Here’s Mud in Your Eye!

Some speakers are extraordinary and regularly give awesome sermons. Randy Schreiber is one of those, and on Dec. 25 he gave a sermon with this catchy title. I can’t recommend it enough! He discusses what we can learn about how God deals with us from the story about the healing of the blind man Christ sent to go wash himself in the pool of Siloam. Here’s Mud in Your Eye! | United Church of God (ucg.org)

I’m glad I paid rapt attention to his message because this past week I had to apply his message to a severe health trial (thankfully not Covid). I claimed God’s amazing promises of healing and right away carried out His instructions in James 5:14-16 to call for an elder of the Church for anointing.

I beseeched our YHWH-Ropheka (God our Healer) for quick and painless. Other times in the Gospels, Jesus healed the blind right away just by touching their eyes. This blind man had to grope his way across town to the pool with spitted dirt in his eyes!

Like Jacob wrestling with Jesus Christ in Genesis, I ended up spiritually wrestling with my Father and Elder Brother about the healing I wanted for five days and nights, but wasn’t seeing. I was getting the worst continuing pain and discomfort I’ve experienced in my 71 years!

I was sure I was following the principles of “How to Pray More Effectively” that I share with you in my free eBook.

I made sure to always pray “Your will be done, not mine” because God promises healing but doesn’t specify exactly how and when.

I would reason with God (Isaiah 1:18) that I couldn’t take the pain and discomfort any more. But I had just studied an article showing that God doesn’t promise us He won’t allow more than we can handle, because we have Him to help us handle it. We have the Holy Spirit—the greatest power in the universe that will ever be—where all things are possible, beyond what we can think, say or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20).

Finally, after five of the most painful days I’ve ever endured, Friday I went to the Emergency Room, and received the relief I had been begging God for!

The doctor wheeled in a machine and ominously but playfully teased “You know what’s coming!” It was worse than mud in the eye.

But what relief! I’m still over and over thanking God for it!

And enjoying a song by Lauren Daigle called “Trust in You” with lyrics that complement Randy’s sermon:

“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.”

Why We Should Not Put Off Baptism

“We all have blind spots in our knowledge and opinions. The bad news is that they can leave us blind to our blindness, which gives us false confidence in our judgment and prevents us from” rethinking and updating our views—page 35 of Think Again by Adam Grant.

That’s why we should always be responsive to God (meekness!), receptive to correction God (and others He might use) bring our way, and more than that, we should actually regularly seek correction.

I was baptized God’s way on April 3, 1971, more than 50 years ago. Baptism is called one of the fundamental doctrines in Hebrews 6:1 that we should know and be able to teach others. In verse 2,`Paul said “You don’t need further instruction about baptisms” and if you would have asked me during the last 50 years, do you understand baptism, I would have looked at you: DUH!

Well, my message today is we should all take heed lest we fall. I learned in the last two weeks that I had a serious misunderstanding about baptism, which is obviously a crucial topic for a Christian, but my flawed thinking actually caused me to think incorrectly about two other important issues.

I was absolutely shocked

to read this statement by author Don Hooser: “Your sins are not forgiven until you are baptized.” What? I thought our sins are forgiven the moment we repent.

To that notion, Don Hooser writes, “Countless people are confused, thinking they have already received God’s forgiveness when they haven’t, and thinking they already have God’s Holy Spirit when they don’t.”

We sing the hymn “Praise the Lord” with the line: “When a sinner repents, at that moment a pardon is sent.” When I repented 11 months before I ended up being baptized, I lived that whole time feeling like God forgave me of all my sins.

Yes, I read what Acts 2:38-39 plainly says: Be baptized “for the forgiveness of your sins.” But I understood that as yes, God forgave me of my sins during the baptismal ceremony, but it was an outward expression of what had already happened inwardly when my sins were already forgiven. So I believed yes, I was forgiven before, and whenever I asked God to forgive my sins; but during the baptism ceremony, I felt especially reforgiven.

