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Simple Habits Help Us Live with Purpose and Real Intent …

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Contributed ByMarianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

Start now. Live a purposeful life. Put the power of the compounding of daily disciplines in place in the important areas of your life. Brother Randall L. Ridd of the Young Men general presidency

It is through living a deliberate, focused life that we will find success and become more like our Heavenly Father, taught Brother Randall L. Ridd, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, during a recent worldwide devotional.

The compounding effect of daily disciplines, with purpose and real intent, can make a big difference in all areas of your life, he said. It can mean the difference between struggling through an ordinary life or being immensely successful and filling the measure of your creation.

Passive drifting

Having so many choices and opportunities can be a blessing and a curse. Too many choices, and the fear of making bad decisions, often lead to decision paralysis.

Too often people question whether a better option is around the corner, so they wait and choose nothing. That passive state is like being in a lifeboat with nothing but rolling waves in every direction and not knowing which way to row. A glimpse of land is needed to provide both motivation and purpose. People who dont maintain a clear sense of purpose are drifters. Drifters allow the tides of the world to decide where they are going.

The antidote for that passive state is living with purpose and real intent.

Living with purpose

Because of the gospel, we can focus on fulfilling our purpose, rather than spending our entire life trying to discover our purpose.

When Brother Ridd was trying to decide whether to serve a mission as a young man, he was enrolled in school, had a good scholarship, a girlfriend, and a good job, and was in the army. He started to think it was too late to serve a mission because he was a little older than other missionaries. He prayed to receive the answer to not go. Then the thought came to him, What does the Lord want you to do? At that time he had to decide if he was going to do what he wanted to do or what the Lord wanted him to do.

That is a question we would all do well to ask ourselves often, he said. Many times we have the attitude of Ill go where you want me to go and do what you want me to do, dear Lordas long as it is where I want to go and what I want to do.

Living with real intent

Living with real intent means understanding the why and being aware of the motives behind your actions. Socrates said, An unexamined life is not worth living. Ponder how you spend your time and ask yourself regularly, Why? This will help you develop the ability to see beyond the moment. Its far better to look ahead and ask yourself, Why would I do that? than to look back and say, Why, oh, why did I do that? If the only reason why is that God wants you to, thats reason enough.

Avoiding distractionsthe importance of focus

When we are distracted by the things of the world, we are robbed of time we could invest in doing good, plus we miss out on the spiritual world around us. We may not be able to recognize the spiritual promptings that the Holy Ghost is anxious to give us to direct our lives and to bless others. Conversely, if we focus on the things of the Spirit were less likely to be sidetracked by the temptations and distractions of the world.

The power of small things

The idea that small, simple, but purposeful acts can have dramatic consequences is supported all throughout the scriptures. There is great power in the compounding effect of little things done each day.

Small and simple things are at work in your life right nowworking either for you or against you, he said. Just as the Lord uses things to build you up, Satan uses them to distract you and lead you slowly, almost imperceptibly, off the path.

Three small and simple things that can help us look to God and maintain our eternal focus are:

Taking the sacrament


Studying the scriptures

Make regular disciplines like taking the sacrament, praying, and studying the scriptures a top priority, Brother Ridd taught.

Prophets past and present have pleaded with us to do small and simple things like praying and studying the scriptures. So why doesnt everyone do them? Perhaps one reason is that we dont necessarily see dramatic negative consequences if we miss a day or twojust as your teeth dont all decay and fall out the first time you don't brush. Most of the consequences, positive and negative, will come later, over time. But they will come.

It is through living a deliberate, focused life that individuals will find success and become more like their Heavenly Father.

Start now. Live a purposeful life. Put the power of the compounding of daily disciplines in place in the important areas of your life. I promise that in a year from now, you will either be glad you started today, or you will wish you had.

Brother Ridd spoke at the Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, which originated from the BYUIdaho Center in Rexburg, Idaho, and was broadcast via satellite throughout the world on January 11.

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Simple Habits Help Us Live with Purpose and Real Intent ...

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Home Based Employment Success – LDS Jobs

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As businesses adapt to a changing global environment, opportunities for nontraditional employment abound. Business owners and employees alike can benefit from the flexibility of home-based employment.

Home-based employment has a unique set of advantages. Flexible scheduling can allow home-based workers to work varying shifts and hours, allowing parents and others to balance the demands of home and work life. Job-related costs, such as commuting, clothing, and food, are reduced. Home-based employment can allow workers to stay in contact with a particular field to keep their skills sharp and earn supplemental income, even when workers particular circumstances do not allow for full-time, traditional employment. The ease of travel and accessibility allows individuals with disabilities to work from home. Furthermore, working from home can allow for a comfortable and casual work environment.

Working from home, however, can have drawbacks. Work hours, even if flexible, may be inconsistent or inconveniently scheduled. Creating a suitable work environment and training those in the home to respect personal work space can be a challenge. A home-based work environment often has more distractions than a traditional work environmentcustomers or other contacts might notice background noises and occurrences in the home, such as the doorbell ringing, dogs barking, or children playing.

Many home-based jobs are part-time or do not include benefits. Occasionally, home-based employees may be required to pay for some work-related costs, such as equipment or an Internet connection. Perhaps most importantly, working from home requires self-motivation and a willingness to work alone, which can be a challenge for some workers.

Succeeding in home-based work, as in any employment, requires a strong work ethic. In addition, organizational skills, time management, and adaptability can help workers get their jobs done efficiently, while good communication skills can promote healthy relationships with employers and customers. Creating a suitable work environment by minimizing distractions and by helping those in the home understand the requirements of the work will enhance an employees ability to work effectively.

Opportunities for home-based employment are widely available. Perhaps the most effective and reliable tool for finding home-based work is connecting with those you know. Approaching a current or former employer about home-based options or networking with friends and colleagues who telecommute can help you discover good and reliable work opportunities.

The Internet can also be a valuable tool for finding home-based work. An extra level of caution is required, however, as experts estimate that of the hundreds of thousands of home-based work opportunities advertised online, as many as 98 percent are not legitimate. To avoid scams, follow these tips:

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Home Based Employment Success - LDS Jobs

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General Conference Talks About leadership

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General Conference Talks About leadership

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

April 2017

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

October 2016

Ronald A. Rasband

April 2016

Stephen W. Owen

April 2016

Russell M. Nelson

October 2014

Tad R. Callister

April 2013

Larry Y. Wilson

April 2012

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

April 2012

Henry B. Eyring

April 2011

Larry M. Gibson

April 2011

Yoon Hwan Choi

October 2009

Thomas S. Monson

April 2008

Henry B. Eyring

October 2007

Boyd K. Packer

October 2007

Dallin H. Oaks

October 2005

James E. Faust

October 2005

Thomas S. Monson

April 2004

L. Tom Perry

October 2002

F. Melvin Hammond

October 2002

Sheri L. Dew

October 2001

Sharon G. Larsen

October 2001

David B. Haight

October 2001

Gordon B. Hinckley

April 2001

Russell M. Nelson

April 2001

John H. Groberg

April 2001

M. Russell Ballard

April 2001

Henry B. Eyring

April 2001

Gordon B. Hinckley

April 2000

Dallin H. Oaks

October 1999

Neal A. Maxwell

April 1999

James E. Faust

April 1999

Jeffrey R. Holland

April 1998

Thomas S. Monson

April 1998

Gordon B. Hinckley

October 1997

Gordon B. Hinckley

October 1996

M. Russell Ballard

October 1993

Russell M. Nelson

April 1993

Thomas S. Monson

October 1991

Rulon G. Craven

April 1991

Spencer J. Condie

April 1990

James E. Faust

October 1989

Jeffrey R. Holland

October 1989

Gordon B. Hinckley

October 1989

Jayne B. Malan

October 1989

Joseph B. Wirthlin

October 1989

Boyd K. Packer

October 1989

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General Conference Talks About leadership

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Three Sisters – By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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Dear sisters, dear friends, to begin general conference with a worldwide sisters session is significant and wonderful. Just imagine: sisters of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, and languages united in faith and love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we recently met with our beloved prophet, President ThomasS. Monson, he expressed to us how much he loves the Lord. And I know that President Monson is very grateful for your love, your prayers, and your devotion to the Lord.

A long time ago in a distant land lived a family of three sisters.

The first sister was sad. Everything from her nose to her chin and from her skin to her toes seemed not quite good enough to her. When she spoke, her words sometimes came out awkwardly, and people laughed. When someone criticized her or forgot to invite her to something, she would blush, walk away, and find a secret spot where she would let out a sad sigh and wonder why life had turned out to be so bleak and cheerless.

The second sister was mad. She thought of herself as very smart, but there was always someone else who scored higher on tests at school. She considered herself funny, fair, fashionable, and fascinating. But always, there seemed to be someone who was funnier, fairer, more fashionable, or more fascinating.

She was never first at anything, and this she could not endure. Life was not supposed to be this way!

Sometimes she lashed out at others, and it seemed that she was always one breath away from being outraged by one thing or another.

Of course, this did not make her any more likable or popular. Sometimes she clenched her teeth, tightened her fists, and thought, Life is so unfair!

Then there was the third sister. Unlike her sad and mad sisters, she waswell, glad. And it wasnt because she was smarter or more beautiful or more capable than her sisters. No, people sometimes avoided or ignored her too. They sometimes made fun of what she was wearing or the things she was saying. They sometimes said mean things about her. But she did not allow any of that to bother her too much.

This sister loved to sing. She didnt have great pitch, and people laughed about it, but that didnt stop her. She would say, I am not going to let other people and their opinions stop me from singing!

The very fact that she kept singing made her first sister sad and her second sister mad.

Many years passed, and eventually each sister reached the end of her time on earth.

The first sister, who discovered again and again that there was no shortage of disappointments in life, eventually died sad.

The second, who every day found something new to dislike, died mad.

And the third sister, who spent her life singing her song with all her might and a confident smile on her face, died glad.

Of course, life is never so simple, and people are never so one-dimensional as the three sisters in this story. But even extreme examples like these can teach us something about ourselves. If you are like most of us, you may have recognized part of yourself in one, two, or perhaps all three of these sisters. Let us take a closer look at each one.

The first sister saw herself as a victimas someone who was acted upon.1 It seemed like one thing after another kept happening to her that made her miserable. With this approach to life, she was giving others control over how she felt and behaved. When we do this, we are driven about by every wind of opinionand in this day of ever-present social media, those winds blow at hurricane intensity.

Dear sisters, why should you surrender your happiness to someone, or a group of someones, who cares very little about you or your happiness?

If you find yourself worrying about what other people say about you, may I suggest this antidote: remember who you are. Remember that you are of the royal house of the kingdom of God, daughters of Heavenly Parents, who reign throughout the universe.

You have the spiritual DNA of God. You have unique gifts that originated in your spiritual creation and that were developed during the vast span of your premortal life. You are the child of our merciful and everlasting Father in Heaven, the Lord of Hosts, the One who created the universe, spread the spinning stars across the vast expanse of space, and placed the planets in their appointed orbits.

You are in His hands.

Very good hands.

Loving hands.

Caring hands.

And nothing anyone ever says about you can change that. Their words are meaningless compared to what God has said about you.

You are His precious child.

He loves you.

Even when you stumble, even when you turn away from Him, God loves you. If you are feeling lost, abandoned, or forgottenfear not. The Good Shepherd will find you. He will lift you upon His shoulders. And He will carry you home.2

My dear sisters, please let these divine truths sink deeply into your hearts. And you will find that there are many reasons not to be sad, for you have an eternal destiny to fulfill.

The beloved Savior of the world gave His life so that you could choose to make that destiny a reality. You have taken upon you His name; you are His disciples. And because of Him, you can clothe yourselves with robes of eternal glory.

The second sister was angry at the world. Like her sad sister, she felt that the problems in her life were all caused by someone else. She blamed her family, her friends, her boss and coworkers, the police, the neighbors, Church leaders, current fashion trends, even the intensity of solar flares, and plain bad luck. And she lashed out at all of them.

She didnt think of herself as a mean person. To the contrary, she felt that she was only sticking up for herself. Everyone else, she believed, was motivated by selfishness, pettiness, and hate. She, on the other hand, was motivated by good intentionsjustice, integrity, and love.

Unfortunately, the mad sisters line of thinking is all too common. This was noted in a recent study that explored conflict between rival groups. As part of the study, researchers interviewed Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East, and Republicans and Democrats in the United States. They discovered that each side felt their own group [was] motivated by love more than hate, but when asked why their rival group [was] involved in the conflict, [they] pointed to hate as [the other] groups motivating factor.3

In other words, each group thought of themselves as the good guysfair, kind, and truthful. By contrast, they saw their rivals as the bad guysuninformed, dishonest, even evil.

In the year I was born, the world was immersed in a terrible war that brought agonizing grief and consuming sorrow to the world. This war was caused by my own nationby a group of people who identified certain other groups as evil and encouraged hatred toward them.

They silenced those they did not like. They shamed and demonized them. They considered them inferioreven less than human. Once you degrade a group of people, you are more likely to justify words and acts of violence against them.

