Second Thoughts: Thank God for Personalities

Author: Thomas White | Editorial Staff, Living Church of God

Personality can sometimes be a bit of a touchy subject, since… well, look at the word. Most of it is literally “personal.” Personality is personal, so approaching it as a topic inevitably asks you to look at yourself and wonder, “Is mine okay? What do people think of it? What do I think of it?”

This was the subject Mr. Richard Ames broached in his recent LivingEd-Charlotte Assembly, and he emphasized that while God intended none of us to be unique in character (one’s character being defined by how closely it resembles God’s), He absolutely intended us to be unique in personality.

If you’re like me, that can be a little confusing, so consider the example of the introvert and the extravert. Some would say, “Well, that’s a matter of character, since God wants us to be friendly and sociable,” but that’s really missing the point. Yes, introverts can be perpetually silent and thus spend all of their time either holed up in their bedrooms or creeping people out with thousand-yard stares—but extraverts can also be perpetually obnoxious and abrasive, making everyone around them wish they would just be quiet a second. There’s a dark side to both of these personalities, and whether or not someone falls into it is a matter of character.

More Than One Kind of Sociable

A sociable extravert can make a group feel energized and excited, bringing people together in a lively discussion and making everyone in that group interested in contributing to it. Extraverts gain energy from being around people, so groups are like giant batteries for them. By combining that energy with the character traits of kindness and empathy, they can lead a whole group of people into a genuinely great time, fulfilling and productive work, or even a lively, respectful, enlightening debate. Some of the most fascinating discussions I’ve ever been a part of were begun by sociable extraverts who started things off with, “Hey, I’ve got a question for you guys…”

Introverts don’t do groups. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in people. An introvert spends energy on people, rather than gaining energy from them, so in a group setting, it’s like every individual in that group is taking energy from one source—the introvert is drained faster, and no recipient of that energy is getting very much. That’s why even sociable introverts might be quiet and reserved in group settings—their element is focused conversation where their social batteries can be spent gradually on one individual. A sociable introvert is interested in making a person feel safe, valued, and heard. Some of the most uplifting conversations I’ve ever had have been with sociable introverts who generously spent their energy on me.

The Vast Character of God

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that—people are deep, and most are way too complicated to just be labeled “introvert,” “extravert,” or even “ambivert.”

But God bestowed an incredible blessing when He made such a range of personalities, enabling His perfect character to be expressed in a variety of ways, ensuring that we would never be an army of righteous robots. Who knows—maybe Christ and the Father even have different personalities. Maybe Christ, as the pre-incarnate Spokesman for the God Family, is more of the extravert, while the Father, as the one we pray to one-on-one, is more of the introvert. 

Or maybe not—such things are mere speculation. Regardless, the image and character of God is vast enough to house a multitude of personalities, and we can all be sincerely, deeply thankful for that fact.

Thomas White headshot

Thomas White was one of the onsite Living Education students for the 2018-2019 semesters. He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Thomas currently works as an Editorial Assistant for the Living Church of God. According to his wife, he eats pizza in entirely the wrong way.

Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 40 “Rehoboam’s Reign”

Featured Passage: 2 Chronicles 11 and 12

Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon, was selected to be king after Solomon’s death. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he took the throne. His first instinct when the ten tribes declared their independence was to declare war on Israel and bring them back under his rule. Would he succeed and rule over Judah and Israel? What type of king would Rehoboam be? In this lesson, we will learn more about King Rehoboam and the legacy that he left.


