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Role Models Abound in the Bible!
People are forever searching for role models and usually looking in all the wrong places. Sports heroes are often put up as good or bad role models. What gets them famous is physical ability, not character. How about looking at political figures, like the president?
Sadly, people always fail badly as role models at some point. The ultimate role model is Jesus Christ. He was perfect, and that is part of the problem with Him as a model. Can we look to Jesus as an example of a great repenter? Remember; He never sinned. We need role models with whom we can identify.
The Bible records examples of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for us to learn, I Corinthians 10:11. I like to look to the people on the path; people seeking the same rewards as us. Time and circumstances are non-issues. People are people. They are warring against the same spirit as we do.
The first example I look for is repentance and, of course, David is the model for repentance. He wrote many of the Psalms; and what an inspiring testimony of the seriousness of breaking God’s law they offer. Psalm 51 is the most famous, written after he was confronted about the sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah.
The second model is connected to this story. I am impressed by the loyalty of Uriah the Hittite (II Samuel 11:8-9). The story tells how he would not even enjoy his break from battle while his fellow soldiers were still on the field. He was not even an Israelite, yet he was loyal to the cause of his adopted nation. His murder was more of a shame than the other sins because he was such a loyal and honorable person.
Faith is the quality I think of when I read about Noah. Just think about the circumstances: build a giant ship, no water around, it wouldn’t float for more than 100 years, and no one believed him. Yet, by great faith, he completed the task.
I think of Moses on the quality of meekness. Meek is not to be confused with being wimpy. In Bible usage, it means gentle, humble. Numbers 12:23, “Now the man Moses was very humble more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” Psalm 25:9, “The humble He guides in justice and the humble He teaches his way.” God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.
Abraham was seventy-five when God told him to leave his country. Then, when he was more than one hundred years of age, he was told to sacrifice his son. Abraham is the father of the faithful, but I always think of the great obedience he showed throughout his life.
There was a man you would call dependable. Joshua is one of the very few Bible personalities to escape having a drawback listed in his story. Joshua 11:15, “As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua and Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded.” You could depend on him, and he was also absolutely fearless in the conquest of the Promised Land.
When I read of the Apostle John and how he interacted with others, and how he would lean on Jesus’ bosom, I see the tender heart of an individual. In III John, we learn how he must have wanted to write reports about Diotrephes, a divisive leader in the Church. Maybe not the best at leadership, he was mild, non-offensive, and a loving enough person and man to show it.
How about determined? Look at a story of a man on a mission: five times lashed, three times beaten, stoned, thrice shipwrecked, endured hunger, cold, and dangers. II Corinthians 11:24-28, “Yet through it all Paul was tireless in the work of God.”
This is yet another reason to study our Bibles: whether the wisdom of Solomon, the morality of Joseph (Genesis 39:6-10), the courage of Stephen (Acts 6), or the evangelism of Phillip (Acts 8:26-40), we can look to these role models. This is just a small sampling of many examples of acts of people who follow the narrow way.
The Bible also includes many examples of what not to be. King Saul will tell us to follow instructions. Herod will say to give God the glory! (Acts 12:23)
As we continue our journey through this short life, may we draw encouragement from the saints who have gone before us.
— by Wayne Schatzle
PO Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)
From the Editor…
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
All children dream of what they want to be. Can you remember back that far? Most want to be policemen, firemen, or doctors. Nurses, housewives, and mothers were the dreams of little girls. But how about you; what do you want to be when you grow up? It seems when we get older we resist growing up. But dreams and visions are an essential part of life and progress.
Is “to be a doorkeeper” all you aspire to in the Kingdom? Psalm 84:10, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Not that that is a bad thing, but with all the problems in the Church and the world, isn’t the need for educators, administrators, peacemakers, judges, economists, kings and priests greater.
David will rule the tribes of Israel with the Apostles over the twelve tribes.
Matthew 19:28, “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The world’s systems are rapidly approaching a state of collapse. Would you like to administer or advise the departments of education, entertainment, family affairs, children, marriage, economics, healing/medicine, minister of peace, (we won’t need secretary of war), or could you be a guide or counselor. I would like to be minister of justice — and mercy, but I’m not a lawyer — hmmnn, maybe that is a prerequisite for the position.
You could have an opportunity to teach the teachers. Isaiah 30:20-21, “And thoughthe Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This isthe way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
You could be ruler over five cities, or ten. How about Baghdad, Calcutta, San Francisco, Kobe, and Washington D.C.? Are you up to the task? What are you doing to prepare?
Rather than prepare for our responsibility, we have been (and still are) obsessed with the concept of a place of safety. Before, it was Petra, now our “safety” is found in the comfort of our own mind in that we are called; called to a walled city, a safe house, a Church, or fellowship where there’s good food, conversation and comfort.
He who seeks to save his life will lose it.
— by Steven J. Kieler
Giving & Sharing has a 56-page new book, Islam Versus the Bible, available for a suggested donation of $5.00, from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.
Thank you. It is both comforting and inspiring to read good news about our brethren in other congregations and what they are doing in their local areas. Not having to sift through the articles in order to find whatsoever things are lovely, pure, and of a good report is a refreshing change of pace. We have shared this with our brethren in Mountain View, Arkansas and everywhere else we can think of! Sincerely,
— Wayne and Rhonda Holmes
Please add our name to receive the E-mail issue of your new COG News. It’s about time someone produced something positive for the Churches of God.
