|Live Services||The Time of Harvest|
|Editorial||Hanging by a Thread|
|Q&A||You are teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a God being or a Person. What then, exactly, IS the Holy Spirit?|
|Forum||Moving Isn't Easy!|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
The Time of Harvest
On July 29, 2006, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The Time of Harvest.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Hanging by a Thread
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
The amount of money owed by consumers in the UK broke through the symbolic £1 trillion barrier for the first time in 2004. The Bank of England said that consumers owe more than £1,000bn on cards, mortgages and loans. According to the National Consumer Council, about six million families are already struggling to keep up with credit commitments at a time when borrowing is rising. Students are now building up huge debts as they work their way through University. Debt is everywhere and continues to grow by the day.
But debt is not confined to the UK. Debt in the world is a massive problem. At a G-8 finance ministers’ meeting in February last year, the world’s richest nations agreed in principle to cancel up to 100 per cent of the debts of the poorest countries in Africa.
And yet, again referring to the UK, retailers have not been doing well and many businesses have been in serious trouble, some going into bankruptcy. Therefore, encouraging spending is usually part of the overall marketing drive throughout the year, but is particularly strong in the run up to Christmas, thus increasing even further personal debt. It is a dichotomy. Retailers need sales but customers are up to their neck in debt.
As one expert stated: “The British economic recovery–heralded by Gordon Brown–is hanging by a thread. It rests on the fragile foundations of a consumer boom in Britain, and far more importantly, in the United States. Moreover the US economic bubble is keeping the world afloat at the present time. This is a fact recognised by all the economic pundits.” A very simple piece of Biblical advice is generally ignored by mankind–and to their hurt: “The borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Some debt may be necessary to buy a house or a car, but debt has become such an integral part of almost everyone’s life today that it has spiralled out of control.
Personal situations, and the economy in general, are hanging by a thread. The global economy is so inter-dependent that it could fall like a house of cards. Massive spending fuels personal debt; not spending means that businesses will go out of business. The economy is so fragile that it could fail at any time. Let us make sure that our own house is in order.
This Week in the News
“Israel’s Reaction Is Right!”
Der Spiegel Online published an article by Matthias Küntzel, a German political scientist and publicist, arguing that “Israel’s reaction is right.” The article stated:
“German and European public opinion does take sides — and it tends to side with the apparent underdog and against Israel. It has almost become a reflex on the Continent. In 2003, 59 percent of all Europeans pointed to Israel as the country presenting the greatest risk to world peace. On the third day of the current crisis, fully three quarters of all Germans polled were convinced that Israel was overreacting and using too much force in its response to Hezbollah. And since then, the images coming from the war zone have set the tenor: A cease-fire, most believe, should begin as soon as possible.
“I disagree — and have four reasons for doing so.
“First, Israel is fighting a just war. Germany and the European Union should unequivocally back Israel… Islamism has attacked Israel from both the south and the north and Israel has no choice but to react. But there is more to it than that. Israel’s military operation is important for the entire Western world… Islamism isn’t out to change Israeli policy in the region, Islamism is out to completely eradicate the country of Israel…
“Second, Israel wants peace… So far, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government has succeeded in coupling its military operation with transparent political goals. Every step can be justified. On the one hand, Israel recognizes Lebanon as a sovereign state, thus making it responsible for the Hezbollah attack on July 12 in which the group abducted two Israeli soldiers. On the other hand, Israel’s war aims have been clearly stated… The fighting serves to achieve the following aims: a. The implementation of United Nations resolution 1559, which calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah; b. The implementation of UN resolution 5241, which calls for south Lebanon to be solely under the control of the Lebanese army, and c. The unconditional return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers… The infrastructure in Lebanon is being attacked, but only insofar as it is relevant to the arming and operations of Hezbollah. The Lebanese civilian population has been warned with leaflets and radio messages prior to attacks in residential areas. Hezbollah, on the other hand, is marching to a different drummer. Their motto is: ‘You love life, we love death.’… Hezbollah is not only happy to kill as many Jews as possible, it is not bothered by the deaths of Shiite Muslims as well and has thus strategically based many of their rockets directly in the middle of Shiite residential districts.
