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Lessons from the Feast: What Really Matters

Bible Answers to Your Questions

March 16th, 2012

Beginning of Wisdom: Fear of God

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By Jean Jantzen

Don’t think you’re on the right road, just because it’s a well-beaten path.
The inclination of 20th century societies to disregard God has resulted in social degeneration foreseen in the first chapter of Romans as a direct result of failing to fear God. “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God…”so God gave them their pleasure in unrighteousness, certainly not as a reward, but as a curse. And what a curse it has proven to be!

A common attitude we often see around us is one of fearless defiance of God. This same attitude is also seen in children’s attitudes toward parents or authority figures. We live in a society that shows no respect, no reverence for anything and therefore no awe and no honour toward God. God reminds His people to ‘…learn to fear the LORD your God always.’ Why is fear important and a necessary thing to salvation? (Deuteronomy 14:23) More

February 3rd, 2012

The Significance of Stooping Low, are you Humble?

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Significance of Stooping Low

by Jean Jantzen

Dr. Ben Franklin once received a very useful lesson from the excellent Dr. Cotton Mather, which he related in a letter to his son: —“The last time I saw your father was in 1724. On taking my leave, he showed me a shorter way out of the house, by a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking, and as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning towards him, he said hastily, “Stoop, stoop!” I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed an opportunity of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me: ‘You are young and have the world before you. Learn to stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps.’ This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me. And I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortune brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.”

So what happens when we carry our heads too high? Just how important is it for us to remain small in our own eyes? Does God think it important?

In the dictionary the word small means minor in influence, power, or rank: operating on a limited scale: lacking in strength: of little consequence. The word humble means: not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission [a humble apology]: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale.

Remember when we first came into the Church when called by God. For many of us, that was a long time ago. The scales were ripped from our eyes—we glimpsed the pearl of great price. As we arose out of the baptismal tank, the Babylonian culture dripping from our skin, our bodies still smarting from the pummeling brought about by a loving God that had brought us to this time and this place; we were ripe and ready to change. (Romans 2:4) In other words, we were brought low, where we felt small in our own eyes. God knew we were ready to begin the long road of conversion. We were now babes in truth, young, inexperienced, fresh, eager and willing to listen. We didn’t feel like Bible scholars or spiritual giants. We were small in our own eyes, looking to God to carry us through.

We’re all familiar with the story of David, called by God, the youngest of seven brothers: a ruddy, handsome fellow, a keeper of sheep, small in his own eyes. “Pity me, O Lord, for I am weak, heal me…”(Living Bible Translation throughout. Psalm : 6:2). “Save me, O God, because I have come to you for refuge…I have no other help but yours …” Psalm 16:1,2). “In my distress I screamed to the Lord for His help. And He heard me from heaven…” (Psalm 18:6). “Lead me, teach me: for you are the God who gives me salvation…” (Psalm 25:5).

We, too, as babes in Christ knew we needed God. We, too, cried out to God to save us. We were still walking low. But what happens over time. We lose that freshness, that urgency. We, who have been in the Church for many years, may come to think we know the Scriptures pretty well, lead a “Christian” lifestyle; in fact we might think we’re all-around good persons; going about doing our good deeds, saying our prayers, serving the brethren, not quite so small in our own eyes.

Have we become complacent in our need to cry out to God? Maybe we have forgotten Satan’s devices. Oh, we may have convinced ourselves by rote that we know them. We may admit there is a devil: that he is doing evil in the world; that he is deceiving others, but we’ve got ourselves convinced we’re okay, we’re close to God. It can’t happen to me we might say! But maybe we’ve not had Satan right in our face where there’s no denying he’s out to destroy us personally. When we are deceived by Satan, we don’t know we are deceived.

Let’s see what happened to King David when in his middle age. He had been walking with God since a teenager—at least 35 or 40 years; just like some of us in the Church. I am sure David was well versed, knew the commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” So what happened? He was now King over Israel; maybe he was feeling pretty good about himself, convinced he was a godly man. Let’s face it, he wasn’t as close, nor relying on God as he thought, otherwise he wouldn’t have fallen into that trap—committing adultery, then murder the moment he had a little spare time.

