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

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Rejoice at the Feast of Trumpets
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The feast of trumpets is our annual reminder of pivotal events in human history…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;but they are events</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;that have not yet happened. It is a day that marks the end of humanity's grand experiment with self rule.</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;">In the beginning God granted man dominion over the earth. Mankind would govern and care for the planet unde</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">r</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the watchful eyes and direction of their </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">C</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">reator. However, mankind turned away fro</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">m</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the counsel of God and instead </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">turned </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to Satan's counsel which was "</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you should</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;make up you own mind about how best to manage you own affairs".</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;">God was very displeased </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">and He sent </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">them away from His presence</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. B</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ut</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;He did not revoke humanity's commission of dominion over earth. &nbsp;They would continue to have the responsibility to govern and care for earth, they would be allowed to make up their own ways and experience the pain of their choices</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;with Satan’s ongoing counsel</span><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;">Humanity's commission of dominion over earth is not</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;theirs</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;forever. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The day of “having it our way” are</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;scheduled to come to an end. That end date is marked by the return of Jesus Christ</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;which w &nbsp;e anticipate on the Feast of Trumpets</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. After th</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">e</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;dominion over the earth </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">by the flesh and blood creation of God. The earth </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">will be given to the spirit born children of God [Jesus Christ is the firstborn and pre-eminent of these].</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 Christ returns, h</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">umanity will not be willing to give up their dominion over earth. There will be no peaceful transfer of power. In fact, goaded on by Satan, humanity will gather all their armies to fight and resist Christ at His return. The showdown will take place in a large valley in central Israel [AR-meggido].</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="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--4mNI0Onv0Y/XZuraZmiUDI/AAAAAAAABOI/ixeHNYEJkAw4kt1vvRPKeFBUFfDsOVi2ACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/ray-hennessy-gdTxVSAE5sk-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1065" data-original-width="1600" height="212" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--4mNI0Onv0Y/XZuraZmiUDI/AAAAAAAABOI/ixeHNYEJkAw4kt1vvRPKeFBUFfDsOVi2ACLcBGAsYHQ/s320/ray-hennessy-gdTxVSAE5sk-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trumpets we associated with </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">first of the fall holy days…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;are war trumpets, calling troops to battle. However, the trumpets are also a proclamation of rejoicing, and victory</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. This is what I would like to focus on today… rejoicing.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="color: #cc0000;"><b>Request this FREE bible study guide:</b></span> <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom">The Coming Kingdom of God</a></span><br /><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Turning Point</span></b><br /><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 23:23-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the feast of trumpets marks the beginning of the 7th month. The date of the feast of trumpets is </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">actually not a calendar date. It is </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">determined by a specific positioning of the earth, the moon, and the sun. Then all the other holy days</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[and the entire biblical calendar]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;are calculated by counting either backwards or forward from </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the Feast of Trumpets</span><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;">So, the feast of trumpets is quite literally "the pivot point" in God's holy day plan. The Hebrew name of the day is Rosh Hashanah</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;meaning the "head [of] the year",</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">he biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">literally "day of shouting or blasting". </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 word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">trumpets </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is not found in Leviticus 23:23-25. The blowing or blasting of trumpets is the obvious inference we </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">get </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">from </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Numbers 10:1-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Trumpets are used to call the people of God: </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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to appear before God on His appointed days</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to gather the people to move to a new location</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to gather the people for battle</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to call upon God’s protection</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">5.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Only the high priest [sons of Aaron was to sound the trumpet]. Which is why we do personally blow trumpets on that holy day.</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;"><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;">Verse </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">10 makes special note of "days of gladness"... the feast days... also the beginning of months which is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Rosh Hashanah</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... these days operate as a memorial or reminder to us of God and His plan for humanity.</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;">Each holy day has a "uniqueness" factor: Passover has the lamb [now the bread and wine in the New covenant], the feast of unleavened bread has it’s special diet, atonement has fasting, tabernacles has its temporary dwellings... the feast of trumpets has the blasting of trumpets!</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;">Psalm 81:1-4 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the blowing of trumpets is a shouting or cheering for joy with [or along with] trumpets. The reference to the new moon indicates it is indeed the feast of trumpets being referred to.</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;">How can we be joyous when these same trumpets are declaring war and calling troops to battle? War is bad, scary and people die. To answer that… first we must understand why there is war.</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;">God declares war because of sin, refusal to repent, refusal to accept His rule. He intervenes to stop humanity from destroying themselves. However, at the same time, God offers protection for those who are willing to stand with Him </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 9:4, Isaiah 11:10-12 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">[fill in background of what a banner 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Some will be alive at the time of Christ's return [you could actually be one of those people]. In the days of tribulation leading up to Christ's return this group of God's people will be a special target of Satan. It will be very scary. But they can rejoice. They keep the feast of trumpets. They are mentally and spiritually prepared. They know what is happening, they will know why it is happening, and they know the outcome.</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">At the Feast of Trumpets we can rejoice because we know the wicked world humanity has devised will be destroyed and replaced with the rule of God. This is good to know for those who are caught up in the days of tribulation but also for those die in expectation of Christ’s return. </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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">At the Feast of Trumpets we can also rejoice because it announces the time when those who are Christ’s receive the gift of eternal life, &nbsp;receive their inheritance and full rights of son-ship in the family of God. On the day of Christ's return we will be gathered together with Him under His banner </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 24:30</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">. Notice that Christ says this gathering is for the elect. </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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Corinthians 15:51-54</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;for the elect this blast of the trumpet is a glorious time where there is no further fear of death. However, this time of resurrection and gathering is not for everyone. Notice that Paul says "we"... he is speaking to the Church of God not the whole of humanity. </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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The elect are those who are faithful [obedient to God's word], those who have humbled themselves before Him [who have already submitted themself to God's rule], those who are converted [who have rejected evil and FREELY chosen God's way over their own desires]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Thessalonians 4:13-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;is addressed to those who are brothers and sisters and tells us this victory is for those who are "in Christ at His return" [those who have died in Christ and those few who remain alive at His return].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 3:21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;the victory is for the person who overcomes... who masters and controls his or her own spirit. Who regulates what they do by God's command. Who submits themself to God. </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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 20:4-6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;the first resurrection occurs at the last trumpet. Everyone else is not resurrected until much later.</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;">Do Not Let This Opportunity Pass You By</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;">Understanding the meaning... the typology... the symbolism of the feast of trumpets is not enough! You must act on what you are given to know. Not acting on this puts you in a precarious position.</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;">God does raise anyone up in the resurrection of life whom He does not rule! </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Colossians 3:15</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 6:10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God's will is that you keep His commands.</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;">God wants to see that you freely choose to submit yourself to His will. One of those commands that direct you in the will of God is to keep the feast of trumpets.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Do no work on that day and participate in a holy convocation or meeting. </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;">How can a person who does not obey God's instructions to keep the feast of trumpets have any realistic expectation that they will be gathered to Him at Christ's return, or be part of the resurrection unto life. </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 High </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">P</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">riest Blows The Trumpet</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;">I mentioned earlier</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;that we don't actually blow a trumpet at the feast of Trumpets. Back in Numbers 10 we read that the high priest [sons of Aaron] was the one who was to blow the trumpet. With His death and resurrection Jesus Christ took over all the functions of the high priest. So</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we wait for Him to blow the trumpet at the appointed time. </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 the meantime the Church of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;which is under Christ</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;sounds a message of warning of what is coming…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a time of war.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;We publish magazines, books, we reach millions through our website, we are on TV, we are on YouTube, streaming TV, etc. M</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">illions of</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;people hear God's warning but few act.</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 are like the people in the parable who say "my Lord delays his coming". T</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">h</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">en </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">when the master returns </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">they are caught unprepared. For those who are alive in those days they will miss out on His protection</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in the time of tribulation</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. For those who </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">live out their life and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">die before that time</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;will miss out on the greatest opportunity ever offered a human being.</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;">Nehemiah 8:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the people hear the law on the day trumpets</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;">Nehemiah 8:3-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God's servants not only present the word of God, they explain what it means... they add detail, they add background, they add context. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;We do this each year at the Feast of Trumpets, and also each weekly Sabbath. I hope you are paying attention.</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;">Nehemiah 8:9-12 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;people were agitated, moved, upset </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">by learning how much they had fallen short of the bible’s instructions</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Nehemiah tells them... calm yourself and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">REJOICE</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;on the feast of Trumpets, rejoice in the understanding it brings.</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;">So, they kept the feast of trumpets and all the other feast days too.</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;">Gods Wants Something From 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Keep the Passover</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;-- </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">He wants you to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">understand that without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ you have no hope of moving forward with God's plan for </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If you haven’t already… s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">eek out the baptism that applies His sacrifice to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">release</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;">&nbsp;you from the penalty for your sins.</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;">Keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;-- understand that you must change who and what you are.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Rid your life of the old ways, attitudes, and practices. Replace them with that which is lasting. Unleaven your 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Keep the Feast of Pentecost</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;-- understand that without the holy spirit in you there is no promise of life, there is no hope for you to attain the resurrection unto life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You receive this through the laying on of hands after baptism. Without it y</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ou will not share in the joy of victory at Christ's return. Only with the holy spirit in you can you fulfill your purpose for existence. To be born into the family of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&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;">Ask me how you can move forward. I will give you an outline of what personal repentance means, I will explain water baptism. I will walk you through the steps toward baptism so you can receive the promises of protection in the day of trouble, and inheritance on the day of Christ;s return.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;I will baptize you and lay hands upon you.</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;">A Day of New Beginnings</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 feast of trumpets is a day of war and turmoil. For those who are in Christ it is also a day of rejoicing, a day of reminder, a day of victory, and a day of new beginnings. </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 feast of trumpets marks the pivotal day in human history. The </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">preceding </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">millenia of suffering and confusion caused by human self rule will be over</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The future </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">days that follow the feast of Trumpets </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;will be an amazing journey that puts the wildest of science fiction </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to shame.</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;">Don't miss out. Don't miss the feast of trumpets 2019.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: red;">Read this message on our blog:</span></b> <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/10/rejoice-at-feast-of-trumpets.html">Rejoice at the Feast of Trumpets</a></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/aFrRpA2ssDU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Every One of Us Will Be Judged... But When?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe frameborder="0" height="500" src="https://castbox.fm/app/castbox/player/id1094811/id191546431?v=8.10.3&amp;autoplay=0" width="100%"></iframe><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Every human being who has ever lived will be judged. You, me, the man down the street, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">E</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">uropeans, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">A</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">sians, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">A</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">fricans, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">C</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">hristians, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">M</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">uslims, and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">B</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">uddhists. People who died last week and people who died 3,000 years ago.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Various non-biblical cultures have their own ideas about life after death. Christians, Jews, Muslims have their ideas about death. Without recounting all the variations the basic concept is that a person will be judged after they die and receive some sort of reward, or punishment based on what they did in this 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;">Most of what is taught about the afterlife and in particular about judgment is foolish non-sense.</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 only reliable source of information regarding the afterlife and in particular about judgment is the bible. Many people think they know what the bible says about judgment but really don't. The average person's belief about what they think the scriptures say has more in common with human folk-tales that the actual recorded word of God.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Today we are going to review the biblical teaching on judgment. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 9:27 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the bible says everyone will be judged. But judgment is not a single event, it is a process. Judgment has distinct steps which lead to a final conclusion in a fair and equitable way. The necessary steps are the same for all people, but the timing of the steps is different for those who believe and are baptized into Christ, and those who are not. </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 Timeline for Non-Believers</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 vast majority of people who have ever lived and died have not had access to God's truth, not had a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">cess to forgiveness through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, or received the holy spirit. The process of judgment for such people is:</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">They are born flesh and blood, after about 70-100 years they die. They remain in this state of death which is likened in scripture to sleep.</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Christ returns at the time appointed by the Father. These non-believers who have died remain in death. They are not resurrected when Christ returns. </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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">While they remain asleep, Christ establishes the rule of God on earth for 1,000 years. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Revelation 20:4-5</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">After the 1,000 years are over they are resurrected (back to flesh and blood), so they can enter into the process of judgment before God</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">5.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">At this time they now are given access to God's truth, they</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;can </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">receive the holy spirit. With all the necessary ingredients available to them they are evaluated using the standard of God's word</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Revelation 20:11-13</span><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: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">6.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A final decision is made whether they are suitable for eternal life [they are either written into the book of life, or destroyed in an all co</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">n</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">suming fire]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Revelation 20:15</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><span style="color: magenta; font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Request a FREE copy of our bible study guide: </b></span><br /><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/what-happens-after-death">What Happens After Death?</a></span><br /><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Further Evidence For Understanding Judgment As A Process</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 you read a bible verse and it says the word judgment it could be one of several Greek words related to the process of judgment. The main ones are:</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;">Krisis</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, which refers to the period of evaluation.</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;">Krino/Krima,</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;which refers to the decision reached (one is a noun form, the other is a verb).</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Here are some examples of where the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">krisis </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is used. I picked these verses because they relate to the timeline applied to non-believers: </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 12:41-42, 10:15, 11:24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Of course these all lead up to a final decision or </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">krino </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">which is the word used in Revelation 20:13.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The word used in Hebrews 9:27 which we read earlier is also </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">krisis</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... a period of evaluation. So, the bible says it is appointed once for human beings to die and after that to enter into a period of evaluation leading to a decision.</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;">Those Who Are Christ's At His Return</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;">If a person has believed, repented, accepted Christ, been baptized, received God's holy spirit they have a hope of resurrection at Christ's return. But, the bible tells us their resurrection will be different from that of unbelievers... both the timing of it, and the nature of it.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 5:24 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus tells us that believers are not resurrected to begin a period of evaluation (krisis). Believers go straight from death to life. The decision on whether they are suitable for eternal life has already been made.</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;">John 5:25-29</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus speaks of two different resurrections: a resurrection unto life, and a resurrection unto judgment. Note: many bibles render the word krisis as "condemnation" here (KJV, NKJV, NIV) even though everywhere else in this section krisis is translated judgment. I consider this an egregious example of translator bias and confuses understanding of the judgment that follows 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;">Three Key Points About The Resurrection to life</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 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[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;">1 Thessalonians 4:15-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;some few believers appear to never die in the flesh</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 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[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;">1 Corinthians 15:52-53</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;those who are in Christ receive the gift of eternal life upon resurrection. So, the decision about there suitability for eternal life has already been made. </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 lfo2; 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;">As we read earlier in Revelation 20:6 the people of the first resurrection are not subject to the judgment "the rest of the dead" who are raised from their graves after the 1,000 year rule of Christ.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">All those who are part of the resurrection unto life have already been judged </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 5:10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The time of judgment for believers is NOW </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Peter 4:17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Note: the word krima is used here since the final verdict is made complete during your present life.</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 Resurrection Unto Judgment for Believers</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 judgment is fair and just. No one gets to skip through the process of judgment. God does not break the rules for you. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The believer goes throug</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">h</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;their resurrection un</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;judgment when they are raised up from the waters of baptism</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Romans 6:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">3-11</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><br /><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;">If you have been bapti</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">z</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ed and received the laying on of hands by a minister of God's Church then you have already experienced death and your resurrection to the flesh for the purpose of entering into judgment. You have received the understanding and power that comes through God's holy spirit. You have all the facts and your time of judgment begins.</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 Biblical Timeline of Judgment For Believers Compared to non-believers</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: l2 level1 lfo3; 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;">The rest of humanity... the people of Nineveh, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, China, Africa, America, people who dies yesterday and people who died 3,000 years ago will rise up from their graves at the end of the 1,000 year rule of Christ. This is a resurrection to flesh and still subject to the consequences of a negative decision. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">You are risen from your watery grave NOW! </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The resurrection that you experience through baptism is your resurrection to flesh and to judgment.</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: l2 level1 lfo3; 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;">When the rest of humanity rise up in physical bodies they will be given access to the holy spirit. It will give them help and understanding they need for a fair assessment before God. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">You have already received the spirit of God and the understanding it brings through the laying on of hands after baptism</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: l2 level1 lfo3; 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;">They will enter into the process of judgment (krisis) after that time we call the second resurrection. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">YOU have entered into that process of judgment NOW</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: l2 level1 lfo3; 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;">A final decision will be made about "the rest of the dead". Their names will either be written into the book of life, or destruction in all-consuming fire. The results of your time of judgment [eternal life, inheritance, reward] will be made known at the time of Christ's return, before not after, the 1,000 year rule of Christ.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Believers do not escape judgment. It just comes upon them sooner. Your time of judgment is now. The span of time between when you are raised up after baptism to the day you draw your last breath is your time of judgment (krisis). The final decision (your krima) is announced when Christ returns and faithful believers are raise to a spiritual body with everlasting life. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Now let's take a look at how your judgment proceeds.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;6 Points:</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;">#1 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">You Are Actively Involved In Your Own Judgment Process</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;">1 Corinthians 11:28-32, Galatians 6:4</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;">#2 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">You are Judged By What You Do</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;">Galatians 6:7-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;sowing to the spirit means growing in the fruits of the spirit. This is the context if you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">look at the preceding verses in chapter 5. Sowing to the spirit also means living your life by the commandments.</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;">Romans 3:31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the holy spirit guides you in what it means to uphold the law </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 7:14, 22</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">-23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The spirit loves the commandments of God the flesh does not.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:5-11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you do not follow the lead of the spirit in regards to the commandments then are you really Christ's? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What will be yours when He returns?</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;">#3 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Your Evaluation Involves Some Testing</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;">A few curve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">-</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">balls will be thrown at you to see what you are made of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Thessalonians 1:4-5</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;">#4 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">We Appear Before Our Judge In Prayer</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;">Matthew 6:9-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;note the emphasis on forgiveness which is how we deal with times when we fall short because of that struggle between flesh and spirit. Also addressed is avoidance of temptation, and overcoming evil in our lives. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">These are important elements of judgment.</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;">#5 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">How You Judge Matters Concerning Others Affects How You Are Judged</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;">Matthew 6:14-15, 7:1-5</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;">#6 </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Final Decision Is Christ's</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;">1 Corinthians 4:3-5</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">you cannot just let yourself off the hook </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 5:22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;no one is more qualified than Christ to conduct the evaluation and render the final verdict. He is an eternal part of the God family, yet He has tasted life in the flesh, He was raised up in baptism, He has known suffering, resistance of temptation, He is the first in resurrection from flesh to spirit…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and He is your judge.</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;">Learning To Judge Righteously</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 are involved in the process of your own personal judgment so that you might learn how to become a righteous judge yourself. Part of the inheritance that come with the first and better resurrection is the responsibility of judgment.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Revelation 20:4</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;">Our Father Creator is teaching us to judge righteously by judging ourselves rather than turning us loose to practice on others without having first learned how. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">One of the greatest lessons in righteous judgment is </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: l3 level1 lfo4; 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;">knowing all the facts </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: l3 level1 lfo4; 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 proper exercise of mercy. </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;">What better scenario for us to have full access to all the facts, motives, and intent than in judging </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">y</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ourself? What better scenario for us to be willing to forgive and practice mercy than in judging </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">y</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ourself?</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;">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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 9:39</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus tells us that He came to bring judgment into the world. Through His ministry and His sacrifice people like you and me can enter confidently into the process of judgment. Through His sacrifice forgiveness is possible, through the holy spirit we can grow in grace and understanding. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let us all consider soberly what it is that we are involved in. For those who are baptized and have received the holy spirit your time of judgment is now. </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> <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VGowgy4RW3k/XZtSw1QmqEI/AAAAAAAABN8/V7PDiitzNE4a1fltqD5zmbJcwBxfWimagCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/photo-1555374018-13a8994ab246.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="658" data-original-width="921" height="228" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VGowgy4RW3k/XZtSw1QmqEI/AAAAAAAABN8/V7PDiitzNE4a1fltqD5zmbJcwBxfWimagCLcBGAsYHQ/s320/photo-1555374018-13a8994ab246.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span> <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Read this message on our blog:&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/10/every-one-of-us-will-be-judged-but-when.html">Every One of Us Will Be Judged... But When?</a></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/TKVlYw-L4p8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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These Last Days: The Age of the Church of God
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jkdcCY5m87o" width="480"></iframe><br /><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;cambria&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Peter’s Sermon</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;cambria&quot;; font-size: 12pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/the_church_age_chart.pdf" style="font-family: Calibri; font-size: 14.6667px;">Here is a link to the chart used in this message</a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 2:1-1</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Gathered together / H.S. comes with sound of wind and fire/ disciples begin speaking in all sorts of foreign languages… People out on the street come to see what the ruckus is all about… They hear the disciples prophesying about the KOG in their own language.</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;">Acts 2:15-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Peter explains to them that this is </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">outpouring of God’s spirit </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">prophesied in Joel 2:28:32. An event that was to happen in the "later" days</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Peter re-phrases Joel's prophecy and speaks of what is happening that Pentecost day in 31 A.D. as "these last [final] days". </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Since Peter made this public proclamation 1,988 years have come and gone and it is now the year 2019.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;So how could Peter speak of his own time as "these last [final] days"? Was he wrong? Had he given in to his own private interpretation of scripture? Was he just being overly optimistic about how much time was left until Christ returned?</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;">My purpose today is to convince, persuade, remind you that Peter [as inspired by the spirit of God] was speaking of a final age that was beginning on that day, Pentecost 31 AD. It was the beginning of the final age before the return of Christ. I am going to call this "the age of the Church 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">******************</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b>Request a <span style="color: red;">FREE </span>copy of</b> T<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">he Church That Jesus Built</a>. Discover Jesus' real intent for the Church.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">******************</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;">Peter's quote from Joel tells us about the outpouring of the holy spirit. This is the phenomenon that marked the beginning of the final age [the age of the Church]... Then the quote goes on and in verse 19 also tells of the events and phenomenon which will help mark the end of the "age of the Church of God". These should also be recognized as:</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 6th seal - Revelation 6:12-14 [signs in the heavens]</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 7th seal - Revelation 8:1-5 [the day of the Lord]</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;">This age of the church will be bra</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">keted in by the outpouring of God's spirit and the mighty works of the church at the beginning... and at its end, by the signs in the heavens that signal immediately preced</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">e</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the return of Christ. </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;">You could say that between verses 18 and 19 there is a very long gap of about 2,000 years.</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="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Acts 2:40 </span><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Luke’s summary of Peter’s message: “be saved from this perverse generation”</span><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. This same warning stands for us today.. knowing all this come out and be separate! This is the reality of the church and the reality of your life. </span><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: #4f81bd; 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;">Note:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the Jews were expecting a special outpouring of God’s Spirit based on scriptures such as Ezekiel 37:13 BUT what they heard from Peter was different that what they were expecting. Peter quotes from Joel 2:28-32 regarding this same outpouring of God’s spirit… poured out </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">upon ALL flesh</span></u><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"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qqhp3BFVCvg/XYUhuu-O0CI/AAAAAAAABNM/xXehHurWcvoLcsvTMVLKp7lJL3E5bv4-wCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/drew-beamer-xU5Mqq0Chck-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="133" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qqhp3BFVCvg/XYUhuu-O0CI/AAAAAAAABNM/xXehHurWcvoLcsvTMVLKp7lJL3E5bv4-wCLcBGAsYHQ/s200/drew-beamer-xU5Mqq0Chck-unsplash.jpg" width="200" /></a><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The focus of God's work in this final age would no longer be funneled through Israel. The spirit of God would go out to people of all nations, tribes... people would now have direct access to God through Jesus Christ the new and perfect high priest. However, God would continue to work through a body of people, no longer a nation like Israel, the responsibility of representing God to the nations would pass to the Church. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;cambria&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">The End Of An Age And The Beginning of A New Age</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;cambria&quot;; font-size: 12pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 19:5-6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Israel called to be a kingdom of priests, to demonstrate the worship of God and the cleansing away of sin required to come 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 4:5-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;A living example meant to attract the attention of other nations.</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 entered into a covenant with Israel at Sinai. They agreed to keep His commandments and He agreed to be their God, to lead and take care of them. The covenant also included terms of punishment </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 4:25-29</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;">Alas, that is exactly what happened. Israel failed.</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;">Deuteronomy 5:29 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">there was a missing ingredient... the holy spirit = heart. Without it Israel could not live up to the fullness of God's purpose for them. Just having access to the truth was not enough. Human beings need conviction, commitment, and courage to do the things God's law instructs and change the way they live. The holy spirit provides this sort of deep level help. </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;">Jeremiah 31:31-33</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the next phase of God's plan would include this missing ingredient. This new covenant has not yet been applied to Israel... but has been applied to the Church.</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;">With the historic appearance of Jesus (God in the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">f</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">lesh) the period of God’s showing Himself and His law through the physical descendants of Abraham, Israel, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">was coming</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to a close. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">His death at Passover 31 AD marked the end. </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 instrument through which God would now work would be </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the Church. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This "age of the Church" will be the final or last age before the return of Jesus Christ. This is how Pete could speak of what was happening on that Pentecost as the beginning of the last days.</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 10:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;– Paul </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">speaks of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the “f</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">inal</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;age </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">which has</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;come” </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">telios aion</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Telios = end or terminal point, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">AION= </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">age or</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">period of time</span><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;">Note: </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Age</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is a undetermined period of time that share's a characteristic. Examples include: the space age, the information age, the age of exploration, the iron age, the modern age.</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;">Scripture then goes onto warn us. Israel were called to serve God's purpose in the previous age, they failed they drifted into temptation, idolatry and all sorts of vile practices. We are warned to be careful lest the same things happen to us. Read verses 6-14. Once again, knowing these things... save yourselves from being overwhelmed by a wicked and perverse generation.</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;">Hebrews 9:26</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in this final age Christ's sacrifice is the atonement for sin</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;">Hebrews 6:5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the power of the holy spirit we have in this age is a foretaste of the age to come</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;">Ephesians 1:21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the authority of Christ within the church in this current age is a foretaste of the authority of Christ to be exhibited in the age to come. </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;">History Applied To The Ages</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;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/the_church_age_chart.pdf">Here is a link to the chart used in this message</a></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;">[refer to chart] on this chart you see human history divided into 4 ages. In the very middle of the chart you see the transition from the age of Israel to the age of the Church. The transition is marked as </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Pentecost 31 A.D.</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 age of Israel lasted about 2,000 years. Prior to that we have another age which also lasted about 2,000 years.</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 "age of Israel" began with the calling out of Abraham and the birth of Jacob in 2006 BC. Jacob is the man who was renamed Israel. Then approximately 2,000 years later Jesus is born in 4 BC. and died 31 AD.</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 age that came before Israel appears to also be about 2,000 years long. The bible's internal chronology indicates Adam came on the scene about 4,004 BC. that's about 2,000 years before Jacob, or Israel. I'm going to call this the age of lawlessness. After Eden, humanity was cut off from God. Then through Israel God would re-introduce His law, and through the priesthood provide a temporary means for human beings to approach the most holy God. &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;">It is interesting that these first two ages are about 2,000 years long. If that is any indication of how long the present Church age might be... a time line would place us very near the end of the present church age. We know that it has been 1,988 years since that day of Pentecost when the Church began.</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;">At the close of the church age we will see the second coming of Christ, the Day of the Lord, the heavenly signs. These mark the transition from the church age to the age of Christ's 1,000 year rule on earth. </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 Church believes and teaches that we are living toward the end of the current age, and very close to the return of Christ. We base this on a number of other signs of the times.</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;">However, this chart is not intended to "prove" anything or "predict" any specific date. </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 Church Has Taken On the Role of God's Representative</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;">CHURCH</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">—on Pentecost a new age began… the age of the Church of God. The age of w</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">hich</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;lasted about 2,000 years… </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">was over</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. In 31 A.D. on the day of Pentecost and new age began. It w</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ould now be</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the role of the Church of God to serve as God’s representatives on earth and to take up the role intended for Israel.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 2:17-29 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">– faith unto obedience is what makes a person a Jew or Israelite</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;">Romans 9:23-26 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">– church is the object of reconciliation</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;">Romans 9:27-29</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">—church is the prophesied remnant of Israel</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;">2 Corinthians 3:7-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;ministry of reconciliation</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;">1 Peter 2:4-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">-- the Church is to be that holy nation</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 Mission of the Church</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;">Matthew 2</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">8</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">:1</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">8</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&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;">Israel’s purpose was to be an example nation that would attract positive attention to God, His laws, the blessings of His presence, the benefits of worship and His love</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, the process of atonement for sin and reconciliation</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The Church’s mission and purpose is the same… but the approach 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">With the beginning of the Age of the Church there is a larger scale outpouring of the Holy Spirit, an openness to all peoples… through faith that leads to obedience. This new age signals a more proactive position. Instead of merely serving as an example (Like Israel) the Church is told to:</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><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Go out and to make disciples </span></li><li><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Call people to repent and obey</span></li><li><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Baptize with the Holy Spirit</span></li><li><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Provide instruction in law</span></li><li><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Preach the coming Kingdom/Rule of God on earth (carrying forward the message of the prophets)</span></li><li><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To love one another (the Royal law of Leviticus)</span></li><li><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To live righteously </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">- </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">as example </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">and for the transformation of our own hearts and minds into the fullness of Christ. </span></li></ul><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Knowing all these things then, save yourself from this wicked and perverse generation.</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/TfcXuylXc2k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Satan's Agenda of Destruction For Humanity