“Third, there is no alternative to Israel’s current military operation. Will Hezbollah ever willingly give up their weapons? Not a chance! The Jihad against Israel is the foundation of the militant group’s very existence. For Hezbollah members, the destruction of Israel is not only non-negotiable, it is a religious duty. Hezbollah only understands the language of violence and Israel’s military is the only force that is in a position to effectively confront Hezbollah. A United Nations force would never be able to achieve what Israel could… With this in mind, the demand for an immediate cease-fire is the equivalent of a plea for saving Hezbollah.
“Fourth, Israel’s military operation has already resulted in positive effects. One can already see some positive results from the Israeli operation — the strength of which clearly took Hezbollah and its supporters by surprise. Whereas the process of ‘critical dialogue’ — supported especially by Germany — with the Mullah dictatorship in Iran and with anti-Semitic terror groups tended to strengthen those groups, the Israeli offensive seems to have started a paradigm shift in the Middle East: For the first time in the history of the Middle East conflict, an overwhelming majority of the Arab League distanced itself from Hezbollah’s ‘dangerous adventurism.’
“Israel must not be forced to abandon its war against Hezbollah, rather it must win the conflict. Just as Hezbollah is fighting the war as Iran’s proxy, Israel is fighting genocidal Islamism as the proxy for the rest of the Western world. The least Israel should be able to expect from the West is that it not be betrayed.”
Whether Israel–strictly based on human reasoning–is fighting a “righteous war” or not, is not really the most important issue. How does GOD–not man–look at this present situation? For more information, please make sure to view our StandingWatch programs, “War in the Middle East?” and “Why No Peace in the Middle East?”
The British paper, The Independent, published a thought-provoking article on July 21 about perceived glaring hypocrisy between America’s domestic and foreign policy. The article stated:
“Yesterday US troops killed five people, including two women and a child, in the city of Baquba [Iraq] during a raid, claiming they had been shot at. At best it was a tragic error, at worst it spoke to the cavalier attitude of the US towards Iraqi civilian lives. Local police said that a man had fired from a rooftop at the Americans because he thought a hostile militia force was approaching. While the eyes of the world are elsewhere, Baghdad is still dying and the daily toll is hitting record levels. While the plumes of fire and smoke over Lebanon have dominated headlines for 11 days, with Britain and the US opposing a UN call for an immediate ceasefire, another Bush-Blair foreign policy disaster is unfolding in Iraq.
“Invoking the sanctity of human life, George Bush wielded the presidential veto for the first time in his presidency to halt US embryonic stem cell research in its tracks. He… talked of preventing the ‘taking of innocent human life’. How hollow that sounds to Iraqis. More people are dying here–probably more than 150 a day–in the escalating sectarian civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims and the continuing war with US troops than in the bombardment of Lebanon.
“In a desperate effort to stem the butchery, the government yesterday imposed an all-day curfew on Baghdad, but tens of thousands of its people have already run for their lives. In some parts of the city, dead bodies are left to rot in the baking summer heat because nobody dares to remove them…Iraqis are terrified in a way that I have never seen before, since I first visited Baghdad in 1978. Sectarian massacres happen almost daily. The UN says 6,000 civilians were slaughtered in May and June, but this month has been far worse. In many districts it has become difficult to buy bread because Sunni assassins have killed all the bakers who are traditionally Shia…
“I never expected the occupation of Iraq by the US and Britain to end happily. But I did not foresee the present catastrophe. Baghdad has survived the Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf War, UN sanctions, more bombing and, finally, a savage guerrilla war. Now the city is finally splitting apart, and–most surprising of all–this disaster scarcely gets a mention on the news as the world watches the destruction of Beirut so many miles away.”
Cease Fire Or Not?
The British paper, The Independent, wrote on July 21:
“Israeli warplanes continued their bombardment of Lebanon yesterday, defying a demand by Kofi Annan for an immediate end to fighting on the ninth day of a war that has led to the ‘collective punishment of the Lebanese people’. Two countries, the US and Britain, defiantly refused to back the international clamour for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas… [This] has given Israel a powerful signal that it can continue its attacks with impunity… Mr Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, used his emotive statement to the Security Council to reflect the deep-seated international unease about the human cost of Israel’s response to the onslaught of rockets from Hizbollah guerrillas backed by Syria and Iran. ‘What is most urgently needed is an immediate cessation of hostilities,’ he said. However, he added that there were ‘serious obstacles to reaching a ceasefire, or even to diminishing the violence quickly.’…
“The statement was sharply criticised by Israel and the United States… Britain and the US say they are not opposed to a ceasefire, but that Hizbollah must first stop firing missiles from south Lebanon into Israel and release two abducted soldiers. Countries such as Russia, which are calling for an immediate end to the fighting, have accused Israel of harbouring broader strategic goals than the simple return of the soldiers… The EU said yesterday that a ceasefire was essential before any peacekeeping mission can be deployed to southern Lebanon, and said the two sides were ‘not listening enough’ to calls for an end to violence.”
