|The Pope Has No Answer! (Standing Watch) 11 min. video|
What Not To Wear (Sabbath Meditations)
heard a comedian joke the other day that, when it comes to clothing
style, we men are hopeless. Basically, most of us pick out a point of
time in our lives when we felt at the top of our game looks wise, and
whatever style we were wearing at that time we just ride out for the
rest of our lives. You can walk down the street and see a guy over 40
and pretty much pick the year: 1968, 1979, 1982. It’s funny, but true.
was a time when you probably would look at me and say... “ahh...1986.”
But that all changed when I came home from work one day to find my
closet empty and all of my clothes sitting in garbage bags on the floor
in our side entrance. To my dismay, while I was at work, my wife and
daughter had performed a ‘What Not to Wear’ on me. Frankly, I was a
little distraught. Gone were my pleated, cuffed dress pants. Gone were
my favorite mock turtle necks. Gone were my sear sucker sport shirts.
And gone was my collection of beloved sweaters and sweatshirts I’d
accumulated over the years. All gone.
Admittedly, I wasn’t all that
much into fashion. In fact, for the most part I really could have cared
less. But, even so, I was shocked at how my self-image took a hit that
day. I really didn’t think I had looked that bad. In fact, I kind of
liked the way I dressed. The 1980s were good years.
It took me a
while to recover from the shock. Any confidence I had in my ability to
dress myself went immediately down the drain. For some time after that I
was afraid to leave the house without first getting the thumbs up from
one of my two self-appointed fashion consultants.
Now, in looking
back, the whole thing makes me laugh. I’ve come to appreciate the women
in my life, who love me enough to make sure I don’t look like a
throwback from the 1980s.
As Christians, living in this physical
world, focused on physical things, it’s easy for us to get a little too
wrapped up in maintaining a certain image sometimes. We walk around
wearing remnants of the old man, focused on self-image,
self-preservation and self-promotion. Remnants of pride or human
fearfulness at times cause even converted people to go to great lengths
to cover up their blemishes, to dress up their faults, to maintain the
image they want others to see. Publicly hiding behind facades of
wholeness, they privately nurture areas of brokenness and pain.
James 5:16 instructs us to “Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
I Thessalonians 5:10 tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Church thing that we are a part of isn’t some spiritual fashion show.
It’s not so we can parade around displaying how put together we are. God
put us in the body to do just the opposite. It’s a place where we share
our hurts, we share our weaknesses and our burdens, so that we might
together find strength and encouragement to overcome and grow up into
Him, Jesus Christ, in all things. We can’t do that if we are protecting
You know, it might not be a bad idea, if, as Christians, we
all did a spiritual ‘What Not to Wear’ on ourselves once in a while. In
fact, occasionally going through our spiritual closets and cleaning out
some of the outdated remnants of the old man is something scripture
tells us we are supposed to do from time to time.
Romans 13:14 encourages us to put off the remnants of the old man and to “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
are to put on the attitude, the heart and mind of our Savior, who we
are told in Philippians 2, “made himself nothing by taking the very
nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in
appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross!”
If only we as His disciples could lay aside
aside our facades, lay aside our pride and be clothed with the kind of
humility that would allow us to share our weaknesses, to carry one
another’s burdens, rather than hiding and shielding them from others.
God could and would use to help us to heal. How much more powerfully
could God’s Spirit work among His people to grow us and mold us into His
image? If only we had the courage to open up our spiritual closets and
When I came home to find my clothes in garbage bags, I
have to admit that I did rummage through to reclaim a couple of my
favorite old sweatshirts. I only got away with it after promising my two
fashion consultants that I wouldn’t wear them in public. It was a small
price to pay to hang on to some sense of my former identity. Now, they
too, have found their way to the garbage. I’ve finally let go of the
1980s and moved on.
My spiritual wardrobe is still a work in
progress. There is still some cleaning out to do. I know the same is
true for all of us. The more we strive together to put on Christ, in
humility sharing, encouraging and building up one another in Him, the
clearer we will see to discard the remnants of our old man. Clothed with
His heart and mind, we’ll never have to worry about going out of style.
