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“Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” Deut.10:14
Ultimately, God wants His children to be spiritually and physically prepared for natural and non-natural disasters that will occur in the end times. Being spiritually prepared is relying on God as our protector and restorer in the times of natural disaster, and trusting with full assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Matthew 6:34 states, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” God knows all that we need in times of trouble and He bids us to do one thing which is to trust in His promises. God tells us in Luke 21:36, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” To watch is an action word which means to “to keep awake, especially for a purpose”. We have to keep awake in this world so that we do not fall asleep to its temporal pleasures. As we watch with a purpose of the signs of prophecy and world events that God warns us of in His word, we must pray that He helps us to be vigilant, undistracted, and steadfast in faith so that we are not overpowered with fear or doubt.
Physical preparation can be viewed in two ways. Preparing for our physical temples (the body), and to put in proper position our living environment for any natural disaster that may occur. When pertaining to our bodies as physical temples, we must take into account that there will be a short supply of food and water due to destruction. One example that God gives us to prepare for such cases is found in the story of Joseph. Joseph was warned and commanded by God to prepare for an extended drought of seven years that the Egyptians would have to endure by storing an immense amount of food (Gen.41). God tells us to take no thought for tomorrow because He most likely will provide us with the thought of how to take action in preparing for our physical temples when disaster occurs in the end times.
Now how are we to prepare for our physical domains for natural disasters? One of the very first examples that God gives to us is found in the story of “Noah and the Ark”. God told Noah to prepare for the storm that would take place by building an ark (Gen 6). Just as those who where outside of the ark perished, had Noah disobeyed God’s command, he and his family would have suffered death. Furthermore, depending on where one inhabits, he or she must be prepared for tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and any other natural disaster that may cause serious physical damage to property and shelter. However, we can never be more secure with knowing if these disasters do occur, our tangible foundation may be destroyed but our spiritual foundation in Jesus will always help us remember God’s power to restore all things. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Matt 7:24). With God we can have full assurance that He will not only protect us during disastrous times, but that He will supply us with all of our needs and more. Trusting in Him is the first step in this assurance policy!
The month of March came and left, as we celebrated the strong, powerful, and influential women over the last 31 days.
In Proverbs 31, many of us are familiar with the virtuous woman. If you read from verses 10-31, you will see the true essence of womanhood. Countless churches have held bible studies and programs further exploring the characteristics and qualities needed to become such a woman.
Too often we look to the women of our days for wisdom, knowledge, and examples. We rarely ever look to the women of the bible. Ever wondered which woman you identify the most with?
Would it be Esther, a young Jewish woman who God called to save her people? Or how about Mary Magdalene, who had lost her way and showed how your life can be turned around if you accept God’s love and everlasting promise for eternal life? Let’s not forget Hannah who prayed to God for a child. She was ridiculed by everyone, for her inability to have children. Hannah never lost faith and God blessed her with three sons and two daughters. One of her sons, Samuel became a great man of God. Finally, Ruth who had lost her husband and stayed to look after Naomi, her mother-in-law despite her request to return home and seek a new husband. She did later marry another man named Boaz who cared for her and her in-law.
As the final days of this sinful earth quickly pass by, I see one woman who is too often emulated–Jezebel, a prophetess, seducer, and fornicator. Do you party like Herodias’ daughter? Some of our families are so desperate for marriage that they quickly find suitable men to freely offer their daughters like Delilah and Leah. Marriage is marriage, right? Don’t forget those of us who can’t wait to have children because we’re not getting any younger. So like Sarah, who did the opposite of Hannah, we take matters into our own hands. In Sarah’s case, she encouraged her husband, Abraham to sleep with their handmaid, Hagar. She didn’t trust that God would bless her with child. How many of us lack the trust and faith in Christ that in His time He will bless us with the things and people we ask for? Then there’s Eve who was naive enough to listen to a talking serpent in a tree who tempted her with the power to gain the knowledge of good and evil.
These are just a few of the many women and personalities in the Bible. Some had characteristics that we lack, while others share our same traits as today’s women that is contrary to how a Christian ought to be. So which women of the Bible do you identify with?
