December 22, 2017 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

This year, at the beginning of November, I began writing a series of letters based on a chart given to us at the Feast of Tabernacles. The chart has a list of scriptures revealing the positive answers God has for any negative, defeatist type thoughts we might have.

The next scripture on that list is Philippians 4:13.

I was reading a comment about that verse tonight, from Nelson’s Bible Commentary that spurred a memory of something an elementary teacher had written on my report card. Nelson’s has this to say about the words “I can do”:

The basic meaning of this verb [in Greek], is “to have power,” especially to possess the physical strength that allows one to accomplish difficult tasks. (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary).

Back in the 1960’s my second-grade teacher surprisingly wrote these words on my report card (to my parents): “Gary enjoys solving difficult tasks.” The only thing I can remember, is organizing the students to surprise the teacher by straightening up the books and desks in the classroom while she was away from the room (about 15 minutes). The students responded, and we all worked together to accomplish the task. (Yes, the teacher was happy when she returned). I don’t know for sure what she was referring to on my report card, but evidently, I must have done something that prompted the sentence she wrote.

We all face difficult tasks in life, and they’re not ALWAYS the easiest ones to solve (like moving chairs around). Some face unemployment, others health trials. Some brethren suffer the loss of a loved one through death, while others may experience persecution from people who vehemently disagree with our spiritual beliefs. Any number of trials are possible! It’s also possible (especially after a prolonged time), to begin to think: “I just CAN’T do this anymore!” Well, on our own, that’s TRUE! But, as Christians we aren’t left on our own.

Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Armstrong’s booklet, What do you mean — “THE UNPARDONABLE SIN”? He discusses the “Christian life”.

Notice what God says about the Christian life.

Jesus said, “STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate …” (Luke 13:24). The Greek word which Jesus spoke for “strive” means “to strive, to agonize.” It means a hard STRUGGLE. A “strait” gate is a

very narrow one — difficult to squeeze through. “For,” continued Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14), “WIDE is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and MANY there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Paul, to the Colossians, spoke of his struggle to overcome, saying: “… I also labor, STRIVING according to His working, which worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1:29).

Paul knew that the Christian has a fierce BATTLE with his own nature, the world, and the powers of Satan, when he said, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, STRIVING against sin” (Heb. 12:4).

Paul also showed how we must have on a mighty SPIRITUAL ARMOUR to win this battle. He said, “Finally, my brethren, BE STRONG in the Lord, and in the POWER of His might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOUR of GOD, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

There’s the KEY! We must put on our SPIRITUAL ARMOR every single day! If we face the day without that armor, then we face the day alone.

I’m going to end tonight’s letter with the very scripture the I began with, as written by the apostle Paul.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Please have a wonderful Sabbath, brethren!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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