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Satan's&nbsp;</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Hidden Agenda</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;">We live in a time that is filled with hatred and rage... two signature characteristics of the Godlessness of the end-times is brutality and lack of self control. Our news reports are filled with stories of outraged mobs hurling vile accusations and death threats at people they disagree with. We are losing all sense of respect and mutual concern. In my opinion most of what counts as </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">news</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;these days is basically; who said what mean thing against who.</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;">How can human beings [every one of whom is made in the likeness of God] become so full of hatred for other human beings who are made in God's image? One reason is they have a futile and darkened understanding of who and what a human being is.</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;;"><span style="font-size: large;">Request a FREE copy of this bible study guide"</span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: large;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/is-there-really-a-devil">Is There Really a Devil?</a></span></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;">Genesis 1:26-27</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;our society [schools, media, government] has swallowed a whopper of lie and actively promote that lie: that a human being is nothing more than a high functioning animal. Not endowed with any spark of the divine... but more like a mud worm that has crawled out of the primordial soup and by blind chance developed language, culture, science, self consciousness. </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 result we are reaping from decade after decade of such foolishness is brutality. In fact there are many popular political and social movements afoot that promote the idea of humanity as a plague on the planet... and evil to be eradicated. Some of the hatred out there is even done in the name of God, this is false religion, a false understanding 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 3:5-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;much of the hatred we are experiencing across the entire globe is inflamed by words... what people say [which is now magnified and intensified by social media, and an irresponsible broadcast media]. Many stupid, hurtful things are said because this dimension of understanding others as made in the image of God is lacking.</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;">Matthew 5:21-22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;understanding our fellow human beings as made in God's image, with tremendous potential in God's family should guide how we perceive and treat one another. Hatred is the spirit of murder and leads to the destruction of the hater and the murderer.</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;">Could we be so deceived? Yes, if we do not guard our hearts. </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 talk, the thinking, the activity I have been describing is of Satan. It is inspired by our adversary who is also the adversary of all humanity.</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 Does Satan Hate Humanity?</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;">Hebrews 1:14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God created the angelic realm and assigned them the role of ministering spirits. That would have included Satan. The angels were part of the infrastructure our Father Creator put in place to facilitate His plan to bring many children to glory. Angelic beings sometimes serve as messengers, but one of their primary day-to-day responsibilities is to protect fragile human beings in a potentially hostile physical environment. </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 14:12-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Lucifer was one of three archangels [high up in God's organization]. The others we know of are Michael, and Gabriel. But Lucifer came to a point where he no longer wanted to accept his role within the plan God had in mind. He was dissatisfied with his subordinate role. He didn't want to be under the authority of God. He wanted to be much more than a ministering spirit! Lucifer rebelled and managed to convince 1/3 of his fellow angels to go along with him. Lucifer is now simply known as "the adversary"... Satan</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;">Now, this involves a bit of speculative thinking but given what we know about Satan's desire to be exalted, he couldn't have been pleased when he found out the Father Creator was going to create spirit beings, beginning with flesh and blood humans, who would enter into the family of God as children, heirs, and brothers with the Jesus Christ... and that he and the other angels would serve them.</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 6:3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[see also Romans 8:17 and Hebrews 2:5-9] human beings are destined to be given authority over the angels... could this be what created such rage, such hatred, such jealousy and envy?</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;">Satan Hates The Family</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XTiysi5Xba0/XXBlaTKPCxI/AAAAAAAABM8/1npmIs-g4ooCYXubyVt2MYmjBQsGcCBrwCLcBGAs/s1600/patricia-prudente-6UyWK8mDcWo-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1067" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XTiysi5Xba0/XXBlaTKPCxI/AAAAAAAABM8/1npmIs-g4ooCYXubyVt2MYmjBQsGcCBrwCLcBGAs/s320/patricia-prudente-6UyWK8mDcWo-unsplash.jpg" width="213" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The human family is modeled after the God family. It a physical representation of everything God has in store for human beings. And Satan hates 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"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">While we are still in the flesh the human family provides us with multiple object lessons that can [when done right] help us understand God's intentions for us... conception and birth, inclusion, loving authority, safety &amp; security, unconditional love, loyalty and faithfulness, growing to maturity, receipt of our inheritance.</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;">Satan is jealous of the future human beings have in God's family. He has selfish ambitions to be more than a ministering spirit... he hopes to do an end run around the entire structure of the Father Creator's family design and declare himself to be like the most high... exalted and worshiped.</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 human family is a physical representation of the very system Satan dreams of over-throwing and replacing! So you should not be surprised that Satan attacks the institution of the human family... and the pressure will intensify. </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;">James 3:13-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the fruits of jealously and selfish ambition are: strife, confusion, vile practices. </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 of the most contentious issues in our time are matters of family. Since the Godly model for family defines and regulates the bounds of human sexuality contentions about legitimate human sexual expression are "family issues".</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;">Easy divorce, cohabitation, abortion, unnatural relations between the sexes, what is and what is not to be called a marriage etc. A tidal wave of political and legal strife, confusion about gender, and just down right perversion has been unleashed upon our society... and much of it is about attacking and undermining the biblical model of the family. </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;">Might we too be so deceived? Yes, it is possible. I believe that biblical teaching about the family will come under increased attack in the future. What goes on in popular culture will seep into the church... if we let it. Some may be called to stand up for truth on this matter... and that someone might be you. </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;">Satan's </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Has &nbsp;An </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Organization</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;">To make all this happen Satan has in place a powerful and far-reaching organization.</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;">Ephesians 6:12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;All government, religious, educational and media organizations are under the control of or influence of Satan [heavenly places - God ordained positions of authority, because all authority is granted by God </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 13:1</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 1:26</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when God made man and woman in His image He also gave them dominion over the planet. They were designed to rule over earth. Of course they were innocent and naive, but God was there to provide guidance, structure, support... From the very beginning God was teaching His children to wield authority. Satan hates any authority other than 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, Satan was allowed access as well and he was able to drive a wedge between God and His children [God wants you to love Him by your own choice, not because you have no choice]. In this seminal event humanity allowed Satan a position of influence over their thinking. They invited him in... Satan cannot force a human against their will... but he has </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">a lot</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;of influence. He is called the prince of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world.</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;">So, mankind still has dominion over the earth. We occupy the office, president, senator, mayor etc. But Satan influences and deceptively manipulates according to his agenda. Human governments often display to characteristics of Satan... oppression, tyranny, war, strife, mass extermination... but they sometimes display characteristics of God, public decency, order, loyalty, security 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;">Human government is a mix of good and evil. We want some of the things of God, but we also want some of the things of Satan, mostly we want the freedom to choose for ourselves which way to follow.</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;">Psalm 2:1-12 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">human governments want to be free from God and His authority. However, the voice and counsel of God is still active among them.</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 Holds Us Back</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 actually restrains humanity and holds them back from going too far in areas that would lead to their own destruction [which is where Satan wants to lead them]. He is called a murderer and destroyer because he leads humanity away from the path to life. He is out to destroy their future.</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 Thessalonians 2:3-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;one of the scary features of the end times is that this restraint will be lifted. At some point God will allow humanity, and Satan, to act with complete impunity. That time will be short, destructive, terrifying, and quickly put to a stop by the return of Christ before the destruction is complete. </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;">Daniel 10:18-21 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">here we are given a glimpse into Satan's global organization. E</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ach gentile nation has a demon [a prince] assigned to it. &nbsp;The prince of Persia did not want the messenger angel to get to Daniel. There is a prince of Greece. And there is a prince of Israel who is Michael [Michael is not a demon, he appears to be part of the forces of restraint]. </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;">This is the top level of Satan's organization but it reaches into every level of human society especially its key control points; government, economics, media, education.</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;">Matthew 18:10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God has provided a parallel organization. You have ministering spirits to aid you: to protect you from danger. </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;">Are We Now Experiencing the Removal of Restraint?</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 only thing standing in the way of Satan accomplishing his agenda of destruction is: God and His Christ, the Church, and the human family. We know God will lift His restraining hand, we know Satan will war against the Church and prevail, what about the family.</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 in an unbelieving culture the institution of the family provides </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">some</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;protection against the destructive work of Satan. The love of a father and mother, the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, loyalty, affection. The breakdown of the human family, the loss of respect for the human family, the confusion sown in our society about marriage, human sexuality, responsibility and authority... these all contribute to acceptance of the coming brutality and violence.</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;">Human being will be open to the idea of a powerful materialistic state taking the place of the family. This all encompassing state is what the bible calls "the beast" [an appropriate name].</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 13:4-10</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;">It is not the Church's job to fix human society. Our role is to provide a light in the darkness, for example to preserve the understanding and practice of family. That is what it means to be salt in the world... a preserving agent to keep things from going rotten. </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;">Knowing This What Then Should You Do?</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;">As a member of God's Church it is your role to stand up for the family... Are you a wife or a mother? Your #1 priority is to build your family, to teach your children to become family people, let them learn about God through the beauty of a godly family.</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;">Are you an older woman, empty nester... God's word tells you to teach and encourage younger women the valuable lessons of family life, child-rearing, respect, authority, and discipline.</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;">Are you a husband or a father? Your #1 priority is to love your family, provide for you wife and children, teach your sons and daughters to become family people. Provide them a positive model of love, authority, respect, and responsibility.</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;">Malachi 4:5-6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God is looking to the family to preserve something good, something worth saving when the day of the Christ's return finally comes. It is for your sake and your family's sake that the terrible days to come when all restraint is removed from Satan... that those days are cut short. </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;">Satan will accomplish his goal of being worshiped, but that time will be short.</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;">I believe Satan's purpose of presenting himself as the worthy alternative to our Father Creator is intimately tied to the overthrow of the human family... with it model of father, mother, and loving children. </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;">How that will play out in our days we will have to wait and see. But for now we know what we must do. Preserve, promote, and protect the human family and all it stands for.</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;">Read this post on our website - <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/09/satans-agenda-of-hatred-for-humanity.html">Satan's Agenda of Hatred For Humanity</a></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/z3gya_937x8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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What Must I Say or Do For God To Hear My Prayers?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SChoBNZ9DNU" width="480"></iframe><br /><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">There is no prayer our Creator is unable to hear… He is all knowing and all seeing. God also has all power over all things so He is not limited in what He can do in response.</span></div><div class="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">God has the ability to hear all prayers but obviously does not grant all requests made in prayer. What if two people entered into a contest and both prayed for victory… they both can’t be given what they want. So, God must decide when to act and when not to act.</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;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><b>Request a copy of a Free bible study guide:</b> <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/tools-for-spiritual-growth">Tools For Spiritual Growth</a></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Let’s ask the question a slightly different way. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;microsoft yahei&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Is there anything I can do, or must do, to get God to grant my requests, to rescue or assist me in times of distress… or get Him to use His awesome power to help me accomplish my goals?</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;">There is no set formula for prayer that would obligate God to grant a request. If that were true then God would be more like a magic genie in a lamp. We cannot control or manipulate God through any words, &nbsp;actions or rituals… He chooses to answer, or not, as He pleases. We are specifically told not to pray like this (</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 6:7-8</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">… If I say the right thing and/or repeat it often enough the requests I make in prayer will be granted. </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 class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A modern example of repetition and rote would be: a person who goes in for confession and is told to say three hail Mary’s and two rosaries. The idea of prayer as an incantation or performance that would summon the power of the gods was very common in ancient Egypt, and pre-Christian Rome and Greece. The prayer and ritual had to be said and/or performed perfectly to have this power… they also had to do it at the right time 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;">God spent a lot of time trying to break Israel of this concept. </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;">He wants us to know He is available to help, to rescue and to heal… but not to do our bidding in return for flattery or appeasement.</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 the prophets we have record of Him saying “ I hate your sacrifices and rituals… what I really want is for you to obey me, to seek out my will and to do it”. [</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 1:11-16, Amos 5:21</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="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The Prayer of Faith</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 5:13-16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is this a promise of healing and answered prayer if we are careful to follow the prescribed formula? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">[step 1 get annointed, step 2 then comb through your life for un-confessed, un-repented of sins so you can confess, repent and be healed]. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">No, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">what we have here is </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">instruction to submit our</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">self to God's authority over our lives and</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;show </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">faith in the salvation He offers.</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;">Verse 14 - when a person goes to the elders of the church to be annointed they are not requesting some kind of healing ritual with magical properties</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trying to bend the spirit world to do their will</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A member going to the elders for annointing is</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;making </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">an outward</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;profession of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">their </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">submission to God's authority. They are putting their case before God, through His ministry (the designated authority within the church) and &nbsp;submitting themself to God's authority to decide what is best for them</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. And presumably their willingness to accept His decision.</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;">Verse 15 - the promise here is that their faith in the face of trial will lead to salvation and resurrection (raised up). That same faith enables the forgiveness of their sins.</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;">Verse 16 - tells us to acknowledge sin that crops up among us and deal with it. Reconcile yourself to one another... so that anger, resentment, hatred don't hinder your prayers.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 5:22-23 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">bad relationships can hinder your prayers </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Peter 3:7</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: 11pt;">Now… </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 5:16 definitely says... "So that you may be healed"... the healing referred to here can be physical relief from a sickness or it could be the healing that comes about through forgiveness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;towards one another. This forgiveness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;leads </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">to</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;salvation, which leads to resurrection into the family of God [ex. Matthew 13:15]</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 5:17-24 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Jesus priority was the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">type of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">healing that came about through the forgiveness of sin. The physical healing was secondary. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">I’m sure it was very important to person who was suffering. I’m sure he was grateful to be healed. I’m confident that Jesus was happy to give him physical healing… but Jesus top priority was the man’s spiritual well-being. </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;"><br /></span></div><div class="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Jesus Instruction on Prayer</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 6:9-10 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">notice the importance of praying for the </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">will of God </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">to be done. Which also logically implies we submit ourselves to His will.</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;">Our actions and attitudes can influence God’s decision to grant a request made through prayer… How?</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;">On the negative side</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, indifference or disobedience to His commands, violence, dishonesty, pride, and injustice create a separation between us and our creator. God does not give attention to the prayers of people who act and think like that. He may act in mercy towards them to get their attention and lead them towards meaningful change… but He acts as He pleases. See (</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 59:1-2</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">On the positive side</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, taking His commands seriously and trying to live by them, seeking peace, honesty, humility, personal integrity, generosity and fairness… these please our creator and draw us close to Him. God will give careful attention to the prayers and requests of such people. He will consider our requests and choose to act, or not act, according to what is good for us. See (</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Peter 3:12</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="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Our Father Knows What it Best For Us</span><span style="font-family: &quot;microsoft yahei&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The good that God desires for us is to learn to think and act like Jesus Christ, so we might receive the gift of everlasting life, sonship, and be seated with Christ when He rules with the authority that comes from the heavenly realm. The path to that good involves suffering and perseverance just as it did for Jesus Christ. </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;">Consider that Jesus prayed the night before His execution. He prayed that God the Father not require Him to endure the painful suffering and death only hours ahead. His request was not granted. Jesus’ long session of prayer that last night ended with His total submission to the will of the Father (</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 26:39-44</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">). Jesus’ suffering was the only path to the greater goal... God’s desire that many children receive eternal 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Submission To God’s Will</span><span style="font-family: &quot;microsoft yahei&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Like Jesus we may boldly [but respectfully] unload our deepest desires before God. His will might be otherwise. If that is the case we ought not to blame ourselves, or assume there must be some unacknowledged sin in our life that is holding us back from getting what we desire. Clearly that is a possibility… but there is more going on in the mind and will of God than we can even imagine.</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;">We might pray for release from pain, sickness or suffering… we might pray for specific blessings... and our Father is happy to give us these good things. But if granting a certain request actually held us back from achieving our full potential as an eternal child of God… would it be good for us? </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;">We must have confidence that God knows the difference between the two and can make a better decision that we alone can.</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="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Paul’s Prayer For Healing</span><span style="font-family: &quot;microsoft yahei&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 12:7-10 [review the context of boasting]</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;">We don’t know what problem Paul was suffering from. Most speculation is that it was related to his eyesight. It is believed that Paul dictated his letters to someone else who would write them down. In one of his letters he notes that he included some handwriting of his own and the end of the letter… “</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">see what large letters I write with my own hand</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”… he did this to authenticate that the letter was indeed from him and not an imposter.</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;">It is easy to imagine how Paul could see being healed of such a problem as in agreement with the will of God. I’m doing God’s work, I’m a writer, communicator, public speaker… I’m doing God’s work… I need my eyes to do it well… why of course God would want to heal me of this. Of course I am asking for something that is within His will.</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;">God had given Paul amazing visions, Christ had interacted directly with him, he had great success is raising up churches… plus, consider Paul’s past, he was superbly knowledgeable about the scriptures… he was a scrupulously righteous man. </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;">God had indeed listened carefully to Paul’s prayers. Surely, God had weighed all the criteria I just mentioned. God’s decision was to let Paul continue to suffer with the problem… so that Paul not become conceited, proud, or full of himself.</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;">Maybe Paul could have been more efficient and productive if his prayer had been answered. God could have gotten even more work out of this powerful workhorse… but the Father’s concern was what was best for Paul. What would keep him in the mindset of Christ. What would help him achieve the amazing goal of that better resurrection to everlasting life that happens at the return of Christ.</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="15"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Is Submission To God’s Will a Modified Form of Fatalism?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Whatever will be will be…whatever God will He wills… so, what’s the point of prayer?</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;">Go back to the prayer of Jesus before His execution… Jesus knew the Father’s will. He wasn’t asking “what do you want me to do?”, or “what is your will?”. His prayer was really about getting His mind, His emotions, and His spirit in sync with the known will 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We should pray completely convinced and confident that God hears our prayer and is fully capable of answering our every request (</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">). We should also pray with a humble attitude, understanding that what we think is best for our lives may not be the way to achieve the greater goal our Creator has in mind for us.</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;">We must not give up prayer thinking we are powerless to influence events. We are instructed to pray constantly, to keep hanging in there, and to expect an answer.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;1 John 5:14-15</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;">What does it mean to ask and pray according to His will? Let us think on that. Give serious thought and reflection to what God’s will really is… what is He working to accomplish in this world… what is He working to accomplish in 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 12:2-3</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Read this message on our website -&nbsp;</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;"><b><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/05/what-must-i-say-or-do-for-god-to-hear.html">What Must I Say or Do For God To Hear My Prayers?</a></b></span></span></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/2jc0RpPU2bg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Royal Law of Love
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8eWkkyjq8Oo" width="480"></iframe><br /><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What Is Love?</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;">1 John 4:7-8, 16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;without a doubt LOVE is the very heart of our belief system. </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;">But what is love? What does it look like? How can I know it when I see it? Is there anything I can &nbsp;do to walk in loving mindset? </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;">Is love a feeling? Does love mean caring deeply [but then we have to ask what does caring means], is love sexual attraction? Love means different things to different people.</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Problem</span><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;">1. If we all have a different definition of love then love really has no meaning at all. Note: this is how "love" is used as a deceptive code word to excuse, or encourage many self destructive behaviors. For example; If I discipline my child so they might develop self discipline and a better shot at success in life, am I loving, or am I rigid and harsh? If I give into every whim of my child and shower them with gifts such that they always expect to have their own way and don't learn to earn their success, am I loving, or am I lazy?</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;">2. The most popular definitions of love [feeling or sexual attraction] are not actionable and therefore cannot be taught, or learned. Feelings or sexual attraction are merely responses to external stimuli.</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 10 Commandments Define Love</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"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0eLfYrrkERE/XWKqKLIsYVI/AAAAAAAABMk/p3mf47yWl9sclOXg_7XDW8SlB22NsolTACLcBGAs/s1600/tyler-nix-Pw5uvsFcGF4-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/-0eLfYrrkERE/XWKqKLIsYVI/AAAAAAAABMk/p3mf47yWl9sclOXg_7XDW8SlB22NsolTACLcBGAs/s320/tyler-nix-Pw5uvsFcGF4-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">For love to be a helpful guide to life it must be defined and given actionable features. The 10 commandments of God are the beginning of creating such a definition. We must build on that foundation... but the 10 commandments is where we start.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Request your FREE copy of the helpful bible study guide: <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-ten-commandments">The Ten Commandments</a></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;">Matthew 22:35-40</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus was providing a summary of the comm</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ndments ultimate purpose:</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To practice, learn, and demonstrate love towards God</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To pract</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">i</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ce, learn, and demonstrate love towards our fellow human beings </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;"><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;">Jesus applies this summary overview to more than just the commandments... He says the whole bible [the law, and the prophets] expands on this theme. One purpose of the bible is to provide guidance in the right way to live, including action and intent. Another purpose of the bible is to depict the problems that arise from not practicing the way of love and the penalties [or consequences] of not practicing the way of love.</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;">Love In The Old Testament</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;">Love is the centerpiece of ALL scripture... the old testament, and the new testament.</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 Jesus answered that the greatest commandment was love for God, and that the second was love for other people... He was directly quoting from the old testament.</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;">Deuteronomy 10:12-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;context=the second set of stone tablets with the commands written on them</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;">Leviticus 19:18 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">context=examples and applications of the law regarding how to treat other people in your community</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;">Following the commandments is intrinsically linked with love in God's way of 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 13:9-10 </span></b><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">fulfill</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;means to fill up with, like you might fill up a ship with cargo. In this way love is "filled up" by the commandments. The commandments provide content, definition, and detail.</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;">Love &amp; Eternity</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;">John 3:16 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God wants ALL of us to live forever, to attain eternal 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;">But first, He wants us to learn to get along with one another, to love one another. He wants this so that eternal life might be harmonious, beautiful, uplifting, joyous. </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 John 3:14-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God will not allow resentment, jealousy, envy, selfishness, violence, or hatred to enter into eternity.</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;">Matthew 19:17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the road to eternal life is marked out with the signs that are the commandments.</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;">Love Is A Package Deal</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;">If I design and build a car, but if I design it and build it without wheels... then its not really a car... its just a big metal box that sits in a garage and goes nowhere. In the same way true biblical love means ALL the commandments. </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;">James 2:8-11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if I renounce violence and murder that's a good step towards being more loving... and I would be a better person for it. But if I am at the same time unfaithful and disloyal to my wife and family... then you cannot define me as a person who practices love. The total package of my life is lacking.</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;">James 2:12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;every one of us falls short of the full measure... which is why we have to show mercy and grace towards one another. But we should be actively changing our lives to follow the law, which is called the </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">law of liberty</span></u><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><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Law &amp; Freedom</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 bible depicts God's law as a way of freedom, or liberty. But what does it mean to be free? And what exactly are we freed from? Most people tend to view rules and commandments as the opposite of freedom.</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 have to overcome thinking that freedom means a world where we all get to make our own rules and do as we please. That's not freedom, that's anarchy. What one person considers freedom of expression, another person might consider child abuse. What about my freedom to be free from your idea of freedom. So, we need boundaries if we are going to get along.</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 freedom God's law offers is freedom from sin... and its consequences.</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;">Romans 3:16-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;destruction and misery</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;">Romans 6:19 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">[sets up analogy]</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;20-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;slavery and death</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;">Your freedom comes when you are set free from deception, set free from destructive ways of thinking and acting that end only in misery and death.</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;">Imagine yourself in a room. The massive walls of the room are slowly closing in on you and are going to crush you. There is no escape. Then a voice calls out to you and says I can get you out if you are willing to carefully follow my instructions. </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;">That room is the inevitability of your physical existence. There is life outside that shrinking room. Getting out involves a change of mind, actions, and attitudes... and a sincere desire to live a different way of life </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 6:17</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;">1 John 5:3 --&gt; Psalm 119:44-45, 98-105 --&gt; Deuteronomy 8:3</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;">Love &amp; Sin</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;">1 John 3:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;lawlessness is activity outside the boundary lines drawn by God's commandments... the boundary lines that define life in eternity. A lawless person is one who acts and thinks as if there were no laws... so they are not compatible with eternity. </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 John 3:5-6 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">if we move and think outside the boundaries it will negatively affect our relationship with both the Father and the Son. </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;">Jesus is going to enter into a special relationship with the first fruits. The bible uses the analogy of a human marriage to help us picture such a faithful binding relationship. Does Jesus Christ want to enter into this kind of special relationship with a person with completely different values from His?</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;">Imagine this: what would happen if a man who wants a faithful monogamous relationship married a woman who believed that adultery was OK? The marriage is going to be difficult, unpleasant, and unsatisfying... imagine being trapped in a marriage like that for eternity.</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 John 3:10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;such a person is not, and will not be, part of the family 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How do we have a right relationship with God? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 John 2:4-6</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;">And how did Jesus conduct Himself? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 15:10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus set boundaries on His actions and thoughts based on the commandments. Jesus is looking for a helpmate who thinks and acts according to the same values. </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;">Sin is lawlessness... refusing to be bound by God's rules... the rules which define a healthy, happy, satisfying relationship... between you and God... between you and Christ... between you and all people.</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;">A Guide To Conduct</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 commands are a high level summary of God's way of life. The rest of the bible builds on that foundation. Jesus teaching built on that foundation. </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;">With regards to the commandments He said... I am not here to replace the commandments with something different. I am here to fulfill them... to fill them up with additional meaning, application, and nuance </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 5:17.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Notice that right after He says that He proceeds with the sermon on the mount... which takes commandments like "don't murder", "no adultery", and adds new meaning and understanding to these commands delving into the intent and emotions behind the actions. </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;">The Royal Law of Love</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;">Lots of people like to point to Jesus comments about the greatest commandment and interpret that to say His only commandment for us was to love God, and love one another. </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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But what is love? What does it look like? How can I know it when I see it? Is there anything I can &nbsp;do to walk in loving mindset? </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 10 commandments map out a loving relationship with God, and a loving relationship with fellow humans. The commandments are given to us for our good, and for our blessing. They are so much more than a list of do's and don't s. The commandments are instructions... with a purpose, and a goal.</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;">Life --&gt; Eternity --&gt; Joy</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/oWxoFLguaQk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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3 Steps to More Active Fellowship
