where praise is due and criticism where criticism is due. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Christ compliments devoted members for their service, labor, patience, perseverance, endurance, and faith. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">His criticisms tell us a lot. </span> </div><ul><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">There is a wake up call to those who were spiritually weak, indifferent, and blind to their precarious and pathetic condition. </span> </div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">He has very harsh words for false teachers: those who followed the doctrine of Balaam, the practises of the Nicolatians, and those gave in to the allure of Jezebel. </span> </div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 2:18-29</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> “sexual immorality” covers all those who teach a misrepresentation of grace that encourages tacit permission to ignore God’s commands. “Food offered to idols” covers mixing false religious practises with true.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The “deep things of Satan”… that subject would require a lot more time than we have available. In this category I would put the horribly misleading teachings about the immortality of the soul, lawlessness, and the nature of God. Clearly, Satan had infiltrated the church on a fundamental level promoting deep, thought provoking, but misleading ideas.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">While some were plumbing the depths of Satan…. There were others who not put up with those ideas and the people who promoted them. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 2:2-3 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">in spite of Satan’s influence some remained strong and faithful</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 3:8-12</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> the number of those who remained true and faithful was and is small</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Christ’s message to the church at the close of the age calls out two distinct religious approaches emerged from the days of the original apostles. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> <span style="color: #00000a;">One that remains faithful to Christ… and teaches faithfulness to Christ.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">One that has become deluded… and teaches others that same delusion. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Conclusion:</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">A mighty deception has settled over the face of the earth. Most are fooled into believing this falsehood accurately represents the teaching of God through scripture. </span> <br /><span style="color: #00000a;"><br /></span><span style="color: #00000a;">Make it your goal to know the truth… and know that you know the truth.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><br />We have created a 3 part sermon series to help you take a good look at this important subject:<br /><ol style="text-align: left;"><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-lawlessness.html">The Rise of Lawlessness</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-rise-of-lawlessness.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/falling-away-from-truth-begins.html">The Falling Away From The Truth Begins</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-falling-away-from.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-church-of-god-in-todays-world.html">The Church of God in Today's World</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-church-of-god-in.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li></ol><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s1600/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="438" data-original-width="300" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s200/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" width="136" /></a>If you want to explore this subject as a personal study of your own, request a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built&nbsp;</a>and start finding the answers in the pages of your own bible.<br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 17.28px; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/VWaxiVPKHgI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Winning Your Spiritual Battles!
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DcaBbHhUy10/W7zUcr7xlYI/AAAAAAAAA_o/AcL81p-Wp3kuvJ0kb0UmOB0WsRyE1xyugCLcBGAs/s1600/miguel-bruna-503098-unsplash2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="867" data-original-width="1600" height="216" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DcaBbHhUy10/W7zUcr7xlYI/AAAAAAAAA_o/AcL81p-Wp3kuvJ0kb0UmOB0WsRyE1xyugCLcBGAs/s400/miguel-bruna-503098-unsplash2.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Another cycle of God's festivals have come and gone. After the Feast of Tabernacles a new spiritual year begins.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">I always come away from the Feast of Tabernacles with a plans to make a few positive changes in my life. The 8 days I spend away from my routine and my stuff allow me to step outside of myself... make a few critical observations... rather like new years resolutions.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Most new years resolutions die after a short burst of application. Then folks slide back into the pattern of life they are most accustomed to. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">We love changing our hairstyles, fashion, TV shows, maybe we'll strike out in a new direction by growing a mustache. But, changing our ideas, our habits, is a different matter. We resist change on these... To admit we're wrong and to make necessary corrections... makes us feels foolish, insignificant, and threatens our notions of self worth.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">A great deal of human reasoning is put to work to resist real change... by justifying, rationalizing, and plain old "making excuses".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">In the year that has passed we each received a lot of good information about eternal life, reward, and salvation. Resolve this year to be a Year of Change! Believe and act upon what you have heard!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">A New Beginning</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2 Corinthians 13:5 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Has the past year brought you to see yourself more clearly? As you really are rather than how you wish to be or be seen? As God sees you?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Have you sized yourself up by means of His word? Have you seen how you have fallen short or the glory of God?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Are you ready to surrender those strongholds in your mind rather than protecting them like a mama bear with her cubs?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Common Strongholds: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">thoughts, music, substance abuse, perverted sex, occult, money matters, authority issues, psychological dysfunction (such as stress, anxiety, depression).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Prevention is the best remedy... however, if a stronghold has already been established: </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Admit where you are: stop denial and self delusion ("its just entertainment", "I can stop anytime once I set my mind to it", "its not me its the system")</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Possibly share &nbsp;your situation with a trusted individual</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Seek help</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Change your environment (bad company ruins good morals)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">5.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Set your will to do the right thing (you gotta exert some effort)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">6.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Go to the source of the problem (what trigger gets you started)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">7.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Bathe your mind in the word of God - (it provides the only objective standard against which you can measure your current situation, then measure your improvement, and keep you oriented toward the right goals)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">God gives favor to the humble... humble people are willing to change. God wants change, change that's permanent with no turning back!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">G</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">ive Yourself To God Completely</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Live by every word of God. Make this your goal above all else: above family, friends, even your own life. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Matthew 10:37-39</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;think of losing your life as letting go of those mental strongholds in your mind that are guarded, armed and ready to repel any intrusion by God. What good does it do you to hang on to what is temporary &nbsp;at the risk of that which is everlasting? Instead: "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">seek first the kingdom of God</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Everything Begins With Change</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty for your sins. But you </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">access</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;the power of this salvation through a change of mind and thinking... "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">repent and be baptized so your sins may be forgiven and you may receive the Holy Spirit</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The changing of mind and attitude does not end at the beginning. The active renewing of your mind after the pattern of Jesus Christ continues throughout your whole life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Winning requires ongoing effort </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1 Timothy 6:12; 1:18-19, 2 Timothy 2:3-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">A life successfully lived... is a battle won </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2 Timothy 4:6-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Godly Change Means Doing Battle With 3 Deadly Enemies</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Yourself - your human nature</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The world - </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Satan - the accuser, tempter, and liar</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1. </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Yourself</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Your flesh and blood mind has an instinct for reproduction and self preservation... neither of these is intrinsically bad. No one faults a moose for wanting to pass on his genes or putting his needs above others to preserve his own life. But God is not trying to prepare a moose for eternal life in the eternal family.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Human beings have a spiritual component built into them. This spirit is what sets us apart from animals. We are subject to a set of spiritual standards. They are not designed to suit the development, nurturing, and preservation of the flesh. These spiritual standards are </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">geared toward the development, nurturing and preservation of the spirit. God makes us aware of these standards through the revelation of His word and His Spirit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">What's good for the flesh is not necessarily what is good for building the mind of God in this spiritual "work in progress" called human. Sometimes these two different sets of standard conflict </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Romans 8:5-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">. Self preservation has very different goals and priorities than outgoing concern for others. The flesh is going to resist putting another person's needs before your own... the spirit needs to exert itself and prevail.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The flesh is a battle ground for the spirit. A battle that tests and strengthens the spirit...that tests and strengthens right priorities.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2 Corinthians 10:3-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;pulling apart and destroying all deceptive human reasoning and high falutin' thoughts</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">God wouldn't really want me to do without that</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">That rule doesn't apply to me in this instance because... (x)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">How could the vast majority of humanity be wrong on something so important etc, etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2. The World - Culture, Society</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Galatians 1:4</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Most people in this present age either have not heard, not believed, or not completely accepted the set of spiritual standards for eternal living which God has made available. God is preparing only a small number of people in this age... He does this so that the larger work preparing all the rest of humanity [which takes place in the age to come] can be shared... God wants to have you work together with Him [like a Dad who wants to work on a project with his sons, even though he is perfectly capable of doing it all by himself].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">This present age is a product of the human mind and caters to the human mind. Built on a foundation of seeking and providing material needs, self preservation, reproduction etc. [but with a perverted twist we'll discuss in a few minutes]. Matters are evaluated on criteria such as: beauty, wealth, and intellect.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">... and its deceptive.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Human minds are wired so when we see a large numbers [perhaps even the majority] of people acting or thinking in a certain way our human reasoning says "there must be something to it"... "it can't be all bad'. Its basically a survival mechanism, herding. But that means if the vast majority of people have wrong ideas about sex, money, authority, music, drugs, dabbling with the occult... your natural mind is going to stop, listen, give it some consideration as valid based on sheer numbers. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">This can strengthen those strongholds which are against Christ... and in some cases create new ones you hadn't even thought of on your own.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Beware of your friends, beware of your school teachers, beware of singers, beware of your TV, your news-feed, your co-workers... everyone. The only sure thing you have in this world is God's word, and even there you must beware of false interpretation, false teachers.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 18.0000pt; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Q: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Should I move to some remote desert where I can be safe from the negative influence of other people?</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;No</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Physical separation from culture and society is not what God intends </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">John 17:15-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Que</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">stion </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">E</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">verything</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">!</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Question the world, friends, co-workers, celebrities. Question their values, question their motives.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Should you question God?</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;I think God is up to the challenge... if you know scripture you know that many times He lays down the challenge "prove me", "test me". If you do this with a willingness to believe you will get answers. If you pray for wisdom and understanding you will get answers.