“Freud thought religion was the manifestation of an immature personality. ‘The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men,’ argued Freud, ‘The more widespread is the decline of religious belief.’” Let us examine Freud’s saying.
Freud mentioned that religion causes mankind to be undeveloped in character and that once we are exposed to knowledge; we no longer relinquish our personal control to what is considered to be sacred and pure. But instead, we choose to abandon the norms and values that religion has constructed. When I think of this “Fruit of Knowledge” that Freud addressed, my mind brings me back to the beautiful scenery pictured in the first book of God’s Holy word; Genesis. The story of life itself is manifested in the book of Genesis, where God created every living thing from nature, animal, and mankind. After His work, it was said, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen 1:31.
Everything in heaven and in earth had been in excellent condition; however, God had commanded the man, which is later known as Adam, to refrain from doing one thing that would change matters for the worst by resulting in death. This was considered to be a warning to help protect Adam and Eve. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen. 2:16, 17.
Now God had given Adam and Eve many options to choose from, a selection of trees in the Garden of Eden, and had told them they were not to eat from just one; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
“Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen 3:1-7).
Presented in these scriptures is the desire for one to gain power. The serpent had stated to the women that “ye shall be as gods”, this had brought to her attention that she would now be responsible for herself, no longer having to follow the commands of God, but now having similar characteristics as Him by “knowing good and evil”. Although in reality this was self-endangerment, it had appeared to be self-empowerment to the women.
The serpent had proven itself to be correct. After all the women had eaten from the fruit and was still left alive. This had given her even greater assurance to cause her husband to follow her actions. Little did the women and Adam know of the serious and now lasting consequences they would have to endure for not taking heed to God’s warning. It is through self-empowerment and rebellion that we seek to disobey God’s word. We desire to “open our eyes, to be as gods, knowing good and evil”. This is the fruit of knowledge that Freud is referring to! How selfish of mankind! This is what happens when we think so much about our self-gratification and instinctual needs.
God was not trying to restrict Adam and Eve from living freely; in fact, they did live freely before sin entered their bodies! God was merely trying to protect Adam and Eve from destroying and defiling mankind with this infectious disease called sin. He warned them from the snares of Satan in attempt to preserve their holiness. Freud was correct in his saying. He stated that, “The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.” Were not Adam and Eve separated from the Father after they sinned? Eating from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil had defiled their character, and caused their once mature and pure personality to become immature and impure.
Psalm 119:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” When we learn to do God’s will, wisdom comes to us freely from He owns wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. If Freud were alive today, I would tell him to pick from the tree which bears fruit that does not only contain knowledge, but pure wisdom and knowledge; the tree of life, Jesus Christ! Not all fruits that look good, and taste good are good for the soul. But the Father bids us to “taste and see that the Lord is good…” Psalm 34:8.
Prayer and Fasting Day
Speaker: Pastor Larry Bailey, Executive Secretary for the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 7: 13, 14
Many people, including Christians, underestimate the awesome power of prayer. Do you know the ABCs of prayer? We must Ask, Believe, then Claim it. How can we utter our requests to Christ and lack the faith that he will answer our prayers?
We tend to pray when we’re in despair, but what about when things are going well. Should we not say a prayer of thanksgiving or praise?
Over the last year, we have witnessed the signs of the times. Earthquakes and tsunamis in regions we never would have imagined; the mysterious deaths of animals; the economic crisis; and civil unrest in the Middle East. Experts are trying to identify the solution to these problems, but there is no need if you will solve the underlying problem–the lack of spirituality.
In the Bible, there are stories of countless miracles that were performed by Christ throughout his ministry here on Earth. He raised Lazarus from the dead. He healed the incurable. He parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites can escape bondage from Egypt. He caused the blind to see and the lame to walk. They all had faith that he could heal them. Let us not forget the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years, who tried so many remedies, but none worked. She knew if she just touched the hem of his garment, she would be healed. What did Jesus say in Luke 8: 48? “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
If we had not relied on our own understanding, and instead turned to Christ where would we be? He knows our needs before we even tell him. We must always seek his counsel. Place your faith and trust in him first. We may face great obstacles in our lives, but through prayer and faith, we can overcome.
