|Live Services||Lessons from the Book of Job|
|Editorial||Don't Overlook the BIG THINGS!|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Does the Bible have anything to say about the way men and women should dress?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Lessons from the Book of Job
On Saturday, April 25, 2009, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Lessons from the Book of Job.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Don't Overlook the BIG THINGS!
by Dave Harris
Measured against the sweeping scope of time, our few years on the earth might seem almost trivial. We live physical lives, and our days are of a limited nature.
Yet, our calling from God offers us the opportunity to inherit eternal life–an unending existence that will transcend all time forever and ever.
Is what we accomplish each day done with this big picture in mind? Or do we tend to overlook the literally awesome and unparalleled opportunities that are in store for us? Are we mindful that we are among those who are to endure to the end and who are to continue to overcome sin? Are we replacing our own carnal nature with the very mind of Jesus Christ?
None of these challenges are inconsequential! These are the really big things of our calling!
God doesn’t overlook His own ultimate purposes, and He continually encourages us to view our life now with the view of life with Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, in Their Kingdom. Paul had this kind of perspective when he stated: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
We also have this very personal perspective from God:
“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones'” (Isaiah 57:15).
In all that we do, let’s not overlook the big things God has set before us–He certainly doesn’t!
The Latin American Summit came and went–with no positive results whatever, except for the fact that Latin American leaders used the platform to accuse and derail the USA in Mr. Obama’s presence, and that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela made an embarrassing mockery of the American President by presenting him a book accusing the USA and Europe of imperialism in Latin America.
On the other hand, the Obama Administration and other Western European countries showed some backbone in Switzerland, when they stood up to Iran’s “crazy leader,” President Ahmadinejad. The Western boycott of the U.N. conference brought back into focus Israel’s precarious situation of having to face a nuclear Iran. Israel made certain that they would not hesitate to attack Iran, with or without America, if that hostile country was to acquire or produce nuclear weapons. At the same time, North Korea rejected the condemnation of the U.N.’s Security Council and announced that nuclear war was coming, due to the conduct of the USA and South Korea.
Turning to domestic matters, while the GIVE Act and its adjunct legislative proposals, which are endorsed by Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, as well as proposals to enact prohibition against “hate crimes,” are causing great concern in the USA, Mr. McCain’s top advisor told the Republican Party to reject the Bible and embrace instead same-sex marriages, in order to attract younger voters. The scandal surrounding Miss California’s answer to a question from a gay judge regarding her beliefs on marriage shows the political and social climate we are finding ourselves in. Mr. Obama’s release of CIA memos and the subsequent reaction of the press has caused the President to change his prior position, arguably having started a development which he won’t be able to control–and which might haunt his Presidency for years to come.
And while there is no end in sight for the ongoing global recession, the USA has been hit the hardest. President Obama’s measures don’t seem to work, and the American Dream has become a nightmare.
This Week in the News
Latin American Summit in Trinidad
The Los Angeles Times wrote on April 20:
“Rebuffing criticism of the warm greetings he exchanged with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, President Obama said Sunday that the United States, with its overwhelming military superiority and need to improve its global image, could afford to extend such diplomatic ‘courtesy’… A running theme of the summit was Obama’s cordial dealings with Chavez, who once called former President George W. Bush the ‘devil’ and who last month dismissed Obama as an ‘ignoramus.’ The two were photographed smiling and clasping hands.
“At one meeting, Chavez made a show of walking around the table as the cameras rolled and handing Obama a copy of ‘Open Veins of Latin America,’ a 1971 book by Eduardo Galeano chronicling U.S. and European imperialism in the region. Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, appearing on CNN on Sunday, said it was ‘irresponsible’ for Obama to be seen ‘laughing and joking’ with the Venezuelan president.
“Obama… said it ‘was a nice gesture to give me a book. I’m a reader’ [The book was in Portuguese, a language that Mr. Obama does not understand.]… The U.S. has nothing to fear from Venezuela, a large supplier of crude oil to the country, Obama said…
“Obama aides were not so charitable toward Chavez. In a background briefing earlier, one senior official accused Chavez of performing for the cameras… Apparently impressed with Obama, Chavez seemed ready to reevaluate relations with the United States. He announced that he was considering appointing an ambassador to Washington…
“Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s leader, gave a 50-minute speech at the opening ceremony Friday in which he denounced capitalism. At a news conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales alleged that the U.S. had been complicit in attempts to overthrow him. Morales also wanted Obama to repudiate an alleged attempt to assassinate him last week. In response, Obama said he wanted to ‘condemn any efforts at violent overthrows of democratically elected governments, wherever it happens in the hemisphere. That is not the policy of our government.'”
