And If It’s the Last Thing I Do?

Some feel that they are not an essential part of this Work because they are not appointed to some service in the Church of God. For no apparent reason, they allow feelings of discouragement and dejection to affect them.

Why is that?

Could it be that the adversary, Satan the devil, knows that discouragement and disheartenment are the easiest ways to prevent us from doing our part? Satan is desperately trying to get each of us to neglect and eliminate the gift of God’s Holy Spirit that we have received.

We read in 1 Timothy 4:14: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.” The Living Bible renders: “Be sure to use the abilities God has given you…”

If Satan succeeds in making us neglect and eventually lose the gift of the Holy Spirit within us, then we will be forever unfit and unable to enter the Kingdom of God. John 15:6 writes: “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

What Satan hates above all else is the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth. That is because Satan and his demons will be stripped of their authority when this great event occurs (compare Revelation 20:3).

Therefore, Satan and his demons try day and night to prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God when the return of Christ to this earth takes place. 1 Peter 5:8 admonishes us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” We are warned not to give the devil any room. We must recognize Satan’s schemes and resist him.

James 4:7 says: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

We need to understand the deception he is using today against God’s people, against us! Satan is trying to make us feel that the power that is in each of us, if we have been baptized in the proper way, namely the Holy Spirit of God, is not important or of great significance! Through this trickery of Satan, some have not fully made use of or even totally ignored the Holy Spirit that God has given us by grace. It is time to recognize this and to fight against it. We must be aware of this danger. 

The end-time Church has been given the great commission by Christ to preach the gospel to the whole world for a witness; a Work that cannot possibly be accomplished without the Holy Spirit of God!

Why is no other church outside the body of Christ proclaiming the true gospel of the Kingdom of God? They may understand and preach some parts of the Truth. But not a single one of them preaches the full true message of Christ – the gospel of the Kingdom of God! The Church of God is a body that Satan cannot control and prevent from proclaiming this important message because the Church is led and directed by God the Father and Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Satan therefore tries to negatively influence the human instruments through which the Holy Spirit works and even render them useless. Therein lies the danger for every individual in the Church of God. We must surrender to God so that He can constantly fill us with His Holy Spirit of power! Only with this power will we be able to accomplish the Work He has commissioned us to do.

Without using the power of the Holy Spirit, we will fail. If not every member of the body is functioning properly, the body will not be as effective as it should be in carrying out the commission of Christ.

We are warned about false prophets in Matthew 7:15. Satan has always used such false prophets, which includes false “brethren” to stir up some in the Church against the ministry that GOD has appointed over them. And, brethren, he is still working in the same way, trying to get some to find errors and accuse the ministers of GOD, or to get others to slack off, become lazy and stop contributing to supporting this Work of GOD!

We need to recognize whom we are following when we fall into one or the other of these conditions. When some are hardened against those whom God uses to accomplish His Work, they begin to speak arrogantly about them (compare 2 Peter 2:10-15).

This should not sound strange to us. These people become dissatisfied when they can’t be at the pinnacle or center of the Church.

Vanity fills them so much that they are unwilling to be an active part of the body of Christ, whatever that part may be (compare Colossians 2:19). Satan knows that a member who separates him- or herself from the Church is in danger of withering spiritually and burning in the lake of fire. Thus, another one of the members of the body of Christ becomes useless (compare Ephesians 4:15-16) – a member who could have contributed not only in this time when there are so few laborers to fulfill God’s commission to His Church, but also to become a member of the coming Kingdom of God who could have inherited eternal life.

We must take “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and let Him instruct us through those He has called as His ministers. God has set His ministers over the Church members – the saints – for spiritual growth and perfection and for the “work of ministry” (compare Ephesians 4:11-12).

If we diligently seek to do the Work we have been called to do, rather than trying to do someone else’s work, we can confidently say, “Christ in me is my hope of glory!” The question is whether we go back to living our old life and its vanity, or whether Christ lives in us and accomplishes His Work through us as members of the body of Christ. Let us remember that we are now a part of the body of Christ if we live the Way He lived as a human being. And Christ was humble and willing to “do the last thing” – as the “last one.” We must follow this example.

Initial translation from German: Daniel Blasinger

A Good Alternative, or a Bad Compromise?