My false understanding that God forgave sins during repentance before baptism also affected my understanding of Passover. When eating the small portion of unleavened bread and especially drinking the cup of wine, I would feel especially clean and forgiven.

Well, thanks to some great discussions with Don Hooser, which I hope will speak to you about how valuable it could be to seek counsel with one of God’s ministers when you suspect that you might have something wrong, I see that Acts 2:38-39 means exactly what it says literally and fully.

God the Father decides when is the best time to call each person to salvation. The goodness of God leads us to repentance and believing (Romans 2:4).

Then it’s time to be baptized which is when God actually forgives us of our sins and cleanses us of them. It’s not just an outward ceremony for public show. Here are other scriptures showing it’s at baptism that we are made clean—washed, justified, sanctified: Ephesians 5:26, Isaiah 1:16-18, 1 Corinthians 6:11.

And then when a true minister of God lays his hands on us, God grants us His Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17, 19:6).

Baptized into

We are “baptized into Christ” (Galatians 3:27). “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body … the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13, 27). Thus we are baptized into the spiritual Church of God. We only belong to Christ if we have the Holy Spirit and are led by it! (Romans 8:9, 14).

From that time, as long as we are actively responding to God (proper meekness!) and continuing in the faith and Way, we are blameless and sinless under the principle of IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS by God the Father and Jesus Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit. We are clean at all times as long as we repent when we see additional sin.

We are not “more clean” during the Passover service. We eat the bread and drink the wine so grateful for God’s forgiveness back at baptism and for the imputed righteousness we live under.

For Cornelius, God made an exception to give him and his household the Holy Spirit without baptism and the laying on of hands, so that Peter would see that God was accepting Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit just like He gave it to the Jews. But then immediately Peter commanded baptism for them. It wasn’t just a ceremony for show but when their sins would be forgiven.

What about how those converted in the Old Testament were never baptized except Moses and Joshua symbolically in the Red Sea. The New Testament commands baptism as part of the New Covenant. Remember, Acts 2:38 says “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

What about people who seem repentant and ready for baptism but wait 25 years for a minister to come? The Master Timer decides. The Holy Spirit works with a repentant and believing disciple until baptism and the laying on of hands (John 14:17). Mary and I were baptized at a time when a converted high school graduate was told to wait until they got to Ambassador College, and there we were told to wait until just before Passover. It was interesting that Don Hooser said he felt we shouldn’t have had to wait.

We sing the hymn lyric: “Those who are baptized shall be saved while others are condemned,” from Mark 16:16. Man, that made me want to be baptized as soon as possible! Even though I wrongly believed that I was already forgiven.

3 crucial points:

  • I want to encourage us all to realize that even after years in the Church, we no doubt have misconceptions.
  • We should be diligent in study and always be responsive to the Word—Jesus Christ.
  • God has provided ministers to help us in the Way, and we should humble ourselves to let them!

If you aren’t yet baptized, you can see how crucial it is that you prepare for this crucial step and don’t put it off. None of us fully appreciate the incredible calling we have from God.

As Ananias said to Saul (Paul),

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16)

God wants to give us the two greatest gifts of forgiveness of sin and His Holy Spirit. And then in turn He will give us eternal life in His Kingdom.

Live Long & Prosperous

What a surprise to read David sounding like Spock!

Psalm 34:12: “Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?” (New Living Translation throughout).

The heading says David wrote this psalm regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away. It doesn’t say what kind of hand gestures David offered Abimelech.

There’s no indication that Leonard Nimoy (Spock) created his famous salutation and hand gesture from reading about David or his psalm. We know David didn’t get it from him!

However, Nimoy says he called upon his childhood Jewish synagogue experiences to create them for the episode “Amok Time” in the Season 2 TV premiere.

“Live long and prosper” is translated from the Vulcan language phrase “dif-tor heh smusma,” uttered in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The phrase echoes the Hebrew “Shalom aleichem” and the Arabic “Salaam alaykum,” which roughly translate as “peace be upon you.”