Latin American Leaders Derail USA in Mr. Obama’s Presence
Bloomberg wrote on April 18:
“Latin American leaders railed against the U.S. during President Barack Obama’s first trip to the region, turning what was intended to mark a new direction in relations into a history lesson that chastised ‘Yankee troop’ interventions and U.S.-dictated economic policies. Obama arrived at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago yesterday promising to ‘listen and learn’ from regional leaders. He got an earful.
“In the weekend’s first speeches, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner voiced grievances on issues ranging from the U.S. drug war to American support for counterinsurgency movements of the 1980s. Both urged Obama to end the 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba, the only country in the Americas excluded from the 34-nation summit…
“Nicaragua’s president said he was ‘ashamed’ Cuba wasn’t invited to participate in the summit and called Obama’s lifting last week of travel and remittance restrictions for Cuban- Americans ‘insufficient and unacceptable… Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told Obama during a meeting today with leaders from the Union of South American Nations that another Summit of the Americas without Cuba was unacceptable.”
Gingrich: Obama’s Conduct Unacceptable
The Associated Press wrote on April 20:
“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich charged Monday that President Barack Obama’s cordial greeting with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez sends a poor message to enemies of America. In a nationally broadcast interview, the Georgia Republican also accused the administration of being too slow to react to North Korea’s launching of a rocket test and said it has reached out too much to ease relations with Cuba… Gingrich complained that the simple act of a smiling Obama shaking Chavez’s hand caused a book Chavez has written to skyrocket on the best-seller lists in the United States.
“‘What I find distressing,’ he said, ‘is that the administration opposes opening up oil exploration,’ but yet Obama has ‘bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia’ and now reached out to Chavez, whom Gingrich said has been conducting ‘a vicious anti-American campaign.’ Gingrich… said, ‘How do you mend relationships with someone who actively hates your country… Cuba releases zero prisoners,’ he said, ‘yet we make nice with Cuba… I’m not for deluding myself about smiles and words.'”
Is the West Finally Waking Up to Iran?
Times on Line wrote on April 20:
“British delegates joined a dramatic diplomatic walkout today when President Ahmadinejad of Iran told a major UN conference against racism that the state of Israel had been founded ‘on the pretext of Jewish suffering’ during the Second World War. Around 20 delegates, including envoys from the UK, France, and Finland stood up and left the room at what was considered an anti-Semitic remark by the Iranian leader… Nine Western countries… had already decided to boycott the conference entirely…
“Earlier today, Israel recalled its ambassador to Switzerland in protest at a brief meeting yesterday between Mr Ahmadinejad and his Swiss counterpart, Hans-Rudolf Merz.
“The conference opened as Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day – which falls this year on the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth. This morning the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told his Cabinet that while Israel commemorates the six million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis, ‘in Switzerland, the guest of honour is a racist and a Holocaust-denier who doesn’t conceal his intention to wipe Israel off the face of this earth…’
“The Obama administration announced at the weekend that it would boycott the meeting because its draft declaration makes reference to the text agreed in 2001 at the UN’s first anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa. That document was agreed after the United States and Israel walked out over attempts to liken Zionism – the movement to establish a Jewish state in the Holy Land – to racism. Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland joined the boycott…
“The major sticking points in the draft final declaration prepared for the current meeting concern its implied criticism of Israel and an attempt by Muslim governments to remove all criticism of Islam, Sharia law, the Prophet Muhammad and other tenets of their faith. The American decision to boycott the meeting has been given extra weight by the fact that it was taken by the country’s first black president.
“Speaking in Trinidad yesterday after attending the Summit of the Americas, Mr Obama said that he would love to be ‘involved in a useful conference that addressed continuing issues of racism and discrimination around the globe’ but wanted to avoid a reprise of the Durban conference during which ‘folks expressed antagonism toward Israel in ways that were oftentimes completely hypocritical and counterproductive.'”
Is the UN Doomed?