Recently I went with my wife to Ramona, California, in order to attend our annual Church Conference, where we discussed, among other things, different church organizations in the body of Christ. It was very nice to see many brethren again and to once again have the chance to welcome them with open arms after such a long time. For some, it had been over 13 years since I had seen them in person, for others a little less. And yet, it is always a great feeling to be able to reunite with brethren and their families.

In August 2008, the Church of the Eternal God broadcasted the program “AufPostenStehen” in Germany for the first time, and my initial contact with the Church took place in October of the same year. Then, in September 2009, we were baptized in Ramona and had our Church wedding at the Feast of Tabernacles in San Diego in October.

The Church of the Eternal God, operating as the Kirche des Ewigen Gottes in Germany, grew steadily with new members, and each year more and more were baptized. This means that God has called some out of this terrible world to bring them as firstfruits into the Family of God. Not only was it a wonderful feeling to see the growing membership; it was overwhelming to understand the power with which God is working in us, leading us and revealing His Truth to us.

But being a member of God’s Family means having responsibility, sincerity, faithfulness, sacrifice, consistency, love, humility and fear of the Lord our God. This implies that we all have a task to fulfill and to do it steadfastly until the return of Christ, exactly in the place where God has planted us. Thus, if we have been called into the Church of the Eternal God or its affiliated international organizations, then we have an obligation to it— unless the Truth would no longer be fully preached there!

But in the nearly 15 years that my wife and I have been in the Church of the Eternal God, we have repeatedly seen brethren leaving us and resigning from the Church. Some left because of selfishness, pride, wrong ideas or resentment towards other members, and even because of personal disputes with the ministry.

Some of them have left for other church groups that emerged from the [now defunct] Worldwide Church of God after the death of the human leader, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong; or they have left the Way of God altogether.

It must be understood that many different groups have arisen because they no longer agree with the doctrines of God’s Truth. Some leaders and their members have developed their own ideas and no longer teach the plain truth. They have become lukewarm. Others have formed church organizations out of pride, greed and job preservation, looking for members, or acting for other nonsensical reasons.

Why would one do that? Why do people leave the part of the body of Christ into which they were baptized, even though the Truth of God is still taught there without compromise? Quite possibly, to avoid having to deal honestly with their underlying personal problems!

Or could God have made a mistake? Is it simply no longer fashionable to remain faithful to the part of the body of Christ that is endowed with the Spirit of Philadelphia, to which God has called us?

Would it actually be a good alternative to simply walk away from one’s commitment of remaining faithful to one’s God-ordained place and instead move on to another church organization—one that may be part of the body of Christ but does not manifest the same enthusiasm and love for the Truth; that has compromised with the Truth; or that does not fulfill the Church commission of proclaiming the gospel as a witness? Or would it be a bad compromise?

Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12:13, 24-25, 27: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit… But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another… Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”

And Christ tells us in John 15:1, 5: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser… I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Personally, I see these statements with a very special emphasis.

If we cut ourselves off as a branch from the sweet vine of God for personal reasons or problems and try to cling to “another vine” that does not bear the same fruit, or if we move to an opposite vineyard, we may produce fruit, but it will never be the same as it was before and was expected of us.

So, leaving the Church organization that has remained faithful to the Truth is, in most cases, a bad compromise!

We must understand that God does not make mistakes. God is perfect in everything He does.  David, inspired by God, wrote in Psalm 18:30: “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

In Mr. Michael Link’s Editorial from October 29, 2020, he said: “We must NEVER leave Him out of the picture, but put matters into His hands (Jeremiah 17:5-8). This is very difficult to do at times, especially in the heat of the moment. We must keep our heads high and look to God for help.”

And finally, let us remember one thing: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

We must therefore ensure that we remain faithful to God’s assignment to the part of His body that He has ordained for us, provided that the perfect Truth from God’s Word continues to be preached there!

Initial translation from German: Daniel Blasinger

Accountability Before God

Occasionally one hears the phrase: “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Perhaps it was used in the context of career or life advice. However, many people mistake this quotation as originating in the Bible. If it had, it might not have the connotation that people associate with it. It can be construed as meaning to do your own thing, and, in light of the decay of society, you can imagine what some would suggest it means. The quotation is actually from the Shakespeare classic: Hamlet. While Shakespeare was familiar with the Bible and utilized over 2000 Bible verses in his plays and writings, this is not one of them. As true Christians, we know our charge is more accurately: “In our relationship with God, we must be true.” We are referring to accountability—accountability to and before God.

