APRIL 2021

SACRIFICE
 In the Old Testament, the Jews were required to do sacrifices at specific times and at a certain place.  They were to sacrifice the first fruits of their crops and cattle.  If they had none, they could buy a bird for the sacrifice.  Their offerings had to be perfect with no blemishes.  Unfortunately, their religious practices became ritualistic which God condemned in many scriptures.  One of condemnation is Isaiah 29.13; “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are from me.  Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been to “circumcise your hearts”.
In the Christian era, we are not required to sacrifice animals or grain.  Jesus was the perfect lamb of God who offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins once for all.  We are made right with God through our faith in Jesus.  However, our religious practices can also become very ritualistic.  We can check off our list the things we DO and call that Christian sacrifice – go to church every Sunday; read our Bible every day; pray; fulfill our “callings”; take soup to the sick neighbor; serve communion at church; work in a thrift shop to help the needy; go on a short- term mission; and other things you can name.  None of these are bad in themselves.  In fact, they can be wonderful if they are led by the Spirit; but they can possibly become rituals and a substitute for real communion with God.  So what does God require?  Here are some scriptures that might show us the heart of God.  1 Samuel 15:22; Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice.  
Psalm 51:16-17; God does not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.  
Proverbs 21:3; To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. 
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. 
Mark 12-33; To love God with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. 
Romans 12:1; offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and – this is your spiritual act of worship. 
Hebrews 13:15-16; therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
In summary, God is pleased when we are completely yielded to Him and led by his Spirit.   “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” – Romans 8:14. As we each examine our lives, let us ask the Spirit to weed out our rituals and guide us into a life of devotion to God and a life of love,  “just as Christ loved us.”  Ephesians 5:2.Sandie
CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
WHAT IS ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY?
 
 I have been wanting to share thoughts and definitions on this subject for some time. In the May issue of our newsletter, I will discuss the definition and concept of CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY. After establishing Orthodoxy, I will want to look at early historic deviations from the norm. What descriptions have been used to describe the changes?Here is a list names attached to various groups of Christian orthodox deviation over the past two centuries.DEVIATION, HERESY, SECT, CREED, RELIGION, CULT, BAND, CLAN. I will begin by defining the concept, ‘ORTHODOX’. Join me next month for this historic journey. Gary Keating

Witness Tips from Jason BornAgain

Over time, I have come to an awareness that the LDS are suspended in a state of demonized thinking, with difficult emotional conclusions.  This requires the power of the Holy Spirit, directly linked with faithful believing prayer.  After years of working with these people, I have come up with a cliche’ that helps me hang in there over the long haul, “Pray more than you say more”.   By refusing to give up, we can in the Love of God effectively give our LDS friends a real chance to become un-plugged from the LDS Matrix.  Patient perseverance while remaining supported in the Joy of the Lord as your strength, you can and will prevail in binding up the strongman, and taking his captive(s) over to the loving, saving care of the Good Shepherd – Jesus.   Anyone can come to know the Authentic Jesus.  Pray – pray – pray.  Be very patient, and watch for God to work. Refuse to give up on them .                                   See you next time

Proverbs 3:5-6
 
 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  My 8-year-old son was crying one night as I rubbed his back at bedtime.  As we processed the rough day, he melted down and shared sobbing, “I feel like nobody listens to me and then I don’t feel like listening.”  He nailed it…How powerful!  We need to be heard.  Our hearts ache for it.  We want to be understood and valued.  Listening is one way that we give value and also feel valued.  God wants us to hear our every need, fear, and hurt. He also wants to be heard, and he wants to hear from us so that He can guide us. We ache for so many things, yet fear that he may not really wants to give us the desires of our heart. In the Old Testament, God says,   “But if from there you will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29   
God does not leave you alone. He knows your struggles and your questions. I have experienced treading carefully with sharing my questions, not knowing who to turn to, swimming in my thoughts and emotions that seemed un-sharable with anyone.  I know the mental chaos this presents and how it wreaks havoc in our relationships and closeness with our spouse, our children, our friends, and ourselves.  Here are some things that I am secure in now because of what God did in my life when I had nowhere else to turn: 
 
If you are seeking Him with all your heart, He will find you and pick you up and do change you in ways you never expected.  I was so paralyzed in fear that I stayed in the same place for years…probably way too long.  But I was a perfectionist and I lived in fear.  It was the fear of making a decision and the doubt that I’d make the “right” one that was paralyzing me. I was so afraid I’d have negative life changing consequences. Fear is not from God.    I recommend is taking baby steps at first.  For example, some people take a huge leap and call it God’s will. They might say they “feel led”, but emotions can fool us.  An example would be… a person decides to pick up and move all at once just to get a new life and say that God guided him to do it.  There would be many consequences involved.  In a bible study I learned that there are four things that we need to help us know God’s will, and none of them are our emotions.   
 
1.  Stay in God’s Word 
2.  Pray…even if you aren’t getting an “answer” or the one you desire. Just pray. 
3.  Seek and receive healthy Christ-centered counsel from others 
4.  Watch for Christ-centered circumstances that lead you  Our God is a God of promise.  He keeps all of His promises.  He provides wisdom, strength and understanding in His timing.  His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, his ways are higher than our ways.  He knows every detail of our lives and cares for our purpose deeply.  Kristine Nelson

How are you doing with your daily Bible reading?  I would like to encourage you , do not give up if you didn’t achieve your goal.  Try switching translations.  The big goal here is to make the reading of God’s word relevant to your life.  And most important don’t forget to pray first.  Ask God to bless you as you read, ask for insight.  He can only bless you if you are ready to receive.  Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart.  Be ready to listen with a prayerful and humble heart.  In 1 Samuel 3, Eli instructed young Samuel to say “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” You my friend are free to say the same words.   

Paulette

Adams Road Band is going out on tour again!!  Follow this link to see when they will be in your area.    http://www.adamsroadministry.com/calendar

When Mormon missionary Micah Wilder set his sights on bringing a Baptist pastor and his congregation into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he couldn’t imagined that the entire trajectory of his life was about about to be changed-forever.

     Micah’s passionate effort to convert these Christians was met by a surprising challenge: to read the Bible through the eyes of a  child, letting the Word speak for itself. He learned of a God whose love didn’t have to be earned, and he wrestled with the radical idea of God’s mercy for the remaining 18 months of his mission. As he struggled to reconcile the teachings of his Church with the truths revealed in the Bible, he encountered the true character of Jesus for the first time—and awakened to his need for His grace.

     Passport to Heaven is a gripping account of Micah’s journey from living as a devoted member of a religion based on human works to embracing the divine mercy and freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ.  Pre-order now at:  https://amzn.to/3ogdx5w

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http://www.judy.robertson.com/
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We at Concerned Christians meet every    Monday evening for an hour of prayer at 6:30 p.m. If you are not local, please set that time aside to  voice your concerns from your prayer space.  If you are local and would like to attend, we ask you to call 480-833-2537 for directions. We truly look forward to meeting and praying with you in the War Room.  We ask that you add  Concerned Christians to your prayer list along with any other Mormon witnessing group you are familiar.  The importance of intercessory prayer cannot be stressed enough. We have seen God grant many blessings to us over the years.  If you have a ministry related request please send us a short email. info@concernedchristians.com“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.”      
 I Thessalonians 1:2 

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