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  July, 2013
Have you ever wondered why God created us? And why did He endow us with all the good graces, like love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Instead we are full of so many inner conflicts, and such a need to fulfill all our selfish needs, even to the destruction of others at times.
      No one knows the mind of God, but it is quite evident that He had a plan and the plan was in His mind and heart before the worlds were formed.
      There is much evidence in the writings of the old prophets that God had created BEFORE the time of Adam. Satan and all the angelic beings were most certainly created eons of time before the earth was created. The Bible speaks of a war in Heaven, satan being cast out and taking with him a great host of what became fallen angels or demons. His kingdom and throne was cast out, but as the book of Job shows, satan still has access to the heavens where he appears before God. “. . . for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:10
      Satan is still there, accusing when he chooses to; only his accusations fall on deaf ears, because all God has to do it point to the sacrificial death of His Son, which covers all who claim the name of Jesus Christ. Christ died in our place and took all our rotten humanity upon Himself. And because of that, we are covered.
      So considering the great power and intellect of God, I doubt very much that He has spent eternity doing nothing. God through the timeless ages created and re-created worlds we know little, if anything about. We see a little glimpse through the work of archeologists with their finds of pre-historic creatures. But the day came when God’s plan for something special began. God said, “Let US make man in OUR image according to OUR likeness.” (Genesis 1:26-27) Notice that the words “US,” “OUR,” (and “OUR” again) are all plural, meaning that more than one Person is speaking. This is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit speaking – the “Triune God,” Three, yet One. The Trinity is something that no person should try to explain.
      All we need to know is that God was in Christ when Jesus walked the earth. And speaking of Christ, the Bible says: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth.” (Colossians 1:16) So Christ was the creative force in creation, yet God is called the Creator of all things. This is not a contradiction because they are One.
      So man was created and given a body, soul and spirit, unlike animals who have body and soul but not the spirit, and are not capable as man is of communication and a relationship with God.
      We were given a free will, and this is the part that I both love and hate. Without that free will this world may have been a very wonderful place, everyone happy and content, going about their business with no conflicts and only peace everywhere. Without free will, everyone would be content to live a life pleasing their Father in Heaven, and pleasing only Him, with God being the focus and the focus not being on pleasing ourselves. That’s life without the free will.
      But God chose to create a superior being in HIS image, WITH a free will. He wanted us to be able to CHOOSE ourselves whether or not we loved Him and wanted to serve Him. The choice has always been between serving ourselves and all our wants, or choosing God’s way in all you do.
      Adam and Eve, with some encouragement from the “evil one,” chose to please themselves. God had made a covenant with Adam, and it was very simple: Adam was to care for the garden and to eat the fruit of all the trees, except for one. It seems to be part of our nature to want what we can’t have, especially if we are told that we can’t have it. The Bible tells how God walked in the garden every morning and talked with Adam. It must have made God very sad that He had to throw man out of this beautiful place. God has feelings, but He obviously doesn’t indulge them to the detriment of man. He could not live with man after the fall.
     “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6) “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8) By the way, there has been a lot of discussion through the years about the Ark, and the water covering the earth, etc. The fact that Jesus spoke of Noah in Matthew 24:37, and in Luke 17:26-27, settles it for me. It did happen, just like it’s reported in Genesis.
      And the fact that God promised to never again destroy ALL flesh by a flood is proof enough. And He said: “I set my rainbow in the cloud and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between ME and EARTH.” (Genesis 9:13)
      However, man did not change. That free will of his kept him going the wrong way. They built a tower (probably trying to reach the heavens), and at the time all the earth spoke one language and were united in their desire to make a name for themselves.
      In Genesis 11:7, God says: “Come let US go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the people scattered all over the earth, God first having destroyed their plans to reach heaven. In Genesis, chapter 11, the story is told about the tower of Babel. (Genesis 11:1-9)
