Ministry Comments

The Feast of the weekly Sabbath

God’s people have just returned from keeping God’s great Fall Feast.  We immediately are confronted with a contrary world; contrary to everything we believe.  We have no choice, this is the only physical world that exists.
 
The thought of facing the year ahead is discouraging.  But God has given us tools to combat our discouragement and the contrariness of this world.  We should not discount the power of these weapons.  If we asked what has God given us to battle the world, we could come up with a number of answers, such as faith, prayer, study, fasting, among others.  They would all be correct.  However, there is one that is available on such a regular and continuous basis that we can become so familiar with it that we can dilute its effectiveness in our lives.  This weapon is one of the first perfect truths given to us by God when he called us.  And, it is a blessing and a strength that is designed to preserve us every week of the year.
 
It is of course, the Feast of the weekly Sabbath.  Consider the following:
 
Leviticus 23:3:  Six days shall work be done, but the Sabbath day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation.  You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.
 
The Sabbath is a day of physical and spiritual rest.  The fact that is holy means it is not to be violated.  It is the Sabbath of the Lord created for us (Mark 2:27).  It is created for us to combat the world in which we will live out our lives this year until we are once again are able to assemble for God’s Holy Days and Feasts.  The value and blessing of the weekly Sabbath, which is meant to strengthen us, cannot be overstated.  Therefore upon the return from the Fall Feasts, it is worthwhile to take time to slow down and solidly re-establish the godly pattern of our lives, which is regulated by the Sabbath. 
 
To do this it is worthwhile to consider some of the basic principles that are established by the Sabbath.  This Minister’s Comments will only bring to mind one of the most basic reasons for the Sabbath, and that is the Commandment to rest.
 
Isn’t it interesting that the first directive considering the Sabbath in Leviticus 23 is that mankind is ordered to rest.  When an animal has worked hard over a period of time, it doesn’t have to be told to rest.  But mankind, with all its intellect and reasoning, has to be ordered by its creator to rest.  One reason it is necessary that resting is a command is that every human sees their work as being of great importance.  Whether it is gathering wood for the fire on the Sabbath or serving like Martha while Jesus preaches, we all have a difficult time seeing how unimportant our daily work is.  We have a difficult time raising our sight to the true horizon to see who we truly are and why we were created. 
 
Therefore, God has commanded us to observe the most basic law of the Sabbath — to stop pursuing our own goals and seek spiritual and physical rest on the Sabbath day.  Which brings up another aspect of the Sabbath rest.  The Sabbath pictures what we just finished celebrating — the one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ — during that time mankind will have rest from Satan and all the false ways he has imbedded in our society (Hebrews 4:1-9). 
 
Which brings us back to where this comment started.  We have just finished celebrating the Kingdom of God.  The weekly Sabbath, if used as God intends, will help us remain in the faith and will aid us in attending the Feast next year.
 
Have a physically and spiritually restful Sabbath.

As We Draw Closer to the Feast Days

As we draw closer to the Feast days, you will undoubtedly experience disruptions of all sorts. Troubles you couldn’t have foreseen will pop up, causing you concern, anger, even depression. This happens every year in tandem with the Feasts and it doesn’t happen by coincidence. We have an enemy.

Our enemy is well known to most of us who have been in the church any length of time, but for the newer members this nefarious spirit may not be so obvious. Having come out of a world that treats the idea of Satan as though he were a mere blow up toy with a red suit, horns, and a pitch fork, it can be hard to take him seriously. But we all need to…dead seriously.

Everywhere you look these days you see evil afoot. Whether it is in the political arena, worldwide disputes, or in your own neighborhood. Robberies, murders, mayhem of all sorts dominate our daily news. And that fellow characterized as being in the red suit sporting some horns just laughs. It is because from the beginning of our creation he has caused harm to humanity. He deceived Eve, brought Adam down, inspired the death of Abel, and has gone on in like manner ever since. He wants to bring God’s plan to ruin:

Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. NIVNow you should realize the upcoming Feast of Trumpets and the following Feast Day of Atonement are all about his overthrow. Christ qualified to be king over this earth, and he has been preparing a governing body to assist him in setting up the Kingdom that officially belongs to his Father, but is the one he is appointed to rule over. We are that governing body – all the saints who will be resurrected or changed at his coming. Satan hates Christ, and he hates us.

In his wildest dreams, Satan wants to believe he can still defeat Christ. He believes if he could tear down the church completely, right now, or in the near future, he would prevent Christ’s return because Christ clearly taught the church would prevail until he returns. Satan is looking for any means he can use to make that the crucial test as to whether Christ is really fit to rule. Can he defeat Christ? Can he defeat us? No. Unless we cave in:

Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; KJVWho is Satan, anyway? We know he was the archangel that stood at God the Father’s very throne. He was created to be beautiful and very talented. If you notice from its description the throne area is very beautiful. It only stands to reason Satan would be beautiful since he served there. But notice, I said he was created. He is not God, but he is a god wanna be. He gave it his best shot many millennia ago, perhaps even millions of years ago, when he persuaded a third of the angels to join with him in a grand scheme to knock God off His throne. But what did Christ say about his effort to overthrow God? “I saw Satan like lightening fall from heaven.” That’s an image similar to how we toss annoying things away, isn’t it. Things haven’t changed, and Satan has no more power today than he did back then.