Many years ago, I worked as a civilian at a naval shipyard that we were converting into a business park. We had a company that did ship repair for the Navy. I learned some tough lessons in my years working there. Some directly involved me, and others I gleaned from observing all that was taking place around the complex. I learned that even while a ship was in dry dock undergoing refurbishment, the commanding officer was still responsible for everything that occurred on or near the ship.

My point is not to praise military service nor advocate for it, as we understand that this is against God’s law. The point is that accountability for one’s actions is serious business. To ignore this is an affront to God and against His law. There was a small fire on a ship being repaired, likely the result of a welding torch. I learned that despite the fact that the ship was in dock and had only a skeleton crew on board, the commander would be disciplined and likely face demotion or be frozen in his position for years to come. This struck me as a harsh consequence, but I came to understand that such standards were designed to instill rigor, discipline, and accountability. To set standards higher than our human nature typically seeks is why we must rely solely on God. It is His standard that we must meet.

We know that as true Christians we are subject to this high standard in our relationship with God. In Romans 14:10-13, we see that we all must give account of ourselves before God. Paul advises that we not judge one another as we face the judgement of our Creator who will consider all we have done and failed to do. Consider Paul’s words: “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

We have the words of Jesus Christ to further guide us in Matthew 12:33, referring to the fruit of the tree, that a bad tree will yield bad fruit and so the opposite is so“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” Jesus continues in Matthew 12 to point out that we are all responsible for our actions and thoughts. We see this in Matthew 12:36-37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

We are reminded by Paul, who we believe to be the author of the Book of Hebrews, that the Word of God is living and powerful; it cuts to the truth and discerns the intent of the heart.

Further on in Hebrews 4:13 we read: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

This point is reinforced for us in Jeremiah 17:9-10:“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”

Unlike the officer who paid the penalty for that fire, God offers us the opportunity to be forgiven for our transgressions when we repent. He does not demote us; He forgives when we are sincere and allows us to move forward. Repentance is therefore the corollary to accountability. We can seek forgiveness if we are sincere, repent, and we own our sins.

We are also accountable to one another. We hurt each other too easily and struggle to say we are sorry. It is more than this simple emotion. We need one another and, as true Christians, our accountability to God and to our brethren is fundamental. Paul illustrates this clearly for us in 1 Corinthians 12:20-26. Notice his words: “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

Ultimately, we will stand before God and be accountable for what we’ve done in life. It would be better if we acknowledge this each day and correct ourselves when we must. This is the standard God has established for His people and for which we will be called to account.

A Christ Centered Life

We Christians live our lives in this world. Christ, in His prayer to the Father in John 17:9-18, states that we are living here and that our task is to remain apart from the evil one—by the power of God. He also mentions that our sanctification is in being set apart by the word of Truth. 

Christ lived His life with God at the center. Nothing He did or said or thought was in opposition to God. NOTHING! Multiple times He stated that He didn’t speak on His own authority but on the Father’s. Notice John 12:44-50: “Then Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

The only way for Christ to have lived His life perfectly in this world is by doing exactly what He said He did—never once taking His eyes off of God or the task for which He was sent.

We have the same opportunity that Christ had. We have been called to be here at this point in time, living our lives and accomplishing those things that God has set in motion for us. There is a purpose for us to be here now. We need to understand and keep that in mind at all times—like Christ did (compare 2 Peter 1:10-11: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ).

How many times have we read Matthew 6:33—and yet I wonder how many of us truly understand what is being asked of us? Notice: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” 

Our righteousness is useless! It is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)! It is not our righteousness that we need to seek—it’s God’s! 

Seeking God first takes an enormous amount of letting go—letting go of one’s own desires and outcomes and turning everything over to God. We want to remain in control (or at least think we have control), but the Truth is that without Christ leading in our lives—showing us the way, leading, guiding and directing, we will inevitably end up following our own wants and desires and serving that which is NOT useful or good. 