The Associated Press reported on July 26:
“U.S., European and Arab officials holding crisis talks on Lebanon failed to agree Wednesday on an immediate plan to halt the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas… After listening to a dramatic appeal from Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora for them to stop the killing, the officials said they had agreed on the need to deploy an international force under the aegis of the United Nations in southern Lebanon… The United States and Britain opposed the push for a quick cease-fire, saying any truce should ensure that Hezbollah no longer is a threat to Israel and should ensure a durable peace… The foreign ministers and other senior officials from 15 nations, as well as Annan and representatives from the European Union and the World Bank, agreed on a declaration that expressed ‘deep concern’ for the high number of civilian casualties in Lebanon, where government officials say hundreds of people have been killed… In Brussels, European Union officials said a meeting of foreign ministers would be held Aug. 1 to discuss the violence.”
Der Spiegel Online added on July 27:
“The Rome peace conference was widely derided as a failure on Wednesday, but Israel has claimed its one achievement was to affirm support for a continued bombardment of Lebanon…”
And so, the bloodshed, including the deaths of innocent civilians on both sides, will continue…
International Peacekeepers in Lebanon?
The Associated Press reported on July 23:
“President Bush’s chief of staff said Sunday international peacekeepers might be needed in Lebanon to help end the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants, but that U.S. troop involvement was unlikely… Israel’s defense minister said Sunday that his country would accept a temporary international force, preferably headed by NATO, along the Lebanese border to keep Hezbollah guerrillas away from Israel, according to officials in the minister’s office.”
Der Spiegel Online added on July 25:
“CNN also reported that Rice suggested more than 10,000 Turkish and Egyptian soldiers be used and be placed under NATO or UN command after a cease-fire. In a second phase, the contingent would be expanded to 30,000. Rice had discussed the plan with the Israeli government but it was not clear whether Egypt and Turkey had agreed, the report said. Meanwhile Germany continues to agonize about whether it should send troops as part of such a force. The general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, told German radio: ‘There are many Shoah survivors still alive in Israel, fortunately. And I don’t know what they would think if German troops had to take action against an Israeli soldier defending his country.’ Germany’s history made it problematic to send German troops to the region, he said.”
What Do Iranians Think?
On July 23, 2006, the British magazine, “Time,” published an article, titled, “Meanwhile, the view from inside Iran.” In the article, it was pointed out:
“To many observers in the Western world, Hizballah, the Lebanese guerrilla group battling Israel, is a mere puppet of Iran. Some are convinced that Hizballah triggered the crisis on Tehran’s orders to divert world attention away from Iran’s controversial nuclear plans. But client states are not necessarily as docile as one might think. Just as Israel sometimes takes actions that surprise (and even displease) the U.S., Hizballah does things Iran has neither ordered up nor necessarily approves of.
“It’s impossible to know the precise origins of the current crisis in Lebanon, but since it erupted two weeks ago, the mood in Tehran has swung between indifference–the fighting rarely makes the headlines–and resentment over Iran’s longstanding sponsorship of Hizballah. True, there have been officially sponsored rallies declaring support for Hizballah, whose leaders pledge religious allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei. But the emotional support for Hizballah common throughout the Arab world is largely absent here…
“It’s not only ordinary Iranians who are worried about what the Middle East explosion means for Iran. Even as state infomercials order Iranians to boycott soft drinks, officials in Tehran–pragmatists and conservatives alike–concur that the conflict is bad news for the Iranian regime because it exacerbates the West’s image of Tehran as a regional troublemaker. Rather than helpfully distracting attention from Iran, as many have charged, the conflict ‘undermines Iran’s position,’ says a university professor close to senior Iranian officials.
