When does the Messiah come to His Temple?

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Mal 3:1  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 

I was reading this verse thinking about it from what we had been taught and it suddenly occurred to me that when this happened the first time, it was talking about John the Baptist preparing the people for the appearance of the Messiah as the Lamb of God.

We have always been taught that Mr. Armstrong was a type of Elijah the same as John the Baptist, and I concur with that. But when John prepared the way for Christ back then, Christ began by calling the first fruits of the Kingdom and setting up the men who would build the Church. He spent 3.5 years selecting and training the Apostles and disciples.

So what about our time today. Did Mr. Armstrong prepare a people for Christ to meet Him at the Resurrection? Or, could it be that Christ will come to His church to finish the 3.5 years of His ministry with those chosen to be with Him at the Place of Safety?

This is just like what He did with John the Baptist, He comes suddenly to His Temple, His Spiritual Temple now and selects and trains those whom the Father has chosen to be taken to a Place of Safety for 3.5 years.

I know that many of us have felt that He would complete His ministry after He returns to the earth to set up His Kingdom. But wouldn’t that time be, in reality, a different age? Once He actually returns to take the Kingdom back from satan, that is a whole different time frame or reference.

However, if he completes the 3.5 years that were cut off during that 69th week of Daniel during the time of the Place of Safety it would be more true to the prophecy, in my mind.

Dan_9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 Just thought I would share this to see what you thought about it.

 

Raymond Mills

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Is Trump… Our Claudius?

Sunday, June 4th, 2017
victor hanson

Victor Hanson 6/2/2017

By Victor Davis Hanson
Defining Ideas

The Roman Emperor Claudius, who reigned from 41 to 54 AD, was never supposed to be emperor. He came to office at age 50, an old man in Roman times. Claudius succeeded the charismatic, youthful heartthrob Caligula—son of the beloved Germanicus and the “little boot” who turned out to be a narcissist monster before being assassinated in office.

Claudius was an unusual emperor, the first to be born outside Italy, in Roman Gaul. Under the Augustan Principate, new Caesars—who claimed direct lineage from the “divine” Augustus—were usually rubber-stamped by the toadyish Senate. However, the outsider Claudius (who had no political training and was prevented by his uncle Tiberius from entering the cursus honorum), was brought into power by the Roman Praetorian Guard, who wanted a change from the status quo apparat of the Augustan dynasty.

The Roman aristocracy—most claiming some sort of descent from Julius Caesar and his grandnephew Octavian (Caesar Augustus)—had long written Claudius off as a hopeless dolt. Claudius limped, the result of a childhood disease or genetic impairment. His mother Antonia, ashamed of his habits and appearance, called the youthful Claudius “a monster of man.” He was likely almost deaf and purportedly stuttered.

That lifelong disparagement of his appearance and mannerisms probably saved Claudius’s life in the dynastic struggles during the last years of the Emperor Augustus and the subsequent reigns of the emperors Tiberius and Caligula.

The stereotyped impression of Claudius was that of a simpleton not to be taken seriously—and so no one did. Claudius himself claimed that he feigned acting differently in part so that he would not be targeted by enemies before he assumed power, and to unnerve them afterwards.

Contemporary critics laughed at his apparent lack of eloquence and rhetorical mastery, leading some scholars to conjecture that he may have suffered from Tourette syndrome or a form of autism. The court biographer Suetonius wrote that Claudius “was now careful and shrewd, sometimes hasty and inconsiderate, occasionally silly and like a crazy man.”

Sound familiar?

Roman intellectuals hated Claudius, who hit back blow-for-blow at them for their slights and snark, and showed no mercy to plotters and conspiracists. After Claudius’s death, the court toady and philosopher Seneca—pal of Claudius’s successor, the sinister and murderous Nero—wrote a cruel satire on Claudius’s supposed crudity and buffoonery. Seneca’s Apocolyncotosis (The “Gourdification” of the Divine Claudius) mocks Claudius’s halting speech and off-putting mannerisms. He also poked fun at Claudius’s lowbrow friends, and his penchant for crass popular entertainment.