It’s fascinating to listen to Nimoy telling why he came up with the salutation and gesture: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2015/02/27/the-jewish-roots-of-leonard-nimoy-and-live-long-and-prosper/

Trivia and TV lore aside,

What’s important is what God inspired David to write about how to live long and prosper:

  • “Keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! (v. 13). Note that three of the seven things God hates and detests involve lying (Proverbs 6:16-19). God does not lie (Titus 1:2) and He does not allow us to do so even in the proverbial hiding-Jews-from-Nazis scenario. Corrie Ten Boom boldly told the guards, “Yeah, they’re hiding under the table” and it was a good thing they were hidden so well under there! The guards assumed she was joking.
  • “Turn away from evil and do good” (v.14). We must replace bad actions with good to put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). For example, Paul says let him who stole steal no more, but instead, work with his hands to do good (v. 28).

    If enough people from a nation would do this today—“humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis mine). Remember, how God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if He would have found only 10 righteous people. Alas, there wasn’t a whole lot! Only one Lot. But God mercifully saved not only him but his family members who were willing to listen to the warning to flee with him. That may be crucial when it’s time to flee to the Place of Safety!
  • “Search for peace and work to maintain it” (Psalm 34:14). Peace is a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. We need to repent of our sins, believe, be baptized, and have a true minister of God lay hands on us to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Nothing else should be more important because nothing else is more important.

Well, I don’t expect to run into any Vulcans, but I want to do what God says through David to live long and prosper for eternity!

Blessed Are the Flexible, For They Shall Not Be Bent Out of Shape

One of my pastors, Robin Webber, is famous for this astute and funny saying.

Talk about a necessary quality for today’s chaos!

It was crucial for surviving 2020 and 2021, and it surely will be even more vital for whatever asteroids might be hurtling our way in 2022.

On recent weekends, thousands of flights got cancelled to mess up family plans. Now word is airlines are pleading with telecommunication companies to delay their 5G rollouts because they believe they might interfere with flying safety. A cancellation might be a blessing!

Truly the just must live by faith. My definition of biblical faith is relaxed trust in the Master Timer.

We must know that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, New Living Translation throughout). Praise God if you are called by God the Father at this time! (John 6:44). You are being called if you read this blog regularly and understand what you read.

A Christian plans his way, but trusts the Lord to direct his steps (Proverbs 16:3). Joseph is surely the most dramatic example in the Bible.

In Acts 16:6-9, “Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.” As an aside, I know this had to be inspired of God because if it were me in Paul and Silas’ place, I wouldn’t have had a clue where such places were!

Then when they thought the next best plan would be to head north for the province of Bithynia (again, I’d of been lost with no GPS), “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.” So they’re thinking, well then, where do you want us to go! God gave Paul a vision to go to Macedonia in Northern Greece. So Paul and Silas “concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.”

Thursday night, Jan. 6, I’m starting a new Pound workout class at my gym which threatens to demand more flexibility out of my stiff body!

But what we really need is for the Body of Christ collectively and individually to humbly submit to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, to accomplish all that He wants!

For the entire month of December, we kept trying to come up with an evening for our monthly Penrose Bible Study. It’s usually on the second Monday of the month. Except everybody agreed to change it to Tuesday so I wouldn’t miss my Zumba class. But shortly after that, Zumba class got shifted to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And all days for Bible study kept getting thwarted, mainly because of sickness, being out of town, or just scads of reasons, We wanted everybody to make it for the planned one on “How to Pray More Effectively” because we all need it!

[Why not help yourself to the 27-page FREE eBook “How to Pray More Effectively”]

I didn’t want to do it on this coming Monday night because of something my wife and I have scheduled at our home. Interestingly, my wife kept saying “We can do it Monday if it works for everybody else.” But I was stubbornly pushing for a Wednesday which looked good (for a few illusionary moments!) because I was thinking I needed the whole day free to prepare the Study.

We already missed having the December monthly Bible Study and it was looking like January was going to drown in the same tsunami!