— D & S B
Jamaican Campaign Brings Startling Results
Ian Boyne, Pastor of the Kingston and Ocho Rios CGI congregations and coordinator of the Caribbean work, reports that 148 attended the Sunday, March 2, 2003, campaign in Kingston (announced in the last weeks Report). Mr. Boyne addressed the Sabbath issue, and reports thirty-four visitors (new people) attended. According to some of the Kingston Church’s long-time members, his presentation was the clearest and most impressive he has given on the subject.
About fifty usually turn out for the following regular Monday night Bible study. He also knew that a lot of people go to school and adult classes during the week, and a good many of the Church members would not be able to come back after the Sunday campaign.
As it turns out, a few more than expected did attend. In fact, a total of 140, just eight fewer than the previous night, showed up for the meeting! And, amazingly, thirty-eight of them were visitors! That’s four MORE than the previous night!
Mr. Boyne exposed flaws in the popular “rapture” doctrine. No one left during the presentation, and there were no questions in the following questions-and-answers session. The ninety-minute presentation apparently left no room for argument.
After receiving several requests for follow-up studies, Mr. Boyne announced that he would do a follow-up on the Sabbath issue, and in the weeks ahead would discuss the holy days, the Millennium versus “heaven,” the plan of salvation (including God’s plan for those who have never heard the true gospel), prophecy, the immortality of the soul versus conditional immortality, and the Biblical teaching on hell.
COG 7th Day Passover
On Tuesday evening, April 15, after sunset, all congregations of the Church will observe Christian communion — the Lord’s Supper Service. This date, corresponding to the Nisan 14 of Scripture, is selected because Jesus gave the New Covenant emblems on this day before His death, and because of links between this memorial and the Passover memorial of the Old Covenant.
— by Calvin Burrell
Evangelical Outreach in Nigeria
1. Following the great exposure to challenges during the Youth Seminar held at Okporo Orlu in Imo State, which was organized with the help of Evangalist I. Nathan, from 25th-28th July 2002, along with a few brethren, including brother Uchenna Egbuatu, were moved to start Bible Insight publication. They have so far had their first and second edition. It is aimed at sending the message of reformation, revival, and restoration to the Churches of God, and a message of salvation to the world.
We have also a tracts production unit known as Bible Information Unit. Pastor Bonny Okolo started it. It has so far produced Of a Truth, We Cannot Deny this Says the Religious Leaders, What a Wickedness, The time is Fulfilled, and 666 for our Evangelical Outreach.
2. An Evangelical group led by Pastor Izu Ukoha and his team, have had successful crusades in Nimo, Awka, Oji River, and Ozu. Their next venue is Enugu and it will take place from 27th February to March l, 2003.
3. Another local oriented “Teaching Crusade” was planned for all the branches of the Church of God since July. But for some unforeseen circumstances, it could not be held except the Uturu branch was latter held from December 6-8. Umuagu will be having their own meeting on January 23rd-26th, 2003 at Umuagu. Since the raining season is over, other branches will be registering their dates for their own crusade.
— by Bonny Okolo
Church of God, Box 9589
Enugu, Nigeria, 400009
Seventh Day Church of God Nigeria
This is an indigenous large Sabbath keeping Church in Nigeria. But through the consistent help from the Seventh Day Church of God, Caldwell, Idaho, and a few Nigerian individuals, this Church was able to go through a beautiful reformation. Today, the Church has no more polygamy among the rank and files of its pastors. The Church now observes the Bible Feasts. And most of her pastors now teach the difference between clean and unclean meats. This could not have been possible if not for the tireless effort of men like Bishop A.E. Owa, the overseer, Ako, V.C. Ikoro, T.I.I. Ogu, I.Emmanuel, Nwokoma, and many others. The story of this Church will not be complete without Chinwa whom I may say is one of the founders. This Church basically situates in Rivers State. “He that gathereth not with me scatereth” says Jesus the owner of the Church. I appeal therefore to every leader in this great family of God, the Church of the living God, to always emphasis things that will promote brotherly love, that the unfortunate gaps created within us by the “I am’s” of West Virginia, or of Denver Colorado, or of Jerusalem, Israel, or of Caldwell, Idaho, or of World Wide, or of Apostolic, etc., should be bridged.
May the Most High God help us close ranks together in order to reach others in the Christian Church of God, Church of God ministry, Seventh Day Adventist, and a host of other Sabbath Prayer Houses that dotted the Nigerian landscape. These lost sheep of the house of Israel must first be taken along as we aggressively pound the gates of hell to rescue the Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, and other Pentecostal, Sunday keeping Churches with the wholesome truth.
— by Bonny Okolo
LCG in the Caribbean
The Living Church of God now has a website for the Caribbean region titled Living Church of God - Caribbean; www.caribbean-lcg.org.
LCG has congregations in the following Caribbean islands or countries: Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Tobago. Last year, there were at least five Feast sites in the Caribbean region.
Its Tomorrow’s World telecast, in English, is on three television stations in the region; and the French version of its broadcast is on three radio stations in the region.
Jonathan McNair reported, “Our current focus in the Caribbean is on solidifying our infrastructure for doing the Work. We have made progress on several fronts. First, Mr. Fitzroy Greeman, associate pastor for the Trinidad congregations, is currently in the process of moving to Trinidad. He has been serving the brethren as a “commuting” minister, traveling from his home in Georgetown, Guyana, once a month. With hundreds of responses every month to the program, as well as close to one hundred brethren living in Trinidad and Tobago, his full-time presence in Trinidad is a very positive step forward. This will also enable us to establish an official Church office, relieving some of the pressure on our members who have volunteered tirelessly in support of the Work. The Church in Trinidad has enthusiastically welcomed Mrs. Doreen Greeman, and her lovely daughters. Our brethren in Guyana are hoping for lots of good news from the Greeman family.