Later Roman historians, drawing on now lost contemporary accounts of Claudius, reflect the same prejudices. In the biography of Suetonius and throughout the Annals of the historian Tacitus, the accidental emperor Claudius comes off as little more than an impulsive bumbler, an accidental emperor who came to power on a fluke and whose lack of Julian elegance made him more a buffoon than the head of the global Roman Empire of some 60 million citizens.

Claudius’s 50 years of private life before becoming emperor were also the stuff of court gossip and ridicule. He would marry four times and was often flattered and manipulated by younger women.

Modern historians, however, have corrected that largely negative view and ancient bias.

Claudius’s rule of some 13 years as emperor was marked by financial reforms and restoration after the disastrous reign of the spendthrift Caligula. Claudius-haters like Seneca, Suetonius, and Tacitus focused mostly on Claudius as the uncouth outsider—and overlooked what he had done for Rome after the disasters of the Caligula regime.

The empire under Claudius grew and was largely at peace. Rome annexed Britain, and added a variety of border provinces in the east. While court insiders and gossipers ridiculed Claudius’s supposed ineptness, he nonetheless assembled one of the most gifted staffs of advisers and operatives—many of them freed slaves—in the history of the Julio-Claudian and Flavian dynasties.

Claudius was foremost a builder and a pragmatist. Some of the Roman Empire’s most impressive archaeological remains (such as the Aqua Claudia and Aqua Anio Novus aqueducts and the reconstituted port at Ostia) date from his reign, as he focused on constructing new infrastructure and improving Roman roads, bridges, ports, and aqueducts.

Click here to read the full article, it is quite enlightening.

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Should We Worship or Pray to Angels?

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Editor’s note: Below is an excerpt from a new booklet produced by the United Church of God. Here is a link to the full booklet for your reading.

Sometimes people want to give angels extra credit. It’s as if people want their own angel to lift them from adversity or to do their own bidding in personal affairs. They often look to angelic aid without ever calling on God for help. Some people look to angels almost as their own personal genies. Some believe that we each have our own “guardian angel” assigned to us. It’s true, as Jesus said of those who come to Him in childlike faith (Matthew 18:4-6), “that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (verse 10). Yet this does not necessarily mean one angel to a person. It could mean a plurality of angels to each person or to the believers collectively, with assignments shifting. Some people have a near obsession or near worship of angels. Angels are real, but one must be cautious about giving the credit to angels when the real credit for miracles and answered prayers should go to God! Christians are to diligently follow the Ten Commandments, and the first is very clear: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Interestingly, angel worship has been around a long time. Gnosticism, a philosophical religious movement that was beginning to infiltrate the Church in the first century, falsely taught that angels are necessary intermediaries between God and each of us. The apostle Paul referred to this in Colossians 2:18: “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels . . .” The Holman Bible Dictionary states that this incorrect teaching claimed that knowing about angels enabled “one to gain blessings in this life and attain the level of divine in the next.” We mustn’t forget that Jesus Christ alone is our necessary Mediator with God (1 Timothy 2:5). Yet angels have served in intermediary capacities in certain respects, and people are drawn to that, thinking they can communicate with angels to have an “in” with God. (We see a similar problem among those who pray to various saints. But praying to saints and angels is really an adoption of the pagan methodology of approaching the spirit realm through lesser deities.) And we should remember this: True angels don’t take our focus away from God and point it at themselves. Angels are careful not to develop a relationship with us. Why? Because a person would then start to rely on the angel rather than on God. And it seems that different angels may minister to the same person so that this kind of relationship is not developed. Again, the Bible does not state that we each have our own angel. The apostle John records an encounter with an angel who pointed John toward God alone and cautioned about bowing down to or giving more credit to angels (or anyone) than is due: “Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’ And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. ‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’ “Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God’” (Revelation 22:6-9; see also 19:10). We are not to worship angels. We are to only worship God, and angels are very sensitive to this! We should also direct our prayers only to God, as Scripture directs. Some have claimed to be communing with angels. If they are indeed having such encounters, these are not God’s holy angels they are engaged with—but rather evil spirits (demons) perhaps posing as righteous angels to gain influence in people’s lives. We are to worship and revere God, not His angels. The angels are God’s messengers, His ministering spirits, who serve God’s people. They appear to mankind when necessary to pass on a message or take care of a duty for God. We do see the prophets Daniel and Zechariah each referring to an angel as “my lord” (Daniel 10:16-17, 19; Zechariah 6:4). However, this was just a term of respect—comparable to John calling an angel “sir” (Revelation 7:14). This was not in the sense of addressing one’s true lord and master. (Consider that our English word mister today derives from “master,” but we don’t mean an actual master when we say “mister.”) If you wish to express thanks for what God’s holy angels do for you and all of us, give thanks to God. They act at His command. But never seek to thank or praise the angels directly. This goes against what God directs—and will expose you to serious spiritual dangers.