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  • God told Shemaiah to tell Rehoboam that He inspired Israel to be split. To his credit, Rehoboam did not try to subdue Israel; he accepted what God had done.
  • The Levites who were living within the Kingdom of Israel left when they started worshipping idols and joined with the Kingdom of Judah. 
  • Why was Rehoboam strengthened when the Levites returned to Judah? 
  • What is the relationship between obedience and blessings? Rehoboam was blessed during the three years he followed God.
  • Rehoboam started out well, and he had many great works. Rehoboam built walled cities for security and encouraged the people to worship God. 
  • Rehoboam had many wives, which is contrary to God’s instructions. What place in the Bible makes that very clear? 
  • People can often forget about God when things are going well (Deuteronomy 8:18–19). Was this what happened with Reheboam? 
  • God sent Egypt against Rehoboam because of his transgressions. The Egyptians took all the treasury back to Egypt with them. There is always a consequence for disobedience to God. 
  • Rehoboam reigned for seventeen years. He left a legacy of disobedience toward God, unlike King David.

Memory Challenge:

Deuteronomy 8:19

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.

Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 40 “What Is It?”

Featured Passage: Exodus 16

About a month after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at a place called the Wilderness of Sin. They were running  out of food and getting hungry. Again, instead of asking God for help, they complained to Moses. The people were forgetting the promises that God had given them. They still did not trust God to take care of them. Even though they did not have the right attitude, God still loved His people, and He was about to give them something to eat that no one had ever heard of before!


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  • The people blamed Moses and Aaron, saying they brought them out of Egypt to die of hunger. What should they have done?
  • God does not like complaining. One way we can learn not to complain is by being thankful.  What could the Israelites have been thankful for? 
  • God gave the Israelites food which they called “manna,” which means “what is it?” What do you think it would be like to be given food straight from God every day? Do you think it tasted good? 
  • Gathering manna would have been hard work. God showed the Israelites which day is the Sabbath by not giving them manna on the seventh day. Why didn’t God want them gathering their food on the Sabbath? How did God make sure they had enough to eat on the Sabbath day? 

Memory Challenge: 

Exodus 16:4

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.”

Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: Lesson 40 “Deborah Judges Israel”

Featured Passage: Judges 4:6-12

Israel had no king and the people were being treated harshly by their enemies the Canaanites. God told Deborah the judge that the time had come for deliverance and He had some special instructions for the Israelites. Deborah sent for a man named Barak who she knew would be able to prepare an army as God had instructed. The problem was, Barak did not want to go—unless Deborah came with him. So, together, Deborah and Barak went to gather an army for Israel in preparation for a battle that God Himself was planning. 


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  • Deborah was both a judge and a prophetess. There are several women besides Deborah mentioned as prophetesses in the Bible, including Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3), Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22), and Anna (Luke 2:36). 
  • God reveals to a prophet or prophetess what He wants the people to know, and they have the responsibility to tell it to the people.  What instructions from God did Deborah pass on to Barak? 
  • God told Deborah He was planning to deliver Israel from their enemies the Canaanites if they followed His directions. What are some promises God gives us if we follow His directions? 
  • Why do you think Barak wanted Deborah to go with him to gather the army for battle? What did Deborah tell Barak would happen if she went with him? 

Memory Challenge: 

Judges 4:9

“So she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.”

Second Thoughts: Lamps, Not Torches

Author: Thomas White | Editorial Department, Living Church of God

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light,” said Jesus Christ in Luke 8:16.

Here’s a thought: They had portable torches way before Christ’s ministry. Why didn’t He say, “No one who has lit a torch sticks it under a bed, but waves it around so that everyone can see him”? I mean, we’re supposed to make our spiritual lights obvious, right? Why are we lamps, not torches?

After hearing Mr. Michael DeSimone’s Assembly on how God’s people are making encouraging progress in getting the Gospel to the world, part of that scripture jumped at me in a new way. Mr. DeSimone showed us that when the titles of certain Tomorrow’s World telecasts are changed, made a little more “punchy,” those telecasts start racking up the YouTube views in a way they simply weren’t before. As it turns out, “clickbait” titles are used because people actually do click on them. Furthermore, when ads for free booklets are kept to a minimum on YouTube, Millennials such as myself tend to stick around longer, since we tend to appreciate ads about as much as Dracula would appreciate fresh garlic bread.