Can we trust Christ to lead us? That is a question that is being asked of each of us. The answer lies in how we live our lives, in how we think, what we say, and our actions or reactions. 

We can trust Christ to lead us in good directions (Colossians 1:9-29). We can trust Him to show us how to live this life because He has already done so (Hebrews 4:14-16). We can also have faith that Christ is faithful even when we are not (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5). 

There is something truly remarkable that should come with a life that is centered around Christ. Christ mentions it in John 14:27 where He tells us: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

There are so many things in this life that we can be worried about. Stress is growing in the world all around us! Christ stated that the world would be in upheaval before His return. This cannot cause us to stumble. We have to be rooted in our Way of Life and lean on Christ, so we can stand and not be afraid—no matter WHAT happens to us. 

Philippians 4:6-7 states: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This can only truly happen when we allow Christ to lead us. The challenge for us daily is to figure out and understand if we are allowing Christ to lead in our lives! Note Ephesians 5:15-17: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Faith Is the Key

Over fifty years ago, I read a book entitled “Fear is the Key,” written by Scotsman Alister Maclean. The end of the book explained how, when a murderer could only see death ahead of him, he was willing to admit to his crime to a relative of the victim. The relative had used fear as the key to obtaining the confession. Of course, this situation was staged in an undersea vehicle with no apparent means of escape for this very purpose and was successful. After that time, I forgot about this book until recently.

Over about the last four years, fear has been the key used to influence the actions of much of the world. In fact, a new expression has been invented, that being “fear porn”. So, what is “fear porn”? It does not appear in the Oxford English dictionary or the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but the Collins dictionary defines it as, “Media content that deliberately and enticingly plays on people’s fears about disaster, disease and death. Currently used in relation to some Covid reporting.”

“Fear porn” is used like pornographic images to stimulate an emotional response and ultimately control another person’s behavior.

We hear ideas like “If you don’t get vaccinated, you could kill grandma.” Or, “No one is safe until everyone is safe.” All of this is playing on people’s emotions to increase their level of fear and get them to comply with government requirements.

Unfortunately, “fear porn” is used as a weapon against anyone, especially any professional person, who speaks against the government’s official narrative. So, as well as Covid, it also includes man-made climate change and the possibility of President Putin causing Russia to invade Europe. For example, doctors who use or recommend alternate medicine, or older inexpensive drugs, to deal with Covid are fearing losing their medical license. Scientists who provide data refuting man-made global warming fear losing research grants and their standing in scientific circles.

Currently in Europe, the citizens are constantly being made aware that Russia is going to invade Europe in the next few years. This is to increase their level of fear and their willingness to increase defence expenditure even at the cost of increased taxation.

We, as God’s people, know we are living in Satan’s world. 1 John 5:19 informs us that, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” He is the ruler of this world, a liar, a murderer and a destroyer. In fact, much of this “fear porn” consists of lies and is used to destroy.

We are told to watch as well as pray to understand the present situation. So how do we avoid being influenced by deliberately induced fear into unquestioning compliance? And how do we avoid being complacent? The key is not fear, but faith, faith in God’s promises and prophecies.

One promise we have is that although we will have trials and temptations because we live in this evil world, we will not be tempted beyond what we are able and that God will provide a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. Refer to 1 Corinthians 10:13.

We certainly may have anxieties but 1 Peter 5:6-7 encourages us, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” In the English Standard Version, casting all your care is translated as casting all your anxieties. There are many other verses reminding us that God cares for us.

Regarding prophecies, some are that God will change the climate of the earth because of man’s sins. One of these prophecies concerning the people of Israel is in Deuteronomy 28:23-24. “And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.”

Another prophecy in Revelation 16:8-9 gives us further information on extreme global warming that will be caused by God, not by man, but because of man’s sins. “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.”

These curses and punishments will not come on these people because they do not drive electric cars or eat too much meat as these suggestions are vigorously being forced upon us. They will come upon them because of their sins. In fact, there are many scientists who believe that the current narrative on man-made global warming is a total hoax. They are the ones who are currently suppressed.

