His Truth Is Marching On

by Phyllis Bourque

A well-known hymn that we sometimes sing in Church services is entitled, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” In this hymn, the phrase “His truth is marching on” has deep personal meaning for me in light of changes that have taken place in the Churches of God through the years.

A seemingly normal course of ministerial transition in the Church was to train men to serve in various ways and to learn to speak to the congregation, ultimately being ordained to various offices according to their growth. I remember when listening to their messages, which most often were scriptural proof messages, I would nod my head and say to myself, “Yes, I agree. What you are saying is true.”

But something is different now with the messages I hear from our men in this organization. I hear, and see, a depth of conversion and commitment in them that goes beyond proving Scriptures, and I find myself inspired by their messages–their experiences, their perspective–not simply agreeing with the words of proof. Their growth became even more evident at the Feast this year as the speakers stepped forward and shouldered the many responsibilities put upon them, including giving multiple messages, all in stride. Their service to the Church and their care and concern for God’s people was sincere.

So what I see is that in spite of changes in leadership and organizations through the years, God has provided a clear path and continuity of instruction to facilitate my journey of conversion that began over 43 years ago, and thanks to a faithful ministry at this time, the truth is still marching on… and I am still being inspired to make changes in my life!

Rules that Apply

by Dawn Thompson

There are times when deadlines at my job fall on or near Holy Days. I submit in advance the dates for Holy Days so there is plenty of notice to prepare for my absence. There are “blackout dates” on our calendar and on those same dates is my name for time off. My teammates don’t understand Holy Days and when those days fall close to or on deadlines, they think I should stay and work, stating “God will understand.” I just respond with, “that’s not how it works. God and His way is first, everything else is after.” Silence follows.

At times, I experience my teammates criticizing my regular actions with heavy sighs or unapproving glances, even though my activity is no different than theirs! The regular actions I’m talking about are: talking to other co-workers; taking a personal call; scrolling on my personal phone and responding to messages. They all do it but I’m exempt from being able to do those things because on that other level of life, I choose God’s rule over work where they think work should be the priority. They don’t understand the Godly rules that apply to me, and so they translate that to mean that the casual rules that apply to them cannot apply to me.

All of this is trivial and I know I am not alone in the struggle to live in this world according to the rules that apply to God’s true followers. I long for the time we will all live in one accord and joyfully follow the rules that apply to us all.

Making the Difference for Me!

by Delia Messier

There was a time in my life when it seemed that everything went wrong.  And I would end up sad and crying.

I asked myself: “How can I stop all of this sadness? Am I not supposed to be joyful, happy and content? But how can I, when so many things that are important to me are seemingly falling apart?”

Then, one day, out of desperation, I decided that I would try something. I decided that I would try to thank God for all the good things I could think of, everything big or little. As I thought about it more, the list got longer and longer. I was really surprised to realize how many wonderful things I had in my life. Even the air that I breathed was beautiful, and I had forgotten to be thankful for that.  There were so many things which I had taken for granted.

While looking for those “big” and “important” things in life, I had forgotten that everything was important for me.

So, I decided to be thankful for all the “little” things in my everyday life. At one time, I might have considered them only “crumbs,” but now I realized that they were gifts that I had overlooked and failed to appreciate in the right way. By the time I had finished my prayer, I was happy. I had to continue learning to be happy!  Every time I may start feeling really sad and disappointed, I remind myself that I need to thank God for all the good things I can think about, and that makes all the difference for me.

Count on Me

by Phyllis Bourque

Many years ago, when my daughter was attending the local community college, she and I had an arrangement where I would drop her off at the college on my way to work, then pick her up on my way home. It worked well for the most part, though she often had to endure a longer day than necessary, due to me occasionally staying later at work.  Since there were no cell phones then, I had no way of letting her know I would be late.

She was usually happy when I arrived at the end of the day; however, I noticed there were times when she was silently mad and wouldn’t engage in conversation. When I tried to find out what was wrong, she offered no reason. I was puzzled as to this behavior of sometimes being happy, sometimes unhappy… with me, apparently.

One day it finally hit me. I noticed that her happiness was directly connected with me picking her up at the appointed time, and her unhappiness was connected with the days that I stayed later at work. In her mind, she couldn’t count on me to be there as we had initially arranged, though she was unable to express it at that time.

Once I understood the connections, I made a point of not staying later at work, and what a difference it made in her disposition! She was always happy to see me and was eager to share her day!

In the years since, I have noticed a similar behavior in myself, whereas I am happy when I can count on someone, and unhappy when I can’t. When it was important, I have tried to explain the need to be reliable, but I also questioned my own reliability in terms of whether or not people can count on me. In fact, and more importantly, I have questioned whether God can count on my spiritual commitment.