What We Have in Common

Those who have lit their spiritual lamps set them on lampstands, Christ said, “that those who enter may see the light.” Hopefully, those entering our houses are doing so because they actually want to be there—they already find us interesting, and want to get to know us better. We’re not to go out and coerce anyone into entering our houses, as if Christ expected us to be all “You will get in my house, you will look at my lamp, and you will like it.

When we’re trying to befriend someone, or even convince someone, where do we start? With what we have in common with them, is where. We don’t open with, “Howdy stranger, that sure is some sinful music you seem to be listening to—interested in hearing why it’s completely of the devil?” No, because no one thinking they have nothing in common with you is going to enter your house, and they’ll never see the light of your lamp. 

An Inviting Light

We’re to keep the lamp in the house, where it belongs, letting those who enter see the light—not bring it outside to shove it in unsuspecting faces. After we’ve made friends based on mutual interests, then we can look for opportunities to show them the Gospel in ways that speak to those interests. They’re our friends, or at least our acquaintances—they’ve “entered our house,” so to speak. And once they’re in there, it works even better if they notice the lamp before we point it out, so we can respond to their comments: “Oh, that? That’s my lamp. It’s actually extremely important to me—the most important thing in my life, in fact,” as opposed to, “And over here, you can see my truly amazing lamp, take a closer look, bask in its light, baaaaaaask.

We’re lamps, not torches, because lamps are friendly, even intimate. Torches… well, there’s a reason they’ve often been accompanied by pitchforks. If we strive to reflect God in everything we do, and truly care about preaching His message to the world, we’ll do it in a way that will reach the world—not with the invasive, antagonistic light of a torch, but with the inviting, loving light of a lamp on a stand.

Thomas White headshot

Thomas White was one of the onsite Living Education students for the 2018-2019 semesters. He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Thomas currently works as an Editorial Assistant for the Living Church of God. According to his wife, he eats pizza in entirely the wrong way.

Sea of Galilee


The Sea of Galilee is also called the Sea of Tiberias or Lake of Gennesaret. It was commonly known in the Old Testament as the Sea of Kinnereth. Nearly 700 feet below sea level, “the lake” is the largest freshwater bank in the region.
Geographically, the sea is 8 miles wide and about 12 miles long, north to south. Located near the Golan Heights, it is Israel’s primary source of drinking water. The heart-shaped feature forms a circular arc which connects the flow of the Jordan River and provides much of the water supply and a well-stocked variety of fish.
Some major towns at its shores include Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Tiberias.


During the first century, Christ spent much of His time around the Sea of Galilee. He healed the sick and cast out demons near the Sea of Galilee. He also ate breakfast with His disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection. The Sea of Galilee played a pivotal role in the 3 1/2 year ministry of Jesus Christ.

Sabbath Day’s Journey

From Acts of the Apostles: The Church Begins (Unit 1) – Learn More

jur’-ni (sabbatou hodos):

Used only in Acts 1:12, where it designates the distance from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus led His disciples on the day of His ascension. The expression comes from rabbinical usage to indicate the distance a Jew might travel on the Sabbath without transgressing the Law, the command against working on that day being interpreted as including travel (see Exodus 16:27-30). The limit set by the rabbis to the Sabbath day’s journey was 2,000 cubits from one’s house or domicile, which was derived from the statement found in Joshua 3:4 that this was the distance between the ark and the people on their march, this being assumed to be the distance between the tents of the people and the tabernacle during the sojourn in the wilderness. Hence, it must have been allowable to travel thus far to attend the worship of the tabernacle. We do not know when this assumption in regard to the Sabbath day’s journey was made, but it seems to have been in force in the time of Christ. The distance of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem is stated in Josephus (Ant., XX, viii, 6) to have been five stadia or furlongs and in BJ, V, ii, 3, six stadia, the discrepancy being explained by supposing a different point of departure. This would make the distance of the Sabbath day’s journey from 1,000 to 1,200 yards, the first agreeing very closely with the 2,000 cubits. The rabbis, however, invented a way of increasing this distance without technically infringing the Law, by depositing some food at the 2,000-cubit limit, before the Sabbath, and declaring that spot a temporary domicile. They might then proceed 2,000 cubits from this point without transgressing the Law.