“The thorny nuclear negotiations with the West are likely to become even trickier. The delay in efforts to enforce a cease-fire in Lebanon is inflaming divisions within the Iranian regime on how to respond to the U.S.-backed package of incentives offered to Tehran in June. Before the crisis erupted, the momentum seemed to favor advocates of a pragmatic, positive response. But now the radicals are using the U.S.-backed Israeli campaign in Lebanon to push their case for a tough line. As an adviser to a senior conservative ayatullah puts it, ‘This has strengthened the hand of those who argue,”If this happened to us, the only thing that would save us is a nuclear deterrent.”‘”
Four UN Observers Killed
Der Spiegel Online reported on July 26 that “United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has accused Israel of deliberately targeting a UN observation post in an air raid which killed four UN observers on Tuesday night… Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he had told Annan of his ‘deep sorrow’ at the killing of the observers, but voiced shock at Annan’s suggestion the attack was deliberate… China condemned the air raid, in which a Chinese national was killed. Its official Xinhua news agency said the other three observers were from Finland, Austria and Canada.”
America Unable To Solve the World’s Problems
On July 27, MSNBC.com posted an article on its Webpage, titled, “A Mission Unaccomplished.” In the article, it was stated:
“The war unfolding in the Middle East marks a new era. For Israel and the Palestinians, it is the end of any prospect for peace. For Israel and Hizbullah, it is the beginning of a death struggle. For newly reborn Lebanon, led by a West-leaning government that sprang from last year’s anti-Syrian Cedar Revolution, it’s a loss beyond calculation. And for the United States, it’s the last gasp of a cosmically naive pipe dream. A Middle East Pax Americana, topped by a friendly post-Saddam Iraq with democracies popping up like mushrooms across a once autocratic landscape? What rubbish. The United States is now bogged down, Israel is under threat, Lebanon is collapsing, Iraq is on the verge of civil war and Iran is fanning the flames across the region while pursuing its nuclear policy and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map. And in those unfortunate places where elections have indeed been held, Islamists swept the ballots, surfing on popular resentment against America, Israel and the West.”
It’s All President Bush’s Fault…
On July 25, The Russian paper, Pravda, published an overly simplified article by Rodrigue Tremblay, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal. However, the article shows the willingness of many to blame President Bush for almost everything which goes wrong these days in the world. The article stated:
“Coincidence or not, things started to go bad internationally soon after George W. Bush squeezed into power in January 2001, with the help of a one-member majority of the U.S. Supreme Court. Days after his inauguration, the new president began uttering incendiary statements, seemingly designed to provoke the Muslim world, but also to bully America’s allies… To what extent the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11 were in response to Bush’s provocations, we will probably never know. One thing is certain, however, and it is that they surely did not help… The U.N.-sanctioned 2001 attacks against the al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan were accepted by the rest of the world as a necessary military mission to extirpate the virus of Islamist terrorism. Such was not the case with the unprovoked 2003 war against Iraq. There were no Islamist terrorists in Iraq before George W. Bush decided on his own to invade and occupy that country militarily…
“Bush II also demonstrated how irremediably caught up he is in the tangled neocon web when, in early July 2006, he ‘authorized’ Israel’s Ehud Olmert to indiscriminately bomb the defenseless country of Lebanon, even though there were 25,000 Americans in that country and hundreds of thousands of other nationals at risk. What’s more, Israeli offensive military forces were dropping American bombs on Beirut and on Lebanese villages. As a consequence, more than 350 Lebanese and other nationals, nearly all of whom were civilians and a third, children, have perished under Israeli bombs… In the Muslim world… [the] advent of democracy has been set back decades because Bush’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq has resulted in an Islamist and anti-democracy reaction. This reaction has been exacerbated by the military invasion of Lebanon by the U.S.’s client state, Israel… Even in Turkey, the most pro-Western Islamic country and a member of NATO, the anti-West mood is ‘rising’. The very idea of exporting ‘democracy’ with bombs and tanks was crazy to begin with, more like a cruel hoax. Elections in some of the most extreme Islamic countries were bound to bring anti-West religious parties to power.
“Indeed, in recent general elections in many Middle East countries, Islamist parties have obtained significant victories: for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for Hamas in Palestine, for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and for a host of Islamist religious parties in Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. As time goes on and the American-led occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Lebanon persist, and as American puppet Israel continues to kill innocent civilians in Gaza and in Lebanon, radical Islamist parties will gain further in popularity in most, if not all, Muslim countries. The U.S. will lose any following and Western values will be shunted aside in favor of radical Islamism. What a mess! It is really true that under the failed leadership of George W. Bush, the world is going to hell (politically, economically and morally speaking)!”
