Missions: Teaching God’s Plan for Marriage

After a two-year absence, Susan and Gail are committed to another seminar for Philip’s ministry in Myanmar. We are very excited about being reunited with our friends and about bringing them the special teaching we have planned for November.

This year, Pastor Philip has asked for a specific teaching: God’s Plan for Marriage. In a couple of prior teachings over there, we have looked at God’s Role for Woman in His Universe. These were both well-received, and now Philip is wanting a workshop designed for married couples on the principles of marriage according to the Bible.

There will be some additional expense due to transporting both husbands and wives that will be traveling in from the remote areas. We thank everyone who has already contributed to our latest effort. We are moving toward the goal, but still have far to go.

Please consider the role that God would have you play in getting this “Building a Lasting Marriage on Biblical Principles” teaching to these indigenous peoples.

We do not want to be a burden on the special few, but are praying for a wide base of support. The broader the support base, the more hearts that are praying and pulling for a successful ministry. God will bless even the smallest gift. We just want you as a part of our team.

You may mail checks to WWI, PO Box 33178, Tulsa 74153

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Bible Study: Sunday Worship

There is much debate down through the ages as to whether believers should congregate for communal worship on the seventh day – Saturday – or first day – Sunday.

Historical evidence supports the first day Sunday experience, but some believers still feel the Old Testament rules for the seventh-day Saturday worship have not been rescinded.

In this Bible study, we invite you to check the scriptures and determine for yourself if Christians are in violation of God’s law when they choose Sunday corporate worship over Saturday.

□ Read the following texts and indicate from each when the early church met for corporate worship. John 20:19 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 Acts 20:7 □ Read Acts 15:28-29. Note what is specifically commanded of the demands that should be made on Gentile believers, and what is not mentioned.

□ Compare the verses above. Do you see any mention of the believers meeting for worship on the seventh-day Saturday, or just on the first-day Sunday. What might you conclude from that?

□ Read John 20:1. What is significant about the first-day Sunday for the Christian believer?

□ Read Colossians 2:16. NOTE: No where in scripture does God command Gentile Christian believers to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. What does He say in Colossians 2:16 that relates to their freedom regarding the Sabbath?

Believers are to worship Jesus every day. But God also wants all who love Him to come together as the body of Christ in corporate worship on a regular basis as well. The particular day of the week is not important.

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Words of Wisdom: There Are False Prophets Among Us

Throughout the history of God’s people, there have been legitimate concerns over the presence of false teachers and false prophets among the Church.

Today is no exception.

The Apostle John speaks to the issue in his first epistle, in which he calls believers of the early Church to return to the basics of Christianity. His were dangerous days for the Church, which was under attack from multiple sides, including from within its own ranks.

The Apostle Paul had warned about such invasions in his day (Acts 20:28-31), and John was now seeing Paul’s words come to fruition. The prevailing philosophies of the day were creeping into the Truth of God’s word and creating a heresy so close to the truth that it was difficult for the people to detect.

In the passage 1 John 2:18-27 the author writes:

Dear children, this is the last hour and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come… They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:29

How can we be prepared for — and on our guard against — the savage wolves when they twist, distort and butcher the word of God?

How do we protect ourselves from their deceit and trickery? How do we spot them from within our own midst when they look so much like us?

We simply claim the promise of Jude 24. We learn to lean on the Lord to keep us from falling and to bring us into His presence. We are not on our own; we have a heavenly Father who is faithful to complete that which He started in us.

He’s not going to turn loose now just because the going gets tough. He is there and He will be there for us. Always.

In 1 John 2:24, the author warns:

See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.

God is going to keep His promises to us. He always does, because He is a promise-keeping Lord.

The one thing that we can do to help ourselves is — as John reminds us — to keep the teachings we have learned in mind and so remain in the Son and in the Father.

After all, we have the assurance of our salvation.

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Words of Encouragement: The Promise of Jude 24

In a book filled with dark passages of evil, immorality, false teachers and more, God addresses believers and their call to remain faithful. In other words, no matter how ugly things get in the world, God is always there to remind His remnant of who they are and what they have in Christ.

In verse 24 of the book of Jude, the author gives the glory to God with these words: “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.” (NLT)

How magnanimous of the Lord that even in the midst of a sin escalating world, God’s children are promised that He will keep them from falling away! It’s incredible.

No matter the pull that sin has against us — sometimes stronger than we can think we can handle — God refuses to let the true believer remain in sin.