In Barbados, the Church is growing steadily, with monthly attendance hovering just under fifty. During the first week of November, Mr. Hugh Wilson, associate pastor, visited a number of prospective members, and baptized Terrick Waite and Leonard Seale. Other encouraging news includes two weddings that are being planned for the near future, one in December, and another in June. These happy developments have been dampened by the recent untimely death of Mr. Clement Lowe, a long-time pillar in the Church in Barbados. Mr. Lowe came down with what appeared to be pneumonia, which ultimately revealed more serious heart problems.
The Church in Jamaica continues to remain strong, despite some very difficult economic times. Many industries have moved out of Jamaica, and unemployment is very high. Many of our members are struggling to find and keep jobs.
Mr. Wilson has conducted Bible studies in the outlying areas of Montego Bay and Mandeville, and plans to continue. This serves our brethren and prospective members, who find it difficult to travel to Kingston. Our Tomorrow’s World telecast in Jamaica continues to receive between thirty and fifty responses every week.
Another LCG public lecture is to be held in the capitol of Kingston, on May 4, 2003. Jonathan McNair is scheduled to conduct it. Last year the Kingston lecture had an excellent turnout. With the growth LCG has been experiencing in Jamaica the past few years, this year’s lecture probably will result in even more growth.
The Caribbean region is of particular interest to our family as we have visited three of the islands with LCG members within the past two and one-half years. We also visited other Caribbean islands over a decade ago. One thing that is particularly interesting to this writer is that the COG in general, and LCG, in particular, appear to be better known in certain Caribbean areas than areas in the U.S. There seems to be three reasons for this:
1) Those who live in the Caribbean seem, to me at least, to be more religious than most Americans.
2) Nearly everyone in a particular Caribbean country can hear/see our broadcast/telecast, and nearly all actually have.
3) In the smaller countries, the locals still remember the relatively large in-flux of Feast of Tabernacles visitors in the WCG days. They still, to some degree, notice the COG’s now, but less quantity means less impact.
— by Robert J. Thiel
LCG Relocation Update
With the arrival of Charles Bryce, Roger Bardo, and Richard Ames (and their families) in Charlotte the first week of March, everyone, except Mr. Raymond McNair, is in town and is settling in. A local Charlotte television station, WSOC-TV (Channel 9) did a brief story on LCG’s relocation to Charlotte, which was aired on the station’s evening and morning newscasts.
— by Robert J. Thiel
The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils, which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
— by Noah Webster
The LCG congregation of Joplin, MO invited brethren from forty congregations to the fifth AnnualPresidents’ Weekend activity on the weekend of February 15-16. Word-of-mouth brought members from as far away as both coasts, Canada, and Puerto Rico. All Church of God Fellowships were invited. Among those were WCG, United, Restored, CGI, CEM, CG7, and Church of the Great God.
Sixty-nine singles and young adults attended a Bible study Sabbath morning on personal finance conducted by Elder Gene Hilgenberg. Services were held in the Elsie Plaster Auditorium of Crowder College in Neosho, MO. Three hundred twenty one brethren heard a sermon, “Leading Ladies of the New Testament” by Karl Beyersdorfer. After sundown, guests enjoyed a wonderful dinner catered by Gene and Rosetta Hilgenberg.
A host of brethren from Joplin and surrounding congregations assisted.
A costume dance with an “Under the Sea” theme began at 8:00 P.M. The dance was highlighted by spectacular ocean-themed decor created and arranged by a crew under the direction of Elizabeth Hilgenberg.
Sunday morning featured breakfast and basketball. Forty five men and twenty two women gave it their all before a large crowd of spectators in nine action packed games. Shannon Christal coordinated the basketball.
Rod Sedliacik, with his group of seven from Los Angeles, said he “came for the opportunity to meet friends and for the fellowship.” Jennifer Bowman drove nineteen hours with her group of four from Linwood, Ontario. “Seeing everyone again was awesome and exciting.” she said.
Elder Ray Kurr brought fifteen members of the Church of God Tulsa Fellowship. He said “I appreciate the growing spiritual maturity of members of LCG.” Mr. Kurr was impressed with the kindness and hospitality. For details next year, please call Pastor Karl Beyersdorfer, at 417-623-8888.”
— by Dan Plotner
Phil and Audrey Watkins, Little Rock, AR
Mr. & Mrs. Jay Collins, Summersville, MO.
(Left to Right) Mr. & Mrs. Karl Beyersdorfer, Joplin,
MO; Dwayne Wilks, Calgary, Alberta; Rod Sedliacik,
Los Angeles, CA.
Mr. & Mrs. Gene Hilgenberg, Neosho, MO.
Spring is Near!
