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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--25--The Call by the Sea
« Last post by Richard Myers on October 17, 2017, 08:25:02 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  It is Christ that we need, and we need Him continually to continually do good. Without Him we can do no good thing. We find this illustrated again and again. Jesus is the answer to all of the problems in the church and in our lives:

     He who loves Christ the most will do the greatest amount of good. There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. If men will endure the necessary discipline, without complaining or fainting by the way, God will teach them hour by hour, and day by day. He longs to reveal His grace. If His people will remove the obstructions, He will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through the human channels. If men in humble life were encouraged to do all the good they could do, if restraining hands were not laid upon them to repress their zeal, there would be a hundred workers for Christ where now there is one.
     God takes men as they are, and educates them for His service, if they will yield themselves to Him. The Spirit of God, received into the soul, will quicken all its faculties. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the mind that is devoted unreservedly to God develops harmoniously, and is strengthened to comprehend and fulfill the requirements of God. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion establishes so close a relation between Jesus and His disciple that the Christian becomes like Him in mind and character. Through a connection with Christ he will have clearer and broader views. His discernment will be more penetrative, his judgment better balanced. He who longs to be of service to Christ is so quickened by the life-giving power of the Sun of Righteousness that he is enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of God. 


Yes, if we will allow the Holy Spirit to take possession of the heart, we will be empowered to "fulfill the requirements of God."
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--25--The Call by the Sea
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on October 17, 2017, 06:31:18 AM »
The more I have the opportunity to share the loveliness of Jesus as a disciple--as a minister of Christ--I am reminded of how important it is to help people to realize that the gospel is not merely information, it must be received as a character transformation--a transformation by grace through faith that leads Christ indwelling us to reveal all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing! Without such a transformation, we have not experienced what Jesus intends for us to know by personal experience, that we in turn may impart of His loveliness of character to others!

"It is not the highest work of education to communicate knowledge merely, but to impart that vitalizing energy which is received through the contact of mind with mind, and soul with soul. It is only life that can beget life. What privilege, then, was theirs who for three years were in daily contact with that divine life from which has flowed every life-giving impulse that has blessed the world! Above all his companions, John the beloved disciple yielded himself to the power of that wondrous life. He says, 'The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.' 'Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.' 1 John 1:2; John 1:16." {The Desire of Ages, page 250, paragraph 2}

May the vitalizing energy of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) give you courage to impart what you receive morning by morning through communion with Him! This is why it would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour with Jesus each day reflecting upon His love and life, so that we can share of the One who is altogether lovely! By beholding we become changed!
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Lessons From Nature / Dog Refused To Abandon Flock
« Last post by JimB on October 16, 2017, 11:34:28 AM »
“Even under the best of circumstances it is nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats after nightfall when he takes over the close watch from his sister Tessa,” Hendel wrote. “I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried.”

“Cars behind us on Mark West Springs Road were pouring flames out of the windows as they roared down the road,” he wrote on Facebook. “Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats.” Source
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Amen, Pastor Sean. We must be transformed if we wish to spend eternity with Jesus. We must first become saints on this earth if we wish to be saints in heaven. By beholding His grace we will be changed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). We have been given great light as a people, but we do not walk in that light, it will be tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on judgment day.

Our standing before God depends, not upon the amount of light we have received, but upon the use we make of what we have. Thus even the heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than are those who have had great light, and profess to serve God, but who disregard the light, and by their daily life contradict their profession. 
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Wednesday October 18

What Jews and Gentiles Share in Common

In Romans 1, Paul was dealing specifically with the sins of the Gentiles, the pagans, those who had lost sight of God a long time ago and, thus, had fallen into the most degrading of practices.

Yes, they were evil. They even sacrficed their children to Molech.


But he wasn’t going to let his own people, his own countrymen, off the hook either.

Yes, even the professing people of God, sacrificed their children to Molech (Eze. 16:20,21), and they put to death the Son of God. How could that have happened? Satan had deceived the nation as to what it mean to be a child of God. He perverted the truths entrusted to His chosen people so that when their Messiah came, they knew Him not. How is it today? Has Satan been sleeping the last 2,000 years? No, he has even better deceptions prepared for God's chosen people.


