WINGS OF CHANGE

Loving Seniors

What is the Christian Faith All About?  Exactly, what does it mean to be a Christian? 
The Christian faith is all about a man named Jesus.
The term "Christian"  was first used in the book of Acts 11:26.  Christians are the people of God.  Christians, in the book of Revelations 1:6, are called a "royal race".  A long time ago, evil entered into paradise and paradise, along with mankind living there, were lost.  In order for things to be set right, paradise had to be redeemed.  This is what our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did.  The shedding of  His Blood, along with His three-year ministry, set us free and gave us an earthly example of how to have compassion, how to remain steadfast, how to forgive, and most of all how to love one another.

In Acts 11, it is recorded that the Gentiles (pagans or non-Israelites), received the word of God.  It is in this book that a new and better movement begins.  People are converting to Christianity in record numbers.  Paul and Barnabas are teaching and preaching at Antioch.  They taught there for a whole year and these disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Christianity is all about faith.  Having faith in God, in mankind, in oneself, in the earth, and most of all in the sovereignty of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was dead but now lives and reigns.

Do I Have to Have a Lot of Money to Be a Member of a Church?
As time passes by, more and more churches are placing a tremendous amount of emphasis on raising money; even to the point of having members of the congregation to sign contracts or annual pledges.  We must not feel threaten or intimidated by these tactics.  God requires us to give the tithe (10%) from our increases.  These are the first fruits of the pay from our labor.  We should also give what are called "free will offerings".  Offerings given because we have a surplus.  These would include giving to the benevolent offering, special days, giving efforts, etc.  God desires that we give freely and from the heart.  And the song is so very true, you cannot beat God's giving.

Giving is a spiritual law.  The very act itself will cause you to be blessed.  People who know the Lord and love the Lord are true givers.  They know that God gave us His very best, His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  That gift to us alone is reason for us to strive to give all that we can to further the Great Commission mandated by Jesus which is to go into all the world and preach the gospel that others might be saved.

So, find a church you love and give God what is required based on what you have.
 
What is tithing?  Do I have to tithe?
The word "tithe" means a tenth or 10%.  Would a man rob God?  Yes, in tithes and offerings (Malachi 3 beginning with verse 8).  Notice the word "rob" being used in this scripture.  To not tithe and give free-will offerings is tantamount to holding God up and greedily taking that part that belongs to Him, the tithe.

Why pay the tithe?  If God owns everything anyhow, why does He need a tenth.  You answered the question--yes, God owns everything so even the tenth is His; but to God tithing is an act of faith which He will lovingly reward.  You see, God wants to open up the windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing based on your faith in Him to provide your every need.

Do I have to tithe?  A loving God takes no pleasure in forced servitude; so, no, one does not HAVE to tithe.  We are free moral agents and can do what we darn well please and most of us do just that.  But as with most things, there are costs associated with disobeying.  If you disobey civil law you could land in jail.  If you disobey your parents, you could be punished.  If you disobey the rules of the job, you risk being fired.  If you disobey the will of God, the costs are much higher with the ultimate one being the loss of YOU.

Why are there so many denominations?

When you view the link below, you will notice that the number of different sects of religion is mind boggling.  Plus today, you have many churches who consider themselves non-denominational. Why so many?  How are they different?  How does a person choose?

There are so many because of one simple reason---varying points of view by religious leaders.  For example, the Protestant religion was given life when Martin Luther of Germany tacked his 95 Theses on the door of the church at Wittenburg.  The document denounced many of the practices by the Catholic Church.  Leaders differ in ways pertaining to sacraments, rituals, day of worship, forms of preaching, forms of singing, and forms of praise. 

Know this, denominations are of no consequence to Christ.  He will return for the true church--those that believe on Him.  We believe you must choose your place of worship based on these two(2) criteria...
(1)  Do they recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Risen Saviour; the Messiah; the Son of God?; and does the church conduct itself in line with Christ's teachings?

(2)  Is the Bible the definitive book of teaching; of deriving life's principles?

