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Obama's Flat Earth Theory (Standing Watch) 14

A 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 stop?
God to Moses: “Why are you crying out to me?” (Exodus 14:15). Given the circumstances, I would think the question should be, “Why not?”
Here’s 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?
In 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 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.
We can 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 wilderness.
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 still 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.

Prophets and Teachers (Children of God)

Why is the end-time Church of God told in Revelation 3:19 that they must repent? “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Jesus knows that it is possible for His people to be overcomers as He is an overcomer. If we are wise in these last days – we should be asking ourselves, “What is it that God is so displeased about?” The answer is given in many places, but let’s look at what Peter said:

There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily, [surreptitiously and secretly embracing false doctrine] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1)

Paul spoke of this problem to Timothy: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4:3) There were good prophets and there were good teachers who taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But in this end time, the people of God are warned to be on the lookout for those who would pervert the Gospel. The people Paul warns about with itching ears have to be continually thrilled and fascinated with new controversies. Those desires impel a person to believe whatever he wants to believe rather than the actual truth itself. Those with itching ears only want false teachers who will assure them that the truth has been withheld from them. There will always be “many false teachers” who are willing to provide conspiracies and lies instead of sound doctrine. The Truth of God has always been under attack. We are blessed to have received the warnings we have received, not only from the prophets of old and the apostles, but from Jesus Himself. Jesus said: “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)

God has ruled out many of the false prophets by not including their writings in the Holy Scriptures. Some want to hear all the false prophets and false teachers, because they want to know everything, so as to be able to decide for themselves. They enjoy being embroiled in controversy. They do not trust God to give them the full picture. They do not believe that God wants only for us to have the good and avoid the effects of the evil. Without realizing it they are saying God cannot be trusted to give us the truth—the entire story. That is exactly the same strategy Satan employed with Eve when he caused her to question God (Genesis 3:1-5). That is why some people want to believe that the word of God is inadequate in its instruction for us. Please understand that not everything that has been written in the past is “God breathed” – that is, inspired teaching from the mouth of God. Josephus and the Maccabees wrote some pretty good histories – but they were not set down on parchment by converted men who were led by God’s Spirit to record the things they wrote (2 Peter 1:21). Worse than that, there are men of old who had ungodly agenda that were opposed to the Plan of God. They sometimes include ideas from the demonic world that are hostile to the word of God. Paul had to deal with such heresy in the Church—and he said, Don’t go there!” (Galatians 1:6-9)

Who are the false ministers? Who is able to identify those who do not teach the true faith once delivered to the saints? Where are those who teach Christianity and Godliness? Why is it that we cannot find any large break-away groups that teach Christianity and Godliness? We find those groups that want their people to be loyal to their leader or their headquarters. We find those groups that teach that the pronunciation of God’s name is more important than living what God stands for. We find those groups that think that the Bible is not sufficient unto salvation—but it is. Paul reminded Timothy; a third generation Christian:

From a child thou hast known the holy (not all writings) Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2Timothy 3:15)

Holy means “not all" - but those things “set aside” by God for His spiritual reasons and purposes. Read that verse closely because it tells us that the Bible is sufficient unto salvation, in that it contains everything we need to come to Godliness. In fact, over and over God warns us not to add or subtract anything from the Holy Scriptures He has given us.

I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

Life in the Pressure Cooker (Sabbath Meditations)

When I as a kid my mom, was big into canning. Strawberries, peaches, apples, you name it ... if it grew on a tree or a bush, she canned it. Now if you know anything about canning, which many these days don’t, you’d know that an essential implement in the process is the pressure cooker. And we had a big one. In fact, it was so big and noisy, it used to scare me. When this beast of a stainless steel pot got up to a certain temperature, it would rattle and rock violently on the stove top from the pressure of the steam that was building up inside. The only thing that kept it from blowing was a little cap on the top that let just enough steam out to avoid certain disaster, or at least avoided cooked peaches being strewn all over the kitchen.

As a kid I would steer a wide birth around this thing because I thought, “if that thing gets clogged, it’s going to blow!” Thankfully it never did ... and we spent many a winter enjoying the fruits of my mother’s efforts in the kitchen the previous summer.
I learned a little about stress when transitioning from a career I’d known for seven years, where I’d grown somewhat comfortable, where some of my co-workers had become like second family. Now I was going to a new environment with unknown challenges, unknown personalities, unknown culture. I felt internally somewhat like one of those pressure cookers my mother used long ago, except in my case I didn’t have a release cap to keep it from blowing.
I didn’t realize just how much pressure was building till I found myself in the back of an ambulance. I felt I was having what I thought was a heart attack. I was short of breath, becoming increasingly dizzy to the point of blacking out, with tingling sensations in my toes and hands. Well, after a full battery of tests, including several needle sticks and donations into a little cup, I was given the all clear. My heart was fine, everything else looked fine.