Der Spiegel Online reported on April 21 about President Ahmadinejad’s hateful speech and the West’s decision to boycott the UN summit:
“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predictably lambasted Israel at the UN anti-racism conference, prompting a mass walk-out by Western diplomats. German newspapers on Tuesday praise Berlin for deciding to boycott the meeting… Over 40 diplomats representing Western nations walked out of the hall as soon as Ahmadinjad began to attack Israel… Meanwhile the Iranian delegates applauded their hard-line leader.
“Several Western countries, including the United States and Germany, had boycotted the conference before the event out of fear that it could become a platform for anti-Semitic sentiments and would be dominated by unfair criticism of Israel. The previous UN anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa in 2001 descended into chaos when the US and Israel walked out after some Arab states sought to equate Zionism with racism…
“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… Germany, along with a number of other nations, was criticized yesterday for not sending delegates to the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva. Why should one listen to a man who has denied the Holocaust repeatedly, at an anti-racism conference of all places, and on the very day that Israel commemorates the victims of the mass murder and on the 120th birthday of (Adolf Hitler), the man who was responsible for the crime?… The German government should be praised for its clarity and constancy’…
“In an op-ed piece for SPIEGEL ONLINE, Henryk M. Broder writes: ‘… The appearance by the Iranian president made clear what kind of racism he and his allies want to protect under the umbrella of the UN and what kind they want to fight. It’s not only large companies such as Opel, Saab and GM that are struggling to stay in business. The United Nations could soon file for bankruptcy too.'”
Israel Prepares for War with Iran
Times On Line wrote on April 18:
“The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government. Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control… aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack…
“Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium. The distance from Israel to at least one of the sites is more than 870 miles…
“The possible Israeli strike on Iran has drawn comparisons to its attack on the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad in 1981. That strike, which destroyed the facility in under 100 seconds, was completed without Israeli losses and checked Iraqi ambitions for a nuclear weapons programme. ‘We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel’s willingness to act,’ said another official from Israel’s intelligence community… An Israeli attack on Iran would entail flying over Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, where US forces have a strong presence…
“Among recent preparations by the airforce was the Israeli attack of a weapons convoy in Sudan bound for militants in the Gaza Strip… Israel has made public its intention to hold the largest-ever nationwide drill next month… Israel will conduct an exercise with US forces to test the ability of Arrow, its US-funded missile defence system. The exercise would test whether the system could intercept missiles launched at Israel. ‘Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate the threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli Intelligence they will have the bomb within two years … Once they have a bomb it will be too late, and Israel will have no choice to strike — with or without America,’ an official from the Israeli Defence Ministry said.”
North Korea Declares War
CNN wrote on April 18:
“North Korea said Saturday any sanctions or pressure applied against it following its rocket launch earlier this month will be considered a ‘declaration of war.’ In an announcement on state-run television, the country said it was ready to step up efforts to develop nuclear weapons and poised for a military response to any moves against it… On Monday the United Nations condemned North Korea… for launching a rocket… The U.N. statement says the rocket launch was ‘in contravention’ to a 2006 Security Council resolution that demanded that North Korea not launch any ballistic missiles. The 15-member council also voted unanimously for a statement by the council’s president demanding the country make no more launches…
“‘Now that the group officially declared confrontation and war against [North Korea], its revolutionary armed forces will opt for increasing the nation’s defense capability including nuclear deterrent in every way, without being bound to the agreement adopted at the six-party talks,’ [the statement] continued… Referring to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the statement added, ‘The Lee group of traitors should never forget that Seoul is just 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the Military Demarcation Line.’ That line was established by the 1953 Armistice Agreement between the two Koreas — which are still technically at war… ‘When a nuclear war will break out due to the war chariot of the “South Korea-U.S. military alliance” is a matter of time,’ it said…”
Kerry Criticizes Obama Over Pakistan
USA Today wrote on April 21:
“Just back from a visit to Pakistan, Sen. John Kerry says the Obama administration’s plan for that volatile country, rolled out last month with great fanfare, ‘is not a real strategy.’ ‘Pakistan is in a moment of peril,’ Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during a session with USA TODAY reporters and editors. ‘And I believe there is not in place yet an adequate policy or plan to deal with it.’