In some parts of the country, spring has already sprung. But here in the Midwest we’re still waiting for those signs that show that spring is really here. We are seeing signs of the dead things of winter coming back to life; trees, grasses, bushes, and flowers. The flowers of spring seem to be bright, vibrant colors, such as orange, yellow, and red tulips, beautiful white and yellow jonquils; and the magnolia bushes have such big buds looking like they’re about to burst open any minute. It’s a wonderful rejuvenating time of the year. Soon the Spring Holydays will be here and we once again look forward to renewing our commitment to God’s way of life by taking the symbols of wine and unleavened bread. Christ, our Passover, paid the full price for our sins by His painful and excruciating death recorded in I Corinthians 5:7. We were at one time dead in our sins but through Christ’s shed blood, we are now made alive (just like the winter and spring season).
The Spring Holydays
Our children should be taught about these Holydays and the reason we keep them. They should understand why we do what we do at this time of the year. It can be explained simply by the Passover account recorded in Exodus 12, and the New Testament account showing that Christ became the Passover Lamb and paid the penalty for our sins in Matthew 26:26-28. We are no longer under the death penalty. If we keep His laws and commandments we shall be in the Kingdom of God with God the Father, and Christ our Savior, and be made alive forevermore. No more dead, decaying seasons for us, just the springtime of our lives bursting out forevermore.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is covered in Exodus 12:15-20, Leviticus 23:6-8, and Deuteronomy 16:3-8. Exodus 12:34 explains that the children of Israel took their dough before it was leavened. Israel left Egypt in haste after the death angel had passed over. The Egyptians wanted Israel out of their land because they were afraid of what would happen next. (Read Exodus 12:33 and also verse 39.) Numbers 33:3 states that they left “in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.”
Deuteronomy 16:1 reads “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God; for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 4:7 that they were to keep this feast; “Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Children can be taught these simple truths and they don’t seem to have a problem with what occurred and when it occurred. They understand what happened when the death angel “passed over,” and why Israel left in haste with their unleavened dough. And they can understand why we keep these Holydays now by explaining the above scriptures to them.
“Hosanna” To The King
Do you realize that children had a part in heralding Christ’s return to Jerusalem just a few days before Passover and His impending death? When Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, people were laying their garments and palm branches down before Him. They were honoring Him as a King even though He was riding on a lowly donkey. Even the children were singing “Hosanna to the son of David,” Matthew 21:15.The chief priests and scribes had seen the wonderful things that Christ had done, but when they saw the children in the temple crying and saying “Hosanna” to Christ, they were very displeased. They asked Christ if He was hearing what the children were saying. He answered them, “Yea; have you never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, thou have perfected Praise,” Matthew 21:16?The definition for “Hosanna” is: “An exclamation; used in praise of God or Christ; a shout of praise or adoration; an acclamation; originally an appeal to God for deliverance” (The American College Dictionary).
The priests and scribes were displeased to see the children honoring and praising Christ as their King, but Christ must have felt great joy to see these little ones hailing Him. He must have been extremely pleased toward the people and especially to the children. Have you ever wondered what may have happened to these children as they grew up? They may have seen His crucifixion and death. Perhaps they heard their parents talk about these events. In any case, these events must have left an indelible mark in their minds.
They may have grown up and became Disciples of Christ. They may have helped teach Christ’s Gospel to others. Christ loved children and He said; “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven,” Mark 10:14.
Use every opportunity to teach and establish your children in God’s Way of Life, and especially during all the Holydays, with all the rich meanings that these days represent. May God bless you in all of your efforts!
— by Shelby Faith
(In the next newsletter, June, we will continue with “Heroes of the Bible.”)
Lessons From a Child
Have you ever noticed how children will mimic their parents? A young boy will follow daddy around the garage and try out his tools. Or maybe slip into daddy’s shoes and ‘clop-clop’ around the house.
A young girl will try on mommy’s clothes and make-up and play at being ‘grown-up’, or maybe imitate doing chores around the house.
They are learning to be like their parents. Children idolize their parents and will copy their words, their mannerisms, and their habits.
The parents are always filled with a great sense of pride and delight when someonemakesthe comment, “Oh, she’s just like her mother.”
Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that God made man (His children) in His image and that, just like all parents, He wants us to take on His likeness. How much of our Father do others see in us? Do they see us using our Father’s words and mimicking His actions? How much of Himself does God see in His children? Is He filled with pride and delight as He watches us learn to be like Him?
Let us look to our older brother, Jesus Christ to learn to be like Him and our Father. Let us strive to be the children of God an bring a smile to our Father’s face by being just like Him.
— by Sabbath Keepers Fellowship
& Prison Ministry
Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?
Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah’s Ark...
ONE: Don’t miss the boat.
TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
FOUR: Stay fit. When you’re 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
FIVE: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
SIX: Build your future on high ground.
SEVEN: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
EIGHT: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
NINE: When you’re stressed, float awhile.
TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Detailed prophecy generally has to be absorbed by a prophet and passed on to its intended audience. Ezekiel ate a book of prophecy, Ezekiel 2:8, 3:3. John ate a book of prophecy, Revelation 10:1-11. The books were sweet in their mouths. But John’s book turned bitter when it reached the stomach.
Prophecies show us the ultimate in punishments that are perfect in their execution. And prophecies show us the ultimate in rewards that are gained after endurance, overcoming, and faithfulness. This perspective is, for the greater part, timeless. Judas betrayed Jesus for money, Matthew 26:15-16. It would have been better for Judas if he had never been born, Mark 14:21. Afterwards, Judas took a dive from a high place with a fastener around his neck, exploding at the bottom with his bowels gushing out, Matthew 27:3-5, Acts 1:16-18. One twelfth of the disciples (the learners) of Christ were replaced. Matthias replaced unfaithful Judas, Acts 1:25-26. By the same token, one twelfth of the potential 144,000 of Revelation 7 will be replaced. The tribe of Dan (that would have had a population of 12,000) will be omitted. The children of faithful Joseph will be added, resulting in Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, occupying two tribal positions instead of one, Revelation 7:4-8. One of the meanings of Joseph is “addition.”