The diagnosis? Hypertension brought on more than likely from stress.
Since that day I've been trying to do all of the right things doctors tell you to do. Reduce salt intake, get more rest, exercise daily, eat healthier. In short. Release some of that stress that has been building up in my body. There is one piece of instruction, however, that the doctor did not give me ... but instruction that I know, more than all of these things, would do more to combat my stress than anything else.
1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our cares on God for He cares for us.
At the root of stress is really the fear of the unknown. Of all people, we as Christians, should have every reason to be at peace internally. Yes, there are unknowns in life, but God is sovereign. He has called us and is working out His plan within us.
The more I can trust that He cares for me and cast my burden on Him, the greater peace I can have, regardless of the situations I encounter in life. The same is true of major life changes, such as my transition to a new job. If I have prayed about a decision, asked God to direct my path, requested that He open and close doors as appropriate in my life, then I need to have confidence that He will do that. In short I need to have faith in Him.
The world will continue to turn the heat on. Responsibilities will always be there, bosses will always expect 110%, family problems will crop up sporadically ... but regardless of the pressures we face ... we can have faith that our God who cares for us will carry our burden. That faith is the best release cap of all.

What Would Jesus Eat? (New Horizons)

Artists’ versions of the ‘Last Supper’ have mushroomed over the centuries, most notably that by Leonardo Da Vinci, reproduced by the thousand. What is curious in the different versions is what is placed on the table!
Leonardo’s masterpiece, for example (recently restored), has placed a dish of eels garnished with oranges. Others have depicted leavened (yeasted) bread. crayfish, pretzels, roasted guinea pig - even a suckling pig. The artist, presumably, making some form of symbolic statement or reflecting contemporary culinary tastes.
The Reality
The ‘Last Supper’ of course, is the final meal shared by Jesus and his disciples the night before his crucifixion. It was the evening before the annual Passover festival, and might have included those foods appropriate to that observance. (Jesus makes clear that he would never change those observances as recorded in the Scriptures, Matthew 5:17-18.)
For the annual Passover the central dish would be roasted lamb together with unleavened bread - i.e. bread made without a raising element, yeast. Various herbs accompanied them, each symbolic. They commemorated the events surrounding the nation’s freedom from enslavement in Egypt, a time to rejoice. Jesus would have participated in this. For Christians, too, the Passover symbols have special significance (e.g. I Corinthians 5 and 11).
There are, however, other fundamental reasons for the portrayal of the Last Supper as described above to be in error. Certainly no suckling pig on the table! What would Jesus have eaten?
Eat to Live
Our physical health and mental well-being are influenced by what we eat - witness the endless stream of dietary advice (which changes from day to day!). Mankind didn’t materialize from thin air, but from the hand of the Creator as He organized the elements of the earth to produce a living creature that is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’. In our beginnings mankind was ‘perfect’, and provided with a diet perfectly adapted to the needs of the body as then constituted.
The Creator instructed: ‘I have given you every plant seeding seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree (Genesis 1:29).
God made clear that, by following His instructions, they would continue endlessly in their physical existence. One tree, however, was forbidden to them, and clear warning was given as to the awesome consequences of eating its fruit: ‘in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die’ (Genesis 2:17). Death was twofold: they ‘died’ spiritually, and the physical death process that moment invaded their bodies.
In Transition
Sin had enveloped mankind, and God introduced His remedy - sacrifice. Abel, on God’s instructions, brought a lamb to sacrifice. and as part of the ceremonial he would participate in eating a portion (Leviticus 8:31). Their ‘new’ changed and decaying bodies - and the increased work-load - now required to be nourished by the inclusion of animal flesh. The weakened bodily constitution is also testified to by the shortened life-span of the patriarchs.
It’s clear from the record that the patriarchs had been taught which of the diversity of animals were suitable for consumption: ‘Of every clean beast you shalt take to you by sevens’ (Genesis 7:2). They already understood, by tradition, that there is a difference between clean (edible) animals and unclean. The LORD included this guidance in Israel’s national Constitution, given under Moses, clearly defining for them in their written code of Law which animal flesh is suitable for food (e.g. Leviticus, 11, Deuteronomy 14). Jesus, himself of the House of Judah, fully conformed
to this code. As he explained to John the Baptist, who had questioned Jesus’s desire for baptism: ‘Allow it now, for it is becoming to us this way to fulfill all righteousness’ (Matthew 3:15).
The Middle Eastern diet (and, of course, that of Israel) included the consumption of animal flesh within the confines of the ’clean and unclean’ restrictions. Indeed we note that Jesus ate fish in the company of his disciples (Luke 24:41-42). Meat was a valued feature of their diet, especially at times of festival. And, of course portions of some animal sacrifices were eaten by the offerer, and by the priests. (Not all were sin sacrifices.)
As stated Moses: ‘you are free to kill and eat your animals wherever you live. You may eat as many as the LORD gives you. All of you, whether ritually clean or unclean [i.e. not a ‘religious’ matter], may eat them, just as you would eat the meat of deer or antelope [i.e. ‘clean’]. But you must not eat their blood (Deuteronomy 12:15-16).
This latter reflects the guidance given to Noah (Genesis 9:4).
What Jesus ate conformed fully with custom and with God’s instructions concerning food suitable for consumption. Christians - and indeed all of mankind - would do well to follow his example. Surely the Creator’s guidance on the ‘stuff of life’, our food, should be heeded. As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, edible foods are ‘sanctified [set apart, identified] by the Word of God’ (I Timothy 4:5).