      After this failure of man, God found a good man in Mesopotamia named Abram. God spoke to Abram and said, “Get out of your country from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you. And I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”(Genesis 12:1-3)
      How did Abram, having grown up in a family that worshipped idols, even have the ability to know that this was the one true God speaking to him? It’s a mystery how he was the one, out of a large family, that believed. And he acted on these words from God, and left the comforts of family and home to a place far away and unknown. We read the Bible so superficially, without stopping and realizing how difficult it had to be for him. “But he believed in the Lord.” (Genesis 15:6) “. . . and He (God) accounted it to him (Abram) for righteousness.” This shows us that even in the Old Testament, faith in God is the main criteria for salvation.
      Abram had a son, Isaac, and Isaac produced twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob had faith in God and Esau did not. Jacob became the father of the twelve sons who later formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Of those twelve, Joseph was probably the only one who had a true faith, the kind of faith that is backed up with appropriate ACTION.
      In every age God has chosen a man to lead and guide the people and the nation He has chosen. Moses was given the Law, the oracles of God. Even though they were a chosen people they often forgot that and did the easy thing, which was worship idols and pick up on the behavior of the other nations living around them.
      They wanted a king like the other nations had, so God gave them Saul, who was a total failure. Then David, who God referred to as “a man after My [God’s) own heart.” (1st Samuel 13:14 & Acts 13:22) David followed all the ways of God, but after his death the following kings did not. Some were very evil. Others tried to bring the worship of the true God back to the nation, but they were never completely successful.
      God sent prophets to warn of His judgment and when the nation was judged they often turned back to God. But true repentance never lasted.
      Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? How often we cry out to God when we are in some desperate situation. If we have a financial need, or are sick, or afraid, God is usually the first word out of our mouth. But then when all is going well, He is far from our thoughts. Humanity has not changed through the ages and God knows that.
      No one talks about the wrath of God anymore. From the pulpits of today you hear little about this, but rather we are told God is Love and He blesses us. Yes, God is Love, and the fact is without Him there is no love at all. But there were times in the Old Testament days when He was ready to destroy the entire nation of Israel, and that would have been millions of people. In Exodus and Deuteronomy we are told how God would have started all over again with Moses, and had it not been for Moses’ pleading with God, it might have happened. (Deuteronomy (9:18-19, Exodus 32:11-14)
      There is no true Power but God. He is all the power there is. Satan tried to take that power and was cast out of the heavens. Adam took the word of satan over God’s Word and was cast out of the garden. He lost all that he had, that wonderful life in the garden, and the peace all humanity long for, all lost.
      The Old Testament ends with a warning which seems to prove that humanity had to be forced to worship God. They never became aware of His power and holiness, and of His great wisdom and love toward us all.
      God tested Job very severely and Job, at the end of all his questions and arguments, came to a place which was pleasing to God. Job said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye see You. Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)
      The meaning of abhor is to detest, to shrink from in horror. We are taught today that we should love ourselves, forgive ourselves, etc. The fact is the self in every person is not acceptable to God. It is the sinful nature we were born with because of Adam. The closer you come to God, the more aware you will be of the great gulf between His nature and ours.
      Paul the Apostle called himself the “chiefest of sinners.” It’s only the area of your life that’s given to God and filled with His Spirit that can be acceptable. We were all condemned, and we all needed a Savior. No one could pay the penalty for us, except the Son of God. Jesus lived a sinless life and He was tempted in every way as we are, yet He was without sin. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
      We were created in the image of God. What an honor! We were meant to be a special race and to be God’s friend. But we were a fallen race in need of rescue.
      If Jesus had only died and not risen from the grave, we would still be lost and in need of being saved. But the same Power which raised Christ from the dead will also raise us from the dead. We have a hope of eternal life.
      -Margaret