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">However, if you question God as a form of human reasoning... as a means to justify your bad behavior you will have accomplished nothing.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">It is God's desire that you become convinced in your own mind... that you see His way of thinking as the right way. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Don't Conform</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">!</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Romans 12:2</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">When you truly question the world and its ways... when you won't conform... people aren't going to like or appreciate what you are trying to accomplish [so, you think you're too good for us huh?] </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1 Peter 4:3-4, John 15:18-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">How should you then respond </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Romans 12:20-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">3. Satan - The One Who Is Against You</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1 Peter 5:8-9</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">God lets Satan roam the earth and put humanity to the test [but only as much as God allows]. Satan is going to feed you lies, he is going to to accuse you of weakness and demand that you be tested, he is going to throw tasty temptations in front of you to lure you into disobedience... and keep you there.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Winning the battle in the coming year won't be easy. But it can be won!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">verse 10 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The Holy Spirit has been added to your mind so that you have the spiritual power to resist. It is there to remind you and of what is right and good.... it is there to point you in the right direction and prod you along. The Holy Spirit does not shield you from Satan's powers of suggestion... it helps you confront it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">No one is forced to follow Satan's influence but to the unsuspecting his power is overwhelming. You however should not be unsuspecting... unless you're sitting there each week and not listening to what being taught. In the coming year those of us tasked with teaching, exhorting and correcting will do our part in reminding &nbsp;you of the lies, helping you address your weaknesses proactively [rather than waiting to be accused and tested], we will point out temptations to be resisted. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">#theresistance</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Jesus gave us the playbook for confronting Satan and temptation: confront deception with the word, confront disobedience with humility and submission to God's instructions for life. Read Matthew 4.... Jesus confronted Satan with the word and with humility... and Satan had to retreat.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">James 4:6-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;Satan has to retreat if you resist</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Prepare </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Y</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">ourself for </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">B</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">attle </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Ephesians 6:10-12</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The breastplate of righteousness [obey the commandments, live the fruits of the spirit, do good works}</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The shield of faith [believe and have confidence that the battle is worth winning and can be won]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The helmet of salvation [keep yourself properly oriented toward what the real goals are, eternal life in the family of God, know and understand God's plan and purpose]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The sword of truth [the word of God, study it, do memory work, don't be passive]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Ephesians 6:18-20 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">persevere in prayer</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">You can overcome --&gt; You can win your personal battles --&gt; You can make the year ahead of us a year of victory!</span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9GHpIScSgc">Winning Your Spiritual Battles!</a></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/ZfB4HBBzTOQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Rise of Lawlessness
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6MxOmasKpC0/WfnT2oyVsUI/AAAAAAAAAmU/ms6tpCG0WukKH3YP2wY9bhrx7F9jZ7T1gCLcBGAs/s1600/83AF.tmp.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="639" data-original-width="1365" height="185" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6MxOmasKpC0/WfnT2oyVsUI/AAAAAAAAAmU/ms6tpCG0WukKH3YP2wY9bhrx7F9jZ7T1gCLcBGAs/s400/83AF.tmp.png" width="400" /></a></div><br />Over a billion people consider themselves christian. Most often they are born into it. The family may be church goers… they may live in a society where bible and church are cultural norms... perhaps christianity is the state religion. Current data tells us christianity is still the largest religious group on earth. Somewhere between 1-2 billion are loosely categorized, christian.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This vast group of people have a wide variety of divergent teachings, but have some core teachings in common. But what this vast majority believe and teach is very different from what the Church of <br /><a name='more'></a>God, and groups like the United Church of God teach.</div><h2 class="western">The Differences Go Way Beyond The Sabbath</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Keeping the 4<sup>th</sup> commandment instruction to observe a Sabbath rest each 7<sup>th</sup> day certainly makes us stick out in a very visible way. But the differences between the Church of God and the vast majority are more than what you see on the surface. Consider these 3 weighty questions:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is humanity? [immortal soul going to heaven or hell vs. finite being who must be raised to eternal life or remain permanently dead]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Who and what is God? [an expanding family vs. an unfathomable 3 sided box]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does God expect of humanity? [must we do as God commands or may we make our own decisions about what commands are valid]</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On each of these points you will get a very different answer here than you will from the vast majority of christian churches that dominate the world scene.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">People and churches that believe and teach like the United Church of God are so small, so few. To the human mind’s way of reasoning you would expect that teachings with greater numbers of believers are more likely to be true. Might makes right.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 7:13, 21-23</b> [explain <i>anomia</i>] not everyone who accepts, proclaims, or teaches about Jesus is a true follower. Jesus Christ does not recognize those who practice, or teach, a “no-law” message… no matter what else they say or do in His name [either good or bad].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The teachings and the prophecies of Jesus indicate that something would appear that looks deceptively like a church representing Him. This church would dominate human affairs up to the very end, yet this it would be a misrepresentation of what He actually taught. They would come with a message of lawlessness. Jesus has warned you about it in advance.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 24:4-5 </b>people will come forth in the name of Jesus and proclaim Him to be the Christ or Messiah… yet lead large numbers of people astray [verses 11-12 tell you how]</div><h2 class="western">Where Do Most Christian Churches Get Their Teachings &amp; Practises?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You would assume they get their teachings from God’s own word. What they say sounds very biblesque. But if you go back to the 3 core teachings mentioned earlier, immortality of the soul, a triad of co-equal God beings, the place of God’s law in your life… what you are really hearing is human imagination and reasoning, human desires and goals, and doctrines of demons. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Scripture is then distorted and read out of context to comply with these human ideas and philosophies. It sounds very biblesque… yet teaches an approach to life, an understanding of God, and false hope that are simply not found in scripture. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">I believe this is a very serous way in which humanity violates the commandment that warns “do not use my name in ways that are false, empty, and worthless”? Don’t attach my name to your worthless ideas!</div><h2 class="western">What Are Churches Supposed To Teach?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 28:20 </b>we are to teach what Jesus taught</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 19:16-17</b> obedience to God’s commandments leads to eternal life</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This is the same message taught by the apostles and the Church of God!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 1:15</b> teach the obedience that comes from faith [<b>Romans 3:31</b>]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Colossians 2:6-8 </b>stick with this and don’t be fooled by deceptive philosophy [human reason, human imagination and ideas]. </div><h2 class="western">Error, Confusion, and Deception Are Always At The Church’s Door</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Peter, Paul, John and others went forth filled with zeal, faith, and truth. The church of God grew rapidly and spread out all over the Roman empire. <u>Those were the days</u>! </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A golden age… you knew where you stood… church leaders could all be trusted… the teachings were undisputed… everyone marching shoulder to shoulder under a shining sun… Really?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Alas, that has never been the case. Read the epistles to the churches again. At all times error, confusion, and deception waited crouching at the door, creeping through the windows, desiring to overtake the church, demanding that we confront it and prevail. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 16:17-19 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 20:29-31</b> Paul’s farewell the local leaders of the Ephesus congregation</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Titus 1:10-11 </b>[that’s why we need good teachers and leaders to pass along the true teachings verses 7-9]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The circumcision group Paul is referring to represents the first major battle against doctrinal error. The teaching that the Jewish religion was still the right way and had merely been purified and added to by Jesus Christ. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Apostles [especially Paul] had to spend a great deal of time explaining that much had indeed changed. Jesus Christ’s death had put and end to the era of the old covenant. The living Christ had now assumed the title, the role, and the functions of the high priest. With this change in the priesthood came a necessary change in the ordinances of sacrifice, temple service, and the civil authority of the levitical priests.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Paul’s explanations of how all this worked were grossly distorted and wrongly applied to the commandments themselves! The idea took root that obedience didn’t matter… what mattered was vague notions of spirituality.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Peter 2:18-21</b> Peter is talking about the church here [3:14-16 Paul’s words distorted]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 3:4 </b>towards the end John tries to set the record straight</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 5:3 </b> teachers of lawlessness represent God’s holy commands as a burden. John seeks to set the record straight.</div><h2 class="western">Satan: Master of Deception</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The no-law concept enters the human imagination easily. Lawlessness appeals to human vanity, feelings of self importance, assumptions we have all the information needed to decide what is best for us. No-law also appeals to our pleasure centers. How can something that feels so good possibly be wrong?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 8:7 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"><b></b></span><b> 1 Corinthians 2:14</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Most people accept some of God’s laws… restrictions on murder, theft, adultery, respect for parents. These seems sensible ways to preserve our lives, our property, our families. But other laws like covetousness, no sex outside marriage, worshipping God when and how He instructs don’t seem so sensible to our human reason.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>James 2:8-11</b> God wants us to keep ALL His commands. Not just the ones we consider worthy.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">Lawlessness is also a teaching [or doctrine] of demons…</span></span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">”Eat from the tree, decide for yourself what laws you will keep or not keep… you know you want to”.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15</b> the great deceiver uses people to mislead people and redirect them away from the truth. This happens within the church as much as it does in the world at large. Notice that once again the scriptures are talking about people who represent themselves as working for Christ, ministers of righteousness… yet leading people astray.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: Paul is here addressing the original false teachings about circumcision here… but the same principle applies to the subsequent false teachings of no-law [lawlessness], non-biblical teachings about the immortal soul [which also go back to the serpent], and strange human philosophies and speculations about the nature of God[a different Jesus, a different hope, a different spirit].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 1:3-7 </b>here is an exhortation closer to the end of Paul’s ministry where he clearly targets this wider variety of false teachings.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The motive of human pride and vanity is addressed… “I want to be a teacher”, “I want to be considered your intellectual or spiritual superior”, “I know stuff you don’t know”. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The vast pool of churches presenting themselves as: Christ centered and bible based, may sincerely believe what they teach… but on many, if not most, of the core teachings of God’s truth they are sincerely mistaken.</div><h2 class="western">Lawlessness in Prophecy</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 2:7 </b>the no-law deceptions were at play in the church from the very beginning but also have a place in end-time prophecy.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Lawlessness is to be kept on a short leash until the end time [the restraining force here is God Himself acting through angels assigned to nations and to the church(es)]. If lawlessness among humanity were not restrained we would probably destroy ourselves long before the time appointed by God for Christ’s return.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 2:8-11</b> toward the time of the end all restraint on lawlessness will be removed.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 24:11-12</b> Lawlessness in the end time increases</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Disobedience appeals to human nature, vanity, self importance. Satan exploits this and uses it to accomplish his own goals of deception and sabotage.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We have looked into the rise of false teachings within the church and focused mainly on lawlessness with brief mentions of other major threads of error: the immortality of the soul, and the nature of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Next time we will learn how false teaching came to dominate and overtake the visible church. To the point where the falsehoods and deceptions are what most people think of when christianity, the church of Christ, or the bible are mentioned.