If a church meets these sincerely, and is a pleasant and loving place to be; then we believe you will be in good company.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Go to http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion_and_Spirituality/Faiths_and_Practices/Christianity/Denominations_and_Sects/   for a more information on the different denominations.
 
Why do I need to attend Bible Study and Sunday School?
As Christians, we want to show ourselves approved; and not be as Job is described in Job 34 as a man who speaks without knowledge and his words were without wisdom.  Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs teaches us to receive instruction and not silver and choose knowledge over gold.  The lips of the wise disperse knowledge.  Prudent men and women will always seek knowledge.  The lips that speak knowledge are described by the Bible as a precious jewel.  Isaiah 33 says that wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of the times and strength of salvation.  Jeremiah 3:15 says that pastors will be given which shall feed us with knowledge and understanding.  Hosea says that the people were destroyed for a lack of knowledge and if the knowledge of God is rejected; then He will reject thee.

Bible Study and Sunday School are set aside by the Christian church for the purpose of teaching God's will to His people.  God is knowledge.  God is supreme intelligence.  There is no wisdom without the knowledge of God. These teaching sessions are vital to the Christian.  They help to strengthen our faith, to get to know God personally, to learn from the mistakes that others made, and to answer very difficult questions such as how did we come to be and why are we here; why do we grow old and die.  You can have studied the Bible for 27 years and still get new revelations each time you read it.  The verses of Scripture have been described as each being "pregnant" with knowledge.  The teachings of the Bible are tried and true and have withstood the test of time.

Should I worship on Saturday or Sunday?
Contrary to popular belief the seventh day of the week, referred to as the Sabbath, is not a Jewish day.  God established the Sabbath at the end of creation as a day of rest.  This occurred long before Judah, a son of Israel, was born.  The word Jew is a nickname for the descendants of Judah.  Christians profess to worshipping on Sunday because it is viewed as the New Testament Lord's Day and also mainly out of tradition.

God made, blessed, and sanctified the Sabbath which is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.  He set it aside and made it holy (Exodus 20:11).  God gave Moses the ten commandments one of which being "remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy".  Is is very important to keep the Sabbath?  Of course, it is.  Our God does not change.  The seventh day of the week should be observed by resting from one's labor and letting the mind rest on the miracle of the creation and the one true living God; and remember the words of Jesus that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  Therefore, it is good to do good at all times, even on the holy day of rest.

Worship any day you please, serve the Lord every day, and remember to keep the Sabbath holy.

What is the turmoil in the Middle East all about?
Jerusalem is the most important city in the world.  It is laid claim to by the world's three foremost monotheistic religions--Christianity, Judaism, Islam; and they all honor Abraham as the Patriarch.  Scripture shows that the region surrounding it—the Middle East—will eventually explode into world war.  The Middle East has been in constant turmoil for decades. Many who are following world news wonder what will happen next, and what the final outcome will be. Yet, very few realize that Bible prophecy explains in advance the earthshaking events that will lead to greater disasters in the region—and ultimately to World War III!

The Bible outlines end-time events leading up to Jesus Christ’s return. What happens in the Middle East, as His return draws near, will affect your life and the lives of everyone on earth. Understanding those events will help you to take action for your family’s welfare. You can escape the prophesied disasters and judgments (Luke 21:36) upon a warring and God-defying world. 

The Middle East seems to bring the world a constant stream of bad news. Bible prophecy shows that this bad news will continue until Jesus Christ’s return. But once the world survives "Armageddon" in the Middle East, a time of good news will follow. Jerusalem will then live up to its name: "City of Peace." A Millennium of peace and prosperity is coming, under the rulership of the Messiah. As King of kings, Jesus Christ will rule the earth from Jerusalem with justice and righteousness, and all nations on earth will learn a new way of life—the way to peace.  But first, the Middle East must pass through the difficult times ahead. 

Arabs and Israelis have been at war since the modern state of Israel was established. Peace has often been proclaimed in the region, but has never been realized. More than 25 years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat gave hope to the world, flying to Israel to offer a dramatic overture of peace, the process he hoped to encourage has stalled, if not stopped. At present, there is little human prospect for lasting peace among Middle East nations. 