Why do we find so much anti-Americanism in the world? For answers, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
Interview With Lebanese President Emile Lahoud
On July 14, 2006, Der Spiegel published an interview with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. His statements are remarkable in light of the present war in the Middle East and reflect quite a different mindset than that of the Western World, showing that a peaceful solution for the country of Lebanon is as far away as ever. Lahoud stated:
“I myself built up [the Lebanese] army following the civil war and integrated all the religious groups: Muslims, Christians and Druze. This army is there to secure internal peace, but it is not an army to fight a war… But it wasn’t the army that freed the occupied south of the country, rather it was the resistance which achieved that. Without this resistance Lebanon would still be occupied today… Naturally the strongholds of the resistance [i.e., Hezbollah] are not known [to the Lebanese army or the Israelis]. Despite the hail of bombs, the Israelis have been unable to produce one single photo of a destroyed resistance base, because they don’t know where they are. Army bases, on the other hand, are well known and this is why they are invariably destroying our armed forces and, above all, civilian targets… The Israeli armed forces are destroying Lebanon, and the international community isn’t trying to hold them back, but giving them more time to complete their plan of destruction… The exchange of prisoners has always worked perfectly in the past. The Germans above all were very helpful in this process. It is unclear whether that will happen this time. It’s a charged atmosphere…
“Hezbollah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon, because it freed our country. All over the Arab world you hear: Hezbollah maintains Arab honor, and even though it (Hezbollah) is very small, it stands up to Israel… As long as the conflict between Lebanon and Israel remains unresolved, no international force will help, however large it may be. The problems smoulder on: the undetermined status of the Schebaa Farms, the Lebanese prisoners in Israel and above all the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon… We have today around half a million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, their birth rate is three times higher than the Lebanese. That is a time bomb. It is the basic problem of our country, it led to the outbreak of civil war in 1975 and still remains unsolved today. Everybody today is talking about UN resolution 1559 [United Nations Resolution 1559 demands that the (Lebanese) army should control the whole country], but nobody mentions resolution 194, which recognizes the Palestinians’ right of return (to Israel). Lebanon is small and can’t integrate the Palestinians.”
Catholic Church Does Not Get Involved in Politics?
The Associated Press reported on July 21 about some rather strange comments from Pope Benedict XVI, pertaining to the present crisis in the Middle East:
“Pope Benedict XVI said Friday that he does not plan to intervene diplomatically in the Middle East fighting, but called on people of all religions to join Sunday’s worldwide day of prayers for peace. ‘I think it is best to leave that to the diplomats, because we don’t enter politics. But we do everything for peace. Our goal is simply peace, and we will do everything to help attain peace,’ Benedict told reporters… The pope has set aside Sunday as a worldwide day of prayers for peace, hoping the prayers will bring a halt to the fighting. Benedict invited everyone to pray ‘especially Muslims and Jews.’
“Benedict said he had heard from Catholic communities in Lebanon and Israel. ‘Especially from Lebanon, who implored us, as they have implored the Italian government, to help,’ he said. ‘We will help with our prayers and with the people we have… in Lebanon.'”
Zenit added on July 20:
“A communiqué issued today by the Vatican press office said the decision was due to the ‘great concern’ with which the Holy Father follows ‘the fate of all the affected peoples.’ With this initiative, the Pope invites ‘the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace,’ explained the Vatican communiqué. In particular, the Bishop of Rome appeals for prayer to the Lord ‘for an immediate cease-fire between the sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring help to the suffering peoples and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region.’ According to the Pontiff, ‘the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis, the right to live in peace in their state, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland.'”
The office of Pope does hold great influence in this world–in fact, the Pope is the most influential religious personality of our day. Biblical prophecy reveals that this office, and the person occupying it, will become more and more powerful in coming years. The Word of God reveals that BOTH a religious and a military entity will soon emerge in continental Europe to jointly dominate events all over the earth! Please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy”, for more of the dramatic details of these future events!