But suddenly tonight, just about an hour ago, it looks like everybody could come on this coming Monday night, the usual night. So it was obvious that I had to drop my resistance to Monday night and come to what it now seems is the Holy Spirit directing that our monthly Bible Study should be on the usual night!

Praise God! It was inspiring to see His hand in working out this scheduling snag so everybody should be able to make it.

And more than ever for the days ahead, may He help us all to:

Blessed are the flexible—for they shall not be bent out of shape!

“Forgetting the Past & Looking Forward to What Lies Ahead”

Tomorrow on Jan. 1, around the world people will be looking back on 2021 and making resolutions to make 2022 better. It can’t get any worse, they joke!

Most won’t think they’re doing this because of some Roman god who has one face looking backward and another face looking forward. I’m not going to mention his name because of what David wrote in Psalm 16:4 and God directed through Moses in Exodus 23:13. In all other cases, we hate two-faced people!

Two powerful scriptures are plain enough reasons for someone—being called by God and having their mind opened to understand … hopefully you!—to not observe New Year’s no matter how pervasive it is (Deuteronomy 12:29-32, Psalm 106:35). I hope you tremble at the Word of God and humbly obey. Those who observe God’s Sabbaths and Holy Days experience that the world’s holidays can’t compare with the joy that comes from God’s days which picture His incredible plan of salvation. God states that His years begin in the spring, this year on April 2, when new life awes us all, not in the dead of winter.

Yes, it is enjoyable to listen to a playlist of the top songs of 2021. But it feels like going too far for Chili’s to email me a recap of the seven visits I made to them in 2021. However, certainly not annoying enough to keep me from regularly going back often in 2022 thanks to the special deals they email me and gift cards from my kids.

It’s interesting to consider what God says in His Bible about looking back

He turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. Some of us look like we’re trying to accomplish that at the dining table! Of course, she foolishly looked back with longing to return to her way of life in Sodom. The Bible warns us to come out of this world! Jesus said “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, New Living Translation throughout). Ok, not many are going to put their hand to a plow these days, but we all face plowing through the challenges of a new year!

There is certainly value in learning from history—especially Bible history because God has put in His book all the really important facts. The real science! “Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43). That’s explains why cancel culture is in force today.

Paul said “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age (1 Corinthians 10:11). Uh oh. Doesn’t portend well for 2022, if you are watching and praying and know Bible prophecy!

As George Santayana stated it so well in 1905: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Tomorrow, Jan. 1, is one of God’s Holy Days, a weekly Sabbath. There are lots of reasons for observing God’s Sabbaths. That He commands them should be reason enough!

But Deuteronomy 5:15-16 says something really interesting that I only really noticed this past year: “Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day” (emphasis mine). We especially remember this on the Night To Be Much Observed on the evening of the first Day of Unleavened Bread. I hope you’ve noticed by now that everything in God’s Bible points to His Holy Days!

Looking back should teach us awesome lessons for the days ahead—not for resolutions we fully expect to break—but to pursue the pearl-of-great-price eternal life that God promises us.

The Sabbath looks forward to the 7th 1,000-year-millennial rest that Jesus Christ will be bringing soon. Our opportunity to be serving with Him in the Millennium and Kingdom of God is at hand!

Paul sums it all up so nicely in Philippians 4:13-14: “I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me … I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”


The Bible covers the past, back to the beginning with God and the Word, which really wasn’t a beginning since they were eternal Beings and above time which They hadn’t created yet! The Bible covers what God wants us to know about the 6,000 years of human history, followed by Jesus Christ and His saints bringing the Kingdom of God to the earth, and on to eternity. Surprise, God says He put it together like a puzzle so that He could reveal its understanding to individuals when the Father, the Master Timer, decides it’s the best time for them.

So, why not help yourself to this FREE 230-page eBook (pdf) called “Building the Family of God”. It looks back and present and future to what the Bible teaches, that God has taught me in 52 years by His Church and living His Way of life.

