THE OZARK LETTER
A Publication of the Mid-Missouri Church of God
Lake of the Ozarks Volume IX, Issue 3 MARCH 2006
MARCH GREETINGS: It was that time of year again –springtime throughout the northern
hemisphere–including Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve
years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days,
as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.”
“Fulfilled the days?” What days?
These were the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which had come to be commonly referred
to as the “feast of the passover.” The day before the first Day of Unleavened Bread was a day of
preparation for the feast (John 19:31 and 42). Passover lambs were sacrificed at the temple on that day
(Abib/Nisan 14) in preparation for the feast (Abib/Nisan 15), which would begin at sundown.
The first Day of Unleavened Bread was a Sabbath day, but not the weekly Sabbath day— “for that
Sabbath was a high day.” (John 19:31). This was a highly special day, one of the “feasts of the Lord,
even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” Leviticus 23:4-7.
Why did Jesus tarry at the temple three more days, after the seven days of the feast were fulfilled? “And
it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors,
both hearing them, and asking them questions.” Luke 2:46.
What had Jesus learned at that feast that was so intriguing that he felt compelled to learn more? Could it
be that it was at that time that Jesus received the revelation that he himself would become the fulfillment
as the sacrificial “Lamb of God,” (John 1:29), and that he would be the “true bread from heaven?” “For
the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” John 6:32b and
We do not know when Jesus first had this realization, but one can certainly sense the seriousness and
deep commitment when he answered his parents with the words, “Wist ye not that I must be about my
Father ’s business?” Luke 2:49.
Every year at this time of year we rejoice afresh that Jesus did indeed stay about his Father’s business.
For by Jesus’ commitment to do all things that his Father commanded, we can be saved unto eternal life
by the name of the One who experienced the death and resurrection to life eternal, Jesus Christ. —Ed.
THE GOOD NEWS PRAISE REPORT — To glorify God and strengthen faith
(If you have a prayer answered or a blessing received that you would like to share, please submit it to
the Mid-Missouri Church of God –see address bottom of Page 8. Space may not permit publication of
all answered prayers in this newsletter, but all requests will be prayed to our Father God in the same
week received. To preserve privacy, names will be withheld for praise reports that are published in the
Item: Answers to prayer are not always raising the dead or healing cancer. The Lord Jesus said to
“Bring the little children to Me”…….”Ask and doubt not”……”Whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
A little eight-year-old girl was having trouble with loneliness. It seems that all the other members of her
family were too busy to spend time with her and had not noticed how worried she was about her
mother’s bad health.
Finally she came to her mother and told her. The mother’s heart was deeply touched when the little
“friendless” girl asked if she could again have a baby doll to care for, love, and snuggle with.
That week the mother had to go out of town a couple of days for tests. On the way back home she
remembered her daughter’s request for a doll. She only had three dollars with her. Stopping at a thrift
store, she prayed, “Father, you know how much my little one loves you. She’s lonely and afraid, and
unhappy. Please, Father God, help me find a doll to comfort her that I can afford.”
The mother went in and went straight to the toy area. There was only one doll – the ugliest, dirtiest doll
she had ever seen. Her heart fell. She was sure God would care.
Seeing her standing there so sad, the two volunteer ladies that were running the store that day came over
and asked if they could help her find something. She told them about the little girl.
One of them took her to a shed outside and opened the door. There in the back on a top shelf sat a
wonderful doll in like-new condition. She, like the little girl, had dark curls, long lashes, and olive green
eyes. The mother was sure this beautiful doll would be too much money. “How much is it?” The lady
put her finger beside her mouth and thought for a minute as she watched the mother hold the doll tightly
to her heart.
“I’ll take three dollars for it,” she said. The mother was overjoyed. She told the lady what her daughter
looked like, the prayer she had prayed in the car, and the fact that three dollars was all she had to pay for
a doll. The lady quickly answered, “It’s a God thing.”