Ungodly Wilderness (OzWitness)
just spent some time in the Snowy Mountains National Park in New South
Wales, and I have to admit that the only parts which I found attractive
(along with all the other visitors to the park, by their presence) were
those parts which were not wilderness.
Those huge areas were
trackless, inaccessible, and densely tree covered, which no one could
realistically visit, much less enjoy. They were only attractive when
they were in contrast to the cleared areas for skiing and tourism, and
once beyond those areas and faced with endless bush, I found myself
turning back because it was so featureless and boring.
So, I was
quite pleased to read that in a draft revised management plan for the
Tasmanian Wilderness Area, the Liberal government there is to rezone the
area to pave the way for increased tourism, including cruise ships
stays and hut developments, while allowing the logging of some timbers
previously banned, contributing to the prosperity and wellbeing of the
Actually, this would be a return to the
philosophy of long gone days when the Tasmanian aborigines burned off
areas to clear them for grass, which would attract the animals they
hunted for food, making the ‘wilderness’ productive, with open areas
that permitted access for hunting and travel, while at the same time
establishing a more attractive environment. The Wilderness Society will
be jumping up and down at this downgrading of the concept of wilderness
and that is because most of them are either atheist or ignorant of God’s
instruction to mankind at Creation.
Genesis 1:28, 2:15, ‘God
blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill
the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the
birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it
and take care of it.’
Let me say that I am much in favour of National
Parks, but not wilderness. It has been a shame that ignorant extremists
have controlled our National Parks for so long, ideally hoping to
exclude people altogether. They seem apparently unaware of the beautiful
National Parks in Europe, Britain and the USA, which include managed
agriculture, forestry, tourism, fisheries etc. and are the more visited,
productive and enjoyably accessible as a result.
In the near future,
after Christ’s return, there will be a return to the philosophy
expressed in the above scriptures, where virtually all the earth will
gradually be made to serve mankind, rather than being preserved as
Love and Law (New Horizons)
man’s creation Jehovah has had those who worship and serve Him in
accordance with His prescribed form of worship, have conformed to His
Laws and whose heart is right with Him. Even in the dark depths of
Israel’s depraved idolatry there remained ‘...seven thousand men who had
not bowed the knee to Baal’ (Romans 11:4).
The Old Testament records
that many in Israel worshipped Him joyfully, influenced by His holy spirit. But on His prescribed days, at the times and place He had
revealed, and in a right spirit of repentance and awe. The book of
Psalms reflects this. Yet by New Testament standards they had not been ‘converted’, with God’s Spirit implanted in their mind.
reminds us that: ‘Moses describes the righteousness which is of the
law, that the man which does those things shall live by them’ (Romans
10:5, Leviticus 18:5). Perfect life-long obedience to the whole Law has
abundant rewards, but however feasible, that doesn’t happen! And even if
someone were to achieve such a perfect life (Adam didn’t!), God says:
‘...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his
sight’ (Romans 3:20). For, ‘...by the law is the knowledge of sin’. The
Law just points out what sin is, so we can work to change our thoughts
So, is someone who diligently and daily applies the Law to
his or her life as best they can necessarily a true child of God? Do you
need God’s in-dwelling Spirit to observe it? (There are, for example
many Law-abiding men and women in the Jewish community.) The example of
those seven thousand belies this! Remember that at that time ‘The
Spirit had not yet been given to anyone, since Jesus had not yet been
given his full glory’ (John 7:39).
As Paul states ‘...love is the
fulfilling of the law’ (Romans 13:10). Certainly, the preeminent fruit
of the Spirit is love. Perfect love is a fruit of the indwelling Spirit
in the believer, and means we do from the heart all that God’s Law
requires of us. Because we may obey God’s instructions doesn't mean we truly love! A change of heart is central.
of us is judged by Jesus Christ with compassion, with regard to our
level of understanding, with mercy. For, ‘...we have a great high
priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us
hold fast our profession. for we have not an high priest which cannot
be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4: 14-16).