I shudder when I think about what happened in 20th-century Germany.

When someone opposes or disagrees with us, its tempting to assume that there must be something wrong with them. And from there its a small step to attach the worst of motives to their words and actions.

Of course, we must always stand for what is right, and there are times when we must raise our voices for that cause. However, when we do so with anger or hate in our heartswhen we lash out at others to hurt, shame, or silence themchances are we are not doing so in righteousness.

What did the Savior teach?

I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.4

This is the Saviors way. It is the first step in breaking down the barriers that create so much anger, hatred, division, and violence in the world.

Yes, you might say, I would be willing to love my enemiesif only they were willing to do the same.

But that doesnt really matter, does it? We are responsible for our own discipleship, and it has littleif anythingto do with the way others treat us. We obviously hope that they will be understanding and charitable in return, but our love for them is independent of their feelings toward us.

Perhaps our effort to love our enemies will soften their hearts and influence them for good. Perhaps it will not. But that does not change our commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

So, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we will love our enemies.

We will overcome anger or hate.

We will fill our hearts with love for all of Gods children.

We will reach out to bless others and minister to themeven those who might despitefully use [us] and persecute [us].5

The third sister represents the authentic disciple of Jesus Christ. She did something that can be extremely hard to do: she trusted God even in the face of ridicule and hardship. Somehow she maintained her faith and hope, despite the scorn and cynicism around her. She lived joyfully not because her circumstances were joyful but because she was joyful.

None of us makes it through lifes journey unopposed. With so many forces trying to draw us away, how do we keep our vision fixed on the glorious happiness promised to the faithful?

I believe the answer can be found in a dream that a prophet had thousands of years ago. The prophets name is Lehi, and his dream is recorded in the precious and wonderful Book of Mormon.

In his dream, Lehi saw a vast field, and in it was a wondrous tree, beautiful beyond description. He also saw large groups of people making their way toward the tree. They wanted to taste its glorious fruit. They felt and trusted that it would give them great happiness and abiding peace.

There was a narrow path that led to the tree, and alongside was an iron rod that helped them stay on the path. But there was also a mist of darkness that obscured their vision of both the path and the tree. And perhaps even more dangerous was the sound of loud laughter and ridicule coming from a large and spacious building nearby. Shockingly, the mocking even convinced some people who had reached the tree and tasted the wondrous fruit to begin to feel ashamed and wander away.6

Perhaps they began to doubt that the tree was really as beautiful as they had once thought. Perhaps they began to question the reality of what they had experienced.

Maybe they thought if they turned away from the tree, life would be easier. Maybe they would not be ridiculed or laughed at anymore.

And actually, the people who were scoffing at them looked like people who were quite happy and having a good time. So perhaps if they abandoned the tree, they would be welcomed into the congregation of the great and spacious building and be applauded for their judgment, intelligence, and sophistication.

Dear sisters, dear friends, if you find it difficult to hold fast to the iron rod and walk steadfastly toward salvation; if the laughter and ridicule of others who seem so confident cause you to waver; if you are troubled by unanswered questions or doctrines you dont understand yet; if you feel saddened because of disappointments, I urge you to remember Lehis dream.

Stay on the path!

Never let go of the rod of ironthe word of God!

And when anyone tries to make you ashamed for partaking of the love of God, ignore them.

Never forget you are a child of God; rich blessings are in store; if you can learn to do His will, youll live with Him once more!7

The promises of praise and acceptance by the world are unreliable, untrue, and unsatisfying. Gods promises are sure, true, and joyfulnow and forever.

I invite you to consider religion and faith from a higher perspective. Nothing offered in the great and spacious building can compare with the fruit of living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.8

I have learned for myself that the path of discipleship in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to joy. It is the way to safety and peace. It is the way to truth.

I testify that by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, you can learn this for yourself.

In the meantime, if the path becomes difficult for you, I hope you will find refuge and strength in our wonderful organizations of the Church: Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society. They are like waypoints on the path, where you can renew your confidence and faith for the journey ahead. They are a safe home, where you can feel a sense of belonging and receive encouragement from your sisters and fellow disciples.

The things you learn in Primary prepare you for the additional truths you learn as young women. The path of discipleship you walk in your Young Women classes leads to the fellowship and sisterhood of Relief Society. With each step along the way, you are given additional opportunities to demonstrate your love for others through acts of faith, compassion, charity, virtue, and service.

Choosing this path of discipleship will lead to untold happiness and fulfillment of your divine nature.

It will not be easy. It will require the very best that you haveall your intelligence, creativity, faith, integrity, strength, determination, and love. But one day you will look back upon your efforts, and oh, how grateful you will be that you remained strong, that you believed, and that you did not depart from the path.

There may be many things about life that are beyond your control. But in the end, you have the power to choose both your destination and many of your experiences along the way. It is not so much your abilities but your choices that make the difference in life.9

You cannot allow circumstances to make you sad.

You cannot allow them to make you mad.

You can rejoice that you are a daughter of God. You can find joy and happiness in the grace of God and in the love of Jesus Christ.

You can be glad.

I urge you to fill your hearts with gratitude for the abundant and limitless goodness of God. My beloved sisters, you can do this! I pray with all the affection of my soul that you will make the choice to press on toward the tree of life. I pray that you will choose to lift up your voice and make your life a glorious symphony of praise, rejoicing in what the love of God, the wonders of His Church, and the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to the world.

The song of true discipleship may sound off-key or even a little loud to some. Since the beginning of time, this has been so.

But to our Heavenly Father and to those who love and honor Him, it is a most precious and beautiful songthe sublime and sanctifying song of redeeming love and service to God and fellowmen.10

I leave you my blessing as an Apostle of the Lord that you will find the strength and courage to joyfully thrive as a daughter of God while gladly walking each day on the glorious path of discipleship. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Three Sisters - By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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"Me in 30 Seconds": About Me Sample and Examples

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A Me in 30 Seconds statement is a simple way to present to someone else a balanced understanding of who you are. It piques the interest of a listener who invites you to Tell me a little about yourself, and it provides a brief and compelling answer to the question Why should I hire you?

When well crafted, your Me in 30 Seconds statement will include:

When networking, finish your Me in 30 Seconds statement with probing questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no to start a conversation that may lead to referrals or job opportunities.

For example:

WHO do you know who works in _______________?

WHAT businesses are in the area that _______________?

WHO do you know who knows a lot of people?

Keep your Me in 30 Seconds statement brief. People generally listen effectively only 30 to 60 seconds, and they appreciate concise responses to questions. This indicates that you are clearly focused and waste no time getting to the point.

It is a genuine form of communication that will help you organize everything you are into brief, coherent thoughts.

Sample Me in 30 Seconds statements for networking:

My name is Randy Patterson, and Im currently looking for a job in youth services. I have 10 years of experience working with youth agencies. I have a bachelors degree in outdoor education. I raise money, train leaders, and organize units. I have raised over $100,000 each of the last six years. I consider myself a good public speaker, and I have a good sense of humor. Who do you know who works with youth?

My name is Lucas Martin, and I enjoy meeting new people and finding ways to help them have an uplifting experience. I have had a variety of customer service opportunities, through which I was able to have fewer returned products and increased repeat customers, when compared with co-workers. I am dedicated, outgoing, and a team player. Who could I speak with in your customer service department about your organizations customer service needs?

Sample Me in 30 Seconds statement for an interview:

People find me to be an upbeat, self-motivated team player with excellent communication skills. For the past several years I have worked in lead qualification, telemarketing, and customer service in the technology industry. My experience includes successfully calling people in director-level positions of technology departments and developing viable leads. I have a track record of maintaining a consistent call and activity volume and consistently achieving the top 10 percent in sales, and I can do the same thing for your company.

I am a dedicated person with a family of four. I enjoy reading, and the knowledge and perspective that my reading gives me has strengthened my teaching skills and presentation abilities. I have been successful at raising a family, and I attribute this success to my ability to plan, schedule, and handle many different tasks at once. This flexibility will help me in the classroom, where there are many different personalities and learning styles.

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"Me in 30 Seconds": About Me Sample and Examples

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Motivation Theories: Top 8 Theories of Motivation Explained!

Posted: May 19, 2019 at 8:49 am

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Some of the most important theories of motivation are as follows: 1. Maslows Need Hierarchy Theory 2. Herzbergs Motivation Hygiene Theory 3. McClellands Need Theory 4. McGregors Participation Theory 5. Urwicks Theory Z 6. Argyriss Theory 7. Vrooms Expectancy Theory 8. Porter and Lawlers Expectancy Theory.

From the very beginning, when the human organisations were established, various thinkers have tried to find out the answer to what motivates people to work. Different approaches applied by them have resulted in a number of theories concerning motivation.

These are discussed in brief in that order.

It is probably safe to say that the most well-known theory of motivation is Maslows need hierarchy theory Maslows theory is based on the human needs. Drawing chiefly on his clinical experience, he classified all human needs into a hierarchical manner from the lower to the higher order.

In essence, he believed that once a given level of need is satisfied, it no longer serves to motivate man. Then, the next higher level of need has to be activated in order to motivate the man. Maslow identified five levels in his need hierarchy as shown in figure 17.2.

These are now discussed one by one:

These needs are basic to human life and, hence, include food, clothing, shelter, air, water and necessities of life. These needs relate to the survival and maintenance of human life. They exert tremendous influence on human behaviour. These needs are to be met first at least partly before higher level needs emerge. Once physiological needs are satisfied, they no longer motivate the man.

After satisfying the physiological needs, the next needs felt are called safety and security needs. These needs find expression in such desires as economic security and protection from physical dangers. Meeting these needs requires more money and, hence, the individual is prompted to work more. Like physiological needs, these become inactive once they are satisfied.

Man is a social being. He is, therefore, interested in social interaction, companionship, belongingness, etc. It is this socialising and belongingness why individuals prefer to work in groups and especially older people go to work.

These needs refer to self-esteem and self-respect. They include such needs which indicate self-confidence, achievement, competence, knowledge and independence. The fulfillment of esteem needs leads to self-confidence, strength and capability of being useful in the organisation. However, inability to fulfill these needs results in feeling like inferiority, weakness and helplessness.

This level represents the culmination of all the lower, intermediate, and higher needs of human beings. In other words, the final step under the need hierarchy model is the need for self-actualization. This refers to fulfillment.

The term self-actualization was coined by Kurt Goldstein and means to become actualized in what one is potentially good at. In effect, self- actualization is the persons motivation to transform perception of self into reality.

According to Maslow, the human needs follow a definite sequence of domination. The second need does not arise until the first is reasonably satisfied, and the third need does not emerge until the first two needs have been reasonably satisfied and it goes on. The other side of the need hierarchy is that human needs are unlimited. However, Maslows need hierarchy-theory is not without its detractors.

The main criticisms of the theory include the following:

1. The needs may or may not follow a definite hierarchical order. So to say, there may be overlapping in need hierarchy. For example, even if safety need is not satisfied, the social need may emerge.

2. The need priority model may not apply at all times in all places.

3. Researches show that mans behaviour at any time is mostly guided by multiplicity of behaviour. Hence, Maslows preposition that one need is satisfied at one time is also of doubtful validity.

4. In case of some people, the level of motivation may be permanently lower. For example, a person suffering from chronic unemployment may remain satisfied for the rest of his life if only he/she can get enough food.

Notwithstanding, Maslows need hierarchy theory has received wide recognition, particularly among practicing managers. This can be attributed to the theorys intuitive logic and easy to understand. One researcher came to the conclusion that theories that are intuitively strong die hard.

The psychologist Frederick Herzberg extended the work of Maslow and propsed a new motivation theory popularly known as Herzbergs Motivation Hygiene (Two-Factor) Theory. Herzberg conducted a widely reported motivational study on 200 accountants and engineers employed by firms in and around Western Pennsylvania.

He asked these people to describe two important incidents at their jobs:

(1) When did you feel particularly good about your job, and

(2) When did you feel exceptionally bad about your job? He used the critical incident method of obtaining data.

The responses when analysed were found quite interesting and fairly consistent. The replies respondents gave when they felt good about their jobs were significantly different from the replies given when they felt bad. Reported good feelings were generally associated with job satisfaction, whereas bad feeling with job dissatisfaction. Herzberg labelled the job satisfiers motivators, and he called job dissatisfies hygiene or maintenance factors. Taken together, the motivators and hygiene factors have become known as Herzbergs two-factor theory of motivation

Herzbergs motivational and hygiene factors have been shown in the Table 17.1

According to Herzberg, the opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. The underlying reason, he says, is that removal of dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. He believes in the existence of a dual continuum. The opposite of satisfaction is no satisfaction and the opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisatisfaction.

According to Herzberg, todays motivators are tomorrows hygiene because the latter stop influencing the behaviour of persons when they get them. Accordingly, ones hygiene may be the motivator of another.

However, Herzbergs model is labeled with the following criticism also:

1. People generally tend to take credit themselves when things go well. They blame failure on the external environment.

2. The theory basically explains job satisfaction, not motivation.

3. Even job satisfaction is not measured on an overall basis. It is not unlikely that a person may dislike part of his/ her job, still thinks the job acceptable.