The little girl was overjoyed. “It looks like me!” she cried, as she hugged it tightly. She was not
forgetful, as her family prayed often, so she prayed, “Thank you God for my doll named ‘FAITH.’ ”
2006 HOLY DAY CALENDAR
(All services will be held at the Mid-Missouri Church of God (MMCG) unless otherwise specified
below. MMCG location is at the bottom of Page 8.)
April 11, Tuesday, 7:45pm – Passover Service
April 12, Wednesday, 7:45pm – Night to be Much Remembered and potluck meal.
April 13, Thursday, 1:30pm – First Day of Unleavened Bread, Eldon Community Center,Eldon, MO
(Speaker – Rory Ries; finger foods served after service)
April 19, Wednesday, 1:30pm – Last Day of Unleavened Bread, Eldon Community Center,(Potluck meal
April 22, Saturday, 1:30pm – Sabbath Service (4th Sabbath, but no potluck meal this time.)
June 4, Sunday, 1:30pm – Pentecost (Potluck meal after services.)
Sep 23, Saturday, 1:30pm – Feast of Trumpets (Potluck meal after services.)
Oct 2, Monday, Day of Atonement
Oct 7-13, Sat-Fri, Feast of Tabernacles (Baymont Inn, Lake Ozark, MO)
Oct 14, Saturday Eighth Day Festival ” ” ” ” ”
THINGS TAKE TIME
Instant access to information on the internet is certainly one of the blessings of our age. In a
fraction of the time that it once took, we can read about the geography of Madagascar, research the
veracity of the latest urban legends, check the value of our investments, look for employment
opportunities, listen to the President’s latest speech and the opposing party’s reaction, and learn about the
latest alternative energy sources. We can buy a best-seller, download music, research the trade-in value
of our cars, chat with a stranger in Finland, argue politics with someone in New York, buy tickets to Las
Vegas, and ask advice on anything from homeopathic medicine to the deciphering of logarithms.
All of this we can do while sipping coffee during lunch hour or in the comfort of our own homes. In
fact, if you need something now, there is probably a way to get it via the internet.
All of that can be very good, but here is the problem: We can’t really have everything now. We can’t
have peace on earth now. We can’t have perfect health now. We can’t instantly solve marriage
problems, or neighbor problems, or any other interpersonal (or international) problems of the moment.
Expect solutions to national problems in the nano-second time-frame? Won’t happen, but sometimes we
expect our duly elected officials to do just that. Medicare is in a crisis? Just pass a law and fix it. Oil
prices are too high and we need alternative sources of energy? Just turn corn into alcohol and we’ll all
drive merrily into the sunset. The situation in the Middle East is wrenchingly horrid? Everybody just
needs to learn to get along.
It doesn’t matter that the problems of the world have been decades or centuries (or even millennia) in the
making. We want the problems solved, and we want them solved now.
Although we have instant access today to information and commerce, and that has contributed to our
“now” mentality, the internet did not cause the attitude. Impatience has always been a part of the human
experience. Biblically, patience is a virtue and a vital part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). And
in ancient times it was too often missing even as it is today.
When Moses returned to Egypt after his 40-year exile with the commission in hand to lead his nation out
of slavery, he and his brother Aaron met with the leaders of Israel and related to them all that God had
promised he would do. They believed Moses, but they failed to see that it would take some time. When
Pharoah rebuffed Moses and Aaron and vowed to make the Israelite bondage even more unbearable, the
Israelites reacted as we might well expect: “You have made us a stench to Pharoah and his officials and
have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:21 NIV)
Good things take time, but they wanted their freedom now. Jesus fielded some of the same questions
from his disciples. Not long after his resurrection, they wanted to know if now was the time. “Lord, are
you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus’ answer: “It is not for you to know.” (Act
1:6 and 7, NIV).
I take the obvious lesson from this, that we need to patiently bear this life and world until the fullness of
the kingdom comes, which will be in God’s time and not ours. I also take another lesson from it: good
things take time. We cannot expect pushbutton answers to the world’s ills nor to ours. If it takes longer
than a 24 hour news cycle to win the war on terror, we
should not lose heart. Good things take time. —Lenny Cacchio, Lee’s Summit, MO
A WORD FROM THE TRENCHES – March 7, 2006
Many of us have seen a day when television was decent. We have seen – first hand – the moral decline
of America, hastened by the explosion of indecency over the airwaves. Those who have come after us
think that television has always shown partial nudity, laughed at marital faithlessness, portrayed sinful
lifestyles, attitudes and actions as normal and without deep and abiding negative consequences.