I can easily claim to count on God and His promises, but can He count on me and my verbal promises? Can He count on me to follow up my words with appropriate actions? Can He count on my endurance in the race He has called me to run? Interesting questions that only I can answer, and if the answer is “No,” I need to make whatever corrections are necessary to be able to answer: “Yes! He can count on me.”

Dying and Going to Heaven?

by Delia Messier

Have you ever heard a song or a piece of music so beautiful that you felt you had died and “went to heaven”?

Years ago I had been so sick that I had to be hospitalized for 6 weeks. Two specialists said that I was the sickest person they had seen in 9 years. I was in so much pain and then I flat-lined! My heart and lungs stopped functioning!

What I remember was a voice calling me from far away, and it slowly got louder and louder. I felt no pain then, but frustration for being disturbed! The voice calling me kept persisting and I wanted it to stop. I then recognized that it was my husband calling me, and thought “why does he not leave me alone?” I tried and tried so hard to answer and could not do so, until I finally yelled “What?”— so I thought, but in reality, it was a soft “what” —according to my husband — and the pain was back.

When I had flat-lined, which I think means that I had “died,” I saw no lights. There was no light at the end of a tunnel! There was nothing!  I can describe it as, or, like a dreamless sleep. It took me several long months to be well again.

Today I can say from this experience, that I truly know and believe that the dead know nothing, but that death is a dreamless sleep. But when Christ returns and I am resurrected or changed to immortality, then I will see the lights and hear the most beautiful music and songs unimaginable—not in heaven, but here on earth.

Danger in the Movement

by Ben Agbayani

Many of my friends and acquaintances know that my wife and I were at one time part of a Pentecostal movement. After we left that organization, my wife and I have been continuously comparing the differences between the true Church of God and the Pentecostal movement. I’d like to share here one particular experience.

When I got sick, I continuously sought God’s help, wherever I thought possible. One of the teachings in the Pentecostal church is the so-called “Holy Laughter,” which is allegedly manifested by the Holy Spirit. Some friends and I attended a church service one afternoon, and we moved to the very middle and up front. As I gazed to my left and to my right, I saw two pastors praying for the people, and as soon as they touched the foreheads after the prayer, people fell down and started laughing. I thought to myself that this might be a very interesting experience for me.

When it was my time for the prayer, I was waiting for that moment of the so-called “slain in the spirit” experience, thinking that beginning to laugh would perhaps cure me in the process. I did not fall and there was NO laughter. The pastors took time to do everything to bring it about, but to no avail. I even felt that one pastor pushed my forehead several times, hoping for me to fall. But I didn’t fall. This got me thinking. Was my faith strong enough? Was it that my intentions were not in line with God’s plan for me? I started to doubt myself. In short, I kept the event to myself, hoping to get an answer one day.

For a period of time I studied and looked for references in the Bible about the phenomena, but I could not find any passage that supports “Holy Laughter.” Years later, my wife and I became members of the Church of God. Yes, I have evaluated what had happened. I was not able to recognize that at the time, we were witnessing a direct demonic possession of the people, and we understand now that the spirit that came to them did not come from God. It was very dangerous. God had prevented me from experiencing such demonic influence.

Being a member of God’s Church, we attended our first Feast of Tabernacles in Vail, Colorado, and it was the most memorable experience my wife and I have had. My first night and day was very difficult, because the altitude affected my spine very badly. I asked for anointing with the laying on of hands by the Church elders. I started feeling relief from that agonizing pressure, due to the altitude. God allowed me to enjoy the Feast and extended the care until we were back home. It was the best time of our lives.

I had to reflect on the fact that a person will never know that he has been deceived until God opens his understanding for the truth. Knowing what I know now, I feel very sorry for those who left the faith and joined instead a Pentecostal movement

Be Still and Know

By Louise Amorelli

As each day dawns, I realize with more certainty that life is uncertain.  Before I put my feet on the floor each morning, I ask God to take the reins, for Him to be in control. It is my human nature to want to fix all problems immediately and in my own approach, that my day might encounter. Family, health, job issues, world events, dealings with unconverted people, and even the weather can be so challenging, confusing and unsure.

I remember, each time I pray, to acknowledge to God that nothing can be done without Him in my life.  When I come before Him in prayer and humility and when I study His Word, I am reminded that I have to do my part to act and think in a Godly way in a certain situation, with His Spirit to give me discernment. I see the world around me, as it crumbles, while it does not rely on God’s Word or His power, but on man’s own strength and intelligence, even saying that there is no God and that we, the people, can do and accomplish all and decide for ourselves, how we chose to deal with situations.

