"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8

For many years, we have experienced repetitively moments when the truth, authority and integrity of the Bible is challenged both in secular world and the Christian world. Scripture is clear that God does not change, but mankind has rationalized that He does change, hence all the confusion with legalized sin with the church many times either turning a blind eye to it or endorsing it. We really need to examine ourselves with sincere prayer because while we seek to find competing human authority on various issues and to prove various versions of what our limited intellect calls truth, God is standing among us with His own authority which ought never be challenged because all Truth begins and ends with Him and trumps our own understanding. Change exists, but as the saying goes, that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

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I published the following in YouVersion and decided to share it here. I pray that someone will be blessed.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
- ‭‭James‬ ‭1:12-18‬‬

This is a very rich passage of scripture. I tells us a few things about ourselves and the character of God.

1. God cannot be tempted.

2. God does not tempt mankind.

3. Anyone who believes God tempts us and tries to prove God tempts us have been deceived by the one who tempts.

4. God's character does not change.

5. The the laws and principles found in scripture are a reflection of God character; therefore ...

6. God's principles do not change.

7. Deception resides in anyone who believes God's character, law, and principles change over time; tries to prove those changes to be true; or applies God laws or principles in ways which contradict the fact that God does not change. We must beware of this!!

This scripture selection also speaks of two kinds of gifts - good gifts and perfect gifts - and they both originate from God, our Heavenly Father and reflect God's unchanging character. Good gifts are those which we require for daily living, like the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the shelter that protects us from harsh weather conditions. Good gifts also include certain optional things which are honorable and improve our quality of life this side of Eternity.

Perfect gifts are those things which increase our faith in God and empower us to live in holy communion with Him on this side of Eternity and makes us ready for that day when we, the faithful remnant, will be called up to meet Jesus. They are:

A. The gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus, the Son of God.

B. The precious blood of Jesus which takes away the sins of the world.

C. Water baptism which Jesus commanded His believers to receive as public confirmation that we have received the washing away of sin by faith in the power of Jesus' blood.

D. Baptism of the Holy Ghost resulting in maintaining our connection with Jesus and empowers us to tap into God's supernatural power to be overcomers, to be more than conquerors and to have an individual character shaped to be more like His.

E. An open line of communication with God regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in whether good or bad, joyful or disappointing.

F. Friendship with Jesus.

G. Joint heirs to the throne of God.

In conclusion, while it is promised that we all will be tempted at different times of our life, temptation does not have to produce sin. God lives in the believer. If God lives in the believer, His character, law and principles also live in us, thereby preventing temptation to take root and allowing no space for sin. His Spirit strengthens us to make this possible. That is how we can be His first fruits. This is what I believe is meant by living a life of holiness or a godly life.

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This weekend, my family attended services at the Cedar Lake SDA Church in central Michigan and heard this attached message called "Box Seats" which was preached by the Senior Pastor Mark Howard, who happens to also be the director of Emmanual Institute of Evangelism. The message deals with the fact that 20% of the church members usually does 80% of what needs to be done, and it often leads to burn-out. The other 80% are basically spectators in their "box seats." He is calling on more hands to get out of the box seats and share the load.

Today’s scripture reading selection from YouVersion is I Thessalonians 5:16-18 which reads: “16. Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

The ending of this reading makes me think of end another Bible verse, Romans 12:1, which reads: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

There are many things in life which are considered reasonable expectations. Children generally know that it is a reasonable expectation to ask Mommy or Daddy before eating cookies from the cookie jar, but they sometimes wait until they are not looking to eat one with the hope that they will not know. They also know that it is a reasonable expectation to do well in school, but some are also highly rebellious and will choose to do what they wish counter to that expectation. For us adults, we know it is a reasonable expectation that we should be a positive influence to the children of our household and the children we are around whether they be in church, school, on the playground, in the grocery story, on the city bus, or in the air plane, but some of us don’t seem to care about the long term consequences of our choices, something that we hope our children will learn to do; we just do what we do and tell the children you’re not old enough to make that kind of choice.

Just as there are reasonable expectations in the natural everyday life we live, they also exist in our spiritual walk with Jesus. Paul the Apostle wrote I Thessalonians 5:16-18 as a part of a longer section of scripture that served to remind the readers of this letter that God has some basic expectations of each member of the Body of Christ. While we all have different skills, strengths and spiritual gifts, God has the same basic reasonable expectations from each person. Many of us understand this, but we forget so easily while remembering much more readily the expectations of our parents, teachers, employers, and earthly government.

