I’ve been really busy the past couple of days, so I’m playing catch-up. I see that the United Church of God, an International Association (UCGia or UCG for short) has proclaimed a fast for the Church on the weekend of 21 – 22 August. Members may decide on fasting either day, but they are asking the entire weekend be devoted to “intensive prayer, meditation and focused Bible study.”
While many have concluded that the latest conflict within the church is a continuation of disagreements over moving to Denton, some have hinted and others have outright told me that some of the differences go back even further.
In any event, Satan will use whatever means he can to divide and conquer. Something to think about and try to avoid.
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I really can't solve the churches problems just by studying, praying and fasting. I can only solve my relationship in regards to them by studying, praying and fasting. Perhaps?… there maybe a few things I can do other than study, prayer and fasting, however…
Because there are events that happen that are far too big, even for such a person like Job to do something about.
"Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, And array yourself with glory and beauty. Disperse the rage of your wrath; Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; Tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together, Bind their faces in hidden darkness. Then I will also confess to you That your own right hand can save you." (Job 40:9-14)
Perhaps all this is happenning is to instruct us towards being humble in the 'grand scheme of things' (a.k.a "the Gospel").
It should be noted as well that a followup article, "Update on Situation in Latin America", has been posted at Inside United: Real Time as well. In it, Dennis Luke and Melvin Rhodes reiterate that they have been attempting to resolve the differences by discussing the issues with various people rather than in the open.
@Norbert: I didn't get the impression that the studying, praying and fasting was necessarily for "us" to fix the church's problems. However, since all of us collectively make up our various organizations, then what we do individually does have an effect upon the whole. If 100% of the church is looking to God, as I think you are implying we should be, then there wouldn't be such severe issues right now.
Studying, praying and fasting are all good to do, assuming they're done in a godly way. But….
"If you know these things, happy are you if you DO them" (John 13:17). In other words, live the way you want God to respond.
Example: several years ago I did a fasting day on the subject of love. On that very day, my neighbor's apartment was trashed by an angry granddaughter who was in trouble with the law.
When I learned what happened, the time to study love was over. It was "practicum" time — to show love for my neighbor, and help clean things up.
P.S. I just posted at the Realtime United blog (we'll see if the comment stays) that some of us joined in the “Facebook fast” for UCG which was organized online in April. Then we took Mr. Luker up on his suggestion of July 3, and fasted for Church unity last month. Now comes a third fast in five months, essentially on the same thing.
I can’t help asking — what are we missing here? Do some of us need to review Isaiah 58, when it comes to proper and improper fasts? Or is God not granting our prayers for some reason — and if so, what is that reason?
I am only saying that there is a limit to the individual about what can be done in a concrete manner in regards to any severe issue. Where it mostly involves the self whereby studying, praying and fasting leads to watching, overcoming and keeping the commandments of God. The rest requires the faith that can move mountains.
And in regards to 100% of the CoG, the disunity that is presently happenning within the UCG has always been wandering around (and not only in the UCG). It's in the scriptures happenning to the first century Church and it can be documented to frequently happen in the past 100 years or so. No new thing under the sun.
I believe it could be said, 'you cannot be 100% in the CoG unless it suffered some sort of split'. Whether it's the kind that happenned between Paul and Barnabus (Acts 15:39) or that of the congregation the apostle John was leading (1 Jn 2:19).
@Richard: Along the lines you wrote, not only review Isa 58, but do Isa 58. Will there be enough in both parties to calm down, take up their washcloths and wash some fee?
Norbert wrote: "I believe it could be said, 'you cannot be 100% in the CoG unless it suffered some sort of split'."
You know, that might just be a downright astutely profound statement!
Personally, I know I have glossed over where Jesus said to not think that He came to bring peace but a sword. He even speaks of families being in strife. Perhaps, we in the Church have misapplied this to some degree. I know I've tended towards viewing that as "us against the world". But, as we learned all too well in the 1990s, the enemy sometimes attacks from within. Perhaps that is why Jesus resorted to using examples of being against one's own family.