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our commission is to carry forth the truth of God and make disciples of all nations. Wrong ideas about what God has to say about the weightier matters make our job more difficult. To effectively explain the true hope to others it helps to be aware of some of the wrong ideas people bring to the discussion and why.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>It is also good for us all to remember that controversy and deception have always been part of the reality of life within and without the Church. The Church has never been a walled garden which you enter into as a refuge from all the troubles of the human condition… God has not willed it to be so.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Bad stuff is crouching at the door and lurking by the windows seeking opportunity to get in.</div><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Members of the body of Christ must be prepared, they must have the mental toughness to endure, to persevere, to prevail over pressures both within and without.<br /><br />We have created a 3 part sermon series to help you take a good look at this important subject:<br /><ol style="text-align: left;"><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-lawlessness.html">The Rise of Lawlessness</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-rise-of-lawlessness.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/falling-away-from-truth-begins.html">The Falling Away From The Truth Begins</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-falling-away-from.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-church-of-god-in-todays-world.html">The Church of God in Today's World</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-church-of-god-in.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li></ol><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s1600/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="438" data-original-width="300" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s200/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" width="136" /></a>If you want to explore this subject as a personal study of your own, request a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built&nbsp;</a>and start finding the answers in the pages of your own bible.<br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 17.28px; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/CNr9s0nc3XA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Training To Be A Priest In The Age To Come
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">When we think of priests in the bible we think of the levitical priesthood God instituted in Israel as part of the old covenant. That priesthood has been replaced by the priesthood of the resurrected Jesus Christ in the order of Melkizadek.</span><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 6:20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus has become a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. The scripture also says that He is our forerunner. Meaning He goes first implying we are to follow Him. We too are to become priests of the order of Mechizadek.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cTAPnq3q5k4/W6RxQ_KGHqI/AAAAAAAAA_I/kSQU-jeihssYar7lB_iZsSdnNP46NxTyQCLcBGAs/s1600/clique-images-547959-unsplash2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1062" data-original-width="1600" height="212" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cTAPnq3q5k4/W6RxQ_KGHqI/AAAAAAAAA_I/kSQU-jeihssYar7lB_iZsSdnNP46NxTyQCLcBGAs/s320/clique-images-547959-unsplash2.jpg" width="320" /></a><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: large;">That means: You are training now to act as a king and priest alongside Christ when He establishes the rule of God on earth at the time of His return.</span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">What Do We Know About The Order of Melkizadek?</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 7:1-3 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">the order of Melkizadek:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Combines the office of King and Priest in a single entity. Everyone who is a priest after this order is also a king [the office of king implies judgment and leadership in non-religious areas]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Such priest kings posses character that is righteous and peaceful</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Such priest kings possesses eternal life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 7:15-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;the priest of this new order is appointed as such because He is a Son of God (see also </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 5:5-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 8:1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;such a priest sits down at the right hand of the throne</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">When you are resurrected you too will have these attributes of priest after the order of Melchizedek. A spirit born child of God, &nbsp;with eternal life, a mind of Godly character both righteous and peaceful. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Revelation 3:21 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Just as Christ has taken his seat beside the throne of God, you will sit down at the right hand of Christ on His throne [as priests/kings reigning together with Christ our rank will be subordinate to Christ].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">What do we know about the activities of a priest?</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests manage the offering of gifts &amp; sacrifice</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests maintain personal holiness and cleanness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests protect and maintain the household of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests make judgments on religious matters... clean vs. unclean, acceptable vs, unacceptable, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests proclaim the sacred assemblies [plan of God]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests teach, interpreting God’s expressed will &amp; word</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Teaching</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In Israel the priest taught the people from God’s word, ensuring people knew what was required of them… what it means... how to apply it </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Deuteronomy 33:8-11, Malachi 2:7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Christ, our high priest, acted as a teacher during His days in the flesh and continues His priestly function as our teacher: through the ongoing work of the Church [of which He is head], and through the power of the Holy Spirit... His very living presence in you. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Future priest/kings will also teach people the ways of God during the 1,000 year rule of Christ…. that’s what priests do!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Question</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">: if you were going to teach a class in pottery design or auto-mechanics, what do you need to do first? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Answer</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">: to be an effective teacher you have to learn the material first yourself.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Future Priest Kings are training today. Training their mind with the knowledge of God and His ways. through study… but especially through application. Head knowledge about pottery or auto-mechanics doesn’t lead to effectively teaching. You have to throw clay on a wheel or pop open the hood of a vehicle!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Knowing and DOING what God’s word says is training for your future role as king and priest after the order of Melkizadek.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Judgments on Religious Matters</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Levitical priests applied judgment on the clean vs. unclean, the acceptable vs. unacceptable regarding food, sex, methods of worship to name a few. Some things are acceptable to God... some things are not. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In this Church age, the resurrected Christ, our high priest, helps us distinguish what is clean and acceptable and what is not. We have a written record of His teachings but also His convicting presence within us through the power of the Holy Spirit. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">He taught that the actual eating of something unclean was not what truly defiled a person. If something unclean goes in your mouth, it’ll come out the other end and into the toilet. What really defiles a person is unclean deeds, talk and attitudes of the heart. Yes, we continue to make distinction between clean and unclean food but we do it as a physical discipline that points us to the spiritual goal which is to clean up our words and attitudes. If we were as scrupulous on matters of mind, heart, and speech as we are on avoiding unclean meat like pork then we’d have really accomplished something.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The priest/kings assisting Christ will teach these same spiritual lessons and move people from the obvious physical observances to the spiritual realities they point towards. You are learning the subject material now… so you can better teach others then.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The Priests of old were charged with the proclamation [and enforcement] of what constituted acceptable worship practice. That covers a lot!. Let’s consider the Sabbath and Holy Days as a prime example.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Leviticus 23:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">. These are physical observances that point us toward and keep us focused on high level spiritual realities.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Weekly Sabbath</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;- points folks to the spiritual rest God promises, and acknowledging God as creator. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Annual Sabbaths</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;or holy days - outline God’s plan to move finite, physical, created beings through a process of salvation, sanctification, and resurrection to a fully formed eternal spiritual creation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Flesh and blood people of the 1,000 year rule will need instruction about God’s purpose and plan for them. The priesthood in the age to come will proclaim &nbsp;and enforce &nbsp;these days so people don’t get off track and wander off according to their own imaginations </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Zechariah 14:16-19.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The removal of Satan from the scene does not end all resistance, questioning, or doubt. Think of your own children… compliance and going through the motions doesn’t mean they buy in to, or understand, the spiritual reality behind the observance. People will need to be persuaded. Forcing someone to obey is not the same as winning their heart.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Who better to win their heart than someone who has walked the walk, talked the talk, and buys in with their whole heart. Your personal conviction regarding the Sabbath, the holy days, God’s plan for salvation will be very important in your future role as priest and king.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Managing Offerings &amp; Sacrifices </span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Leviticus 1:2-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;Under the old covenant a person needed to sacrifice the life of an animal to atone for sin, also to have fellowship with God, and to cover offenses committed in ignorance. The average man would bring his sacrifice to the entrance of the tent, confess his sins over it, kill it, gut it, skin it, etc but he did not take it into the tabernacle. At that point the priest took over, brought the animal flesh into the tabernacle compound, burned it on the altar, dealt with the ashes or cooked meat depending on what sort of offering it was. The worshipper did not go in there.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The priest is an intermediary, a go-between ensuring the worshipper did not bring any uncleanness into the area of the tabernacle… God’s abode. Priests had to maintain a high level of personal holiness and cleanness so that they could safely draw close to the presence of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In the new covenant there is no sacrifice of animals. However, even in the present age of the new covenant sacrifice still remains 1</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;Peter 2:4-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In the present age, once you have laid claim to the power of Christ’s blood to atone and to cleanse you… it is possible for you to come personally before the throne of God… and when you do, you bring spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 9:14 → &nbsp;Hebrews 10:14-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Romans 12:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;you offer yourself... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">in acts of service according to the gifts God has given you within the body</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">which create in you, and demonstrate, the creation of a new way of thinking</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Paul goes on to discuss these acts of service and the mind your spiritual sacrifice causes to develop… that's what verses 2-21 are about. We’ll come back to that in a few minutes.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Sacrifice in the Age to Come</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Prophetic scripture indicates some form of sacrifice during Christ’s future earthly reign. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah all mention it. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The age to come will be filled with the knowledge of God, with ready access to the Spirit of God. But that does not mean there will be no transgression, no rebellion, no doubt. You will likely serve as priest to a mixed group of people with varying degrees of spiritual development and at different stages on the path of salvation. People will still have free will and at any given point some will have accepted Christ as their savior… and some will have not decided. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Sin that does not come under the blood of Christ will have to be addressed somehow.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Could the age to come hav</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">e sacrifice along the lines of Leviticus to address the sins of those not yet in Christ? Or are we simply addressing spiritual sacrifice along the lines of 2 Peter 2 or Romans 12… the spiritual sacrifices of those who have come under the blood of Christ? We don’t know with certainty.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Either way sacrifice remains as a means of maintaining a right relationship with God. You as a priest serving with Christ will help Him on behalf of the people bringing sacrifice before God that is acceptable. That’s what priests do.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Characteristics &amp; Qualities That Will Make You More Effective</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 5:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;in Israel the priest served as a representative of the people in matters pertaining to God, offering gifts and sacrifices for &nbsp;sin, ideally he was to be able to deal gently with who didn’t know any better or are going astray because he too was fallible and mortal.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 4:14-16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus is an eternal being but its able to empathize because He has experienced life in the flesh… &nbsp;although without fault or sin.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">This same principle applies to the priests of the age to come. You will be better able to help people struggling with various problems… you will be able to empathize because you have gone through the same experiences.