We are also made aware that the future war between the king of the North and the kings of the East will not be started by Russia and their allies invading Europe. We read in Daniel 11:44-45 that the king of the North will make a pre-emptive strike on the nations to the East and the North of him. “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”

So, we see that in this world, governments and organizations use fear as a key to get people to comply with their directives without questioning; whereas we are to use faith as a key to remember God’s promises and prophecies to enable us to understand what is happening and trust God to encourage and strengthen us as we live through difficult times.

Remember the wonderful promise in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

From Dark to Light

In a world ruled by Satan, the contrast between dark and light is quite evident.  We experience this every year during God’s Spring and Fall Holy Days. God expects us to observe these Days as commanded in the Bible, while the world celebrates its man-made pagan holidays. Insofar as these holidays in the spring are concerned, the world keeps them around the same time we keep God’s Spring Holy Days – a contrast between dark and light.  

The world just celebrated Easter, erroneously believing that this has to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, where “Good Friday” is claimed to be the day that Christ was crucified and Easter Sunday the day that Christ was resurrected.   The Bible says nothing of the kind. There is nothing “good” about this and Isaiah 5:20 even points this out, saying, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”  

The Bible and historical records prove, instead, that Christ was crucified and buried late on Wednesday and that He was resurrected late on Saturday, just before sunset.  Had this not been the case, Christ would not have fulfilled the only sign that He gave the Pharisees for His Messiahship — that is, to be dead and buried in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:38-40).

Modern Christianity has done exactly what God forbids by incorporating pagan aspects into the worship of God. But God says, “You shall NOT worship the LORD your God in that way!” (Deuteronomy 12:31). Our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days,” goes into this in much more detail. 

We know what the Truth is.  And even though we have to face this test every year since we live in this world, having to go through the distractions of pagan worship, we must remain attentive to God and His righteousness.  The darkness of Easter has just passed, and we look forward to the light just ahead of us in the observance and celebration of the Passover, symbolizing the remembrance of Christ’s death, and the Days of Unleavened Bread, symbolizing our commitment to live a sinless life.  

This is our focus and God called us to this understanding and for a purpose.  “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Let us continue to be the lights that God expects of us as we shift our attention to what is just ahead of us – the correct observance of His Holy Days. 

Do We Really Need to Know Every Last Detail?

Last Friday evening, March 22, 2024, my wife and I sat down to watch the 6 o’clock BBC News where we were told that there was to be an announcement from the Princess of Wales about her health concerns following mountains of “trolling” in social media.

It was said that she had come to the decision around the time she was facing intense social media speculation after the Photoshop editing of a family photo released on Mother’s Day.  We further learned that she was always intent on waiting until her children’s school broke up for Easter on Friday to go public about her health.  The princess revealed in this video announcement that she was diagnosed with cancer last month, having spent a fortnight in the private London Clinic for abdominal surgery in January.

In an editorial on January 12 this year in our weekly Update #1098, entitled “Never Complain, Never Explain,” mention was made as follows: “Those of us who have been called at this time can learn from biblical examples, and those who set high standards in public life, like the late Queen who, being a God-fearing woman, implemented standards expected of someone in her position.   And the result was, that as the reigning monarch in the UK for over 70 years, no one could ever point an accusing finger in her direction about her life style and behaviour.  She put up and shut up and she never complained and never explained if adverse publicity arose about the Royal Family.”

That approach has stood the Royal Family in good stead.   Because of the unkindness, speculation and outright lies being peddled on social media platforms, the Princess took the unprecedented step to make this public announcement.

The Sun editor Victoria Newton said: ‘It was actually, I understand, that the princess made the decision two weeks ago that she was going to do this public statement.  The key thing for her as a mother, the priority was protecting those three children. She didn’t want them going to school, being asked even more than they already were.  They were already being affected at school, so it was always her plan that she would wait until the last day of term.  Obviously, they’ve endured an incredible amount of social media speculation which has been really hard for them to handle, but the priority for her was always those children.”

When any of us have serious problems, we may not want to let the “world and his wife” [a British expression, meaning, “a great many people”] have all of the intimate details.  Much of this is private and we should give others the time and space to work through any problems they may have with their family and close friends.   The world does not need to know every jot and tittle about every issue.

Social media has brought about an intrusiveness never experienced before.   Facebook seems to be the instigator of the fashion that everyone in our circle needs to know everything that is going on in our lives.   Other platforms have reinforced this narrative and so many just seemed to have accepted this without really thinking it through.   