You Don’t Have To Be a Scholar To Look Up Greek in Your Bible Study

Maybe you’re like me in that, though I’ve been a Christian for 52 years, I did not feel the need to really study the Greek for myself, besides a cursory use of a Strong’s Concordance. Just doing that would usually be enough to frustrate me, though not to the point of cursing! So my strategy was to pay rapt attention to what ministers I trusted said and write down Greek words with explanation in my margins. “Wow, this guy knows Greek!” It’s even more impressive if you pronounce the Greek word like you confidently know how it’s supposed to be.

But sooner or later, you may come across a situation where you want to research what the Greek says.

Recently I wanted to probe the Greek for Revelation 12:14 about the Place of Safety. The importance is obvious in that all of us would like to be safe rather than martyred and it feels like it might be coming soon!

Today it’s common to hear: “David wrote that ‘God is my place of safety’ (Psalm 91:2) so God will protect us where we are.”

And surely no place would be safe without Him!

Revelation 12:14 is translated “the place” or “her place.” Some say there’s no Greek word for “the” or “her so “place” is just some metaphorical idea.

Probably you are not one who can justify spending $1,000 to $2,150 for the Logos Bible software. The easiest way to prove this incorrect is to

install the free “e-Sword” Bible software on your computer

Its “KJV+” Bible setting will display the verse’s Greek words for you along with their Strong’s number, and you’ll see that “the” and “her” both have a supporting Greek word. Just like that you have slashed one argument with your sword! It sure looks like a specific place is referred to.

The Greek word for “place” is topos (top’-oce), #5117. Some find Strong’s definition as problematic: “a spot (generally in space but limited by occupancy; whereas 5561 is a larger but particular locality, that is, location.” So the argument is that if it were an actual location, John would have been inspired to use a different Greek word that refers to a “particular locality.”

I’m no Greek scholar, but I know that Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words is considered a higher quality scholarly source. A few years back our pastor gave all the men in the speaking club a copy so we could provide more depth in our messages. The pressure was on and a speaker would find some way to work Vine’s into his message! Look what it says for topos: “a region” or “locality, frequently in the Gospels and Acts.”

Verse 14 says God’s people are taken “into the wilderness.” This “the” also has a specific Greek word and again sounds like a specific wilderness. Satan sends his flood {most likely army] to that definite place and they get swallowed up by an earthquake which always occurs in a definite place.

In e-Sword, you can put your cursor on the Greek number 5117, right click, choose “search for word” and then “in New Testament,” and it will show you the 92 references to topos. Most are clear references to specific places ranging from Golgotha to the wilderness where Christ fed the 5,000 which was more like 15,000 counting men, women and children—to “regions” and “areas” that hardly seem limited in inhabitants.

In Strong’s, #5661 is used 27 times and usually translated country, fields, region—words which are also listed as translations for #5117. #5117 never seems limited in occupancy. A chart listing occurrences of “place” or “places” never has #5661.

Bring on Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature

Hope you can pull out this heavy artillery from your bookshelf. Thayer’s is easiest of the two because it’s coded with Strong’s Concordance numbers, so you can easily look up #5117 and #5661.

But for the most respected big gun, I was told to make sure to get the 1957 version by Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich. You’ll surely gasp when you hear that the price on Amazon is about $120, but on Ebay you can get a new one for about $67, and I bought a used one in nice condition for only $33.

When I first ventured into the reference, I was baffled. It was Greek to me but no joke after I’d spent so much money hoping to be enlightened! But pushing panic aside, it was easy enough to see how the word topos looked in its spellling of the Greek alphabet. Quickly I got close by turning back to the t’s and then soon enough I found the right spot. I couldn’t help swelling up with scholarly pride!

I will leave it to you to find out what these two scholarly Greek references have to say, but let me just say that in this whole process, I can say with confidence that “the Place of Safety” is a specific place where I pray I “may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

I agree wholeheartedly with a TV presenter who said about the Place of Safety: “Of course, we must be willing to give our lives if God asks. But I know where I’m hoping to go!”

Paul exhorts “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In the previous verse he warns “Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14). We must look to God to safely do both!