To understand the present Middle East conflict, we need to understand the history of those in conflict—the Jews and the Arabs. Historians often note the "family" relationship between these two peoples; some call them "cousins" because both trace their roots to the great patriarch Abraham. 

Judaism, Christianity and Islam all honor Abraham as one of their patriarchs. Calling him "Religion’s Superstar," a Time magazine feature article asked: "Abraham changed history by espousing just one God, and is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians. Can this crossover biblical hero help heal the world?" (Sept. 30, 2002, p. 5).

The answer is: not in this age! But in tomorrow’s world, Abraham as "heir of the world" (Romans 4:13) under Jesus Christ, and as one of the saints in God’s kingdom, will help teach the way to peace when all nations will come to Jerusalem (see Isaiah 2:2–4). 

In the 19th century BC, the Creator God began to work with Abraham (then called "Abram"). God tested his faith many times, even promising him a son in his old age—a promise that seemed to be delayed.  Abram’s wife Sarai, unable to bear children, encouraged Abram to have a child through her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. Eighty-six years old when the child was born, Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son whom Hagar bore (Genesis 16:15–16). The majority of Arabs today trace their ancestry back to Ishmael and Abraham. 

When Abram was 99 years old, God made a covenant with Abram that he would be "a father of many nations." God then changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning "father of a multitude." God promised that Abraham and Sarai, whose name was changed to Sarah, would have a son named Isaac. God said to Abraham: "I will establish my covenant with him [Isaac] for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him" (Genesis 17:19). One of Isaac’s grandsons, Judah, would be the progenitor of the Jews, who now occupy the modern land called Israel.

After Isaac was born, Sarah insisted that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. Sarah said to Abraham: "Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac" (Genesis 21:10). Abraham was very upset at this request, but God told Abraham: "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet, I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed" (Genesis 21:12–13). 

The envy and rivalry between these two people continues to this day. Another dimension that helps explain today’s ongoing conflict is the rivalry between Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac. Esau was the firstborn, and the heir of the family birthright. But in time of hunger, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. Later, Jacob disguised himself as Esau and deceived his aging father Isaac into giving him the birthright blessing (see Genesis 25; 27). What was Esau’s reaction? "So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob’" (Genesis 27:41).  

This bitter rivalry would continue throughout history. Esau is also called Edom (see Genesis 36). The Edomites intermarried with the Ishmaelites, beginning with Esau himself (see Genesis 28:9). The descendents of these peoples continued to be in conflict with Israel. The leading tribe of Edom, the Amalekites, continually harassed Israel (see Exodus 17). God said that He would have "war with Amalek from generation to generation" (Exodus 17:16). 

One of the Psalms also confirms both historically and prophetically that Edom, Ishmael and Amalek are joined in a confederacy against Israel. "They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You: the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot. Selah" (Psalm 83:4–8)

Source:  The Bible & Tomorrow's World Literature

How Do We Know The Bible Is Correct?
First, we believe God's Word is true as a matter of FAITH.
According to 2 Timothy 3:16, we learn that all scripture is given to us by the inspiration of GOD himself.  The words of the scripture, although written by the hand of men, were not of their own doing because they wrote as the were "moved by the HOLY SPIRIT" (2 Peter 1:20-21).

It is difficult for people who are unsaved to accept the Bible as God's Word because they view it from the physical side instead of the spiritual eye.  To some people, God's Word seems foolish to them.  The Bible will never be accepted by those who are still in the flesh, one must be in the spirit.  To be in the spirit, is to accept Jesus Christ and open up your heart to Him and beseech Him to open your eyes spiritually that you may see and accept the Ultimate Truth about our existence and our relationship to God the Father.

Secondly, people want to know who wrote the Bible.  Some mistakenly say King James of England.  King James did not write the Bible.  He authorized the Greek and Hebrew versions of the Bible to be translated into English.  The scholars began their work in 1607 and completed it in 1610.  King James ordered that their completed work become the "authorized" version or the official translation to be used, since all scholars agreed to its accuracy.

The King James Version of the Bible is by far our favorite; however, many people find the Old English of thee and thou difficult to read.  It is certainly okay to change "thee to you", "thou to your", "ye to you", and eliminate the "eth" on the end of many words in order to have a better understanding of the text.