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">I put it to you that more than empathy is needed! You will also need other aspects of the mind of God encourage them and lead them to the higher ground.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Let’s go back to Romans 12 now...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Following Paul’s exhortation that we make spiritual sacrifices and submit to the process of transforming our mind… &nbsp;he talks about some of the qualities of that renewed mind </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Romans 12:9-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">These are qualities of mind and character that will make you a more effective priest. Let me put them in my own words:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Joyful</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– empathy gets your foot in the door but the goal is to move to that higher ground. You will need to stay focused on the positive outcome laying in store for who ever you are working with… energetic and diligent… showing them the goal is worth making the extra effort.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Humility</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– even in a millennial setting the people you are trying to help will respond better if you are not exalting yourself… having respect for them as thinking creative minds with amazing potential will go a long way… your personal submission to the authority of Christ… even thought you too are in a glorified state and have indestructible life will help show them the goodness of God’s way of peace.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Affection</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– you will be a more effective priest if you are easy to get along with… if people see you have a genuine affection and concern for them as individuals… that you want to share this life with them. The family of God is not cold and emotionless… rather it is filled with love and generosity toward one another. As a priest, intercessor, teacher you will guide them in that direction. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Obedient</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– know the law, do the law, be the law. Godly living and true worship will have to be maintained and enforced. You will have to be firm and committed fulfilling the commandments in love… to act justly and fairly towards all.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Mercy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– people in the millennial setting will stumble they will need to be set back on their feet. You must no be vengeful or rash… you must be patient yet firm… with all the power and glory Christ entrusts you with you must be forgiving and gentle.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">This is the mind a priest/king needs to be an effective helpmate to Christ… in the time of His earthly rule as king of kings and the high priest of the universe. You are training now to act as a king and priest alongside Christ… your trials, your suffering, your overcoming, your works of service according to God’s gifts have a great purpose.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">To the one who is faithful in these few small things God will grant authority over many things … come share in our lord and master’s happiness!</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><br /></span> <br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLaFDQijSwY">Training to Be a Priest Like Melchizedek</a><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/rHMruIVHXqw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Resurrections - From Here to Eternity
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tFsi2qSGGXI/Wk_1Jb_TzrI/AAAAAAAAAt8/-4yGEb78dWsXm-HYSp93vjg3aPUUA3C5QCLcBGAs/s1600/cristian-alvarez-355423.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1200" data-original-width="1600" height="240" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tFsi2qSGGXI/Wk_1Jb_TzrI/AAAAAAAAAt8/-4yGEb78dWsXm-HYSp93vjg3aPUUA3C5QCLcBGAs/s320/cristian-alvarez-355423.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Will science ever find a way to allow us to live forever? With all that humanity is able to accomplish the hope that we may one day eliminate death seems almost possible. Each year new breakthroughs and technologies are introduced in our search for ways to prolong life and perhaps even to live forever. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The dream of living forever is part of how we humans think. Our creator has put this notion of eternity into our minds. But He has not built into us the knowledge or power to make eternal life happen (<b>Ecclesiastes 3:11</b>). The eternity we long for can only come from God our Father who does have the knowledge and power to make eternal life happen.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The good news is God your Father very much wants you to have life everlasting. He wants you to go from here to eternity.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 6:23</b>Yes, eternal life is a gift God wants to give to you. All He asks is that you trust Him and work with Him through the process He has planned for you. It’s a process designed to get you from here… to eternity.<br /><a name='more'></a></div><h2 class="western">Getting from here to there</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When moving from one place to another place you often must go through a passage way to come out on the other side... like a door, or a hallway. And for a short period of time you are no longer in the place you started nor are you in the place you are headed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In the same way you can imagine God’s process for getting you from here to eternity. The here is your temporary life that lasts only a short while then ends… the destination is eternal life that never ends. To get to your destination you leave where you are and begin moving towards your destination.</div><h2 class="western">What is that passage way?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To get from your dead-end life to an eternal life you must enter into something else. You must pass through a life under the judgment and careful assessment of God. Judgment is a bit of a dirty word these days so it warrants a bit of explanation:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Discuss Krisis (evaluation)… and Krinos (v)/Krima (n) (decision or verdict) <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> use analogy of test driving a sports car</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Possible verdicts would be to condemn or find guilty (katakrino) or to acquit… to find not guilty (dikaioo) or justified.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There are two ways you can enter into this process… one is by invitation and it is happening now… the second is offered to everyone and occurs much later – in fact not until after Christ returns and reigns on earth for 1000 years. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The first and best way to get started is to receive and accept God’s invitation now. God calls and draws you to Him by the power of His Holy Spirit. You can accept His invitation through repentance and baptism. After baptism and the laying on of hands you will receive the power that makes eternal life possible… God’s Holy Spirit.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 Peter 4:12-17</b> the members of God’s household have entered into their time of judgment with the most holy God…. See also <b>1 Corinthians 11:32-33</b></div><h3 class="western">Living a life under judgment</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">With God’s empowering Holy Spirit and the knowledge from His word you will live out your days. God will watch you, evaluate you, test you, guide you and determine if you are willing to live by the principles of eternal life found in His word. If you demonstrate through your way of living that you can be trusted with eternal life and remain faithful to its principles… then you have an everlasting future. God will confirm the gift of eternal life He has begun in you through the life giving Holy Spirit.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Colossians 3:1-10</b>… verse 1 risen (baptism/physical resurrection)… appear in glory (resurrection to a glorious spiritual body)… read more about it in 1 Corinthians 15</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This first option will place you among the blessed and holy who share in the first resurrection to eternal life <b>Revelation 20:6.</b> It’s the better option and offers many positive rewards. So, if God is calling you now you should respond!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s Holy Festivals teach us about the steps in His plan of salvation for humanity and this day when Christ returns to resurrect the firstfruits and bring them into the fullness of their inheritance in the family of God is pictured by the Feast of Trumpets.</div><h2 class="western">What happens to everyone else? Can they go from here to eternity?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Clearly many people do not answer God’s invitation in this life and the vast majority of people do not even receive God’s invitation in the first place… He does not call them... He does not draw them to himself. But that does not mean God does not care about them or that He never gives them an opportunity to choose eternal life. For those who never hear and answer God’s call in this life there is still hope.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After the first resurrection a second option remains. It occurs much later than the first resurrection… You can read about it in <b>Revelation 20:5, 11-12</b>. </div><h2 class="western">Everyone must appear before the judgment seat of God</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Like option one option two is an entry into a period of judgment and assessment before God. All people who have ever lived will be resurrected to physical life and appear before God to begin their time of judgment and assessment. We do not know how long this resurrection to physical life lasts but it must last at least long enough for God to make a fair and just assessment.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>John 5:28-29</b>Jesus also speaks of more than one resurrection. Note: you have already been raised to a physical life lived under judgment… that occurred when you were baptized.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The translation “condemnation” is a poor choice that reflects the theological biases of the translators. The underlying word here is Krisis (the trial or evaluation part of judgment)… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">During this process knowledge from God’s word will be opened up to all these people (<b>Isaiah 11:9</b>) plus they will have access to His Holy Spirit to provide understanding (<b>Ezekiel 37:13-14</b>). God will watch over them with His loving eye evaluating, testing and judging each person. He will determine if they are willing to live according to the principles of eternity and have their name written into the book of life.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If you have lost a loved one, a parent, or perhaps a child and wondered what will become of them this true teaching from the bible should give your heart comfort. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s Holy Festivals teach us about the steps in His plan of salvation for humanity and this wonderful final step in God’s plan for humanity is no exception. It is pictured in the final Holyday of the biblical calendar called simply “the eighth day”.</div><h2 class="western">Will everyone achieve eternal life? Do we all go from here to eternity?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s desire is that every person be saved and that all will choose to live the way of life that is required for eternal happiness… but there is also a plan for those who ultimately reject God after they have been given every opportunity to succeed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Those who reject eternal life will cease to live and they will be no more. There will be no more thoughts, no anguish or sorrow… just nothing (<b>Revelation 20:15</b>). All trace of them will be permanently erased. This is the not so happy part of the eighth day… but if you meditate upon it… a great relief.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But more importantly…</div><h2 class="western">Your journey to eternity can begin today</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God your Father wants you to have life everlasting and the good news is He also wants very much for you to have a part in that <u>first</u> and <u>better</u>resurrection. That resurrection pictured during the Feast of Trumpets.</div>Find out more about how you can get started on your journey from here to eternity… today.<br /><br /><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody><tr height="19"><td class="et2" height="19" style="background: rgb(0, 176, 240); font-size: 10pt; height: 14.25pt; vertical-align: bottom; width: 42.75pt;" width="57" x:str="">Read&nbsp;this&nbsp;message&nbsp;at&nbsp;our&nbsp;blog&nbsp;📘&nbsp;&lt;br&gt;&lt;a&nbsp;href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-resurrections-from-here-to-eternity.html"&gt;The First Resurrection - From&nbsp;Here&nbsp;to&nbsp;Eternity&lt;/a&gt;</td></tr></tbody></table><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col style="width: 43.25pf;" width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody> </tbody></table></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/yl9esBP6pps" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Went To the Feast of Tabernacles
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2>First lets lay some groundwork...</h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 3:15</b> – what does this mean? To believe in Him?</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"></div><ol><li>·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Believe in the historic existence of Jesus Christ</span></li><li>·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Believe that Jesus Christ was who He said he was (son of God)</span></li><li>·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Believe that He died for your sin. And because He was who He said he was His death can pay the death penalty for every human who has ever/will ever live.</span></li></ol><!--[if !supportLists]--><br /><div class="MsoNormal">Many stop there… with a message about the person of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, teaching that is all you need to know and believe. A good beginning but grossly insufficient.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John3:10-12</b> To believe in Christ also means to believe the words He taught, about how salvation is achieved, prophecies of what is to come, and His instructions on how to live… all of which relate in one way or another to the good news of the Kingdom of God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">People talk a lot about Jesus… <u>but</u> the commission of the Church is to carry on His work… to carry on putting the message of the Kingdom of God out there… to witness, instruct, encourage. Therefore we should know what Jesus <u>taught</u> and what Jesus <u>did</u>.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Matt 28:19-20</b> we have Jesus words (commands) and we also have His example to pattern our lives after. “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done”… “ Christ suffered for us leaving us an example that you should follow” ... “follow me as I follow Christ”. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>Jesus went to the Feast of Tabernacles </h3><div class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RWZd_UP7maw/W5v5uGts7BI/AAAAAAAAA-U/JgX01wtiomUYa6EZAc8JJs4t3Hh1f-ZSQCLcBGAs/s1600/amanda-sandlin-10508.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RWZd_UP7maw/W5v5uGts7BI/AAAAAAAAA-U/JgX01wtiomUYa6EZAc8JJs4t3Hh1f-ZSQCLcBGAs/s320/amanda-sandlin-10508.jpg" width="320" /></a><b>John 7:1-10</b> He had every reason to stay home, avoid trouble etc. but clearly He went in spite of this. It was His top priority to follow the commands of God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Going to the Feast of Tabernacles each year looks crazy in the eyes of the world. It may cause you trouble, it may be a time of testing an trial (job, school, marriage)… but if you look to Jesus’ example you will go anyway. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>FOT Instituted For All People at All Times</h3><div class="MsoNormal">God put the Feast of Tabernacles in place as a lesson, a marker, a reminder meant for all people (all nations, races, genders, not just Jews) and meant for all times (past, present, future).