Thursday, April 2, 2020

Letter to our Friends - March 31, 2020

Michael C. Garrett
Pastor and Overseer

Greetings from West Central Florida:

It’s been a very difficult week around much of the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soon, the Spring Holy Days will begin.

Passover – which is for baptized members of Jesus Christ’s Church – should be observed shortly AFTER sunset on the Gregorian Calendar date of April 7th. Now, many, continue to observe and teach a separate holy day ceremony on April 8th at sunset. Exodus 12:42 should properly be rendered, “it is a night of watching.” It does not establish a separate holy day, or holy ceremony to be observed on the first night of Unleavened Bread (Be sure to read “The Night To Be Much Remembered?”). Then, beginning sunset April 8th is the Days of Unleavened Bread which lasts until sunset April 15th, 2020. However, the COVID-19 may cause complications for us keeping the holy days at our regular location.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Guidance Highlights for Events and Mass Gatherings

NEW: Updated guidance now includes considerations about when to cancel an event.

When there is no spread of COVID-19 in the community:

• Encourage staff and attendees to stay home if sick.
• Develop flexible refund policies for attendees.
• Provide supplies that can be used to help prevent the spread of germs.
• Consult local public health officials about your event.
• Review considerations on when to cancel an event.

If there is minimal or moderate spread in your community:

• Cancel events for groups of 250 people or more.
3/16/20 UPDATE: During the next 15 days, all U.S. events of 10+ people should be canceled or held virtually.
• For organizations that serve people who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness, cancel events for groups of 10 people or more.

If there is substantial spread in your community:

• Cancel events of any size.

If there is a case of COVID-19 at your event:

• Separate anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms from others until they can go home.
• Anyone with symptoms should not take public transportation or shared rides.
• Contact local public health officials.
• Communicate with staff and attendees about possible exposure.
Clean and disinfect the event space.

World News Items

Various parts of the world have been set with shelter-in-place lockdowns because of the COVID-19 (e.g. ‘California Governor Issues Lockdown as Coronavirus Spreads’ and ‘Coronavirus: 'No shortages' in Germany, says top official’ along with ‘National Guard Deploys In Baltimore As City Enforces Restrictive Curfew: Live Updates’). We have never seen such things in modern times in this Western world! Also, aspects of the world economy are being greatly negatively affected as I had mentioned in the article “It's NOT the End of the World As We Know It ....” (see ‘Global economy will suffer for years to come, says OECD’ along with ‘Top Economists See Echoes of Depression in U.S. Sudden Stop’ and OCOJC: ‘Is Civil Unrest Increasing in America?’).

Also, there have been a lot of earthquakes in various parts of the world and many are falsely proclaiming that Ezekiel 38 is being fulfilled now! (see ‘Russia Now 10th Country Hit by Major Earthquake in 2020: Is it part of Gog-Magog?’). That view is incorrect.

Let's look at what God's Word actually teaches:
"Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2) 'Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3) and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I AM against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4) I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.
5) Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops - many people are with you. 7) Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them" - Ezekiel 38:1-7.
Friends, this is speaking of the Millennium.

Minister Michael C. Garrett wrote of this. Revelation 20:7-8 speaks of this same time during the Millennium:
"Concerning WHY Satan the devil and his horde is released for a short season Revelation 20:3b … because immediately he goes out to the four corners of the world – And will be DESTROYED. And dead bodies will be piled high when the “Great White Throne” resurrection occurs. ... Revelation 20 ... Verse 7-8 – to Gog and Magog (Siberia, China, Russia area) to gather them together to battle against the beloved city of God and of the saints. A THOUSAND YEARS OF PEACE WILL BE INSTANTLY SHATTERED WHEN SATAN IS LOOSED! It will demonstrate… people AFTER a thousand years, multiple generations (possibly 25 generations), they may hear people like you and me resurrected, many hundreds of years before, they may hear us say, “Well, you know when Satan lived upon this Earth, it was very difficult for people to obey God because he caused so many troubles.” And after a while, some of those people are going to say, “O’ come on! That’s like saying grandpa said he had to walk 6 miles to school through the snow. I don’t believe he had to walk 6 miles through the snow. It wasn’t that tough. It really wasn’t that bad!” Well, people will have become a little immune, or thick-headed in their skull about that Message. And then at the end of the Millennium, when this horrible monster called Satan and his associates called demons are let loose, they INSTANTLY plunge the world into crisis again! It will be like, “See what I mean!?”
(Notes Concerning The Feast of Tabernacles And The Last Great Day).
Friends, ‘earthquakes in various places’ were prophesied to occur in these latter days by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – Mark 13:8.

Also also, sadly, something which is not new, racial discrimination has become rampant for those of Chinese ancestry in many parts of the world – including the United States of America (see ‘Chinese-Americans Scared About What’s To Come As Xenophobic Rhetoric, Hate Crimes Increase Amid Outbreak’).