In searching for the booklet I found a sermon by Peter Eddington, media director for the United Church of God, with the same title. It would appear that this came from that work originally so I am placing a link to it should you prefer to hear the audio:

https://www.ucg.org/sermons/angels-gods-messengers-and-spiritual-army 

 

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What is the “Right Hand of Fellowship”?

Monday, May 1st, 2017

As the Early Church began to Develop its Outreach, Decisions were made that also, give us a Glimpse into the relationships among and between Leading Ministers. Is there anything in their approach we ought to consider appropriate for our time?

© Rich Traver 81520-1411 4-25-15 [ 246 ] www.goldensheaves.org

While Christ’s Great Commission to “go you into all the world and preach the Gospel” was recognized then and still is recognized as an unquestioned mandate, it was not entirely clear from the onset just what it was to involve or how it was to ultimately be carried out.

To the Jew First

The early Church was oriented to involving themselves with ‘the circumcision’ for the most part, those who either were ethnic Jews or who were proselytes of Judaism. That would help explain the origin of the controversy we read of in Acts 15 where the question of a requirement for circumcision involving the Gentiles came to be at issue. There were few, if any at that time, who had been ‘called’ (to their awareness) who were not.

Further clarification of the issue: that of taking the Gospel outside of the primitive Community of Faith, is addressed involving one chief obstacle, Peter, in Acts 10. Cornelius was not a Jew. Peter would have reacted differently had he not first been given the vision that he was given while there in Joppa. (People not understanding the point being made there have incorrectly interpreted this as involving eating ‘unclean meats’.)

Unlawful Association?

Cornelius was a Gentile, well known in Judaea, as he was a renowned commander of a prominent band of soldiers. Peter, to this point, would have been inclined to reject association with such a person, despite his solid God-fearing reputation. But, a profound change of attitude and approach was now in order. God was calling new people from outside of the early Church’s limited ethnic sphere of association.

The previous regard for “common Gentiles” was deemed to be becoming passé as it involved the scope of the greater Commission.

Peter acknowledged this prohibition, against eating with or associating with “common” men, (those not of their religious/ethnic orientation) in verse 28 of Acts 10. “Then said he unto them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” (NKJ) But, this new thinking isn’t the only development in this regard, but as history shows, one of a series of profound developments.

Reaction in Antioch

Saul and Barnabas, on one of their evangelistic missions, presented the Gospel in a Synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia where there was a mixed ethnicity gathered. Apparently, despite the event we read of in Acts 10, Peter didn’t fully comprehend the full implications of that experience, because he’s shown disassociating himself from uncircumcised Gentiles when a delegation from Jerusalem arrived. While he appears to have none of his former aversions up until the time they came, his apprehension of being reprimanded by this ‘party of the circumcision’ delegation caused him to pose as though he was of their persuasion. He apparently didn’t yet fathom the broader implications.

We read of that situation in Galatians 2:11-13. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”

In this also we can see that the matter wasn’t generally resolved in everyone’s minds.