4. This theory neglects situational variable to motivate an individual.

Because of its ubiquitous nature, salary commonly shows up as a motivator as well as hygine.

Regardless of criticism, Herzbergs two-factor motivation theory has been widely read and a few managers seem untaminar with his recommendations. The main use of his recommendations lies in planning and controlling of employees work.

Another well-known need-based theory of motivation, as opposed to hierarchy of needs of satisfaction-dissatisfaction, is the theory developed by McClelland and his associates. McClelland developed his theory based on Henry Murrays developed long list of motives and manifest needs used in his early studies of personality. McClellands need-theory is closely associated with learning theory, because he believed that needs are learned or acquired by the kinds of events people experienced in their environment and culture.

He found that people who acquire a particular need behave differently from those who do not have. His theory focuses on Murrays three needs; achievement, power and affiliation. In the literature, these three needs are abbreviated n Ach, n Pow, and n Aff respectively.

They are defined as follows:

This is the drive to excel, to achieve in relation to a set of standard, and to strive to succeed. In other words, need for achievement is a behaviour directed toward competition with a standard of excellence. McClelland found that people with a high need for achievement perform better than those with a moderate or low need for achievement, and noted regional / national differences in achievement motivation.

Through his research, McClelland identified the following three characteristics of high-need achievers:

1. High-need achievers have a strong desire to assume personal responsibility for performing a task for finding a solution to a problem.

2. High-need achievers tend to set moderately difficult goals and take calculated risks.

3. High-need achievers have a strong desire for performance feedback.

The need for power is concerned with making an impact on others, the desire to influence others, the urge to change people, and the desire to make a difference in life. People with a high need for power are people who like to be in control of people and events. This results in ultimate satisfaction to man.

People who have a high need for power are characterized by:

1. A desire to influence and direct somebody else.

2. A desire to exercise control over others.

3. A concern for maintaining leader-follower relations.

The need for affiliation is defined as a desire to establish and maintain friendly and warm relations with other people. The need for affiliation, in many ways, is similar to Maslows social needs.

The people with high need for affiliation have these characteristics:

1. They have a strong desire for acceptance and approval from others.

2. They tend to conform to the wishes of those people whose friendship and companionship they value.

3. They value the feelings of others.

Figure 17.2 is a summary chart of the three need theories of motivation just discussed. The chart shows the parallel relationship between the needs in each of the theories. Maslow refers to higher- lower order needs, whereas Herzberg refers to motivation and hygiene factors.

Douglas McGregor formulated two distinct views of human being based on participation of workers. The first basically negative, labeled Theory X, and the other basically positive, labled Theory Y.

Theory X is based on the following assumptions:

1. People are by nature indolent. That is, they like to work as little as possible.

2. People lack ambition, dislike responsibility, and prefer to be directed by others.

3. People are inherently self-centered and indifferent to organisational needs and goals.

4. People are generally gullible and not very sharp and bright.

On the contrary, Theory Y assumes that:

1. People are not by nature passive or resistant to organisational goals.

2. They want to assume responsibility.

3. They want their organisation to succeed.

4. People are capable of directing their own behaviour.

5. They have need for achievement.

What McGregor tried to dramatise through his theory X and Y is to outline the extremes to draw the fencing within which the organisational man is usually seen to behave. The fact remains that no organisational man would actually belong either to theory X or theory Y. In reality, he/she shares the traits of both. What actually happens is that man swings from one set or properties to the other with changes in his mood and motives in changing .environment.

Much after the propositions of theories X and Y by McGregor, the three theorists Urwick, Rangnekar, and Ouchi-propounded the third theory lebeled as Z theory.

The two propositions in Urwickss theory are that:

(i) Each individual should know the organisational goals precisely and the amount of contribution through his efforts towards these goals.

(ii) Each individual should also know that the relation of organisational goals is going to satisfy his/her needs positively.

In Urwicks view, the above two make people ready to behave positively to accomplish both organisational and individual goals.

However, Ouchis Theory Z has attracted the lot of attention of management practitioners as well as researchers. It must be noted that Z does not stand for anything, is merely the last alphabet in the English Language.

Theory Z is based on the following four postulates:

1. Strong Bond between Organisation and Employees

2. Employee Participation and Involvement

3. No Formal Organisation Structure

4. Human Resource Development

Ouchis Theory Z represents the adoption of Japanese management practices (group decision making, social cohesion, job security, holistic concern for employees, etc.)by the American companies. In India, Maruti-Suzuki, Hero-Honda, etc., apply the postulates of theory Z.

Argyris has developed his motivation theory based on proposition how management practices affect the individual behaviour and growth In his view, the seven changes taking place in an individual personality make him/her a mature one. In other words, personality of individual develops

Argyris views that immaturity exists in individuals mainly because of organisational setting and management practices such as task specialisation, chain of command, unity of direction, and span of management. In order to make individuals grow mature, he proposes gradual shift from the existing pyramidal organisation structure to humanistic system; from existing management system to the more flexible and participative management.

He states that such situation will satisfy not only their physiological and safety needs, but also will motivate them to make ready to make more use of their physiological and safety needs. But also will motivate them to make ready to make more use of their potential in accomplishing organisational goals.

One of the most widely accepted explanations of motivation is offered by Victor Vroom in his Expectancy Theory It is a cognitive process theory of motivation. The theory is founded on the basic notions that people will be motivated to exert a high level of effort when they believe there are relationships between the effort they put forth, the performance they achieve, and the outcomes/ rewards they receive.

The relationships between notions of effort, performance, and reward are depicted in Figure 17.3

Thus, the key constructs in the expectancy theory of motivation are:

Valence, according to Vroom, means the value or strength one places on a particular outcome or reward.

It relates efforts to performance.

By instrumentality, Vroom means, the belief that performance is related to rewards.

Thus, Vrooms motivation can also be expressed in the form of an equation as follows: Motivation = Valence x Expectancy x Instrumentality

Being the model multiplicative in nature, all the three variables must have high positive values to imply motivated performance choice. If any one of the variables approaches to zero level, the possibility of the so motivated performance also touches zero level.

However, Vrooms expectancy theory has its critics. The important ones are:

1. Critics like Porter and Lawler lebeled it as a theory of cognitive hedonism which proposes that individual cognitively chooses the course of action that leads to the greatest degree of pleasure or the smallest degree of pain.

2. The assumption that people are rational and calculating makes the theory idealistic.

3. The expectancy theory does not describe individual and situational differences.

But the valence or value people place on various rewards varies. For example, one employee prefers salary to benefits, whereas another person prefers to just the reverse. The valence for the same reward varies from situation to situation.

In spite of all these critics, the greatest point in me expectancy theory is that it explains why significant segment of workforce exerts low levels of efforts in carrying out job responsibilities.

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Motivation Theories: Top 8 Theories of Motivation Explained!

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May 19th, 2019 at 8:49 am

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What Is Your Motivation? – COGWA Members

Posted: May 17, 2019 at 11:52 am

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Posted byBarbara LeeonJanuary 26, 2016

When I think about doing something good for someone, what is my motivation? Am I doing it for some kind of compensation? Am I doing it to get my picture in the newspaper with an article describing the wonderful things I have done? Am I doing it to be interviewed on the news for my heroic deeds? Or am I doing it to take a few selfies and post it on Facebook?

Some people seem to take great pleasure in being the center of attention; others avoid it at all costs. What is your motivation for the good deeds you do?

Every year, three days prior to Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States), I have observed three tents set up in front of a local electronics store in anticipation of the sales. The first in line has always been the same man. I have often thought to myself, Why doesnt that guy get a life? Doesnt he have anything better to do? How could one man possibly need that much stuff? What an example of greed!

What was his motivation? Why did he do this every year? He often made the news, both local television and the newspaper. But the news never mentioned muchusually it just commented on the beginning of the holiday shopping season and the people getting in line early to get the best deals. Was the man in the tent just an attention seeker, or was there something else at work? I had formed my opinion, and I was pretty sure I was right! But I would find the truth behind his actions a complete surprise.

This year the TV news people came to interview our local tent dweller. He made the usual comments about getting good deals at the store and how he does this every year. That was pretty much the end of the interview.

A couple weeks later, I was drawn to an article about this same man in our local community paper. He had disclosed his motivation to a reporter for the first time. The man has followed this same schedule for years because he wants his money to go as far as possible. He buys electronic items and donates them to local charities. He has asked that the recipients not know his identity either. He was so secretive that he didnt even let his wife know what he was doing for a long time.

My surprise at the story behind our local tent dwellers annual shopping activities led me to consider what God says about motivation. Jesus addresses this subject in the Bible: Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven (Matthew 6:1). He goes on to show the kind of compensation we should desire: But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly (verses 3-4).

God knows everything we doand He is the One we should be trying to please. We are not to advertise our service or charitable deeds so people will know what we are doing. God will reward us in His own waypossibly in a way we would never expect. Gods blessings are much more important than the temporary commendation of people!

Although it initially appeared that this man was exhibiting greed for material possessions, he was, in reality, making an effort to maximize his charitable deeds without letting anyone know about them.

I learned two lessons from this mans example. First, our assumptions about the motivations of others can be wrong. And second, we should deeply consider what our own motivations are when we do good works for others.

To learn more about developing proper motivations, read Private Worship Toward God and 7 Ways to Please God.

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What Is Your Motivation? - COGWA Members

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May 17th, 2019 at 11:52 am

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A Pillar of Cloud and Fire – COGWA Members

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Well, greetings to everybody. Greetings, brethren around the world, from the headquarters office of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association in Allen, Texas. This message is being recorded for the Days of Unleavened Bread. As I record it, its just a few weeks prior to the Days of Unleavened Bread; and were looking forward to the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Of course, this is a very meaningful spring holy day season that comes up very shortly. By the time you see this video, you probably will have taken the Passover and are, perhaps, right now in the middle of the Days of Unleavened Bread or, perhaps, even all the way to the end of it.

We extend our best wishes to everyone for a very fine festival season from the office. Theres not a great deal of news to give you, not a lot going on. The news has been pretty good from the office. Ill have to say weve all been very, very busy. Theres a lot going on. The office buzzes with activity constantly. The income of the church for the first two months of the year was very good. We are very grateful to God for that, and we are grateful to God for the fact that everything is going well.

Without listing them all, I would, I think, make reference to the many health situations that are going on. Since last years Feast of Tabernacles, there have, of course, been several health situations that have come up involving ministers and members and others in different areas, so we do need to keep those things in mind. By the time you view this, you will have taken the Passover, no doubt; and we understand that part of the reason for taking the Passover is an appeal to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our healing. Thats included as part of the Passover. So lets, please, keep up our prayers for the many around the world in different places who very much are needful of Gods intervention with regard to health situations.

On a personal note before I get into the sermon for today, Ill simply mention that this year during the spring holy day season for a few days Im going to be in the Dominican Republic, April 11 to April 16. The group there is very small. There are two baptized members in Santo Domingo, the capital. There are some otherstwo ladies who went and kept the Feast this year in Guatemala, and Im hoping to get a chance to talk with them and then, maybe, two or three others as well. So a very small group. I believe there is one gentleman visiting from Central America, a baptized member, so that will make up two of us men to take the Passover. We will be able to have the full Passover service then, of course, with four of us, I think, taking the Passover this year.

Ill be there for a few days, and then Im going onIll be back home for a couple of days and then on to Mexico City April 19-22. I leave on Saturday night, April 19, in the middle of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Im going to be there for the last Day of Unleavened Bread. Ive had threeI will have had three visits to Mexico this year. In February I went to Monterrey, Mexico, and visited the congregation there and very much enjoyed it, enjoyed being with the brethren. Mr. Roybal was not there at the time, but I enjoyed the brethren. I went there and gave the sermon and the Bible study and spent a little bit of time, informal time, with the brethren. Earlier in March, this month, as I record this message, I was in San Luis Potos in central eastern Mexico. Very, very fine congregation there, pastored by Mr. Adn Langarica. I think we had about 40 or 45 for services that day. Again, a sermon and a Bible study and a little bit of a chance to spend some time with the brethren in San Luis Potos. And then for the last day of Unleavened Bread, I shall be in Mexico City. Im looking forward to that. It had been many, many years since I had gone to Mexico, so Im getting this wonderful series of three visits to the congregations in Mexico as we go through the early part of this year, 2014.

To tell you how long it had been since Id been there, I pulled out a little bit of what I thought was valid Mexican currency out of my safe deposit box and stuck it in my wallet when I went down there; and when I got down there, I realized that what I suspected was true, that from the last time Id been in Mexico, the Mexican government had lopped off a bunch of zeros off their Mexican peso, so the bank notes that I had were useless; but that didnt prevent me from enjoying the visit down there. It certainly was a privilege to be with the brethren there, and the hope is that some of the others from the office, certainly I hope that the administrationMr. Franks, Mr. Kilough, Mr. Horchakwill get a chance to visit from time to time down in the Mexican congregations. That would seem to be a very good thing.