“In an interview after the session, Kerry advised the Obama administration to stop using the term ‘Af-Pak,’ to describe a unified strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, because ‘I think it does a disservice to both countries and to the policy…’ Kerry’s comments amounted to one of the most serious criticisms leveled by a Democrat at Obama on foreign policy…”
Beware of the GIVE Act and Its “Relatives”
WorldNetDaily wrote on April 11:
“In an era in which Congress can approve thousands of pages of legislation spending hundreds of billions of dollars without reading the proposal… there is enough in the ‘GIVE Act,’ now awaiting a conference committee in Congress after being approved by both the U.S. House and Senate, to cause critics to shiver. For example, it certainly imposes a requirement for public service on some people, even though its original much-feared study on mandatory service for all was moved to another bill during congressional debate.
“The latest version includes a ‘National Service Reserve Corps’ whose members have completed a ‘term of national service,’ ‘[have] successfully completed training’ and ‘completed not less than 10 hours of volunteering each year.’ It also raises First Amendment issues over its limitations on what various corps participants are allowed to do.
“For example, it states those in an ‘approved national service position’ may not try to influence legislation, engage in protests or petitions, take positions on union organizing, engage in partisan political activities, or, among other issues, be ‘engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of proselytization.’
“But probably the biggest red flag for many is how the proposal fits into the overall picture painted by President Obama when he described to a Colorado Springs audience a ‘National Civilian Security Force’ that he wants as big and well-funded as the U.S. military – a staggering suggestion that would involve hundreds of billions of dollars a year… [The bill’s] original language called for a study of how best to implement a mandatory national service program for citizens of the United States. Later the language was dropped from that bill, only to appear at the same time in another legislative proposal.”
The Associated Press reported on April 21:
“Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill Tuesday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college… Congress passed the bill last month with largely bipartisan support and Obama is seeking $1.1 billion to fund it next year… AmeriCorps offers a range of volunteer opportunities including housing construction, youth outreach, disaster response and caring for the elderly. Most receive an annual stipend of slightly less than $12,000 for working 10 months to a year…
“People 55 and older could earn $1,000 education awards by getting involved in public service. Those awards can be transferred to a child, grandchild or even someone they mentored. Students from sixth grade through senior year of high school could earn a $500 education award for helping in their neighborhoods during a new summer program.”
Beware of “Hate Crimes”
WorldNetDaily wrote on April 20:
“Julio Severo, a prominent Brazilian pro-family activist, has been forced into exile because of the ‘hate crimes’ laws that are being implemented in his native land, perhaps providing a preview of what Christians can expect in the United States should similar ‘hate crimes’ proposals be implemented. And several organizations are reporting Congress could begin adopting measures similarly draconian to Brazil’s as early as this week.
“‘It is imperative that we contact all members of the House and demand that they vote against this bill as it will not protect a pastor, Bible teacher, Sunday School teacher, youth leader or anyone else from prosecution if he or she teaches against homosexuality if an individual who hears their message then goes out and commits a crime against a homosexual,’ wrote Pastor Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action…
“Severo reports he was forced to flee his homeland after federal prosecutors there recently charged him with ‘homophobia’ for his statements about the nation’s ‘Gay’ Parade in 2006. Severo told WND that while Brazil does not criminalize Christianity, it does regulate what biblical principles can and cannot be preached, and it bans biblical citations that disapprove of the homosexual lifestyle… He said, ‘Today it is risky to preach a complete Gospel in Brazil. Because of the diversity politics, you cannot say anything negative about witchcraft, especially when such practices are from Africa’…
“Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission was among those raising the warning of impending ‘hate crimes’ legislation in the United States… ‘In other countries where these types of laws have been implemented, pastors and Christians have been jailed and fined for their faithful adherence to the Scriptures,’ he said…
“Also raising the alarm was the Traditional Values Coalition, where Executive Director Andrea Lafferty said, ‘the so-called hate crimes bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute and persecute pastors, business owners, Bible teachers, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, Christian counselors, religious broadcasters and anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truths found in the Bible.’
“The organization warned based on a broad definition of ‘intimidation,’ even ‘a pastor’s sermon could be considered “hate speech” … if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any “sexual orientation.”‘ The organization noted during markup of the plan in a 2007 committee hearing, Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., admitted that the law would not protect a pastor from prosecution.”