Outrageous U.S. Court Decision in Collaboration With Social Services
The Associated Press reported on July 21 about an outrageous decision with the effect of an intrusion into the rights of religion and privacy of the parents and the victim who is suffering of cancer:
“A [Virginia] judge ruled Friday that a 16-year-old boy fighting to use alternative treatment for his cancer must report to a hospital by Tuesday and accept treatment that doctors deem necessary, the family’s attorney said. The judge also found Starchild Abraham Cherrix’s parents were neglectful for allowing him to pursue alternative treatment of a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements supervised by a clinic in Mexico, lawyer John Stepanovich said. Jay and Rose Cherrix… must continue to share custody of their son with the Accomack County Department of Social Services, as the judge had previously ordered, Stepanovich said. The parents were devastated by the new order and planned to appeal, the lawyer said.”
USA Today reported on July 22 about the ongoing disagreement between Presidents Bush and Putin. The article stated:
“They’re the two most powerful people in the world. They shared private and public thoughts this past week. Two words summed up the difference in their philosophy, policy and style. This exchange between President Bush and Russian President Putin at a news conference after their private meeting at the Group of Eight summit tells it all:
“Bush: ‘I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion … a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing.’
“Putin: ‘We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.’
“Bush: ‘Just wait.’
“’Wait’ has been the Bush clarion call in Iraq for years. Wait, we’ll find weapons of mass destruction. Wait, elections will bring a real working democracy. Wait, Iraq’s military will stand up and then our troops can stand down. ‘Wait’ makes Iraq Bush’s Achilles’ heel, which weakens his position with other world leaders on other world problems. The G-8 talked about them all–North Korea, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, the Hezbollah. Most issues produced compromising double talk because the G-8 countries have no strong world leader.”
You are teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a God being or a Person. What then, exactly, IS the Holy Spirit?
God’s Holy Spirit is foremost the POWER of God, emanating from both the Father and the Son. But it is also the MIND of God, including all the characteristics of God Himself. When God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us, we are to change, by replacing our human nature with the nature of God (1 Samuel 10:6; Romans 8:13), enabling us to follow God and to be obedient to Him (Numbers 14:24; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:27; 1 Peter 1:22).
Let us notice several Scriptures which describe in detail God’s characteristics, which are being conveyed to us through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Please consider that all of these characteristics are GOD’S–that is, when we read that God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Power, it is actually GOD’s Power that is emanating from God (both the Father and the Son) through the Holy Spirit:
— God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Power (Luke 4:14; Micah 3:8; Romans 15:13), of Love (Romans 5:5) and of a Sound Mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
— God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Wisdom (Exodus 28:3) and of the Revelation in the Knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:17; compare 1 Corinthians 2:10-16), as well as of Understanding, Counsel and Might, Knowledge and the Fear of God (Isaiah 11:2).
— God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Truth (John 15:26; 16:13).
— God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Faith (2 Corinthians 4:13).
— God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6) and of Peace (Romans 14:17).
— God’s Spirit is a Spirit of Grace and of Supplication or fervent prayer (Zechariah 12:10).
When God gives us His Holy Spirit, we are to bring forth the fruit of God’s Spirit, which is described as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Please note that it does not say, “fruits,” but “fruit”–when God’s Spirit dwells in us, we are to produce ALL of these characteristics, as they all–together–are THE FRUIT of God’s Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of those characteristics, producing ITS fruit in us. We are told that the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:9). With God’s Spirit within us, we will also bring forth justice in our lives (Isaiah 42:1). God’s Spirit within us gives us comfort (Acts 9:31) and hope (Romans 15:13).
God’s Spirit within us teaches us all things and brings to remembrance all things (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27). With God’s Spirit within us, we can worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24; Philippians 3:3).
God’s Spirit in us is not static. It must be used by us. God’s Holy Spirit is compared with living waters. As living waters flow, so God’s Holy Spirit within us must flow from us toward others–that is, others must be able to recognize the effects of God’s Spirit within us (John 4:10, 13-14; 7:37-39). As God’s Spirit is to flow through us and out of us toward others, it must be renewed on a regular basis (through regular prayer), so that we can be constantly filled with it (Psalm 51:10-11; Philippians 1:19; Ephesians 5:18; compare 2 Corinthians 4:16). Rather than quenching the Holy Spirit within us (1 Thessalonians 5:19), we must be led by and follow the lead of the Spirit (Romans 8:14; Luke 4:1).