Herod killed James and captured Peter because it pleased the members of the “standard” religion, the non-Messianic Jews, Acts 12:1-3. Just as faithful Christians were threatened with death by the “standard” religion during the first century, faithful Christians will be threatened with death by the “standard” religion at the end of man’s rule, John 16:2, Revelation 17:6. God’s people are told to come out of Babylon, Revelation 18:4. One mark of false prophets and false teachers is their willingness to try to make merchandise of God’s people, II Peter 2:1-3. Zechariah looked forward to a time in which there would be the absence of the Canaanite, Zechariah 14:21. The Hebrew for Canaanite is from “Chenaanee,” meaning merchant. Canaanite is a word for merchant just as Chaldean is a word for astrologer. John wrote of a time in which merchants will weep and mourn, Revelation 18:11, because Babylon will have been ruined, Revelation 18:2.
Sodom is representative of extreme wickedness, Genesis 13:13. Egypt, which had enslaved Israel, Exodus 1:13-14, is a type of sin. Old Jerusalem at the end of the age of man’s rule will be a combination of Sodom and Egypt, extreme wickedness and enslaving sin, Revelation 11:8.
Just as Paul fought a good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith, II Timothy 4:7, the final headquarters team ruling with Christ will have been overcoming, I John 5:4-5, Revelation 2:26, enduring to the end, Matthew 10:22, James 1:12, and faithful, Revelation 2:10, 17:14.
The faithful have been mindful of a future reward and have embraced the promises, Hebrews 11:13-14. Both Isaiah and Paul remind us of a future time of ultimate rewards, which cannot be totally comprehended by the mind of man, a time so magnificent that eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love him and wait for him, Isaiah 64:4, I Corinthians 2:9.
— by Wily Elder
Many Americans today are uneasy about the possibility of war with Iraq and terrorist attacks against this country. This uneasiness has caused many people to run to the stores and buy various items such as duct tape and bottled water. Even at the company where I am employed, many of my co-workers are worried about the possible lay offs and pay cuts. But are we as Christians to be as disturbed by the present events? Let’s see what the Word of God tells us.
In Matthew 24:6, Jesus said to his disciples, “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled [Greek word means frighten or upset]: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Christ told his disciples that they were not to be frightened or upset over wars and rumors of wars, because this may not be yet be the time of end. Like us today, they must have seen many of the events of their time as the signs of the end of the world or age.
In Matthew 25:13, Jesus told his disciples, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.” This theme is repeated in Matthew 24:36-42. These verses informs us that we may not know when His Coming may be, but we are to watch the events around us to be aware of the possible signs.
You should not to be frightened or upset when you hear of rumors of events that can disrupt your normal process in life, or even if certain events do. You should be prepared for the possibility of any crisis that may occur in the future, but you must depend on God to provide for your needs during any time in your life whether in good times or bad times.
In Matthew 6:31-34, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or where shall we be clothed? …for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be add to you. Take therefore no thought [anxious] for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is evil thereof.”
In Romans 8:35-39, Paul states, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels…nor things present, nor things to come [future events] shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I want to encourage you to place your trust in God the Father and Jesus Christ. No matter whatever happens in your life or around your life, whether events in your life are good or bad, God is there to assist you and provide for your needs. You should learn to place your trust in Him; for He is aware of your needs. Place your trust in God.
— by Doyle J. Carter
From Marmion, Canto VI
Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
— by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832
To Which J. R. Pope added:
But when we practice quite a while
How vastly we improve our style!
— by J. R. Pope, 1874-1937
Water of Life
As a mother of four children, I find myself continually dealing with illness. There are a lot of different medications on the market that are designed to help with illnesses. There have been several studies that have shown that although these medications are designed to help an illness, they really only mask the problem temporarily. Often times they will even create another problem so your body will forget one problem to go take care of another. I personally see that man invented medications, and GOD says not to trust man. Looking at these studies and dealing with my own children, I see that man, even though GOD has given us knowledge, does not always create things for good but for money instead. One of my daughters was on an anti-biotic for an ear infection and developed a yeast infection and a urinary tract infection because of the antibiotic. Man-made chemicals are not always good for us. When God created the world, He put plants, animals, fruits, vegetables, and water on the earth. Several of these plants that GOD created can be used for healing.
One of the most effective tools I have found in helping my children feel better is water. Our bodies are made up mostly of water. Water is at least involved in most of our body’s functions. These would include circulation, absorption, and excretion, maintaining temperature and transporting nutrients through out our bodies. It stands to reason that if our body’s water supply is low, it will not function properly. Look at the world where the precipitation levels are low, the crops do not grow right. It is the same with our bodies. A person should drink eight eight-ounce glasses per day. As the temperature and exercise increase so should your water intake. Also some popular thirst quenchers really work against your bodies. They act as diuretics causing the body to lose water rather than replenishing it. One study showed that for every eight-ounce glass of tea you drink you need sixteen ounces of water to make up lost water on top of the normal need of eight eight-ounce glasses.