Peter Is Pointedly Corrected In Public!

What we can discern from these situations in both Antioch and Joppa, and from Peter’s own words, is that he didn’t yet fathom the full implications of his personal experience. The ‘unclean animals’ vision in Joppa, as Peter understood it, is further explained when Peter spoke to Cornelius and his household there in Caesarea.

  • Peter still regarded himself as a Jewish man, as he explains in Acts 10:28.
  • Peter didn’t at first see his experience as extending beyond his personal actions.
  • His vision in Joppa wasn’t yet seen as initiating any formal outreach TO non-specific Gentiles.
  • Those of Cornelius’ household were Gentiles, but he first was a devout Jewish proselyte. 1
  • The event in Joppa preceded the scene in Antioch by some 17 years. 2
  • Those Gentiles present among the gathering in Antioch had not all been Jewish proselytes previously.
  • The idea of taking the Gospel generally to those outside of the community of faith as a formal ‘ministry’ was as yet not under consideration.
  • Peter’s reaction in Antioch shows that he still regarded himself somewhat as a “Jewish man” even at that late date.
  • And, the situation there in Antioch shows that Peter didn’t regard himself as the Chief Apostle, in unquestioned authority, exempt from the critique of this “party of the circumcision” even by 58 AD, more than a quarter century after the Day of Pentecost!
  • Further, Peter accepts being publicly corrected by a man (formerly a devout Pharisee) called much later than he, a man who had begun his ministry less than two decades before! 3

A Jerusalem Conference

Now, it’s the conference we read of in Acts 15 that addressed the major question being raised at the time. This conference in Jerusalem occurred in 52 AD, eleven years after Peter’s vision at Joppa. The delay in addressing this particular question shows that Jerusalem was not yet in full embrace of the Gentiles whom Paul had preached to. As can be seen from the question itself, these Gentiles were not fully accepted within the community of faith unless they first were circumcised. But with the question resolved, some attitudes changed. It just hadn’t moved on to the next obvious stage.

The WORK Expands

Despite the evidence that God was calling Gentiles, a distinction hadn’t been made to specifically target the “pagan” world.

It was at this gathering in Antioch near Pisidia 4 that caused the leaders to realize that more should be done with regard to pointedly extending their evangelistic efforts to involve non-Jewish audiences.

But there was an interesting thing that took place as a result of this event. It was fortuitous that the three principals were present. It apparently was a pre-arranged gathering for these all to be present at the same time. We aren’t told what the reason was, or what the agenda had been, but something was done on that occasion which shaped the outreach efforts of the early Church from that point on.

Right Hand of Fellowship

“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” (Gal. 2:9) We can safely deduce that there had been a prior discussion of the responses, from within the ‘heathen’ community, to the Truth for this action to be regarded as appropriate.

Read the Full Article Here

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The Curious Nature of Recognizable Sin

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Have you ever thought about the Nature of Sin? Especially those sins that are easily recognizable to you.

I mean we all have the occasional sin that crops up in our lives don’t we. The mistakes we make under pressure, the giving in to a temptation, the uncontrolled outburst when we are caught off guard and can’t get hold of our emotions in time.

These sins that we can see so easily and that we readily repent of and promptly forget are unfortunately only the tip of the Iceberg! We can easily see the tip of a mountain of ice in the sea but the deadly danger of the iceberg is the huge amount and size of ice that is hidden below the surface of the sea.

Sin is like that. When you uncover a sin in your life or others for that matter, be assured that there a buried sins hidden beneath the sea that created that visible sin. If we really want to get rid of sin in our lives then we have to dig down into that sin on the surface that we are able to somehow justify in our lives and get to the hidden sin or sins even that created it if we ever wish to truly live a righteous life.

Think about the Laodicean Condition talked about so often here. A mindset where the individual things that they have need of nothing. They have all that they need, they are rich and increased with goods as the scripture relates, yet Christ says that they are in fact miserable, blind, naked and poor. How can that be?

Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

People with this mindset do not see the hidden sins. Oh they see the surface sins and promptly and almost can I say sanctimoniously repent of them. You’ve seen the attitude maybe in felt a little like that yourself. Ooops there is that pesky sin again. I have to repent of it. I feel like the Apostle Paul, I am beset by these sins that I can’t seem to get rid of. Hmmm, when you write it out like this doesn’t it sound like there is a little PRIDE hidden in there?

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The point is that they are not looking beneath the tip of the iceberg. They are perfectly willing to take credit for the little sins that everyone can see BUT the bad sins the dangerous and deadly sins that can rip out the sides of a great ship like the Titanic they do not even look for at all. They have in all the knowledge that they have been given, forgotten what the real man is like, they have forgotten that the heart of man is desperately wicked.

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Notice that it is not just wicked, this is what they have forgotten, the heart is deceitful above all things. It hids these sins from us. We must search deep within ourselves to find these hidden sins.

Let’s dissect a simple sin and see if the exercise will help us see deeper into sin in our lives.

Have you ever forgotten something and when asked about it made up an excuse for not having done it? Not a real excuse but a lie to cover you for having forgotten to do what you said you would do. There is the TIP of the iceberg. Easy to see easy to repent of to God in your prayers. Maybe you even go to the person and admit the lie or not the point is something caused you to get into that situation and pushed you into committing a sin. When you dig into it you will see that there was another sin committed that created the situation that created the “tip” of the iceberg sin.

What happened was you did not do what you had promised you would do. That was the sin that was hidden. You promised something and then broke your promise by not doing it.

So now we have two sins but why didn’t you keep your promise. It must have been possible or you would not have lied about it. So if it was possible why did you break your promise. Now the search might begin to branch out depending on you and your circumstances. So lets just take it down one path for the demonstration.

Lets say that you truly forgot that you had promised top do something. I mean that happens all the time doesn’t it. It might even be a human condition. That is it is very easy for a human to forget something promised if the circumstances are distracting. BUT, there’s that pesky little BUT again, how important is it to you to do what you say you are gong to do. A Christian must KEEP his word. That is a given in the word it is simple but let our no be no or our yes be yes.

Jas 5:12  But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

So if we are going to walk as Christ walked then what we promise MUST BE important to us and we must do all that we can zealously to accomplish what we promised even if it is just getting something from the store. It is important that we CARE enough about our word that we would NEVER forget having given it. The sin here then is that we do not have enough love toward our brother or in some cases even our selves that we would allow ourselve to take a promise for granted and forget that we gave it.

Do you see that even in this simple and seemingly harmless sin, the deeper you go the worse the sin and the more we have to repent of. How can we truly repent and be forgiven of the simple sin of giving a lying excuse about having forgotten something that was promised when we have not asked for forgiveness for not caring enough about our word that we would allow ourselves to forget or that we did not have enough love for the person to whom we gave the promise to have EVER allowed ourselves to forget.

Remember this was just a simple example as you dig into each sin that you can identify in your life you will find deeper sins that actually caused that sin to happen and probably even deeper sins below that. This is the way to rid ourselves of sin brethren. The Holy Spirit can gives us the wisdom and direction to ferret out these hiddens sins but we must not be like a Laodicean mindset, we must not b e self satisfied with our selves we must be willing to begin that deep search for sin.

By Raymond Mills
4/26/2017

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Just Why is Christ outside Knocking?

Monday, April 24th, 2017
Christ's Knock

While there are many points to be made throughout this study the main point I want us to see is there is a reason Christ is on the outside Knocking.

That whole concept seems strange when you think about. If we are part of the body of Christ doesn’t Christ reside within us? So how come He is shown in Revelation 3:20 standing outside Knocking?

Turn to Revelation 3:14 and lets read the scriptures given to the Church of the Laodiceans by Christ:

To the Church in Laodicea

Rev 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Notice the phraseology that is used in the KJV is different than any other of the Church ERAs. In all the other places it says “the church in Sardis or the Church in Philadelphia. But here it is saying the church of the Laodiceans (plural) Not in Laodicea but of the Laodiceans. Obviously a reference to the scattering of the church during this age.