John McCain’s Top Adviser For Gay Marriages and Against Bible
FoxNews.com wrote on April 17:
“John McCain’s top adviser from the presidential campaign [Steve Schmidt] urged fellow Republicans on Friday to warm up to gay rights and warned that the GOP risks becoming the ‘religious party’ with its opposition to same-sex marriage… He urged Republicans, in the near-term, to endorse civil unions and stop using the Bible as rationale for gay-marriage opposition…
“Schmidt, whose sister is a lesbian and who supports same-sex marriage, said he understands the Republican Party probably won’t reverse its resistance to same-sex marriage anytime soon… President Obama also stops short of supporting gay marriage — he supports civil unions — but states across the country are moving toward extending such rights to gay couples. Schmidt predicted gay marriage will create a bigger and bigger divide between the GOP and the electorate in the years ahead. He said that as young voters age, they may adopt conservative views on the economy and national security — but they will not abandon liberal, social beliefs.”
How Miss California Was “Set Up” by a Gay Judge
FoxNews reported on April 20:
“Miss California Carrie Prejean made her controversial comments on Sunday night’s show… When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage… Prejean, said ‘We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.’
“Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, tells FOXNews.com that he was ‘saddened’ by Prejean’s statement. ‘As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman,’ said Lewis in a statement. ‘I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family.'”
Religious beliefs have no politics–or did he mean, place–in the Miss California family??? Also, would the likes of Lewis and Hilton have been equally saddened if Carrie Prejean would have answered that marriage should NOT be limited to a man and a woman? Of course not! But Prejan’s answer did not fit into the gay-agenda and was therefore condemned. What a shame! What an abomination!
Mr. Obama and His Torture Memos…
Die Welt wrote on April 22:
“President Barack Obama opened the door on Tuesday to possible prosecutions of U.S. officials who laid the legal groundwork for the torture of terrorism suspects during the Bush administration. That marked a shift for the Obama administration, which has emphasized it does not want to dwell on the past with lengthy probes into policies put in place after 9/11. Obama did not rule out charges against those who wrote the opinions justifying the methods used on captured terrorism suspects. Obama also said he would not necessarily oppose an effort to pursue a ‘further accounting’ or investigation into the Bush-era interrogation program that included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, shoving people into walls and other methods. But pressure in the U.S. Congress is growing for a full-blown investigation of the CIA interrogation program.
“Controversy has erupted across the political spectrum over last week’s release by the Obama administration of classified memos detailing the program to question al Qaeda suspects. Human rights groups say tactics such as waterboarding — a form of simulated drowning — constituted torture and violated U.S. and international laws. Conservative critics contend Obama has endangered the country by releasing CIA secrets. The New York Times reported that Dennis Blair, Obama’s national intelligence director, told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques yielded ‘high-value information’ that ‘provided a deeper understanding’ of the al Qaeda organization.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote on April 22:
“President Obama on Monday paid his first formal visit to CIA headquarters, in order, as he put it, to ‘underscore the importance’ of the agency and let its staff ‘know that you’ve got my full support.’ Assuming he means it, the President should immediately declassify all memos concerning what intelligence was gleaned, and what plots foiled, by the interrogations of high-level al Qaeda detainees in the wake of September 11…
“One major concern here is what Mr. Obama’s decision to release these memos says about his own political leadership. He claims that one of his goals as President is to restore more comity to our politics, especially concerning national security. He also knows he needs a CIA willing to take risks to keep the country safe. Yet Mr. Obama seems more than willing to indulge the revenge fantasies of the left, as long as its potential victims served a different President. And while he is willing to release classified documents about interrogation techniques, Mr. Obama refuses to release documents that more fully discuss their results.”
The Wall Street Journal added on April 23:
“Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret… until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power…
“Just as with the AIG bonuses, he is trying to co-opt his left-wing base by playing to it — only to encourage it more. Within hours of Mr. Obama’s Tuesday comments, Senator Carl Levin piled on with his own accusatory Intelligence Committee report… and both Europe’s left and the U.N. are signaling their desire to file their own charges against former U.S. officials.
“Those officials won’t be the only ones who suffer if all of this goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used. Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time, says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms. Pelosi worried the CIA wasn’t doing enough to stop another attack. By all means, put her under oath.
“Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he’ll soon learn otherwise… The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.
“Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years… And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and Arlen Specter have hardly been profiles in courage.
“Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party’s desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.”
Global Economy Will Decline Further
BBCNews reported on April 23:
“The global economy is set to decline by 1.3% in 2009, in the first global recession since World War II, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says… It now projects that the UK will see its economy shrink by 4.1% in 2009, and by a further 0.4% in 2010.