 Despite all the advantages that they had been given (Rom. 3:1, 2), they, too, were sinners, condemned by God’s law, and in need of the saving grace of Christ. In that sense-in the sense of being sinners, of having violated God’s law, and of needing divine grace for salvation-Jews and Gentiles are the same.

Amen, all are evil by nature. But, ought God's professed children remained evil? Paul commended the Romans. Why? "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Romans 1:7,8.  What a statement!!  They were not as the Gentiles, they were not as the Jews, they were not Laodiceans. They had the faith of Jesus.


Read Romans 2:1-3, 17-24.

 2:1   Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 
 2:2   But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 
 2:3   And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 

 2:17   Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 
 2:18   And knowest [his] will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 
 2:19   And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 
 2:20   An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 
 2:21   Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 
 2:22   Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 
 2:23   Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 
 2:24   For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 


Paul certainly has a low estimate of the Jews. Why? They believed themselves to be "rich and increased with goods" because they were entrusted with the sacred oracles of God. But, they did not know they were "miserable and wretched, and poor, blind, and naked." They did not know that if they did not repent they were going to be burned to ash in the great day of God's judgment. Satan had done a masterful work of deceiving God's professed people. So it is today. Deceptions abound in the church. Rebels think they are being led by God's Spirit when they defy both His church and His Word. Such a deception!


What is Paul warning against here? What message should all of us, Jew or Gentile, take from this warning?

“After the Apostle has shown that all heathen are sinners, he now, in a special and most emphatic way, shows that also the Jews live in sin, above all because they obey the Law only outwardly, that is, according to the letter and not according to the spirit.” - Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, p. 61.

Above all because they above all others had been entrusted with the truth. To those who have been given much, much is expected. It will more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than those who have been entrusted with such great light and have not walked in it.

Often it’s so easy to see and point out the sins of others. How often, though, are we guilty of the same kinds of things, or even worse? The problem is that we tend to turn a blind eye on ourselves, or we make ourselves feel better by looking at just how bad others are in contrast to ourselves.

Yes, that is true, if we are not abiding in Christ.  But, there is something very sinister working in God's church. False teachers have even taught that we are not to consider our condition, we are not to judge ourselves, we are not to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith. Satan has perverted the truth so that many believe they are just fine when they sin a known sin. They have been taught that they have life when they sin. They have been taught they are in a converted condition when they still have pride in the heart.


Paul will have none of that. He warns his countrymen not to be quick to judge the Gentiles, for they, the Jews-even as the chosen people-were sinners. In some cases they were even more guilty than the pagans they were so quick to condemn because as Jews they had been given more light than the Gentiles.

Paul’s point in all this is that none of us are righteous, none of us meet the divine standard, none of us are innately good or inherently holy. Jew or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor, God-fearing or God-rejecting, we all are condemned. And were it not for the grace of God as revealed in the gospel, there would be no hope for any of us.

Well.....I don't know if the writer erred in what he means to say, or if he said just what he believes to be true. I know when I have preached, I have been misunderstood. Does he mean that none are righteous, even when fully surrendered to Christ? It appears that way. He says we are all condemned? Even the repentant forgiven sinner? It is certainly true that "none of us are innately good or inherently holy." But, when we love God with the whole heart, there is a radical transformation of character and we become partakers of God's divine nature. While we still live in fallen flesh, we do not sin a known sin. The Bible calls us holy. The Bible calls us righteous. It is very sad that the lesson does not make this plain. Why? Because in God's church we have so many false pastors teaching false gospels that we need to make the gospel message clear. Grace has power to keep one from sinning when the sinner accepts it into the heart. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, we will not sin. When I hear this taught in this quarter's lesson, then I will acknowledge the Sabbath School staff understands the gospel truth.

From the Book of Romans:
8:1   [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:2   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 
 8:3   For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 
 8:4   That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:5   For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 
 8:6   For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 
 8:7   Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 
 8:8   So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 
 8:9   But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 
 8:10   And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 
 8:11   But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 
 8:12   Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 
 8:13   For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 
 8:14   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 


From Desire of Ages, page 668:
All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us. As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may do if we will take hold of the Strong for strength.

