Skip to main content

7th Day Sabbath Churches of God

Find a Local Church
Church of God News
Live Broadcasts
Biblical Calendar 2016
Free Literature & DVDs
Bible Studies
Contact Us

Looking for a Strong Leader ... (Standing Watch) 12 min. video

Teaching God (Sabbath Meditations)

I don’t usually get excited about school piano recitals. It’s one thing to endure your own children struggle to find the right key night after night for weeks on end, but sitting through two hours of other people’s kids doing the same thing is downright painful. But this recital was different. Because every note was played on key? No. It wasn’t any less painful to endure. It was special because my son actually participated.
At the end of another recital, he announced to us that he’d had enough. He no longer wanted to play the piano. This was devastating to me. One gift I’ve been determined to impart to my children is a gift that I personally was never given: the gift of music. I had hoped that both of my children would at least advance to a level where their ability to produce beautiful music could bring a lifetime of enjoyment. My hopes, it seemed, were being derailed.
I couldn’t blame him, though, for wanting to quit. The fun had gone out of it for him. Only a year earlier, you couldn’t drag him away from the piano. Now it took an act of congress to get him to practice for even ten minutes. Some of his loss of enthusiasm I attributed to adolescence; lacking the discipline and maturity to do what it takes to learn. But the lion’s share of his dying enthusiasm I blamed on his teacher. This well meaning lady's style of instruction consisted of methodically working through principles of music theory and technique by practicing lifeless, outdated music. She also put a great deal of pressure on the kids to participate in local piano competitions and recitals. I suspected she was concerned less with what the children gained from the experience than with promoting her piano lesson business in the local community. Neither of these approaches worked well with my son.
So after his adamant announcement we decided to switch tracks. After a brief hiatus we found another piano instructor with a decidedly different approach to music instruction. What a refreshing change it was. The first thing this teacher asked when the kids walked into her house was what kind of music they enjoyed. “That’s the music you’re going to play.” Over the next several months of lessons we were impressed that this instructor seemed less concerned that our kids master the mechanics of the music they played than that they be sufficiently motivated by their enjoyment in playing it. Her reasoning was simple. If you teach the love of music, interest will be maintained over time, and the rest, the method, correct technique, will come naturally. If you teach method first, the love will die, and eventually, so will the learning.
I believe there is a lot of wisdom in that approach. I immediately saw the fruits of it in my children, particularly my son. They couldn’t wait to get to the music store to pick out their music and get to the piano.
I think it would pay for our churches to apply this approach in their efforts to teach their members’ children about God. I’ve seen too many Bible school curricula that jump immediately into the mechanics; the ‘what’ of our faith; without first teaching the ‘why’. Absent that context; absent an active relationship to build on; the ‘what’ just becomes information.
How much greater would be our success if we strived first to instill in our children a loving relationship with God, before funneling lists of memory scriptures and doctrinal statements into their heads. If our children develop a love for God, interest in a relationship with Him will be maintained, and the rest will come naturally. They will want to read His book. They will want to be where other members of His family are. They will want to please Him. It’s that simple.
My son did a great job at the recital. Oh, he hit a wrong note a few times ... but it was all music to my ears.

Thanksgiving (Children of God)

How often do we say, thank you, in our prayers? The USA the most blessed nation that has ever existed, and we, because of our calling, are the most blessed people who have ever lived. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. It is not one of God's Holy Days, but it is appropriate for us, as the people of God, to be thankful to God for the tremendous blessings He has poured out on this great land and us, His people.

The greatest blessing God has given us is His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior. How thankful should we be for His Spirit - which enables us to begin to live as He lived? Even the faith that Gods plan will come to pass is a gift to be thankful for. His gifts are of infinite worth!

Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.(Colossians2:7)

More than a century ago, President Abraham Lincoln realized that the hand of God had blessed this land of America more than any in the history of the earth. In 1863, he wrote: We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. (Revelation 7:12)

God expects us to be a thankful people, because we have not received all these blessings due to our own ingenuity. It is God who has blessed America greatly: first of all in fulfillment of His promise to faithful Abraham over 2500 years ago, then we are blessed as God directs His plan for the USA in general, and then finally, toward us brethren in particular. We owe all the thanksgiving to God.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Thessalonians 5:18)

Americans are becoming an unthankful and ungrateful people. Thanksgiving Day means Turkey day for too many. It means turkey and pumpkins – but increasingly less emphasis on giving the Almighty Creator God the thanks. Seldom do we as a people recognize God for the blessings, protection, and abundance that we enjoy. We think, for the most part, We did it ourselves.’