Rev 3:15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

We see here that this ERA of the church has a lukewarm attitude regarding their works. They are not cold but neither are they hot regarding the works being done. I might suggest here that perhaps the problem is that they are not following Christ in Laodicea as they followed His lead in Philadelphia. But more on that as we go through this.

Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Here is where Christ is telling us Why they have this lukewarm attitude toward the work they are doing. “Because” they say they are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. Because they think they need nothing they have become completely unaware of their true condition. (miserable. poor,blind and naked)

Rev 3:18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

We will touch on some of this as we go through the study

Rev 3:19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Here is the key that Christ is telling them they must do to recover themselves. Repent and become truly Zealous again.

Rev 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Here we see Christ standing outside and knocing, He wants those of us who can hear to get up and open the door so He can come in and eat with us. Christ wants to feed us personally but we have to open the door to allow that to happen.

Rev 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

So lets see if we can determine how this situation came about and what it relates to.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT WHAT CHRIST IS DOING IN LAODICEA AS OPPOSED TO PHILADELPHIA?

Lets read what it says about what Christ did in the Philadelphian ERA of the church.

Read the Full Article here:

Why is Christ outside Knocking on our Door?

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How do we Walk in the Spirit?

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
Christ's Knock

I’ve been thinking about this subject for a while and I know that I do not have all the information that I am looking for yet. But I heard a sermon by Norbert Link today entitled: “How Thankful Are You?”. It made me view the subject a little differently and I thought I would share with you.

Paul said that if we walk after the Spirit that the righteousness of the law would be fulfilled in us.

Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

So how do we walk after the Spirit? I can’t quite get a handle on it but the sermon on being thankful made me see it differently.

I talked earlier about how I sometimes want to go out and do things for myself. Here we are in the days of Unleavened Bread where we are focused on putting sin out of our lives. Many of us get excited about that and really try hard to do just that. But when we do are we truly walking in the spirit?

When I get excited I find that I begin to go off on my own strength trying to do something in my own power. But that’s not walking after the spirit that is actually walking after the flesh. When we try to do things on our own power or strength we are not relying on the Spirit within us for our power or strength.

Christ told us that without Him we could do nothing.

Joh_15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

So how do we tap into this source of power? Well that’s where today’s sermon gave me some insight. Mr. Link went through many scriptures showing us the things that we should be thankful for. And where the bible gave descriptions of the things that the Apostles gave thanks to the Father for.  There were so many references that it finally dawned on me. When we give thanks for the help of God’s Spirit in our lives we are in fact releasing that spirit to move on our behalf. It is only when we try to do things on our own that we keep the spirit of God from helping us.

Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We need to think about, acknowledge and give thanks for the help of the Spirit of God everyday because that action is what will release the Power of the Spirit to do its work in our lives.

Think about how hard that might be for those who are steeped in the Laodicean mindset;

Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

If we let ourselves get to the point where we do not see that we need anything, then we are self sufficient, then we are walking in the flesh and we are bound to ultimately fall.

Pro 16:18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Art Braidic wrote an excellent comment regarding pride being behind almost every sin. Here is a link to it as it adds to what we need to understand about putting sin out of our lives.

By Raymond Mills

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Are we really looking for sin in our lives?

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

During these days of Unleavened bread, I was in the middle of chasing down some leavening in my office when it suddenly occurred to me; if we spent the same amount of effort and enthusiasm looking for sin in our own lives that we do searching out the leavening in our homes, we would be a lot better off than we are.

In fact, that is one of the telltale signs of a Laodicean mindset isn’t it:

Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Do you see the attitude? They have all this knowledge and it has blinded them to the fact that they still have sin in their lives and hearts. They really are self-satisfied and that is destroying them and is going to cause many to have to go through the Great Tribulation to be saved at all.