Let us think about this.   If the Princess of Wales had listed all of the problems she had had, the media would have had a field day and the questions wouldn’t stop there.   There is an insatiable desire in this world of 24-hour rolling news to fill the airwaves with continuous and even more graphic announcements if possible, and it then takes on a life of its own.   For news reporting and social media today, enough is never enough!

The Princess told us as much as we needed to know and asked for privacy as both she and her family work their way through it all.   Maybe all of that evil online trolling can now die down; human nature being what it is, it is highly unlikely that it will all stop.  An expert on cyber extremism said “the inhumanity” of social media led the royal to make her statement.

The London Standard wrote the following: “There we have it: an answer that finally puts an end to the cruel internet frenzy that became known as Katespiracy and a tragic one: Kate, the Princess of Wales has not been abducted by aliens, selected to appear on The Masked Singer [a reality singing competition TV series] or whatever other outlandish, baseless or distasteful rumours various conspiracy theorists wanted us to believe over the two months since her last public appearance. She has cancer. She was diagnosed with it in February after her abdominal surgery, and is currently in the early stages of preventative chemotherapy.”   And truly, we need to know no more than that.

However, there is some good news about this whole episode in that it has been reported that “visits to the NHS website’s cancer page rose by nearly five-fold following the announcement, while Cancer Research UK and Macmillan also reported a surge in clicks.”   

There was much unkindness in so many of the online comments on this issue.   Kindness is something our world is desperate for and is often in short supply.   But after Jesus Christ’s return to this earth, online trolling will not be allowed and, in the meantime, we can practice the instruction of Proverbs 21:21 (even if others don’t) which states “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”

Let us follow these simple admonitions for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

Seek First the Kingdom

Christ’s admonition to seek the kingdom of God is found in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

In the dialogue leading up to this verse are a lot of examples as to what people focus their lives on.  In verses 19-32, Christ focuses on the verse which sums it all up, verse 33, as quoted above.

The analysis deals with where your treasure is; not to serve two masters; and not to worry about the physical things of this life, because if you have your priorities straight, God will supply your physical needs.

If we are to seek first the kingdom, we have to have a clear picture in our mind as to what the kingdom of God is. Even though the definition is broad, it can be narrowed down, in part, to the understanding that God is a Family, consisting of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who work in harmony to achieve what God wants, while Christ is subject to God the Father, the Most High God.

It also includes our potential to become full-fledged sons and daughters of God; and that God will establish the Government of God on this earth at the return of Jesus Christ; and the world structure will eventually be changed by the implementation of the laws of God, summarized by the Ten Commandments which show us that we demonstrate our love for God by keeping the first four commandments and our love for fellow man by keeping the last six commandments.

Then there are many statutes and judgments which explain the Ten Commandments further and show how to apply them specifically. The sooner mankind keeps these eternal laws, the sooner they can reap the benefits and blessings attached to keeping them.

The kingdom of God involves other aspects as well, but for the context of this editorial, it is being narrowed down to a few.

“Seeking” the kingdom involves doing some analysis and getting our priorities straight and not getting sidetracked by the things of this world like food, clothing and physical aspects which God will provide if we stay the course; and if we remain focused on the admonition to seek the kingdom first in our lives, the rest will follow.

The other aspect of this verse is to seek “His righteousness.” Since the Father and Christ—the Kingdom of God—are one in approach and righteousness, we have the example of Christ that we should follow. Christ’s life was pleasing to God since on more than one occasion, it was stated that Christ was the Father’s beloved Son in whom He was well pleased (compare, for example, Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22).

Let us look at the admonition in Proverbs 3:1: “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands.”

So, seeking God’s righteousness involves obeying and keeping His commandments which in this day and age are rejected by man, and yet, they are not that complicated.

The definition of seeking includes, “to attempt to find (something).” For instance, note this example: “They came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds.”

“Seeking” can also mean, “to attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).” Examples could be: “The new regime sought his extradition,” or, “Her parents had never sought to interfere with her freedom.”

In addition, “seeking” can be defined as “asking for (something) from someone.” Here is one example: “He sought help from the police.”