In order to learn more about the Biblical truth that the Holy Spirit is NOT a person, and how we can receive God’s Holy Spirit, please read our free booklets, “Is God a Trinity?” and “Baptism–A Requirement for Salvation.”
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
In the Q&A of our previous Update #253 (on Matthew 28:1), it was erroneously stated that during the crucifixion week, the annual Holy Day–the First Day of Unleavened Bread–fell on a Wednesday, beginning with sunset on Tuesday. This is incorrect. The annual Holy Day fell on a THURSDAY, BEGINNING with sunset on WEDNESDAY. The version of the Q&A, as posted on the Web, has been corrected.
Moving Isn't Easy!
by Eric Rank
As I write this, I’m in the midst of moving my family 1000 miles away from the place we call home. The other night I lay awake, quite overwhelmed, reflecting on the impact of this decision to move. All I could think about were the things we’re leaving behind. We’re leaving my loving parents and family; I’m leaving a good job; we’re moving away from a comfortable house in a neighborhood we enjoy; and we’re leaving some very dear friends. With all this in mind, I summed up my feelings with a single, emotionally charged, frightened, anxious and melancholy sentence. I said out loud to my wife and companion in this adventure, “I’m really happy here.”
At this last minute I realized that I’m giving up a life that I truly enjoy to move to a place where just about everything will be different and few things certain. It’s very scary.
It reminds me of the story of Abram, when God tells him to leave his home to a land to be shown to him by God. When this happened he was 75 years old, and well-established in his life. Yet, because God made a promise to him, he faithfully packed up his household and moved, knowing only that it was commanded by God and that he would be blessed for his obedience.
In my family’s move, the one thing that I am certain of is that we’ll be blessed with the opportunity to grow spiritually. We are moving to an area where we will be building relationships with other brethren, challenging ourselves to grow spiritually in ways that we cannot in the place we’re moving away from.
When I become overwhelmed by the immense changes right now, I find comfort knowing that moving 1000 miles away from here is the best spiritual move that we could possibly make. But that still doesn’t make it easy.
What does make it easier is remembering that Christ told us not to love this life to the death. I have to apply this by always attempting to put spiritual benefits above physical comfort. As God promised Abram, He promises us, that if we succeed in obeying His commandment to live according to the way of His Holy Spirit, we too will be blessed.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program has been posted on the Web. It is titled, “Why No Peace in the Middle East?” Set forth below is a brief summary:
When observing the current events in the Middle East, a lasting peaceful and prosperous solution seems to be as elusive as ever. We are not here to assess blame, but just to report the events based on Biblical prophecy. The Bible shows indeed, how current events will lead to the ultimate fulfillment of a situation which has been clearly foretold a long time ago. Why is it that we are seemingly unable to create a peaceful and happy world?
StandingWatch responses from Google Video:
The following sets forth some of the all-time high responses to our StandingWatch programs, so far, posted on Google Video (These figures do not include views on and downloads from our StandingWatch Website):
Is Nuclear War Coming? — 1,245 views and 43 downloads
Ghosts of Departed Ones? — 695 views and 1 download
Da Vinci, Judas and a Fish — 613 views and 20 downloads
Afghanistan’s Radical Islam — 602 views and 15 downloads
Germany in Prophecy — 483 views and 13 downloads
666, the Beast and Antichrist — 477 views and 11 downloads
America’s Illegal Aliens — 441 views and 6 downloads
Evolution or the Bible — 379 views and 15 downloads
What Is Happening in Germany — 355 views and 4 downloads
American Hiroshima — 353 views and 13 downloads
The Pope Is Dead–What Is Next? — 330 views and 1 download
Totals of all programs posted on Google Video so far have been 9,308 views and 212 downloads.
Dwight Armstrong Hymns in Public Domain
Worldwide Church of God officials announced on June 26, 2006, that it is placing all Dwight Armstrong composed hymns to which it owns the copyright into the public domain. Effective immediately, any person or group who wishes to copy or use these hymns may do so without receiving permission from the Church. Church officials have said that the works released into the public domain are only those hymns by Dwight Armstrong to which the Church holds the copyright. No other hymns or materials of any kind are being placed into the public domain, and the responsibility is on the user to ascertain whether the work it wishes to use is one of the released hymns.
With the copyright holder’s expression of intent to abandon the copyright to Dwight Armstrong’s hymns, they have now entered the public domain.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
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