These days of putting sin out of our lives should be spent in an EARNEST and ZEALOUS effort to find and destroy the sins in our lives. The deeply hidden sins that only come out in private or in stressful situations where we can blame the event instead of realizing that we should have been prepared for the event.

Do you think satan was ever able to “blindside” Christ?

Take the time to put as much or MORE effort especially during the days of unleavened bread while we are focused as a group on putting sin out as we put into finding those pesky, sneaky and wily leavened products that are hiding from us in our homes, cars, and offices.

It sounds funny but doesn’t it seem like that at times? Well, what about the real sins in our lives? Have we been in the church so long that we no longer think we have in real sins to deal with? Remember Christ did not come to fulfill the law the way the world sees it He came to magnify it.

Isa_42:21  The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

Now the law has taken on a spiritual component not just the letter of the law but the spirit of the law is required. So are looking at the spirit of the law to get it out of your life or just the letter?

Think about it:

  1. Do you have feelings of anger especially toward a brother? Don’t let the sun go down on anger brethren.
  2. Are you still dealing with Lusts of any kind? Paul said he beat his body into subjection so those lusts could not cause him to ever fail
  3. Do you ever tell a lie? Not that anyone would know or anything that would hurt anyone. But does that make it any less a lie? How many times have you given an excuse for not doing something that you should have done so as not to cause hurt feelings to another? Does that make you feel justified in telling the lie? OR should you have been very careful to do what you had agreed to do so that you would not have been tempted to lie in the first place? You see behind a lie there is generally another sin at work as well.
  4. Do you ever experience feelings of Jealousy at work toward a brother or co-worker or family member? Instead of being excited for them do you secretly envy what they have earned thinking it should have been you? Maybe you are able to not show it to others but what does God think about us when instead of being extremely happy that they got a reward we are rather bitter about it. Do you see God’s Spirit at work there or do you see our own wickedness at work?
  5. Does it excite you to find that you know something about someone else that no one else knows? Do you see the spirit of gossip raising its ugly head demanding that you tell others of this TRUTH!

I could go on and on just from my own life’s experiences.

Let’s think about all the energy and effort we put into getting rid of the leaven, how dutifully we search in every nook and corner, how closely we observe for any place we might find this TERRIBLE leavened stuff. What if during this week we spent the same effort to examine our own selves. Let’s put our lives under that spiritual microscope and find those pesky sins of our own that still linger hidden in our lives and expose them to the light so they can be swept away from us.

Make this Feast of Unleavened Bread work for us this year like it never has before. Here is a good tool to begin to shed any Laodicean attitude of lukewarm self-satisfaction. Work hard at it and perhaps God the Father will be able to account you worthy to escape what is coming on the world very soon now.

 

By Raymond Mills

 

 

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Why do so many Laodiceans have a Lukewarm attitude?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
Christ's Knock

Where does this lukewarm, lackadaisical attitude come from? How can a people of God who have been given so much knowledge of God’s Plan and purpose ever get into a lukewarm feeling about it?

You remember when you first began to learn about the plan of God. Remember how excited you were? Remember the first flush of excitement, how you wanted to run out and tell your family and friends convinced that they must be able to understand and how disappointed you were when you discovered that they could not? Over the years this “First Love” waned. It was like if you could not go out and convince the world of this new found truth yourself, that it was somehow not as exciting as before. Can you see how pride is getting in the way of excitement?

Let me tell you a story that happened to me about 3 years ago where pride had crept in and really surprised me. You see as long as we can see pride for what it is, it has no real power over us.

I learned this lesson from a friend who is part of this world’s religious system, but he saw something in me that I had kept carefully hidden from myself.

He and I have these long conversations over the years about religion. He asks me questions, which is not the best thing for a person steeped in this world’s religions to do. But they are all asked and answered in a spirit of friendship and curiosity.

In any event I was discussing with him a long held fear of mine and he asked me why I had not given that fear over to God. I told him that I had and then he asked why I still had the fear if I had given it to God? That stumped me. At first I tried to get around it because I could not answer it but being a long time friend of mine he could see through the dodges. He knew I did not really want to answer the question so he hung on. Bull dog stubborn this fellow can be.