My children have learned that when they have a headache I say drink some water. When they have leg cramps I say drink some water. When they have a hard time going to the bathroom I say drink some water. I have water. When I pay attention to my body, I know when I am running low on water. I will get sleepy or develop a headache. So even though my children dislike drinking water, once they do it, they feel better; and for a short moment, realize “Momma knows best.”
You may remember reading the scripture in John 4:13-14, where Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman. He tells her that whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. He also says that the water He gives will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. Could it be that Jesus, knowing the importance water has in maintaining our physical bodies, was showing the importance He has in maintaining our spiritual lives? Jesus was thirsty physically. The woman offered water from the well. The woman was thirsty spiritually. Jesus offered His truth (the water of life) to quench her thirst. Our bodies cannot live with out water. Our spiritual lives cannot continue with out JESUS.
— by Tammy Thompson
What’s Behind Palestine, Texas
Dr. Rafael Medoff, Visiting Scholar in the Jewish Studies Program at the State University of New York-Purchase College, has written an article based on the fact that the Columbia space shuttle broke apart in the vicinity of a Texas town named Palestine. While Arabs around the world see it as an omen that “Allah was punishing America for supporting Israel” and as cause for hope that “America will fall in Palestine,” the fact is, writes Medoff, that the Texas town was given its name out of affinity with the “People of the Bible.” Excerpts:
“In Texas, there are also towns named Hebron, Goshen, Bethlehem, and Jonah. There is a Sinai in South Dakota, a Jerusalem in Arkansas, an Ephraim in Colorado, a Naomi in Georgia, a Jericho in Vermont a Nazareth in Pennsylvania, and a Zion in Maryland. Every state in the union, except Hawaii, has one or more towns named after Biblical sites or individuals. Altogether, there are more than 1,000 Biblically-named towns from coast to coast.
“That’s not because residents of those regions have some special sympathy for the Palestinian Arabs. Nineteenth century religious, Christian settlers, who chose such names to express their spiritual attachment to the land and people of the Bible, established towns like Palestine. When they thought of Palestine, they recalled the Jewish kingdom of ancient times. In their prayers, they prayed for the return of the Jews to the Holy Land.
“Americans were aware that Palestine had some Arab residents. Mark Twain had mentioned them in his account of his visit to the Holy Land, The Innocents Abroad (1869), as had Herman Melville in his famous Clarel: A Poem and the Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876).
“But it was common knowledge that the Arab population of Palestine was relatively small and unsettled. H. Allen Tupper, Jr. wrote in the New York Times in 1896, after having ridden on horseback more than four hundred miles through Palestine and Syria, that virtually the only local people he encountered were merchantmen with their long camel trains and Bedouin tribes that reside in one locality not more than two months.
“Moreover, the Arab residents of nineteenth century Palestine did not consider themselves Palestinians. The vast majority of the Muslim Arabs did not show any nationalist or separatist tendencies except when the Turkish leaders themselves, after 1908, asserted their own nationalism.
“If there had been a conflict between the Arab and Jewish residents of Palestine in the 1800s, the original residents of Palestine, Texas, undoubtedly would have sided with the Jews, whose claim to the land is clear from the Bible that Christians and Jews both cherish. It is for the same reason that Bible-believing Christians today, probably including more than a few residents of Palestine, Texas and Palestine, Illinois, constitute one of the major sources of pro-Israel sentiment in the United States.”
— by James McBride
Brother Shadrack Aboh of Uli Church was about four years ago attacked of the evil spirit that led to psychiatric problem. Because of the violent nature of his case, he was put under chain at Okporo Church. Brethren were taking turn to pray for him. After a good number of months, its violent nature was subdued. This time, he could no longer talk, or move, and with whatever side of his body he was lying on the floor, he would remain in that position until someone could turn him around. Above all, his eyes became closed and refused to open.
This time, Shadrack, who was fair in comlexion, suddenly turned dark black. Each time you feel his body temperature, it was always cold. As a result, his father, Pastor J.O. Aboh, asked that his body be turned occasionally around a fire place to get it warmed.
But after two years and some months, God miraculously healed him completely. And on October 20th, 2002, he joyfully got wedded to sister Faith C. P. Ezechukwu at the Uli Church of God as was witnessed by many brethren from far and near, including Pastors, J. Onyema, J. Irozuruike, G Meka, Evang, I, Nathan, along with Pastor Bonny Okolo who preached the wedding sermon.
1. Sister Charity Ugwa, the wife of Elder C. Ugwa of Enugu Church, has cause to wipe away her tears after about six years of childlessness. Today she has four sons to show for her marriage. They are as follows: Ebubechukwu, Chibunna, Chine Dum, and Chisom Ugwa the last born.
2. After eight years of battle with the reproaches of men because of childlessness sister C.I. Nathan, the wife of Evang. Isaiah Nathan, also of Enugu Church, on September 16, 1996, broke the yoke with the birth of Mmesoma, the firstborn. And, on September 15, 2000, Ben was born. And, in a few weeks time, a third child will arrive to God’s glory.
3. Above all, on the afternoon of November 28, 1997, Ngozi Okolo, the wife of pastor Bonny Okolo, also of the the Church of God, 302 Agbani Road Enugu, Nigeria, delivered a bouncing baby boy named Nathan Yah Okolo right inside their bedroom after nineteen years of childlessness. On October 9, 1999, a baby girl by name Oluomachukwu followed suit, all to the glory of God. Praise His dear name.
4. Others who experienced the same problem of childlessness for about three to four years include brother and sister Emeka Chinwuba of Awka Church, and brother Dom Maduka and Monica his wife of Qnitsha Church. Today they have their children to the glory of God.