Finally, “seeking” can be understood as “seeking someone/something out” and “searching for and finding someone or something,” like in this example, “It’s his job to seek out new customers.” 

So, we can see that seeking involves some effort on our part, and we have to be continually seeking the kingdom of God which will be established when Christ returns, and which ultimately is the only hope for mankind, and we need to seek the righteousness of God which involves keeping the commandments. All the other physical things we may wish and desire will be given to us in due time; and at the end, the best gift of all will be eternal life. Let’s never forget the words of Christ in Luke 12:32: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Where Is the Positive Story?

Recently, someone suggested that I write about something which is good and positive, as we are experiencing and are confronted with so much which is bad and negative. When I thought about this, I was reminded of a poem by famous German author, writer and poet Erich Kästner (1899-1974). Kästner is well-known as an author of books for children and young adults, but he was also a very deep thinker and “moralist.” The German poem was written in 1930, with the title, “Und wo bleibt das Positive, Herr Kästner?” In English, we might say, “Where is the positive story, Mr. Kästner?”

Especially two stanzas of the poem are quite telling and relate to the subject of this Editorial. I have tried to translate them into English, as close to the literal German as I could, but with special focus on the gist and substance of his message:

“And you keep sending me many letters,

in which you write, underlined in bold:

‘Mr. Kästner, where is the positive story?’

The devil may tell you, it’s hot when it’s cold.

“You want me to put it nicely together,

and think that it will then stick and hold?

I don’t want to cheat. I will not betray you.

The time is black, the truth must be told.”

And so, we must tell the Truth today as well and warn the people what is about to happen (which will be much more horrible than when Kästner wrote his poem in 1930, anticipating the growth of the Nazi Party, the rise of Adolf Hitler and even the outbreak of World War 2). We must never ignore or whitewash the black or dark times in which we live—times which will become much darker. We must never cheat and betray the people by claiming that everything is alright, and that with the right political leadership, things will get much better and America will become great again. But as Kästner wrote books for children and young adults to give them hope and fun and enjoyment and a focus on the “positive” side of life, so must we today… and even more so.

We are to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness. The word gospel means “good news” or “glad tidings.” Certainly, it must include a warning message of things to come, and we must cry aloud like a trumpet (a soft and uncertain sound wakes no one up), but even that message is good and positive, as at least some might listen, consider and repent.  But in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, we announce to this world the best and most positive message there could ever be: The return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s righteous rule here on earth. And it includes the announcement that man can become a member of the Kingdom of God—the Family of God.

In this evil world, filled with suffering and pain, we can have joy—and as parents, we can and should communicate this joy to our children, by how we live, what we say and what we do. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ who “for the joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2), endured all adversity, even “the cross,” while despising “the shame.” We should likewise focus on the joy which is set before us—the joy of becoming God beings within a few years from now; the joy of helping to eradicate all evil and to help mankind to live in peace and freedom—and when we do that, we will also be able, with God’s help, to cope with the challenges of life.

In transcending the present and visualizing the future, we embrace hope, trust, confidence and the conviction that within a few short years, we will have reached our incredible human potential and our ultimate destiny—by becoming God, because He IS our destiny! And that is the positive story!

Ultimate Faith

There came a time when Jesus Christ, knowing that He was about to face His greatest challenge, yielded to the Father, saying, “‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done’” (Matthew 26:42).

Jesus was able to look to the incomparable future of the glorious Kingdom of God with ultimate faith, “… who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus was sent by the Father to pay the price for our sins, and He died on our behalf (Romans 5:6), so that we could have “‘everlasting life’” (John 3:14-18). Jesus continues to work with us to lead us to salvation. The Apostle Paul writes:

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).

What exactly does that mean? How are we being saved by His life? Jesus, now “‘alive forevermore’” (Revelation 1:18), defends and helps us:

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

Jesus Christ is our living High Priest:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

You see, we will all face times of need when we will require great faith, and through God’s Holy Spirit we can find that help. Paul stated:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, King James Version).

We are saved by Christ’s life, because He lives in us through His Holy Spirit, giving us strength, comfort, assurance and conviction that everything will work out for good. Remember, we must have faith to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and we can ask God to increase our faith—as the apostles asked of Christ (Luke 17:5).

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