2 Quotes from Oswald Chambers:

“The essence of Christianity is that we give the Son of God a chance to live and move and have His being in us, and the meaning of all spiritual growth is that He has an increasing opportunity to manifest Himself in our mortal flesh.”
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“Spiritual maturity is not reached by the passing of the years, but by obedience to the will of God. Some people mature into an understanding of God’s will more quickly than others because they obey more readily; they more readily sacrifice the life of nature to the will of God; they more easily swing clear of little determined opinions. It is these little determined opinions, convictions of our own that won’t budge, that hinder growth in grace and makes us bitter and dogmatic, intolerant, and utterly un-Christlike.”




July, 2013 News Notes

It’s been a while since we since we last had any news notes. Our thinking is that those of you who write to us do get the news, for the most part; and since space is so valuable, it is better spent on the messages.
     
      Anyway, there’s been a lot going on around here: Brian is walking much better and getting stronger. He still goes to therapy and rehab classes almost every day. Gail has to go to work early so Shirley has been Brian’s chauffer. She does not mind at all that she’s needed for this. We all need to feel needed.
     
      Rodney has been working with Gary (our neighbor), the master plumber. They have been pretty busy. It’s nice to see that people are building houses again. At least this has been the case in our area.
     
      I have spent a lot of time in the yard, mostly pulling weeds. Why do they grow at least ten times faster than the flowers? It must be that they are a result of God’s curse on Adam, and being a curse they remind me of the devil, who makes it much easier to do evil than to do good.
     
      As you all must know by now, Jay’s house burned down the day after Christmas last year. Since then he has been living in Brian & Gail’s basement. We found him a nice “5th Wheel” RV that we’re going to have delivered next week. Walnut & Rodney have been putting in all the utilities (water, sewer, gas, electric, etc.) and are nearly finished. But there is so much digging and they are doing it by hand. Jay hired them because he is “allergic” to shovels and digging, and besides, Walnut is somewhat of a “master digger.”
     
     We are enjoying a nice summer, although we could use rain again. We went thru a couple of weeks of heat (low 90’s), but nothing like we experienced this time last summer. Usually we are burning up by July 4th. Here it is, the first week of July, and we’re enjoying temperatures around 80 degrees.
     
      Here are a couple of pictures of my wild flowers:
      -Margaret














Prayer Requests for July, 2013
For Willie Clark (Lubbock, TX) who has been receiving chemotherapy for 8 months. He just learned that the cancer has spread to his lungs.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). After all the years and all the court rulings, the judge has ordered another new trial for Frank.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas). His custody level was lowered last month and now he asks everyone to pray that it will be lowered again soon.
For Tammy Daetwiler (Oklahoma) who is recovering from a stroke.
For Jamie Workman’s (Holdenville, Oklahoma) Mom who has Alzheimer’s disease.
For Robert Russell’s (Sumner, Illinois) Mom, Billie Rose, for health.
For Michael Small’s (Illinois) step mother Suzanne. She is still being treated for vision problems.
For Dennis Martin (Lexington, Oklahoma) who is being treated for heart disease.
For Jimmy Huff (Colorado City, Texas), for health.
For William Holland (Joliet, Illinois), for health.
For John Crutcher (in Oklahoma) who needs a liver transplant.
For Johnny Carruthers (Florence, Arizona) who has a few health issues.
For Anthony Grayson (Elmira, New York), that his health gets better, and that he finds legal assistance.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & the Carmelite nuns in Little Rock.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Robinson, Illinois), to keep his healing and stay cancer free. (His lung cancer has been in remission since 1998.)
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.

American Christian Pastor arrested in Iran
Excerpt from Foxnews.com:

Saeed Abedini, the 33-year-old Idaho resident serving an eight-year prison term in Tehran's infamous Evin prison for his Christian faith, left behind two young children and his wife Naghmeh, who has been tirelessly telling his story to various media outlets and testifying before government officials in hopes that her husband will soon come home. He reportedly has suffered serious injuries, including internal bleeding from brutal prison beatings and torture. On May 21, regime officials hauled away Pastor Robert Asserian while services were under way. They have not told parishioners where he is being held.

After spending months imprisoned without any notice of charges, Abedini was sentenced in January to eight years in prison, as his family and attorneys continued to press the State Department and other public and private groups to help win his release. The American Center for Law and Justice last week met with State Department officials after noting U.S. diplomats had not issued a single press release demanding Abedini's release

While Armenians can openly practice Christianity in Iran, Christians who converted from Islam are forbidden to do so. The government has traditionally confiscated Christian prayer literature written in Persian and is now shutting down the country’s largest Persian-speaking church in an effort to stop conversion from Islam.

Some estimates quote the number of Iranian Christians, mostly converts from Islam, at about 100,000, in a nation of 75 million.





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