Where Were You on This Stellar Saturday?

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was scheduled to launch Saturday. Though it’s been grounded by multiple delays due to bad weather, it looks like no rain, dear, so this might be one craft that actually flies this 25th.

Jointly developed with the European and Canadian Space Agencies, this is the largest and most complex space telescope ever built and promises to take the exploration baton from the Hubble Telescope. 

The telescope aims to collect infrared signals originating from some of the universe’s most distant galaxies—enabling it to look back in time and reveal new insights into the early formation of the universe billions of years ago.

Looking back in time? How fitting for this launch to take place on this Saturday, Dec. 25

Were we gathered together with family around an evergreen tree decorated with ornaments (Jeremiah 10:3-5 where the New Living Translation subhead warns “Idolatry Brings Destruction” and verse 1 says “Do not act like the other nations … Their ways are futile and foolish”)? Such customs are dated by scads of Internet sources and by classic books such as 4,000 Years of Christmas by Earl W. Count in Sept. 30, 2000. Some people take such pride in family keepsake ornaments they unbox and hang just so. Once I saw a source about ancient customs that said ornaments on trees represented individual children who had been sacrificed! Will that even shock people who nonchalantly accept abortions?

Or were we be gathered together

with family in a Church of God service worshiping God on His commanded Sabbath day? (Deuteronomy 5:15). This trumps all dates of antiquity because it goes back to Genesis where Jesus Himself as the Word created and sanctified the Sabbath and specified it as the seventh day of each week.

Then Jesus after He was born—no way on this wintry day in Judea but obviously in the fall according to the Bible, the written Word—taught and kept His commanded Sabbath, His Apostles did likewise, and the Churches of God have continued to keep His Sabbath and Holy Days—on down to this Saturday.

Jesus said He made the Sabbath for man (Mark 2:27), and indeed He did that immediately after creating Adam and Eve so they could properly worship.

So literally the Sabbath is as old as dirt!

You might argue that it’s possible to do both gatherings, and it probably would be, but nobody will because they are two different paths going in two different directions. The same Word condemns the one (Deuteronomy 12:28-32) while commanding the other (Leviticus 23). Guess which one is the broad, wide path traveled by many, and which is the difficult, narrow path which only a few find at this time!

So how apropos is it to have this year’s Dec. 25 be on Saturday? It’s a 1 out of 7 chance but I can’t remember having one before. Of course, it’s getting so I can’t remember lots of things, and especially what years things occur. But God, please give me the mental faculty and fortitude to always “remember your Sabbath day to keep it holy.”

Paul aptly proclaims: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his external power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:19-20). That will be even more so after the new James Webb telescope starts beaming its findings.

God says “Choose this day” (Deuteronomy 30:17-20).

What did you choose Saturday?

For Those Who Want to Be Blessed by God & Have the Power of God

If that’s not you, you’re reading the wrong blog! Because I’ll keep urging us all on to that!

Today, in just a few hours, I’ll be giving a sermon in our weekly Sabbath service. I’ll be sharing God’s powerful information from the Bible that I already shared with you in a series of posts on Meekness and then in the 12-page eBook you can help yourself to [“MEEKNESS: For Those Who Want to Be Blessed & Have the Power of God” (12 pages)] Of course, this is a bit too much material for one sermon, so you get the better deal here! You can download it and read and study it as you wish.

Last night I listened to a powerful sermon by Gary Petty called “How Childish Thinking Hurts Us.” It goes together nicely with this eBook like a horse and carriage and love and marriage. Here’s the link for you to help yourself to his exciting message: https://www.ucg.org/sermons/how-childish-thinking-hurts-us-0. He concentrated on Peter’s exciting information in 2 Peter chapter one. Here’s a bit from that chapter in the New Living Translation:

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life … He has given us great and precious promises … that enable [us] to share his divine nature … The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be … Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Yes, as Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). During the Kingdom of God in the Millennium. During the Great White Throne Judgment. During the New Earth for eternity! Help yourself to this eBook: “The New Earth—with Its New Jerusalem and New Phase of the Kingdom of God” (16 pages). Oh, why not! I’ll offer you the whole bag full!