Many who give warning echo the Psalmist, “I will place no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Psalm
101:3a; they do so out of wisdom.
Too frequently, we see the destructive consequence of television in our families and friends. We must
speak up. If our voices of warning are regular and seem to you like “whining,” it’s because we see
America’s moral decline. The moral and spiritual character of our loved ones is far more important to
us than whether they live in a $300,000 home and drive a new SUV.
God help those of us who hunger and thirst for righteousness to continue urging our children on to
receive Christ as Lord and Savior, and to “pursue holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” —
Bill Johnson, Pres., American Decency Association, Fremont, MI www.americandecency.org
THE HIDDEN MYSTERIES OF GOD
“Mystery” is listed 22 times in the New Testament. It is used in different ways, but every time it is
written down the author is trying to show the reader there are hidden truths that have been kept from the
whole world. This statement alone discards the more accepted teaching of the world which is “today is
the only day of salvation.” If God was trying to save all of mankind today He isn’t doing a very good job
of it, plus why doesn’t He make Himself known to all of the world?
Today is not the only Day of Salvation. We can start in Mark 4:9-12. Christ spoke in parables. The
disciples asked him why he spoke in parables and he replied to them, saying, “To you it has been given
to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those outside, all things come in parables.” .
Paul wrote how Israel was blinded by God and He also gave them a spirit of stupor so they could not
understand what was being taught. The great news is that these people will have an opportunity to know
who God is and who Christ is at a later time (Heb. 10:16-17). It will be God who heals them and gives
them a new heart which will be soft and teachable.
The plan of God is just one of many mysteries Christ talks about throughout the New Testament. We
have the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 6:19). We have the mystery of who God is and who Christ is (1
Cor.2:7 and Eph. 3:4). The world wants to teach everyone there is a trinity and God the Father, Jesus
Christ, and the Holy Spirit (he) are all one. Yet the scriptures are very plain in explaining who God is,
who Christ is, and how the Holy Spirit is the power of God. The mystery is God is a family and He is
the Eternal Father. Christ is the Son of God and our elder brother because we are all God’s children.
There is the mystery of the relationship between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32). Christ is the head of
the church (Eph. 5:23) and the church will eventually become his bride at a later date (Rev. 19:7). The
way Paul explains it is simple to understand. When we submit to one another (Eph. 5:21) we show God
we are willing to obey Him in all things and we grow in faith by living our lives in obedience to Him.
This love we have for God and for one another will be a way for the world to come to Christ (John
When we obey God we get to understand Him more, and we grow in relying on Jesus Christ to lead us
in all things. Our human selfishness slowly disappears and we put on more of the character of God the
Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The fruits of the spirit are being produced, and we grow in love, peace,
joy, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control (Gal.5:22). The fruits also
come about because we learn more about God and Jesus Christ through studying and by practicing the
things Jesus Christ taught and is teaching his church today.
One of the ways we can come to understand some of these mysteries is by keeping the Holy Days God
has put in place (Levi.23). They are a mystery to the world. The world has rejected them and has
incorporated their own practices and rituals which God says He hates. Both in the Old Testament and
New, God instructs us to have nothing to do with the ways of the world and how they worship their gods
(Deut. 6:14-15 and 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
Many want to say these days have been done away with and they were nailed to the cross (Col.2:14). Is
that true? Christ was nailed to the cross along with our sin debt, not the law nor the Holy Days. The
original translation in Colossians 2 simply states our debt was cancelled. That debt we owed is death,
but Christ paid it with His own sacrificial death. Now we can have life through Jesus Christ if we repent
of our sins and turn our life over to him. Paul then goes on to encourage the Colossians to continue to
keep the Holy Days regardless of the persecution they were suffering (Col.2:16).