</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b>Genesis 18:18-19</b> these things given to Abraham and descendants were intended for ALL</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b>Galatians 3:29</b> at this time and in this age that means YOU</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Jesus … the mediator of the new covenant… set the example that you should follow. So, it is important for you to know… <b>He kept the Feast of Tabernacles</b>!</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">When Jesus rules as King of kings (millennium) He will instruct people to observe the FOT. <b>Zecharaiah 14:16-22</b> Why? Same reason we have today… as a lesson, a marker and reminder of what stage they are at in the plan of God. It is also meant to be a special time of teaching… because flesh and blood does not know the way to live… the way of peace. They have to be taught. And teaching requires discipline.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Isaiah 2:2-4</b> at that time all will <u>learn</u> His way… just as we are to be learning His way now. The FOT is very much about the learning of God’s way… prophetically and presently.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>Back to Jesus at the FOT…</h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:12-13</b> Consider the reaction to Jesus’ teaching and example. It was a mixed bag. Some people even called Him a deceiver… that He was leading the poor simple folk astray.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">If people said this about Jesus… and about the doctrine He taught… does it seem strange that people in our own day would say the same about us… and the things we teach. Such as teaching people to believe and obey God’s instruction to observe these annual Sabbaths, holy days, feasts… To many think we too are leading people astray… back into bondage etc.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Folks don’t want to hear what’s plain in the scriptures. They prefer their own ideas to the revealed instructions of God. <b>John 3:16-19</b>… why not read your own bible and find out just who is deceiving who?</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>Jesus Taught At the FOT</h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:14-15</b>people marveled… why? Because He was not a scholar. He didn’t have a lot of letters after His name. In our day we’d say He doesn’t have a doctorate in theology, He hasn’t studied 4 years in a university and gotten the right credentials… &nbsp;Stick around long enough and you’ll hear this sort of charge leveled at the ministry of the Church of God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Peter/John&nbsp; just regular guys ran small businesses etc.</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Note: Paul &amp; Apollos were learned men (apostles to the Gentiles) But as Paul said of himself… he did not learn the truth of God from other men. What he had he learned directly from Christ. All the stuff he had gained from his previous life he counted as dung.</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">The scholars of our time are going to teach you that there is no need to keep the FOT.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:16-18</b>Jesus told everyone that His teaching was not of himself but from the one who sent him. The fact that the message was not His own didn’t matter because He was in complete 100% agreement with it. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Part of putting off all the glory that He had previously shared with the Father… living in the flesh like you and me… meant that Jesus was limited… He was indeed human (and not just God inside a human body) so he had to take in what He knew of the world through His senses… eyes, ears, taste &amp; touch.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">What made Him the perfect human was that His spirit was completely in sync with, lead by, powered by… the spirit of God working within Him.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">His teaching was not something He cooked up from His own flesh and blood powers of observation, deduction, induction, or rationalization. Now, these are all powerful tools to understand our world.&nbsp; To explain and manipulate the gases, minerals and solids which make up our universe… to unleash the power ofneurons, electrons, electricity and so forth… to understand animals and plants and work with them.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">But regarding spiritual matters those human faculties are not very useful for gaining knowledge. Take for example: <b>the way of peace</b>. Human beings don’t know it, don’t have it, and cannot figure it out. Because it’s a spiritual matter and the answer also is spiritual. And that spiritual answer comes to us from God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>How do you learn this spiritual type stuff? </h3><div class="MsoNormal">By hearing God’s will and doing it.</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b>Psalm 111:7-10</b>&nbsp; 1) All commands/precepts (not just some)</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2) For all ages (FOT not just for the past and the future…. But for today)</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 3) Doing His will/commandments leads to understanding</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Like Jesus I am not here to preach my own opinions. On my own I don’t know very much. I might be good at coming up with a turn of phrase or such… but whatever wisdom there is in what I say is not my own. I have received the truth from the Church of God, I have checked it out by reading the scriptures, but I really began learning it by doing it. John7:17 said “To Do His Will”.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">A prime example of learning by doing is the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. I was told about it, I checked it out, I read the testimony of Jesus’ own example, and I started doing it. In the process of doing it… I began to learning about that elusive way of peace… and so can you.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 15:9-10</b> as He has received from the Father He has passed on to us and our commission is to pass it on to others.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Titus 1:16</b> There are people out there who teach you that you should not keep the Father’s commandments including His instructions to keep the feast of Tabernacles. They are and will remain clueless about vast chunks of God plan of salvation.</div><div class="MsoNormal">And so the world does not have peace… nor will it have peace. Because it either does not know God’s will, or knows about the instructions and the example of Jesus Christ but refuses to obey. But doing the will of God is the only way you have any kind of a shot at learning the way of peace we all desperately need to know.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:25-30, </b><b>John 7:37-38</b> While teaching at the FOT Jesus refers to a prophecy in <b>Isaiah 55 </b>which is about establishing universal and permanent peace through the word of God and the teaching of God’s ways to everyone. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">All people must learn this vital information from God about peace and how to live the way that leads to peace, and prosperity, and joy and much more. YOU can start learning it now!</div><div class="MsoNormal">Jesus Christ walked in God’s way as an example for us. Including keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. He did this as one example of how to do the will of God, to walk with God and thereby learn His ways. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Deuteronomy 31:9-13<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNormal">The FOT pictures a coming time of peace… when all people will learn the way to live, the way of peace. But for us today it is also a time to begin learning that way to live, that way of peace NOW!</div><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/bkUcnuzIadc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DgsNQZWMoXE/Wzkal82DVoI/AAAAAAAAA7E/UEpjJLbs9lcdfsSvFcqSMDZ1ojpz099IwCLcBGAs/s1600/rawpixel-com-472352-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DgsNQZWMoXE/Wzkal82DVoI/AAAAAAAAA7E/UEpjJLbs9lcdfsSvFcqSMDZ1ojpz099IwCLcBGAs/s320/rawpixel-com-472352-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Our Creator can, and does, heal. But not always. Many times God deliberately chooses not to heal.<br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Why would God ever choose not to heal a person? </b>Isn’t health and wholeness in this life what He wants for us? </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Does He withhold healing because we have unrepented of sin? </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Or is it because we lack faith? </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Or is it because we have simply not asked?</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Any of these factors can, and often do, lead to a situation where healing is withheld. But what about situations where none of these are a factor? Consider Paul’s prayers for his own healing<b> 2 Corinthians 12:7-10</b>. God’s reasons for answering “no” were not because of sin in Paul’s life or some lack of faith. God said “no” because He had something much bigger and much better in mind for Paul that could only be achieved through perseverance in suffering.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For believers, that bigger and better goal God has in mind is to be transformed into a new type of person who thinks and acts like Jesus himself <b>Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:12-15</b>. That transformation is what makes us fit to receive God’s gift of eternal life. If we were to received that gift of eternal life without having first undergone this transformation in the way we think and act… eternity could end up being a very unhappy place.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s purpose was that Paul be moved forward towards this goal through physical suffering. Even in this physical suffering Paul was following the example set down before by Jesus Himself <b>Hebrews 2:10</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><i>Note: the word translated perfect is teleos, it means complete or a finished product. In common English usage perfect is used to mean without flaw, defect or deficiency. Jesus did not have any flaw or deficiency… He was without sin, He was not lacking in faith… yet He was made perfect… meaning He became everything God intended and willed for Him to be… a king, a priest, the firstborn of many brothers… this is the perfection God want</i><i>s</i><i> you to achieve… which will only be complete when you are resurrected.</i></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As with Paul’s life, our present lives with all their trials and suffering should be viewed as a training ground. Preparing us for a future that is bigger and brighter than anything we might enjoy in our present physical lives. </div><h3 class="western">Why then does God choose to heal some people?</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We cannot possible know all the reasons why God chooses to heal or not to heal. However, two broad categories shine forth in the scriptures: </div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God heals because He is compassionate. He desires to act with kindness and gentleness towards all human beings. In the greater world around us human disobedience, indifference, and disbelief often disrupt the flow of His compassion.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God heals to demonstrate His power to perform works in this world <b>John 9:2-3</b>. He often heals for the purpose of building and strengthening newly budding belief in Himself either in the person being healed or ones looking on.</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">By contrast Paul’s strong faith was tested and strengthened when he was required to persevere through the trial of <i>not</i> being healed. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Only God, who knows the heart, can properly assess a person’s life. Only God can know whether to heal, or not heal will best move the person forward to His goal of building the mind of Christ in them. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The just must live by this faith.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.08in; margin-top: 0.17in; page-break-after: avoid;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>4 Reasons People Get Sick/Injured/Damaged</b></span></span></div><h3 class="western"> 1. Punishment for sin</h3><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 11:27-34</b> (personal)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers</b><b> 12:1-15</b> Miriam opposes Moses and is punished with leprosy, Moses pleads that she be healed, God heals her after 7 days (social)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Samuel 24:10-16</b> David disobeys God’s instruction not to perform a census. The nation of Israel is stricken by plague for 3 days (personal and social)</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In these cases confessing your sin, repenting and changing your ways, and a plea for God’s mercy would be the best course of action. Please make not that in each of these cases the root issue was PRIDE.</div><h3 class="western">2. Bad Decisions</h3>A bad decision might be to disobey God’s law [for example a fornicator who contracts some form of STD], but it doesn’t have to be. It could simply be a mistake, or based on faulty or lacking information. For example: <br /><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person decides to take a job in a coal mine, gets lung cancer. Not knowing any better a person follows a poor diet and gets sick. A football player plays hard and gets a concussion In each case the decision was not a matter of sin but the person is still reaping the consequences of the decision they made.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person lives in a community where misguided civil engineering leads to water contamination and they get sick. Someone involved in city planning might have made their decision as a result of sin [such as greed], or they might just not have known any better. Either way, the person who gets sick is not at fault… but they are still sick.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In these cases personal sin is not the root of the problem. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person might do a lot of soul searching thinking their sickness or injury is punishment for sin in other areas of their life. It might be, but it doesn’t have to be. If so, then confessing and repenting of sin… while god for the soul… may have nothing to do with the affliction. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Seeking God’s merciful intervention and healing makes sense. But, I think He would also expect you to change your behavior [diet], or circumstances [where you choose to live, whether to continue playing football].</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Which leads us to...</div><h3 class="western">3. Time &amp; Chance</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 9:1-</b><b>3</b> the disciples were part of a society that saw every sickness and affliction as part of a grand scheme of sin <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> punishment <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> repentance <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> healing. Jesus clearly told them “nope, sometimes stuff just happens”… see also<b> Luke 13:</b><b>1-</b><b>4</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Personal Observation:</b> God has purposefully designed the universe with little random events [quantum level anomalies] that create physical reality that is less 100% predictable. Stuff happens.</div><h3 class="western">4. Affliction &amp; Testing</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We have already mentioned Paul’s affliction, another example is Job.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Job was afflicted with terrible loss and sickness for no other reason than to see what he would do. I do not consider this to be some sort of amusing game God was playing with this righteous man. The affliction served a purpose and left Job a better, wiser, more faith-filled man than before!</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You could say Job was transformed in his way of thinking to better reflect the mind of Christ… and in this way he was “perfected” or completed through suffering.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Notice again that the target is matters of the heart and mind… and the resulting attitude is humility </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Job 42:1-6</b></div><h3 class="western">How Does Sickness Transform A Person?</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense for God to give me a nice long life so I can do lots of bible study, learn and grown in knowledge. Wouldn’t a longer life give me more time to put on the mind of Christ?</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>2 Corinthians 12:7</b></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"> </span></span><span style="color: black;"><u><span style="font-weight: normal;">humility</span></u></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">… it was God’s power not Paul’s intellect or personal righteousness that forever changed the world. God doesn’t need you, He wants you. </span></span> </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 5:8 </b><u>obedience/submission/trust </u>even if he does not deliver you. Think of <b>Daniel 3:16-18 </b>where <span style="color: black;"><span style="font-style: normal;">Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar:</span></span><span style="color: black;"><i> “we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”</i></span><span style="color: black;">.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>1 Peter 4:19</b></span><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: black;"><u>perseverance,</u></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="text-decoration: none;"> </span></span><span style="color: black;"><b>James 1:2-4</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>Psalm 119:67 </b></span><span style="color: black;">to learn to avoid sin… affirms that choices have consequences</span></div><h3 class="western">Conclusion:</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>1 Peter 1:6-7</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> <br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/t6eI-PMsZX4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Humble Yourself Today: Day of Atonement