“But other major economies are predicted to shrink even more, with Germany declining by 5.6%, Japan by 6.2%, and Italy by 4.4% in 2009. The prospects for the advanced economies are not much brighter in 2010, with an overall forecast of zero growth. The IMF says this represents ‘by far the deepest post-World War II recession’ with an actual decline in output in countries making up 75% of the world economy…
“The prospects for world trade are even gloomier, with the IMF now forecasting world trade volumes to decline by 11% in 2009, and barely grow at all in 2010. After 60 years as the engine of world growth, the sharp fall in trade is now hitting many of the leading exporting nations, particularly in Asia.”
Bloomberg added on April 22:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel stood firm in rejecting any new German economic stimulus program even as the International Monetary Fund said the recession is worse than previously thought and called for measures to spur demand… The chancellor’s comments echo statements today by her finance and economy ministers underlining unity in the coalition over not stretching the budget more to pay for new stimulus steps.
“Still, the government may be forced to ease its purse strings as the recession becomes steeper, pushing up unemployment and company closures, as Sept. 27 national election approach. ‘Companies going belly up, unemployment worsening — these are set to become more and more manifest,’ Hans-Juergen Hoffmann, managing director of polling institute Psephos GmbH, said in an interview today.”
“The American Dream Has Become a Nightmare”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on April 23:
“Good news from six US banks has raised hopes that an end to the financial crisis might be in sight. But German experts think the euphoria is wishful thinking. As they see it, things are going to get worse soon — and banks will be forced to make billions more in write-downs.”
The magazine added in a related article, dated April 23:
“The financial crisis in the US has triggered a social crisis of historic dimensions… the country has not experienced since the Great Depression early in the 20th century. In addition to bringing down stock prices and corporate earnings, the current crisis has deprived millions of people of their livelihood.
“Poverty as a mass phenomenon is back. About 50 million Americans have no health insurance, and more people are added to their ranks every day. More than 32 million people receive food stamps, and 13 million are unemployed. The homeless population is growing in tandem with a rapid rise in the rate of foreclosures, which were 45 percent higher in March 2009 than they were in the same month of the previous year…
“The government’s social safety net is insufficient to allow people who have lost their jobs to continue living their lives as if little or nothing had happened… In a recent speech, Obama said that he envisions ‘a future where sustained economic growth creates good jobs and rising incomes.’ But these words seem empty in the current crisis. The president must now look on as the country comes apart at the seams…
“Many private corporations across America are withdrawing their funding for social welfare projects. Ironically, their generosity is ending just as mass poverty is returning to America. The government is also contributing to a worsening of the crisis…
“Criminologist James Alan Fox, who has long warned of a rise in crisis-related crime, says that more and more Americans are struggling today. ‘The American dream to them is a nightmare, and the land of opportunity is but a cruel joke,’ Fox recently told the Washington Post. Recent statistics confirm his predictions, as America begins to turn into a brutal place once again. April has already gone down as one of the bloodier months in American criminal history…
“‘This is the American way,’ New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes cynically. He points out that Americans have killed about 120,000 of their fellow Americans since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — nearly 25 times the number of Americans killed to date in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“More and more experts attribute the rise in crime in recent months to the dire state of the economy. ‘I’ve never seen such a large number (of killings) over such a short period of time involving so many victims,’ Jack Levin, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston, told the Washington Post…
“The crisis can disrupt everything, including Americans’ faith in the beneficial actions of their own government. The Obama administration has already pumped billions into the banking system, and additional billions have been earmarked for road and bridge construction. Nevertheless, the social situation has steadily deteriorated.
“The euphoria over the country’s first black president… has ebbed away considerably… He continues to point his finger at his predecessor, the unpopular George W. Bush, to remind people how it all began. We have inherited a budget disaster, a real mess, he has said time and time again. But his words are no longer capable of igniting passions, because Bush is now history… The crisis has become Obama’s crisis.”
Does the Bible have anything to say about the way men and women should dress?
In fact, the Bible presents some very specific guidelines for the kinds of clothing and style that should be worn. In this Q&A, we are addressing the topic in a more general way. Subsequent Q&A’s will address this topic, and related topics, in more detail.
While some may consider the Bible as being archaic, with little relevance for our day, quite the opposite is true! At the very outset, God gave man responsibility to care for the earthly realm (Compare Genesis 1:26-28). In particular, Adam was told to “tend and keep” the specially prepared Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15).