As writes the apostle Paul:
‘... be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind, in order to prove by you what is the good and pleasing and
perfect will of God’ (Romans 12:2).
“Go Ye Therefore Into All the World”
(Lacee Hilgen, Volunteer Instructor Legacy Institute)
know this scripture was directed specifically to the apostles, and Jesus
Christ wanted them to be the ones to preach His truth. But what does it
mean to those who aren’t ministers? What does it mean to children and
young adults? What does it mean to women who don’t have a speaking or
ministerial role in the church? Does that mean that we can’t go and
preach the gospel? How can we preach without preaching? I have been
asking myself these questions for a while.
Jesus tells the apostles
to GO OUT. He doesn’t tell them to hang out where the truth was already
stable and flourishing. There were already churches that were able to
function on their own because of Christ and the apostles preaching.
Their job was done and they then left those congregations in the hands
of faithful and devout men. He told them to leave the foundation that
they had built together and go find somewhere new. He told them to go
and find new people to preach to and to share God’s plan to other
willing hearts and ears.
I look at a map and see just how huge this
world is. I see how many places that the gospel could potentially be
preached to. I know it is all up to God. The men and women who dedicate
their lives to live in a different country (or preach in another country
and travel tons) in order to build up a strong, faithful and unified
congregation are now one of my greatest respects. They have been chosen
by God to uproot their stable and comfy lives in order to create a
stable and comfy church for brethren that couldn’t possibly have it
without help from a more blessed nation. Those that accept the challenge
are my heroes!
I am a 25 year old lady-girl (saying lady is weird
and saying girl is weird because I am technically an adult… and woman
makes me sound extra adult) with little travel experience. I have
traveled all over America and into Canada and Mexico a few times, so
when I felt God pushing me to come to Thailand, I resisted at first. I
actually resisted for a whole year. It was a very scary thought, but
thankfully I accepted the challenge and here I sit in Mae Sa, Thailand… a
small and peaceful village 20 minutes outside the hustle and bustle of
Chiang Mai. At this moment I am witnessing God’s endless miracles,
blessings, compassion and His holy spirit working in amazing ways.
Legacy continues to get money from donors from other countries and we
all are very pleased and ridiculously thankful. Without those donations,
Legacy wouldn’t exist anymore. Legacy couldn’t have a school, couldn’t
feed the students, couldn’t house the students and most importantly, the
church in Burma would lack leaders who will one day be leaders in that
church. My point here isn’t to advertise the fact that Legacy needs to
continue to have donations; it’s the fact that what I see is a church
that is truly working! God is calling people! They LOVE God’s word and
they thrive on it. They want more and more. They constantly want to
learn. God’s congregation in Burma (which I get to visit in April for
the Holy Days, God willing) has 25 families. Families have children,
lots of children! Will those children have a future? Will they know
God’s truth and live a life for Him? Will they live lives free from the
war and upheaval that exists in Burma? It’s crucial that our small
congregations all over the world remain intact. It’s our job and our
responsibility. It’s important that they are well sustained and cared
for. It’s important that each congregation has well trained leaders, who
love God first and their brethren second. It takes time to train
leaders to be in charge of a church community, and that’s what Legacy is
If we aren’t trained ministers, how can we “Go therefore
into ALL the world?” I have a few ideas. We can donate to these small
churches that need our help to build a church, a house, to have clean
water and food daily. We can sponsor a young adult to go and serve in
countries who need our help, encouragement, resources and EXAMPLE. Go
visit during the Feast of Tabernacles and Days of Unleavened Bread.
(Your life will change) If you are on vacation or a business trip in a
foreign country, go and stop in on the Sabbath. I think the most
important job that we all have is to PRAY. Pray that all the places that
God is seeking out and calling people that He will call on special
people to take on that job and duty to be there for that church
community. Pray that these people will answer that calling and they are
willing to give up their life for serving God and His people. Times are
changing everywhere on the globe. Life is getting harder and the world
is getting more evil and God has many people on this earth with eager
ears to hear His word. Those of us that are blessed to know God’s truth
already… well we should try to listen to what God wants us to do for Him
through our lives in order to help others join us as FIRST fruits in
Throwing It All Away (First Century Christianity)
saw Franklin Graham on the TV the other day defending Christmas, and a
break up song from the late 1980s came to mind. The song is ‘Throwing It
All Away’ by Genesis. It’s not religious at all, but the chorus of that
song has been resonating in my head lately as more and more formerly
Protestant ministers show up on TV returning to their Catholic roots.