When you think of the word, “addiction,” what words or phrases comes to mind? One could say captivity, chained, slavery, can’t live without.
Did you know that most Americans suffer from one or more addictions? Did you know that the majority of them don’t even know they’re addicted?
Sex, drugs, and alcohol are the usual culprits, but there are other addictions that exist such as gambling, shopping, food consumption, loved ones, and even sin. An addiction is the condition of being abnormally dependent on some habit.
There are three ways to get addicted: your flesh, your eyes, and your lifestyle. When Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, what do you think happened? In Matthew 4, Jesus was tempted to satisfy his hunger by turning the stones into bread (flesh). He was then tempted to throw himself down from a pinnacle of the temple, to prove that the angels watching him would catch him –keeping him from harm (eyes). Lastly, he was shown all of the kingdoms around the world he would inherit if he were to worship the devil (lifestyle). Thankfully, Christ chose to stand firm, resist temptation, and follow the Lord thy God.
Addiction is a choice, but genetics may also have a role to play. We have to be mindful that moderation and temperance is the key to leading a Christian lifestyle.
The only addiction we ought to have is Jesus Christ. He gave us life, he sustains us, and it is only he who can free us from the things or people in our lives who have tried to keep us in bondage.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 NIV
Today we ask, what is your addiction?
Here’s the link to the lesson on addiction in its entirety.
For Singles Ministries’ Weekend, we were blessed to have Bro. Garry Graham on Friday February 18th to discuss just a few of the things God expects from His children, more specifically the men.
10-Get your education. You can’t rely solely on your talent. Getting just a Bachelor’s degree isn’t going to be enough. Go for your master’s degree or higher. If you’re deficient in something, get help to improve it.
9-Marry for love, not money. It’s not always going to be a consensus on whom you choose to marry. If you marry for money, what happens once it’s all gone.
8-Every female cannot be your woman. People come into your life for a reason. You can’t date every woman you see. She may prepare you for the next woman or introduce you to your wife. You are there to learn something from that person, that you will take to the next level. Ask God to reveal His plan to you.
7-Define your relationships. Differentiate your relationship with individuals. Don’t get the lines blurred. Rank people where they are.
6-Set your standards for yourself high. You should exceed the standards you expect for others. Don’t lower your standards, open your horizons. Be motivated to push forward.
5-Your culture is an asset. Don’t be ashamed of your culture, but remember what’s appropriate in the workplace and at home.
4-Date around. Never stay in one place. Visit other churches, interview for other jobs even if you aren’t looking for a new position, form new relationships. Explore so that you can discover your strengths and weaknesses.
3-Dedicate yourself to your ministry, cause, and career. God something for all of us to do. We all play a role in the ministry of the kingdom. We can’t all be leaders–doctors or lawyers. We must identify our purpose in order to fulfill it.
2-Time and attendance. Be on time. Enough with the excuses.
1-Commit to Christ. Consecrate yourself in him everyday through devotion, family worship, and how you conduct yourself daily. Read Steps to Christ. Take time to commune with God.
As millions of people around the world wore red and pink, exchange flowers cards, or candies, there were many who refrained from observing this holiday–Valentine’s Day.
For some, it’s a painful reminder that they’re single. For others, it’s just another way for Hallmark to cash in. For Christians, however, the history behind Valentine’s Day is a contradiction to their faith.
Putting aside all the materialism, Catholic saints, and Roman rituals, do we really know true love–the basis of this holiday? Sadly, many of us would say yes ashamed to say otherwise.
The words, “I love you,” have been diluted. The words no longer hold as much meaning when they’re carelessly thrown around. True love has been exemplified through God’s love for His children–you and I.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]
Love is sacrifice, pain, patience, understanding, kind, appreciation, forgiving, respect.
What many of us call love is anything but love. We’re just too heartbroken to admit it to ourselves.