In fact, if we do remain in sin, it’s probably time for a salvation check! According to the promise of Jude 24, God keeps us from falling and brings us into His presence with great joy and no fault to our credit.

In our present days here on earth, He looks at us as if we have no sin because He has covered us with the blood of Jesus. But when we stand before Him in heaven our sinlessness becomes a reality.

Not a single fault, flaw or sin will be present in us from that point forward. It’s hard to imagine such a reality, but it is there nonetheless. All we have to do is simply claim the promise of Jude 24! And remain faithful to the Lord God Almighty.

He will keep us from falling and will bring us with great joy into His presence without a single fault. As we keep this His promise foremost in our minds, sin will lessen in our lives and the God that is greater than us will increase!

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Christian Living: Are Believers Becoming Numb To Sin?

The nation of Israel was exiled to Babylon for a period of 70 years. At the end of that time, God directed the pagan king Cyrus to order some of the exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

Years later, the scribe Ezra – who was well versed in the Mosaic Law – returned to his homeland to teach the Law to the people there. One of these laws forbade intermarriage with the Gentiles.

Following their exile, many of the Hebrews (including priests and Levites) had not complied with the Law by keeping themselves separate from the pagans. Ezra’s reaction to the realization of what was going on is significant.

In Ezra 9:3-4 we hear the words of the scribe Ezra. “When I heard this, I tore my cloak and my shirt, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel came and sat with me because of this outrage committed by the returned exiles. And I sat there utterly appalled until the time of the evening sacrifice.”

We might ask ourselves, when was the last time we were “utterly shocked and appalled” upon learning of one sin or another. For some, it’s been a long time. And we could never say what Ezra goes on to say:

“O My God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you.”

Sadly, the world and the Church have largely ignored sin to the point that people eventually fail to recognize it. At the present, it takes some horrendous criminal act to create much shock-value at all. But unfortunately, given enough time, even those types of sin will become less recognizable and less offensive.

Ezra’s reaction to the people’s disobedience to the word of God is convicting to believers today.

If we love God as we should, our reaction will be equivalent to that of Ezra – appalled and utterly shocked by the sin that rages around us. Incidentally, Ezra was not talking about the sin of the unbeliever, but of the believer.

As believers, we need to be utterly ashamed of our lackadaisical view of sin. We must repent and ask the Father to give us courage to obey His Word so that we can be effective witnesses to all those around us.

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Christian Living: How To Do Something Amazing

One of the few television shows that I enjoy is “So You Think You Can Dance.” I was particularly impressed recently by the performance of a young hip-hop dancer named “Fix-tion” who had no formal dance training at all.

Fix-tion was given a contemporary dance to perform with a partner — both completely new to him. No one expected to see Fix-tion perform adequately in either of these new dimensions. They were sorely mistaken.

Choreographer, judges and audience rose to their feet at the end of Fix-tion and his partner’s routine. The performance was intense, dramatic and technically superb. Far, far beyond anyone’s expectations. Even Fix-tion’s.

It was sheer joy to watch Fix-tion’s reaction to his own personal accomplishment. Amazement radiated on his face. Choked up beyond words. He had done something far beyond what he ever dreamed he could do.

This is how it feels to accomplish a task for the Lord when you are quite sure you do not have the natural ability or the training to do that very thing. But that is what is so incredible about it. God does all the work.

Yes, He expects you to put in your homework, but if He has called you to the task, He will give you whatever you need to get the job done. You’ll amaze yourself. And you will be so excited to know that you have done something really well.

I will never forget the first time He called me to substitute for another teacher. I had never been comfortable before a group of people, and I certainly didn’t consider myself very versed in scripture. But it went well.

God saw to it that I was able to overcome my fear and listen to Him!

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Missions: Why Go to Lands Overseas?

Christians sometimes question why we should go on short-term mission trips to third-world countries after a church has been established there, and we are sending financial support to that particular body of believers.

Why not just send the money for the trip for them to use. It’s simple. We go in obedience to Christ’s command to go and “make disciples of all the nations.”

It’s not just about spreading the Gospel, but about teaching and discipling new believers according to the gifts God has given us. The term “all nations” includes our neighbors across the street, across the country, and across the seas. We see the model put into practice in the book of Acts.