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N8Fsr1pjvDc/WUQUO5ZcqoI/AAAAAAAAAf4/bWpJ3KNeBSUdCBo8eKcTNk0OyNXngnyCgCLcBGAs/s1600/anger.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="270" data-original-width="480" height="180" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N8Fsr1pjvDc/WUQUO5ZcqoI/AAAAAAAAAf4/bWpJ3KNeBSUdCBo8eKcTNk0OyNXngnyCgCLcBGAs/s320/anger.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">At Christ’s return the people of the earth will not be humble and willing to learn... they will be be angry and defiant. That needs to change If He is to create a joy filled world ruled in peace. But it won't change while the driving force behind their way of thinking is still functioning. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The governments, societies, religions, economies, sports of earth are still under the authority of Satan until he is removed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ's return begins a transfer of power and authority. Satan is the god or spiritual force over this world… he has this only at the pleasure of God, and only for an allotted time. When it ends God has decreed that all power and authority be given to the son of man… Jesus Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This transfer of power is not the result of a long struggle between competing powers [God vs. Satan]. This transfer of power is a scheduled event. That matter has already been decided by God. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>[example of new pres – elected November 2… but president Obama will still be in office until it is officially turned over January 20th]</i></div><h2 class="western">A Change of Leadership</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The 7 annual holy days reveal how this change of leadership comes to pass. </div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The spring Holy days outline the 1<sup>st</sup> harvest. Over a long period of time before Christ's return a preliminary group is called, prepared, and trained to join Him. to work together with Him as He rules the nations of the earth. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The fall Holy days outline God’s plan for bringing salvation to all humanity… even those who long ago lived and died in darkness.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The 5<sup>th</sup> annual Holy Day prophesies the deposing of Satan. The next necessary step after the events of Trumpets [the 4<sup>th</sup> Holy day].</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">Jesus Christ [the new ruler] has demonstrated His worthiness to rule. </h2><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He submitted and obeyed the Father</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He lived perfect humility</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His sacrificial death was the supreme representation of these qualities</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ's rule will reflect this character. The violence, corruption, and competition we see now… will be replaced with the way of peace and cooperation.</div><h2 class="western">Christ will not rule alone</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ’s government will extend over all the nations and peoples of the earth. He will also have some who rule with Him and assist. Most people would assume this would be angels… <i>but it is not to angels that God has subjected the world to come</i>. Christ will be assisted by the spirit born children of God… those who are called, committed, trained to take up positions of leadership under Him. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">That life training mirrors Christ’s life… submit yourself to God, obey Him, and practice humility <b>Mark 10:42-45</b>.</div><h2 class="western">Everyone Must Learn Humility At Some Point</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our world is filled with pomp, pride, and self importance… because they are deceived [They don’t know it and won’t admit it but they are anyway]… they are spiritually drunk with false religious teachings…. they will not obey and are cut off from God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Satan the one who blinds the minds of humanity must be (and will be) removed [hurled into the bottomless pit and locked up] before the world can even begin to change. But you are not deceived… instead you are called by Him to develop the mind of Christ <b>Philippians 2:3-8, Colossians 3:12-13</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">All humanity will be humbled either willingly or unwillingly. Without that change of thinking they will never be able to have a positive relationship with God. <span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Proverbs 16:5, </b></span></span><b>James 4:4-10</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The GOOD NEWS is that you CAN begin to humble yourself before God NOW! Instead of waiting for that future time when He will make it happen –<b> 1 Peter 5:5-7, Luke 14:7-11</b></div><h2 class="western">Why Fast on The Day of Atonement?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting on the Day of Atonement is a vivid reminder of the state of mind you need to have if you are to rule with Christ at that pivotal time in human history. The mind of one called to serve with Christ must be like His:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One of humility</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Godly sorrow</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hunger and thirst for righteousness</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">Other Atonement Instructions</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Lev 23:28-32 </b>The Day of Atonement has an extensive listing of instructions for observance. Some of these we carry forward into the NC and some we do not.</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Sacred assembly [no work] – still practiced</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting – still practiced</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Leviticus 16 provides the functions of the High Priest who make sacrifices and cleanses the tabernacle. These elements of the DOA are obsolete and have been replaced by the sacrifice and high priesthood of Jesus Christ.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The goat in the wilderness – not practiced, we have no earthly High Priest to perform this</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Today the Church of God practices only the two ordinances that were not limited to the priesthood… ALL gathered for the assembly… ALL fasted. These two practices have not been replaced through the work of Christ and the changes to the law that were enacted as a result of the new covenant <b>Acts 27:9</b>. Note: we do extensively discuss the cleansing of the temple and the goat which is cast out because they are prophecies of events yet to come.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Leviticus 23:32</b> To afflict yourself through fasting means to deny yourself food and water… for a 1 day period from sunset to sunset. This year the fast begins at sunset 10/11/16 at sunset and ends Wednesday 10/12/16 at sunset. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Exceptions [those who don't fast]:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Babies do not fast… so don’t force them too</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Nursing mothers may be able to fast but may very likely need to keep up their strength</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Children are not expected to fast (although they often want to join you and every one else in this way). Parents might want to start teaching children about fasting with a shorter duration like a half day to start and work them up as they get older</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">People who need to take medication</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Diabetics (may be able to fast for a shorter duration but should carefully monitor themselves and not do anything to endanger their health)</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting is a spiritual exercise for developing humility… the mindset of a Godly leader… the mindset that will replace the proud, vain, greedy, arrogant way of the previous administration [Satan et al]. Your practice of fasting is not limited to the day of Atonement only. It is an important part of our spiritual growth. Most examples of fasting in scripture are not related to the Day of Atonement.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Resisting Satan</div><div align="left" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 John 2:16</b> Satan accomplishes his work in humans through the desires of the flesh… our desires for self preservation and pleasure. When fasting you deny yourself the basics necessities of food and water… you are denying your flesh what it desires. Fasting is both:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">a symbolic act of removing his influence from our lives</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">a real exercise in exerting control over our desires and appetites</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ezra 8:21</b>fasting helps develop a way of thinking… an attitude of humility which must replace the attitude of pride... just as Christ's rule must replace Satan's. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 5:5-6</b>the earth and the future will not given over to the proud, arrogant, or oppressors. The earth, the world of tomorrow will be given to those who are meek and humble...who's hunger and thirst is not for food and drink but for righteousness.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">With the backdrop to the fall HOly days in mind lets end with </div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Zephaniah 3:6-13</b> During Christ’s rule all people will be taught the way of humility, cooperation, and peace. I expect the same goal will apply to those who arise in the general resurrection. It makes sense… God is not going to offer eternal life to those what are proud.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/Qw1mI2TaUr8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Prophecy Is For All Nations And Peoples
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The prophetic portions of God’s word give the nation of Israel a lot of attention. Is He playing favorites? Is He ignoring all the other nations and people on earth?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">3,500 years back people believed gods were local. Such gods had jurisdiction only over a particular territory or a particular race. When you went to a different place you had better make an effort to appease the god of that section of country to gain their favor. A mindset that even Israel struggled with.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2qtIj4UjKEg/Wclt-lBaLhI/AAAAAAAAAjg/1lgXaPorZ549AkJ2yHQFa93uvpqj4XqyQCLcBGAs/s1600/liam-desic-1180.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2qtIj4UjKEg/Wclt-lBaLhI/AAAAAAAAAjg/1lgXaPorZ549AkJ2yHQFa93uvpqj4XqyQCLcBGAs/s320/liam-desic-1180.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the God of scripture) is the Creator/Ruler/Father of ALL nations… not just Israel. He is the God of all the earth, not just a patch of land in the middle east. The prophecies He has caused to be recorded affect all nations and peoples of the earth.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b></b><br /><a name='more'></a><b>Genesis 12:3</b> Israel’s mission was to be a blessing to ALL the nations of the earth.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Exodus 22:21 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 10:17-19</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 27:19 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ezekiel 47:22</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">These scriptures give us the mind of God on the matter. He loves those of other nations and wants the people He has chosen to think and act the same way. God judges each person by how they respond to His instructions. Some have received a lot and some have received very little.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 9:4</b> Israel received a lot. In return God expects a lot from them. The same equation is at work in the church, the spiritual nation, the Israel of God. “<i>to whom much is given, much is expected in return</i>”. Therefor this principel is at work for you and me also.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In the days of the Old Covenant God used Israel as a sort of middle-man. He delivered His word directly to them… they were to take it to the rest of the world, living it, speaking of it in their streets and homes. The same equation is at work in the church, the spiritual nation, the Israel of God… to speak, to teach, and to reach.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">It may be that Israel’s shortcomings kept their neighbors from seeing the light of God’s commands. It may be that the shortcomings of the church keep others from seeing the light of God’s truth. [woe unto us if that be the case].</div><h2 class="western">Israel is First in Line</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The physical descendants of Abraham may have been the first to received the good things of God. They are also first in line to receive His discipline and punishment. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 21:20-24</b> when the Day of The Lord comes Christ will deal out punishment and discipline to all the nations of the earth… Israel is also to be punished and disciplined. But their punishment and discipline comes even before the Christ’s return.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Before Christ’s return there is a time of great tribulation. God will punish Israel for their rebellion and rejection by allowing the nations to have their way with Israel. The results won’t be pretty. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God completely removes all protection from Israel, they are viciously attacked by al the other nations with Satan goading them on. The descendants of Abraham are killed in huge number and the rest are taken as slaves. It is “the time of Jacob’s trouble’<b>Jeremiah 30:6-10</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: Jesus uses same terminology [pain of childbirth, no time like it in history] in His long prophecy in Matthew 24: 6-8 [painof childbirth], 21 [no time like it]. Very likely one of the prophetic writings He was referring to was the time of Jacob’s trouble.