But what has happened to him since? Look around you. We learn by the things we see about the things we cannot see. We look at our children today, many of whom were quite beautiful when born, but now because of rebelliousness are marred, disfigured, garish and painted with all sorts of emblems and designs they will wear for the rest of their lives because their minds are darkened. That is what happens when we become dark, like Satan. So imagine what he must look like now. Not a pretty picture.

But as I said when I started out, you are probably noticing a lot of small or maybe large events surrounding your life that are causing you problems. Maybe even great big problems. The same one who managed to get Adam and Eve thrown out is the one who is causing you these problems now.

So what should you do? Pray. Just like Christ did. He set us an example of going to seek His Father’s help whenever he faced difficulties. He always received the help he needed.

Besides praying, we can also just flat out resist Satan or his demons whenever we feel they are meddling in our affairs. We can refuse to accept his negative thinking and/or attitudes. Turn on a tape of our church music, listen to a sermon, do a Bible Study. Satan hates anything to do with God. He will leave. Even more prevailing, ask Christ or God the Father to rebuke him. If we resist his efforts to sink our boat, he will leave us alone and go find something else to take his anger out on:

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. KJVYes, the Feast days are coming. Don’t allow the spoiler to keep you from looking forward to God’s Feast days. Maintain your focus and continue to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come.” It’s coming closer every day and certainly our enemy hates the very thought of it. Don’t allow him to discourage you. Your problems will go away as you go to God in faith asking for His help.

Have a great Feast!

WHY ALL THIS BAD WEATHER?

Does God take a hand in our weather?

Don’t ask that question too loudly, it would be considered inappropriate. However, people are starting to voice their concerns about the escalation of violent and destructive weather. The reports of floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes are increasingly difficult to shrug off.

If you believe God’s word, you won’t ignore the problems of weather. The violent weather and all other natural disasters are controlled by the hand of God, as you will see as you read on. That does not mean that every spell of bad weather is brought by God. But it is clear from the Bible, that God does use the weather for His purposes. Right now the number one concern of all western nations is the economy. When we hear the reports of billions of dollars of damage from weather episodes, it is clear the economy is affected by the weather. It is obvious that good weather brings good crops, which make up a large segment of every country’s economy. If a nation or region has a climate that supports agriculture, barring other offsetting problems, it will be a strong prosperous country.

The question is, where does good, crop producing weather come from? The Bible makes it clear:

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God…The Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give you the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God…” (Deut 28:11-13) Unfortunately, we are not, in many areas, seeing these blessings fall down upon us at this time. It is quite the opposite.

When we look to Texas, we see a specific example of how agriculture is being affected by the weather this year. The drought and resulting range fires occurring in Texas are being covered even by international media. These fires have been powerful and destructive, killing people and destroying property. However, few realize that there is a lasting effect from this combination of natural disasters. The cattle industry is being severely damaged, not only in Texas but also in Oklahoma and the surrounding states. Cattlemen are being forced to sell off cattle to the point that many will not have herds in the future. The drought and fires are destroying pastures and grain. According to business reports out of that area, the cattle industry may not recover for many years to come. This will cause a large shortage of beef, which will mean much higher beef prices in the near future. It is happening at a time when the world’s population is seeking more and more high quality food, especially beef. The current drought stricken area is probably the largest beef producing area of the world, and it is being devastated. This is not fulfilling the idea expressed in the above-quoted passage from Deuteronomy where it mentions an “increase of your livestock” for those who are obedient to God.

In the Book of Job after hearing Job’s complaints about God, God asked Job these questions:

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds so that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightenings, that they may go and say to you, here we are? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, when the dust hardens in clumps and the clods cling together?” (Job 38:34-38)

By asking these questions, God is opening Job’s mind as to who is in charge, not only of the weather, but also the entire universe. It is a lesson the majority of mankind has never found the answer to. After God’s questioning, and considering what Job’s blessed life had been like and how horrible it was when God removed those blessings, Job was left with only a humble response, “I know you can do everything, and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from you…Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand.” (Job 42:1,3) Those who do not think that God is in charge of the weather need to have their eyes opened, like Job did.

According to Bible prophecy, we are quickly approaching the return of Jesus Christ — a time when Christ will bring the nations to heel. And he will use the weather to cause them to bend their knees before him. (Zech. 14:17-28) When mankind is subdued by Christ, there will be a new and agriculture-related industry, the conversion of weapons to agricultural implements. Plowshares for growing crops will be needed, and weapons of war will be converted into such tools. (Isaiah 2:4) It is prophesied the rain will come in due season, and the huge abundance of crops to be harvested will be the challenge, not the struggle we currently face resulting from continual weather disasters.

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