The Biblical Tree of Knowledge

THE
Bible has
in it 3,966,180
letters. 810,677
words, 31,175
verses. 1189 chapters
and 66 books.  The
longest chapter is the
119th Psalm.  The short-
est and middle chapter is
the 117th Psalm.  The middle
verse is the 8th verse of the
113th Psalm.  The longest name
is in the 8th chapter of Isaiah,
verse 1, and contains 18 letters.  The
word and occurs 40,627 times; the word
Lord 1,855 times.  The 37th chapter of
Isaiah and the 19th chapter of II Kings
are alike.  The longest verse is Esther 8:9;
the shortest verse is John 11:35.  In Ezra
7:21 are all the letters of the alphabet except
the letter j.  The finest piece of reading is Acts
25th chapter.  The name of God is not found in Esther.
The Bible contains knowledge, wisdom, the mind of God,
the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of the
sinner and the happiness of believers.  Its doctrines are
holy; its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and
its decisions are immutable.  It contains light to guide you,
food to support you and comfort to cheer you.  God was 2,500
years getting ready to write the Bible; 1600 years writing it; and
has been 1900 years fulfilling it.  The word "boy" occurs in the Bible
three times and the word "girl" two times.  Christ is the key to
the entire Book.  Forty men were employed in its making.  It
was written by doctors, farmers, fishers, kings, shepherds, old,
young, rich, poor, learned and unlearned.  It is the traveler's
map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass and the
soldier's sword.  Do not neglect your Bible.  It is a
mine of wealth and health to the soul and a river of
pleasure.  It is given to you in this life and will
be opened to you at the judgment, and it is
established forever.  If you want a crown of
rejoicing when Jesus returns to earth again,
read your Bible and lead lost souls to
Christ, and you will have a rich reward
when He comes.  II Timothy 2:15
is the key that will unlock the
 sacred Book to you.
Read,
hear,
keep
what it con-
tains and
you will always
be happy and prosper-
ous.  Revelation 1:3

How Does Satan Get His Followers?
When most people think of "satanic worship", they picture small groups of demented, wild-eyed people, weirdly dressed, chanting in odd languages, during which animals are sacrificed.  Those, however, are only the most visible vile worshipers under Satan's influence.  In fact, as in the biblical book of Genesis, we know that Satan is usually far more subtle and cunning in how he draws people away from Christ and his attack upon the church.

Satan knows a great deal about God's plan for humanity.  Even though the scriptures call him the "god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4)", he and his demons know that they have a limited time to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). 

In the biblical book of Luke, chapter 4, Jesus is tempted by Satan when he is perhaps at one of his most vulnerable moments.  Jesus has been fasting and praying in the wilderness for forty days and nights in preparation for his ministry.  During this time, Satan offers him comfort, wealth, and power.  However, Jesus knows who feeds him; Jesus knows who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and Jesus knows who is not only omnipotent, but is omniscient and omnipresent--he is not fooled by Satan's tactics and rebukes him with the Word.  Satan and his demons also tempts us in our weakest hour to do wrong, but we must remain steadfast keeping all hope in Christ and walking by faith.

Satan often appears as a pleasant form like an angel of light when he seeks to deceive.  Because of his deception, many who think they are following a lamb are in fact following a wolf.  Many leaders have tried to justify or mask their evil deeds with scripture.  Many others do the same with each man leaning to his own view of what is just and right.  But Jesus Christ taught that we are to keep the commandments of God--loving God with our whole hearts, minds, and bodies; and loving others as we love ourselves.

Do not let yourself be deceived!  Be sure that you are obeying the teachings of Jesus Christ and not falling under the sway of a lawless impostor!  Remember the Jim Jones--South American catastrophe!

                                                                                                    Resource:  Tomorrow's World Magazine (February 2010)


THE CHRIST BELL
I KNOW WHO I AM
I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ.  (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3 :20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God  (2 Cor 1:21-22 )
I am assured all things work together for good  (Rom. 8:28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13 )
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16).   I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).. I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven ( Col 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
Who you are?



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