John tells us in 1 John 4:15, “Whosoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and
he in God.” The word “confesses” means having a covenant with God and with the Son. Christ did his
part and it is up to us to do our part. Our part is living our lives in obedience to them. John also said if
we love God we will keep His commandments (I John 5:1-3). He even mentions the commandments are
not burdensome. They are truly a delight.
Yet the world says the commandments are burdensome. The world believes the Holy Days are
burdensome and that even includes the weekly Sabbath. The world has separated itself from God (Isa.
59:2). We also know the world has been under the sway of Satan (1 John 5:19). Jesus Christ taught the
truth. Not only did he teach the truth, he showed us the way to walk by his perfect example. He told his
disciples to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:8). He also says we can have no part of him if we
don’t eat his flesh because he is the bread of life (John 6:48-54).
Jesus said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you..” John
6:53. This symbolic observance takes place now on the same night he was betrayed and it is a memorial
which we keep once a year (1 Cor. 11:23-26). The world has rejected the Passover. Man has replaced it
with Easter. It’s the same with the one true sign Christ gave that he is the Messiah. He told his followers
he would be in the grave three days and three nights (Matt. 12:38-40). It’s right there in the bible, and yet
the world wants to celebrate his death on a Friday and say he was resurrected a day and a half later on a
As we keep these Holy Days we come to understand God more. His great plan is being revealed to each
one of us as we live our lives in obedience to Him. Not only do we learn more about God and Jesus
Christ, we get to fellowship with each other one more day. At the Feast of Tabernacles, there are eight
consecutive great days of rejoicing and fellowshipping with so many beautiful people who are the
children of God.
These mysteries or hidden truths do not have to stay hidden from you if you are willing to turn your life
over to God and Jesus Christ. Once you repent and become baptized, you will receive the Holy Spirit
through the laying on of hands. The bible will be opened to you and understanding will come. Each
Passover you will see how much you need Christ living in you. The Days of Unleavened Bread will
show you how you can be free from sin as you take in more of Christ.
The other Holy Days are all as significant, and they have their place in teaching us about the plan of
God. These days were being kept before and after Christ died and they are still being kept today by his
The followers of Christ were keeping the Passover at the beginning of that night, right after the
afternoon Christ had been buried (John 19:31-42). They had to get his body down from the cross and get
him buried quickly, because at sundown was the beginning of an annual Holy Day, the first Day of
Unleavened Bread. Christ’s burial was late on a Wednesday afternoon, not on a Friday.
That same year, they were all gathered to keep Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1). Paul fasted on Day of
Atonement in Acts 27:9. The word “fast” listed there means Day of Atonement. Why did Paul fast when
he had accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior? It is still a commandment we are to follow today and it
still points us to Christ. Paul kept the other Holy Days too just like the other apostles, and the early
Christian Church (Acts 20:16, Acts 12:3, Acts 20:6, and 1 Cor. 5:8).
Revelation 12:17 tells that Satan will go to make war with those who obey God by keeping His
commandments and those who give testimony to Jesus Christ. The world has been duped into thinking
we don’t need to be obeying the old laws, yet throughout church history it is well documented that the
true followers of Jesus Christ have always kept the Holy Days. From the instructions Christ gave to his
disciples up to today, his church still prevails and his church still abides in Christ.
When we abide in Christ, the mysteries are revealed to us, little by little. How sad it is and what a
tragedy it is when an individual chooses to ignore the teachings of Christ. There is hope in these
teachings and it is not just for us who have accepted Christ. The mysteries we can come to understand
can also give us hope for all of mankind and they can show us how God is working something out here
on planet earth that is truly magnificent. Check it out and dig into some of these mysteries Christ was
talking about. Study the Book and you will be truly amazed! – —Rory Ries, Festus ,MO
ANTICHRIST – WHO IS IT? It is often assumed that ‘the Antichrist’ is a single entity, focused by
many Protestants on the Church of Rome – specifically the Pope and his church.
The apostle John, however, cites ‘many antichrists’ in his day. It may be worth considering that the end-
time may produce more than one such anti-Christian person.