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5OOSaicWsDs/XVtqfWTUOzI/AAAAAAAABMY/rwg375DHa84QfwpG8KLEpYA0W-82sAeCACLcBGAs/s1600/artem-bali-1188064-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1067" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5OOSaicWsDs/XVtqfWTUOzI/AAAAAAAABMY/rwg375DHa84QfwpG8KLEpYA0W-82sAeCACLcBGAs/s320/artem-bali-1188064-unsplash.jpg" width="213" /></a></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">3 Steps to More Active Fellowship</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;">Definition of fellowship:</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;">Noun</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: a community </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">based on shared </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">interest, activity, feeling, experience. So you could say the church is a fellowship because we have the same beliefs, we have the same worship practi</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">es [</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;">abbath, holy days, tithing etc.], we share the same holy spirit, we have gone through trials together.</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;">Verb</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: the interaction that comes about through common cause... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">sharing, giving, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">for example the words we say to one another, the time we spend together</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, or material goods</span><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;">Today I want to concentrate on fellowship </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">that is active</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... intentional... mindful... and pleasing to our Father Creator. I have three points: 1) presence 2) communication 3) hospitality.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;But first…</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 Designed The Church</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;">I</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">f </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">have a problem with the church </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">actually have a problem with God and the way He has set things up. We </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">can </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">try to wriggle around this dilemma by blaming the people</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. That way </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we can let God off the hook, or separate our interaction with Him from our interaction with the church:</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;">For example: </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you might not</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;like being thrown together with this motley crew, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you might question </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">how could God allow such a p</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">er</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">son or people in His church</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. M</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">aybe you don't like the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">people in charge are doing things. We might want to walk away or distance ourselves… but our interaction with God cannot be separated from the church.</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;">God designed His way of life... his truth... to function within the context of and assembly, an ecclesia, a church, a fellowship. At one time that meant an assembly of people called to be a nation [Israel]. In this present age it means an assembly, an </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">ecclesia</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, a church, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;composed </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">of people called from all different backgrounds and ancestr</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ie</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;"><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;">A family of people who are not blood related... who share the same beliefs and ideals... who can offer help and encouragement to one another as we grow into the ful</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ness of Christ. </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;">God has designed</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the church to accommodate flaws</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;What He is interested in is how you deal with these problems… not that we all reach nirvana in the church.</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;">T</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">he church is not your "destination" it is a road. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Fellowship is part of how you get on down the road!</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Get a FREE copy of <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-church-jesus-built">The Church Jesus Built</a>... discover what the bible really says about the church Jesus would leave behind!</span></div><h2><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Presence</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;… the 1</span></b><b><sup><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt; vertical-align: super;">st</span></sup></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;step to success is showing up</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;">Leviticus 23:3 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the seventh day is a day to set aside your work and attend church [that is the sacred assembly refer</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">r</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ed to here].</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;">Hebrews 10:19-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;your spiritual connection to God, your acceptance of Christ, cleansing of your conscience... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">are</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;directly connected to your attendance, your assembl</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ing</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;together, your presence among the people of God. If you are sick stay home, if you have an emergency [an ox in the ditch stay home], otherwise</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;make it a priority to be present on God's appointed day of assembly.</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;">Notice especially </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">verse 24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... think about how we might encourage one another, inspire one another in good deeds in expressions of love etc. Th</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is brings us to</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;point number 2:</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;">Communication</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;">Hebrews 13:15-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;I added verses 17-18 to show the context: church life. But lets </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">back up and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">focus on verses 15-16. We offer to God sacrifice, which is a) praise, verbal testimony to His name and all it stands for b) to do good and share with 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In the KJV it says </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">communicate</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;instead of </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">share</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. That the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">KJV </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">translates it this way proves nothing but it is interesting</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;because communication is essential to active fellowshipping</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The word being translated here is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">koinonia</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;">&nbsp;This same word is the one we often see</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;translated... "fellowship".</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;">This is the connection I mentioned earlier between fellowship/sharing/communication.</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;">Malachi 3:13-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;here is a judgment spoken in a time of rebellion and arrogance against God, at a time when people said "what's the point", "why fulfill all these silly requirements". </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Not unlike our own</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;time.</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;">Yet</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">,</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;something caused God to pay attention to a particular subset of people and set them apart so they would not be swept up in the punishment that was coming. It </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">was the people</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;who remained respectful of YHWH, who honored Him... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">and who </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">talked with each other. </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;">Communicating with one another is very important to the Creator. He has a lot to say about how we talk, what we talk about.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You have heard messages about the content of our conversation. Today we are going to &nbsp;look into the </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">way</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we talk to one another. Can our conversation be more helpful, encouraging, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">and engaged</span><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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 1:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">19-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God want</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;">&nbsp;you to learn to be a better listener. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">One application </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is that your listen to instruction from His word. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The other is</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to listen to an</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">d</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;communicate with one another. </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;">Swift to hear, to comprehend, the understand. Active listening that involves more than just letting sound</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">waves cause vibrations in your eardrum... but extending effort, desire, and even technique into your listening.</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;">Psalm 10:17 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">active engaged listening is part of putting on the mind of Christ. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Become a better listener </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">so that you can respond appropriately... for encouragement, for assistance, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">or</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;provide godly cou</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">n</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">sel.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;A</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ctive listening will be very important</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;i</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">f you are to be seated with Christ at His return helping Him apply the rule of God on earth... to judge, to administer, to help.</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;">There are time honored techniques for better listening... so that you can learn more, find out what is really being said and therefore being able to better respond.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Here are three tidbits from what is called the Voss method [FBI hostage negotiator]:</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;">Asking </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Calculated </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Questions</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;">Asking questions can be a good way to express interest. But if you really want to engage, try to avoid asking questions that lend to a single word or phrase as an answer. Ask questions that provide an invitation for telling a story. </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;">Did you have a good week? [yep] --&gt; What did you </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">accomplish </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">this week? [the story of my week]</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;">Be careful of "why" questions, "why did you do that", "why did you go there"... when you ask a person "why" questions it puts them on the defensive... as if you are calling them to explain themself... as if you are judging their actions, etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Why questions will shut down openness.</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;">If &nbsp;you ask </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">questions </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">with these considerations in mind you are more likely to get the real story, get insight into what the other person is really 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Question</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: why do you what the real story?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Is it being nosy? </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;">Answer:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are not talking about tricking people into disclosing tasty tidbits for gossip. We are talking about using conversational techniques to engage and connect with others. Consider this: </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Christ's ability to have compassion, to able to more effectively engage, help, encourage etc. is because He knows the real story. He knows what its like to be in the flesh. He can empathize. He can feel your pain etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Hebrews 2:17</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;">Labeling</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;">This is more of a tactical technique. In response to what a person tells you you might respond with: "seems like that would be a very challenging situation", "appears you like the color blue"... then [here's the hard part] you pause, and wait for the other person to respond</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Its a proven way to draw people out.</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 to use/appreciate silence. Some of us feel awkward when there is silence. Some of us feel we need to fill up every empty space with words. But its important to give people time to think and respond [example of Bob Honeycutt].</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;">Labeling </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">It is a demonstration</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[or verbal cue]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;that you have heard what was said, you processed what you heard, and you understand, you get 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"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Labeling</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;establishes empathy, you care about what the person said. Note: empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy means you agree, you feel the same way etc. Empathy means you understand... but you don't have to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">take ownership of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">or evaluate their behavior, or view point.</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;">R</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ather than matters of right or wrong</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">… m</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ost things that people disagree on are matters of taste, style, prioritization. </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;">Mirroring</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;">This is another tried and proven technique. After a person has</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;opened up a bit and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">told you some stuff.... pause and repeat the last few words of what they said. For example:</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;">Them</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;">etc. Etc. … and that’s the thing I find most interesting about</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;biblical prophecy"...</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;">You</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: ... "ah</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, you like </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">biblical pro</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">p</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">hecy"</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;">What does mirroring accomplish? </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 lfo2; 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;">Get's you away from thinking your own thoughts. I think one of the hardest parts of conversation is learning to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">focus on what the other person has just said. Many of us are simply waiting for them to stop talking so we can say what we thought of while they were talking.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Not doing that takes discipline. Mirroring</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is a te</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">hnique that can help</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;by providing a verbal cue to focus on what the person is saying</span><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: l0 level1 lfo2; 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;">Mirroring e</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">stablishes rapport. People are drawn to their own words... repeat their </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ow</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">n words back to them like this and it draws them to you. They are more likely to open up to you. You are more likely to get to hear</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, understand, and appreciate</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;what </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the other person is really </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;thinking. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: give the other person time to respond! Use silence.</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;">Luke 24:13-19</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus didn't need these guys in order to learn what had happened. He was using active listening to get them to talk. He established a connection with them before He started teaching them the real meaning of the events that had recently happened.</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;">Think of how you could apply active listening</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. For example; </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">visiting a new church area, greeting new visitors, getting to know folks who have moved to the area, going to youth camp, meeting new people at the feast, learning how to bear one another</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 burdens</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in the local congregation</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, learning how to pray more effectively for one another. </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;">If you pra</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">tice active listening there is a wonderful side benefit. You will also become slow to wrath like we read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">earlier </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">in James 1:19!</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;">Exodus 34:6 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">slow to wrath is part of the mind of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">… its a good thing!</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;">Proverbs 18:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a person is slow to wrath because they take the time to actively listen... to take the time to learn the whole story. With active listening you are developing an essential skill necessary for the practice </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">righteous judgment.</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;">Hospitality</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;">This point is similar to the first point: 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 2:42 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I like this reference because it closely links fellowship with eating together. </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;">Find ways to break bread with your brothers and sisters in the Church. You can invite them to your home... you could invite them out after services... get together for lunch... go for coffee. But the main point is to make it happen. Don't just wait around for someone else to make a date. Make one yourself. </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;">If people can't make it, ask them some other time. If someone wants to get together with you and you are reluctant "oh no what in the world would we talk about"? Then consider it an act of service pleasing to God. be generous, share yourself with others. Look at it as an opportunity to practice active listening.</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 8:4, 9:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">here the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">koinōnia</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is translated sharing, but it the same word that in translated fellowship in other places. &nbsp;O</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ne of the meanings of fellowship is generosity. The immediate context is Paul's collection for those suffering famine in Jerusalem. I ask you to consider the generos</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ity</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and giving of yourself.</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 you make a sacrifice of yourself [your time, your energy, your share of mind] for the sake of another person. This is pleasing 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 John 1:3-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;our fellowship with one another brings us into fellowship with the Father and the Son. </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;">Matthew 25:40</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/gCFc3opaqQQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Church of God is at War With Satan
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OqhUGl3wnfc" width="480"></iframe><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When I was born [1961] the world was in the midst of what is called the cold war. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The opponents were of course the USA and the USSR. The Cold War</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;was not a battle fought with guns [except for small scale skirmishes like Vietnam or Afghanistan]. The Cold War was a war of deception, disinformation, propaganda, and threats. Psychological warfare &nbsp;&nbsp;geared toward wearing down the resolve of the opponent and their willingness to defend themselves.</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 church of God is at war with Satan... because Satan is at war with us. Right now our conflict is like a cold war... the spiritual forces of evil which infest human governments are held back by God. However, we are warned that very close to the return of Christ that restraint will be removed. Then Satan's war with the Church will go hot. </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> <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;">Request a FREE copy of our bible study guide:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/is-there-really-a-devil">Is There Really a Devil?</a></span></blockquote></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;">During the 1st half of human history before Jesus first coming Satan was permitted to go about his business... quietly, behind the scenes, no one talked about him too much. But when Jesus showed up on the scene that changed.</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;">Confront</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ing</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;&amp; Expos</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ing Satan</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 ministry of Jesus was a direct confrontation with the demonic realm and Satan. </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;">Jesus ministry began with Him facing of the most powerful temptations Satan could throw at him. After those weeks in the wilderness Jesus then spent the next 2 years preaching, healing, and casting out demons from people in Galilee and Judea. We have several detailed accounts of demonic confrontation including some of the dialog between Jesus and demonic spirits.</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;">Jesus teachings, parables, prophecies were filled with warnings about the activities and influence of the evil one in society and the lives of individuals. Then towards the end of His ministry Jesus went toe-to-toe with the powers of spiritual wickedness in their positions of political and religious authority...calling them out as the unwitting tools of Satan. Finally, Jesus was executed facilitated by betrayal and deceit directly influenced by Satan.</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;">Satan was out to get Jesus bec</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">au</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">se Jesus was to exposing him. Jesus showed Satan for what he really was... ripped off the mask... tore away the disguise... revealed the deceptions of the evil one... and showed him as ultimately powerless before God and the power of the resurrection. </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;">Hebrews 2:13 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">prior to Jesus Christ, Satan had the power of death over humanity... to oppress them with the tyranny of fear. But through Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection to indestructible life human beings no longer need to live in fear. People like you and me can drive Satan out of their lives NOW... but who will show them... who will carry on Jesus' work and expose Satan?</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">That mandate falls upon the Church of God which is lead by the resurrected living Christ. It is part of our job to:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">expose Satan, to convince or remind people of his real presence. How can people begin to effectively combat an enemy they don't even acknowledge exists.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">to warn people of his devices... what does Satanic activity even look like</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">to provide people with the weapons of spiritual warfare necessary to fight back and prevail</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;">Satan is Alive and Well... on Planet Earth</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;">Matthew 4:8-9 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">all the kingdoms and governments of the world are Satan's to offer to whomever he pleases. Notice that Jesus never denies they are Satan's to give.</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;">John 12:31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus refers to Satan as a prince, high ranking position of authority but not the supreme authority [also refers to the time at the end when the war will go from a cold war to a hot war]</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;">John 14:30</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Satan referred to as prince of this world [also references his role in bringing about the execution of Jesus].</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;">2 Corinthians 4:1-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;using the earthly authority that has been given to him, Satan has deceived the people of this world. The church's ministry is a direct confrontation to this deception. Which is why...</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 Church is the #1 Target of Satan</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;">Think of a Cold War spy... he or she is able to achieve their goals because no one knows or suspects their presence. If people know a spy has infiltrated their organization they are on-guard, more careful and wary. In the same way, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Satan can accomplish his ends more effectively when people are unaware of 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;">Yet, the Church [the effective body of Christ] is carrying on Jesus' work of exposing Satan [unless we shirk that duty]. We warn people, what he is all about, how he works, how his threats are toothless, how his promises are lies, and that there is a way out.</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;">We make that proclamation to the unbelieving public through Beyond Today; the magazine, the broadcast, our YouTube Channel, booklets and our website. All that is made possible through the support of the membership.</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;">Therefore, Satan's top priority is to attack undermine, discredit, and confuse the Church. Just as he did with 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You, the members of God's Church, have heeded God's into the light of truth. You have been warned of the reality of Satan's existence, made aware of His role in human history, society, and government. You have been made aware of the mass deception that covers the entire planet. You have opted out of the captivity to delusion.</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;">But you are still under attack, because you are part of the church of God. Let's discuss some of the ways you can expect to be attacked.</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;">3 Ways Satan Attacks The Church</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Divide and Conquer</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 2:5-11 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Paul is re-addressing the case of a person who had been kicked out of the congregation for incestuous adultery. Previously, Paul had given everyone a swift kick because they not confronting this open sinning that was taking place in the congregation.</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;">Now, much later He is advocating forgiveness, restoring the person back into the congregation [I assume the guilty party is repentant "excessive sorrow"]. In verse 11 Paul says why "do this so Satan will not outwit us... this is one of his schemes". What sort of scheme might that be?</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;">A small piece of God's church had been broken off... because of his own sin. Now restoration through repentance, and forgiveness were possible. But if the other members of the Church had withheld forgiveness the loss of that one small piece would be permanent and a small victory for Satan would be won [win enough small battles and you might end up winning the war].</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;">Pieces of the Church of God are often broken apart, and scattered by a variety of means: </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 lfo2; 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;">Sometimes its a single person</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 lfo2; 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;">Sometimes its a group </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 lfo2; 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;">Sometimes the cause is 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 lfo2; 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;">Sometimes all it takes is gossip, rumors, or accusations. </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 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><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;">Satan is the accuser, constantly on the prowl for ways to denounce you before God. Within the Church his purpose is to cause division, dissent, factions, doubt,suspicion, and jealousy... to divide us and to conquer. </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 Peter 5:8-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;hunting lions prey upon the weak who become separated from the herd. The support and solidarity of the church can help you resist. A scattered and divided church is a weakened church</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 way to keep from being weakened by division is the generous application of forgiveness. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Propaganda</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 11:3-4 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">deceptive teachings can creep into the Church </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 11:13-15 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">This too is a device Satan uses to attack the Church from within</span><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;">2 Timothy 3:1-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;false ideas always have an appearance of goodness. That’s how they gain a foothold, they appeal to the desires of the human mind. &nbsp;But, they do not have the power of Godliness which is: life and resurrection!</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;">False </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ideas</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and modes of thinking from society and culture seep into the church</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;they seep into the minds of the members</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and the</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;ministry…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;from</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;TV shows, books, websites</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, news-feeds, friend groups… ideas that seem right but are based 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Satan presents himself as a messenger of truth... one who brings enlightenment. But his promises are lies. He promises that you can free yourself from all boundaries and limitations... if you don't like the rules then make new ones that you do like... if you can imagine </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">an alternative reality</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;you can make it happen…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and people love 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"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This is the sort of deception that has captivated the whole world. The Church resists it. Fights back against it. But that makes the church look stuffy, out of touch, uncool, not relevant, not willing to move with the times… if you find yourself thinking or talking along these lines… you might want to step back and think about it. Because true things, lasting things don’t change. </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;">Reality is that</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God made the universe and everything in it. His universe operates by certain rules and principles. You can work within those rules, thrive and live, or you can work to redefine the rules, crash... burn... and die.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The power of suggestion</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 2:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Satan is able to plant suggestions directly into your mind on what I suppose is a form of spiritual wavelength</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Though is the precursor to action. {bad mood]</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;">John 13:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Satan was able to plant this thought into the mind/spirit of Judas. Not every thought is natural [not every thought is the result of cause and effect]. Some come into you from outside.</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;">Judas gave into the thought</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. He was not compelled against his will. We know from other things said about him that he had the proclivity. He meditated on things that were not of God. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 12:1-6 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Notice that </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judas deceitfully presents himself as more righteous than Jesus... as an angel of light only concerned with the welfare of the poor. </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;">James 1:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;rather than reject the evil thought a person can choose to think it over, dwell on it, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">extrapolate and project</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;what the possibilities might be... and in this way they are drawn </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">further and further </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">into sin. </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;">Your Weapons</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;">Awareness of Satan's presence, his intent and the devices He uses is a good start. B</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">u</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">t what mus</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;you do to defend yourself?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesian 6:10-12</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The Word of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your most powerful weapon in this cold war of deception, intrigue, disinformation, propaganda, agitation, provocation, accusation... is the word of God. Put another way... we fight deception with truth.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Believe it, know it, and do 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;">Ephesians 4:7-14 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">in addition to public proclamation and calling the unbelieving people of this world to break free from the captivity and deception of Satan... the</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;c</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">hurch works internally to help you stay free and not be taken captive yet again through instruction in the word. </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;">Know the law... stand up for it... but also understand the application of repentance, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 23:23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. We need both sides of the coin. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The Holy Spirit</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Corinthians 12:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">7</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">-11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[verse 10] the ability to discern between spirits</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is a gift of the Holy Spirit of God. Ask God for this gift. Can you spot that angel of light who actually telling you a lie?</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 John 4:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you should </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">test the spirits... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">according to how the comply with the truth of scripture. John offers us a fundamental example: </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">do they acknowledge Jesus Christ lord? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But don’t stop there, test based on other fundamental doctrines. {don’t know the fundamental doctrines? Learn them, that’s how you test spirits].&nbsp;</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;">Here’s an example:</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;">Matthew 7:21-23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a person might acknowledge Christ but by His own words </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">'if you are a teacher of lawlessness, anomia, no law... then I disown you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><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;">Revelation 12:17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the Church of Jesus Christ will have both the testimony of salvation through Jesus death and resurrection... as well as the teaching of law and commandment keeping. The true church must have both sides of the coin. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">And Satan will make war with such a church and such people.</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;">Read </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 12:7-12</span></b><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 live in what may prove to be the most trying times in human history. At any moment our cold war with Satan could turn hot.We need to be prepared individually and as a church. &nbsp;It is a time for every one of us to stand up for the truth, stand up for God... and stand up for the Church of God. </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> <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;">Read this message on our blog: <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-church-of-god-is-at-war-with-satan.html">Satan is at War With The Church</a></span></blockquote></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/kbWaQ9Pshm0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Reading The Bible With Humility & Respect
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TmVB2g3DB6M" width="480"></iframe><br /><br /><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Many people read the bible... many people study it... but few truly understand. MY purpose today is to explain how attitude can help or hinder a persons level of biblical understanding.</span></h2><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/07/comign-to-bible-with-humility-and.html">We must come to the bible with respect and humility</a>.</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;">Respect</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: 1) to admire a person or thing for it's abilities, qualities, achievements 2) positive feelings for something you consider important 3) politeness, honor, and care shown towards someone or something that is considered important.</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;">Humility</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: 1) the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others; lack of pride. 2) Recognition of self in relation to a deity [YHWH the creator]</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;">Without the right approach we may still be able to discern certain biblical truths on a limited level... but at the same time suffer huge blind spots with regard to God's revelation to us. </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;">For example: some people latch on to "the Torah" and develop a reverence for God's commands but seem to miss out on God's plan of salvation and get caught up in Jewish traditions, whereas others, only want to talk about Jesus' on the cross but miss out on God's call to obedience and get caught up in human philosophies/traditions.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">For more in-depth information request a copy this <b>FREE </b>study plan --&gt;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-study-course" style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">United Church of God's bible study course</a>.</span></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">1. Pray For Understanding</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;">Ask God to guide you and to show you His will. But why would the Creator of the universe take time to listen to, and answer 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way. The bible is information, concepts, truths you would not know if God had spelled them out for you in writing. Even when truth is spelled out in written instructions from the Creator you need His assistance to go beyond superficial understanding AND erroneous understanding. </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"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tnDwoI4CxcU/XT27AN03SrI/AAAAAAAABLo/cOBTgNtZbFUqZ1rjAhNySKhUrEXH3SMCACLcBGAs/s1600/tyler-nix-klOo6lqKWjs-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/-tnDwoI4CxcU/XT27AN03SrI/AAAAAAAABLo/cOBTgNtZbFUqZ1rjAhNySKhUrEXH3SMCACLcBGAs/s320/tyler-nix-klOo6lqKWjs-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b>God will do His part if you do your part.</b></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;">a) Isaiah 66:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;God says "let Me tell you what kind of person I am going to pay attention to; a person who is humble and respectful towards my word".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">b) Acts 10:34-35 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God pays attention to people who DO. If God has revealed something rather simple to you such as the necessity of attending a holy convocation on the weekly Sabbath... but you refuse to do anything about it... why should He keep revealing more stuff to you? Why take you to step 2 if you won't do step 1?</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;">So, act on what you know!</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;">c) Luke 10:21-22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus praised the Father for the way He chose whom He would give understanding. The quality of children worthy of praise is they are willing and eager to learn. Note: when kids have been shown how how to do something the next step is "no Daddy, I want to do it"... they want to learn how to do things themself.</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;">Understanding is not a matter of applying intellect [human brain power or reading comprehension]. Understanding is a matter of heart/spirit... and an application of the proper attitude. </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 Is Still The One Doing The Calling</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 reserves the right to call and choose who He wills to. Sometimes He chooses the most unlikely people. However, that doesn't mean you should just sit around in the waiting room until your number is called [and then God pours all knowledge into your empty brain]. You can cultivate [nurture] a proper approach and attitude towards God... and God say He pays attention. </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;">Luke 24:44-45</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;it was not their brilliance with language at work, or their capacity for contemplating abstract thought. God had to open up their minds. </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;">Remember that the resurrected, living Christ is actively involved &nbsp;in your understanding of the bible. </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;">2. Keep An Open Mind</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 I hear anyone say anything like "be open minded" my defenses go up. When someone is trying to get young people to approve of drug use, perverted sex, you often hear phrases encouraging you to be open minded... think for yourself... don't knock it till you try it. So when you hear me say "keep an open mind" you might think "is he trying to trick me"? Am I being lured into accepting something you really shouldn't.</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;">Fair enough, so lets keep our perimeters limited. In what areas am I advocating and open 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Be willing to admit when you are wrong </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">- if you were of the opinion that the bible is just a collection of myths and fairly tales... and I could show you from, archaeology, historic tie-ins, fulfilled prophecy, and internal logic that the bible was actually quite different and unique from anything else on the planet... would you be willing to change your opinion?</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;">Be willing to let go of human tradition or popular beliefs</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- if you were of the opinion that celebrating Christmas, Halloween, or the venerable day of the sun were pleasing to God... and I were to demonstrate from scripture that God instructs observing the seventh day Sabbath, and the 7 annual holy days... would you be willing to accept that these human traditions are not biblical, and not pleasing 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;">Now... what if we apply the principle to beliefs you hold about marriage, sexuality, human emotions, social interaction... are you still willing to change your opinions, change your behavior? Because the bible reaches out into all these areas of 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Applying this principle/attitude moves you further down the road of cultivating a proper attitude toward the bible. </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;">Why is it that the vast majority of people hang on to their human traditions, philosophies? Is it because the truth of the bible is only available to people who know Greek or Hebrew, who have studied ancient cultures or other stuff like that? No, the deep truths of the bible are open to anyone.</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;">Matthew 18:3-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;be teachable, eager to learn. But more is expected. Parents might teach their child all about Santa Claus, and children eagerly accept it, but its not true. At some point they are going to start investigating the matter themselves and seek to prove or disprove. </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;">Acts 17:10-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the Bereans had the childlike eagerness and openness. They were willing to hear rather then instinctively reject.... [that's crazy, nobody believes like that]. But, they also didn't just follow whatever they heard. They took it in. Then, they checked it out for themselves.</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;">To understand we need the attitude of the Bereans. Carefully review scripture and church teaching. Read the bible, compare it to the Churches teaching. Test it in this way and I am very confident you will be pleased with what you find.</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;">Trust but verify [Russian proverb, used by Ronald Reagan] we are willing to believe you are telling the truth... but we are still going to check you out.</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;">3. Humbly Seek Instruction &amp; Correction</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;">Digging in, finding out what the bible really says, acknowledging that the Church is faithfully transmitting that same truth is a good beginning. Just listening, merely accepting the premise as true is not enough. A teachable humble attitude hears the voice of correction and begins to make changes. </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;">An attitude that is seeking God's help in prayer, that is open to change, leads to putting what you learn into practice. If you are praying; ask God to instruct and correct, ask God to show you the right path. Revelation: a surprising and previously unknown fact, which you wouldn't/couldn't know on your 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Jeremiah 10:23-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the truth is not in us, we need it shown to us. This is not just a principle for doctrine...we also learn the truth about our self.</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;">Psalm 139:23-24 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Ask God to show 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your willingness to act on what is made known to you directly affects God's willingness to move forward with you and call you on to greater things, including a special place in the family 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">So far we have mostly focused on matters related to humility. Let's talk more about respect.</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;">4. Accept Inspiration of ALL 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"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To get the full truth... you must recognize the authority of ALL the bible as your guide for life and source of hope, which is received from your creator</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;2 Timothy 3:18-17</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;">Many people who profess to be followers of Christ reject the OT as offering any meaningful guidance. They view it as having been replaced by the NT. Good to have as a historical reference, a few lessons scattered here and there but not a go-to source.</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;">A half truth is still a deception. Example: a man stumbles through the front door. His wife asks "are you drunk", he answers " I had a couple of beers with the guys"... what he doesn't say is that he also had 6 shots of tequila. His statement is true, but deceptive.</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;">When NT personalities like; Paul, Timothy, Peter, Jesus taught from scripture they were using the Old Testament</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 NT portion of the bible is in many ways is a commentary on, and an expansion of, the OT. The NT is built on the firm foundation of the OT. Furthermore, the NT does not make sense as a stand alone document.</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;">5. Evidence of Inspiration</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;">a) </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Consistency</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- the bible was composed over a long period of about 1,400-1,500 years. The bible has 40 known authors [plus other unknown editors]. Only a few of them ever me one another, or even lived at the same time. </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 lived far apart in time. They worked in isolation. They probably didn't even realize or consider that what they were writing would later be what we now call "scripture". Yet, the power of God saw to it that these writings were preserved, compiled, and transmitted to us.</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;">Human beings are simply not capable of pulling off a 1,500 year long project with the amazing consistency of the bible. Left to the ever changing human imagination contradictions in the basic principles would have completely overwhelmed the bible.</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;">Example: the bible's teaching on the primacy of faith is consistent from beginning to end. Abel paid for his faith with his life. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets Jesus, the apostles, the church are an consistent exposition on faith. </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;">Example: the bible's teaching on obedience is consistent. </span><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;">&nbsp;Abraham was pleasing to God because he obeyed God's commandments, judgments, statutes. The bible ends with a call to obedience to God's commands </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;">. Jesus and all the apostles taught that instruction in righteousness is built on the foundation of the commandments.</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;">B) </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">History &amp; Archaeology </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the bible has held up for centuries under withering criticism from historians, theologians, archaeologists. The more that comes to be known from archaeology the more the bible is shown to be an accurate representation of human history. Only about 1% of known archaeological sites have been excavated.</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;">C) </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Fulfilled prophecy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- a subject for another day</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 Peter 1:10-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the spirit of God produces the unity of scripture over time</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;">6. Our Beliefs Must Conform To Scripture</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;">Just as the bible consistently conforms to its own principles, we too must conform both our thinking and our action to the bible. </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 Peter 3:14-16 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">even while the apostles were alive false teachers were twisting scripture to conform to human traditions and philosophies. How were false teachers twisting of scripture in Peter's own day... lawlessness. Teaching against the need to obey God's commandments. </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 the apostles were dead and gone other human philosophies would be injected into what the world calls Christianity: the ancient belief in a trinity, the original lie of the immortality of the soul, the materialist fatalism re-labeled predestination.</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;">What does Peter say? Gird up your loins and hang on to the truth.</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;">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;">The bible is more than a book, more than a historic document, more than a cultural icon. The bible is God's communication to you, to all mankind. As such it demands you approach it with a proper attitude.</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;">Humbly seek understanding [in both study and prayer]. Humbly be willing to admit error. Humbly &nbsp;seek instruction and course correction. Respectfully accept the bible as the word of God. In respect and fear let it change the way you see reality, and how you behave.&nbsp;</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/~4/1QqN0wgucmY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Bible Study: Get More From God's Word