And in some cases even this intricacy of preparation was unnecessary. If, for instance, the approach of the Sabbath found one on his journey, the traveler might select some tree or some stone wall at a distance of 2,000 paces and mentally declare this to be his residence for the Sabbath, in which case he was permitted to go the 2,000 paces to the selected tree or wall and also 2,000 paces beyond, but in such a case he must do the work thoroughly and must say:

“Let my Sabbath residence be at the trunk of that tree,” for if he merely said: “Let my Sabbath residence be under that tree,” this would not be sufficient, because the, expression would be too general and indefinite (Tractate `Erubhin 4:7).

Other schemes for extending the distance have been devised, such as regarding the quarter of the town in which one dwells, or the whole town itself, as the domicile, thus allowing one to proceed from any part of the town to a point 2,000 cubits beyond its utmost limits. This was most probably the case with walled towns, at least, and boundary stones have been found in the vicinity of Gaza with inscriptions supposed to mark these limits. The 2,000-cubit limits around the Levitical cities (Numbers 35:5) may have suggested the limit of the Sabbath day’s journey also. The term came to be used as a designation of distance which must have been more or less definite.

H. Porter

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. “Entry for ‘SABBATH DAY’S JOURNEY'”. “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”. 1915.  

Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 39 “Jeroboam”

Featured Passage: 1 Kings 11-12

As Solomon grew older, he began to turn from God and His laws and statutes. Before Solomon’s death, God warned him that his actions would result in the loss of half of his kingdom to Jeroboam, an energetic leader who oversaw many of Solomon’s building projects. God promised that this break-up of the kingdom of Israel would not occur until after Solomon died, but that his son Rehoboam would inherit the consequences of his sins. Despite Solomon’s best efforts to kill Jeroboam, his plans failed. More importantly, Solomon failed his kingdom when he turned his back on God, creating the ingredients for strife between Israel and Judah. Would Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam, learn the lesson that Solomon did not? And would Jeroboam obey God and establish a dynasty that would rule Israel down through history? Read 1 Kings 11-12 and find out!


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  • Why did God take the majority of the tribes from Rehoboam, Solomon’s son?
  • When Solomon learned that God was going to give part of the kingdom to Jeroboam, he tried to thwart God’s plan by having him killed. Can anyone stop God from carrying out His plans? How did Jeroboam escape? What made him return to Israel? 
  • What special opportunity and blessing did God offer to Jeroboam and his descendants? 
  • Jeroboam set up idols for the people to worship, made priests of anyone, and established different holy days than those that God had ordained. What was his excuse for doing this?
  • How did God respond to Jeroboam’s actions taking Israel into idolatry?
  • When we disobey God, what do expect will happen? What would we expect God to do?

Memory Challenge:

1 Kings 11:31

And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you…’”

Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 39 “Bitter Water Made Sweet”

Featured Passage: Exodus 15:22-27

God saved Israel by bringing them through the Red Sea, protected from Pharaoh and His army. After a great victory celebration, the Israelites continued their journey. They traveled for three days, but they started running out of water. After seeing so many miracles, you would think that the people would look to God to help them, right? 

What did they actually do? 


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  • Israel had witnessed many miracles that God had done, but they started forgetting them. Do you ever forget things? What helps you remember?
  • The people complained to Moses because the water was at Marah was bitter. What should the people have done – instead of complaining? 
  • In this difficult situation, Moses didn’t complain. Instead, what did He do?
  • Making the bitter water sweet was another example of God’s miracles that preserved and protected Israel. This is a good time to think back on God’s other miracles. What were some of those miracles? 

Memory Challenge: 

Exodus 15:26

If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.