Friends, discrimination, violence, and hate against ANYONE is evil. And, such racist wickedness needs to be condemned boldly and soundly.

Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded:
’ You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as Your Father in heaven is perfect.’” – Matthew 5:43-48.
Well, in prayer to Jesus Christ and God Almighty, the Spirit brought to mind, His words – “’ Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’

And I indeed agree that it is important to note that Jesus’ prayer, “Father, forgive them,” does not mean that everyone was forgiven, unilaterally, unconditionally, without repentance and faith. It does mean that Jesus was willing to forgive them—forgiveness was, in fact, the reason He was on the cross. The words “Father, forgive them” show the merciful heart of God.

God’s Spirit has allowed me to see His words clearly – “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, even as God in Christ FORGAVE YOU” – Ephesians 4:31-31.

Forgiveness – on a human level – is an act of the will. Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. No one deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a deliberate act of love, mercy, and grace. Forgiveness is a decision to not hold something against another person, despite what he or she has done to you.

And this brings us back to “bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking.’ God’s Spirit has led me to see and analyze bitterness in a way I had not previously. Bitterness is a spirit that refuses reconciliation. As a result, bitterness leads to wrath, which explodes on the outside of the feelings which one has on the inside. Another evil brought on by bitterness is slander - any speech springing from anger and designed to wound or injure others.

Forgiveness is an integral part of SALVATION. “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if ANY MAN have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, SO ALSO DO YE” – Colossians 3:13; KJV.

Let us remember to always pray for others and to heed the living words of our Creator to pray for the ‘kingdom to come, His will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven’ – Matthew 6:10; paraphrased.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is this week’s suggested Sabbath service:

● 2-3 hymns. (a free printable “Old Time Gospel” hymn site is The Old Time Gospel).
● Opening prayer.
● Sermonette (if you choose). The one suggested is “End-Time Babylon” by Michael C. Garrett.
● Announcements (if any) and one hymn.
● Sermon. The one suggested is “God And The Lamb” by Michael C. Garrett. (Many more sermons are available at
● Final hymn.
● Closing prayer.

IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED A ‘LETTER TO OUR FRIENDS’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER WE HAVE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ website. Also, friends, be to SUBSCRIBE to our BitChute channel.

Concluding Comments

This is a most stressful time of disease, of closed businesses, of restricted meetings, of travel restrictions. But always remember, the Lord our God taught:
“ … ‘do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.’” – Mark 13:7b.
“ … ‘and lo, I AM with you [those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony (the Gospel) of Jesus Christ!] always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” – Matthew 28:20b.
“ … ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans [or North and South Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, etc.] were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3) I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4) Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? [or those who live in New York, Seattle, Rome, Paris, etc.] 5) I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” – Luke 13:2-5.
These are reassuring words and a grave WARNING from our very CREATOR GOD! Let us – the Church of God – not be afraid as so many others are around the world. Let us place our trust in God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ – cf. John 14:1.

Indeed, we are saddened by those who have died from it – yes. But we know it’s not the end – don’t we!?

The apostle James – a very brother of Christ our Lord – wrote under a great inspiration of God’s Spirit:
“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, … Pure and undefiled religion before God [our Lord Jesus Christ] and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” – James 1:26, 27.
“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” – James 2:20.
“Faith without works is dead” recorded Saint James. But what exactly did he mean!?

Turn with me if you will to Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Yet, we need works. Saint James was inspired to write: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15) If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16) and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17) Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” – James 2:14-17. And, he repeats it yet again, “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” – verse 20. And yet again, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” – verse 26.

In the Word of God, when you see things repeated over and over and over, you realize that God’s truly trying to get you to wake up and to understand that this thing that He’s saying is VERY IMPORTANT!

Now above I highlighted those three words – grace, faith, and works. The word grace comes from the Greek charis which means “the state of kindness and favor toward someone.” The word faith is from the Greek pistos which means “faithfulness, belief, trust, with the implication that actions based on that trust may follow.” And, the word works comes from the Greek ergon meaning “work, deed, activity, task, job.”

Now the majority of Protestants and Catholics alike base their belief wholly on the works of charity. And most Protestant churches teach that the fault with the Old Covenant was God’s Law and that as the Old Covenant was made with Israel the New Covenant is made with Gentiles. And that the New abolishes God’s Ten Commandments and is based wholly on promises. This, of course, is NOT true! Complete obedience to God’s eternal and universal Law is a condition we must meet to have salvation. Be sure to read Acts 15:13-39 and Acts 21:17-26 – the apostle James indeed endorses apostle Paul!

In your Bible’s turn with me over to Acts 5:32 – “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Also, Jesus Christ’s own words, “ …’ If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him’” – John 14:23. Also, “’ IF you love Me,’” – ‘if you are loyal to Me’ – “’ keep My commandments’” – John 14:15.


God’s grace and faith save us. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:10.

Faith & works tie in together.

In deep gratitude and love, in Jesus' name,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be sure to leave a comment and tell us what you think.