Science Catches Up! (OzWitness)

Have you noticed that scientists recently have begun to discover that more long held ‘unscientific’ beliefs which they had scoffed at, have been discovered to be true after all? Today in one newspaper was the news that ‘mother was right after all’. You’ll catch a cold if you don’t put on a coat in winter! Scientists have long claimed that coughs and colds are not caused by a drop in temperature but more likely by warm stuffy rooms where he cold virus can spread more easily, though now thy have recognized that our immune systems work better when we are kept warm with coat and scarf!

Another ‘new’ discovery mentioned in today’s news is that whole milk may actually help to reduce blood pressure because it apparently contains high levels of nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels, and this improves blood flow to the heart. That information joins other recent news that full cream milk is better for us than half cream milk, and even that butter may be better for us than vegetable oil margarine.

Actually, I would not be surprised if that were true. Years ago I had a recurring problem like King Henry the Eighth. Gout in my big toe! Every year I would get an attack and have to hobble about with an unbending toe until someone told me about cherries. OK, so it was unscientific, but apparently several cherries each day keeps the gout away (By the way, I don’t drink much wine or alcohol!). I tried it, and the gout disappeared, never to return. Any cherries will do – tinned, fresh or bottled – only a few each day and goodbye gout!

That information can point us to another source of ‘unscientific’ information that we can refer to for even more authoritative health guidance. The Bible. The Bible is the handbook the Creator provided with His product – us. You may not realize it but it contains a great deal of advice on how to live long, and stay healthy.

Sometimes, it is simply promises – keep this commandment and you will live long e.g. Exodus 20:12“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Sometimes it is guidance on which foods are designed to be good for us to eat, and which bad, and elsewhere we are advised on which behavior and attitude will help our mental state to remain healthy and avoid psychosomatic illness. Also, God incidentally mentions things that His people eat, and food which some shared with God Himself, when He has appeared on earth. Food like fish, whole grains, meat, milk, butter, honey, which in that way gain God’s stamp of approval.

So, yes, as the years go by, more and more of the Bible’s teaching is being shown to be true after all. You can be in there in advance of science, and enjoy the health benefits before science catches up. Just study the Bible! Joshua 1:8  ‘Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.’

God Means It For Good (First Century Christianity)

Have you ever been through any trials in your life? Sure, we all have. Oftentimes we think the trials we face may be due to something we are doing wrong; that God is trying to show us correction or discipline us. The examples of people and even nations in the Bible having to be brought low before they receive correction are extensive. But the nature of trials is not so cut and dry.

Perhaps the clearest example of this is with Paul. Acts 7:58 - 8:3 shows Paul before his conversion actually holding the cloaks for those who stoned Stephen to martyrdom. Paul was energetically persecuting the Church of God for years after this, going from town to down and dragging believers in Messiah back to Jerusalem to be jailed and punished for their faith. Paul had to be stricken blind and visited by the risen Yeshua in order for him to be converted. He had to be brought incredibly low before he, an incredibly educated Jew and Roman citizen, could admit his errors and convert.

However, being brought low was just the beginning. Paul had to publicly and repeatedly repent. He had to prove to the brethren that he was no longer a threat. Surely they must have been scared to be in the same room as the guy who delivered so many to the Jews. Then Paul had to go on to be punished in the same manner that he punished others. Beaten, whipped, stoned and left for dead. But the lesson was not just for Paul! It was for the brethren as well. They had to trust God to believe that they would be protected and they had to forgive the very man that had persecuted them. This is a very hard thing to do my friends.

Forgiving and trusting someone who has a history of violence or destructive behavior is one of the hardest psychological hurdles for people to cross - despite Yeshua telling us we must do so 7 X 70 times.

It’s also very easy to see other people’s trials as punishment by God. This is a trap that has existed for a very long time. When we see people begging on the side of the road for coins, our reflex action is to assume they are charlatans. When we see people who have made bad decisions suffering for their poor judgment, thoughts like “well, that’ll teach ‘em” creep in to even the most compassionate among us.

But what does Yeshua say about these things?

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered,“It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

Do you see the accusatory attitude in the disciples? They assumed, because the man was blind, that it had to be because of his sin or his parent’s sins. But the man was born blind, perhaps in excess of 30 years prior, for this one moment in time. God had a plan. How many eyes do you think were opened on the day that this man received his sight? Those disciples had their eyes opened much more than the blind man. His disability was put on him so that many would be able to see righteousness working.

This attitude check about those who are less fortunate is part of the judgment of Matthew 25:31-46. In fact, it’s the ENTIRE basis for the judgment! What do we see about the character of the righteous when Yeshua sits on His throne and starts separating the sheep from the goats? The righteous are the ones who ministered to those less fortunate. The trials of the infirm, the malnourished, the poor, and the prisoners are a test for those more fortunate.

Yes, brethren, God has a plan for each and every person on planet earth. These plans are intertwined with others and their relationships. When we see someone in a trial, our reactions are recorded in the books. When we are in a trial, we also must give glory to the Most High. Because, like Joseph said so long ago, God meant it for good.