We will be, by the time you see this, of course, we will be on spring break from Foundation Institute. The class is doing well. We have 16 students. They are, I think its safe to say, a little tired at this juncture; but I hope they are learning about the Bible. At least it seems that way, and we certainly hope that they will take a lot of knowledge of the Bible with them. We will restart on Thursday, April 24th, after the break for the Days of Unleavened Bread; and at that point, there will then be less than one month till graduation.

Our graduation for Foundation Institute for this year will take place on Saturday night, May 17th; and then it is all over and people will scoot to four, you know, the four corners of the world. And were looking forward to welcoming another FI class in August of this year. For those who may be interested and seeing this message, we would encourage you, if you are interested, to think about getting an application in promptly. At this point, our applications for this coming fall outpace the number of applications that we had for last year, so we are hoping for a fairly good-sized class beginning in August 2014. If there is anything we can do to answer questions about Foundation Institute, we would be very happy to do that.

Also, perhaps, before getting into the substance of the sermon for today, I should probably just mention that FI Online seems to be proceeding well. A lot of people are tuning in still. If you are missing the classes on the book of Acts taught by Mr. David Johnson, I would encourage you to get them; and it looks as if we will probably be doing an Old Testament class, one of my classes, as the follow-up class after the book of Acts. Thats been discussed in our meetings here, and theres more information to come about that. We will announce it as time goes by. So, as they say, dont touch that dial; theres more to come.

This is the spring; and, of course, the Passover is the time of initiation of our journey. We begin with the Passover service, the bread and wine, recognition of, a commemoration of Jesus Christs sacrifice for us. Its tremendously meaningful. Its a very solemn occasion. Its not an occasion when we have to put on pantomime; but it is a solemn occasion, nevertheless. We go into the Passover service, we wash the feet of a brother or a sister in the faith, and then we take of the bread and wine. And after that, of course, we follow that, according to the scripture and the commandment, with seven days of eating flat bread. We were talking about that in class this morning, and I was mentioning to the students how when we eat flat bread, thats deeply symbolic. The matzo, the unleavened bread, is flat. It doesnt puff up, indicating the fact that we are to approach these holy day seasons with humility, not overestimating ourselveswe are never to do thatbut realizing our dependence on God.

Now, while the Days of Unleavened Bread, of course, represent our response to what God does for us through Jesus Christmaking available for us the sacrifice that permits us to be forgiven, to continue in the way of life that God has called us tonevertheless, there are aspects to this that emphasize what God continues to do for us. And I would like in this sermon to pick up on something that has always been very fascinating to me in the scriptures, something mentioned beginning in the book of Exodus, but its a theme that carries almost all the way through much of the Old Testament. As they were coming out of Egypt, of course, it was God who led them out. God led them away from the society that, in a sense, was symbolic of sin. He led them out of slavery. He led them out of their lack of freedom, and He gave them freedom so that they could serve Him.

Id like for you to turn with me, please, to Exodus, chapter 13. Exodus 13, where something takes place that I always find really quite remarkable and quite moving. In Exodus 13, and Im at the end of the chapter in Exodus 13, verses 21 and 22. Here is the first mention of something that will carry them through, or should have carried them through, all the way through their peregrinations through the desert. They are to this point at Mount Sinai, or approaching Mount Sinai, and they are probably in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula. Exodus, chapter 13pardon me...theyve just come out of Egypt. Lets correct that. Theyve just come out of Egypt. They have not gotten to Mount Sinai yet. But, of course, this vision, this miracle will lead them. Exodus 13, verse 21, Exodus 13, verse 21. It says here:

Exodus 13:21-22 And the (Eternal) went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (And I love verse 22.) He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

So theyve just come out of Egypt. It lists certain place names here and elsewhere in the book of Exodus. We wont take the time to review all the place names, but theyre going to begin heading southward and eastward into the depths of the Sinai Peninsula. And this pillar is what Id like for us to focus on in this sermonthe pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

It was apparently a vertical column, and it was vapor during the day. It was cloud, it was a vapor; and by a miracle, of course, what God did, He then converted it into a pillar of fire, self-sustaining fire in a kind of column. In Spanish, it uses the term columna de nube, in a column of cloud. And its there with them all the way through. Now this is critical because when we think about this, when we keep these two verses in mind, we see that this was a reminder of the presence of God. From the time that God brought them out of Egypt all the way through those forty years of wandering in the wilderness, until they entered the promised land, all they had to do was look up, just tilt their head backduring the day that pillar of vapor, during the night that pillar of fire; and there are scattered mentions of the pillar all the way through the Old Testament.

Its interesting thatwe know the history. In spite of the fact that that pillar was there the whole time, we see multiple breakdowns of faith on the part of the nation of Israel, the people of Israel, as theyre moving all the way through this. And I find it interesting that even modern commentators read this and their faith breaks downbiblical commentators.

I did a little bit of searching, and I found the 1986 edition of the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. The 1986 edition of the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume III, page 871, and the entry reads as follows:

Pillar of cloud and pillar of fire: The visible manifestation of the divine presence... (during) the Exodus. (The Lord)...went before (the Israelites) by day in a pillar of give them light...the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (did not depart) from before the people. (And it quotes Exodus 13 and a number of other passages as well.) When the congregation was at rest, the cloud (stayed) over the tabernacle. (Later on well see the pillar comes down, the pillar of cloud comes down, and it says the people are to be stationary.) When (the Lord) wished to communicate His will to Moses, the pillar descended to the door of the (temple) Tent of Meeting... (a number of Bible references, including Exodus 33, that well come to shortly. But then a comment that I found very interesting, and they here quote a German scholar, Martin Noth, and he said the followingIll continue to read from ISBE, 1986 Edition.) Scholars have offered various rationalistic explanations of these pillars. M. Noth (Martin Noth), Exodus, 1962, originally written in German, supposed that the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire reflected the volcanic activity of the Sinai area.

The point Im making is that here we have 20th-century scholars who lack the eyes of faith even to see that it existed. The Israelites passing through the desert lacked the eyes of faith to see what it meant to them.

Another commentator, U. Cassuto, in a commentary on the book of Exodus, saw a parallel with the ancient practice of carrying smoke and fire signals at the head of caravans as a guide.

I checked a little bit more, the more recent edition of International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and I was actually rather glad to see that that quote of Martin Noth is no longer there. To quote from the more recent addition:

These descriptions are not to be rationalistically explained; what is depicted is a true theophany.

A theophany is a vision of God. And Im glad they wrote that in the more recent edition. This was the evidence of Gods presence, and this pillar thats with them for that entire duration of time is deeply symbolic and deeply meaningful. It required eyes of faith to see it.

Hebrews 4, verse 2; Hebrews 4 and verse 2; Hebrews 4 and verse 2...They had to have eyes of faith to see it. Hebrews 4 and verse 2, if I can get there in my Bible. In many occasions, the New Testament reflects back on the experience of Israel as an object lesson, usually of what not to do.

Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

They lacked faith. I wonder at times what we would have donethe New Testament Israel of God, Gods spiritual people. If God gave us a pillar of cloud up in the air during the day and a pillar of fire during the night, and in order to see the physical evidence of the fact that God is with us, all we have to do is tilt our head up and there it is. I wonder about that at times. Of course, God has not done that for us; but in Matthew 28 and verse 20, Matthew 28 and verse 20, this scripture, which doesnt promise us in the physical sense a vision of God or a pillar in the air; but Jesus Christ tells us something very, very important here. Matthew 28 and verse 20, in the context of the great commission:

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you (interrupting the context here); and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Jesus Christ says, I am with you always. Now, we dont have the time in the course of this sermon to read where that phrase occurs throughout the Old Testament and the New; but whenever God tells people, Im with you, we know that success is coming. Thats a very telling phrase. I wonder whether we believe that. I wonder whether we really, really appreciate what that means. Jesus Christ says Hes with us right up to the end of the age. There are some that...of course, [this is] in the context of the preaching of the gospel. And there have been those who have said, No, the preaching of the gospel is over. It ended 28 years ago, according to some. Well, we read this; and Jesus Christ says, Thats not the case. Youve got work to do. Youve got a spiritual journey to undertake, and I will carryand I am there with you, carrying you, leading you, all the way through. God is committed to doing His part. Just as He put that pillar in the sky, Hes committed to it. One of the questions for us during these Days of Unleavened Bread [is] how committed are we to our part? When God commits to something, His commitment is absolute. You can rely on it.

In John, chapter 10, John, chapter 10, is another scripture that I find just fascinating. John 10, verses 27-30. John 10, verse 27 up through verse 30. Ill give you time to turn there, but this is an amazing scripture. John 10, verse 27. Jesus Christ saysits red letters in your Bible, no doubt:

John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (Christs sheep hear His voice. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd.) And I give them eternal life, (verse 28) and they shall never perish... (Isnt that remarkable? What wonderful promises we have in the New Testament.) neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

Jesus Christ has us in the palm of His hand, and He doesnt permit anyone to come along and grab us out of the palm of His hand.

Verse 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Fathers hand. I and My Father are one.

Those scriptures are amazing. Jesus Christ and God our Father are completely committed to doing their part. No one has the power to snatch us out of the hand of Jesus Christ. How committed are we? I wonder about this; and, of course, when we read a scripture like this, those of us whove been in Gods church for any length of time, we stop and we wonder about those who wandered off. Well, were they snatched out of the hand of Jesus Christ? No. Jesus Christ says that thats not possible. But I wonder whether its possible for someone to make himself susceptible to that. And I also wonder, at this phase in the history of Gods church, whether, perhaps, some will find their way back. If they see that pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, perhaps some of those who wandered off in the desert, in the wilderness, will find their way back. Perhaps that ought to be one of our prayers during the Days of Unleavened Bread and afterwards.

Hebrews, chapter 2, which we wont turn to, talks about our giving the more urgent heed lest we let these things drift. Things just drift off, and I can think of some whom Ive seen allow exactly that phenomenon in their lives. They just drifted away. They didnt hold on tight enough. No, nobody can snatch us out of Christs hand; but can people wander away? Can people lose their grip on their calling? Can people just go disappearing over the horizon because of lack of attention to their own calling? We need to give attention to our calling, brethren. We need to make it a very central part of our lives. No matter how busy we are, we cant drift off.

Now lets turn to Exodus, chapter 40, because the symbolism of the pillar continues. God is faithful in the things He does. Exodus, chapter 40, and beginning in verse 34. Exodus 40 and beginning in verse 34. Exodus 30Excuse me, Exodus 40, verse 34. The glory of God...this is after this lengthy section in which the tabernacle is filled with the glory of God, after Moses has done all his work. Moses is pretty energetic. Exodus 40, verse 34:

Exodus 40:34-36 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the (Eternal) filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the (Eternal) filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys.

Isnt that interesting? They had to be sensitive to it. The cloud lifts up and they move. The cloud comes down and they stay. Is there a lesson there for us?

Verse 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up.

Verse 38 For the cloud of the (Eternal) was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.Isnt that amazing? That statement in Exodus 13, the statement in Exodus 40God placed that pillar, the cloud, up in the air and its there the entire time. And it makes it even morehow should we put it? Even more poignant when we realize that as they trudged through the desert and all of those things took place, the golden calf incident when sort of a paganized orgy broke out and they get carried away, wanting to go back to Egypt, spiritually. And Moses came down the mountain and was so angry with them; and again, although it isnt mentioned in that chapter, but by inference, obviously the pillar of cloud was there, the pillar of fire by night, as all that went on. And then weve got a series of rebellions. Aaron and Miriam against Moses in the book of Numberswe just covered that in classover, supposedly, huh, supposedly over the Ethiopian woman. That wasnt really the issue. And well come to that briefly. Korah and his people, Levites against Moses and Aaron, also another rebellion. There is a series of several rebellions in the book of Numbers, and well talk about that briefly.

The sending of the manna, Gods provision; their discontentment, they got fed up with the manna; and the sending of quail to give them a little bit of extra protein, and the way all of that played out. And during the entire time, youve got a pillar of cloud up in the air during the day and a pillar of fire by night.

In another section that well come to in class, actually tomorrow, as I record this sermon, its going to be tomorrow when well get to the book of Numbers and the Balaam incident, with Balaam going up to the mountain, the top of the mountain with Balak, who had hired him and offered him lots of bucks or lots of euros, as the case may be, lots of bitcoins, whatever it may have been, and said, Just curse them for me, just curse them for me, and, of course, Balaam keeps coming back and saying, Im not allowed to. Im not allowed to. He probably wanted to, but he comes back and he says, Im not allowed to. And all of this takes place under the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. If pillars could talk, if pillars could talkmaybe thats the title of the sermonif pillars could talk; and, in a sense, they can because, of course, we get references to the pillar all the way through, several times, as we review some of this history. The pillar was witness to all of that. And it was witness to the fact that God is faithful. God is very, very faithful.