From the Book of First John:
3:3   And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 
 3:4   Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 
 3:5   And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 
 3:6   Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 
 3:7   Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 
 3:8   He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
 3:9   Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 
 3:10   In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 



How often do you, even if only in your own mind, condemn others for things that you, yourself, are guilty of? By taking heed of what Paul has written here, how can you change?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus to take possession of the heart. We must be converted. We must be transformed in our very nature. We must have Jesus. We must become partakers of His divine nature. We must love Jesus with the whole heart. "Love the Lord they God with all thine heart...."
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Tuesday October 17

Progress?

At the turn of the twentieth century, people lived with the idea that humanity was improving, that morality would increase, and that science and technology would help usher in a utopia. Human beings, it was believed, were essentially on the path toward perfection. Through the right kind of education and moral training, it was thought that humans could greatly improve themselves and their society. All this was supposed to start happening, en masse, as we entered into the brave new world of the twentieth century.

"The right kind of education and moral training...."  There is much truth in this. Who bears this responsibility? It is the domain of parents and the church. Babylon has fallen. But, that leaves one church who has been given great light. To whom much is given much is expected. Christ had entrusted His disciples with much truth. "These disciples were to be heralds of the truth, to prepare the way for the coming of their Master. The message they had to bear was the word of eternal life, and the destiny of men depended upon their reception or rejection of it. To impress the people with its solemnity, Jesus bade His disciples, “Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.”  DA 352.  What about today? What of God's church who has been entrusted with the truth to prepare a people to receive Jesus at His second coming?

“I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”—The Review and Herald, August 1, 1893   The whole statement is a quote, including the parts in brackets. For further help in understanding the church's relationship with Jesus, the prophet said "Those who claim to believe the truth do not possess that power that God would bestow upon them if they really believed, and were striving for conformity to His image. The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst. If Christ were formed within, the hope of glory, conformity to His image would be seen, and the church trials which separate the members from Christ would disappear...." 1Notebook Leaflets, pg 99.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite turn out that way, did they? The twentieth century was one of the most violent and barbaric in all history, thanks-ironically enough-in great part to the advances of science, which made it much more possible for people to kill others on a scale that the most depraved madmen of the past could only dream about.

What was the problem?

We can blame others, but we are still here because we have not done the work entrusted to us as a people. We have prepared a people to received Jesus at His second coming. All of the suffering and death in the world can be laid at our feet.


Read Romans 1:22-32.

 1:22   Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 
 1:23   And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
 1:24   Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 
 1:25   Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 
 1:26   For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 
 1:27   And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 
 1:28   And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 
 1:29   Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 
 1:30   Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 
 1:31   Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 
 1:32   Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

It is sad to say, but does this go on God's church? There is a church in Chico California that baptized a practicing homosexual. Husband and wife, two lesbians are both now church members in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

After reading from Romans, let us read what Jesus has to say to us about this in Revelation:

3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
 3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


God loves us and warns all who are about to close their period of probation to "repent" of their sins.


In what ways do we see the things that were written there in the first century being manifested today in the twenty-first century?

We might need faith to believe in a lot of things about Christianity: among them, the resurrection of the dead, the Second Coming, and a new heaven and a new earth. But who needs faith to believe in the fallen state of humanity? Today, each of us is living the consequences of that fallen state.

But, are we abiding in Christ so that we do not live that life? Are we walking in the flesh, or in the Spirit? If we are sinning, then we are not walking in the Spirit and are condemned. If we have not the Spirit, we are not His. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9. So shocking that many reading it today will not believe it....to their detriment.


Focus specifically on Romans 1:22, 23. How do we see this principle being manifested now? By rejecting God what have humans in our century come to worship and idolize instead? And in so doing, how have they become fools? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.

We need to answer the question so that the church can see what is in the church. Forget about the world outside of the church. Look at the world that has come into the church. What do many in the church worship? Can the way we dress be an idol? "The lives and teachings of Christian parents should be in marked contrast with those of unbelievers. Worldlings teach their children to love display, and to bow to the idol of fashion. They sacrifice themselves and their children upon this altar of Moloch. But Christians who profess to be seeking the heavenly Canaan, should obey the instructions of the Bible. We urge modern Israel to lay aside their ornaments, their jewels of silver and gold and precious stones, to put off their costly-apparel, and to seek for the inward adorning, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Let children be educated, not to become devotees of fashion, but to be servants of God." Signs of the Times, May 26, 1881.