Take a look at some of the ‘marks’ of Antichrist, gleaned from the Scriptures: Denies the Father and the
Son/ denies the incarnation/ exalts himself above the one true God revealed in the Christian Bible/
claims personal divinity/ a man of sin, lawless – inherently worthy of destruction/ a false prophet
producing lying wonders and false miracles/ author of a great apostasy from the ‘faith once for all
delivered to the saints’/ defiles the Temple holy place/desolates the land of Palestine/ sets up a
kingdom, small to begin but spreading widely – ultimately worldwide/ uses force to propagate his
belief system/ hates Christianity and Judaism by any name arises after demise of Roman Empire/ still
powerful at Christ’s return/ and only destroyed by the returning Christ
History shows us that some who occupied the Papal throne fulfilled some of these criteria. But certainly
not all – witness the late John Paul II. Such, however, will in contrast be the marks of the end-time ‘man
of sin’, the Antichrist.
Man of Sin In other words, the ‘man of sin’ (the lawless one – II Thessalonians 2:8) heads an assembly
of nations which is opposed to the Father God and denies that Jesus is God’s Son and His Messiah – the
Anointed One. His dominion arises to prominence sometime after the re-straining influence of the
Roman Empire is taken away (in the mid-sixth century AD}, when the Empire shattered into ten
divisions, and continues until destroyed by the returning King of kings.
The seeds of his belief system were sown in the first century. The apostle John points to him as the
Antichrist, ’against [and instead of] Christ’. The Antichrist, a false Messiah, claims superiority over
Jesus, as do his followers – he ‘blasphemes the God of Heaven’. He is, personally, a debauched ‘man of
sin’ and fit only for destruction. He acts through the energy, false miracles and deceptive methods of
Satan – who now has a stranglehold on our world.
The Antichrist considers himself superior to all other faiths – even his own – and takes to himself divine
authority. The ‘man of sin’ and his system is not peaceful but violent. He is a warrior and gains followers
by the sword or the threat of the sword. The especial objects of his wrath are Christianity by any name
and Judaism – though his religion is based on a perversion of both, on spurious revelations’ and on false
miracles. Down the centuries his successors have had the same violent tendency. In the end-time he acts
‘… according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders’. This evil end-time
despot – who echoes Antiochus the Illustrious of ancient Syria – arises from the same eastern portion of
the old Grecian Empire – which included greater Syria and Iran (Daniel 8:21-25), and later was also
part of the Roman Empire. In the end-time he will be supported by an alliance of Middle
Eastern nations: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and the Palestinians (Ps. 83), aided by
Iran. (There may be ten allied nations sharing his aims.)
Second ‘Beast’ However, a power wielding universal religious authority – also arising from Roman
territory – is predicted to influence the world to support this ‘Beast’, the ‘King of the North’. It will,
briefly, gain support from believers of many religions, including Christianity. The ‘Man of Sin’ and
the ‘False Prophet’ are the two leaders of the great apostasy from the eastern and from the western areas
of the old Roman Empire. They will in the end join forces to conquer the world. Both claim roots in the
Bible but ‘blaspheme’ – distorting the clear words of Scripture and adding contrary teachings snatched
from human reasoning.—Outreach,Mar-Apr 2006, UK
MID-MID-MISSOURI CHURCH OF GODMISSOURI CHURCH OF GOD
Lake of the Ozarks, PO Box 92, Eldon, MO 65026. Phone: 573-372-2632 or 573-372-3221 or 573-392-6677; Email:
Sabbath services each Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at 308 Fairground Road in Versailles, Missouri. This location is at the old Good
Shepherd nursing home, two blocks south of McDonald’s Restaurant. Please park in the northeast parking lot. Our green and
gold signs indicate the entrance. Coffee is always served for one half hour before and after services. A Bible Study is
scheduled at 12:15pm before services on the third Sabbath of each month. Potluck meals after services are planned for the
fourth Sabbath of each month. It is best to call ahead and confirm times and locations if you are traveling any distance to visit
us (see phone numbers above). Occasionally we will cancel local services to attend en masse elsewhere. Come and
enjoy the fellowship!