12 FREE eBooks (pdfs) to read, download or print

I hope you can’t resist the temptation to read all of these!

A Day to Celebrate!

Probably mostly for me, but it does involve you.

Today is my 71st birthday. Since I hide my birthday on Facebook, I’ll probably only rack up congrats from my wife and four kids, my three sisters, my dentist, my insurance agent, and AARP.

What involves you, and that makes it more significant, is

my birthday is also the birthday of this blog

Today begins the eighth year! 513 posts available for you in Archives on practically every subject of God’s Way of Life. 12 eBooks (offered below for the clicking!). I’ve got the next post in mind, which I’m really excited to get to screen. But otherwise, I’m left wondering what “unexpected” God is going to bring this coming year, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I’m thinking it would be helpful to create eBooks on the other two tools in our Christian toolbox: Bible Study and Meditation. Anybody interested in that enough to write an encouraging comment “Yeah, do it!”

For a few weeks, I’ve been asking myself if maybe it’s time to quit. Time to quit from the pressure of writing? Thankfully, this morning God’s Spirit inspired me with a clear thumbs up, keep on chugging, and my personal slogan: rest if you must but do not quit! Backsliding is a pain in the rear.

As usual, each time before hitting the “publish” button, I’ll pray the encouraging promise of Isaiah 55:11 (New Living Translation): “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

It would encourage me to hear from you how God blesses you with it. Thanks to you wonderful readers from 140 countries. Yes, soon I’ll have to update the bottom square! There are still some countries to go (Matthew 24:14), such as North Korea, Siberia, -‘stan nations, and a few in North Africa.

The Seventh Trumpet does not feel that far off anymore, and my hope is that we all rise to the occasion!

12 FREE eBooks (pdfs) to read, download or print

I hope you can’t resist the temptation to read all of these!

Where Should You Go to Encourage & Be Encouraged?

Paul shows us in Romans 1:8-13.

“One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord” (New Living Translation throughout). Paul was praying that he could make it to be with the brethren in Rome. Why?

Lots of reasons, no doubt, but he said “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”

In Hebrews 10:24-25 Paul exhorts us:

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (emphasis mine throughout).

Malachi 3:16-18 says what God thinks about this diligence in meeting together on His Sabbath day and Holy Days with like-minded brethren:

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. ‘They will be my people,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. ‘On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.'”

So where should you go to encourage and be encouraged?

To Church!

And an added bonus is to be written into God’s Book of Life! [Link here for a free 11-page eBook “Is Your Name Written in the Book of Life?”].

Somehow you’d expect that because Barna studies show that people who regularly attend church—even a wrong church meeting on the wrong day—are happier and healthier and suffer less problems with family and job. So naturally this would be the time when satan is deceiving more and more people—especially Millennials—that it’s cool to be “spiritual” but you don’t need to attend church.

I hope I can encourage you to resist such blatant deception and do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together—and so much the more as you see the end approaching! I think you would be somewhat blessed even if you attend a wrong church on the wrong days, God is so merciful!

Some key fine points in those three passages to note:

  • To be able to encourage and be encouraged in church, be one who fears God and always thinks about the honor of his name (Malachi 3:16).
  • “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
  • To be ready to encourage and be encouraged when he made it to the Roman brethren, Paul said, “God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God” (Romans 1:9).
  • Before each Sabbath service, I ask God to guide whom I meet with and inspire me what to say to encourage them since He knows exactly what they need to hear. [see “It’s Okay”].

It would thrill me to know that you are attending a Church of God that keeps God’s Sabbath and Holy Days and His entire Way of Life. Here’s where I recommend to find a Church of God to worship with.

I would love to hear from you by email! If you see the Colorado Springs one that meets in Monument, you’ll find my wife and me there.

Wow, do you ever have power to encourage me! I can only wish to return the favor.