December 2020 THE CROSS

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Judy has done it again-read the excerpt from her latest book.

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The trade winds were hushed as the noonday sun bore down on the tiny Youth With A Mission (YWAM) training base in Savai’i, Western Samoa. George, the director, bolted in the door. “Jim, a man wants to see you. He says he wants to kill you!” George’s eyebrows furrowed as he stammered, “We know this man, Tolitonu, he’s mean. And—he’s serious!” George’s eyes widened as he waited a moment for our response. “What do you and Judy want to do?” I fanned vigorously with the woven pandamus fan while simultaneously wetting my face and neck with a washcloth. Jim and I sat on the edge of our guest room bed with only the swishing hand fan moving the stifling moist air. “Seems there’s only one answer,” Jim said,  heedless of the danger involved. “I agree,” I nodded. “This is what we came here for, but I’m scared.” “George, we’ll talk to the man. You asked us to teach your students about the dangers of Mormonism. We might as well start by talking with this angry Mormon.” George’s jaws tensed as he nodded in agreement. Tolitonu stood on the side of the dirt road, grim-faced and waiting for the man he hated. The dingy gray skirtlike cloth he tucked in at the waist underscored the skull and crossbones tattooed on his bare chest. Daggers, scorpions, and snakes were etched into the flesh of his arms right down to his white-knuckled fist. 

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

General Manager, Gary Keating

The title I chose for this article is a phrase we often hear this time of the year.  It usually pertains to the commercial emphasis of sales advertising which begins in late November and climaxes on December 24 every year.  Those using the phrase hope to redirect our thoughts.  So, the question is, what is The Reason for The Season?We all seem to know that the answer involves spiritual faith and the Bible.  It is God who provided The Reason.  It is Church Tradition that decided the season.  From the beginning of The Creation God has had a plan.  He intended to save mankind, the epitome of His Creation, for Himself.  This plan is revealed to us in a veiled prophesy in Isaiah.  This announcement in Isaiah 7:13-15 had a double meaning.  It spoke to current events at that time and predicted a future major event to come.  Maybe this could be our reason for the season.13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,This is the first hint God has given to his overall plan of a Redeemer since His conversation with Abraham. (Genesis 17:1-7) When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”Abram fell face down, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.This conversation shows God’s big plan that will reach beyond the nation of Israel.  The passage from Isaiah is the harbinger of some major future event.  It is time to fast-forward approximately 700 years.  The New Testament writers, Matthew and Luke, record the prophesied event. Matthew begins his Gospel account by tying the Isaiah prophecy to Abraham’s genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17).  It begins with Abraham and immediately takes us to the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David’ (Revelation 5:5).  This is particularly important since he is primarily writing for his Jewish neighbors.  Once he establishes historical roots Matthew gives a very brief description of THE EVENT (Matthew 1:18:25): 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.It is notably important to the Jewish community that the connection is made by Matthew to the Isaiah 7:13-15 scripture.  The Gospel writer Dr. Luke provides much more detail about THE EVENT.  You might wonder how Luke came by this information.  The first four verses of his Gospel he tells you he researched and received his information from living witnesses of the events (Luke 1:1-4). Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.Luke obviously knew Mary, the mother of Jesus, on a friendly level.  Mary supplied the details surrounding THE EVENT.  This also included the circumstances surrounding the birth of John the Baptist.  We hear about the Virgin Birth, but little is said about the miracle of the pregnancy and birth of John the Baptist.  He is the man God selected to introduce His Son to the world.  God puts His authentication on THE EVENT by performing two miraculous births.  John the Baptist, much like Abraham’s Isaac, is born to parents who are beyond childbearing age.  God allows Zechariah and Elizabeth to become parents in a similar manner as Abraham and Sarah.  I believe God was telling the world that the prophecy of THE EVENT was made through a birth miracle.  Now He was going to demonstrate the fulfillment of the prophecy by performing the same miracle and then adding to it with the Virgin Birth of His Son.  He could and did override the limitations of female and male reproductions of His Creation (Luke 1:5-80). In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”The Birth of Jesus Foretold26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.Mary Visits Elizabeth39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”Mary’s Song46 And Mary said:“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48  for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.The Birth of John the Baptist57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.Zechariah’s Song67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,u
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit;;; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.This is a rather lengthy quotation from Scripture.  But this is an overview of THE GREATEST EVENT IN WORLD HISTORY.  The magnitude of this event may not ever be overstated!  It is underscored as the most significant event of World History by the Apostle Paul speaking about Jesus in Colossians 1:15-25.The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.The author of the book of Hebrews also acknowledges Jesus’ status and authority in Hebrews 1:1-3. In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So, what is THE REASON FOR THE SEASON?  I Believe I have just demonstrated from Scripture exactly what that is.  There has never been in the past and never will be in the future such an event which will affect mankind.  Gift giving between us is a natural lesson which derives from this ultimate historic event.  Honoring the event itself is even more important and that is –                             
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Concerned Christians of Arizona wishes you all a Merry Christmas
The differences between Mormonism and Christianity 

by Judy Robertson

Mormonism 
God Is:
      6.   Married and produced countless spirit children.

            “… this doctrine that there is a mother in heaven was affirmed in plainness by the first presidency of the Church…when, in speaking of preexistence and the origin of man, they said that man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the father, ‘that man is the “offspring of celestial parentage,’…”
     (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, p.516)

     “in the heavens are parents   single?  No; the thought makes reason stare!  Truth is reason, truth eternal,  Tells me I’ve a Mother there.”
     (Verse from Latter-day Saint hymn, O MY FATHER  by Eliza R, Snow)

Christianity
 God Is:
      6.   No reference in the Bible about God being married or producing spirit children before they were born on Earth.

“Howbeit that was not first which in spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual.”
     (1 Corinthians 15:46)


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Witness tips by Jason Born Again
Finding ways to GO TO and BE THERE for them, requires commitment.  Create opportunities to spend time together with your Mormon friends, so they can see you, watch you, and in doing so really notice JESUS in you.  The more time you spend with them, the higher the chances they will comfortably ask good questions, or even weak questions you can coach a little.  NEVER GIVE UP once you have started down this path, it is not worth it. (to give up)  Happy fishing  – Jason 



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Many of us have had a particularly hard year. Some have lost loved ones; some have been sick; others have lost jobs; some have had to deal with children being out of school; and many have been burdened by politics. The mental strain from the problems of the year has created many responses including fear, anxiety, distrust, anger, sadness, depression, rebellion, and exhaustion. However, the Bible tells us in James 1:2-4, “Consider it all JOY, my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Hallmark movies would have us believe that the Christmas season should bring miracles and some special warm feeling. To some, that may be true; but to the rest of us, Christmas is a burden or a time of sadness. However, the Bible tells us that at the birth of Jesus, the angels exclaimed, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY.” The real miracle of Christmas was that God sent His Son into this world. He loves us so much that He wants us to be free from slavery to sin and to live a victorious life here on earth, and gain eternal life with Him through our faith in Jesus. If you feel defeated, try Paul’s solution that he spoke to the Philippian church: Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. May “the JOY of the Lord be your strength” every day. Nehemiah 8:10. THE CROSS NEWSLETTER

Sandra Keating

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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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