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mel1kar-Jvo" width="480"></iframe><br /><br /><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">1. &nbsp;Plan Time For Regular Study</span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The bible is still a very popular book. It is generally revered and respected. Most households own a copy. But it remains unread.... sort of like a family, or cultural heirloom. That might even be the case with 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;">I know its there, I don't enjoy reading it, my mind drifts, I don't understand how to apply it to my life, I've already read it</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.&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;">God's plan for you will not be accomplished without regular contact with His word. God has given you His word as tool to be used in the work of preparing yourself, changing yourself, understanding your purpose. One of the works of the holy spirit is the washing of the </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 5:25-26</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><h2><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Let The Bible Interpret Itself</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;">2 Timothy 2:15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;"rightly dividing" ... means to cut straight [analogy of surgeon operating on spleen but ends up cutting out a liver]</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;">Once you have committed yourself to regularly reading the word of God it is good to have some guidelines. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Passionate readers of the bible can still take</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;it in weird, anti-social directions</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. T</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">hey "discover" things that lead them to separate themself from the body of Christ.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;You want to guard against 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A)&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If you come upon a particular verse </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you find</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;confusing/unclear/contradictory, the</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">n</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;let other more direct/clear verses in the bible provide understanding.</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;">Bible verses and passages do not contradict one another... they complement one another. Some of the concepts God's word tackles are huge/deep/require thought. The </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">bible </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">may have a lot to say about a subject like salvation. One verse or passage cannot encapsulate it all. The bible approaches the subject from various angle and various points of view. You have to put all the angles together to come up with the whole teaching. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">B)&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't force your personal point of view onto the word of God. Instead use context and other relevant scriptures to arrive at the correct meaning. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Peter 1:20</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" style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><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;">U</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">nderst</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">nding the context </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">begins with </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">understanding the types of biblical writing you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">re reading. Some of the bible is in the form of historic narrative, short biographies, some is poetry, songs, rhymes, contracts [like the second half of Exodus], litigation, jurisprudence, case law [large portions of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">N</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">umbers and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">D</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">euteronomy], dreams and symbols, personal letters, sermons, official court correspondence. </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;">[Discuss the ABC song]</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;">Considering the context also means viewing the verses before, and after the text being studied. If you pluck a verse out of the larger passage and try to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">interpret </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">it with little or no regard for the surrounding subject matter. You can lead yourself into grave error. </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;">Example: </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 3:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;... so the bible says I will not die... I could run with that and say "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">human beings have an immortal soul</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">"... &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">in which case</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the bible contradicts itself because other verses indicate that I do not have immortal life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">… </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">or I could say "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">the bible does not correlate to human experience. We all know from simple observance that human beings die</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;">&nbsp;in which case the bible is in conflict with science.</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;">Con</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">sider the con</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">text: who was speaking? Satan who is a liar. In the surrounding verses </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 2:16-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we learn that the Creator said they would die. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">So v</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">erse 4</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is our record of a lie being told</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Genesis 3:14-15 </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">goes on to show </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the serpent was punished for </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">lying</span><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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Mark 7:19</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;some pull this out of context as a declaration that all animal flesh is suitable for food. But the context of the chapter is hand washing, not clean and unclean meat, they are discussing washing dirt off your hands as a sign of righteousness. </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;">You want to look at the context and all the other scriptures on the subject.</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;">3. Study Topics</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;- Dig Deeper</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;">Acts 28:23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Paul taught about Jesus as the promised Messiah using all the scriptures. He was using a wide variety of scriptural references to make his point</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;about a given topic</span><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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 2:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;comparing spiritual truth with spiritual truth. Using the bible to interpret the bible. </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 you are reading and studying God's word, at various times you should concentrate on specific books of the bible, key doctrines, or subjects.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Gather the relevant scriptures on the matter. This allows you to see what the word of God says on a particular topic. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">[describing an elephant]</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;">For those of you who are new to all this, a good way to work your way through </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the important foundational </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">topics is to use the --&gt;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-study-course">United Church of God's bible study course</a>. </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;">4</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">. Use Study Aids</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 Church's bible study course will walk you through the important foundational topics. The booklets </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">published by the Church </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">will do likewise. But at some point you are going to want to look into topics that interest you, or </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">relate directly</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to what is going on in your life at the moment</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[diligence, patience, anger]</span><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;">S</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">tudy aids</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;can help you look into topics</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. I am going to list the most com</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">m</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">on types in a form of hierarchy. Starting with those least likely to inject the opinions </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">and biases </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">of the editor down to those that are the most likely to be filled with false teaching and the traditions of men.</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;">Concordance</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: helps you find bible words. A concordance takes each word contained in the bible and then lists every verse where that word is found. For example you might turn a page in the concordance which features "P" words. You might see the word patience and then 22 scripture references showing where you can find the word in your bible. You can then read all those verses about patience in the bible to get that more complete understanding we have talked about. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: printed concordances are usually keyed to the KJV.</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;">These days most bible programs feature a digital concordance that allows you to look up all the occurrence of a given word as if the bible were a type of database. Same concept: it allows you to gather all the verses on you topic.</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;">You want to be sure you go into an actual bible and look at them so you can get the context. Obscuring of context is probably the biggest negative for using a bible on you tablet or phone. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However they are excellent for looking up scriptures and searching.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Dictionary/Lexicon: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">you might look up all the instances of </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;word </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">like “</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">patience</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in your bible</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Then you might want to investigate the meaning of the word with a dictionary or lexicon.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;A dictionary or lexicon is going to give you more insight into the meaning of the word</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and tie it into other biblical concepts</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Remember </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the bible in your lap is</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a translation from a different language so the meaning might be a little different. You'll want to know 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Topical Bible:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;these will generally provide a listing of scripture verses by topic rather than just key word. </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;">Bible Encyclopedias: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">these add historical context, setting to a given topic. These are more likely to introduce the bias of the author, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">and can introduce </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">false teachings, false traditions 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Commentaries &amp; Study Bibles:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;these offer viewpoints on books of the bible and/or verse by </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">verse </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">comments </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">from</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a particular writer. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Commentaries</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;are </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">highly </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">subject to the biases of the author. Commentaries </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">require</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;caution. They can range from conservative [an author who at least believes scripture is God inspired] to very liberal [authors who may view scripture as merely a historic document written by human being with their own agenda].</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;">Caveat</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we do not establish doctrine by what these authors write in these bible helps. Doctrine is established by letting the bible interpret the bible. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">5.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Read the Whole 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"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Much of the bible is narrative, creation, Abraham’s family, Israel, life of Jesus. Other books require a different approach, law, poetry, wisdom sayings … etc. Reading the whole bible all the way through ensures you become aware of all the bible says about various matters. Only studying topics may mean you miss out on a wide variety of subject material. &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;">A helpful approach to reading the bible through is to use a reading plan. There are lots of these out there. The most common type is a daily reading plan with the goal of getting a person through all the bible in 365 days… a few OT passages and a few NT passages each day. They work!</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;">You’ll never get it all in one reading. Its important to read and re-read. The washing of the word is a life-long endeavor.</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="color: red;"><span style="background-color: white; font-family: , &quot;georgia&quot; , serif; font-size: 20.4188px;">During the course of the message I referenced a reading plan which was distributed to everyone present. If you are interested you can get a&nbsp;</span><span class="caps" style="background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; font-family: , &quot;georgia&quot; , serif; font-size: 20.4188px;">PDF</span></span><span style="background-color: white; font-family: , &quot;georgia&quot; , serif; font-size: 20.4188px;"><span style="color: red;">version here:</span><span style="color: #222222;">&nbsp;</span></span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/bible_reading_plan.pdf" 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; font-size: 20.4188px; line-height: inherit;">Bible Reading&nbsp;Plan</a></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">6</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">. Compare Different Translations</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 word is given to us in the format of a written document. The bible was originally written in Hebrew, a little bit of Aramaic, and Greek. </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 addition to originally being written in a different language, God's word is also written within the context of human culture. God's word is not written as if it all occurring in a supernatural world beyond the clouds. God's instruction for us are written in the context of the customs, traditions, laws, worldview, history of ancient Israel, Persia, Greece, and Rome… firmly grounded in reality and human history.</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;">Thoughts and ideas are expressed differently from person to person [or from God to a person] depending on the culture they are in. </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;">An English translation of the bible is therefore the handiwork of translators, sometimes a committee, sometimes a single person. A translation is merely a tool to help you understand what is written. The translation itself is not sacred. It is an attempt to transmit to you that which is sacred. </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;">Different translators are going to express ideas in different ways.</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;">One one end of the spectrum you would have a transliteration. Where each Greek or Hebrew word is replaced with a suitable English word. &nbsp;A transliteration is reliable but almost impossible to read. Its accuracy depends on the choice of English words.</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;">A step further would be something like the KJV. Many times the KJV inserts additional words and changes the order of the words to conform to English grammar and make the sentences flow in a manner more closely representing English. </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 King James version [and NKJV] is very reliable. &nbsp;You definitely want to have a KJV bible since it is used and the key for other bible study tools like concordances, lexicons, and dictionaries. But it can be difficult to understand for modern day readers.</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 next step would be a “thought for thought translation” like the NIV or the ESV. These types of translations are much better at conveying the meaning of the ancient forms of speech in modern language. </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;">Example</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;">NKJV </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 2:17-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&lt;--&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">NIV Hebrews 2:17-18</span></b><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;">Another type of translation is a paraphrase version like the NLT or Good News bible. These are good for children and light reading but are next to useless for doctrine.</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;">So you want to read the sections of scripture you are studying in more than one translation. A good tool for this is a parallel bible.... where on a single page one column might be the KJV and the other might be the NIV. Digital bibles have made reading parallel translations much easier than in the past. </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;">Regardless of which version of the bible you use the important point is that you use it!</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;">7. Seek Guidance From God's Church &amp; Ministry</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;">Acts 8:30-31, Romans 10:14-15, Matthew 28:19-20</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;">The church of God is assigned the task of teaching those who would be disciples. The disciples responsibility is to hear and to heed. </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;">What is the Church? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">t</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;">&nbsp;a group of people led by God's spirit. Fellow</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">sh</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ip with these people can help you learn the spiritual truths t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ught by J.C. </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;">1 Timothy 3:15 - </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">doctrine and proper understanding begins with the Church 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;">1 Titus 1:5-9 - the elders are the ministry</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and must teach as they have been taught</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;">1 Thessalonians 5:21</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">-20</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- your responsibility</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&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;">Jesus warned that deceivers would come into the church, the apostles warned that deceivers would come into the church... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“I know after I depart ravenous wolves will come among 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;">The ministry must remain faithful to the truth... but how do you know if they are faithful?</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 14:12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the church will be know by its commandment keeping. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 8:20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;... to make this call, you need to know what is in God's word and what it means.</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;">Get more from your bible… do this and you’ll get more from the Sabbath as well.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">Read or view this message on our blog&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/07/bible-study-get-more-from-gods-word.html">Bible Study: Get More From God's Word</a></span></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/fPUVh_Zx7Wk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Fruit With No Name
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fdw-A90FZ7c" width="480"></iframe><br /><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's spirit adds something to your life called Prautes. That's the word in the original language... Greek. Attempts to translate Prautes into the English language is a challenge. There is no good word in our language to convey the meaning of Prautes.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Vine's Expository Dictionary</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;defines of prautes as: an attitude toward God [state of mind], submitting one's self to God, not resisting God, confident in God's presence, authority, and power. Prautes gives calmness of spirit from mental focus which is not on self, or prioritizing personal desires.... Prautes seeks and wants what the Creator of life desires. Prautes is is confidence that God is in charge, and acceptance that God is in charge.</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 Greek writer, s such as Aristotle would use the word to describe a person who would only express anger, frustration [negative emotions] when transcendent moral principles were at stake rather than because of the petty annoyances of life. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The more I looked into prautes… the more I wanted it as part of my thinking. I hope you will too.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="color: #660000;">Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</span></b><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: small; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit" style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">English Translations</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;">English words you could use to try to convey the meaning of Prautes might include: gentleness, acceptance, submission, humility, calm [show diagram]. </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;">None of these words conveys the full sense of the word. This is why I have been calling it "the fruit with no name". In Galatians 5:22 you will probably see it translated: gentleness. &nbsp;Depending on the context gentleness is often used to translate Prautes. In other verses you may see it translated as: meekness.</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;">In modern English usage, meekness has unfortunately come to take on the sense of weakness. A person &nbsp;who does not react or respond to insult, injury, or unfairness is not seen as doing so out of &nbsp;strength of character, but rather because they are powerless to do anything about it... weak willed, physically weak, or socially weak. So the English word "meek [meekness]" is not always helpful when discussing </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">prautes</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... but as you will see when we begin looking at some relevant scriptures we are stuck with the word… meek. </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;">Putting Attitude Into Action</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;">Like the other "fruits" we have looked at we begin with an attitude of mind... which then translates into action... usually involving how we treat others. Prautes is mental control and outlook which regulates how we handle life’s circumstances, and people we encounter. The mindset of meekness means we are no longer focused on always getting our own way, we &nbsp;focus on a bigger and better picture... God's way. This meekness &nbsp;then expresses itself in gentleness towards others rather than harshness, mild responses rather than extreme, calmness rather than nervous or edgy anger.</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;">Prautes [the attitude of meekness/and the action of gentleness] lets you more calmly deal with life’s storms. Because you know God is on His throne... and you are not. You understand He has an order, process and purpose for human life in the universe and you accept that</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;">Question: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is prautes a form of apathy? Are we looking to numb our senses, feelings, and emotions as a way to heroically or tragically accept our fate?</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;">Answer:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;No, we will see that prautes does not </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">deaden </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">our response to life’s ups and downs… it </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">channels </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">them to good outcomes.</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 is Gentle</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;">Not because He &nbsp;is weak but because gentleness is an expression of respect for 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;">Human beings can be truly awful, horrible, hateful, angry and selfish. If God were not gentle we all would long ago have been destroyed, and God would be perfectly justified in doing so. But our Father Creator is the author of life not death, and gentleness is part of the mindset of 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;">God plans to place you who are Christ's at His return, in positions of authority [kings, priests, judges]. In God’s way of thinking &nbsp;you cannot be focused on getting your own way... you are going to have to work humbly and cooperatively with God and others to achieve life affirming goals rather than whatever passion moves you at the moment . All that power requires a gentle 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;">Submit yourself to the authority of Christ and the Father. Cultivate a respect for authority today so that you have proper respect for whatever authority you are given at Christ’s return. In this way you learn to respect the authority that you will be given… exercising meekness and gentleness towards those you will be responsible for. </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;">Understanding Prautes Through Biblical Context</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;">Galatians 5:26 - 6:1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the &nbsp;listing of attitudes and actions of the spirit is initially addressed to a congregation going through some doctrinal and personal disputes. In verse </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">14-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Paul warns them about using their new-found knowledge to bite and devour one another. Then he lists the fruits of the flesh and of the spirit… and in verse 26 we learn something about gentleness. </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;">Conceit, envy, provoking are cited as the opposite of gentleness [prautes]. T be gentle we have to turn it around and consider what is good for the other person.</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;">Furthermore; this gentleness is exercised for the purpose of restoring another person to right relationship with God, with yourself, with the congregation. Wanting [and acting towards] what God wants. What is in the best interests of that person in the context of God’s purpose for 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Human nature says, let's just kick that person out. Take no prisoners. We'll be better of without them. But, if God's purpose was kicking everyone out who had a problem... you'd be gone, I'd be gone, there would be no Church of God, there would be no resurrection, there would be no future for 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Peter 3:8-12 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's word asks us to show compassion, brotherly love, let down our emotional walls, and treat each other with friendliness and courtesy. We are presented with multiple positive emotional components and multiple positive action components. Watch your words... seek peace with others... prayer... doing of good.</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;">We can better channel these positive emotions when we are not obsessed about ourselves, how will this affect me, how will others see me 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Verse 13-15 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">don’t worry,</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">have confidence in God. Don't let wicked people scare you with threats, negativity, insults. Be filled with quiet confidence that Christ is in charge... no trial comes upon you without His knowledge or His OK. If you are suffering... He knows. If He does not rescue you from your trial... there is a purpose. </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;">Satan will ask you "how can you believe in a God who lets you suffer?... how can you trust in a God who won't say yes to your requests?</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;">You are able to provide and answer to doubters, mockers, antagonists ... having Prautes in your soul and respect for the other person… the mocker, the boss who harasses you, the government that oppresses. You are not concerned with winning the argument, being seen as right… focus on imparting truth.</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;">Verse 17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;I am willing to suffer for what is right. Because God's purpose is more important than my personal needs. I know what He is doing in my life and Why. I am willing to humbly submit myself to His will because I know where it is headed</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;">To get this peace of mind you must submit yourself to God’s word… and to submit to it you have to know 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;">James 1:21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;focus your mind on cleaning up your own life and receive His instruction for your life with meekness. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Meaning… receive it, submit yourself to it, let it give you calmness of mind. Let it fill you with the answers to the big questions: what am I, why am I alive, who is God, what is He up to.</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;">Warning: if you are not "in" God's word how can you be receptive to 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;">James 1:19-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to provide people with an answer means you have to listen to the question... quickly responding with harshness is ungodly. </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><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Inset</span></i></b><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">: this type of gentleness will be viewed by many as weakness, exposing a fear of confrontation. But this gentleness is really strength. My human nature might want to lash out and argue, insult and demean others in the name of truth and prove I am right. Such tactics might appeal to my human nature but does not fulfill God’s purpose.</span></i><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Christ described Himself as meek/gentle [prautes]. It was not because He was weak... He had to authority to rain down lightning bolts and unleash armies of angels to destroy every enemy...but He did not. He said of Himself... I didn't come to judge and condemn people but to rescue them from a way of life that leads to death. </span></i><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Only when every opportunity for repentance and change has been offered does Christ punish or destroy.</span></i><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A godly person is not harsh with others. Rather they are able to see every person as valuable... which is how&nbsp;</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God sees them. God has respect for all.</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;">James 3:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">meekness of wisdom</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Submit yourself to wisdom. Calm your soul with 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;">Wisdom is different from knowledge, or information. You might have the right information about life after death, the proper sequence of the resurrections, knowledge of the commandments, the holy days, the plan of God... knowledge can lead to wisdom… but wisdom is allowing that knowledge to change how you live. </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;">James 3:14-18 we are told there are 2 competing types of 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;"><br /></span></div><table border="1" cellspacing="0" class="MsoNormalTable" style="border-collapse: collapse; border: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-insideh: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-insidev: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-padding-alt: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; mso-table-layout-alt: fixed; width: 478.8000pt;"><tbody><tr style="height: 19.6500pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Wisdom From Above </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">VS.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Wisdom From The Physical</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr><tr style="height: 15.4000pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Pure, Peaceable, Gentle, Open to Reason (willing to learn), full of mercy, fair, sincere</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">VS.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Bitter Jealousy, self ambition, over-rides truth (false to truth)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr><tr style="height: 18.8000pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Results</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></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Results</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></td></tr><tr style="height: 18.8000pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Righteousness &amp; peace</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Disorder, confusion, vile practices</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A life spent seeking fulfillment of your heart</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 desires has a semblance of wisdom. It appears practical to our human nature... Achieving personal satisfaction and happiness through fulfillment of desire seems the logical conclusion to the question "how shall I live my life"… for many the answer is "to please myself".</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;">Earthly wisdom is inferior because its short term thinking . Physical life is short [about 75 years] You have no life beyond that. Knowledge that you do not possess an immortal soul, that you rely on resurrection can help you act wisely in this life. Wisdom from above is superior because it focuses on long term [lasting] goals; eternal life, seeking the mind of God what is good for the other person.</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;">Earthly wisdom is also characterized as demonic. It is a way of thinking actively promoted by your adversary. The one who hates you and &nbsp;wants to see you follow every dead end path… to divert you from the power 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The future God is working toward is filled with righteousness and peace… earthly wisdom produces discord and strife. If I live to satisfy my desires… and you live to satisfy your desires… what happens when me getting what I desire interferes with you getting what you desire? Strife… conflict.</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;">That is why earthly wisdom is a failure waiting to happen. Submit yourself to the meekness of wisdom… and the wisdom of humility.</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;">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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 11:25-30</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;">Submit yourself to God's burden... Get into His work of transforming your mind... the task is light in comparison to the burden of futility. Do you want calmness and rest? Jesus Christ says &nbsp;"I can give it to you". You don't have to do it all yourself. I am strong, and I can help. </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;">Accept me with <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-fruit-with-no-name.html">meekness, humility, submission</a>, calmness, and confidence.&nbsp;</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/NG7-dfmbatI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Kindness - God's Grace and Mercy in Action
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oIh6jpf1fnw" width="480"></iframe><br /><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Kindness: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Mercy &amp; Grace in Action</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 English word kindness is listed in Galatians 5:22 as one of the attitudes or actions the spirit of God produces in believers. </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;">What does kindness mean? You might say "its hard to be too specific, but, I know kindness when I see it". Acts of kindness might include courtesy, encouragement, generosity, &nbsp;devotion of money or time… for example: offering someone who is stranded a ride home in your car.</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;">But isn't it possible for an action to appear kind but be nothing of the sort. A well dressed man might offer someone a ride home... if that someone is a little old lady you might say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">that's kind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. But if that someone &nbsp;is a &nbsp;young woman wearing hotpants and a halter top... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">kind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;might not be the word you would choose.</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;">So what we consider kind is conditional. It depends on the circumstances. What are those conditions and circumstances? What is the biblical model for kindness?</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;">Today we are going to explore what the kindness produced by God's spirit looks like. We'll try to define it, we'll probe into kindness as an expression of God's character, and we'll consider how, where and why God wants us to put on the mindset of kindness.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</b><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit" style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Defining Kindness</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;">I would like to propose that the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">kindness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;referred to in Galatians 5:22 can be understood as: help, service, generosity, assistance, even words, rendered to another person not in accordance with what they deserve or have earned but as an active expression of mercy &amp; grace...</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="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">showing outgoing concern for their well-being</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">B.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Showing our own putting on of Godly character</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;"><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;">That</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s my conclusion. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Now, let me back up and explain how I came to that definition.</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 Greek word </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 word Paul used the Greek word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">chrestotes</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in Galatians 5:22 in English you read that as kindness. The word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">chrestotes</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;was used in the Greek language to represent that which is useful, helpful, and by extension - moral excellence. So I believe Paul was inspired to use it to carry the sense of something done to help, or serve, another person because its the right or virtuous course of action [rather than a transaction done expecting a return or reciprocity].</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 Modern English Word</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 contemporary definition of the English word "kindness" is something like: friendly, generous helpful, considerate, pleasant agreeable. Its a pretty good choice but it does lack a bit with regard to the full biblical definition we want. How do these acts become products of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s spirit rather than just social niceties? We’ll get there by adding the motive… which will be grace &amp; mercy. But first, more on our good old English word “kind”…</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;">Being Kind to Your Own Kind</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;">In English, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“k</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is also used to mean a particular class or type of thing: " a daschund is a kind of dog", "she's a special kind of person" etc. That was the original meaning of the word in Olde English. Over time it morphed to take on a larger meaning pertaining to acts and attitudes. </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;">Human beings are more apt to treat our own kind in ways that are helpful, considerate, generous... than we are to act this way toward outsiders, those of a different class, religion, nationality, tribe, family, fraternity, friend group.</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;">We find it easier to relate to those we consider "our own kind". We assume we understand where our own kind are coming from, and we can more easily picture ourselves in their shoes. </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;">This is a sort of worldly kindness… we take care of our own and hope they will do likewise. </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;">Luke 6:32-36</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;our Father creator is calling us to something else. A form of kindness that is powered by His spirit, which imitates Him, and adopts His way of thinking.</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</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Kindness: Where It All Begins</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 is kind and our understanding of what this fruit of the spirit is begins and builds upon our understanding 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 2:1-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in His mercy we are saved from death, in His grace we are offered incomparable riches. In kindness He pays our debts, and He gives us gifts. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Mercy is not getting what we do deserve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Grace is getting what we do not deserve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Justice is getting what we do deserve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><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;">Verse 1-3 we did not deserve God's kindness. We did not act in any way like kindred spirits with Him. We were enemies, outsiders, in no way reflecting God's kind.</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;">Therefore, God is merciful toward our sin, gracious in offering us a seat alongside Christ.</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;">Romans 11:22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[chart]</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;">Note: God is also just in that the well deserved penalty for sin will be paid. Either through: Jesus sacrificial death... or... permanent death for the unrepentant.</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's Kindness </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Useful</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;&amp; Purposeful</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 Greek word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">chrestos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">points us towards utility, usefulness and purpose. God's kindness fits the definition of the Greek word chrestotes in that it serves a purpose... it is useful. </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;">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;">&nbsp;kindness is performed to bring about repentance.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Question:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Why would a person repent if they have no hope of mercy? ... Imagine a gospel that said "repent you sinner"... "why"... "because its the right thing to do" ... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">will repentance open up eternal life for me?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;... "well, no. You're still going to have to be permanently destroyed for your sins... but really ought to repent".</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;">Mercy is applied to give repentance a purpose!</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;">Repentance means a change of mind, a change of attitude, a change of action. You change from your old kind of life to a Godly kind of life. God's purpose is to bring you into His eternal family, to build you up into into a full, complete, spiritual creation that is of the God kind.</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 See</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s You As One Of His Own</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;">Remember all that stuff I said earlier about how humans naturally treat other humans better if they see them as their own kind? &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;">Your Creator, your Father, is able to see you and treat you as one of His own kind... even though at present you are not of His kind. </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="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;">You are not yet complete in the fullness of Christ</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;">You are not yet raised in glory and immortality</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;">You are not yet spirit, you are flesh</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><br /></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">But God created humanity so they could attain all this.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s more</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, our Creator can picture, visualize, what we can be, what we are going to be and He lavishes us with mercy, compassion, grace, consideration like beloved sons or daughters… which is what you are.</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;">Hebrews 2:17-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;your Creator made the first move in bridging this gap through Jesus Christ. He was willing to become like you so He could better understand… better extend mercy, compassion and grace. He can picture himself in your shoes! And He is standing right beside the Father as you advocate every minute, advising, consulting and advocating for you. &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;">To become more like Christ you must develop more of &nbsp;this way of thinking.</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;">Treating Others With Kindness</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 wants you to think of, and treat others who might be very different from you, as you would your own kind... with mercy, grace, understanding and compassion. This is a hard lesson because it goes against your human nature. </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;">To help teach you this difficult lesson God has established a special classroom… the Church of God. He has placed you in it as He sees fit and put His son [Christ] in charge. As just mentioned Christ has excellent qualifications for this position.</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;">Romans 15:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;congregations are made up of weak and strong. Elsewhere we read they are made up of: &nbsp;Jews &amp; Greeks [meaning different cultures], slave &amp; free [meaning different socio-economic classes], male &amp; female [meaning different genetic makeups].</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;">We are all very different and we cannot achieve real kindness if we don't get to know one another. How can you know the needs of others if you never fellowship with them? Therefore, spend time, energy, personal resources on one another. </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;">Titus 3:1-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&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;">God wants you to treat others as you would your own. He wants you to think and act this way... because He does, and He wants you to learn to act and think like Him. To be fashioned into the full likeness of the God-kind.</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;">Kindness Beyond The Church of 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;">To truly become like God we have to take kindness beyond the sandbox of the Church of God into the world and all the people we encounter there. Drunkards and drug users, sexually immoral representing every stripe of the rainbow, promoters of false gods... and extend kindness to them. But we must be very careful that we not get drawn into their sin. We are warned about this even within the context of the Church of God </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 6:1-2,10.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Learn it in the sandbox - apply it everywhere.</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: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Warning #1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: grace &amp; mercy must not be seen as indifference to sin! This is part of the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“who am I to judge” trap. We dealt with that more fully in the message on goodness. </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;">Warning #2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: grace &amp; mercy must not be seen as approval of sin! The wicked in this world want more than just your indifference... they want your approval. They want you to join them in calling what is evil good and what is good evil. Compassion, mercy, and grace can easily provide a slippery slope that leads you to explicit or implicit approval of sin.</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;">Grace &amp; mercy without condoning, or appearing to condone, evil. Its a real challenge... you need to power of God's spirit active within you to accomplish it.</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;">Godly Kindness is For Everyone</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;">Jonah 4:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[NKJV= lovingkindness] God's kindness is His mercy and grace in action. In this case restraint of due punishment because of repentance.</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;">Joel 2:11-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God will extend His merciful, gracious, and kindness to humanity right up to the very end when Christ returns.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">Listen to this message on Youtube: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIh6jpf1fnw">Kindness - God's Grace and Mercy in Action</a></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GGjpt6wx9Fg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Goodness: A Fruit of God's Holy Spirit