One of my favorite words in the Hebrew Bible, and those who have taken my classes are aware of it and probably if you listen to a sermon or two that Ive given, one of my favorite words is a word that appears very frequently in the Hebrew Bible. And its the word, hesed, spelled h-e-s-e-d or c-h-e-s-e-d. Its actually very common in the Hebrew Bible, in the Old Testament scriptures. It sometimes translates into mercy. It sometimes translates into love. It is sometimes translated kindness. But in actual fact, none of those English translations really gets fundamentally at the meaning of the word hesed. The word hesed tells us something that ties in with this theme. The word hesed has to do with faithfulness. The word hesed means covenant love, covenant loyalty. Some commentators comment that hesed is love in its purest form, its most refined form. Its the love that can take place between two human beings when they enter into a covenantthe kind of love that ought to be there between husband and wife, because, after all, theyve entered into a covenant. Hesed, love. Hesed is Gods commitment, and there are so many examples of this. When God makes a commitment, Hes completely committed to it. How committed are we?Lets turn to Psalm 136, Psalm 136. Hesed, Gods covenant love thats mentioned right from the beginning, with God and Abram, before his name is changed. Hesed, Gods commitment to Abram, Gods commitment later on to the nation of Israel. In Psalm 136, and we have this, of course, in our hymnal:

Psalm 136:1 Oh, give thanks to the (Eternal), for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (In the context of Psalm 136, it emphasizes the word hesed is translated here mercy, but its that same word.)

Verse 2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. (In Hebrew, kiy lolam hasdow.)

Gods mercy is owlam, to all eternity. Gods hesed. God commits; He sticks with it. What about us? What about them, with the pillar up in the sky?

Verse 3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of Lords! For His mercy (His hesed) endures forever...

God did all these things. We have just completed a study of the book of Micah upstairs in the FI classroom. In fact, we completed it this morning, as I record; and we went to Micah, chapter 6, and Id like to take you there. Micah, chapter 6, the book of Micah, chapter 6, and verses 3-6. Micah, chapter 6, and verses 3-6. Micah, roughly in the middle of the minor prophets, one of the slightly longer ones, seven chapters long. Micah 6, verses 3-6, and Micah describes God putting Israel in the dock, God putting Israel on trial for her unfaithfulness. In Micah, chapter 6, we have a courtroom type setting. Here God is the prosecuting attorney; and beginning in verse 3, there is a list of all the things that God did for them. Micah 6, verse 3, look at this. This is a demonstration of Gods faithfulness.

Micah 6:3 O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me. (God puts Israel in the dock and says, What have I done? Whats the charge against Me?)

Verse 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

Verse 5 O My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab counseled, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, (Curse them for me, and Balaam says, No, I cant. Curse them for me, and he says, No, I cant. Curse them for me, and he says, No, I cant. Eventually he utters a remarkable prophecy, blessing them.) from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, that you may know the righteousness of the Lord.

Micah, chapter 6. God is faithful. God is faithful. One of the questions we need to ask ourselves during the Days of Unleavened Bread, how faithful are we? And just as many of the Old Testament scriptures give these catalogues, these listings of everything that God did for national Israel, I think its very good in the spring for us to review in our minds, maybe even sit down with pencil and paper or sit down with our computers or our iPads or whatever it may be and review everything that God has done for us, from the time He first began to work with us; the time that He called us; the time that our eyes were opened; the time that we came to understand His plan; [the time] we made ourselves subject, with His help, to His way of life and His commandments; the times that He has helped us when we had our backs against the wall financially; the times He intervened when we had health difficulties and when we were in emotional straits. God intervened over and over and over again, and its something we should do from time to time, and then use this as a stimulus for us to be faithful, to follow the pillar thats up in the sky before us.

Exodus, chapter 14, lets turn to Exodus, chapter 14. Following this subject of the pillar, Exodus 14 and verse 19. Exodus 14, verse 19. Exodus, chapter 14...of course, this is the scene where God will work a miracle that is so great, it reverberates throughout, I think, not just the Old Testament, even on into the New Testament to some extentthe crossing of the Red Sea. And it was a remarkable miracle. Exodus 14, verse 19:

Exodus 14:19 And the Angel of God, (the malak of God) who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; (Weve got the Angel of God, Angel, capital A here. Very likely this was the One we know as Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Capitalized, now, in [by] New King James translators. Hes usually going before them, you see; and at this point comes around behind them. He moves and went behind them.) and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

Isnt that amazing? God looks down through this pillar at this point as He prepares to work a very great miracle. He uses the column of cloud as a kind of a prism, and He looks down on everything thats taking place there between Egypt and the Sinai peninsula, wherever it exactly waswe dont know for sureand He begins to make a distinction.

Exodus 14, verse 24, Exodus 14, verse 24, it says here:

Exodus 14:24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, (in that early portion of the morning as the sun was getting ready to come up and came up) that the (Eternal) looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians.

Isnt this amazing. God knows how to make a distinction between His people and those who are enemies of His people, and He looks down through that pillar and He begins to trouble the army of the Egyptians.

Verse 25 (What does He do?)...He took off their chariot wheels, (Some of the other ancient translations say, He jammed up their chariot wheels. The Masoretic Hebrew Bible says, He took off their chariot wheels. What did He do? Did He remove them or did He jam them up? Answer: Yes. Whatever He did was sufficient to drown them in the sea.) He took off their chariot wheels so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the (Eternal) fights for them against the Egyptians.

God looks, and one of the great lessons of this pillar of fire by night and cloud by day is that God sees. In critical moments in our lives, God sees. God grants us protection at critical moments. He gave protection at this point in the history of Israel. Satans armies, the water came and swallowed up the Egyptians, and the Israelites escaped on dry land. It was a remarkable miracle. There was no way it could have taken place, humanly speaking.

One of the things that we do in the Foundation Institute classes, in one of our classes, we talk about this subject of protection; and I have asked many of the young people in Gods church over the years to think about occasions when God gave divine protection to them. And the stories are amazing. I wish I had written them all down. How many times something happenedsomeone was drowning and a man appeared and pulled someone out of the lake and then the man disappeared after that person was saved from drowning. Somebody appears...I remember a story many years ago, a young man who unwisely opened the radiator cap of his car with the water boiling over, and boiling hot water combined with radiator fluid poured out of this thing, straight into his face, scalding, threatening to scald his face; and a man is just standing there, and he turned to him and said, Here, son, and he gave him cold rags with cold water to put on his face. Here, son, try this. And he put this on his face, prevented him from getting scalded, maybe even losing his sight, and then the man disappeared when this young man turned around. The point being, God sees. God differentiates. He looks down through the pillar. He sees what is going on. God is not detached. He sees what takes place.

Psalm 34, verses 15 and 16, Psalm 34, verses 15 and 16. Ill get myself there and give you a little bit of time to get there. Psalm 34, verses 15 and 16. Look what it says there. God is not disconnected from our lives, brethren. Psalm 34, verse 15. Lets pick it up in verse 14:

Psalm 34:14-16 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the (Eternal) is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

God knows how to make a distinction; and at critical moments in life, He sees whats going on in our life, and He knows how to intervene. Just as the pillar was there at a critical moment, God knows what we need.

The pillar was also there as, in the book of Numbers, a series of rebellions took place against the leadership of Moses and Aaron, Moses in particular. And I want to take a look at a couple of these examples because theyre really pretty remarkable biblical events. What to learn from the rebellions? What is it that we have to learn from them? I wonder whether, perhaps, its just a little bit tougher to preach on this subject now than it was, perhaps, 25 years ago, when we very confidently laid claim to absolute authority in the church, based on anointed office. But is there something here that, for us today, another facet to this that we need to pay attention to?

Lets look at Numbers, chapter 12. Numbers, chapter 12. Numbers, chapter 12, and this is the example of Miriam and Aaron rebelling against Moses. Miriam and Aaron against Moses. Now, in the book of Numbers, one of the things that gets underlined all the way through is that God knew and God knows whom He wishes to use in positions in His government. But there is something interesting going on here. Numbers 12, verses 1-5. Numbers 12, verse 1:

Numbers 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

Supposedly, supposedly...this was...Moses was married once. We dont know what became of Zipporah. Whether shes still living, its not clear. But its clear that he marries an Ethiopian woman, whos not named, by the way. Was this really the problem? Is this really whats going on here?

Numbers 12:2 So they said, Has the (Eternal) indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also? And the (Eternal) heard it. (Is God working only through Moses?)

Verses 3-4 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) Suddenly the (Eternal) said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting! So the three came out. (I think I would have been terrified. You probably would have been, as well. I would have been absolutely terrified.) Come out, you three, to the tabernacle...

Verse 5 Then the (Eternal) came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. (And Gods presence, once again, in the form of the pillar of cloud, and He calls to them, and He makes a very strong statement in the next couple of verses.) ...If there is a prophet among you, (Verse 6), I, the (Eternal), make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. (Isnt that interesting?) Visions, dreams for the prophets.) Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face... (in a very close, intimate relationship).

Moses is my man. Thats the point here; and the pillar of cloud was there as a witness to it. Whats going on with Miriam and Aaron? Why are they making this statement there in verse 2? Was their motivation, was their problem the same as the same thing thats going to happen just a few chapters hence in Numbers, chapter 16? In Numbers, chapter 16, where...lets read a little bit of this one as well, this very famous rebellion taking place here. Numbers, chapter 16, the rebellion of Korah, who belonged to the tribe of Levi, just like Moses and Aaron. Numbers 16, verse 1:

Numbers 16:1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown.

(And then in verse 3), They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the (Eternal) is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the (Eternal)?And Moses fell on his face. And, ironically, what weve got as this takes place, weve got these censers that come out and all of them have to take their censersKorah and his company, and Aaron, presumable, as welland they put fire in them and put incense in them before the (Eternal)... (verse 7) and it shall be that the man whom the (Eternal) chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi! (Isnt it interesting when you read this account, there in verse 7, Moses and Aaron turn back on Korah the very same complaint that theyve made against Moses and Aaron in verse 3.) You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi!

Verse 8 Then Moses said to Korah, Hear now, you sons of Levi: Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the (Eternal), and to stand before the congregation to serve them; and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?

Whats really going on? Aaron and Miriam complaining about the Ethiopian woman and saying, Has God spoken through Moses only? Korah and his men coming forward and saying, You take too much upon yourself. Theres a lesson here in all of this. And we know the remainder of it and how Korah and his company lose their lives when the land opens up underneath them, a giant hole opens up in the ground and they lose their lives. There in verse 32, verses 31 and 32; Numbers 16, verses 31 and 32:

Numbers 16:31-34 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit. The earth closed over them and they perished from among the assembly. (And everybody begins calling out in fear) Lest the earth swallow us up also!

What goes on in the book of Numbers? Whats the problem? It was, of course, partly a problem of rebellion against constituted authority. But why? Why? Whats going on? In both cases herewith Aaron and Miriam vs. Moses and with Korah against Moses and Aaronin both cases the complaint revolves around something thats very important for us in the church. It revolves around personal ambition. They wanted more. They wanted something that was not given to them. There were personal agendas that were causing trouble.

A lesson for us here: We dont operate on personal agendas. One of the things in the Focused Mentoring Program that has been emphasized here from those who have been teaching the class this year is a heart for service. Service before office. And I think thats very healthy and very appropriate according to what the scriptures talk about. Service before office. One of the, perhaps the thing that has been coveted too often in Gods church is the office, and God tells us to be content with the things that we have.

Hebrews 13, verse 5, Hebrews 13, verse 5. How much of the history of Gods church through the 20th century and the early 21st century would have been different had there not been this desire for position? Hebrews 13, verse 5:

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Again, that same principle. God doesnt abandon us. Jesus Christ doesnt abandon us. But were told to be content with the things that we have. And sometimes, you know, this coveting of position, these personal agendas, this ax grinding has taken root in the church; and we forget that leadership in Gods church is for service.

Why do we do what we do in Gods church? Why do we preach sermons? Why do we set up chairs? Why do we give an offering? Why do we teach Sabbath schools? Why do we go to the Feast of Tabernacles? Why do we present special music? Do we do any of those things for ourselves? Do we do it because we want it for ourselves, so that our names will be great; or do we do it for a much higher reasonsomething that will last much longer than you and me?

You know, the New Testament speaks a good bit about a subject called spiritual gifts, and the subject of spiritual gifts has become very controversial because there are religious bodies out there that have abused the idea. Religious bodies where, you know, if you, supposedly, erupt in a showing of speaking in tongues and you get carried away in an emotional frenzy, people look at you and say, Ooh! That person must be very spiritual. Look what he or she is doing. You may have seen on TV recently, I note that last week, as I record, just a few days ago, a man in one of the snake-handling churches lost his life. In parts of Kentucky there are little churches; and they misinterpret some of the scriptures about, you know, picking up snakes and not being hurt. And they go, unwisely, go finding rattlesnakes and copperheads and they carry them around in the church service; and the leader of one of those churches was handling snakes during the service and he got bitten, and he died, you know, and for them this is a sign of being very spiritual.

Spiritual gifts, the things that we do in the church, are not there to make us look good. Theyre not there to have people be impressed by us for how spiritual we are. Part of the same lesson that were reading here in the book of Numbers.