When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful. (Romans 1:21)
God is the giver of all the good things we possess! Truth and freedom of religion, victories, peace, family, friends, food, health, clothes, homes, liberty, education … and an endless list of all sorts of blessings. We would have none of these if it weren't for the generosity of God. He must always be given the full credit.

Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. (2Corinthians 9:11)

What an incredible time and country we live in! We have meat, and fruit, and vegetables, and fresh flowers all year long. We have it better than King Solomon. We have telescopes to see God's beautiful creation as never before - we can even view our own beautiful earth from outer space! How that would have inspired David.

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalms 26:7)

Brethren, as we are reminded to be thankful this week, lets be sure to remember the source of all blessings. God withholds no blessing that we need.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father.(James 1:17)

In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

Finally Brethren, lets be eternally appreciative of Gods mercy.

O givethanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for his mercy endureth forever. (1Chronicles 16:34)

The Purposes of Leadership (First Century Christianity)

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (1Ti.5:17)
The word for rule here could also be translated as manage and probably should be. The unfortunate use of the word ‘rule’ insinuates that elders are somehow rulers who have much more authority over the flock than what is intended. To be an elder in a community or in a religious setting from days gone by meant that a man was considered honorable, trustworthy, temperate, and had had sufficient life experience to help mentor others through crises. The traditional purpose of being an elder is to motivate people or a community to help themselves, not to rule over them. The elders are also supposed to be the ones who decide when ‘enough is enough’ and take action to solve egregious problems.
The path to becoming one who can be thought of as an elder or a leader is messy. It is very easy for us to make bad decisions in our own lives, where we know most of the facts and still blow it, for lack of a better word. It is much easier to ‘blow it’ for someone else when counseling or helping someone through a crises and not having access to all the facts. This is why Paul writes not to lay hands on someone hastily later on in 1 Timothy 5. Giving someone authority without sufficient experience is a recipe for disaster.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul actually chides that assembly, not only for allowing immorality in their midst, but also for not handling it themselves. Delegation is a key to leadership. The people in the assembly know the problems best so they have the best chance of bringing things to a proper resolution. When someone of a much higher rank has to stop the work they normally do and get involved in internal matters, it shows a breakdown of the system and shakes confidence. This person likely doesn’t have all the facts, does not know all the players, and has a real uphill climb to making a just decision. Paul actually cites the Torah, Deuteronomy 17:7, to show the Corinthians that the assembly is supposed to take care of itself.
If you’ll notice in the verse above, elders don’t have to be teachers. This is a common misconception in assemblies, as so much emphasis is placed on teaching. Being able to teach is a fine thing, it is necessary for the body to be educated by people like this, and those who undertake the time to study and teach are to be respected. But don’t mistake someone who can give a good sermon as automatically being a leader, because they might not have an assembly or might lack the life experience required for spiritual leadership.
Speakers have a slightly different standard than elders. The third chapter of James tells us the fate of teachers, but verse one will suffice for the purpose of this article: Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)
We who teach come under stricter scrutiny from the Most High. James goes on to analogize the tongue to the rudder of a ship. Those who are eloquent and can put together a nice presentation have the power to either direct the ship in the right direction or to take the ship off course. This responsibility is immense, but it is not precisely the same position or skill set as and elder. It is immensely more difficult to keep a ship on course, especially a sailing ship of James’s day than it is to drift off course and wreck.
Elders, deacons, and leaders in the assembly are people who are dedicated to Yahweh and His Son, to the administration of their assemblies, and to keeping their assemblies moving in a God focused manner. These are people who manage the money of the assembly, manage the actual weekly service, visit the sick, help the poor, and keep track of things that need to be kept track of. They help young parents when the young parents need counseling or encouragement. They console when there is a tragedy. They even correct those smooth talking teachers from time to time, as well.
But the moral of the story is that the purpose of leadership in the assembly is to build up the assembly and make sure the bride is ready when the Husband returns. The leadership are also supposed to guard the assembly against evil forces, but to do so with patience and discernment. This requires a lot of faith, patience, and dedication.

How Will God Judge ISIS? (OzWitness)

We have all seen the wickedness of ISIS, and their latest boastful claim to have brought down the Russian plane over Sinai with over 200 holidaymakers aboard is just the latest horrific crime this ‘death cult’ has, in all probability committed.