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pjezJr7bS3s" width="480"></iframe><br /><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Goodness: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Defining Terms</span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness is the quality of being good. Good is a word that has so many uses and applications in the English language that its almost meaningless. For example; we use it to express:</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" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 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; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Satisfaction &amp; pleasure:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;that was a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">milkshake</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: l2 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; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Having necessary skills for a role:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;she's a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">accountant</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: l2 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; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Enjoyment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: Everyone had a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">time at my party</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: l2 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; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Thorough</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: take a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">look around</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: l2 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; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Possessing moral virtue:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;he's a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">person</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: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><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;">When I read about what &nbsp;the holy spirit produces in believers… and I read love, joy, peace, patience, kindness... goodness. I don't feel like I understand what the scriptures are getting at unless I dig in and take a closer look. Especially so with Goodness. That is what I hope to do today.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</span></b><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit" style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></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 your bible you'll see "good" used in a variety of ways [loosely lining up with the examples I just went through. But the Greeks used different words for the different meanings:</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" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 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; font-weight: bold;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Eudokia</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- pleasing, delightful, satisfactory {good milkshake, good party]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 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; font-weight: bold;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Kalos</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- acts which demonstrate virtue</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 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; font-weight: bold;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Agathos</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- virtue, a state of mind, a quality of character</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><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;">We are going to dispense with Eudokia because it does not apply to the work of the holy spirit. Instead we are going to focus on the first two: Agathos, and Kalos which both relate to virtue. </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;">Matthew 7:17-20 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">here we see both words [agathos and kalos] used together in a sentence. </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;">"every </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;tree" --&gt; agathos</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;">"bears </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;fruit" --&gt; kalos</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;">Every peach tree produces peaches, every cherry tree produces cherries, virtuous people do virtuous things.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Agathos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">represents the ability to tell the difference between good and evil. Whereas, </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">kalos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">represents the doing of good rather than evil.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">In What Way Is Goodness of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Spirit?</span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Go back to </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 5:22 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">where we find the listing </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness... the Godly character trait of </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">goodness</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is from the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">agathos</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, not </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">kalos</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Its referring to the good tree rather than the good fruit. </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 power of God's holy spirit at work in you is so that you might know the difference between good and evil, and be convicted, or “put on notice”, that good acts are better than bad acts. But, the holy spirit does not itself produce the good 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 16:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the spirit of God provides proper judgement regarding sin and righteousness!</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;">When I was a young man I was not living a virtuous life. One day I was with one of my comrades and I blurted out "you know... we shouldn't be doing this stuff. It's wrong". &nbsp;They gave me a funny look. I can look back now and see that as the turning point after which everything started to change. My friends started dropping off, my weekends started to become rather lonely. Not all at once but slowly, one by one, I started acting on matters I was becoming convicted of. &nbsp;I started to change who I was and what I did… I was struggling towards goodness. </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;">What changed? Three elements:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Conviction given to me though God's spirit working with me [although not yet in me]</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Increased contact with God's word... I found a modern English translation of the bible on a subway car. I read it. Some things in scripture were plain and obvious. But some things I found rather confusing... </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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Then I found the Church of God who offered me better understanding of what the scriptures really said. </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;"><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;">God will give you the conviction concerning what is good versus what is evil… like a seed, a little sprout, and if you respond to it… it will grow. Doing is prompted by thinking &amp; thinking is re-enforced through doing. This is one of &nbsp;His gifts to you through the spirit, through the word, and through the church. </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;">But your Creator will not force you to act upon your conviction. He will not force you to do the good rather than do the evil.</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;">Analogy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: God might turn you into a peach tree but He will not force you to produce peaches. You can say to yourself and others "I'm a peach tree, isn't that awesome!" But if you don't produce peaches on your branches people around you can say "so what, if there are no juicy peaches for us to enjoy what purpose does that serve... what GOOD does it DO?</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;">And so will say your Creator.</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;">Goodness </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">is: Doing</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;God's Commandments</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 spiritual quality of goodness is existentially linked with the doing of good. Here is a quick list of scriptures where </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">agathos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is paired with doing.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Acts 9:36</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, Romans 2:10, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 2:10, 3 John 3:11.</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;">How do we know what doing good means? How can we tell peaches from strychnine fruit? One yummy, one is deadly.</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"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Discerning</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;go</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">od from evil, and then </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">doing</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;g</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ood and not evil, begins with the 10 commandments of God. For the most part His commands present us with a set of evil acts which we are told to avoid or not do: Idolatry, theft, lying, murder, sex outside marriage, greed. But </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">avoiding </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">evil is not the same thing as </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">doing</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;good.</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;">People have tried to avoid evil by separating themselves from civilization, by living in a cave, by cutting off parts of their bodies that lead them into sin, ultimately the ideal way to avoid all evil is to be dead. A dead person does not lie, does not steal, commit adultery, or murder. </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's consider GOODNESS as a way to take the information we get in the 10 commandments about "not doing" and turn them into ways to express goodness:</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" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't lie --&gt; communicate with honesty and openness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't murder --&gt; protect and support life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't steal --&gt; work to supply the needs of others</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">No adultery --&gt; develop a happy, loyal, faithful marriage and family</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">No idolatry --&gt; show honor and respect toward God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't work on 7th day --&gt; gather together for instruction, fellowship and praise on 7th day</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:2 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">take the same information and instead of a law of sin and death… &nbsp;we have the law 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;">G</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">oodness is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">cting </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">L</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ike God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God is Good</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;">Goodness is not understood [perceived] by what we don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;do. &nbsp;You cannot become more like God, or Christ, simply by eradicating sin. </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;">Developing Godliness involves growing the traits and habits of GOODNESS. To have good things flowing out from you. The active spirit of the Father and Christ is there to help 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Think of yourself as a branch on a peach tree. There is sap that flows up from the roots of the tree... through the trunk of the tree... and then into you... the branch. If you cut open a branch or trunk of a tree you'll see all this wet stuff flowing out... that's the sap.</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;">This sap provides all the nutrients and necessary ingredients to keep you alive and to produce nice delicious peaches. These peaches are a benefit and a blessing to people who come along and are able to eat them. It is the same way with goodness.</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;">God's presence in you through the holy spirit, is like the sap. The branch has to be connected to the tree To keep that sap flowing the branch has to be connected to the tree trunk. &nbsp;If you cut a branch off from the trunk of a tree... you'll see all the sap that should have gone to branch flow down the side of the tree on to the ground. The branch will wither and die.</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;">That connection is like your relationship to the church </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 4:10-16, Ephesians 5:23</span></b><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 Church of God is a vital way in which you receive the essential ingredients for growing into the fullness of Christ. You are not designed to go it alone. That is not the model for spiritual development presented in scripture. For this reason I ask you to carefully think about your relationship with God's Church.</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;">Are you letting the church teach you? Or are you wandering to and fro on the internet for strange and interesting interpretations... are you only interested when what you hear is new, unique, provocative, or controversial? &nbsp;Are you seeking to be entertained, or pumped up, rather than built up in Christ. Perhaps you see yourself as being a teacher of the church before being a learner. </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;">Goodness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;I s </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Light In The Darkness</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;">Ephesians 5:8-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when you are doing good you cannot help but stand out in a crowd. When people see goodness they notice it. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You stick out if you are relentlessly honest, Sabbath keeping, no adultery etc. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness will actually put you at odds with people, society, co-workers.</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;">Goodness exposes what is unfruitful [the works of darkness]. Doing good in the sight of others might pique their conscience. Speaking up for what is right. Refusing to approve of evil. </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's back up a moment from the idea of "good works". &nbsp;Just the ability to discern, judge, evaluate, and declare what is good versus what is evil makes you standout. Our current religious, political, and educational institutions seem to have no ability to call out evil, or to promote what is good. More and more our neighbors, co-workers, extended family are willing to call evil good, and good evil. </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;">We don't get to decide what is good. Our definition of goodness, our conviction of goodness, even our articulation of goodness come from God: His spirit, His word, and His church. </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;">Goodness is also a willingness to take a stand against evil.</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;">Romans 12:17-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;warning, don't respond to evil with evil [don't go out and shoot up an abortion clinic as a way to demonstrate your respect for life, don't steal from the rich to give to the poor to bring about justice]</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;">Goodness Is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Spiritual Warfare</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;">Galatians 5:17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you are suffering from inner turmoil about doing good, doing evil... that's an indication that you are doing battle.</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;">Remember: at the same time as the spirit of God is giving you conviction about what is good and evil... the adversary is also at work. Sowing confusion, calling evil good or good evil. Seeking to convict you in the opposite direction. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 6:10-13</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 12:9</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;">Goodness is a character trait of your Father Creator, and Christ your elder brother. An unwavering understanding and conviction concerning &nbsp;what is good and evil, fruitful and unfruitful, choosing a culture of life over a culture of death. &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;">Let the <a href="https://www.blogger.com/"><span id="goog_918782875"></span>goodness of God<span id="goog_918782876"></span></a> reside within you, and shine forth from you.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/nbFuGk2UQgk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Helping You Find Joy - A Fruit of The Holy Spirit
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OFiGS9gll-k" width="480"></iframe></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b> <br /><div style="-webkit-text-stroke: 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; color: #222222; font-feature-settings: &quot;onum&quot;; font-variant-numeric: oldstyle-nums; line-height: 1.6; margin-bottom: 1.6em; padding: 0px; text-align: left; text-rendering: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: #888888; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">Joy is one of the many gifts of the holy spirit. Joy is a part of who and what your Creator is... its His basic outlook. Those who are imitators of God will live joyfully through life's journey.</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Here is a link to a&nbsp;<span class="caps" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-feature-settings: &quot;c2sc&quot;, &quot;smcp&quot;;">PDF</span>&nbsp;version of the slide presentation used with this&nbsp;message:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/helping_you_find_joy_slides_-_simple_1.pdf" rel="nofollow" style="background-color: transparent; box-sizing: border-box; color: #346593; line-height: inherit;">https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/helping_you_find_joy_slides_-_simple_1.pdf</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Helping You Find Joy</span></b></h2><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Let's Define What We Mean</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: feeling good... the opposite of joy would be feeling discouraged, depressed, fearful, worried. Let's not stop at feeling good, because there is more than way to feel good.</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Feeling good because pleasant, positive things are happening to you.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we will call this circumstantial - a reaction to what is going on around you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">b.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">this is the easiest to achieve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">BUT, it is mostly outside of your control</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Feeling good because of the way you think</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we will call this spiritual - the result of your inner thought world, your priorities and outlook</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">b.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">this is harder to achieve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, it is mostly within your control</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;">Let's call:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level2 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">one HAPPiness - meaning gladness about what is HAPPening. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level2 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the other Joy - meaning gladness about... </span><b><span style="background: rgb(255 , 255 , 0); color: red; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">???</span></b><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;">We are not always going to be happy. Sometimes bad stuff happens. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ecclesiastes 3:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, sometimes there is sorrow </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 11:35</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;">Happiness is conditional. It's an appropriate reaction to certain circumstances: getting a promotion, the birth of a child, receiving a compliment. Joy is not conditional. Joy does not require external circumstances to be "just so". Its based on an overarching viewpoint about life and its purpose. </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 understanding is the </span><b><span style="background: rgb(255 , 255 , 0); color: red; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">???</span></b><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;">Joy is a gift to you from your Creator</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 are physical, made up of atoms, molecules, electrical impulses. All of these are features you share with animals or plants. But God has added a spiritual component to human beings... we like to call the spirit in man. This spiritual component is what separates you from animals such that the Father and Son declare you to be "made in our image".</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, you have also been designed with something missing. You have a void in you. A space which needs to be filled. You have also been designed with a yearning to fill that void with something. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The void is designed to be filled with the holy spirit of God. The addition of that last missing piece is how you become a fully complete child of God. Ready to inherit eternity and a place in the family of God. The receipt of the holy spirit gifts you with many characteristics and traits of God your Father and creator... this includes JOY.</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;">John 15:5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;--&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 15:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;--&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 16:22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><b>Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</b> <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Flow of Joy</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;">Happiness</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- based on what flows towards you. Incoming experiences, what happens to you. This is based on getting or receiving.</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;">Joy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- based on what is going on within you... how you think... AND shows itself in what flows out from you… what you give to life.</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;">Acts 20:35</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;Jesus taught that there is a way of life that is better. A way of life that is focused on what flows out from you rather than what flows towards you. This can be expressed as generosity with material goods [the most common application]. I believe it actually encompasses that… but so much more! Such as how you spend you time, or the showing forth the fruits of the spirit, patience, kindness, gentleness.</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;">Growing in Joy </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">[chart]</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;">To grow in Joy you have to resist the fleshly nature of the mind which is to focus primarily on yourself. If you want to increase the joy in your life focus more on others. Avoid &nbsp;self pity -- self centeredness -- self absorption.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Consider this list of negative traits as self oriented:</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: l2 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;">Resentment (what I think I deserve)</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: l2 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;">Greed (getting more stuff so I can feel more secure)</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: l2 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;">Complaining (how I would run things if I were in charge)</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: l2 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;">Jealousy (I should have gotten that, not her)</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: l2 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;">Pride (If only people would acknowledge how awesome I am)</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: l2 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;">Anger &amp; fear</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;">Replace them with --&gt;</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: l3 level1 lfo4; 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;">Gratitude ( I want him to know I appreciate this)</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: l3 level1 lfo4; 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;">Humility (my way isn't the only way to do 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: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; 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;">Forgiveness ( I deserve my pound of flesh but I'd rather have reconciliation peace)</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: l3 level1 lfo4; 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;">Patience (I'm going to give them more time to sort it out)</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: l3 level1 lfo4; 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;">Faith &amp; hope</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;">Make this swap out and the result is --&gt; JOY!</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;">Joy Is Spiritual &amp; Supernatural</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;">Supernatural</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe.</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 idea of tending to the needs of others as a way "to feel good" ourselves… doesn't flow naturally out of the human mind. &nbsp;Granted, some people figure this out through trial and error. They live life one way... them they live life the other way... then they compare the results and reject selfishness. People are able to figure out certain truths without becoming a follower of Christ. That spirit in man put in us by our creator gives us the capacity to figure some things out on our 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;">However, God would like to give you joy as a gift. He would like &nbsp;to put joy in you [along with a lot of other traits]. &nbsp;All you have to do is opt in and let Him fill that void in you with His holy spirit. With the receipt of the holy spirit you are gifted with many &nbsp;wonderful spiritual traits. These of the holy spirit are the traits of the Father and the Son. </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;">Joy is a Trait of 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;">The Father is most often portrayed as a stern and somber old man, kinda grouchy with a long white beard. God can be somber, stern, even wrathful. Why???… &nbsp;because He must judge sin. Otherwise, there is no justice in the universe. [do you really want to live in a world where bad deeds are not punished and good is not rewarded?].</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;">I put it to you that God should be understood as primarily cheerful, sunny, with a positive outlook and a sense of humor. He made all things... He called them good... He is enjoying His creation!</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Psalm 68:3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;true imitators of God will be joyful</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;">1 Thessalonians 1:6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the joy of the holy spirit</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 6:22-23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;ranked 2nd among the traits of the holy spirit [which are the traits of 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;">Is Sorrow Bad?</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"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Feeling sad, acting solemn or sober, even righteous anger are legitimate emotions.</span></u><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></u></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But, I don't think we should want to have them as our natural disposition and default outlook on life. Very much like we just discussed regarding God; sadness, solemness, anger</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;are all appropriate reactions to sin. But where there is no sin these would serve no purpose [chart]</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;">2 Corinthians 7:8-11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;sorrow and regret are appropriate reactions to sin and error... but don't wallow in it. Sorrow from a Godly perspective leads to change, repentance, forgiveness, salvation. These then lead to hope which leads to joy!</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;">Your "set point", your fundamental outlook, should be gladness and anticipation </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:18-21. </span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">There is sorrow over suffering, but there is joy in knowing God's plan provides answers and solutions. </span></u><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></u></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 26:37-39</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;">Hebrews 1:8-9 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">[quote of Psalm 45:6-7]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Grief is a healthy response to death.</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;But, the truth of the resurrection means there is something to look forward to </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Thessalonians 4:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;suggests that grief is more painful for those who have no hope. </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;">Joy in Trials</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 character trait of joy flows even in circumstances of trial. We are not happy about falling into a trial or suffering. But we can still have joy.Because joy is not the product of what happens to us but a product of how we think, how we react, and our perspective. </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;">Biblical perspectives on trials:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 21:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trials and suffering are limited to this age</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: l4 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 5:2-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trials and suffering are part of the process that moves us forward to permanent goals. They produce, strengthen, and build in us some of the other character traits of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level2 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:28-29</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we can have joy because of trials because we understand the purpose of trials. Which is, to build the character traits of the Father and Son in us. We do not see ourselves as a punchline in some cosmic joke.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level2 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 5:11-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;applies to trials and troubles we experience because of our adherence to God's truth. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 13:52</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[don't be obnoxious with God's truth - example of Fred or Tony] </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's Spirit</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;">Joy is a part of who and what your creator is... its His foundational outlook. His wrath, His anger... these are reactions to sin. His rules, regulations, restrictions... these are to help us identify sin and avoid 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;">If you want one more way to increase the joy in your life try putting your phone away and spend time seeing the joy in God's creation. The birds sing, the animals play, the flowers bloom... learn to see the joyful things God has put all around you. </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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The beginning steps to <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/05/helping-you-find-joy-fruit-of-holy.html">finding joy</a> --&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 2:38 </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;">Psalm 16:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;knowing the path to life is a source of JOY</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;">John 16:24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;ask for the understanding that brings joy</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;">John 17: 13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus wants to share His joy with 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/sPIRneYk9ns" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Passover Is Only The Beginning: Go Forth Into The Days of Unleavened Bread!
<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"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1XvgPMJZ4wM" width="480"></iframe><br /></div><br />Jesus Christ is our Passover and His death saves us from the penalty of death. But, that is not the end of the story! Its actually the beginning of an amazing and astounding sequence of transformation:<br /><br />➤Salvation from death<br />➤Growth into the fullness of Christ<br />➤Resurrection to life everlasting spirit born life<br /><br />These are the steps of God's plan for humanity. A plan that begins with the Passover... but then followed up with the holy days that come afterwards and picture what comes next.<br /><br />There are some basic errors that keep us from fully appreciating each of the holy days as a separate and distinct event. In this video we will look at how the distinction between the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread has been blurred AND why it is important to keep them separate and distinct.<br /><br />If you are listening to the audio version of this message… here is a link to the info graphic used in this presentation - <a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/exoduspassover.jpg">https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/exoduspassover.jpg</a><br /><br />Learn More about the 7 annual holy days of God. Request our free bible study guide. <br />➤ <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind">God's Holy Day Plan - The Promise of Hope For Humanity</a><br /><br />Find a UCG church near you: <br />➤ <a href="http://ucg.org/congregations/">http://ucg.org/congregations/</a><br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XvgPMJZ4wM">The Passover is Only The Beginning</a><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/ywCtpzWSb5w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Peacemaking And Reconciliation Among The Sons of Jacob
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Sons of the 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="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HtQgKe_9oX8" width="480"></iframe></span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob had 12 sons who would share the role of God's covenant people. However, what we read about these men is a mix of violence, immorality, jealousy and deceit. The family of Jacob had a lot of problems. You might then wonder… how does our record of their exploits offer any kind of guidance or spiritual instruction? </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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">****************************************</span></span><br /><span style="color: red; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;">Subscribe on Youtube: use the top left icon on the video!</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">****************************************</span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You can apply that same questioning approach to most scripture. God's word is not an exposition of exemplary behavior from great men and women put on display for us to emulate. Instead, the record we have of men and women in the bible is of people with problems... BUT people who work through their problems with God's helping guidance... so that they might achieve something greater than their appointed days in the flesh.</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></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are going to examine the lives of the sons of Jacob as they work through all that violence, jealously, and deceit to arrive at reconciliation… making peace with one another... reconciliation is not only pleasing to God... but essential to eternal happiness. You will not enter into eternal life if you do not take to roll of peacemaker and learn to resolve differences.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">****************************************</span><br /><span style="font-family: calibri; font-size: large;">Get a FREE bible study guide:</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/transforming-your-life-the-process-of-conversion">Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion</a></span><br /><b>*************************************</b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob's Sons</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;">Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah. He then worked out a deal to also marry his true love, Rachel. Jacob</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;was off to</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a bad start that would cause a lot of hard feelings among his sons. </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;">Leah was fruitful and gave birth to Reuben, then Simeon, then Levi, then Judah. After many years wait Rachel gave birth to Joseph and Benjamin. </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 37:1-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the source of trouble is Jacob's flagrant favoritism for the children of Rachel over the children of Leah and the concubines. Joseph makes things worse by acting as a tattle tale on the other brothers. </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;">Then Joseph has a dream in which all the others bow down to him. The brothers are angry. Even Jacob is a bit put out by it. The brothers devise a plot to murder Joseph. They grab Jacob in the open field and are working on their alibis when Judah gets the brainwave to sell the boy so they make a profit on their efforts. Joseph is sold to slave traders who take him off to Egypt. The brothers go home and tell Jacob that Joseph was torn apart by wild 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;">Joseph Goes To Egypt </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">(Genesis 37-41)</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;">Joseph is a household slave to Potiphar (the captain of the guard who was also in charge of the prison). Potiphar's wife starts making sexual advances towards Joseph. Joseph refuses and she accuses him of attempted rape. </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;">Normally a rapist would have been executed but Potiphar may have suspected his wife's honesty. However he has to do something… so he puts Joseph in the prison and uses him as a sort of prisoner administrator. &nbsp;Joseph remains close to God and eventually his reputation as a dream interpreter lands him an interview with the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh is so impressed he makes Joseph his second in command over Egypt. </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;">Judah in Canaan (Genesis 38)</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;">Judah separates from the family. He marries a Canaanite woman and has three sons. He gets a woman named Tamar as a wife for the eldest son. That son dies. He demands the second son take Tamar and raise up children for the dead son's inheritance. The second son refuses. The second son dies. Judah tells Tamar to wait until the third son is old enough to take her. </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;">Tamar realizes Judah is going to go back on his promise. So, she dresses up as a prostitute with a veil, entices Judah into sex, and finally conceives twins who will carry on the line of Judah.</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;">Question: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why put in all this salacious material about Judah? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Answer:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;it shows us that Judah had gone off the rails with regard to the family, and the covenant. It also sets us up for Judah's later transformation into a man God can work with... a man willing to reconcile and make 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;">Famine in Canaan</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 family situation is bad. So, God throws a stink bomb into the mix. Rain stops and a famine strikes Canaan. This crisis will cause the sons of Jacob to come face to face and to reconcile with one another. God does not force their reconciliation but He certainly sets up the ideal scenario for it to happen. </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 42:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob sends the brothers to Egypt to buy food. However he keeps Benjamin back home because he clearly loves this other son of Rachel better than the rest. I guess Jacob figured the other sons were expendable. He clearly thought of them very differently than the sons of Rachel. </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 42:6-7 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The 10 brothers go to Egypt and end up appearing before Joseph who had charge over the grain stores. In spite of all they had done to prevent it… they end up bowing down before Joseph. However they do not know this man is really the boy they kidnapped and sold into slavery all those years ago. But Joseph does know!</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;">Joseph asks about their family… and if they have another brother. Joseph was probably wondering if they had killed, or sold, Benjamin as well. Joseph says "you must stay her as prisoners unless one of you goes back to fetch that younger brother". He throws them in prison for 3 days then says "OK, you can go back with food for your family but one of you must stay behind as a hostage until you produce the youngest brother".</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 42:21-26 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the brothers begin connecting the dots and openly recognize their guilt... &nbsp;they acknowledge that they deserve of punishment for what they did.Joseph hears this, he wants to cry but he held himself together. He is going to play out the drama much further. </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;">Application: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you are the offending party admitting your error, sin, or offense, is the first step towards reconciliation. </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;">I think Joseph is making things hard for them because he wants to to know : "have these guys really changed or will they abandon the brother they left behind as hostage?" He is setting them up... testing their loyalty and love for their brother. Considering Joseph's political power it would have been easy for him to lash out at these men in vengeance... but Joseph is a godly man and is aiming for something better... reconciliation and restoration of their family relationships. </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;">Application:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you are the party who has been offended: do not focus on getting what you think you deserve (vengeance, vindication, emotional satisfaction). Focus on making 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 brothers go back to Canaan and the famine is still bad. They will need to go back and when they do the y will have to take Benjamin along. </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 43: 6-14 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob is angry with them but he agrees to let Benjamin go.</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 is more concerned about the prospect of </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">maybe </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">losing Benjamin than the </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">certainty </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">of his other son, Simeon, wasting away in an Egyptian prison. Jacob</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;">favoritism is clearly on display. In earlier days his other sons became so jealous they were ready to commit murder. But now we see Judah... one of the unloved sons... taking the first step toward reconciliation.</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;">Judah display three traits of one who reconciles</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" 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: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah appears to have accepted the unfair realities of the family. He and his brothers never deserved Jacob's indifference... that was the byproduct of Jacob's own bad decisions (Application: recognize you can't change people, you can only change yourself).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; 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: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah takes personal responsibility for the situation (Application: do your part without expectation they will return the favor).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; 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: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah shows loyalty to the family and devotion to his father rather than using the opportunity to settle old scores, grudges, and grasp at vengeance (Application: seek what is good rather than what is emotionally satisfying).</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;">Return to Egypt</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 brothers return to Egypt along with Benjamin. They come before Joseph once again.</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 43:26-34</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;they share a meal and Joseph gives Benjamin 5 times as much as the other brothers.once again he tests to see if the brothers still show that same raging jealously towards the sons of Rachel.</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 Big Set-up</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;">Joseph</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s servants</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;load the brothers up with grain to take back to Canaan. Joseph tells his servants to secretly put the silver back in the sacks... and secretly put Joseph</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 personal silver cup in the sack that goes with Benjamin.</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 brothers head back to Canaan. Joseph send out his men to apprehend them and accuse them of stealing. The brothers say "search our stuff, you will not find anything". Joseph's men search the bags and… voila… find the silver cup with Benjamin. The brothers are hauled back to Egypt as thieves!</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;">Joseph has set them up to find out what he wants to know: when their own freedom and lives are in the balance... will the brothers abandon Benjamin (the other son of Rachel)? Will they leave him to be a slave in Egypt like they did to Joseph himself so many years ago?</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 44:16-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;for Judah this was probably a painful admission and acceptance that their father loved the sons of Rachel best. But now instead of hatred and jealousy he accepts the fact, he focuses on respect and concern for his father.</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 44:21-29</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;another painful acknowledgement of the favoritism that tormented their family.... but now the attitude is different.</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 44:30-34</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this is Judah's shining moment in scripture... Judah is willing to offer himself, his life, his freedom, his dignity, for the sake of his brother Benjamin. It is a foreshadow of the role the line of Judah will play in the fulfillment of the covenant.</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;">Application:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to reconcile and &nbsp;make &nbsp;peace means you have to be willing to give up things. Most often a measure of pride, desire for vengeance, and to be proven right. </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;">Judah could have chosen to let the chips fall where they may… he could have reasoned: "its not my fault Benjamin got caught with the cup"... "serves the old man right"... "he deserves to have his heart broken, just like he's broken mine all these years". But he didn't.</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;">Instead we see a change of heart in Judah. He has come a long way from the man who sold his brother, the man who got off track during the Tamar years. Now we begin to see the man through whom the greatest promise of the covenant will pass. The promise that through he sons of Abraham all nations will be blessed. The promise of the Messiah who would give his life as ransom for 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 Big Reveal</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;">Having witnessed this Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers. There is a lot of crying and hugging. The family of Jacob has been restored and reconciled to one another. </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;">Joseph arranges to bring the whole family, including Jacob, to Egypt so he can care for them. </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 46:1-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the sojourn in Egypt will last 400 years. The Egyptians practiced a form of apartheid and would steadfastly refuse to mix with foreigners. Israel would have their own territory and would grow into a large nation biologically and socially separate from the people around them. When the time was right God would return them to Canaan. </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;">Jacob Passes on the Covenant Blessings (Genesis 48-49)</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;">Before he dies Jacob formally passes the blessings of the covenant people to his sons.</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: l1 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To the firstborn son Joseph he gives all the physical blessings of wealth, land, and multitude of offspring - Israel does this by directly laying hands on the grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh</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: l1 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The primacy of firstborn passes over Reuben because he had sex with his step-mother</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: l1 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The primacy of firstborn passes over Levi and Simeon because they used the sign of God's covenant (circumcision)deceitfully to violently murder the entire village of Shekem.</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: l1 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The primacy of the firstborn goes instead to the fourth born son of Leah: Judah.</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 49:8-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Judah receives the portion of the covenant that promises authority, ruler ship and most important: &nbsp;from the line of Judah will come the Messiah, king of kings and lord of lords. </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 Messiah who will give his own life to reconcile all humanity 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;">The Messiah who will create peace between man and 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;">Let this Passover season be a time when you renew your own dedication to being a maker of peace… with your fellow man… and with God.</span><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/uaHP7r4Po1E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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How Did Jesus Prepare Himself for the Passover? Self Examination, Strength, and Weakness