He did repent and had physical consequences for his actions, but apparently he hadn’t learned the lesson with Bathsheba and Uriah thoroughly. He wouldn’t have later numbered Israel if he had. But let’s see why he did. “Then Satan brought disaster upon Israel, for he made David decide to take a census. ‘Take a complete census throughout the land and bring me the totals,’ he told Joab and the other leaders. But Joab objected. ‘If the Lord were to multiply his people a hundred times, would they not all be yours? So why are you asking us to do this? Why must you cause Israel to sin?’ But the king won the argument, and Joab did as he was told…”(1 Chronicles 21:1). Was not David aware of Satan’s devices? He must have been. But there is more to it than that. Was he only performing part of what was required of him? In his own words David tells us he knows the need for humility: “The Lord is good and glad to teach the proper path to all who go astray; he will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to him”(Psalms 25:8,9). David also knew what it was like when the spirit of Lord departs from a person. He had seen that with Saul (1 Samuel 16:14,23).

Why then was he such an easy target, that Satan could, in fact, deceive him. Hadn’t he been walking with God for most of his life by now? We have to address the question — Is there more danger when one has been walking with God over a long period of time? Had David forgotten to stoop low when walking this walk? Or had he held his head too high?

Where would we be today if Jesus had held his head too high; had refused to stoop, or hadn’t taken seriously the very real danger from the god of this world? We see from Jesus’ example that “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… (Isaiah 53:3-5) What did Jesus have to do in order to endure His rendezvous with the devil? (Matthew 4:1-10) Now if our Saviour and Lord had to humble himself in order to overcome the devil and then to die upon the cross, what must we do? See (Philippians 2: 1-8) Not only did He have to cry out to God daily, and many times “with strong crying and tears”, He had to humble himself by fasting. (Hebrews 5:7-9). Also see (1 Peter 5: 5-8). Jesus knew he did not have the strength to overcome the devil on his own. Should we expect to do anything less?

We too, in our long walk with God, may have forgotten why humility is so very important to our eternal life. It was the one characteristic lacking in the great archangel, Lucifer and led to his downfall. It could be the one characteristic that we lack also. Maybe that is why God reminds us: “Yet I will look with pity on the man who is humble and of a contrite heart…” (Isaiah 66:2). For as long as we are small in our own eyes we will remain close to God. We will know we cannot get by a single day without crying out for His help against Satan [this master manipulator of our minds and hearts] to keep us from being puffed up in our own eyes, and sin against God. I bet Satan goes around looking for those who are not stooping low. So, let’s remember to stoop low and avoid getting our heads knocked off!

September 12th, 2011

Clean or Unclean

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CLEAN AND UNCLEAN
By Jean Jantzen
“For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

Would we feed our family food we know is contaminated or unclean? Most people would not eat unclean meat knowingly, but some believe that eating unclean animals is not a sin, but only breaking health laws—no big deal! That view seems too simplistic!

 

August 24th, 2011

Making the Hard Decisions

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Making the Hard Decisions
Are you fellowshipping in a place that provides the right elements for Christian Growth?

This week, my  eldest son brought to my attention an article I wrote over 15 years ago that he had discovered on-line. A lot of changes have occurred since that time, and though I had not reread this piece I wrote so long ago, I have had to revisit the question of, “Where do I fellowship?”on several occasions. I feel it is worthwhile sharing this article with you now, as the question of finding a church (fellowship) home where you can encourage and be encouraged by God’s word and faithful brethren is as important now as it ever was in the past.

Reprinted
From theJournal.org

Why I left the WCG – Worldwide Church of God (now GCI – Grace Communion International)

By Carolanne Patton.

The author, a native of Canada, graduated from Ambassador College, Pasadena, Calif. in 1976. She and her husband Jeff have three sons, and live in Ramona, Calif. They are members of the Global Church of God, San Diego. (we are now living in British Columbia, Canada and have been blessed with four sons)

Because so many people are wrestling with crises of conscience over whether or not to leave the Worldwide Church of God (or any other church for that matter) when they disagree with doctrinal issues, I would like to share my story of why I left the Worldwide Church of God.

My husband Jeff and I wrestled with the primary issue of church government for several years. His work in Pasadena gave him intimate knowledge of the mindset of the leaders. Initially we concluded 1) as long as the changes were administrative, and 2) as long as doctrinal error was not being taught openly and the gospel was being preached, we could support the new leadership with God’s tithe and our presence.

When changes were made regarding the issues of divorce and remarriage and healing, we felt it was okay to put more responsibility on the shoulders of the individual in these areas. We believed God provided strong guidelines in his Word, and though we were saddened to learn that the church would no longer be as supportive a community in these and other areas as we would have preferred, the new decisions did not require us to think or act contrary to faith (Romans 14:23).