We know that Paul went out to accomplish things of utmost importance. We acknowledge that these things of importance included the planting of churches, the preaching of the gospel, the educating and developing of pastors. What we sometimes overlook is that Paul also went to encourage the believers and to offer them hope.

Paul encouraged and monitored their walk with the Lord. He gave correction when appropriate and loving remainders as to what they had already learned from him. In return, Paul himself experienced encouragement from the people he went to visit as he watched them grow in their love for their Savior.

We receive that same encouragement when we work with Philip and the believers in Myanmar today.

Word Within International’s main purpose in traveling overseas is to teach pastors, teachers and Bible school students how to study the Bible inductively; we are also there to offer encouragement to the saints who are living in an environment without much hope at all.

We have heard them say how they cannot believe we would travel half way around the world to a people like them, that we would care enough to encourage and to build them up in Christ. Some might say that it is enough to send money and to communicate encouragement through email and telephone.

God uses the times when we go (even though costly in time and expenses) to encourage those we go to and in turn to receive encouragement from them. It is not likely an email or a phone conversation is going to be as effective.

Nothing substitutes for worshipping together, praying and studying His Word together. Both Paul and Jesus were always on the go to minister to others. They are the example we aim to follow at Word Within International

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Missions: Ministry Updates

YGBS started the new school year the first week in June with 42 students.

This exceeds the enrollment of most other Bible schools in the city. God is continuing to bless Philip’s ministry with abundant participation in his programs.

“My prayer at this time,” Philip explains, “is that we the teachers will be helped by the Holy Spirit to set an example worth following in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

Teachers and students will take a mission trip to the Mindat area at the end of July for the purpose of encouraging students to enter the field of evangelism. Students will witness to the animists who live in primitive/remote mountain areas

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Christian Living: God’s Thoughts Are Higher

In the book of Job we see his friends offering what they think is godly advice and judgment. They are all in agreement that Job has done something wrong to incur the punishment he is enduring and they chastise him to look at his life.

Job maintains his innocence throughout the book. And well he should, because it was God alone who engineered the circumstances Job found himself in. Interestingly enough, Job’s friends used godly principles to come to the conclusion that Job must have sinned. Each offered words that supported his theory and is certain beyond doubt about what he believes.

Job, however, continued to defend himself and as we know, eventually takes his case before God Almighty. It’s been noted that – even though the friends’ positions were largely theologically correct – they were not applied accurately to this particular individual in these particular circumstances.

Job’s friends are examples of people who have the ‘right’ answers but don’t understand what God is doing in a particular situation.

We have to remember that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and while it may look like someone is suffering due to sin or disobedience in his life, this is not always the case. Job was righteous and God shows his evaluation of him at the end of the book. He tells Job’s friends that they have “not spoken accurately about Him, as his servant Job has.”

Then God has Job pray for his friends and He accepts the prayer on their behalf. He also blesses Job with twice as much as he had before. We need to remember that sometimes – well-meaning as we may be – we simply do not know what God is doing in in the life of someone else.

Throughout history, God has orchestrated circumstances beyond our understanding, and they don’t always fit the model we have in mind. Sometimes it’s best to sit in silence. Sometimes it’s best not to give advice but just to sit and listen.

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Christian Living: From “Make One” To “Be One”

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:1-2

In the Old Testament, God instructs the children of Israel to sacrifice dead animals on the altar. In other words, to “make” sacrifices unto Him. In the New Testament, God modified the command to say that the believers in Jesus Christ were to offer their own bodies to God in sacrifice. In other words, to “be” a sacrifice.

There is a huge difference between the two. No longer are we to worship God with dead animal sacrifices, but now we must be more personally involved in that act of worship — by placing our own bodies figuratively speaking on the altar of life. According to the Romans passage, we should no longer conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

How do we accomplish this? By changing our behavior to no longer look like the rest of the world.

J.B. Phillips, in his well-known translation of this passage, puts it this way: “Don’t let the world…squeeze you into its mold.” Instead, we are to “renew our minds” through a variety of means.

First and foremost, we must exchange Satan’s rules for the image of God instead. We must aim to be “conformed to the likeness of [God’s] Son.” – Romans 8:29

Then we must study the Bible diligently. How else can we live according to God’s standards?

Obviously, we must first learn what those standards actually are. And finally, we need to “test and approve what God’s will is.” The idea here is that the renewed mind will discover and put into action God’s will in his life.

He will sacrifice the preferences of the human nature and choose to follow the precepts of God instead.

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