When I went through military basic training, I learned the basics of what it meant to be a sailor in the US Navy. When I went to college, I learned the basics of what it meant to be a French language user in a business setting. And when I became a Christian, I began learning the basics of what it meant to be a child of the King. Because of certain habits, mental disposition and experiences, I found that some lessons are more difficult to learn than others. Nevertheless, I took these important lessons and applied them to everyday living and I pray daily for the strength of the Holy Spirit to enable me to succeed and overcome my weaknesses.

Read these verses and others throughout the Bible. Some lessons are taught repetitively, which means God really needs us to learn and understand. Let’s pray daily for the power of God to help us to follow his will and to live up to the reasonable expectations He has for us.

Two sardonyx stones were fixed in settings of gold on the High Priest's shoulders; one on the right, and one on the left. The names of the tribes of Israel were engraved upon these two stones, according to the instructions of the verse: "And you shall take two sardonyx stones, and engrave upon them the names of the children of Israel; there shall be six names on one stone, and six names on the second stone in the order of their birth." (Ex. 28:9-10)
So on the shoulder of the High Priest, on each side of his shoulder one stone with six names on each shoulder, bearing the twelves tribes of Israel, and not only their names were on these stones but their date of birth.
"With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: that shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold." {Exodus 28:11}
'like the engravings of a signet' a signet ring is what a King uses to Seal things with, his imprint is at the top of the ring, and he presses it in wax and or ink and Seals it.
Some of the meanings of the word 'engrave' in Hebrew it is called in word 'pethach' which means - to open wide (lit and fig) to loosen, i.e. door (gate) to cause to flow, to draw a sword, and to solve[a riddle], we must pay close attention to what it means to engrave something, it is to set forth something and this is one of the reason why God said, no tool must be laid on any altar dedicated to Him, as to carve something in the altar with an engraver tool. This engraving that was ordered by the Lord was the physical Sealing of the twelve tribes of Israel, what is in Revelation 7:1-8, "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God [in their foreheads."] IN THEIR FOREHEADS, because it has to do with the mind, the Remembrance and Acceptance of Truth,is the Spiritual Sealing of 'Truth, in the minds of the twelve tribes of Israel. Understand they will be Sealed by Truth, a message of Truth that will come to them. ' "He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true." {John 3:33}
Let's look at 'The Two Sardonyx Stones' carried on the High Priest shoulder. These Sardonyx are Purple, and set in gold.
"Remembrance Stones"
The Bible calls these two stones "remembrance stones," as it is written, "And you shall place the two stones on the two shoulder pieces of the ephod as remembrance stones for the children of Israel. And Aaron shall carry their names before G-d on his two shoulders as a remembrance." {Exodus 28:12} The Purple stones that the names were written on are called Remembrance stones.
"…Produce fruit worthy of repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.…" {Matthew 3:8-10}

"Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee."
- ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:22‬‬ KJV

In the English Standard Version, the same verse says:
"Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The scripture is loaded with examples of the God either directly fighting battles in behalf of His people, or sending them into battle while strengthening them to make them victorious. There are also examples of Israel going into battle without the Lord's blessing on some occasions and either won with heavy casualties or lost miserably.

The same is also true with sin. We are in a battle against evil forces of Satan who himself manipulates people into doing things. He is also powerful, but unlike God, he can never be victorious as long as God is on your side. We can be made victorious if we do as the children of Israel did when they fought the battle of Jericho, and that is to follow God's instructions and put all our trust in God's strength rather than do it ourselves. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans‬ ‭8:37‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Today's Bible reading selected by YouVersion.com:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37 KJV.

After reading this Bible verse, the question to answer is: In what things are we more than conquerors? Let's look back at the two previous Bible verses, for there lies the answer.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Romans 8:35-36 KJV

Paul the Apostle is saying that when we find ourselves in tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness (we can probably include homelessness since the lack of clothes is often accompanied with it), peril, or sword (meaning war), or find ourselves being readied for certain death like cattle being shipped off to a slaughter mill, we are still beyond victorious because we who are saved through Jesus Christ are living in the love of God. Verses 38 and 39 tell us that absolutely nothing will separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ the Lord. For those of us who have genuinely accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life, this is a promise we can hang our hats on. In the name of Jesus, amen!! :-)

What many don't understand especially Seventh day Adventist is how Jews would be Sealed in God's Church? Because this is the Church that the Prophet said, STRIVE WITH ALL YOUR POWER TO BE AMONG THE 144000.

"Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven."--Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.

To understand this we must know the history of the scattering of the tribes of Israel.
The Last straw that caused God to scatter the tribes of Israel was "Idolatry" and to know this we must study the Old Testament. Let no one tell you we don't need the Old Testament, this is why the world is in confusion today.

Text study : 2 KINGS 17TH CHAPTER

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