are now in the season for Chanukah, which is a season of revival. The
Jews had been occupied and oppressed for so long that many of them
turned into Greeks. Many did things to hide or reverse their
circumcision, so they could wrestle nude in public arenas called
gymnasiums. They had fallen away incredibly far.
One Levite named
Mattathias witnessed the defilement of the altar and snapped. He killed
the man who defiled the altar and then had to flee to the hills, which
started a revolution that allowed Judea to ultimately become autonomous
and peaceful again, with a fully restored and cleansed temple. This
reformation lasted until the temple was destroyed in AD 70.
of the Christian Reformation in the 16th century, where hundreds of
thousands threw off the pagan traditions and oppression of the Roman
Catholic Church, held until, well, now. We are living in a period I like
to call ‘Post Protestant America’. While the reformers did not return
to Torah, they did return to fundamental truths and a great many shed
Christmas and Easter, paying for it with their very lives. The leaders
who trace their faith today to the reformation, what is now called
‘Evangelical’ rather than ‘Protestant’, are throwing it all away.
Warren, a fabulously popular Baptist preacher (Baptists, from the
Anabaptists, some of the most strident Protestants in history), is
actually evangelizing for the Catholic Church.
Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, and Robert Jeffress, also
Baptist preachers with large followings, frequently defend Christmas on
the Fox News Channel, even though they know both that Yeshua was not
born in winter and the true pagan history of Christmas. Kirk Cameron has
even made a movie defending Christmas, while publicly stating that
Christmas is in opposition to the Bible and pagan in nature.
Seventh Day Adventists, the largest Sabbath observing group on earth at
over 18 million members (there are only 13.5 million Jews on earth), is
throwing it all away with widespread observance of Christmas
(unthinkable just twenty years ago) and now entertaining the ordination of women as well.
This is particularly bizarre because the Seventh Day Adventist Church
views Ellen G. White as a prophet and she refused ordination on the
basis that ordaining women is not supported by scripture.
Day Adventist church is a strident observer of the 4th commandment and
they have been blessed with private schools and hospitals on at least
three continents because of their obedience. The Baptists have also been
rewarded lavishly for their faith with enormous congregations,
hospitals, and the ability to do good works on the order of rebuilding
entire countries. The successes these and many other groups have today
are because of the strident faith of their predecessors displayed
through works. Why are the leaders of these organizations so willing to
throw it all away? It is a shame. It has been prophesied, so it must happen, but it is so difficult to watch.
realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men
will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers,
disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable,
malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers
of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its
power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into
households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by
various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7
This falling away is made
even more bizarre because the motivation simply cannot be about wealth.
The Baptist preachers named above are but a handful of Post-Protestant
ministers who have made enormous amounts of money giving sermons. The
Seventh Day Adventist church is simply going to disintegrate, or at
least split and become smaller if it continues down a similar path as
the Sunday keepers, because it is composed of conservative people.
seems to be no good reason why the spiritual leaders are so cavalierly
willing to ‘throw it all away’. But let us take solace that there is
coming a time, quicker and quicker by the day, were every tongue will
confess and every knee will bow to the One True God and His Son.
Hirelings (Children of God)
I was young there was a saying: ‘The captain always goes down with his
ship.’ It went unsaid that the captain would do everything possible to
save all hands from drowning. But times have changed. Recent news
stories report on how captains today are sometimes the first to abandon
ship in order to save their own skins. That is because they are
A hireling just works for a wage – without being fully
vested in a major enterprise. God uses the analogy of a hireling for the
purpose of showing whose heart is in the right place. Someone who does
all the receiving in any relationship is like a hireling. The point is
this: as Christians, we have the opportunity to be altruistic and
unselfish as Jesus was in laying down His life for all others. Jesus
tells the story:
“The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill,
and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd
gives His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the
shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves
the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep.