It is my human nature to want to be in control and rely on my own ways.  But I have to pray always, keep on the whole armor of God, do my part as I study God’s Word, and leave the rest in God’s merciful, loving and mighty Hand. What a blessing to know that God is in TOTAL control and wants to freely give me His peace. I try and remember, when my human nature kicks in, to be still and know that He is my God.

In Search of…

by Phyllis Bourque

In attending the Feast in recent years at Pismo Beach, California, one of the things I have enjoyed doing is going to the local farmers markets. There is a plentiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh squeezed juices, dried fruits, smoked fish, local honey, nuts, fresh cut flowers, and so much more!

While meandering among the bountiful displays, I noticed a sign at one of the apple vendors that read “dry farmed” and I wondered what it meant. When I asked the vendor, he explained that they do not irrigate. The trees are well-established and the roots are deep enough to go in search of ground water, so irrigation is not necessary. He named some other crops that were also dry-farmed, which I found interesting, considering that much of the growing regions of California have been suffering from drought for multiple years.

I read in Wikipedia, regarding dry-farming: “In California, where torrential rains saturate the soil in the winter and the summers are bone-dry, our climate naturally allows for dry farming, a method where all irrigation is cut off after the plants have become established. This lack of water stresses the plant, forcing its roots deep into the soil in search of water and focuses its efforts on producing fruit.”

It was interesting to consider the spiritual parallel in my life. I began to question how deep my spiritual roots go and how established they are. I am certainly “well watered” with sermons every Sabbath and the annual Holy Days. I have my Bible and I have over 40 booklets, hundreds of weekly Updates with Q&As and Editorials, and numerous member letters within easy reach for studying specific topics. But hearing the messages and reading the words is not enough. What is there in my life that would incline my spiritual roots to go in search of the deeper life-giving water and to become well-established?

I would have to say it is, at least in part, the stress of various trials that God allows me to be subjected to, so that I will be motivated to go in search of a deeper life-giving relationship with Him in order to be well-established and produce fruit acceptable to Him.

Wonderful Joy

by Dawn Thompson

Sometimes Satan throws his fiery darts in the most trivial ways, annoying little things that eventually merge together. Next thing I know I hear myself complaining on the inside. What’s worse is that it’s not just over one current thing, he brings in everything that has ever bothered me, reminding me of my faults, failures and shortcomings. There is a good ending to this! And thankfully that good ending comes faster these days. Before I was called, these rants could take hours or days to turn around, now it’s in minutes!

I find it quite amazing how many thought processes have changed in my mind and in my heart since being called to the Truth. I am genuinely happy rather than envious. I care with sincerity, not just idle words. I’m not boasting, far from that! I just find it amazing that I no longer search for the proverbial shoe to drop. Perhaps this joy was always with me but it was buried so that I couldn’t even perceive it. I was so scared to even think of joy and happiness. Now, however, I awaken each day, thankful and joyful that God’s joy is in me. In ME! I am just an average woman seeking God on a continual basis, and because of His Son’s Sacrifice for me, God has given me wonderful joy!

Am I Doing Enough?

by Rhonda Cagle

As I sit here and think about my eight-year work anniversary coming up in May, I pause and reflect on the many truly wonderful blessings my Heavenly Father has given me.  When I hear so many of my friends tell me of their struggles in life, both materially and personally, I realize just how blessed I really am.

I have gone through trials especially the past couple of years. The loss of my mother was extremely hard for me, yet out of that I was blessed in so many different ways. I went through three different company-wide layoffs, yet all the time never having my job in jeopardy. I have gone through many health issues and have learned and grown through them to trust God and His promises about healing. I have even experienced a healing this last year. I know that God does hear and answer prayers! But I must always trust He knows what is best for me and that in His time, He will answer. Yes, there are trials and there are hard days to get through, but the more I go through these trials and blessings, I learn more and more to trust our Heavenly Father. I know that He is faithful and true.

I am grateful for all He has given me and I wonder at times if I am doing enough to show Him how thankful I am. As we approach Passover, I ponder deeply about this–do I live the life that is accepting to Him? Do my actions in all I do praise Him? Do I thank Him enough for not just the material things in life but for His Son and His Sacrifice for me? Do I thank Him enough for His Holy Spirit that lives in me and helps me each day? Do I thank Him enough for my calling and all that it means? Do I find it a joy and an honor to serve Him? Do I really show Him how truly grateful I am for His love and the eternal life He has promised me if I am only faithful?  Am I doing enough to hear the words, “Well done, enter into your rest!”

I know, of course, that I will never reach perfection in this life. But I also know that as long as I follow God and rely on His help, I will grow in all of these areas.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God