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Yy-HDi1cFtU/WNPcdgeZj8I/AAAAAAAAAcY/zfMcWy-xdqUSD2ByB_jq-RptomEqt5ZqQCLcB/s1600/examine%2Byourself.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="265" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Yy-HDi1cFtU/WNPcdgeZj8I/AAAAAAAAAcY/zfMcWy-xdqUSD2ByB_jq-RptomEqt5ZqQCLcB/s400/examine%2Byourself.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b><br /></b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Start off by reading Matt 26:31-35 </b></div><h2 class="western">Setting the Scene:</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus had just inaugurated the New Covenant with the 12 and gave them the new signs of the Passover (the bread and the wine) as a remembrance of His blood which would be shed and His body which would be broken. The Old Covenant would be finished out within the next 24 hours with the execution of Jesus in Jerusalem. <br /><br />*********************************<br />You can listen to this message on <b>YouTube</b><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lwD_41JY44">How Did Jesus Prepare Himself for the Passover?</a><br />*********************************</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After the Passover meal Jesus promised them gifts of peace, joy, contentment, and comfort. He told them about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the very power of God, that would come to each of them to strengthen and guide them along with the word of scripture. He warned them of persecution, but promised their ultimate deliverance from it. He prayed with them for their unity, and for the unity of those who would come later. <b>(John 14-17)</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Then they sang the traditional hymn and went out from the upper room. It’s here that we picked up the verses we read earlier. Perhaps this is what they discussed walking down the festive streets of Jerusalem, out the gate, across the Kidron brook and then up the Mount of Olives to a private (probably walled) garden called Gethsemene or (The Olive Press).</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus’ conversation during the Passover meal had been mostly positive, encouraging filled with promise… now, He began to discuss some of the harsh realities of the dark hours that were just ahead. Let’s use this section of scripture to create an outline for personal self examination prior to the Passover this year!<br />-----------------------------------------------------<br />🙋‍♀️<span style="color: #274e13;">Learn More about the Passover as it applies to followers of Jesus Christ. Request our free bible study guide</span> - <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind">God's Holy Day Plan - The Promise of Hope For Humanity</a><br />----------------------------------------------------</div><h2 class="western">1. A Lesson About Weakness &amp; Strength</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Why talk about weakness and failure at such an hour? You would think an exhortation to bravery and courage would be more in order…</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To go forth and carry the message of truth into the world they would have to be strong. But to be strong, it first helps to realize where you are weak so you can work on building strength. USE EXAMPLE OF BODY BUILDING.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 35</b> – they <u>all</u> thought they had sufficient love of God, commitment to His way, self control and courage to face the accuser… they thought they were strong. BUT when a group of 600 heavily armed men trudged up the hill to arrest Jesus they all ran away. Jesus was right, He knew. <b>(verse 55-56)</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Take a good look at yourself… where are you weak? What areas do you need to strengthen?</b></div><h2 class="western">2. A Lesson About Ignorance Vs. Knowledge</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The disciples didn’t realize their weakness compared to the power of the adversary, Satan. They did not know he had entered into Judas, that Judas was leading the soldiers and priests to them in the garden, they did not know how the Priests would act… AND they did not know how to interpret the prophecies of the Messiah in Zech 13:9… without the help of the Holy Spirit.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus by contrast knew what was going on behind the scenes and most important He knew the prophecies and how they would apply. He knew He was walking through the steps of the Father’s will and appointed plan.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Zech 13:7</b> prophecy was not obvious to the casual observer. It was difficult to interpret. But being filled with the Holy Spirit Jesus knew that the verses were not talking about the untrustworthy shepherds of Judah but rather were about the shepherd sent by God, the mighty man who is at my side (my associate)… in hindsight, obviously the Word, the Messiah, Jesus. He would be put to death, they would all scatter.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Because Jesus knew scripture He had the bigger picture in mind. He had the prophetic picture in mind. He knew that the power of God would raise Him from the grave, from death to life, to lead His people. So, confident in God’s plan and power of life that He was already making an appointment to meet them later after He was resurrected.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These things about to happen were not initiated by Judas, the priests, Pilate, or Herod… they were the next steps in the plan of God for that salvation of mankind.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Take a good look. Do you know the plan of God? Can you explain it to others? Do you meditate on it? Do you know it well enough to draw strength from it in troubled times?</b></div><h2 class="western">3. A Lesson About Fear Vs Courage</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The words “<i>be offended</i>” or “<i>fall away</i>” [in verse 31] is from the Greek word <i>Skandalizo</i>. It means “to entrap” or “to trip up”. What would entrap them? What entraps you or me? Isn’t it the fear of what others might think of us, and what others might do to us?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I think they were expecting Jesus to rise up in power when the soldiers came to arrest Him. BUT, when He would not raise a hand to defend himself… would He… could He defend them? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Many have stood firm in times of battle or danger, but going down for a noble cause is one thing… going down for a cause where you will be considered a traitor, a lowlife, a nutcase, a heretic… by your own people, everyone who knows you… that’s harder to swallow.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Meanwhile, Jesus headed steadfastly forward with great courage to His execution, facing death, pain, temptation so that others might receive salvation. Knowing He was fulfilling the plan of God and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt the Father could and would raise Him up. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hebrews 2: 13-15</b> The disciples were afraid of death. They had no power to overcome death of themselves. Whereas, Jesus in human form and filled with the Holy Spirit… sets the example for us, not trusting in his own power… but in the power of the Father.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Are you holding back because you are worried what others might think of you… because you are trying to fit in?</b> </div><h2 class="western">4. A Lesson About Pride vs. Humility</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We already read where Peter boldly contradicted Jesus and proudly claimed to be the most reliable disciple of all <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>“all others may be skandalizo… but I never will”. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Where did Peter get such false confidence? He seems to have put a lot of stock in his own courage, knowledge and commitment. Let’s see how Jesus approached the exact same circumstance?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Luke 22:31-33</b> Jesus understood what was at stake and turned to the one who had the power to help Peter… God the Father</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus knew they would all abandon and deny Him. Yet he was still willing to sacrifice himself for them in all their weakness, ignorance, and false pride. He put their well being and need for salvation above Himself. He submitted Himself to insult and indignity toward His holiness, and His place in the family of God. He was willing to drink the full cup of God’s terrible wrath against sin… so they could have life in the family of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, examine yourself. Where are you showing pride? [chase it down the rabbit hole]</div><h2 class="western">5. A lesson About Preparation &amp; Prayer</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 26:36-46</b> even in the middle of personal agony and struggle with temptation Jesus was their teacher. He was giving them a living breathing lesson in how to prepare and deal with temptation and trial.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This Garden area was a private place away from the bustle of Jerusalem at Passover. It was probably walled with a gate. Jesus had some of them stay by the gate to protect the seclusion… and based on His later comments expecting they too would pray. And He took Peter, John and James along with Him into the garden area to provide an object lesson in spiritual vigilance in trying times. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">BUT… the disciples did not pray. Perhaps they thought… they had given their word, they had accepted the signs of the New Covenant. What could possibly go wrong? It was past midnight, they had eaten a big meal, drank wine, walked all the way from town up the mountain… they were tired. So, they slept.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus did not need their help. He was there to connect with the Father, the one who had the power to help. Jesus did not ask the disciples to pray for Him… <b>verse 41. </b>He told them to pray for themselves!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus was there in the weakness of flesh too. He knew pain, sorrow, temptation, grief, tears. But He had the understanding to know that strength and power to do great things would come from the Father.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">At the beginning of His ministry He faced three waves of temptation from Satan with fasting and the word of scripture. Here He meets three waves of terrible temptation and turmoil with prayer… is this that opportune moment? Luke 4:13</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>You’re the Son of God, why put yourself through this ordeal, this affront to your dignity and majesty? For what… for them?</i></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus was filled with incredible sorrow and deeply troubled. He could see it all before Him… betrayed by Judas, abandoned and denied by His closest friends, rejected by Israel, to suffer the injustice of men, to be mocked, to bear the full cup of God wrath toward sin… and to be abandoned by the Father. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So intense that Jesus appears to have suffered from <b>Hematidrosis</b>! According to <i>WiKiPedia</i>:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Symptoms:</b> Blood usually ooze from the forehead, other skin surfaces, nails, and umbilicus (caused by a bursting of the subcutaneous capillaries), note: mixes with sweat and thus appears more as a blood tinged secretion</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Etiology (cause):</b> Very rare but may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">6. A Lesson About Submission to God’s Will</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus personal example of prayer here is less about changing God’s design and will. Its more about getting ourselves in line with His will for us… <b>verse 39, 42</b>. To realize, accept and believe that His will for us may not be what we want… but it is the best way to get us from where we are to where He wants us to be. To fulfill His plan to bring us into His family filled with glory.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Are you submitting to the will of God or resisting?</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">While Jesus was preparing Himself the disciples were… sleeping. Present and ground zero of the most important even in cosmic history and they couldn’t keep their eyes open. AND when Jesus said “rise, let us go forth to meet what’s coming” <u>they were not prepared</u>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 26:47-56 (mention Peter’s denials)</b></div><h2 class="western">7. A Lesson About Restoration</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The disciples were not worthy of Jesus love. They let Him down in his hour of need. They simply did not yet have the spiritual resources that would come to them on Pentecost. The next step in God’s plan. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He met them later in Galilee as promised [John 21] and re-commissioned them to the task He had called them to in the beginning. He called to them on the lake where they were fishing. Once again He miraculously filled their nets with fish and called them to be fishers of men just like He had 3 years earlier. He personally restored Peter three times commanding him feed and take care of the church… once for each of the three denials. </div><h2 class="western">Did The Disciples Change?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Acts 5:41-42</b> now fully restored and filled with the Holy Spirit they were prepared to face all things.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Identifying yourself with Jesus means risking the disapproval, the distain, the mockery of others. To be “skandalizo” “tripped up” or “trapped by fear” of what others might think, what they might do to us, what they might not do for us. Is a powerful source of temptation we must face. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, examine yourself. Will you face the world with knowledge, courage, confidence, humility, preparation and prayer? Will you let yourself be restored by Him to serve Him better? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Or would you rather sleep…<br /><br />📖 Read this message on our blog<br /><span style="background-color: #edf4ff; color: #888888; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/03/examine-yourself-take-good-look.html</span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/mfp0Kj00rIU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Passing on the Covenant to the Next Generation
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Oo99_qKlRDA" width="480"></iframe><br /></span><br /><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><span style="background-color: white; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">God's covenant blessings and promises would pass to Jacob but not Esau. What was the difference between these two men? What does it mean for you?</span></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><span style="background-color: white; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"><br /></span></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: red; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Subscribe on Youtube: use the top left icon on the video!</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span></span></span><br /><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Now... lets cover the action and events leading up to the section of scripture I am going to take a look at:</span></div><div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b></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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Sarah dies, Abraham purchases a tomb for her in Canaan</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Abraham plans for family succession. He arranges for a suitable wife for the son who will carry forward the covenant. He does not want him to marry into the Canaanite people. He understands that God wants the descendants of the covenant to remain separate.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Abraham's servant goes back to the land they came from to find a wife from among the extended family. He returns with Rebecca.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Abraham dies, we get a wrap-up of all his descendants. But the only one we are hereafter concerned with is Isaac. God's blessing pass to Isaac.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span> </span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0px;"><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt;">****************************************</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: medium;">Get a FREE bible study guide:</span><br /><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/transforming-your-life-the-process-of-conversion" style="background-attachment: initial; background-clip: initial; background-image: initial; background-origin: initial; background-position: 0px 0px; background-repeat: initial; background-size: initial; border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-family: calibri; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion</a><br /><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*************************************</b><br /><b style="font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt;"><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob's Sons</span></b></div><div style="text-align: left;"><b style="font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt;"><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b></div></div></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"> </div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 25:19-23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;two sons are conceived and born into the covenant family. But the blessing of the covenant would only pass along to one of them. Why?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We know from later on in the record that Jacob has 12 sons. The blessings and promises of the covenant pass along to all of them. Why wouldn't both of Isaac's sons share in the covenant?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Answer</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: because one of them </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">despised </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">it. Despise: means to regard as unworthy of one's notice or consideration, to look upon with contempt, aversion, to consider worthless. It suggests an emotional response ranging from strong dislike to loathing.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God knew one son would grab hold of the blessings and promises of the covenant, and the other son would be indifferent. God didn't force the older son to feel that way. He just knew in advance that's how it would go.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 25:24-34</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Esau didn't care about what he was born to, and what might have been his. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 12:15-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Esau was interested in hunting, fishing, chasing pretty women. He was a man's man, his dad loved him best, but that wasn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t what</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;mattered to God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Esau knew abut the birthright, the promises, the covenant... he offered them as payment for a bowl of soup. He knew the truth and he didn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t care. Esau</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;made his own decision, he chose poorly.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Some people grow up knowing the truth, knowing God's plan, knowing our potential to have a place in it... and yet treat it as no big deal, they never really commit or buy in. I have watched many such people end up rejecting the truth, or resenting it because it interferes with the cares of &nbsp;life they become attached to. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’ll see that Esau wanted to settle down among the Canaanites. He didn’t want to stand apart from the world around him. He wanted to fit in, be one of them, and enjoy what life had to offer.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events (Genesis 26)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A famine hits the land. God talks Isaac into staying in the Gerar (Gaza) instead of Egypt </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:2-6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Isaac prospers but the people of the area get jealous and keep taking his wells forcing him to move from place to place. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:23-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Isaac returns to Canaan and God reiterates the covenant promises.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:34-35</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Abraham had been very concerned that his son not marry Canaanite women. He knew that if they went down that path they would become absorbed into the Canaanite people and cease to be a special and unique covenant people before God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Go</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">d’s people must remain separate. &nbsp;Which means you are going to stand out… people will think you are strange.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Esau's starts cavorting with Canaanite women. He ends up marrying not 1 but 2 of them. He seems unconcerned or outright rebelliousness toward the whole idea of living as a separate &nbsp;covenant people. God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s prophecy is starting to unfold.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But, Isaac doesn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t want to face the facts. He is grieved by Esau’s actions but he still wants Esau to be the one to receive the covenant promises even though Esau has shown nothing but contempt for it. That’s not the sort of person God wants.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 27:1-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Isaac's intentions are suspect... he appears to be side-stepping Esau's behavior and God's revelation!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In old testament times a dying man normally gathered ALL his sons around him to bless them publicly, and lay out the succession in an orderly manner. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why does he want to only bless Esau and not Jacob?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why does he appear to be doing it on the sly? Rebecca only finds out by spying on him...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Isaac knows Esau is flouting the families wishes regarding not intermarrying with the Canaanites. Why put the covenant at risk like this? Isaac knows the prophetic pronouncement about Esau. Surely that should have put him on alert regarding Esau's bad behavior and attitude regarding the covenant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why use vague language about his impending death (even though Isaac has decades left to live)... unless he's trying to do the deal ahead of time, sneak it in while no one is expecting it... so Jacob doesn't know.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Not only is Isaac physically blind he is blind to the heart of his own son… that he is unfit to be the one God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’s promise can work.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 27:27-40</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and so the covenant is passed along to Jacob. Isaac and Esau tried to pull a fast one on Jacob, in turn Jacob and Rebecca proved &nbsp;even sneakier. Scripture doesn't explicitly condone or condemn what Jacob and Rebecca did. However they do reap as they have sown. Jacob must flee... Rebecca never sees her favorite son again... and soon Jacob the deceiver will himself be cruelly deceived.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What Was The Difference Between Jacob &amp; Esau?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Both men had their sins… BUT, God can deal with sin, transgressions can be forgiven, consequences of sin can lead to repentance, lesson learned and growth in understanding. What God can</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t work with</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is indifference. The idea that a person could have opportunity for great gifts and blessings and simply not care, not go for it, not lay hold of what is being offered.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Esau didn't care... that's why God didn't want him. Jacob cared, he was going to do what it took to lay hold of the blessings God had to offer. Jacob would make a lot of mistakes along the way... but Jacob wanted it. That's what God wants to see in the heart of a person </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 3:14-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 27:46-28:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob is sent out to find a suitable wife who is not a Canaanite, and to get away from Esau who wants to kill him. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 28:10-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God confirms the succession of the covenant to Jacob... the man passionate enough to want it. Note: Jacob is willing to act. he vows to tithe as a way of acknowledging God, he is willing to travel to a foreign land to seek out a wife who is not a Canaanite.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events (Genesis 29-</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">31</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></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: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Jacob meets Rachael and falls in love which is going to make what happens next extra painful!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Jacob the deceiver is deceived by Laban into marrying the older sister Leah first. Jacob then makes a deal to marry both women... again multiple wives is going to lead to lots of family tension and strife later on down the road, scripture does not condone or condemn the act, but clearly shows them reaping bad results.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Jacob fathers 12 sons over the years... and becomes very wealthy</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Jacob realizes he needs to get away from Laban and return to the land God has promised</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></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: 11.0000pt;"><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;">Jacob prepares to meet Esau after all these years and wonders what will happen</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob Heads Back To the Land of Promise</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 32:1-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob never got the wealth from Isaac. He went out with nothing. But God blessed him with wealth and children. Nether Isaac's willfulness, Esau's anger, or Jacobs obvious shortcomings could render God's blessing and promise null and void. The covenant plan of God was about to get back on track</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 32:22-30</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we are all called to struggle with God and with man... and to overcome. Verse 28 is a key scripture for understanding what scripture tells us about Jacob. How God could work with such a deeply flawed person. Jacob was not perfect, but he wrestled with God, he was going to hold on no matter what until he got the blessing. God is pleased by that kind of attitude and desire for what He has to offer. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Sin can be dealt with. Indifference is a much more serious problem in God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s eyes</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Jacob wanted the promises and blessings of God's covenant! How do you feel about the covenant God has made with you? That new covenant?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">(don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">)Genesis 33:1-5 Jacob finally meets and reconciles with Esau</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">(don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">)Genesis 33:8-11 Jacob offers to restore to Esau the material blessings he took by deceit</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">(don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">)Genesis 33:12-19 Esau offers to travel with Jacob... but Jacob diplomatically opts to stay separate and goes to set up his own place. Jacob wants to reconcile with Esau but not to take up his ways and become one people with him. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: in the same way we should seek peace with the world as much as we can but not to embrace it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Dinah &amp; The Canaanites</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This final episode in this record of Isaac's sons we see yet another situation arise where integration with the people of Canaan becomes an issue.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Dinah is one of the daughters of Jacob's wife Leah. She decides to go hang out with the Canaanite women in the area. Note: we shouldn't assume Dinah's intentions are pure here. She gets in over head and is raped by a local Canaanite man. Jacob and then his sons hear about it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 34:8-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The Canaanite ruler of the area says "my son loves this girl and wants to marry her, why don't you move into our town and we can all be one big happy family". </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God does not want any of the covenant people to integrate with the Canaanites. The Canaanites are going to be punished and removed from the land and the land will go to the descendant of Abraham instead. A clean break with the abominations of Canaan are fundamental to the covenant of promise. God wants His covenant people to remain separate from the Canaanites.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The sons of Jacob deceitfully </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">OK, as long as you become circumcised</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Then when the men of Canaan are still recovering from the procedure and unable to fight, Dinah's full-blood brothers Simeon and Levi swoop in and kill the all Canaanite men.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">They rescue Dinah who was being held, and they loot the town carrying off all sorts of plunder. The sons of Jacob don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t intend to integrate but Jacob is not pleased by how they are going about it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Renewal </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">of</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Worship &amp; Purity</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 35:1 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God says leave this place and go back to the location where I first appeared to you when you were fleeing from Esau. Let's get back to basics.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 35:2-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob gets the message. There is going to be a renewal of worship and commitment to YHWH. We are going to get rid of all the idols and other junk we picked up from the Canaanites. We are going to declare a fresh start.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In the same way God wants all of you who partake of the new covenant to remain separate and get rid of all the debris from the world around you that you have picked up. Let</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s use this year’s Passover remembrance stir us up to do just this!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 35:6-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this re dedication to the covenant by Jacob and his family is followed by a reaffirmation that the promises and blessings granted to Abraham are indeed passed along to his grandson Jacob.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">AND, Jacob's name is changed... Jacob which means </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">the grabber and deceiver</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is now to be called Israel which means </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">he who struggles with God</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></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><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></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Desire and contend for the promises of God</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Grab hold of what is offered to you in your covenant with God and don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t let go.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Maintain purity </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">- do not become absorbed into the world around you. Remain separate and remain a special people called by God for His purpose.&nbsp;</span></span></div></div><script data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"3acbe82180","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/72wyjO7bPr8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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God's Covenant With Abraham
<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"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FM-QXGAbDI4" width="480"></iframe></span></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;">Each year we grow in our understanding of what our covenant with God means... our growth and expansion of understanding is pleasing to God. &nbsp;Today we will look at how God used the process of covenant review in the life of Abraham.</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="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: red; font-family: calibri; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Subscribe on Youtube: use the top left icon on the video!</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Covenant With Abraham</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 12:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this is the covenant Paul refers to in Galatians 3. It is a covenant graciously offered by God and based on faith… &nbsp;a willingness to believe what God says and then to act upon it. It is a covenant we now know had blessings built in for all people on earth (not just Israel). It is a covenant that looks forward to the coming of the Messiah... so that by faith in Him we might receive the promise of the holy spirit... the power of everlasting life... and share in the better promises of 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;">You could say the new covenant is built on the foundation of this covenant of faith.</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;">However, much time and many events take place between Genesis 12 and Galatians 3. God's covenants and promises unfold, are expanded, and head in new directions.</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;">Physical Blessings For A Physical Nation</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 received his calling not long after the tower of babel incident. The people of the earth had a plan to pool their resources and challenge the authority of the Creator... to declare themselves a great nation and a mighty people. God put an end to that by confusing their languages... then proceeded to roll-out a plan to create a TRULY great nation based on BETTER priorities and ways... the nation established by God… would be called 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;">God begins by calling this man Abram. Abram was 75 years old at the time but still had many years of living to go. He left his father, people, culture, religion, and false gods to follow the living God.</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 12:4-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Abraham demonstrates his willingness to step out and act on faith. God responds by expanding (or building upon) the basic promise of blessing by saying "this great nation you are to become will be given this choice land". God adds concrete realities to the previous statements.</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: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Get a FREE bible study guide:</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/transforming-your-life-the-process-of-conversion" style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion</a></span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*************************************</b></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events in Abrams Life</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;(Genesis 13-14)</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;">There is a drought in the land. So, Abraham travels to Egypt for the duration. While there he has some questionable interactions with the Pharaoh. Pharaoh tries to appease God's anger by giving Abram all kinds of livestock, servants (great wealth) and then kicks Abram out. The upshot is: Abram is now rich.</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;">Abram goes back to Canaan. Friction builds up with his nephew Lot. Abraham suggests they separate to different territories to keep the peace. Lot goes to Sodom where he gets into some serious trouble. Abraham comes to the rescue. &nbsp;After the conflict and settling of accounts we are introduced to 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;">Summary: Abraham has had some hits and some misses… &nbsp;all this is i</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">nteresting and exciting... but Abram is getting old by now. The situation is looking bleak. What good is God's promise of land and a great nation if Abram doesn't have a child? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 15:1-4</span></b><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 Reaffirms The</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ir</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;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;">So... when Abram is having some doubts, questioning the plan... how does God respond? He says “let’s go over our covenant again”. (Note: deal with doubt by going back to the basic NC promises, if you believe God’s promise of eternal life everything else falls into place).</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 15:5-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God reaffirms his promise of a child to whom all the promises and inheritance of the land will flow. He adds a promise that they will be a huge number of people (more concrete detail). Abram believes God can deliver on His promise, This is a big deal. Why? God wants people to believe what He says… its even more important than obedience!</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;">Consider this: If obedience was all God wanted He could force you to obey! You could have no choice. But, God wants you to have freedom. He wants you to believe His words are life and then desire to walk in them. This is what Paul means when he says... by this faith we uphold the law Romans 3:31.</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 you believe what God says, then you act in faith, you will obey... because you want to (from the heart).</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 15:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abram believes but still needs reassurance from God, which God provides by giving Abram a vision related to the covenant. &nbsp;Remember: Abram didn’t have a set of scriptures to read.</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 15:9-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;In this vision God adds details and builds upon the previous promises of the covenant. </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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I will walk among your descendants after you die (the sacrificial animals; heifer, goat, ram, dove... represent Israel, Abram's future children whom God walks between).</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God provides a prophecy that the children will become slaves in Egypt... but He will rescue them and Egypt will give them all kinds of riches on the way out. (probably more for future generations benefit than Abram’s)</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;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Provides a more detailed description of the land they will receive. </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;">Action &amp; Events in Abram's Life</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;(Genesis 16)</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;">Sarah assumes she is barren. She gets desperate and comes up with a plan to get child through her maid, Hagar. She tells Abram to marry Hagar as a second wife and thereby conceive a child which Sarai can then raise as her own. This was a common procedure in the culture at the time (like surrogate motherhood)... Sarai and Abram are following social norms here rather than any directive from 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;">Multiple wives goes outside boundaries of God’s original intent for the family. This creates tension and trouble. They work their way through it and Ishmael is born. But, Abram has made some miss-steps. How does God respond?</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 Reaffirms Their Covenant Again</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 17:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the covenant is based on faith but presumes that this faith will be demonstrated by action! The Hagar/Ishmael episode was badly done... I want you to walk blamelessly... </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;">Note: the word blameless here is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">taw-meem</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">; it means complete, whole, with integrity. For example; Moses used it to describe the counting of the 50 days of Pentecost (count until it is complete). Most often Moses used it to describe animals suitable for sacrifice (they are to be without blemish, no missing eyes, or limbs, no defects 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;">So, God is saying "keep living your life under my watching eyes and be complete, whole, and without defects. You've made some mistakes... let's review the covenant again. Note: if you have had some miss-steps, go back to the promises of your covenant with God. Remember why this stuff matters.</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;">First, </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God's Part of the Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">:</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 17:3-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;OK, here's what I (YHWH) am going to do. Goes over the main points: lots of descendants... lots of land. I want you to change your name to Abraham to provide a constant reminder of this. Also, God adds some additional information... this covenant with your descendant will be 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;">Abraham's Part of the 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 17:9-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God already reiterated to Abraham that the goal is to live blamelessly. God now adds circumcision to the covenant. </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 lfo2; 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;">Abraham and all his male descendants are to be circumcised. The covenant with its blessings and its expectations is not simply between God and Abraham... but also with all his descendants.</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 lfo2; 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;">Circumcision is also a sign of the everlasting nature of this covenant (verse 13)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><br /></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">But wait… didn’t God put an end to His covenant with Israel?</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;">430 years later God would enter into a covenant with Israel at Sinai. That covenant was do be based on the condition of obedience rather than God’s grace. It is a very detailed agreement: huge amount of info about what was expected of Israel, lots of detail about the blessings they could expect, lots of detail of the consequences they would face if they disobeyed. We read about that covenant in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.</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 know from history that Israel failed to obey, broke the covenant, reaped the consequences. That covenant is no longer in force... it has been replaced with what we generally call &nbsp;“the new covenant”. </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 3:15-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the previous commitments and promises God made to Abraham (and his descendants) still stand. &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;">These covenant promises made to Abraham and sons are not conditional… they are not “if you obey”… then… X. God wanted to see obedience… He wanted Abraham to practice blameless living... becoming complete and mature spiritually. An individual could opt out of the covenant by refusing circumcision.</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;">Romans 11:28-29 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the descendants of Abraham are still a special people with a special role and a special future in God's plan. They still mark themselves by circumcision.</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;However, the covenant promises God made to Abraham didn’t contain the promise of eternal life. That better promise is accessed by entering into the new covenant in Christ... being baptized into His death… receiving 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;">Spiritually speaking &nbsp;Israel are in the dark during this age of the Church. But after Christ's return Israel will be the first among nations to gain access to the spiritual blessing of that new covenant. </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;">Jeremiah 31:31-37, Jeremiah 32:40</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;">Israel will be the first of the nations to be judged by tribulation when Christ returns… and the first to be restored when Christ establishes the rule of God on earth. God will once again establish Israel as a model nation through whom He will teach all peoples. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">God remains true to the everlasting covenant!</span></b><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;">Actions &amp; Events</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;(Genesis 18-21)</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: l2 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;">God reiterates His promise that Sarah will bear a son for Abraham, Sarah laughs in disbelief</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: l2 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;">Abraham carries out the instructions to circumcise. </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: l2 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;">Abraham pleads for Sodom and Gomorrah - demonstrates mercy in the face of judgment (in my opinion the shining moment of his walk with God)</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: l2 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;">There are some dubious dealings with Abimelech (similar to Abram’s dealings with the Pharaoh)</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: l2 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;">Finally, Issac the son of promise is born - which leads to more family tension</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;">More ups and downs... Abraham shows great spiritual maturity, he finally receives the promise of an heir. But still has some of the same bad habits as before. How does God respond?</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 Re-affirms His Promises... and Tests Abraham’s commitment.</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 22:1-2</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 plucked Abraham and offered him purpose, blessings and hope. Abraham believed and responded in faith, he did what he was asked. But he also had his lapses. There were times when he relied on his own craftiness, or what seemed right in his own eyes. Perhaps these played into the long-drawn-out timeline through which the promises were revealed and fulfilled... perhaps they played a part in this final recorded episode of Abraham's life. </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 22:3-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;verse 8 - Abraham had faith that whatever it was God could work it out. Verse 12 - God learned what He wanted to know… “are you all in?” Can you lose something, someone that &nbsp;you love and believe My power to restore them once more at the appointed time?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 2:21-26 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Abraham got through it by maintaining the same faith that got him there in the first place</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:17-19</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Abraham got through this trial by faith in God’s ultimate power over life. The mental anguish was not worthy to be compared with what God has in store for those who love and obey Him. </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;">How did God respond? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 22:15-19</span></b><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;">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;">You may have been tested and tried with unanswered prayer, a long delay of a hoped for blessing, you may have experienced lapses, moments of doubt, perhaps you have been asked to give up someone. Or something, you love. </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;">In all these things believe that God can, and will, provide you with that which is even better... the promise of life. Respond in faith, seek to walk in a manner that is blameless. </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 has entered into a covenant with you that is bigger and better that what was offered to Israel. But He still uses the technique of recalling, rehearsing and reaffirming. He calls you once again this year to reaffirm and rehearse the promises of that covenant at the Passover.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><br />Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/03/gods-covenant-with-abraham.html">God's Covenant of Faith With Abraham</a></div><br /><script data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"3acbe82180","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/NXai5IruB5k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Teaches About Greatness in the Kingdom of God