— by Bonny Okolo
It should be recalled that by the special grace of God, Andrew N. Dugger was able to establish the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Nigeria. However, after the death of the first general overseer of the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Nigeria, by name R.D. Orukwuowu, the brethren met in 1976 to appoint another overseer. Sadly enough it led to the break up of the Church into about three major factions.
Bishop, E. Ekpotu went down to the then Cross River State with his people. Elder J.O. Nwokeafor went up to the then East Central State with those who agreed with him. The rest settled down with Elder J.A. Agilebu at the then Rivers State. Providentially, the following year the issue of the Bible Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were highly highlighted.
This time, the old copies of Mount Zion Reporter, (magazine) published by A.N. Dugger at Jerusalem, as well as Messenger, (a newspaper journal) also published by Dugger, were assembled for a possible review. It was doubtlessly observed that Dugger, with the Church at the Jerusalem headquarters, were strictly observing all the Bible Feasts. Fortunately enough Elder Martin Ogren of Church of God, Caldwell, Idaho, became a source of encouragement towards the observance of the Feasts to the brethren. This time the Ekpotu group began to observe these Bible Feasts. We, therefore, salute the courage of these our senior citizens, the great soldiers of the TRUTH, people who know when to say yes to reformation, they are Elder J.O. Nwokefor and E.A. Ekpotu of the blessed memories. Although Nwokefor slept in the Lord in November, 1993, Ekpotu joined him around February, 2002. (May their souls rest in peace.)
However, the legacy they left behind, in terms of feast keeping, lingers on to their credit. We must highly salute Elder J.A. Agilebu, who in spite of all the tribulation The Church of God in Nigeria went through, was able to muster courage enough to hold the rest of the brethren together that they scatter not as sheep without a shepherd.
The question of the Bible Feasts as a doctrine had naturally created its own gap between those who observe them and those who do not. However, since according to the scripture, iron sharpens iron, and unless they come close enough to produce friction by rubbing one another, there will be no sharpness. It was on account of the above that we decided to renew a fellowship contact with these brethren who do not observe the Feasts, since teaching someone from a distance, or in isolation, will not yield a good result.
Consequently, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 1999, brother Sam Ajah of the blessed memory, Pastor Izu Ukoha, and myself B.O., made that profitable trip to Elder J.A. Agilebu in River State. I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke through the Elder when he said, “It is my desire to bring all brethren together. I am no longer discriminating against those who observe the Feasts. Those who observe and those who observe not are one family” he concluded.
To his credit, Elder Agilebu has, for four years now, maintained his stand. It was on the strength of the above sayings that we started a regular contact with them through the “field workers meetings” every April, “General Conference” every August, “Ministerial Meetings” as occasion demands, and the Annual Camp Meeting every December. During the just concluded camp meeting held at Erema in River State from December 16 to 18, 2002, a great number of people were in attendance. It was presided over by the General Overseer, Elder J.A. Agilebu. Twelve different choir groups performed with the Onitsha choir breaking the yoke of many years of no participation.
A Youth Forum from Port Harcourt district staged a beautiful program to the admiration of the members. The three preachers, who preached sermons during this camp meeting, include pastor C.D. Orukwowu on the first day, pastor J.O. Aboh on the second day, and pastor (name omitted) on the last day.
On that closing day, the following people, among others, were ordained by Elder Agilebu into various offices of the Church; Chikwe Nwabali as pastor, Izu Ogaluzor as pastor, Okere of Umuibe Church as an Elder, and Ifeayichukwu Joel as Evangelist. Efforts are being made to improve the timetable being used in the camp meeting to make way for at least two or three sermons each day. At the moment, it is being looked into whether either the camp meeting or the Feast of Tabernacles should be adopted.
— by Bonny Okolo
UCG Brochure Display Program
Through the brochure display program, brethren contact local store and shop managers asking if they would agree to the placement of our five by eight by three inch, clear soft acrylic displays as a free customer service. Upon agreement, the brethren with handsome four by eight inch tri-fold, four-color Good News subscription brochures, regularly service these displays, featuring attractive, red, and yellow “free take-one” labels. The many locations in which displays can be placed might include: counter-tops, vending machines, or bulletin boards.
The program coordinator, who works closely with his pastor, provides additional displays and brochures to the brethren as requested and he can also assist them in locating new distribution outlets. From time to time, participants become discouraged due to low brochure “take-rate,” occasional display theft, or management-requested display removal. In these instances, the coordinator can provide valuable encouragement and assistance to the brethren.
Newsstand Distribution Program
The newsstand program functions similarly to the brochure program. Brethren contact store managers, asking if they would authorize placement of a Good News display as a free customer service. No rental fee for floor or counter space is suggested or should be paid.
The program utilizes two types of displays. Our ten by ten by four inch, clear soft acrylic, and counter-top display is essentially a larger version of the brochure display. It holds about twenty-five copies and is generally placed in lower foot-traffic outlets. For higher traffic locations, including restaurants, discount stores and supermarkets, our freestanding pedestal display is ideal and holds up to seventy-five copies. This unit includes a wire pocket welded on a single steel pedestal and base. The display weighs only three pounds, stands thirty-six inches high, is painted gloss black, and features an attractive red and yellow “free take-one” sign.