These evil criminals are not soldiers in the sense of those who respect the Geneva Convention and the ‘rules of war’, which were designed to protect innocent civilians. No, these evil men enslave, rape, loot, steal, murder and torture at will. No evil is beyond them and they delight in filming and broadcasting their criminal depravities. So, how will God deal with them? When captured would they become prisoners of war, entitled to hospital and humane treatment ? The Bible provides a clear answer.

A long time ago men had become as wicked as ISIS, so evil that God decided the only solution was to start again with just one righteous man’s family. Everyone perished in the ensuing flood, except Noah and his kin: Genesis 7:23, ‘He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.’

Later, two cities in Canaan had become so depraved that the name of one of them became synonymous with a deviant sexual practice, and both Sodom and Gomorrah were completely consumed by fire from heaven.

Genesis 19, 24-25, ‘Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.’  I’ve been there and collected the evidence, in the form of still remaining sulphurous brimstone balls which had burned their way deep into the ground.

Later still, when God delivered the land of Canaan into the hands of Israel after they escaped from Egypt, the Caananites had become so wicked in sacrificing their children to idols that God gave these instructions to Israel:

Deuteronomy 7:2, ‘And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before you; you shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; you shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them,’

So, we see that when God is faced with such gross evil, the instant death penalty is His just solution, in order to eliminate such wickedness from the earth. The Bible also reveals that all who die will be resurrected to physical life and judgment . After any punishment due they will be given their chance to repent and learn how to live by God’s Commandments.

Don’t think that this is just for the Old Testament. Jesus Christ said,

Malachi 3:6, ‘For I am the Lord, I change not,’  and in

Hebrews 13:8, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.’

As a result of our own wickedness, in the coming Tribulation, the punishment of mankind will be so severe that there will be few men left: Isaiah 24:6, ‘Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.’ NIV.

Why did Paul call the Corinthians fools? (Morning Companion)

They only asked a question. But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 1 Corinthians 15:35)
“Answer a fool according to his folly ... Answer not a fool according to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:4,5)
The Corinthians had a question for Paul: what kind of a body will we have in the resurrection?  Many have asked questions like this. Will we recognize each other? Will we have a resemblance to how we look now? (Ugh!) Or will we look like we did in our  20s? (Better!) Paul, however, answers the question with a sharp rebuke: “Fools!” (1 Corinthians 15:36)
With all due respect to Paul, those questions aren’t foolish at all. We want answers. Why does he call the Corinthians fools for asking a question that any of us might ask? Understanding Paul's response to the Corinthians’ question can act as an excellent example of a cardinal rule of Bible study: get the context.
The Corinthian church was a troubled church. They were blessed with many gifts (1 Corinthians 12 & 14), but along with their many gifts they carried baggage from their background. Their Classical Greek culture led them to ask a lot of questions, many of which we see Paul referring to throughout this letter (7:1,25; 8:1; 9:1, etc.) Along with this admirable quality, they were also infused with Dualism, a carry-over from Greek philosophy, which manifested itself in Christianity in the form of Gnosticism. Gnosticism in all its various forms made a sharp distinction between the physical and spiritual.
Paul’s epistles, the General Epistles, and many of the next generation of church leaders confronted this heresy, and it’s evident from Paul’s frequent references to “knowledge” (Greek: gnosis) in 1 Corinthians that it was an issue in this congregation.
At its core Gnosticism teaches that the physical world, including our physical bodies, are ultimately worthless. In some iterations of Gnosticism the physical is completely evil and the creation of an evil demiurge, who was the Yahweh of the Old Testament. Therefore at death our souls would be released from this demon-inspired physical world and freed into the spirit realm, which is of the true God.
If that is the case, why is there any need for a resurrection of the body? Why was there a need for Jesus’s physical body to disappear from the tomb? Wouldn’t it make sense that being liberated from the evil physical world would eliminate any need for a ‘resurrection’? A resurrection to what? Wouldn’t his soul already be in a glorified, spiritual place?
This is exactly what Paul felt a need to address in 1 Corinthians 15. “Now if it is preached that he rose from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection from the dead?” (v.12). So when they ask the questions, “How are the dead raised up?” and “with what body do the come?” - they likely weren’t asking the question because they wanted an answer. Some of them had their minds made up and were trying to trap Paul. They wanted nothing more than to be contentious.
When you and I ask that question, I would hope we ask it because we really want an answer. Paul would have given us the answer without first calling us fools. Even then, he answered the question anyway because, as the proverb says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”