Lets turn to 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 12, verses 4-7, 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verses 4-7, spiritual gifts. Are there spiritual gifts in the church today? Yes, I think so. But why? So we can impress one another with how spiritual we are, more spiritual than others? I dont think so. 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 4, look at what it says here:

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are (differences) of gifts, but the same Spirit. (Its one Spirit.) There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are (differences) of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all...

And I think this is part of this subject that gets so badly overlooked by some who claim to be religious, by some who get carried away with whatever they view as their charismatic gift. They think its there to make them look good. No. God says what we do, the way we use our spiritual gifts, the way we use an office, is there for the benefit of others. Theres never any other reason for that. A big lesson in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is that we must do what we do in Gods church, for God. We do it for God, not for ourselves. If weve got a talent, we use it for God. Many people have wonderful musical talents. Many people have linguistic talents. Many people have talents for hospitality and encouragement. Its a good thing. Abilities, a gift. When we have these things, what we do, we bring it before God or perhaps more accurately, before Jesus Christ, whos the living head of the church; and we put it before Him and say, Its there for You. Its for You, Lord. Its for Your glory. Its to build up the body of Christ. Its not there for me. I think this is such a big lesson, brethren. And I hope Im not straying too far off from those examples in the book of Numbers, but those examples in the book of Numbers illustrate precisely the same point. They wanted that office. Miriam and Aaron coveting Moses office and challenging him because they didnt understand this principle.

Romans, chapter 1, verse 11, there are other passages in the Bible that talk about spiritual gifts, but its easy to read about the gifts and get excited about something like speaking in tongues and overlook what Paul tells the Romans here in Romans, chapter 1, verse 11. This one verse in Romans 1 has always struck me. Hes talking about steadying, founding, strengthening the church. Romans 1, verse 11, Paul says:

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established, (and I believe in the New Revised Standard Version, it uses the word strengthened here.)

I want to give you a spiritual gift. Why? So the apostle Paul can look so spiritual and impress people and wear a badge in his lapel? The New Testament NEVER says that. It simply doesnt say that. What it says is that every time somebody does something, its done for the good of the body, for the building up of the body; and it was the same message and the same thing that got overlooked back in the book of Numbers. That pillar was there. It was present when Miriam and Aaron began to detract from Moses. Its there as we serve in the selfless manner that we should.

Lets turn back now to Deuteronomy, chapter 31, Deuteronomy, chapter 31, and verses 14-16, where we have yet another mention of the pillar, the cloud, by day and the fire by night. Deuteronomy 31, verses 14-16, and I found this interesting because, of course, at this point they have scouted out the land, in the book of Deuteronomy, theyre over on the eastern side of the river. Moses preaches to them. Deuteronomy is Moses preaching material as they were in the staging area, ready to invade the land, coming westward across toward Jericho. Deuteronomy 31 and verse 14. Deuteronomy 31 and verse 14. Who was going to succeed Moses? The people now knew. Moses knew that he was not going to enter the promised land because of his mistake at Meribah. You remember he was supposed to speak to the rock; and instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it twice. Somebody, therefore, was to succeed him. So we have two heroes of faith: (1) Joshua, and (2) Caleb. And, apparently, to avoid a leadership struggle here, there is a consecration ceremony, an ordination ceremony, if you will.

Deuteronomy 31:14 Then the (Eternal) said to Moses, Behold, the days approach when you must die; call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of meeting, that I may inaugurate him. So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tabernacle of meeting.

Joshua is a fascinating personality. Moses, I think, had his eye on him early on, realizing that this was a young man who would grow into someone who would be of service to God.

Verse 15 Now the (Eternal) appeared at the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud, (theres that pillar once again) and the pillar of cloud stood above the door of the tabernacle.

Verse 16 And the (Eternal) said to Moses: Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.

A warning! And Joshua, then, is the one who is to be ordained here at this point. Joshua is going to be the successor to Moses.

Deuteronomy 31:23 Then He inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I swore to them, and I will be with you. So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished... (and then they took the book and laid it aside in the ark).

Interesting. An ordination ceremony with the pillar of cloud present to head off the leadership struggle and to make sure that Joshua was the one who was going to succeed Moses and that everybody knew about that.

One more lesson of the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night. In Nehemiah, chapter 9, Nehemiah 9. Lets turn to Nehemiah, chapter 9, and verses 12-19. Nehemiah 9, beginning in verse 12, Nehemiah 9, beginning in verse 12, Nehemiah 9, verse 12. Nehemiah is rehearsing the history here. Nehemiah 9, verse 12, says:

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A Pillar of Cloud and Fire - COGWA Members

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May 17th, 2019 at 11:52 am

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The Sorrow of Repentance – COGWA Members

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Id like to begin the sermon by relating a personal experience that I had. It was my first public exposure to public repentance. Id never seen that before and actually I was six or seven years old. My father and I drove down from St. Louis, Missouri, where I was born. We went down to the Springfield, Missouri, area where he was born in a little town north of there, and while we were there visiting my great, great uncle Noah, my uncle Floyd, my dad and I, we drove to what they called a brush arbor meeting and Id never been to one before and I didnt know exactly what it was but I think in looking back it was a revival meeting and it was out in the country and the cars drove there. You could get out of your car and sit around a platform where there was a preacher who was giving a sermon or you could stay in your car. And we chose to do that and it was like being at a drive-in movie where you would stay in your car and you would watch the service and during the service the preacher was up there giving his sermon and then he began to ask people to come forward and ask them if they would give their heart to the Lord and as a little kid, six or seven years old, Id never seen that before and people began to go up and to go onstage and began to repent. They began to confess their sins. They began to say that yes, they did accept Jesus Christ. Some of the ushers or deacons would walk through where the cars were and back in those days nobody had air-conditioning and the windows were down and I remember one of the ushers or deacons kind of looking in our car and asking my father and me, Do you want to give your heart to the Lord? And I kind of got afraid and scooted over close to my dad and obviously we didnt go up there.

The second experience that I had with a public exposure to repentance. I was now about 27 years old. I was in upstate New York pastoring and I heard on a radio advertisement and I would see on some billboards that an evangelist was coming to town and he was going to have a meeting and this particular evangelist had memorized the Bible and he had known and did know every scripture by heart. Now I had studied my Bible. I was a church pastor and I had memorized certain scriptures. I certainly had not memorized the entire Bible. So I decided well I would like to go see this so I went to our auditorium there and it seated 5,000 people, and it was packed. While I was sitting there and he was giving his sermon, probably about three quarters of the way through the sermon he began to play on the piano a religious song called Just as I am. And I dont know the lyrics but it was something to the effect just as I am without one plea Jesus died for me. Then he asked people to come forward and to give their hearts to the Lord. It was an altar call. And as I sat there cause I was pretty uncomfortable at that point. As I sat there, I looked and there were people who were leaving their chairs, leaving their seats, and going to the stage. And as I sat in mine and I watched them, they were there kneeling on the stage and there were other people or ministers or deacons or whomever who would put their arm around them and these people began to cry and I could hear them saying certain things where they were confessing their sins.

Now I do have a question for you. Can you work up real repentance during a one-hour service? Can you really repent in a one-hour service? Well a partial answer is, yes you can work up real emotion in a one-hour service, but what about real repentance? How emotional must repentance be? How public should repentance be? Now we know that a prerequisite for baptism is that we repent. That we repent before God, confess our sins, accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and we do that, and for those of us who are baptized, we have repented. But if weve repented before baptism, is there a need to repent again? Is there a need for other times of repentance? Well actually repentance is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process. When you look into the subject of the Bible, if you look about justification, youll find that there is an initial justification and that is where we repent before God and that repentance leads to baptism and that baptism allows God, through our repentance, to be forgiven of our sins and we are under the grace of God and we have been justified. But there is also an ongoing justification. Its a behavioral justification. It is something that we do in our lives. It is the requiring of the renewal of Gods Spirit within us and to be able to have that Spirit of God renewed within us we do have to repent. And repentance is not just the one-time event before were baptizedas important as that is. But there is a requirement of ongoing repentance.

Now for us Passover is just a few weeks away and as a church pastor I would like to mention to you and for me that it is time for you and for me to examine the role of repentance in our lives and we need to examine that role of repentance as we prepare to take the New Testament Passover. There is a preparation that we go through to be able to come before God on that sacred night and be able to have that Passover. If youll turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians, chapter 7. In 2 Corinthians 7, we'll see that the subject of sorrow that leads to salvation or sorrow that leads to death is addressed here by Paul.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Im reading from the New King James Version and here in this scripture Gods Word does distinguish between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. One sorrow, the godly sorrow, produces repentance and leads to salvation and in fact the way to look at that is a part of genuine repentance is to experience a godly sorrow and the natural result of having that godly sorrow, it does bring about repentance which does then lead to salvation. The other sorrow leads to death. A worldly sorrow leads to death. Brethren, today in this sermon I would like to focus on the subject of the sorrow of repentance. Now the elements of real repentance, there is quite a bit of course, that goes into that but let me just touch on a couple of points.

A main part of repentance is to feel sorry. That is a requirement. We do need to feel sorrow or to be sorry. But it is much more and much more profound than just saying, Im sorry. It is a godly sorrow that comes within us. That godly sorrow leads to repentance and it produces change within our lives. It produces an about face, a redirection of ones life. Its not just a superficial, Well Im sorry.

Im a father of three. My three children are now adults and two of them have children and the other has a child on its way, but as I think back when they were kids, and if you have children at this time you think back on your childhood or rearing your children, I remember as a parent when the kids were little when one was wrong and had done something to the other one and they were in error telling them well youll need to tell your sister or you need to tell your brother that youre sorry and sometimes the sorry that they said was, Im sorry, (quickly) or Im sorry and it wasnt really heartfelt. It wasnt sincere. And then Donna and I would tell them no it doesnt sound like youre really sorry for what youve donejust a flippant or a very quick Im sorry wasnt sufficient then and brethren its not sufficient for us. Its not sufficient for us as we pray to God and seek that godly sorrow. Just a quick Im sorry really isnt what God is talking about. What Paul has written in 2 Corinthians, chapter 7. Worldly sorrow, quite frankly, is a mourning for the self. Its very much inward thinking. Its just really a form of selfishness because God says worldly sorrow leads to death. Its just thinking about the self. Its just inwardly directed at the form of self-pity. It really doesnt encompass total change. The godly sorrow that leads to repentance that leads to salvation is very deep. Its quite profound and God does expect for us to experience that and to have that and not just at our baptism.

Now if youll look with me in Luke, chapter 3, and lets begin in verse 3. Now this is John the Baptist and he was known for the message of repentance. He was preparing the way for Jesus Christ. He was the precursor of Jesus Christ and a main part of the message that he brought in his day as he did and was a part of his ministry was a message of repentance. And he says here in verse 3.

Luke 3:3 And he went into all the region around Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. [So he was telling them a baptism of repentance. Skip down to verse 7.] Then he said to the multitudes that came to be baptized by him, Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father for I say to you that God is able to raise up children Abraham from these stones.

When you read that, there are people who came to him in response to the message that he brought of repentance and they did repent and he baptized them. But there was a group of people there who came who quite frankly were not repentant and John the Baptist told them you have tobring forth evidence. You have to bring forth fruit meet, or fitting, to show God, and me as Hisminister in this capacity, to show that you have repented, that your repentance is genuine, that you have to bring forth evidence of that. There has to be tangible fruit that youve had this godly sorrow within you, sorrow for the sins that you have committed. I think its quite interesting in verse eight where he tells them, you know we have to read between the lines to a degree, but John is telling them dont just say that you have Abraham as your father, and the lineage there going down through Moses saying in effect well we have the Law of God. I know the Law of God. Therefore I have that already. Well, that wasnt sufficient. Not when it came to the topic of a message of repentance that leads to baptism that leads to salvation.

It reminds me of the occasion where Jesus gave the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican or the Pharisee and the tax collector. And the Pharisee stood there and he looked down, as I would envision, he looked down his nose at the tax collector and said, Im glad Father, that Im not like this tax collector or this publican. And I give tithes of all that I have. I fast twice a week. I do this. I do this. I do that. And then the publican all he could do, and not even lift up his eyes, just smote his breast and said, Have mercy upon me a sinner. And Jesus said that the publican went away justified in the eyes of God where the Pharisee didnt. When you examine that account, the Pharisee was not asking for forgiveness. He was telling God in comparison to this other sinner what he had not done and the good that he was doing. And that didnt really cut it with God; it didnt cut it with Jesus Christ. It was not what was appropriate. The other man, obviously filled with emotion, and barely articulate as the account would show but all he could say was have mercy upon me, a sinner.

When you talk about the subject of repentance that we need to have, it is a very emotional experience. It is one that is sincere. It is one where God will be looking to see do you have evidence that have you repented? Where are the fruits? Bring that forward. Dont quote to me a law. Dont quote to me your lineage. Dont tell me what you have done. I want to see within you. Have you repented? Do you have that godly sorrow?