The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the
sheep.” (John 10:10-13)
Jesus did not leave us or forsake us – but
gave His life for us (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus tells us that the sheep can
be scattered at the hands of a hireling, because a hireling’s first
concern is not for the sheep. When we look at a minister, we cannot tell
just by looking at him if he is a fine pastor or if he is a hireling –
because those things are only spiritually discerned.
There was a time
in the Church of God when men looked to God and trusted in God to
provide. Have you noticed the not so subtle change in what the church
organizations are doing today? You would think that their every waking
moment would be consumed in preaching the Gospel to all of creation… and
that is often what they claim to be doing, when in point of fact they
are busily growing their congregations. Now they would argue that it is
first necessary to have large numbers of members, so that they can have
the cash to be able to do the work. But for nearly two decades they
have not mounted a large scale effort at getting the gospel to the
world, because they felt that it was necessary to first get their own
retirement house in order.
Have they forgotten the precept of
stepping out in faith and waiting upon the Lord to furnish the means for
the Gospel? Let’s not forget that this is not man’s work but the work
“This is the work of God that ye believe on Him [Jesus Christ] whom He [God the Father] hath sent.” (John 6:29)
hireling is a person who works for material reward instead of devotion
to a principle he believes in with all his heart. They send out supposed
religious materials, but when they do there are pages and pages of
nothing but committee meetings and decisions to be made about title
changes for their publications and how to better ‘get people interested
in their own organization’. They make a short reference to religious
sounding ideas, but in the next paragraph they go back to discussing yet
another committee to be set up to determine which way to look best for
They believe that, if their sales pitch is the
best and most colorful, people will respond and become Christians.
Brethren, it does not work that way. Not one person has ever been
‘talked’ into becoming a true Christian. The Truth of God need not be
embellished. It is God who touches the receptive heart.
there is a job for preachers to do. The Gospel must be preached to the
world so that those whom God will call can respond to the Truth.
then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how
shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall
they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)
But, let’s be clear: It
is not the preachers who grow the church membership. It is God,
Himself, who gives the increase and adds to the Church (1 Corinthians
“The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward
another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you. To the end He may
establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our
Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” (1
Time to Stop Praying? (Morning Companion)
One time God told Moses to stop praying. If we accept that prayer is a good thing, why would God tell someone to cut it out?
“Why are you crying out to me?” (Exodus 14:15). Given the circumstances, I would think the question should be, “Why not?”
the story. Moses had just led Israel out of Egypt. Through his hand God
had turned the Nile into blood, brought many plagues on the Egyptians,
and with boldness he had led the nation to freedom. Now, shortly after
this triumphant march from slavery, Pharaoh has a change of heart and
decides to chase down the fleeing masses with his infantry and chariots
in order to drive them back to their former state.
Why shouldn’t Moses cry out to God? Why would God object?
this is a lesson about prayer. The newly freed Israelites had already
cried out to God (verse 10), after which Moses tells them to do
something: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (verse 13).
There are indeed times when all we can do is stand still and wait. As
the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God.” But in spite of appearances
this was apparently not one of those times.
Thus God says to Moses,
“Why do you cry out to me?” And then he says, “Tell the children of
Israel to go forward” (verse 15). It is time to get off your knees and
into your hiking boots. Tell the people the time for standing still is
over. Now is the time to do something about your situation.
make two grave mistakes regarding prayer. One is to think that we can
get along just fine without God’s help. If we just work hard enough,
sweat hard enough, and think clearly enough, we can make all the right
things happen. I can put on my boots and fight my own way through the
Or we can make the other mistake. There is something to
be said for waiting on God, “standing still”, shall we say. It’s true
that in some circumstances God’s strength is revealed through our
weaknesses. But simply sitting in our pajamas while waiting for God can
be just as bad as thinking we can do it all on our own. Most of the time
God expects us to be actively involved in carrying out his will. “Why
do you cry out to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”
God could not have led them through the Red Sea had they had just stood still and waited.