Welcome, welcome to California, welcome to this convention site which has been provided for us. The meeting room is smaller than we have had in the previous years but we believe it will be able to contain all the blessings which we expect the Lord will provide.
Because we are few in numbers many hotels are not interested in our business. The large beautiful hotel in downtown Riverside where we met last year wouldn’t even answer our inquires. It’s just the way business is conducted today! They make money by renting sleeping rooms and we couldn’t compete with all the young soccer teams who are having a tournament this weekend. Also at the time were even trying to make convention arrangements our national leaders were warning that the United States should expect the terrorists attack to continue and it was possible that travel by air could be severely restricted and many brethren would not be able to attend. We knew, of course, that a time could come when we might not be able to meet regularly in convention but I don’t think any of us any idea what this phase of the time of trouble would be like, even though many scriptures clearly teach the things that are not happening.
Luke 21:26 [Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.]
Fear is the weapon of terrorists. As terrible as it was, the destruction of the Twin Towers and the 3,00 innocent victims could never be considered a great military victory, but the fear it generated was felt throughout the entire country. It is part of the general fear that has taken hold of the leaders in financial, political and religious circles. They are looking ahead for more trouble and the fear and trepidation will come in advance of the trouble itself.
Since the Scriptures have foretold this present shaking and have indicated that many will fall into doubt and infidelity let us remember God is at the Helm: we need not fear.
Many years ago when the Bible House convention was held over the Labor Day weekend the Manna text for the day Sept. 4 was 1 John 4:18 [There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love] After the normal around the breakfast table discussion Br. Jolly explained that fear is a mental condition begotten of uncertainty and Satan uses fear as a weapon against mankind.
The adversary seeks to take advantage of the fallen condition of the race and to cause them to fear God, for it is natural to avoid whomsoever we fear. Satan uses fear to separate man from God. Mankind realizes instinctively that they are sinners by nature and that there is a penalty for sin, the adversary tries therefore to instill in them a fear of God. He pictures before their imperfect minds a God who is unjust, oversevere in His dealings with sin and sinners.
As we gradually come to a clear knowledge of God and of the principles by which He regulates the universe, we lose this improper fear and in its place comes a love for God and a realization that He has love for us. Our love for Him grows in proportion as we perceive that he loves all mankind, and has made provision for them whereby they have an opportunity for everlasting life. As we come to love God more perfectly all fear in the since of dread is cast out. 2 Timothy 1:7 [For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.]
The manna text for Dec. 18 is Hebrews 13:6 [So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.]
To have the proper course in life, to be able to meet the trials and difficulties of life as they come to us, and to meet them in the proper spirit which the Lord directs in the spirit of rejoicing in tribulation, and in counting such experiences all joy – it is necessary that all fear of man, which bring a snare, shall be removed. And it is our Gods direction that we shall fear Jehovah and not fear our own mortal fellows. The righteous are bold as a lion as well as gentle as a dove, and meek as a lamb. This peculiar combination should be found in every Christian, and we doubt it will be found elsewhere.