We were able to escape the increasing turmoil in Pasadena in 1991 and found a peaceful haven in a local church area until 1993, when we were forced to re-examine our position once again as a result of the publishing of the WCG’s God Is… booklet which was clearly contrary to Scripture by promoting a trinitarian view of the nature of God. At the same time clever edits were changing the gospel message from the “Kingdom of God” to the” person of Christ.”
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July 11th, 2011

God Loves You: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

Today’s sermon about “Does God hear your Heartbeat,” spoke to my heart and brought to mind the struggle I have with feeling loved by God. In the months before my father died, I would go with my youngest son, JJ, who was 6 years old, and give Grandpa a big hug and a kiss before bed. This had been my nightly ritual from my earliest childhood. But, in his last months, my usually undemonstrative Dad , perhaps as a way of saying goodbye if that night were to be his last, said every evening, “Always remember I love you. ” It was something that has stuck with me and made me realize in times of stress and difficulty that if my human father could speak to my need and know how much I needed to hear those comforting words, then my heavenly Father knows that and much more. The Feast in Kelowna in 1998 was one of those times of great stress for our family.

Though the  Feast has not always been a happy time, the lessons learned are always valuable. One of my husband, Jeff’s, favourite little sayings about this time of year comes from a comic in the Jerusalem Post a few years ago. We Anglos wish each other a “Happy year” but the Jews wish each other a “Good year” and the punch line is, “What is good for us does not always make us happy! I have to acknowledge the wisdom of this in my life.

My most “memorable” Feast was a non-feast in many ways. It had begun poorly a week earlier when our church disfellowshipped us and said we would not be welcome at our planned feast site. We were never really told why, but we could surmise that they did not appreciate my husband for writing about the need to establish an impartial way of effecting justice in the churches of God. So now our feast plans were up in the air, and we were dealing with major emotional turmoil. The pastor, who had oversight of the feast site, was a good friend of ours and he said, “Y’all come anyway.” But we were just looking for peace and we knew that our presence would be a real red flag in front of the bull. No, we needed another option. Mom had talked to some of her friends and they had encouraged us to come join them at another feast site in the vicinity, so once that was settled we could carry on with our travel plans as anticipated. More

July 10th, 2011

Alone at the Feast: What Really Matters

1 Comment, Filed in Articles, Carolanne Patton, by CGP.

Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

There I was at Ambassador College in Bricketwood, England, and not feeling my normally confident, cheerful, nerdy self. I wasn’t happy and perhaps I was in denial about the source of my trouble.

There I was living my “dream,” one I had worked for since those days in summer camp 5 years earlier when I fell in love with my SEP counselors’ tales about college, and I learned about England from a campmate who was a bona fide Limey.  But now, I was seventeen, had completed Grade 13 and was in England, the home of my ancestors. The campus had a wonderful rural, small town atmosphere that was just what I was looking for and I was already busily engaged in and enjoying classes and work.

But something was amiss. I had gained 15 lbs in just a few weeks, and I was feeling awkward in my new shape. Working in the kitchen with access to unlimited food, clockwork tea and biscuit breaks, and regular visits to the common room for Horlicks, ginger beer, the ubiquitous nuts and raisins, or gouda cheese could account for the changes. But there was something deeper. I had great roomies, interesting classmates, stimulating professors, but perhaps being quiet or shy outside the classroom setting, had hampered me in making new friends.

Then the feast came and the whole campus moved in a grand bus caravan to the holiday camp at the seaside town of Minehead on England’s west coast. Bus trips and I have never had a good relationship; I can still vividly remember in exquisite detail all the horrors of my two-day trip to SEP camp in Orr, Minnesota, during the height of the Detroit riots. I have since learned I have severe petro-chemical sensitivities that explains why diesel fumes puts me into a tailspin of nausea and vomiting. So I knew I was in trouble as I anticipated a day trip in a coach along winding English roads.
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July 8th, 2011

Adventures to Share: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

Sometimes the traveling to or from the Feast can be a great adventure with many lessons learned. My second year at college I joined a group of students, with varying levels of French fluency on a train trek across Europe to the idyllic mountain village of Praz sur Arly. I don’t know why we thought we needed to carry all of our meager wardrobe across the continent, but it seems that most of us showed up ready to go with a huge valise and flight bag that would have kept us clothed for months. We were either going to build major muscle groups in our arms or destroy our spines. More