In Acts, chapter 3, and then lets look at verse 19. It says,

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Repent, therefore, and be converted. Repentance encompasses not only the sorrow that must be there but it also encompasses a conversion that is a real change. A turning about. A changing from the way that we are, that we would be converted, that we would repent and therefore be converted so that our sins could be blotted out, that God would be able to extend to us His mercy and to forgive us. What God is looking for, brethren, is unconditional surrender, unconditional surrender to God. When we sin before God, we have to repent to God in an unconditional way where there is no turning back. That we dont hold anything back. That we open up to God and we confess those sins and were genuinely sorry for the sins we have committed and we unconditionally give ourselves over to Him.

When I think of the phrase unconditional surrender, I think back to images that I have seen, old footage on television and other venues. Well, if you remember, you may have seen it yourselves pictures, or pictures of that when the Japanese surrendered after World War II, or that which ended World War II, and their delegates came onto the deck of the battleship Missouri and they had as a country, they had been defeated, and they had made the decision that they were going to surrender. And what the United States, the victor, required of them that they would surrender unconditionally, that there was absolutely no conditions tied to their surrender. They were giving themselves over totally to whatever the United States decided to do with them and if you remember those images, those delegates, those representatives of the nation of Japan, the Japanese Empire, they had the longest faces, and I remember watching them, they looked so sad though they had the top hats and they were dressed formally with the cutaway formal jackets and the white gloves and the bow tie, and they stood on that deck and they had the longest face because they were going to sign the papers which would state that they unconditionally surrendered to the United States.

When you look at their culture and their history, that was something very abhorrent to them. For them to surrender, that was normally not an option that a soldier would fight to his death on the battlefield. He would not surrender and now as a nation they were surrendering unconditionally. If you think about the, quite frankly the atrocities that were committed by the Japanese against the Allies, particularly our armed forces, if you look at that war first broke out in the Philippines and our armies that were there along with the Philippines that they were being defeated throughout the islands and now they were reduced down to just one main island, their commanding general MacArthur had already been flown off. The United States did not want to lose him because it was a dire situation and those men on that island, they fought as long as they could. Their supplies were running out, food supplies, ammunition, etc. and then they surrendered.

Now they were still a fighting force and there were thousands of them and when the Japanese accepted their surrender, quite frankly they disdained the Americans. They looked down their noses at the Americans. They really couldnt believe that the Americans had surrendered because they were still a fighting force. All of their arms, all of their ammunitions, had not run out. They still had food though it was very much limited and then as the Japanese marched them as I said the death march at Bataan as they began to do that march, where men were dying along the way, where Japanese were actually bayonetting some of the soldiers and killing them. A part of that was their culture because they looked down their noses at someone who had unconditionally surrendered and they thought that was something very wrong.

Then as you fast forward to the end of the war in 1945 you see the representatives of that nation, of that empire, standing on the deck of the Missouri battleship saying and signing the surrender, I unconditionally surrender. Brethren, thats what God expects of us. He expects of us not to give a partial repentance, not to give a partial surrender of what were doing but to totally surrender to God. No holds barred. We give our lives to Him. We repent of every sin that weve ever committed. We ask for His forgiveness and we tell Him in a heartfelt way that I give myself over to you totally. That heartfelt repentance that encompasses that godly sorrow that leads to and is a part of repentance and leads to salvation. It does have to be heartfelt. Sometimes an individual and probably all of us are guilty of this from time to time, sometimes we think that were doing okay and we may be. But sometimes we think that were doing pretty well spiritually. We realize we attend church as we should. We keep the Sabbath, we tithe, and we keep the Holy Days. We havent killed anyone this week, we havent stolen anything and this is pretty good. In fact that is good and Im not disparaging that at all. Thats the daily life of a Christian that we need to be living. However, when we repent, we must examine our innermost feeling and ways not just the things that can be counted or looked at by people observing us, keeping the Sabbath, tithing, keeping the Holy Days, etc., but we have to look inside, into the heart. We have to examine our innermost feelings and what really motivates us. Notice in 2 Corinthians, chapter 13.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed you are disqualified?

Im reading from the New King James. But Paul clearly tells us as a Christian that we are to examine ourselves and lets see how we really are. Are we really in the faith? Are we doing those things that God wants us to do? What about our innermost being? What about our heart? What about the way that we are to conduct ourselves and the way we think about the way we conduct ourselves?

Brethren, were coming to the Passover in a short time and in the Passover rightly so our eyes are to be upon Jesus Christ, His sacrifice, what He has done for us, the giving of His life for our sins, the willingness to do that that His Father permitted and had designed from the beginning. And our eyes are to be on Jesus Christ and as He is the focal point of that feast, He is the central theme of all of the feasts of God but each feast, as you are aware, focuses on a different aspect of Gods plan of salvation. It also interacts with us as to what we need to be doing and learning from that particular feast. Brethren a part of the Passover when we gather to keep the New Testament Passover requires us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine ourselves, to really take a close look at ourselves and ask ourselves, what is my relationship with God? What is my relationship with Jesus Christ? How am I going to come to this Passover service and what frame of mind will I be and quite frankly, brethren, the role of godly sorrow in repentance is critical to our coming before God in the right attitude, in the right way, in the right frame of mind, having done an examination before God and quite frankly brethren, Ill be forthright and say if we wait to this year Passover being on a Sunday night or Sunday evening, if we wait to Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon, or as we get dressed for coming to the service and we say, Well God, Im sorry. Now Im not your judge. God is and Im not my own judge, God is a Judge of all of us but is that the attitude that God wants? Are we not fearful that we can be guilty of worldly sorrow and not have godly sorrow that God is looking for?

Notice back in the book of Psalms and Psalms 139. I believe that this particular scripture is important. It has been very meaningful for me over the years and I believe that if well turn to this scripture and understand this scripture and have this be a part of our prayers we seek to be close to God and seek His forgiveness as we repent to Him. And I do suggest, well let me read the scripture.

Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Brethren, this is a prayer that we would say privately before God. This is a prayer that we would be as I would suggest very strongly that you and I get to a private place, be it in our home, where we can open up before God and we ask God search me, oh God, and know my heart. Try me, and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way of everlasting life and to be down on our knees and really cry out to God. Now I do know there would be some because of circumstances they really cant kneel down so thats not the prerequisite or the point Im trying to make, but to be able to have that private prayer, that prayer where youre able to open up before God and you open up your heart and your mind and your being and you ask God to search me and know my heart. See if theres any way within me that I need to change, that I need to grow and were asking God to point that out, and were asking Him in His mercy to show it to me, tell me, let me see this. I can quote you God, yes I went to Sabbath services, I went to the Holy Days, I didnt lie this week and I havent killed anyone, but what about our heart? What about the way we think? What about areas that we permit ourselves to sin in, or maybe we dont know or weve become quite tolerant in?

Turn with me to Matthew, chapter 15, and for our young people, our teens and young adults, if you havent personally prayed that scripture on your knees asking God to search you and to know your heart, I strongly recommend that you do and in your prayer, in your seeking repentance from God and youre confessing your sins, that you ask God to examine you and to show you the areas that you would be weak in. In Matthew chapter 15, notice verse 17.

Matthew 15:17 Do you not yet understand whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?There was a controversy over the ceremonial way that Pharisees were washing their hands and Christ is telling them its not if you eat something with maybe unclean hands as they would define unclean hands. Its not talking about clean and unclean meats. Its quite clear as you read the subject matter its about eating food with hands that hadnt been washed in the way that the Pharisees dictated, but that did not make you unclean by not going through the ceremony that they had adopted.

Verse 17-20 Do you not yet understand whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are things which defile a man but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.

Brethren, sin begins in the heart. Out of that heart proceeds the blasphemies, proceeds the murders, the adultery, the thoughts that are there, those are the things that defile a man and that sin begins in the heart and it comes out through the mouth and through the arms and through the legs and through our torsos and the way that we are and God is telling us that we need to look at that. Thats whats important, not if you ate something with unwashed hands. But what about that heart? What is in there?

In Hebrews, chapter 3, brethren sin can be very deceitful. Sometimes we dont understand it. Sometimes we think that we do, probably the majority of us have been walking this way of life for many, many years. And I know that we know Gods way and I know that we understand it and I believe that we seek to live that way. But regardless of our tenure in Gods church or walking this way of life, sin can still be deceitful. Sin can trick us. Sin can be there when we dont know that its there. It can actually have taken root within us that we just dont understand that its there. We dont understand how difficult it is to rid ourselves with Gods help of that sin.

Hebrews 3:12-13 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily while it is called today lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

That we would become hardened or inured to sin, that we become comfortable with sin, that we have been deceived and are actually practicing sin that we may not know that were doing it. Or we may have given it a blind eye and God doesnt want us to do that. God doesnt want us to be comfortable with that. God doesnt want us to allow sin to deceive us where we dont realize how violent it is and how harmful it is and how it has to be thrust out with the help of God and the way to get that sin out of our lives is to ask God to point it out, that we open ourselves, we lay ourselves bare before God and we ask God to search our heart and see if theres any way within us and lead us into the way of everlasting life.Verse 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

That it is something that we have to have a continual confidence in the sacrifice of Christ that God is anxious to apply that sacrifice to us obviously at the Passover and the time of the Passover but leading up to the Passover and throughout our year from Passover to Passover that we ask God in our confession to God, to point out that sin. Dont let that sin deceive us. Dont allow it to trick us. Dont allow it to be buried in there that we dont know what it is or we dont acknowledge it. Thats not pleasing to God.

Back in Jeremiah, chapter 17, and lets look at verse 9.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart. I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

Brethren, true repentance is more than just a few cosmetic changes. Its more than just changing a few things that people can see or measure or observe. It has to do with our heart. And the Bibles quite clear that heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. What is being addressed there is that carnal nature. The nature that we have. The carnality that is there where the human being with our approach to life and our innate selfishness that we have and you juxtapose that to the way of God, the way of giving and the way of repentance, of being forgiven of sin, of seeking the Holy Spirit of God that we can be imbued with that power from on high. It is so different when you contrast the human heart that is there and the way that God wants to create a new heart within us. It is more than just beginning to change a few things. It is a prayer before God and this would be tied into Psalm 139, verses 23 and 24.

The Lord searches the heart. Were asking God to do that. We must realize how wrong an individual that we really are and I dont say that to try to beat you down or try to beat myself down but we have to understand carnality. We have to understand what its like to be human beings. When Christ said, Why call me good? Theres none good but One and Christ was reflecting His humanity because as Hebrews shows, He was tested in all things. He knew what it was like to have the pull of the flesh. He knew what it was like to have Biblical terms that heart within us to pull us in the wrong direction, that carnality that we have, and God wants us to acknowledge that and realize that we have to unconditionally surrender to Him and put our lives before Him and seek that full repentance after experiencing true godly sorrow, the sorrow of repentance.

Ive had the opportunity as our other pastors have to baptize individuals and its such a joy to be able to do that. Fort Worth, where I pastor, is a congregation that we have a large number of young adults, a large number of teenagers, individuals who have been blessed to have been reared in Gods church and to counsel them for baptism. Quite frankly, from the viewpoint of a pastor, it is such a wonderful event to sit down and to counsel an individual. Now sometimes when I counsel a young adult for baptism and they have been called through their parents exposure to Gods truth and teaching them Gods truth and them being at church services and walking in this way and as I begin to talk with them on the subject of repentance, Ill be quite frank. Its very uplifting to me when I talk with some and their confession is to God. They dont confess to me. It is God who forgives them but in talking with them and trying to ascertain if they have repented, do they understand what repentance is? And to go through that and then to realize that well here this person, quite frankly, theyre not an inveterate liar. They do keep Gods Sabbath. They eschew working on the Sabbath. They dont steal things. They havent committed adultery. They havent committed fornication. They dont take Gods name in vain. They do want to walk this way, and quite frankly that is extremely uplifting and that is not to be apologized for. That is the fruit of having been exposed to Gods truth, hearing it, learning that and being sheltered from those sins that are so prevalent in the world and when they come before God, they dont have to repent of having murdered someone or having necessarily stolen something or however their life has been.

For young adults, thats not to be apologized for and your repentance before God is just as genuine as other individuals who I have counseled as I know many ministers have. I have come out and counseled people who have committed murder, who have been inveterate liars, who have stolen as a lifestyle, who are fornicators or adulterers, for taking Gods name in vain, who have broken Gods Sabbath, who have done the things that God would cry as wrong and evil within His Bible. When they come and their repentance, they would go through all of that and confess that God and let God know that they are sorry of that. So Im not trying to contrast well if youve been in the church and you havent done these things that your repentance is not as genuine or if youve done these things, what a horrible rotten person you are. Sin is sin. We have made mistakes. The point Id like to make is, if you havent done those things, that is such a wonderful thing before God but there is still within you and within me that heart that is deceitful above all things. It is desperately wicked. There is the deceitfulness of sin and we need to acknowledge that before God and ask God to point out that area or areas that we are wrong. Now notice in Matthew, chapter 19, verse 16. A young man comes to Christ and he does want to know what he can do to inherit eternal life. Lets read the account.