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">So… the time of Jacob’s trouble comes right before the return of Christ when He will forcefully discipline all nations, all cultures, and people… but the process of punishment will have already begun with Israel.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God starts with Israel: He revealed Himself first to Israel, Israel is punished and disciplined first, and Israel is the first nation and people to be restored when the Kingdom of God and the 1,000 year rule of Christ begin.</div><h2 class="western"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="__DdeLink__6949_2070021982"></a>God Does Not Forget Rest of Humanity</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 66:18-23</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 10:34-35 </b>The church began with a remnant of believers drawn out of Israel, Peter, John, the 120 disciples, the 5,000 baptized on Pentecost, Paul… and on that base God is drawing to Himself people from all nations. The situation in this verse is referring specifically to the church. But is also a template for how Christ will operate during the 1,000 year rule.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Peter 3:9 </b>God wants all people to come to Him. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 56:1-8 </b>God wants all people to come to the way of life He made known to Israel all those centuries and millenia ago. The way that He has made known to you through His word and the active power of the Holy Spirit in you.</div><h2 class="western">God Works With People Based On How They Respond </h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To the eunuch or the nations who choose what is pleaing to Him… good stuff.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>An example: </b>God sent Jonah to Ninevah with a warning to repent or die. They repented and God changed His intention based on how they responded.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>A not-so-good example: Nebuchadnazzer </b>Have you ever asked yourself “why did God give Nebuchadnezzar the king of wicked Babylon dreams of the future?”. People like Daniel, solomon, Isaiah make sense but why Nebuchnazzer? He was bad.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">After Judah was finally destroyed for their rebellion against God. There was no longer any model nation on the planet. Meanwhile, Babylon was a huge player on the international scene... Influential, powerful, with a sophisticated culture. Was God offering Babylon, through Nebuchadnezzar, the opportunity to be a nation God could perform a work through?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 4:19-26</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 4:27</b> was God saying through Daniel “repent and be great Nebuchadnezzar!”. What then was Nebuchadnezzar’s response?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 4:28-30</b> “I don’t need God. I’m already great!” </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Compare Nebuchadnezzar’s response to Abraham, who heard Gods voice and obeyed, or even the people of Israel who heard the commandments from God at Sinai. When God asked “will you live by these rules?”… the people of Israel responded “yes, we want to go for it”. Israel may have failed in the end… but at least they would try.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God works with people based on how they respond... What is your response to God?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance and vainty was a bad response. So lhe was was struck down for 7 years as promised. Afterwards, he was willing to acknowledge God’s awesome power, His authority over earth. But, as far as we can tell he never changed his ways like Daniel advised.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God has shown and human history has shown: Leaders, people’s, and nations [Israel and all the rest] are unable to consistently follow and obey <b>Romans 3:9-12</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This will remain the situation until Jesus Christ returns to bring the rule of God to earth and the power of the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the nations.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>Only then will all nations, peoples and cultures be convinced of what is right, and be committed to <u>doing</u> what is right. Only then will righteousness, justice, mercy, love, peace, and the joy of eternal life sweep over the face of the earth. </div><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Beginning with Israel… but extending to everyone who is willing to say YES to God and to Jesus Christ.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/U6dQTV-nocM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Why Fast on the Day of Atonement?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gi_0d1Wzo7U/W463R6d42UI/AAAAAAAAA-I/CYnlUeNUSQo4DNt7uWJpd-jFDBdf1gxvACLcBGAs/s1600/tan-erica-438857-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1334" data-original-width="1600" height="266" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gi_0d1Wzo7U/W463R6d42UI/AAAAAAAAA-I/CYnlUeNUSQo4DNt7uWJpd-jFDBdf1gxvACLcBGAs/s320/tan-erica-438857-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2 class="western">Fasting on the Day of Atonement</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Lev 23:26-32</b>/ <b>Lev 16:29-31</b> commanded to <i>afflict yourself</i> on the Day of Atonement</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Afflict ~ Anah occurs about 80 times in OT is most often translated “humble or affliction”. Used to describe harsh and painful treatment… Egypt afflicting Israel for 400 years… for Sarai dealing harshly with Hagar… to take a woman sexually by force… Frequently the verb expresses the idea that God sends affliction for disciplinary purposes: "... the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart..." (Deut. 8:2)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">And in the Day of Atonement observance to <i>afflict oneself</i> is <u>understood</u>to mean to fast, to deny oneself food and water for the entire day. But how do we <u>know</u> that is what Anah means with regards to the Day of Atonement? Couldn’t it be referring to some strange sort of self inflicted penance?</div><h3 class="western">We get the answer from scripture:</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There is no word for fasting in the first 8 books of the bible. But as the Hebrew language continued to develop and expand the started to use a separate word for what we know of as <i>fasting</i> (possibly to avoid confusion). That word is <i>tsome</i> (meaning to cover the mouth ie. not let food in). Tsome is always translated fast, fasted, fasting etc. </div><h3 class="western">So, how do we prove that to afflict yourself means to fast?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There are three places in scripture that use the ancient term “anah / affliction” in association with the newer word “tsome / fasting”… <b>Ezra 8:21, Psalm 35:13, Isaiah 58:3,5</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One last point… How do we know that means no food or water? <b>Esther 4:16</b></div><h3 class="western">What are the spiritual implications of fasting on the Day of Atonement?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Grief:</b> Not wanting to eat is a natural response/symptom of grief/loss… it’s a form of mourning/sorrow (use example of Liz Porter). In a religious setting fasting is a conscious act meant to demonstrate or bring forth a sense of grief… especially over sin.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Self Discipline:</b> Fasting is also an expression of spiritual self discipline… exercise in mastery over the flesh (this is how a Buddhist would understand fasting)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Humility:</b>While the newer word <i>tsome / fasting</i> is more descriptive of what is actually done… the ancient word anah is better at drawing our attention to the state of mind the activity is meant to induce. When we afflict ourselves on the Day of Atonement we humble ourselves before God.</div><h3 class="western">Why Fast on the Day of Atonement Rather Than Any Other Holy Day?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Don’t we always want to present ourselves as humble before God? Why then is fasting only commanded on the Day of Atonement rather than another of the Holy days?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>First, some back-story:</b> In the grand scheme of God’s plan of salvation the Day of Atonement comes after the return of Christ as king of kings… and before the 1,000 years of Christ’s rule on earth. Atonement marks the occasion of Satan’s future removal from his current position of “God of this world”.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To prepare for the 1,000 year rule of Christ, Satan will be completely removed from the scene. He will be bound in a manner that stops him from influencing humanity for the entire 1,000 year period. Without Satan’s influence Christ’s government will be a demonstration of God’s way in action before the final stage in God’s plan (the 8<sup>th</sup>day).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, why fast on Atonement?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The spiritual qualities of fasting… humility, grief over sin, and self discipline are key elements to God’s instructions for putting Satan out of our personal lives. And perhaps while we look ahead to Satan’s real removal on that day we should also be thinking of the need to remove him from our lives today in preparation for our future role in the rule of Christ.</div><h3 class="western">God’s Instructions For Driving Satan Away</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Satan is more powerful than you and standing up to him can seem impossible… but Jesus Christ is stronger by far… and if He is with you and in you there is nothing to fear. However we must also do our part in driving Satan out. (use NIV from here on)</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 4:1-3a</b> Jesus personal example for resisting Satan was to begin with fasting. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>James 4:6-10</b> Humble yourself… weep and mourn over sin (Godly sorrow leading to purity)</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 Peter 5:5-10</b> humble yourself… sober, vigilant, steadfast in the faith (self disciplined)</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Humility… grief over sin… self discipline</div><h3 class="western">What Does Humility Do To Drive Satan Away?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To humble yourself before God is to see yourself as lowly in comparison to Him and to submit yourself to Him. I admit that I am nothing with God… I do not have life within myself… I do not have power on my own… I do not have knowledge on my own. What life I have is given to me by Him and sustained by Him… what power I have comes from Him… what knowledge I have comes from Him. </div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">I submit myself to Him even through suffering… I know He is in control wanting only what is good for me</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">I submit myself to Him to be my guide and teacher in life… I know He is truthful</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">I submit myself to His judgments… I know He is just and merciful</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Psalm 25:8-9 / Dan 10:12</b></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">This is the opposite of Satan’s grand delusion “I will be like the Most High”</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">This is the opposite of Humanity’s delusion “you will be like God knowing good and evil”</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Isaiah 57:15</b>To humble myself is also an invitation to God to dwell with me and within me</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 12:22-29</b>Satan driven out by a power greater than his own… God’s Holy Spirit moves is Satan moves out!</div><h3 class="western">How Does Fasting Humble Me?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting quickly makes us realize how totally dependent we are upon God your creator. He has stocked the earth with fresh water, plants, fruits and selected meats for you to eat. But without that food + water He has provided our flesh will die.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting therefore reminds us that our present life here on earth is limited… it is physical and temporary. Our real goal is life eternal spirit life. But without the power of His Spirit and His word we die spiritually.</div><h3 class="western">How Does Self Discipline Drive Out Satan?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In James 4:8 we read: </div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">clean your <u>hands</u> from sin… change the way you act using God’s law as your guide</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">purify your <u>thoughts</u> from double mindedness… (di-suchos) meaning wavering between two spirits… the spirit that is now at work in the children of disobedience… and the spirit of God that is now at work within you. </div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 12:42-43</b>we clean our house to make room for God to dwell there… if we don’t let Him fill us up… if we stay empty... then all the bad stuff we got rid of will come back.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fill yourself with the word of God… fill yourself with the spirit of God… leave no room for Satan.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 6:11-17</b> truth / righteousness / gospel / faith / salvation / spirit … to put on the armor of God is to fill you mind with these thoughts… and fill your days with these actions.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The self discipline that drives out Satan is a combination of commitment to and practice of moral behavior as defined by God’s law’s statutes and judgments. It is also a commitment to and an understanding of doctrinal truth… understanding the big picture… the truth… the plan of salvation… the good news of the KOG.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Self discipline that drives out Satan is a combination of head knowledge… to know and know that you know… and hand knowledge… to know and to do.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>I Cor 9:24 -10:7</b></div><h3 class="western">How Does Fasting Teach Discipline?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Going without food and water goes against our most basic instincts… the self preservation of the flesh. Your mind might say… I’m going to go without food or water for an entire day… your flesh cries out saying WHY? Why do you want to do this to me?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Successfully fasting shows you that you <u>can</u> exercise control over your desires, wants and passions. Mastering your appetite for basic sustenance gives you greater confidence that you can move forward in controlling those passions and desires that lead you into sin.</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Consider:</b> The first sin was one of desire</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">… a lust for something to eat “it was good for food”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">… an appeal to vanity and pride “desirable to make one wise”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We must be in control of the desires of our flesh and of our mind.</div><h3 class="western">What about Fasting as an act of grief and mourning?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A person does not decide to cast off pride and vanity unless they are convinced that a change in their thinking needs to happen… they are grieved over their foolish vanity.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A person does not begin the difficult course of self discipline that seeks to control the desires which lead to sin… unless that are convinced that a change needs to happen. Unless they are grieved over their sin.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>2 Corinthians 7:6-11</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Lev 16:29-30</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This day of atonement let’s fast to remind ourselves of God’s instructions for driving Satan out… humility… Godly sorrow over sin… and self discipline.</div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/Gs_aEfxcQtA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Be Reconciled To One Another