Some brethren enjoy servicing displays, but are uncomfortable in finding distribution locations and discussing the opportunity with store managers. In this case the program coordinator is encouraged to consider separating responsibilities between contact representatives, who make store manager contacts and handle the original display set-up, and service representatives, who only stock and maintain the displays.
In seeking potential free distribution in store locations, brethren are encouraged to bring a display and a few sample copies of The Good News into the store to show the manager. The member then briefly shows him a variety of articles while describing how The Good News is a high-quality, family and news-oriented publication with a Biblical foundation, sponsored by the United Church of God. He also makes clear that all service and maintenance will be handled and no work is solicited of the manager or his employees. A thirty-day test of the display at a pre-selected store exit is then suggested to the manager. The member concludes his short and concise presentation, by explaining that if a habitual problem arises, the display will be removed.— by John LaBissoniere
It’s all in your head…
Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea and never shrinks back to its original proportions.
— by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809-1894
My Mind to me a Kingdom Is
My mind to me a kingdom is,
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Tho much I want which most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
Content to live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies:
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
Some have too much, yet still do crave;
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, tho much they have,
And I am rich with little store:
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.
My wealth is health and perfect ease;
My conscience clear, my chief defense;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offense:
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!
— by Edward Dyer, d. 1607
It’s hard to stumble when you’re down on your knees.
Know Who You Let In Your House
A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries, and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill, and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up, while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room, read her Bible, and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house, not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted.
My Dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home — not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much, too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know that the stranger influenced my early concepts of the man/woman relationship. As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked and never
asked to leave.
More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. But if I were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name? We always just called him…TV.
— author unknown
1. On December 15, 2002, Brother Emma Okey Muodozie of Awka Church was traditionally married to his new wife, former Miss Ngozi Nwokeafor at Awka in Anambra state.
2. On 29th December 2002, Brother Kyrian Imo and former Miss Eunice O. Nwokike were wedded at the Church of God Okporo.
3. On 31 Dec. 2002, Brother Chikaodi B. Obilite wedded former Miss Grace Chinyere Ogbuagu also at the Church of God Okporo.
1. It will be recalled that about the 3rd of January, 2002, our beloved Pastor and a pioneer member of the Church at Okporo, Elder P.E. Anyaneji, age 61, passed on. He was buried on 17th January 2002.
2. While we were holding a crusade at Uturu in Abia State from 6-8th Dec. 2002, we were shocked with the sad news of the death of sister Mary Uwamechi, aged 26 years, the daughter of brother Johnson Ukenuluonu of Ezinnachi Church. She was buried on 18th Dec. 2002.
3. On the night of 15th December 2002, at the Esthen Nigeria Medical Centre Enugu, Evang. Isaiah Nathan lost his dear mother Mrs. Angelina O.O. Mbamalu Ifeh. She was aged 71 years. She will be buried on 15th January 2003 at their village Nnewe.
4. During the funeral service of sister Mary on 18th December 2002 at Ezinachi, I enjoyed the fellowship with sister Nkemjika Okwandu, the second daughter of late Elder J.O. Nwokeafor. This young women was knocked down and killed by a moving vehicle on January 7, 2003. Left to mourn her include her husband, elder David Okwandu, Emeka Okwandu, her son, Mercy Opara, her daughter and wife of brother Stephen Opara. She will be buried on 14th January 2003.
Biblestudy.org Popularity Surges
Visitors to the Bible Study web site at biblestudy.org requested 1,400,000 of its web pages in 2002. This number represents a 40% increase from the previous year and an increase of 89% from year 2000 figures.
Alan Ruth, sole Webmaster and owner of the Bible Study site, stated that one of the primary reasons for the increase was the unexpected success of a new section on the site. This new section, Mr. Ruth said, is called “Personalized Answers to Bible Questions.”
According to Alan, his site began to offer, personalized answers to questions submitted by Internet visitors in late September 2002. E-mail questions submitted to the site are answered by one of fifteen Church of God brethren, many of whom learned about the need for volunteers from Norm Edward’s publication Servants News.
The volunteer staff that regularly answers questions are: Rick/Eileen Beltz, Adriano Borean, Ken Browder, Charlotte Grantham, Calvin Lashway, Dave/Trish Manning, Art Mokarow, June Narber, Don Smith, Eric Snow, Mike Summers, Allen Turner, Les Turvey, Tommy West, and Clay Willis.
“Those answering questions are Christians averaging twenty to thirty years in the Church. Their willingness to sacrifice their time and offer personalized answers makes this new section possible. They are playing a dynamic part in sowing and watering the truth of God around the world, all from the convenience of their homes.” Mr. Ruth stated.
For the first four months the new section has operated at biblestudy.org, and more than 470 questions have been submitted for answers. Alan estimates that more than 90% of the questions come from people with no Church of God background.
Visitors can submit a question or view more than 140 answers (linked to the KJV Bible) at:
— by Alan Ruth
Farmington Hills, Mich.
Founder/Webmaster of biblestudy.org
We plan to keep the entire Feast of Unleavened Bread in Mountain View, Arkansas as we did last year. We wanted to extend an invitation to let our brethren know they are welcome to join us. For details they may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-251-2431.
— by Wayne & Rhonda Holmes
Join us for telephone services during April and May. On a trial basis, we are beginning an every Friday night Bible Study, to continue if there is positive response. On Fridays at 6 PM Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern time, dial 918-222-7102. When you hear a recorded message, press 1079# to join the conference call.
We plan to host a variety of speakers.
— by Rich Nickels