Matthew 19:16-17 Now behold, one came and said to Him, Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? So He said to him, Why do you call me good but no one is good but One, that is, God, But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. [Now that was a part of acknowledging the roll of behavioral justification that we need to be practicing those things which God tells us we are to do.]

Verse 18-22 He said to Him, Which ones? Jesus said, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The young man said to Him, All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack? [Now that is a wonderful statement, the first part of verse 20. Ive done these things. Then he asks a critical question: What do I still lack?] Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Quite an interesting account. Quite frankly it fits in hand and glove with the subject of worldly sorrow and godly sorrow and what God is looking for. That young man had kept Gods Commandments and thats to his credit. But he had a problem. He was covetous. He had great possessions and he coveted those. He was not willing to give that up. Not that its wrong to have possessions, but his relationship to the possessions that he had he coveted those. He asked Christ, What do I still lack? Brethren, thats the question that were asking in Psalm 139:23-24. Search my heart. Is there any way within me (If I may paraphrase) that Im sinning? Point that out. Point me in the right direction. Lead me to the way everlasting. Thats the prayer that we ask. Yes, we may have been doing these things and keeping Gods Law. Thats wonderful and thats great and not to be apologized for, but what do I yet lack? When we say that to God, were opening ourselves up unconditionally and God what do I lack? Where is the sin that can deceive me? Point that out. When it was pointed out to this young man that (if I may paraphrase again), you have possessions and thats your God and youre not willing to give up, youre not willing to surrender that to me and follow me. He was sorry but you know it was worldly sorrow. He went away sorrowful because he wasnt willing to give up these possessions. Thats what held him back. For us, brethren, it is a godly sorrow that we open up and say, God lead us in the right way. Tell me where Ive been wrong.

Psalm 51 in my view is a psalm which as I might say is a textbook recipe example of how we can come before God on our knees and open up unconditionally to God confessing our sins to God. True repentance extends from godly sorrow. It is an emotional experience. It is a private, deep-set, emotional experience as we communicate with our Father in heaven and when we repent before God, the repentance is directed to God. It is to Him that we have broken His Law. Now when we repent, it may also encompass other individuals of what we may have done but the aggrieved party is God. We have broken His law. Were asking Him to forgive us. Psalm 51. This is after David had committed the sin with Bathsheba. It was brought to his attention and now he understood exactly how grievous that sin was.

Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to your lovingkindness, According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.

I would like to suggest that you and I between now and the Passover that you and I take this our Bibles, open up to Psalm 51, and read it out loud to God, on our knees if we can and go through this heartfelt repentance and apply it to ourselves after we have asked as Psalm 139 says, search me and know my thoughts and try me and see if there is any way that is wrong within me and lead me into everlasting life. David said

Verse 2-7 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin for I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned [Were asking forgiveness from the God of this universe]. And done this evil in your sight that you may be found just when you speak, and blameless when you judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden parts You will make me know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Were asking for correction. Were asking for love and mercy. Were asking to be cleansed. Were asking to be corrected. Were asking for God to point these things out and we acknowledge that which we see and ask Him to help us see that which is not obvious.

Verse 8-11 Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones that You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all of my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.We need to ask God to examine our motivation. We need to ask God to point out to us why do we do what we do? Why do we think what we think? And then lay that before God and ask Him to see that and ask Him to forgive us and ask Him to help us to have the right attitude in what we do see. Then we ask God to refashion us, to take us in His hands, to mold us that we would have that malleable spirit within us that were willing to change, that theres not something that we hold back but that were willing to change. Brethren, Christ had to die for every sin that weve ever committed, every sin that had taken root within us, every sin that had grown from a bad habit or a wrong thought and He had to die for every sin that we have committed and Hes willingly, willing to extend that forgiveness for us because He has paid the price. He has taken the penalty. We have to acknowledge that. We have to see His role. We have to call to Him and ask Him to give us the strength that we need. If you notice in Ephesians, chapter 4, and verse 17.

Ephesians 4:17-24 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind. [Hes contrasting them who know Gods truth to those who didnt know Gods truth.] Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, [This is not what we have been taught. We have been taught a different way, a way of life that is right and good, a way of life that works, that is wholesome and pleasing to God] that you have not so learned Christ if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Do we truly crave Gods Holy Spirit, the renewal of Gods Holy Spirit? Do we really want God to stir up that Spirit, to renew it, to have it flow through us because we are not stopping it that by our actions, our thoughts, from the deceitfulness of our hearts? That were not precluding Gods sending to us that Spirit of His that can be within us that will tell us and show us and lead us how to live, how to conduct ourselves? Do we crave Gods Holy Spirit? Do we want the mind of Jesus Christ to replace our selfishness? Our selfishness, quite frankly, is to do what we want to do and continue doing those things that we want to do. Deep, heartfelt repentance, that godly sorrow of repentance, it does have emotion. It has emotion for us to cry out, to be moved, to be pricked in the heart that we know that weve done wrong and were seeking forgiveness but its more than just emotion. It is a commitment to God, a conviction, a purpose that we have to determine to change. Notice back just a few pages the Book of Romans. Paul says

Romans 2:4 . . . do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

And Id like to stress this point in this scripture and well turn to another briefly. God does grant repentance. I think as we study the subject of godly sorrow as a part of repentance and understand the fullness of what that means; I would be the first to admit I cant do that on my own. I can come up with an emotional feeling. I can emotionally say Im sorry and thats right and thats fine but the true depth of repentance has to be granted by God. It is in fact a gift of Gods goodness so as you read these scriptures, as you hear this message and you say, Thats not my personality, or Ive never done that or Its been a long time since I have gone through that or I remember that type of repentance when I was being baptized and leading to baptism, I really havent done that or Its been so long or I know I fall short.

What we need to do, brethren, is to ask that God grant me repentance. Allow me to have repentance. The last part of verse 4 once again: Not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance and thats what we ask. Its not something that we just embark upon ourselves. It is something we ask God to grant us repentance. Notice the instruction in 2 Timothy. In chapter 2, Paul is instructing Timothy, a younger minister in the faith, and hes telling him how to conduct himself and pointing certain things out and Id like us to focus on one point because the message is not only for Timothy, the message is also for us.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility, correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Middle part of verse 25: If God perhaps will grant them repentance. Brethren, repentance is a gift of God. True repentance is a gift of God because only God can cause us to see ourselves as we really are. To know the truth, to be convicted of the truth, to know where we fall short because weve asked Him to look within our heart and create a new heart, a new being, a new person, and we lay that before Him in an unconditional surrender, and that comes from God and we can receive that from God, but we have to ask. We ask God grant me repentance. Help me to know what it is that I need to do and give me the strength to do it to see us through His eyes, His godly eyes. Job 42, the last scripture Id like to turn to. Job chapter 42 and verse 5. Job is cited as one of the three most righteous men of the Old Testament so we know that he did keep Gods way and he wanted to and you read the Book of Job cover to cover and you will see where he did obey God and he turned to God but at the end and he saw all the things that he had gone through, then he was convicted in his heart and he says

Job 42:5-6 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Therefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.

And in comparison, in juxtaposition between Job and God, there was no comparison and hes showing that he wanted to be like God, follow God in a righteous way and when he compared himself to God even as powerful as Job was and talented, and all the things that he can do, and all that he had lived through he said therefore I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear but now I see you, now I understand how great you are. My comparing myself to you, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. Brethren, when we have the godly sorrow, the sorrow of repentance that leads to salvation, we come before God and we throw ourselves upon the mercy of God. We come before that mercy seat of God and figuratively we grasp the horns of the altar and we ask God to forgive us and we ask Him to blot out our sins and Hell do it and Hell give us the thought, He will give us the right attitude if we seek it but it has to be a total surrender on our part. Repentance is a continual process in our relationship to God. Were so thankful as we prepare for Passover that we can now as Christians focus upon that aspect and more heavily weight the aspect of godly sorrow and repentance as we come now as those beginning feasts, that festival year of God begins once again.

Lets continue to ask God to grant us a repentant and malleable heart that He can shape, that we can repent and when we do, God graciously extends forgiveness to each and every one of us for the sins that we have committed and we give God the thanks and we owe everything to Him for what He has done for us.

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The Sorrow of Repentance - COGWA Members

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May 17th, 2019 at 11:52 am

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Pentecost: Power, Love and a Sound Mind – COGWA Members

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Posted byMike BennettonJune 10, 2011

The Feast of Pentecost reminds us that wind can represent the awesome power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible also makes clear that Gods power is always controlled by love and a sound mind.

On the Day of Pentecost after Jesus Christs death and resurrection, the disciples were all together. Suddenly great miracles began to get peoples attention and to mark the beginning of the New Testament Church.

The first of those miracles was a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2). After a year of deadly and devastating tornadoes, probably none of us would look forward to hearing such a sound. However, there is a biblical connection between the power of the wind and the power of Gods Holy Spirit given on the Day of Pentecost. But, as well see, Gods power is always controlled by love and a sound mind.

The awesome power of wind

Ive always had a hard time understanding windstorms. I mean, usually the air around us is invisible and we dont even notice it. We walk through the air as if there was nothing there. So when a gust of wind comes up, it is a surprise to me. To imagine wind having power to destroy half-mile wide swaths of towns like Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, seems like science-fiction to me. That air could rip houses apart like balsa wood seems incredible.

The June 6 issue of Time magazine reported some of the stories of people who survived in Joplin. For example, Pamela Merriman and her two kids crouched in their bathroom as the brick fireplace tumbled through the living room floor and the garage door crashed through the wall beside them and the high school bleachers wrapped around a tree in her front yard.

How the Holy Spirit isand isntlike wind

In what way is the Holy Spirit like those windstormsand in what ways is it not like that?

For one thing, as Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus, the Holy Spirit is invisible like the wind. You can see its results, but you cant see the air itself (John 3:8). You might even say its kind of a play on words, because the Greek word translated Spirit also means wind, as it says in the notes of the Nelson Study Bible.

So the Holy Spirit is like the wind in that it is invisible and it is powerful. But now lets look at what makes the Holy Spirit different from the raging, uncontrolled, destructive power of a tornado.

Elijahs experience

Consider the story of Elijah, who had become discouraged and disheartened, fleeing from evil Queen Jezebel. God was going to meet with Elijah, and He chose to do it in a very interesting way.

Then He said, Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD. And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12).

God wants us to know He controls the windand all the power in the universebut He can speak softly and gently. His awesome power is always under control.

Jesus power over the wind

We can see more about Gods power in Mark 4:35-41. In this passage, after a long day of preaching to the crowds, Jesus and His disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus fell asleep even though a terrible windstorm came up! The disciples, several of them seasoned fishermen, were terrified and thought they were all going to die! They woke Jesus up, amazed He could sleep through this, and yelled to Him in essence, Dont you care that were all going to drown?

Then Jesus said: Peace, be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

The disciples were even more afraid nowin awe of Jesus Christs power over the strongest forces of their world, the wind and the sea. This was another example that shows that Gods great power is always under His control. And He wants us to be like Him. He wants to give us power, but only power to be used for right reasons. He wont give us His incredible power if we are going to misuse it.

Sons of Thunder?

Remember the time the Samaritans turned Jesus away, and James and John, the Sons of Thunder, wanted the power to call down fire from heaven to punish these people? Jesus Christ said they didnt know what spirit they were of (Luke 9:51-56). It was not His Spirit that was inspiring their feelings of anger and retribution.

We are not called to be the Sons of Thunder, but the sons of encouragement and love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Thats one list of what Gods Spirit does. Theres another list in 2 Timothy 1:7. Paul wanted Timothy to make use of the wonderful gift of Gods Spirit to empower his ministry and do Gods work, so he told him: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Love and a sound mind

Weve looked at the aspect of powerGods Spirit is the very power that God used to create the universe! It is limitlessit is unimaginable power! But Paul also lists two other elements that show not only what the Holy Spirit gives us, but what we need to grow in to be able to use the power God gives correctly.

We need to have the same underlying motivation and attitude that God has: Love! Outgoing concern for others. An unselfish approach that treats others as God treats us. The kind of love that Jesus Christ showed when He was willing to sacrifice everything for us. He could have called down fire or legions of angels, but instead He prayed, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34).

Along with that love, we need a sound mind. This is not just talking about sanity, but about discipline and self-control. Its moderation. Its a self-correcting approach to want to grow and change and have more of the mind of Jesus Christ.

So, as we think of that sound of a mighty rushing wind on Pentecost, we can think of power, yes. But we can also think of the love and sound mind we need to be able to use the power of the Holy Spirit as God wants us to. Then, God can not only give us the down payment of His Spirit in this life, but the fullness of His spiritual power as sons and daughters forever in His Kingdom!

Click on these links to read more about Pentecostand the Holy Spirit.

Mike Bennett coordinates the blogs for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He and his wife, Becky, and two daughters attend the Cincinnati/Dayton, Ohio, congregation. (To any in the Cincinnati/Dayton congregation who read this before Pentecost: my apologies that you get to hear it again as my sermonette on Pentecost.)

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Pentecost: Power, Love and a Sound Mind - COGWA Members

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