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Sph1NZIWYZw/WKoIzj_es8I/AAAAAAAAAY0/3UWlTROYbLQ6RpOC5iXHu06997uia2e0gCLcB/s1600/Handshake.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Sph1NZIWYZw/WKoIzj_es8I/AAAAAAAAAY0/3UWlTROYbLQ6RpOC5iXHu06997uia2e0gCLcB/s320/Handshake.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even though we have all rebelled against our Father creator, disregarded His commands… to the point where we all were considered His enemies… God is graciously willing to offer everyone forgiveness and reconciliation. He makes peace with us so we are no longer to be considered enemies, and He grants us access to the divine nature and eternal life. This happens because of God’s forgiving nature and His loving desire to see us develop our full potential:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To grow into the fully mature mind of Christ</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To receive life everlasting</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Growing into the fully mature mind of Christ means we have to change the way we think… to think with the mind of the spirit instead of the mind of the flesh… and change the way we act... to live by His commands and do the things that are pleasing to Him. If we don’t make these changes we’ll never move forward to receive the gift of life everlasting. To indicate our willingness and determination to do so we pass through the waters of baptism and receive the power of the Holy Spirit.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s willingness to reconcile with you and me is an example He wants us to imitate… to make peace, to be friends instead of enemies… to forgive and be reconciled to one another. In most ways we imitate God in this pursuit of reconciliation BUT in one very important way we do not. </div><h2 class="western">How We Should NOT Try To Be Like God</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God, the righteous, all knowing, all merciful creator requires all humans to change the way we think and act… but WE cannot require this of OTHERS. We must offer forgiveness to our fellow human beings without any requirement [or expectation] that the other party, confess, repay, or change… whichis hard.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>Q: </i><i>Should I forgive a person and then go on as if nothing happened? It </i><i>doesn’t seem</i><i> fair.</i></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring or erasing God’s standards of right and wrong.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness does mean that you and I give up our need to:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Be declared, proven, or acknowledged as right</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To be approached rather than approach [I want them to come begging me for forgiveness]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To have my emotional needs met</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To control the situation, control the actions of others</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For example: to obsess over getting an apology, the tone of the apology, the sincerity… or obsess over punishment, how severe, how swift, how public… etc.</div><h2 class="western">Forgiveness Means We Desire Emotional Peace</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We might think our “forgiveness” is something we give to another. Sometimes other people care, most often they don’t really. But if an offense has occurred and you are withholding forgiveness for whatever reason… the other party isn’t suffering. You are.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>When we </b><b>DON’T</b><b>forgive two bad things happen </b><b>to us</b><b>:</b></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We create a barrier between ourself and God [He does not like pride which is usually the underlying reason forgiveness is withheld]. This very real barrier is a problem for you not necessarily the other person. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Some offenses involve violation of God’s law… most don’t. Instead they often matters of misunderstanding, hurt feelings, pride, frustration etc. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Either way… withholding forgiveness hurts <u>your</u> relationship with your Father God.</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You become trapped reliving, and reliving, and reliving the emotional moment of the offense.</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Everytime you bring to memory that incident, that conversation… you relive the same emotional response. You are re-experiencing the pain [and knowing how the mind works, probably making it more intense each time you bring it back into your thoughts]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As the emotional pain builds and reinforces itself your desire to be declared right or for the other party to get punishment becomes stronger.</div></li></ol></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>When we </b><b>DO</b><b>forgive two good things happen </b><b>to us</b><b>:</b></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have peace with the other party [sometimes they don’t even know about it]. This also provides you with internal emotional peace.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have Peace with God</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Follow God’s Example</b></span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God initiates peace and reconciliation with you through Jesus Christ. You then pay it forward. This is 1) pleasing to God 2) necessary for maintaining that peace with Him.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To forgive is to give up the need to control others [demand for apology, to see they are truly sorry]. To forgive is to give up the need for personal vengeance [that they are punished as much as we think they should be]. Both of these we give over to God for many reasons... such as:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our inability to judge with perfect justice and mercy</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our lack of perfect and complete knowledge</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 12:17-21</b> – you do your part, leave the rest to God 2) Seek peace – don’t wait passively for it to come to you, neither can you demand peace… you have to make it.</div><h2 class="western">When You Are The Offended Party</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Ask yourself… why am I offended? Is it an insult to my sense of dignity or my ego? Is it a frustration of my personal desires {promotion, esteem from others, my sense of superiority, entitlement]? Is it an emotional over-reaction based on incomplete facts? What part have I played in creating the problem? <b>Matt 7:3-5</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Especially ask… is this legitimate, based on God’s standards… or mine? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Steps to Take</b></span></span></span></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Take the initiative</b> - that’s God’s example for you. This doesn’t mean you become confrontational. Be careful about taking the issue to the other party. Remember… you are seeking peace. Not personal satisfaction!</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Be wary of personal anger</b>:</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 4:26</b> righteous anger is over a moral principle… most of our anger is ego driven… our assumed rights have been violated, our self image threatened, our pride has been hurt.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Righteous anger is short lived and doesn’t lead to retaliation [which is a place where sin can enter]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Righteous person is not looking for a fight <b>Proverbs 11:23, 14:29, 16:32, 19:19</b></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 4:27</b> exert emotional control so you are not manipulated by Satan [think of the retaliation angle here]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Bitterness is another way of describing a state of mind rooted in unresolved anger</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Don’t s</b><b>preading discont</b> – when you have been wronged you want to share [seeking vindication, to prove yourself right etc.]</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Seeking advice and counsel from close/trusted people is one thing… but all too often we open it up to anyone who is willing to listen… to get our side of the story out there first. The biblical word for this is backbiting </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 4:29-32</b></div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Persue humility</b>: life is not about winning. Its about learning</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">When You Are The Offending Party</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 18:6-9</b>Jesus has strong words for those who cause others to give up or mess up. He’s talking mostly about brethren. Some offenses involve sin… I would be willing to say that most do not. Most offenses seem to relate to emotion, pride, or misunderstanding.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Just because someone <u>feels</u> wronged doesn’t mean they were. But a broken relationship is not pleasing to God. Real sin [commandment level wrongdoing] is clearly more serious, but sin or no-sin TRUE reconciliation between the parties involved is what pleases God who “<i>opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble</i>”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Steps to Take:</b></span></span></span></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Seek reconciliation</b> <b>between you and God</b> [a lot of this is for cases where a sin or real injustice has been done]. Apply to other situations as you deem appropriate.</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When you are right with God then the self justification that blocks reconciliation melts away. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When we sin against another our sin is against God. This puts up a barrier between us and God. <b>1 Peter 3:7</b> here is an example where disrespect towards another interferes with your relationship with God. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If we refuse to acknowledge our wrongdoing we remain in conflict with our creator.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Take responsibility for what happened or was said. Don’t blame others, circumstances… or justify yourself… “that’s just the way I am”. Acknowledge your offense – in prayer to God, in words to other people.</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Give up the need to control</b> – for example don’t say something like “I was wrong… but you shouldn’t have done what you did”. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Acknowledge the offense and ask for forgiveness. Don’t just say I’m sorry, show that you understand what it is that you have done so they see that you understand... What motivated you, or that you were ignorant/unaware etc.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Take responsibility and make restitution if appropriate</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Seek Godly solutions</b> – rather than the outcome which satisfies you own personal desires and expectations.</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Listen to the other party’s complaint rather than seek to justify yourself. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Consider options:</b></div><ol type="i"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Was I just ignorant or in a situation where ignorance abounded</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Was I being malicious</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How must I take responsibility</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">What lessons can I learn</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Am I being defensive? [feeling threatened]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Am I angry? [Pride hurt]</div></li></ol></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Seek humility</b> – because pride is the major obstacle to reconciliation. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">It is difficult to see ourselves as the one in the wrong… it threatens our high opinion of ourselves-→ So, our reflexive reaction is to protect our self, our ego… by blaming others</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Humility begins by recognizing ourselves as deeply flawed individual who desperately needs God’s help if we ever want to achieve that great and eternal potential that God our Father sees in us. </div></li></ol></li></ol><h2 class="western">Forgiveness is essential to our Eternal lives… </h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">it is only because of God’s willingness to forgive that we have access and opportunity to become His children and receive the gift of eternal life. Forgiveness is a way of thinking and acting that God wants us to learn and practice if we are to be His children.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness restores peace with our Father, personal emotional well-being, and right relationships with others whom God has created in His own image.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We seek peace… We leave judgment with God. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If we are offended we seek peace. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If we find that we have offended we seek peace. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i> Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.</i></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/c9YnSXwG0yU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Listen To Message: The Feast of Trumpets Is The Day of The Lord
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="500" src="https://castbox.fm/app/castbox/player/id1094811/id89372492?v=4.0.19" width="100%"></iframe></span></div><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The final trumpet signals the return of Jesus Christ, it is also the time of the resurrection and rewarding of the saints. <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-day-of-lord-is-feast-of-trumpets.html">The seventh trumpet</a> is the 3rd woe the final phase of worldwide warfare. Nations and peoples crazed with power seeking will not meekly accept the rule of Christ.<br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: large;">Request a FREE copy of our bible study guide:&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: large;">The Book of Revelation Unveiled</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-book-of-revelation-unveiled">The Book of Revelation Unveiled</a></span></span></div><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">👓 Find UCGRaleigh 👓</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Share this video: <a href="https://youtu.be/24QHr3hNIW8">https://youtu.be/24QHr3hNIW8</a></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Subscribe to this channel: </span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=UCGx5BY50CSiEWOdNMDJ2gNw">http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=UCGx5BY50CSiEWOdNMDJ2gNw</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Find a UCG church near you: </span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="http://ucg.org/congregations/">http://ucg.org/congregations/</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Follow UCG Raleigh</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/UCGRaleigh.main.page">https://www.facebook.com/UCGRaleigh.main.page</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://twitter.com/UCGRaleigh">https://twitter.com/UCGRaleigh </a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Subscribe to the UCG Raleigh podcast on</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ iTunes <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/united-church-of-god-raleigh/id1315758270">https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/united-church-of-god-raleigh/id1315758270</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ CastBox <a href="https://castbox.fm/channel/Weekly-Sabbath-Sermon-id1094811">https://castbox.fm/channel/Weekly-Sabbath-Sermon-id1094811</a></span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RTA1LCIBOew/W4tPKdUXI1I/AAAAAAAAA98/vL90t3CQQQkiAcmfgllkMTrTjkKtuNhdQCLcBGAs/s1600/Trumpet-blank.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="720" data-original-width="1280" height="180" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RTA1LCIBOew/W4tPKdUXI1I/AAAAAAAAA98/vL90t3CQQQkiAcmfgllkMTrTjkKtuNhdQCLcBGAs/s320/Trumpet-blank.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/A1xP3xBDl5s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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