<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/-xHDZdUTcbHs/WUQWEi6-bDI/AAAAAAAAAgE/804wyt_OvlsFpy02HIKraCSZ1v8rjw1LQCLcBGAs/s1600/runningfastasIcan.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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xHDZdUTcbHs/WUQWEi6-bDI/AAAAAAAAAgE/804wyt_OvlsFpy02HIKraCSZ1v8rjw1LQCLcBGAs/s320/runningfastasIcan.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In a previous post we took a look at Jesus instructions to the disciples about the establishment of the church. </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The bedrock and foundation of faith…. that Jesus is the son of the living God</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His coming death and resurrection… which meant He would soon be leaving them</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They would receive the keys of administration to manage the functions of the church… with authority to make decision about applying the law etc.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They too must take up their cross putting to death the old person and becoming a new person. </div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus ended that session of teaching with a promise… that some of them would see Him in the power and glory of the Kingdom before they tasted death.<br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H2B4C0DHfg">Jesus Teaches About Greatness in the Kingdom of God</a></div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 17: 1-13 A Glimpse of Jesus as He Will be In the KOG</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus took his three closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) up the mountain… while there they are allowed to see Him in His glorified state… very similar to what we read in the first chapter of Revelation… shining with bright light like the sun etc. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This amazing vision would have provided much needed reassurance from the Father to strengthen Jesus’ resolve to go to Jerusalem and face crucifixion. The vision includes Moses and Elijah who talk to Him about His upcoming death Luke 9:31 (presumably they represent the law and the prophets urging Him on). Also, the voice of the Father speaks affirming Jesus is on the right path… poof then it’s over.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">No doubt the memory of this would also help the disciples get through the troubles and trials the church would face after Jesus’ death… likewise we too should think about the glory that awaits as a way to get through the daily grind of trial testing and suffering.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Once again He tells them not to speak of what they have just seen until after He has risen from the tomb. They still do not understand the true nature of the messiah and are not ready to start teaching others about it (<i>Mark 9:10 - They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant</i>).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They also had questions about Elijah showing they are still thinking in terms of national restoration and the conquering victorious messiah. The disciples still did not really understand what Jesus was telling them about the path to glory that comes through enduring trials, suffering and even persecution… they seem to be aware that He is telling them that He is establishing some sort of new community of chosen ones… but how will this community of chosen ones interact with the world? What will their status be? Are they about to become Kings and Priests? What will they have authority over? Who will be in charge?</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 17: 14-23 Jesus Example of Patience and Compassion</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As soon as Jesus and the three disciples arrive back from the mountain they meet a large noisy crowd. The disciples who had remained behind had tried to heal a demon possessed boy… but they had failed. Scribes and naysayers were disputing with them and then the father of the boy runs up to Jesus seeking His help.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">What a way to come off a great spiritual high… But, as always Jesus is patient and compassionate… a perfect example of the principles of loving authority and true greatness He is about to begin teaching at length in chapter 18.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 17:24-27 - Is The Church Subject To Worldly Authority?</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Before jumping into the main body of what Jesus has to say about greatness in the KOG Matthew records an interesting interchange with the Jews who collected the temple tax… interesting because it makes a point about the present authority of the church… and its relation to human government.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The temple tax was not a law recorded in OT scripture. It was a law of the Jews (base on an obscure interpretation of Exodus 30:13). Jesus’ point to Peter is… the children of God are not commanded to pay this tax (it’s not required by God’s law)… but so as not to offend we will pay it. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even though we are children of the most high… we submit ourselves to worldly authority (except where it requires us to disobey God). Jesus has given authority to the church “<i>the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven</i>”... yet the church subjects itself to worldly authority just as He did… waiting for God’s appointed time.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Authority &amp; Greatness in the Kingdom of God</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 18:1</b> – the disciples argue among themselves who was going to be the greatest (ref parallel)… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They believed Jesus was the Messiah who would usher in the KOG… He had talked to them about great authority to come their way… they knew He was on His way to Jerusalem for a showdown with the power that be… that He would be killed but be miraculously resurrected to life… three of the 12 had just seen Jesus revealed in His divine glory… it was enough to make anyone’s head swim with ideas of grandeur… surely the time had come!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But their arguing shows that the disciples do not yet share the mind of God on matters of authority and greatness… perhaps even to the point of eagerly anticipating lording it over others as the kings of the gentile do… a way of thinking Jesus would warn the disciples about again at the final Passover meal (Luke 22:25)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus’ answer to their question “who will be the greatest in the KOG?” takes up the entirety of chapter 18… He first instruct them to redefine “greatness” away from a focus on hierarchy, status, privilege, etc, toward a standard based on how you treat others. Furthermore, this KOG standard was to be the standard for His church.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus teaches using 2 scenarios for how you should treat others:</span></h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Warning against offending “one of the little ones” verses 1-14</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Instructions on how to deal with those who wrong you verses 15-35</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus first warns those who would be great against offending others.</b></div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:2-4 Humility</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have to change your way of thinking…. If the Word of God was willing to empty himself and come in the form of a working class carpenter, humbling himself in obedience even unto death… what does that mean for us?... those who are to follow in His footsteps, namely the Church of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Children don’t naturally act humble… rather they <u>are</u> humble… of lowly status, utterly dependent upon their parents… not self sufficient. Likewise, we must realize that we are completely dependent… we no power to save ourselves from death… we are 100% dependent on the mercy of our Father in heaven. We must <u>turn away</u> from preoccupation with status and humble ourselves as if we were a child… and trust our Father. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>How does this affect human relationships?</b> Simple: those who think highly of themselves tend to treat others as lowly… a scenario with great potential to create a stumbling block for others in the church.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:5-7 Responsibility</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You are responsible for the effect you have on the spiritual lives of others. On the positive side we welcome newcomers who hear and obey our Father in heaven. On the negative side God is very dis-pleased with those who mess up the spiritual lives of others. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If you are reading the NKJV or the NIV you read the phrase <i>cause to sin</i>. Dubious translation… the word is <i>scandalizo</i> which is usually translated “offend”, “offended” but also “cause to fall away” or “stumble” (very often the result of someone being offended is that they fall away, leave the faith, leave the church)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How do we avoid causing that?</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:8-9 Self-Denial</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If there are parts of your personality that cause stumbling… offense… falling away… you must get rid of them… vanity, love of gossip, playing fast and loose with God’s commands, wrangling over the minutia of scripture, lording it over others, coldness and indifference… etc. These have a very negative effect on others and on you.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This is what Jesus means when He says “whoever loses his life for me will find it”… to be crucified with Christ… to put the old person to death… to walk in the newness of life. </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:10-14 Respect Kindness and Concern For Others</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Care for the individual members not just for the flock… (concept vs. reality) “I love humanity… I just don’t like people very much”... what good is it to say I love the Brethren (in theory)… I respect the Brethren (in theory)… but not love or respect the individual members you come across in the Church.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Remember Jesus is talking to the disciples, the founding members of His Church… He is answering their question about who would be the greatest… <b>Answer:</b> greatness was to be measured in their treatment of others, especially the little ones… the small, the weak, the naïve. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus now addresses our treatment of those who have done wrong to us! </b> </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:15-17 Discipline</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Note the use of the word <i>brother</i>… this is directed toward relationships within the Church. Also, the word translated as sin in the NKJV or the NIV is not the <i>scandalizo</i> we discussed earlier… its <i>harmartano</i>… which truly does mean SIN. We are no longer talking about things that can cause doubt, offense or even falling away. We are talking about when someone has done you wrong.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Some people are hyper-sensitive and seem to find offense everywhere. People might have a quarrel in which both parties share in the blame… That’s not what is being addressed here. This is a trespass where the fault is on the other side.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Question:</b> Isn’t it better to overlook such a sin… to forgive and turn the other cheek?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness is too often used as a disguise for weakness or indifference in the face of sin. Notice the phrase “you have won your brother” or “you have gained your brother”. The motive here is not to be correct, or to prove yourself right. The motive is to <u>restore</u> a fellow disciple. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When a person repents, forgiveness is available; but without repentance, forgiveness is not given. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>But Christ extended forgiveness to people who had not repented. Why?</b> Because they didn’t know any better “forgive them for they know not what they do”… However, these instructions are given to the Church… for people who <u>do</u> know better… and so forgiveness is handled a bit differently.</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">It’s a simple 4 step plan (the first three steps all seeking repentance):</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Go to them alone</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Go to them with reliable people as witnesses</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Take it to the Church (in hope they may submit to authority &amp; judgment)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Excommunicate (forgiveness withheld where there is no repentance)</div></li></ol><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:18-20 Unity</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ has given the church authority to discipline. However, discipline administered in the name and authority of Christ must also be administered in the spirit of Christ… with unity of mind and purpose. Not at the whim of a powerful individual (the greatest). Only with this unity do we have any confidence that our decisions are acceptable to the Father. <i>Caveat: this principle relates to matters of reconciliation as is not meant to be applied to matters of law or doctrine etc. Nor does it mean we can gather together and successfully ask for whatever we want. </i> </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matthew 18:21-22 Forgiveness &amp; Restoration</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Based on the record we have Jesus never actually mentioned forgiveness but it was clearly implied. Peter realizes this and he has a question about the limits of forgiveness.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Traditionally the Rabbis had a three strikes and you’re out policy. So, Peter probably thought he was being very generous here… double that and add one more for good measure… 7 times!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus reply: UNLIMITED forgiveness is available. Always forgive, unless the person refuses to repent (which implies a change of behavior). If there is no repentance, the principle of verses 15-17 come back into play.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:23-35 A Parable of Forgiveness</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For those who repent God eternally and unconditionally forgives a huge debt against Him. It’s hard to understand believers (fellow servants) who would refuse to grant forgiveness to each other over matters that are trivial in comparison to the mountain of debt God has forgiven us.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">By accepting God’s unlimited forgiveness of us… and our sins… we are therefore expected to extend the same forgiveness to others. Not just from the lips but from the heart</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Who would be great in the Kingdom of God? </span> </h3><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One who learns humility, is soberminded about their responsibility, ready to put away anything in themselves that causes harm, respectful, kind and concerned about others… willing to apply discipline where necessary, working in unity with their brothers, and eager to forgive the repentant person.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/e6ZqJ3N4vbU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Teaches in Parables
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E4rUYudFPM0/WdEE-y8MK6I/AAAAAAAAAk4/XZv8KeANEmwjuWss_XZxwWDZr1iEH8c_gCLcBGAs/s1600/hans-peter-gauster-252751.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1069" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E4rUYudFPM0/WdEE-y8MK6I/AAAAAAAAAk4/XZv8KeANEmwjuWss_XZxwWDZr1iEH8c_gCLcBGAs/s320/hans-peter-gauster-252751.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Over the past several months we have taken a look at segments of the book of Matthew and today I would like to take a look at another section.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The focus of the past 4 sermons from Matthew has been the ministry of Jesus… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus ministry of teaching </b>– Matthew 5-7 which we dealt with in 2 parts. Matthew provides us with an example of how Jesus taught about the law of God, standards personal behavior, thoughts &amp; actions, as well as good works.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus ministry of healing</b> – Matthew 8-9. Matthew grouped together a number of examples of Jesus healing illustrating His compassion, care for the outcast, His authority over body life forces of spirit realm… and over sin and death.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus ministry of proclamation</b> – Matthew 10 Jesus send for the church to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus sermon grants authority, gives some limitations, tells what to say… along with some practical instruction on dealing with rejection and opposition.<br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg6ex1he-p0">Jesus Teaches in Parables</a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The next section of extended teaching from Jesus is <br /><a name='more'></a>found in Matthew 13… which for those of you who know your bible is the first major section of parables from Jesus. </div><h3 class="western">Why did Jesus begin using parables?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You’ve probably heard that Jesus was a great story teller… that He used stories to get the attention of His listeners and to drive home a particular spiritual or doctrinal point. Jesus was indeed a good story teller and His parables do drive home particular spiritual and doctrinal understanding… but not to everyone!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus frequently spoke quite plainly to the people about who He was and what He was up to. Some couldn’t take it in because they expected the messiah to act a certain way… and Jesus didn’t do and say what they expected the messiah to do and say.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">the gospel records indicate that what really drew the crowds was the miraculous displays of His power … healing, driving our demons, feeding vast crowds from a few loaves of bread and so forth.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Let’s back up and look at the two chapters of Matthew leading up to chapter 13. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Chapter 11 shows that even John The Baptist… the one who pointed to Jesus and said “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”… after seeing how Jesus was operating… teaching… healing… and sending forth the disciples to proclaim the KOG… John was confused and he sent some messenger to ask “are you really the messiah? Or should we keep looking?”… Jesus reminds John of the prophecies that are being fulfilled and coaches him to hang in there.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After a brief explanation to the crowd gathered around Him that John is the last of the OT prophets and the Elijah to come… Jesus begins to criticize their fickleness… John comes with a somber message of self denial, spiritual discipline and repentance before God and they say John is possessed by a demon. Jesus comes with a message of mercy, joy and restoration and he’s called a glutton, drunkard and friend of sinners… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He also criticizes the cities He had been preaching and teaching in because they had not responded to the plain teaching and instruction they have gotten from both Himself and from John… The words went in one ear and out the other… they have not changed their lives at all!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 11:25-27</b> He talks to the crowd about humility as a prerequisite to receiving God’s truth</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 11:28-30</b> He offers them relief from their burdens and oppression</div><h3 class="western">Two Examples of Burdens to Be Relieved</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Traditions of Men and false religious beliefs</b> – read this section on the <i>Lord of the Sabbath</i>… and I think you’ll see that here we have an example of Jesus confronting the burdensome traditions of men. Specifically, the traditions regarding Sabbath observance: it’s ok to eat on the Sabbath… it’s ok to lift food to your mouth from a bowl or a plate… but it’s not ok to pluck a head of grain and lift it to your mouth? It’s ok to pull a stranded animal out of a hole on the Sabbath but it’s not ok to heal a suffering person on the Sabbath?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Don’t lecture me on what’s allowed I’m the creator of the Sabbath!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>And what is the reaction?</b> After that the Pharisees began to plot how to destroy and kill Him. <b>Verse 14</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Spiritual Oppression</b> – next Jesus demonstrates His power and authority to drive away spiritual oppression by casting a demon out of a man.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>And what is the reaction?</b> They accuse Him of being in league with the prince of demons</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">People were hearing plain spoken true teaching about repentance from dead works… they were witnessing with their own eyes the fulfillment of the prophesied Messiah with supernatural power over human life, sickness, and the spirit realm… <u>and they were rejecting it</u>.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Instead… they ask Him to prove Himself with some magic tricks… He refuses and instead offers them a soon to be fulfilled prophecy of His death and resurrection. (God’s miracles have purpose)</div><h3 class="western">Jesus Begins to Speak in Parables</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His parables and stories were filled with truth about the coming Kingdom of God but were not easy to understand without help and instruction. And the key to accessing the truth embedded in the parable was humility… a willingness to ask “what does this mean?”… a willingness to listen… and a willingness to act upon what you have heard. Humility in this case means to put aside your own ideas about truth, life, reality… and to listen to God your creator.</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13:1-9</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Verse 1 “that same day”… so the crowd was listening to what Jesus had to say but what had attracted them was the dramatic healings, casting out of demons and so forth… but what did they take away from these parables? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>That Jesus guy said some pretty deep stuff… Not sure I really understand but it sounded profound… Those miracles were pretty cool though, weren’t they?</i></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In contrast, a small group of disciples approached Jesus and asked Him to explain why He was speaking in parables and what did the parables mean. <b>Verses 10-17</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For those whose hearts are already hardened parables obscure and confuse… but for those with a willing heart… willing to humble themselves and be taught parables can provide valuable insight. There are aspects of the truth which are hidden… mysteries… to understand them you need a guide. The disciples had Jesus (God in the flesh) there with them, later the Holy Spirit would take this role… but I submit to you that along with the Holy Spirit you need the church of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I do not come to you each Sabbath with messages based on stuff I figured out myself… I come to you with messages based on the things I have been taught by others.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Often people come to understand something basic and fundamental on their own… like the keeping of the Sabbath. But an understanding of God’s plan of salvation, the truth about judgment, the resurrections or what sonship in the KOG really means… these things are taught and passed along by the Church of God together with the Holy Spirit.</div><h3 class="western">The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower – Matt 13:18-23</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Ironically, the parable of the sower is about perceiving and accepting truth. Jesus present 4 ways the message of the Kingdom can be responded to. The seed is the message, the soil is the human heart. Some are hard, some are superficial, some idolize wealth and the world, and some are good.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even an enthusiastic response to the truth is insufficient... what counts is standing the test of time, perseverance in difficulty, avoidance of focusing on wealth or the worries of the world AND most of all… hearing and doing… doing the good things which prove the response is genuine. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To hear the truth… admit you’re wrong and change as a result takes <u>humility</u>. Humbling yourself before God.</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Weeds Matt 13:24-30</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus parable of the weeds is also about possible responses to the message of the kingdom of God. But we wouldn’t know that unless He explained it to the disciples later. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>What parts of it would they have understood?</b> The word weed is actually <i>zizanion</i>, a type of weed also called a darnel… or “false grain”. In its early stages you could not tell it apart from a real wheat plant. Only later when both plants grew up could you tell them apart… wheat would bear fruit or a kernel of grain while the <i>zizanion</i> would have nothing to offer. Even when it did become apparent you could not pull up the <i>zizanion</i> without disrupting the wheat… their roots systems were too intertwined.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Today we understand the spiritual analogy Jesus is making but only because He later explains it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But first we have:</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Mustard Seed Matt 13:31-33</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus does not explain this parable… so even today we are left with some doubt as to how it applies. What is clear is that God’s plan and purpose in the world begins with something very small that grows larger. This could refer to faith, understanding, and the work of the Holy Spirit within you… it could refer to church growth… it could refer to the spread of knowledge and truth in the Millennial rule of Christ… we are not sure.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 34-36</b> once again we see the crowd left in a kind of daze… not really understanding what they were hearing… but in contrast we see the disciples come to Him and ask. The same principle applies today… ask God for understanding and He will answer… ask God for wisdom and He will supply. Humble yourself before God and admit that you don’t have all the answers.</div><h3 class="western">The Explanation of the Parable of the Wheat Matt 13:37-47</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God permits the existence of good and evil side by side in this world for His purpose of testing the hearts of men and women as mentioned in the previous parable. But He <u>will</u> judge them and separate them.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The workers in the field (people like you and me) want to start pulling up the weeds right away. You know and accept the truth of God… wouldn’t it be better to punish evil doers… why can’t we act now? But the workers are not equipped to judge… like Jesus said to James and John when they wanted to call down fire from heaven… “you do not know what manner of sprit you are of” (Luke 9:55). Before God will give you power and authority in the KOG He wants to see what you are made of… will you put on the mind of Christ. In the 1,000 year rule of Christ will you deal with dissent and rebellion with firmness… yet patient and not willing to see any perish? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I know I’m not there yet… </div><h3 class="western">The Weeds And the Wheat Grow Side By Side</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">No one is fit to judge and purify human society from evil without also potentially doing harm to those who are good at the same time. That judgment of separation is in God’s hands. The delay we experience now is His patient and gracious opportunity for repentance (1 Peter 3:9).</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of Hidden Treasure Matt 13:44-45</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The remainder of Jesus teaching on this occasion is a private session with the disciples alone the. The crowd is gone. Jesus starts to wrap up with two simple parables which make the same point: that the knowledge of the KOG is so valuable that it’s worth sacrificing everything to gain it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The first is an example of a person who stumbles across the truth by accident. The second is an example of a person who is actively seeking it. God calls both types.</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Net Matt 13:46-51</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A simple parable reiterating that God will judge between good and evil… something His beleaguered followers must always keep in mind. </div><h3 class="western">Jesus Conclusion Matt 13:51-52</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I find it interesting that Jesus refers to them as future teachers of the law. That distinction will soon be taken away from the Scribes and Pharisees (the spiritual leaders of the day) and given to those who are willing to humbly seek wisdom and understanding from God… to accept it and to act upon it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As the new teachers of the law the disciples, the apostles, the Church of God will be drawing out the meaning of the OT scriptures (the truth delivered from the very beginning) while showing how they are applied in the new covenant age.</div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This is a task the Church of God is still working at to this day until His return.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/4qglkmRaA6A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Sends Forth The Church Matt 10:1-42
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h3 style="text-align: left;">Matt 9:35-38 A Message of Truth &amp; Hope</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--qgjgWoYu7U/WdEGywKEygI/AAAAAAAAAlE/QPZgfwuQ3YoR87_XKHBmC9AchLiTTn4owCLcBGAs/s1600/aaron-burden-43435.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1202" data-original-width="1600" height="240" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--qgjgWoYu7U/WdEGywKEygI/AAAAAAAAAlE/QPZgfwuQ3YoR87_XKHBmC9AchLiTTn4owCLcBGAs/s320/aaron-burden-43435.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>*********************************<br />You can listen to this message on&nbsp;<b>YouTube</b><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO6uyIMSdbI">Jesus Sends Forth The Church</a><br />*********************************<br /><br />Jesus heart went out to the people He encountered. Without the truth of God their lives and minds were filled with all sorts of false ideas that gave them little hope and little purpose in their lives… mostly just burdens and fears. Jesus responded emotionally. He wants people to hear the truth, He wants people to have hope, and He wants His disciples to continue His ministry after He is gone and feel about it the way He did. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This introduction to Jesus sending forth of His followers to carry on His work tells us about the heart of our Lord plus it contains a practical instruction for our prayer life so we might have that same emotional engagement … Jesus tells us part of ourprayers to the Father should concern the continuation of Jesus ministry through the church, with an emphasis on those who are specifically sent into the field to proclaim the truth.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:1-7 The Commission And The Authority</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There are three elements to Jesus’ command to “go forth”:</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Grants them authority</b> – not a blank check so they can do whatever they want however they want… they cannot draw upon the authority He has given apart from faith and prayer – <b>Matt 17:20, Mark 9:29</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Gives them some limitations</b>: go only to Israel </div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">conforms to God’s general pattern Rom 1:16 – an expression of God’s unfailing love and commitment to Israel even to the very end when Christ returns <b>Romans 11:26-28 / Zechariah 8:23</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">the disciples were from a Jewish background – they were ill equipped to deal with the sophisticated and cynical people of the Greek and Roman world… it would take a person like Paul to go toe to toe with the philosophies of the Greeks</div></li></ol></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Tells them what to say:</b> The Kingdom of God [KOG] is near – the word near can refer to either time or proximity and is used both ways interchangeably in NT… they were near Jerusalem, or the time to leave was near…</div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Time</b> – the idea of time is problematic for us today because the KOG clearly has not come. Trying to reconcile the time idea with reality leads some to say that the KOG is a spiritual event that takes place in the hearts of people who accept the H.S. Thus the KOG began in 31 AD when the spirit was poured out. This also leads to the idea that the KOG is the church.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Proximity</b> – the KOG is close by in the person of Jesus who is the king of the kingdom… He is also the embodiment of everything the KOG stands for. Note: subsequent scriptures show us that Jesus will leave and later return to bring the rule of God / Kingdom of God to earth at a future time. That is why we (UCG) proclaim the KOG as something coming and not yet here (Jesus makes this understanding very clear in several of His KOG parables) Note: the KOG is referred to as a future event in Acts and the Epistles by the leaders of the church.</div></li></ol></li></ol><h3 class="western">What Did The Disciples Think The KOG Meant?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Acts 1:3-6 – right up until the moment He leaves them the disciples were still thinking of the nearness of the KOG in terms of time.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Also, at the time the disciples received these first instructions to go forth and preach the KOG they still considered the Messiah and His kingdom to be a Jewish thing (restore the kingdom to Israel)… they did not know that the Messiah was a universal savior and a universal ruler.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Later on they got a much more developed view of what the KOG was all about. For now they had only the most basic understanding of what the KOG meant. Their purpose at that moment was to proclaim the presence of the king among the people. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Perhaps it was the healing of sicknesses and driving away of evil spirits would teach the people about the KOG in ways the disciples were no yet prepared to do… providing an objective demonstration of the power of the king and His kingdom and its spirit of mercy and compassion.</div><h3 class="western">12 Are Selected</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ had quite a number of followers but here He selects 12 from among them and sets these 12 apart and sends them forth to do the work of preaching and proclaiming (apostello). </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Eph 4:12</b> we see this principle at work in the church at Ephesus today where some are specifically tasked with the unique roles within the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We are also asked to pray for workers that the Lord of the Harvest sends into the field –<b> 2 Thess 3:1-2</b>.</div><h3 class="western">Do The Rest of Us Simply Pay &amp; Pray?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Church of God has always made the distinction that some are set apart specifically to go forth and proclaim the coming of Christ the King and the establishment of the rule on God on earth… and we still have those who are set apart yet today. But does that mean because you are not ordained and set apart for that purpose you have no role in bringing the truth to people in this world? No.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The scriptures clearly teach that we are to train and prepare ourselves that we might talk about our faith “give an answer” to others. We are also to train and discipline our lives so they reflect the values of the kingdom… that some might even be won over by our example… <b>I Peter 3:15 / Col 4:6</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A key phrase here is “train and prepare”… study the work of God so that you can talk to others about what you believe. The negative spin on this is that If you are untrained or unskilled in the word you run the risk of misrepresenting Christ the King.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The 12 who were selected had spent time in Jesus presence. They were part of the inner circle who had received training and preparation for the task at hand. Now Jesus was sending them forth as His representatives on what could be seen as a trial run or practice drill before the beginning of the MAIN EVENT… the beginning of the Church in Acts 2-3.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:9-14 Practical Instruction On Dealing With People</h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How they will be supported</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How to deal with rejection</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Financial Support: the workers sent forth by Christ are to be supported by the people they are laboring among. They don’t finance the work themselves… they take no bag of money etc. Jesus tells the disciples to give freely and not charge money for access to the truth… but He very much expects those receiving the message of the KOG… to value it enough that they support those who are preaching it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I think the practical non-supernatural manner God provides for His workers is a stumbling block for some that causes them to doubt the divine power behind the work. (fed by ravens?)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Rejection: As heralds / ambassadors of the great King their presence in someone’s home was a great honor to that person. Some would recognize it as such and others would not. The manner in which the disciples were instructed to respond was to withdraw with dignity… not begging or pleading with the person to give them another chance… but to consider that they had performed the duty God required. The person had not rejected them but had rejected the king. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These instructions would remind them that they were not going forth in their <u>own name</u>… but as ambassadors and representatives clothed with the authority, armed with the power, and vested with the rights of the King of kings.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Verse 15 – the people of Sodom are the biblical poster children for sin and depravity… but one who hears and rejects the truth, his ambassadors… Christ solemn judgment is that they are worse. He will deal with them. (that is another sermon)</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:16-23 Jesus Predicts the Opposition They Will Face</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus predicts there will be great cost exacted of those who go forth in His name. Those who go forth in His name must expect trials and troubles… Jesus suffered why not you?... Jesus was rejected why not you?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 19-20</b> persecution is a means whereby a witness of the truth and the message of the Kingdom can be made before public representatives.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Also, “you will be given what to say” – not to be used as an excuse for not preparing to give an answer through study of God’s word. As we read earlier we are to prepare ourselves… the spirit works by bringing to recollection what we have already put in there.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 23</b> – be courageous in the face of opposition and trouble… When the path of duty is clear don’t shirk it… but don’t walk into trouble… flee the city… remove yourself from the source of trouble (caveat: unless fleeing would undermine the teaching and proclamation of the truth).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Cities of Israel – This verse is perhaps too eagerly looked at as only referring only to the second coming of Jesus. If we stick to the immediate context we see that Jesus is sending them out before Him to prepare for His arrival… literally He was coming to the towns and villages of the land… but especially He was coming to the city of Jerusalem… where He would pass sentence upon the city for rejecting (and killing their King at His appearing).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This judgment upon Jerusalem is also a type of foreshadow of His second coming when He will return to pass a judgment of condemnation on the governments and rulers of the earth and replace their rule with the rule of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Note: UCG interprets this verse to indicate that the disciples (ie the church) will never have finished delivering the truth and proclamation of Christ’s return and the KOG before the time of the end… that we will never have reached all the cities of the 12 lost and scattered tribes of Israel (let alone the whole world) before the second coming of Christ right up to the very end. Therefore we will be proclaiming the KOG up to the very end… as long as we are able.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I say this because some in the COG argue that the taking of the message of the KOG to the world was completed by HWA sometime in the 1980s and that the church should turn inward and focus on preparing themselves spiritually for the immanent return of Christ.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">UCG says that there is still work to be done and we will continue to do it. (see also <b>Matt 28:20</b>)</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:24-33 Have Courage… Fear God Not Man</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus never sugar coated the trials and troubles the disciples were in store for. Although Jesus is directly speaking to those appointed to go forth and preach the principle applies to each of us within the church. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His advice: in all circumstances place total confidence in the power of Jesus Christ. You are His servant and chosen representative… nothing that happens to you goes unnoticed… no suffering that you undergo for the sake of His name that will go unrewarded.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Knowing this we are to focus on God who holds true power in his hand. What power is that? … the power of life and death… permanent (or eternal) life… or permanent (or eternal) death.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 28</b> – To me this is a verse that is referring to the permanent destruction in the lake of fire. The word soul = <i>psuche</i>, meaning that spark of life that is in you. It is translated as “life” or “soul” in scripture. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This scripture is saying don’t be afraid of people and how they judge you, or trouble you, or punish you. They at most only have power to kill your body… which simply causes you to sleep until the time of your resurrection. Be concerned with how God judges you because He has the power to permanently establish you or eliminate you as a living thinking being… no hell… nothing.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:34-39 Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Loyalty to Jesus Christ will cause friction with those who also lay claim to your loyalty. You can be a good son, daughter, father, or mother… but loyalty to Christ and your role in His commission comes first. You can be a good citizen… but loyalty to God comes first.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Again, we are not looking for trouble… we are not trying to pick a fight… but when duty calls we know where our loyalty must be. Maintaining this loyalty may bring trouble… we may suffer loss… and may be a burden or cross we must bear.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:30-42 Reward</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Not everyone is appointed to personally go forth in the name of Jesus Christ to preach the KOG… some work behind the scenes providing financial support, help, food &amp; lodging, prayers and more. As we have noted in previous sermons… preaching the gospel is a work with a reward… and here we see that providing support functions (a cup of cold water) is also a work with reward.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Work of Jesus Carries On In The Church Today</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In His “sermon” Jesus prepares His followers for the future. So He would be gone but they would still have the commission to preach the message of the KOG. After His death they would continue on as His representatives, the ambassadors of a coming King of Kings. How people would respond to this message will be accounted as how they would receive Jesus Himself.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The disciples have long since died but the commission to go forth as His representatives continues within the Church… and you are part of it. </div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Let us go forth, be courageous, stay loyal, and keep working.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/SFs9TgJtQSM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QM1kVwQN0-0/WdEID7cJvRI/AAAAAAAAAlQ/EzLvda_4R8MREC1LTwr6gdW9zL5pQI-pwCLcBGAs/s1600/lukas-bornhauser-131196.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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QM1kVwQN0-0/WdEID7cJvRI/AAAAAAAAAlQ/EzLvda_4R8MREC1LTwr6gdW9zL5pQI-pwCLcBGAs/s320/lukas-bornhauser-131196.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>A couple a months ago we reviewed the <i>Sermon On The Mount</i> which is Matthew’s overview of a typical sermon from Jesus on ethics and behavior. <br /><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px;">*********************************</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px;">You can listen to this message on&nbsp;</span><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">YouTube</b><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBSy5PfbBFI">The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ</a><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px;">*********************************</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Yet there was more to Jesus ministry just words about how we ought to live, or prophecy or judgment. A large part of His ministry involved walking among people like you and me… healing the sick, casting out demons, restoring eyesight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In chapters 8 &amp; 9 Matthew has grouped together a number of examples of Jesus healing ministry interspersed with short examples of how people reacted and responded to what the saw and experienced. There are a number of different themes running through these examples… such as his compassion, His care for those who were outcast. But I would like to draw to your attention to healings as examples of Jesus authority over body, life, forces of nature, forces of the spirit realm, authority over sin and authority over death… and talk briefly about what that authority means for us today.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:1-4—Jesus heals a leper </h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Jews had lots of man-made rules about leprosy that went way beyond scriptural rules of quarantine. The leper was not just exiled from the community… he was hated, he was sin personified, people would throw stones at them not just to keep them away but to show contempt. Just by getting within 6 feet of a leper Jesus was breaking the regulations of the Jews… let alone touching the man. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But with the theme of authority in mind notice two features in the record:</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The leprous man worshipped and addressed Jesus as <i>Kurios</i> – the supreme authority. He knew Jesus had the power to cleanse him if He desired. Which of course Jesus did. </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After cleansing him Jesus sent him to the priests to be officially recognized as cleansed according to the rites outlined in Lev 13. This healing would go on record as a testimony of the cleansing and of Jesus power and authority to cleanse.</div></li></ul><h3 class="western">Matt 8:5-13—Jesus heals a gentile soldier’s servant</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This man had a military background… a Centurian understood authority and he knew it when he saw it. This section is the most obvious recognition of Jesus act of healing as an expression of His authority. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">However, let’s never consider that Jesus did what He did to show off His power (however this is the effect they have)… these are acts of love… Jesus’ heart went out to these people in their needs… remember the people came to Him beseeching Him for help… after all He had spoken to them of love, care. Compassion… how could He respond other that how He did? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Without the healing part of Jesus ministry all we would have would be a rather cold lesson in ethics and proper behavior. Here we see the emotion of our creator in action.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:14-17—Jesus heals many</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Not only does Jesus heal the outcasts and the unclean gentiles… He also heals those within his inner circle of disciples and followers. Plus, here we get the first mention of casting out of demons. But what we want to take some time looking at here is the quotation of Isaiah 53:4 which reminds us that the healing ministry of Christ is a fulfillment of prophecy. But there is more…</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Isaiah 53:4-5</b> also introduces a connection between Christ’s sacrifice as being for our sins/transgressions as well as that which makes possible our healing. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In case you were thinking that making such a connection is reading too much into a poetic analogy… Here are several NT verses that connect sin and sickness: <b>James 5:14-16 / I Cor 11:24-32 / 1 Peter 2:24</b></div><h3 class="western">Is Our Sickness Caused By Some Sin In Our Lives?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These verses lead some to conclude that <u>all</u> illness is caused by sin… and that repentance from that sin is necessary for healing. I think from scripture we can say that illness caused by sin is always a possibility but we cannot say that every (or even most) sickness is caused by personal sin. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For example: Paul had an ailment he begged God to heal multiple times which was never healed… but there is no record of any sin either repented of or unrepented of. In <b>John 9:3</b> we have Jesus own testimony regarding a man who was blind that there was no sin associated with it. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, when seeking God’s healing you should definitely consider that sin <u>may</u> be involved… but not assume that there has to be some be some sin… and that you need to keep searching until we find it.</div><h3 class="western">What Then Is The Connection Between Sin &amp; Sickness?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>One:</b> The physical is an analogy for the spiritual. Sickness pictures our broken and dysfunctional spiritual state… healing pictures our restoration and redemption to a state of spiritual wholeness and wellness. This is that manner I think 1 Peter 2:24 intends.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Two:</b> Healing, or specifically, the request for healing, is act of faith on your part as well as an act of submission &amp; acceptance of God’s authority. This second point is the connection I want to expand upon for the rest of the healings in Matthew 8 &amp; 9… </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>James 5:14</b> a person seeking healing comes to the elders (authority) who pray and anoint in the NAME of the Lord (Kurios)… when you do something in the name of you are calling upon their authority.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 Cor 11:24</b> people fall sick and even die when they do not show proper respect for the body of the <i>Kurios</i> … the master and supreme authority.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Q:</b> if I come to the elders in faith and submission to God’s authority will I be healed?</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>A:</b> God clearly does not heal everybody… consider again the example of Paul</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Q:</b> if I am not healed is it because I lack faith? Or, am insufficiently submissive to God’s authority?</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>A:</b> No, again refer to the example of Paul. God had a greater purpose in mind for Paul and his ailment had a part to play in it. </div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Consider this:</b> submission to God’s authority means we accept His decision with faith… meaning we believe it is for our greater good and moving us toward His goal of creating His mind and character in us so that we may be perfected and raised in glory . </div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:18-22 People respond to Jesus</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Each set of healings is followed by examples of various peoples and mindsets responding to what they see happening around them. </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Over-eager/impulsive</b> – Jesus had the ability to read and discern the hearts of people… seems He knew this man’s was getting swept up in the emotions of what was going on and not counting the costs… seeing only the glory and power in Christ’s healing and not considering the sacrifices that following Jesus words would require… not a good combo for the long haul.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Under-eager/hesitant</b> - wants to tend to family business first (clearly sees that sacrifices are being called for)… interestingly Jesus coaxes him to go for it, follow me… but you have to be all in… totally focused on developing the mind of God… don’t put it off for a better day.</div></li></ul><h3 class="western">Matt 8:23-27—Jesus heals/calms the storm</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Extension of Jesus authority over nature “the wind and waves OBEY Him”… obey His authority</div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:28-34—Jesus heals two demon possessed gentiles</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Extension of Jesus authority over spirit realm. Notice the demons speak of the “appointed time”. They know they have only the set allotted time that God the supreme authority has allowed them. Satan knows that at some point his allotted time to exercise authority over the world will be up. What authority them have is subordinate to greater authority of Christ and the Father.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, we have seen Jesus supreme / divine authority over health, body, the forces of nature, the forces of the spirit realm… what’s left? Two biggies… SIN and DEATH.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 9:1-8—Jesus heals a paralyzed man</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In verse 6 we read yet another pointed comment about Jesus authority. This time, it is His authority to forgive sins… something highly important to each and every one of us.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">An important little piece of social context adds some oomph to what’s going on here. The Jewish people firmly believed that sickness was caused by sin (refer back to <b>John 9:3</b>). When they saw someone who was sick they just assumed there was sin involved.</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus sees the man’s faith but instead of healing him Jesus forgives the man’s sin. Jesus knew the hearts of people so perhaps He could see this was a case where sin was involved… or perhaps He knew the man was worried about what sin he might have committed to cause his paralysis.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus knows the Pharisees do not accept that He has the authority to forgive sin. So to show that He does have this authority He heals the man of his sickness.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">It could be that Jesus was saying “If you believe that sickness is caused by sin… then how could I heal this man unless I had the authority to first forgive the sin?”</div></li></ol><h3 class="western">How Do People Respond To What They Are Seeing And Hearing?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One reaction is to start comparing Him to what they are expecting a religious person to act like… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:9-13</b> Having demonstrated His authority to forgive sin… and heal sin… Jesus shows how this can be the beginning of a new life. He calls a man who would by all the popular definitions of the day be considered a big time sinner… Matthew a tax collector… to begin a new life.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Matthews response is different from the two we read earlier in Matt 8:18-22… Jesus could know Matthew’s heart and mind as much as those other two men. I assume therefore that Matthew had considered what was at stake, perhaps he had listened to Jesus public preaching, seen the healings and was wondering… should I? could I? simply get up and walk away from my life and start anew? And when Christ came to him (not the other way around as previous examples) and said follow me Matthew did not hesitate.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 12</b> similar to salt and light teaching – if I am going to help sinners I have to be willing to talk with them. If I am to persuade them I have to engage in conversation with them. Note: Jesus did not dine with drunkards and sinners and get drunk along with them. The Pharisees policy was to shun such people and avoid all contact with them… and comparing Him to themselves they asked “how can Jesus be righteous if He does not act likewise?”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:14-17</b> next Jesus is compared to John. “why don’t you act like religious people such as John? You know… that good old-time religion we are used to?” … Answer: solid religious discipline will not go away, but right now is a time of joy rather than sorrow… Furthermore with my ministry we are heading into new territory…. and then He gives them two analogies about flexibility during a time of transition from the old to the new. (wine fermenting in wineskins)</div><h3 class="western">Third Set Of Healings</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The issue of Jesus authority comes up again and again we see differing responses. The crowds appreciate and rejoice in His compassion and His power. But the leadership of the Jews is growing increasingly antagonistic towards His authority… probably feeling threatened and judged… they are unable to deny the power… so, they denounce the source of His authority as demonic. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:18-26</b> resurrects a dead girl extending His authority over death and life… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:27-34</b> Jesus heals a blind man and a mute man <b>vs 34</b> they acknowledge there is a power and authority there but they denounce it as demonic.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 9:35-10:1 Jesus Intends to Pass Authority On To His Followers </h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In the flesh Jesus was finite… God’s purpose is to work through humans to continue ministering to the world… Jesus grants authority to the disciples… this authority to heal is later passed to the church as seen in the book of Acts… and finally to the church today as seen in James 5:14-16</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Healing in the church is still a matter that focuses our attention <u>on the authority of Jesus Christ</u>… except that now we bring our sicknesses to the elders of the church who offer prayer an anointing in the NAME (meaning in the authority of) Jesus Christ… the Kirios… the Lord. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We are not submitting ourselves to the elder himself but to him as a representative of Christ. Our submission to God’s authority means we accept His decision with faith… like the leprous man we know He has the power if He is willing… and if He is not willing it is because He is working us toward His goal… creating His mind and character in us so that we may be perfected and raised in glory. </div><h3 class="western">Jesus Offers Us Meaning &amp; Purpose In Life</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When we read through the records of Jesus’ ministry we see that He did not just talk. He did more than give sermons about God, KOG, righteousness or prophecy. He spent a great deal of His time healing… putting His compassion and out-flowing love into real actions. Seriously, if He had not done so would His words of instruction have been as powerful?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He met people in pain / in sorrow / outcast and lonely / deceived and in the grip of demons… the Pharisees offered them nothing, offering only burdens, guilt and fear. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus met people desperate for meaning in life, wanting hope, and He gave it to them. This task of offering people hope, purpose and meaning for life He has also passed on to the Church of God. May we serve Him well.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /><br /></div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/EEn46S-Lek0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Lazarus & The Rich Man - What Happens When You Die
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Lazarus &amp; The Rich Man</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 may have gone through all the verses proving humans do not possess an immortal soul. You may have gone through all the scriptures that clearly show that after death humans don't resume conscious life until they are resurrected... either in the resurrection of the just at the return of Christ... or in the resurrection for the rest of the dead who do not come to life until the 1,000 rule of Christ on earth are ended.</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;">At the end of all that sound biblical teaching someone says "what about <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syV0A6603Oc">Lazarus and the rich man</a>"? Doesn't the parable of Lazarus and the rich man clearly depict the blessings of heaven or the torments of hell as what lays ahead? Either the scriptures are contradictory, or you are wrong!</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;">Today I would like to take an in-depth look at the parable of Lazarus and the rich man and walk through the parable to demonstrate that it is perfectly in-sync with the biblical teaching that death is like a long period of unconscious sleep after which we will be resurrected </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 5:28-29.</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;">Let's Read The Parable</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;">Luke 16:19-31.</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;">Who Is Jesus Talking To?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RNVhPniw84Q/XF3WPhS4JdI/AAAAAAAABDM/HeA4eV5g2moJPmkGFQ2QmBZq58P7ViJpQCLcBGAs/s1600/matt-lamers-679313-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://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RNVhPniw84Q/XF3WPhS4JdI/AAAAAAAABDM/HeA4eV5g2moJPmkGFQ2QmBZq58P7ViJpQCLcBGAs/s320/matt-lamers-679313-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:1 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus is talking to the disciples. </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;">Luke 16:9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;He teaches them through the parable of the "unjust steward" that we should use our worldly wealth in a way that will build up good favor and reward for our eternal future [dwellings = tabernacle or tent referring to spirit bodies see 2 Peter 1:13-14 for use of tent as metaphor for body].</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;">Luke 16:14-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus is teaching His followers, but He does it in a public setting where what He says can be heard by a larger group of onlookers… including some Pharisees… who laughed at what Jesus taught. They might have said something like "wealth is God's blessing upon the righteous</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”, or, “</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">My riches are a proof that I am leading a good life and have God's favor".</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;">Jesus tells God sees matters differently. To expand upon that point He tells them what we now know as the parable of </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Lazarus and the rich man</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><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What is the purpose of a parable? </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;">A parable is a colorful story used to teach about a spiritual concept. Parables use symbols and metaphors to depict types of people, or situations in an indirect or enigmatic way. They illuminate truth for some and obscure truth for 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;parables were most often not meant to be understood unless they were explained by Him. He did not explain them to just anyone. Jesus only explained His parables to those who were sincere, willing to listen, wiling to act on what they learned, and those who actually asked. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 13:34-36</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;">Note: &nbsp;in verses 9-13 Jesus explained the meaning of the parable of the unjust steward to disciples to whom it was directed. However, He did not offer an explanation of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man the the Pharisees to whom it was directed.</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;">Changing Your Paradigm</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;">What you see is greatly affected by what you expect to see. What you expect to see can be greatly influenced by what you are told to expect.</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;">[slide 1] Here is a silhouette of a fancy wine goblet</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;">[slide 2] Here is a silhouette of two people facing one another</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 you see first is affected by what I lead you to expect.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; letter-spacing: 0pt;">&nbsp;</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;">So… let me tell you what to expect in the parable: </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: 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;">The rich man is like the Pharisees enjoying their wealth and the praise of others for their righteousness. Lazarus is like the followers of Christ who build character through what they &nbsp;suffer and are despised. Both of them, rich and poor alike, die in the flesh.</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;">The believer [Lazarus] is gathered together among those who are Christ's at His return and participate in the inheritance promised to the faithful, eternal life in the family of God</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;">The rich man is resurrected to physical life after the 1,000 year rule of Christ. He is very distressed to learn he is now under the judgment of God and could end up in the lake of fire. </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;">Scripture warns you of this in advance and shows you what to do in this life to affect your circumstances after death.</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</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 the biblical paradigm to have in mind when you read the parable.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;But why is it so hard?</span></b><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 challenge with this parable is that presuppositions from people, tradition, and translation bias precondition you to expect the "go to hell" doctrine in these verses. Even the suggestion that the parable is a proof of the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">go to hell</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;doctrine preconditions you to see it that way.</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;">Let</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Go Through The Parable With the Biblical Constructed Paradigm</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;">Luke 16:19-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the rich man represents those who think of themselves as spiritually rich but were really pitifully naked and blind. Being clothed in fine, or white, linen is frequently used to depict righteousness and good works... the Pharisees were esteemed for their long prayers, strict &nbsp;Sabbath observance, rigorous fasting, any avoidance of unclean people or 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;">Then we have Lazarus who must endure suffering, trials, and hardship in this life. He is not esteemed by others &nbsp;[unclean dogs lick his unclean sores]. But, his suffering is building in him righteous character, pleasing to God.</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;">Luke 16:20-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;both men die but what happens to them after death is very 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;">Remember this is a parable; a short pithy story meant to convey a spiritual lesson or warning. Parables often breeze through years or centuries in a single sentence. Because of the preconceptions folks have when they read this parable they presume Lazarus is whisked off to Abraham</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s side [in heaven] </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">minutes after his last breath. But, this timeline would be a contradiction to other scriptures that clearly say otherwise. &nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Which scriptures?</span></b><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 have two clues to indicate the scriptures that show us there is a huge time gap:</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 lfo2; 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;">The phrase, Abraham's bosom (at Abraham</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 side)</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 lfo2; 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;">The phrase, Lazarus is carried away by the angels</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">When do the angels gather up and carry away those who have died? </span></i><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 24:30-31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Lazarus is gathered together with God's chosen/elect at the time of Christ's return... so they may be raised to life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Who are the chosen/elect?</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;">Galatians 3:7-9, 14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;those who through faith overcome the trials, tests, hardships, and suffering of life to enter into the family of God. The children of faith, the children of Abraham are the chosen and elect. Note: Lazarus is depicted as being placed in a close intimate relationship with Abraham. The old rendering "Abraham's bosom" indicates this closeness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Where was Abraham when Jesus delivered this parable?</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;">John 8:52</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Abraham was dead, not living in heaven </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 3:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Abraham has not yet received the promise. Along with all the faithful who have died over the centuries and millennia, Abraham and the faithful await the receipt of the promise as a FUTURE event </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:39-40, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.</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: 11pt;">Lazarus is in the first or better resurrection!</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;">What about the Rich Man?</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;">Luke 16:23-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;here is another instance where there is a huge time gap covering thousands of years but in the format of the short pithy parable could be presumed to occur right away. The time of the rich man's resurrection is at the end of the 1,000 years of Christ reigning on earth.</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;">Revelation 20:4-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;since the rich man was not among those gathered by the angels for resurrection at the time of Christ's return he must therefore be part of the "rest of the dead" who are raised to life much later. This is a resurrection back to life in the flesh for a time of judgment before the great white throne of 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;">Hell or Hades</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 KJV used the word hell in this verse which allows people to throw this parable in your face and say LOOK, SEE, ITS RIGHT THERE! Most modern translations back away from this and more accurately use the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hades… </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">because they know it has a very different meaning</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Hades is a Greek word meaning the state of the dead, not the place of the dead but rather the state of the dead. The spirit is separated from the body, it has no body, it cannot be seen, it has no meaningful existence... we would add to that: it has no thoughts, it is in a state much like sleep </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Daniel 12:2</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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 2:31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hades </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is only used 7 times in the NT depicting the state of the dead not a place for the dead. For example: Jesus' spirit did not go to some subterranean torture chamber called hell after He died in the flesh. But He entered the state of the dead. He was in the tomb... not alive in some other place (either heaven or hell). His spirit was not conscious, or what we would call alive, because it had no living body.</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;">Torment &amp; Fire</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;">Torment - in verse 23 the word is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">basanos</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- which literally means a touchstone, a type of stone you would rub gold of silver on to test its purity. The rich man is raised to his time of judgment before the God. &nbsp;He will be put to the test using the touchstone of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 20:24-25</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;">Basanos came to be used to mean inflicting pain in order to get at the truth... also as the mental and emotional stress associated with pain, trial, and loss:</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: l2 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;">people brought their sicknesses and pains (basanismos) to Jesus for healing</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: l2 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;">demons cried out "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">why are you tormenting/basanizo me</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">?" when they knew Jesus was going to cast them out of a person. The mental torment of impending doom.</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: l2 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;">Revelation 9 shows God allowing people to be tormented/basanizo by Satan with pain and plagues so they might repent</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 rich man is resurrected he will see the tables turned, he has missed out on the resurrection of the just... and he is going to be tormented or distressed by the idea that he could permanently destroyed in the lake of fire. Note: i</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">n this fire</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;could also be translated </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">by this fire</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;">Will he perhaps experience physical as well as emotional trial and tribulation at that time? Jesus indicates people who rejected him in this life are going to have a harder time when they rise up n the resurrections than those who never knew any better. I expect God will try an test them before writing them into the book of life.</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;">A Drop Of Water</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;">Water is often used to depict the holy spirit of God. The rich man wants what Lazarus has. He asks that Lazarus be allowed to give him just a drop of that living water to ease his distress. &nbsp;But can he have what Lazarus has? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The answer is NO.</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;">Luke 16:25-26</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;there</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;great divide between these two men; one &nbsp;is of the flesh, one is of the Spirit… &nbsp;and flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God. People like the rich man may find themselves written into the book of life and presumably receive eternal life when this judgment is complete... but they will not have a part in the better resurrection... and they will not share in the special status of the bride of Christ seated with Him in positions of authority and judgment over the universe.</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;">I believe such people have good things to look forward too... but not those two 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;">A man who thought himself spiritually rich and in need of nothing... righteous and chosen... now finds himself to have missed out on the greatest opportunity every offered to a created being.</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;">Luke 16:27-31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when the rich man arises doesn't seem be aware that thousands of years have passed and everyone he ever knew is also dead. He proposes that the sight of Lazarus returning from the dead to warn his family would get their attention so they don't end up in the same predicament he finds himself in.</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;">The answer: No.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The only warning people get is the warnings, instructions, inspiration and promises found in God's word. </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;">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;">The story of Lazarus and the rich man is actually a story that fits squarely and comfortably within the resurrection sequence and the great white throne judgment spelled out in multiple other places in scripture. Read it with the right paradigm... Read it with the goal of harmonizing into the larger picture clearly spelled out in your bible.</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;">Do this and the parable of Lazarus and the rich man will not be a confusing conundrum but a powerful warning and call to action.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><br /><br /><br /><script type="text/javascript" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"5e80cb9591","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GZuHwZtunOY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

The Fourth Commandment: Face Time With God
<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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WP1fCh5DQ-I/XEIEg6TE8-I/AAAAAAAABCs/9I0SiUvz4Vsb6N2lvPVyEXBA7Tqm9wGrQCLcBGAs/s1600/blake-richard-verdoorn-15549-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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WP1fCh5DQ-I/XEIEg6TE8-I/AAAAAAAABCs/9I0SiUvz4Vsb6N2lvPVyEXBA7Tqm9wGrQCLcBGAs/s320/blake-richard-verdoorn-15549-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a><b style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 20:8-11 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-align: left;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-align: left;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-align: left;">&nbsp;4th commandment presents us with a very tangible, task oriented way to express our love for Him: spending time together. Loving God implies some sort of relationship, and I think we can all agree; good relationships take time together to develop and grow.&nbsp;</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;">Our Father Creator</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;">&nbsp;4th commandment sets apart a specific day of the week, so that we can spend time together, and develop our relationship. It is last of the first four commandments which offer &nbsp;us guidance on what it means to love God with all our heart, mind, and being.</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;"><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*********************************</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">You can listen to this message on&nbsp;</span><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">YouTube</b><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o">The Fourth Commandment: Face Time With God</a><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*********************************</span></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Let's </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">review</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;the first four commandments in terms of a relationship:</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;">1st commandment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- to make this relationship your top priority; compare to a courtship where each party wants to be the other person</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s top priority. </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;">2nd commandment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- to have a true image of who and what God is; in human relationships we consider it important that the other party </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“get us”… the understand who we are and what we are all about</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;">3rd commandment </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">- to show respect and honor towards God; in healthy human relationships you want the other party to treat you a certain way</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;">4th commandment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- to spend time together: you want the other party to spend time with you</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 Sabbath is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Time Set Apart By 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"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 2:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the day in question is the 7th day of the weekly cycle</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;">Leviticus 23:32</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in God's word a "day" is reckoned &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;from sunset to sunset</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 Sabbath is actually very simple and straightforward. Yet, it is the most consistently undermined and confused by ridiculous arguments like:.</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 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[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;">All days are equal.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The 7th day Sabbath is merely a ceremonial observance. Commonly expressed "we should spend time &nbsp;with God every day not just on a single day of the week".</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 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[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;">Any day will do</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. we are adhering to the spirit of the commandment if we set aside one day out of seven. The Sabbath doesn't have to be on Saturday it can be on Sunday, or Wednesday. And its actually better to change the day since we don't want to be confused with the Jews.</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 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><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;">Imagine yourself in a relationship where you are rich and powerful and the other party has nothing. Everything they have they owe to you, past and present. You love them and you want to spend time together. </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 say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“you can come and see me any time, but I would like you to always come to see me every Saturday”. They reply “I appreciate all you do for me but I think I’d rather be the one to pick when we meet. I’ll let you know what days I’ll come”. </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;">What would their words tell you about your relationship with that person?</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;">Disinformation and Confusion About The Sabbath</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 battle over the Sabbath is a war of deception and misinformation. Few people grasp how deeply and fundamentally humanity, society, and culture are indoctrinated by Satan.</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;">Revelation 12:9 --&gt; 1 John 5:19</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;">Satan's objective is to undermine, divert, and destroy the development of that relationship between you and the true God who is your Father. </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 fallen archangel Lucifer's great sin was to declare himself God's equal. It was Lucifer who first said "I will make myself like the most high". Lucifer, want3ed to be equal (or above) YHWH. He wanted to Rule over all the &nbsp;created beings (stars 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 14:12-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this Lucifer (Satan, evil one) is insanely jealous, angry, and resentful that God is creating in humanity a new class of spiritual beings who will be of greater importance than angels.</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;">Hebrews 1:5-7, 13-14 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the angels are beneath the spirit born sons of God. This is not only a subordination of angels to Jesus but a subordination of a angels to the spirit born children of God.</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;">Hebrews 2:6-7, 11-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;while we are yet in the flesh we do not rank above angels, but that is our destiny. We are to be raised to spirit life with the full rights of son-ship in God's family. No longer </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“a little lower than the angels”.</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;">This is why Satan hates you. He hates your relationship with the Most High. He hates the Sabbath and its important role in strengthening your relationship with the Father.</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;">Another Deceptive Argument Against</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;The Sabbath</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">:</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;">Some say that Jesus broke the Sabbath commandment (Matthew 12, John 5:18) thus setting the example for us and freeing us from the burden of observing it. But saying Jesus broke the Sabbath command is a foolish, deceptive and illogical argument.</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;">Jesus and the disciples kept the Sabbath, </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 4:16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. In addition to affirming His observance of the weekly Sabbath He is pictured using it for its intended purpose: helping people develop their relationship with the Creator through reading and instruction in God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word</span><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: 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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus did not violate the Sabbath commandment. He made some judgment calls about what was acceptable on the Sabbath which violated Jewish tradition, such as healing on the Sabbath, and food procurement. </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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If Jesus had broken the commandment how could He also say "I have kept my Father's commands"? How could He be considered to have live a perfect sinless life? How could He then be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. If Jesus broke the command then He could not be your savior.</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;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The very same people often like to say Jesus fulfilled (or kept) the commandments in your stead. Then this righteousness on His part is bestowed upon you… </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“Jesus is our righteousness”. But if Jesus broke the Sabbath command… then He didn’t really fulfill the commandments for you…. Whichever way you slice it, the Jesus broke the Sabbath is a circular and illogical proposition.</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;"><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;">Decades after Jesus</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’ death i</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">t was Paul's custom to gather together with others on the Sabbath &nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 17:2, 18:4</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;">It wasn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t until about </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">300 years later... 301 A.D. that Sunday was substituted for the 7th day. On the surface this change was a political decision in an attempt to create social and religious unity between Christians and worshipers of the sun. Underneath the surface this was further deception and coercion from Satan the prince of the powers of this world.</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;">Jesus didn't make this change. The 1st century apostles didn't make or even initiate this change. Who gave the Roman government (and the Roman Church) &nbsp;the right to make such a change? They gave it to themselves... therefore, regarding the 4th commandment they too declared "We will be equal 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;">The Sabbath Is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Reminder That YHWH is the Creator</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;">Exodus 20:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The Sabbath shapes the way we perceive and worship the Most High: He is our creator and as such </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">supreme in all things</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The Sabbath is not only baked into the foundational instructions from God know as the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath is an integral part of the Creation account itself. Long before we are warned not to lie, steal, murder, or covet, we are presented with the Sabbath as a memorial of creation..</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;">In the Creation account of Genesis 1 God is establishing some ground rules:</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: l2 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;">I set the boundaries: light and dark, land and sea, earth and sky...</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: l2 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;">I establish and maintain life: plants, animals, and humanity</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: l2 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;">I set aside the 7th day to remind you of all this</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 Sabbath is a Day To Focus on God's Ongoing Spiritual 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;">We are given the Sabbath as a day of rest. That does not mean it is a day to &nbsp;sit around and do nothing... the Sabbath is not intended as a time for us to lounge around in our pajamas drinking hot chocolate without a care in the world. </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 rest we are given is a day t &nbsp;o set aside the daily grind of our routine activities, our jobs, housework, shopping etc. ... not so we can do nothing... but so we can experience a change of focus </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 58:13-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. We focus on building our relationship with our Father Creator.</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;">Building relationships take time spent getting together, talking together, doing stuff together. Without these there really is no relationship. We see this with courtships, marriages, friendships, teams etc.</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;">A Day For Sacred Assembly</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;&amp; Instruction</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;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’s ongoing spiritual creation (the development of Godly character in you) is advanced and directed through instruction on the weekly Sabbath.</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 23:3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God's instructions regarding the Sabbath are for us to participate in a holy assembly. </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 Hebrew word translated assembly/convocation is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">mikraw</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;which carries the meaning of both a public meeting and of a public </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">reading</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Therefore, this sacred assembly is a public meeting for the purpose of instruction.</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;">Numbers 10:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trumpets used to call the people together, therefore PUBLIC, a group activity</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;">Nehemiah 8:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;specific reference to instruction from the book of the law [bible] when the people are all gathered together for a reading… the word reading in this instance is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">mikraw.</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</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;">Leviticus 23:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The word "festival" is a misleading translation. &nbsp;The original word here is moed meaning appointed time. There is a separate and distinct word for festival: </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">khag</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. That word does not show up in Leviticus 23 until verse 6 when it is used to describe the festival of unleavened bread. &nbsp;A festival is always an appointed time, but an appointed time is not always a festival.</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;">A more literal rendering of verse 2: </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, these are the appointed times of YHWH, proclaim them to be sacred assemblies. These are my appointed times</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: The first of these appointed times to be addressed is the weekly Sabbath (the Sabbath is not described as a festival).</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 weekly Sabbath is an appointment with God. You are summoned by Him to present yourself as part of a group for the purpose of receiving instruction from His word. To facilitate this God has given you a "day off" from your work routine so you can focus on this meeting.</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;">Your </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">priority</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;on the Sabbath is not lounging around in your pajamas eating waffles, or to catch up on your napping... although a more relaxed routine is a side benefit of the Sabbath!</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;">Your </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">priority </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is not fellowship, catching up with friends, even personal bible study, or personal prayer… although the altered routine of the Sabbath allows you extra time to do all these good 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;">Yes, do these relaxing and refreshing things on the Sabbath... </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">but</span></u><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;">Your </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">priority</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;on God's appointed times is to set aside your work and appear before God as part of a body of people for group instruction!</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 Sabbath Advances His Ongoing Work of Salvation</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 Sabbath is more than a memorial of God's past creation of the material universe. It is a weekly reminder of God's ongoing and present work of spiritual creation. Bringing into being children who will transcend the material universe.</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 5:17, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:10, Philippians 2:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;This is God at work in you, writing His laws and attitudes on your hearts and minds. A work which the weekly Sabbath moves forward!</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;">I believe this concept is also built into the wording of the commandment.</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;">Deuteronomy 5:12-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the weekly Sabbath is also a remembrance of God's act of salvation in your life. You have been called out of darkness, you have been called out of slavery, you have been called out of sin... and called into righteousness, truth, and eternal 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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This transformation comes about through your ever growing relationship with God your Creator. To make this happen God has commissioned the Church: to baptize for the receipt of His holy spirit; to proclaim and facilitate His holy assemblies. The church provides a safe meeting place with restrooms, running water, a sound system, we provide hymnals and music for singing, and most of all we provide instruction from God's word. </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;">We provide instruction that is inspired, but also instruction that is regulated. We teach as we have ourselves been taught, we are careful about doctrine so that you do not come here and find strange exotic, highly personalized interpretations of scripture, tantalizing speculation, or human philosophy.</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 laws of God are written on your heart through sound instruction. This new spiritual creation of God is channeled, regulated, and pointed in the right direction by group instruction.</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;">Speaking to the followers of Christ God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word says -</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 4:9</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;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Love God with all you heart, mind and soul. The first four commandments tell us how to make this happen. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; 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;">Set Him as your #1 priority</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; 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;">A</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ccept no false images or interpretations of Him</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; 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;">G</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ive Him your honor and r</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">respect, and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[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;">S</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">pend time with Him gathering together before Him on His appointed day of meeting.</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> <br /><div style="text-indent: 0px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">This message is part of a 4 part series covering the 1</span><sup style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="vertical-align: super;">st&nbsp;</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">four commandments. The commandments which outline what it means to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our being. Here are links to all four -&nbsp;</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0px;"></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><div style="text-align: left; text-indent: -28.3333px;"><span style="text-indent: 0px;">▶&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlZR8E1iqFk" style="color: blue; font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 10.5pt; text-indent: 0px;">The 1st Commandment: Right Priorities</a><br /><span style="text-indent: -28.3333px;">▶&nbsp;</span><u style="text-indent: 0px;"><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMRdhfadiqQ">The 2nd Commandment: No False Images</a></span></span></u><br /><span style="text-indent: 0px;">▶&nbsp;</span><u style="text-indent: 0px;"><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc8ekf8mMb0">The 3rd Commandment: Show Some Respect</a></span></span></u><br /><span style="text-indent: 0px;">▶&nbsp;</span><u style="text-indent: 0px;"><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o">The 4th Commandment: Face TIme With God</a></span></span></u></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><ol style="text-indent: 0px;"></ol></div></div><script data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"bda1c22f95","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/s9HOVgPGlCs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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