Progress. Are we making progress, or are we still wandering in the wilderness way longer than did Israel? The human condition separated from Christ is evil. But, living in fallen flesh is no excuse to remain evil. God gave His Son to our race that we might become partakers of His divine nature while living in fallen flesh and escape the lust within. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4.
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Amen, Jim and Richard! Angels are with us--and how it pleases them as we acknowledge Jesus! May we cherish their guardianship and assistance in all we do today. We need not be afraid for God will direct the path of all who humbly rely on Him for guidance and grace.

In reflecting on Luke 4:16-30, it really is remarkable how Christ longed to save His people, but they would not come to Him for life. They trusted to themselves. May we cultivate through communion with God and an appreciation of the character of Christ the sense of our continual need of His guidance and grace. We need heavenly light to illuminate our path; we cannot trust to ourselves--we must trust completely in Jesus for everything by the power of the Holy Spirit.

"Oh, how Christ longed to open to Israel the precious treasures of the truth! But such was their spiritual blindness that it was impossible to reveal to them the truths relating to His kingdom. They clung to their creed and their useless ceremonies when the truth of Heaven awaited their acceptance. They spent their money for chaff and husks, when the bread of life was within their reach. Why did they not go to the word of God, and search diligently to know whether they were in error? The Old Testament Scriptures stated plainly every detail of Christ's ministry, and again and again He quoted from the prophets, and declared, 'This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.' If they had honestly searched the Scriptures, bringing their theories to the test of God's word, Jesus need not have wept over their impenitence. He need not have declared, 'Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.' Luke 13:35. They might have been acquainted with the evidence of His Messiahship, and the calamity that laid their proud city in ruins might have been averted. But the minds of the Jews had become narrowed by their unreasoning bigotry. The lessons of Christ revealed their deficiencies of character, and demanded repentance. If they accepted His teachings, their practices must be changed, and their cherished hopes relinquished. In order to be honored by Heaven, they must sacrifice the honor of men. If they obeyed the words of this new rabbi, they must go contrary to the opinions of the great thinkers and teachers of the time." {The Desire of Ages, page 241, paragraph 4}

By daily beholding the loveliness of Jesus, and realizing we need Him reigning in our heart to do any good thing, let us not be like Israel in the time of Christ, when they would not surrender to Him. Let us realize that we are called, through Christ, to go against the prevailing errors of the times in which we live, and to rest solely upon a "Thus saith the Lord." His word is our only secure safeguard. And that word we can only understand as we plead for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and willingly follow all that He reveals to us! What a joy that we can do all things through Him when we allow Him to have our will, our heart, and our mind. Self-surrender is the substance of Christ's teachings!
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Amen Jim. What a powerful truth! The things which we see are temporal and will pass away but the things which we do not see are eternal. May God help us to look beyond what we can see with our eyes.
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--24--"Is Not This the Carpenter's Son?"
« Last post by JimB on October 16, 2017, 05:41:27 AM »
So, in all ages, angels have been near to Christ's faithful followers. The vast confederacy of evil is arrayed against all who would overcome; but Christ would have us look to the things which are not seen, to the armies of heaven encamped about all who love God, to deliver them. From what dangers, seen and unseen, we have been preserved through the interposition of the angels, we shall never know, until in the light of eternity we see the providences of God. Then we shall know that the whole family of heaven was interested in the family here below, and that messengers from the throne of God attended our steps from day to day.

The Lord is indeed good to us. I've been in at least one situation where I believe that angels intervened in favor of my safety. Reminds me of the following verse...


Psalm 34:7-8

7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
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Church News / Devastation on Dominica
« Last post by Richard Myers on October 15, 2017, 03:27:04 PM »
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria we find the damage to our churches in Dominica to be almost total. 29 of the 34 churches on the island were destroyed. The remaining five sustained damage, but are in use. The four Seventh-day Adventist schools sustained major damage, and  thieves stole all of the computers from them. There are more than 7,000 church members on the island. They are in great need of help. Review



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