Suddenly in the midst of this rather animated, as opposed to heated, conversation I blurted out that I did not want to give this to God. I wanted to retain control of this situation. Needless to say there was a sudden break in the talking on both sides. He wasn’t sure what to say and I suddenly realized that I really meant what I had just said. I told him I needed to think about this and would speak with him later. Yeah I know that was a cop out but I really did need to take this to God and figure out what was wrong.

What I discovered amazed me. There was a portion of my life that I never wanted to relinquish control over to God. I wanted to stay in charge and to be the one who was solely in control of that aspect of my life. Even if I failed utterly at least it would be MY failure. Do you begin to see the hidden sin lurking behind the scenes?

The bible tells us that we can do all things thru Christ.

Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

But we have to relinquish control and let the Spirit do its thing. As long as we rush out trying to do it in our own strength we will fail.

I think that this is what Paul meant when he said we should walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.

Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

That sin that was hidden from me was Pride brethren. Pride so strong and so deeply ingrained in me that I was actually willing to fail at what I wanted to do rather than to share the credit of being successful. Pride is a strange sin brethren it is only powerful when it is hidden. The moment you shine the light of God’s truth on pride it begins to shrivel and die. It loses it’s power over us almost immediately.

As I prayed and meditated on this I began to see a little more clearly why many in the Laodicean ERA of the God’s church are lukewarm. God said that they were lukewarm because they said they were rich and increased with goods and had no need of anything.

Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

In the light of what has just been said can you see here the sin that is driving many of our people? They are so “PROUD” of what they know, knowledge that in fact has been given to them by God, that they refuse to see that they could possibly need anything more. It is the sin of Pride that is “BLINDING” them to what is wrong and allowing this lukewarm attitude to prevail in their lives. They do not WANT to see anything else that they did not think they already knew. They have blinded themselves by putting blinders on refusing to accept that they might need more. They stand like an Ostrich with his head in a hole in the sand thinking he is safe because he can’t see anything.

They have blinded themselves to false ministers, to minor and even major changes in doctrines both good and bad.

We are called to a life of constant overcoming. When we stop believing that we have anything left to overcome or to learn then we have blinded ourselves. This attitude is driven by pride by not wanting to relinquish control to God to continue to show us what we are and what we need to know.

Christ has devoted Himself to trying to teach us what we need to know during this ERA of the Church. There is a reason why He is knocking on the doors of the individual members of the body of Christ rather than the groupings of God’s people as a whole. It is the individual that is most at fault. It is we ourselves who have through pride and ignorance blinded ourselves to the fact that we need to continue to grow and overcome.

Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. ← Here is how you open the door so the light of God shines inside
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

We need to get back to our first love and the excitment, can I say zeal, that came with it. We should always continue to be excited by our calling and what God has given us. Just because we can’t convince others of the truth does not take away from the exciting truth of God’s plan and our calling.

As we prepare ourselves for Passover, let us shine the light of God’s Truth on this pride that lays hidden within us. It can only remain strong and in control if it is kept in the darkness. It will shrivel and die once exposed to the light.

We need to come before Christ with these hidden sins of pride exposed and be willing to move forward allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and to give credit to that Spirit for the changes it causes in us.

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The Uprising Against Moral Extortion

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

As we never stop being told by furious commentators, Britain and America are descending into a neo-Nazi, xenophobic, fascist hell on earth. Britain’s Brexit vote was anti-immigrant. President Trump is a fascist. Steve Bannon, his senior adviser and formerly of Breitbart news site, is a white supremacist.

None of these claims is true. Britain is not anti-immigrant but against uncontrolled mass immigration. President Trump is not a fascist but wants in fact to restore the rule of law and respect for the US constitution. Steve Bannon is not a white supremacist but someone who believes in western national identity based on Judeo-Christian values.

Melanie Phillips
Melaniephillips.com

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