Mankind was given stewardship to govern the earth under God’s sovereignty. The record of Genesis shows that through the deception of Satan, Eve disobeyed God and Adam then followed her lead (Compare Genesis 3; also, 2 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2:14). In their rebellion, Adam and Eve decided that their nakedness in the privacy of their home was evil, and they hid themselves from God as a consequence (Compare Genesis 3:7-11).
While Adam and Eve fabricated coverings for themselves out of fig leaves (verse 7), God clothed them with much higher quality “tunics of skin” (verse 21).
In a letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul gave instructions about proper dress, and what he wrote was to be further taught to the Church of God throughout its existence. Giving specific guidelines for women, Paul states: “… in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation [margin: “discretion”], not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
As we shall see from other principles in the Bible, the emphasis taught by Paul was that women show a reflection of “godliness” in their manner of dressing. However, this is not a prohibition against well-presented hairstyles, the wearing of jewelry or having quality clothing. Rather, it is a matter of emphasis and of attitude on the part of Christian women.
Peter adds this perspective in his instruction to wives, showing that this type of presentation was acceptable, but should not be the most important aspect: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
An emphasis on very showy clothing of both men and women was evidently a problem in the first generation of the Church of God. James specifically warned that the brethren should not show favoritism to those who were “better dressed”:
“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4).
Jesus challenged those of His day about their attitude concerning the appearance of John the Baptist: “‘But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts’” (Luke 7:25).
We see that wearing certain kinds of clothing can create perceptions in others. True followers of Jesus Christ must look beyond these superficial aspects. This teaching does not preclude dressing the very best we can with what we can legitimately afford. In a poetic, song-like outpouring of how much God loved His chosen city of Jerusalem, an analogy of a bride and wife is presented. Note how God represents the adorning of His love:
“‘Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,’ says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 16:9-14).
When God gave instructions for the creation of “holy garments” for the priests of Israel, He specifically wanted them made “‘for GLORY and for BEAUTY’” (Exodus 28:2).
Jesus Christ gives us this perspective in Matthew 6:25-33:
“‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’”
All of what we have been examining from examples found in God’s Word point to the ingredient of BALANCE in the matter of how men and women dress in terms of quality.
Regarding how both men and women dress when attending Church services, we find a meaningful example in the time when the children of Israel were commanded to wash their clothes in advance of appearing before God (Compare Exodus 19:10,14). Likewise, the priests were to wash themselves when appearing before God (Compare Exodus 30:19-20); and, they were to wear special clothing (Compare Exodus 28).
It has been the practice of the Church of God to recognize that we are appearing before God when we assemble for Sabbath services along with other special commanded assemblies as given by God. As such, we do recommend that each person present himself or herself in the best apparel they have available. The foremost idea is to specially prepare to appear before God to honor HIM! In the parable of the wedding feast, the guest who did not have on a wedding garment was removed from the feast (Matthew 22:1-14).
While it is evident that members of God’s Church have typically tried to find the middle ground of the customs of the society they live in, we also find that God takes great exception to the self-absorbed and self-willed practices of people who lose all restraint. This applies to inappropriate sloppy appearance, as well as to the over-emphasis on wealth and riches. A case in point for the latter is this stern prophecy that is finding its fulfillment in our day:
“Moreover the Lord says: ‘Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, And walk with outstretched necks And wanton eyes, Walking and mincing as they go, Making a jingling with their feet, Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, And the Lord will uncover their secret parts.’ In that day the Lord will take away the finery: The jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents; The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils; The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; The perfume boxes, the charms, and the rings; The nose jewels, the festal apparel, and the mantles; The outer garments, the purses, and the mirrors; The fine linen, the turbans, and the robes. And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; Instead of a sash, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, baldness; Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty’” (Isaiah 3:16-24).
We must take these warnings to heart! Our responsibility is to dress modestly and yet to dress with quality garments that reflect our honoring of God. In the letter to Titus, Paul encourages the teaching of “sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Among his recommendations is that the older members set an example for and teach the younger members. Using this key to developing a balanced approach to the way men and women dress can also find application in the Church of God in our time.
Finally, when it does come to questions about our personal dress, remember—we are called the body of Christ (Compare Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27).
Let us who have been chosen to become a part of the bride of Christ EDIFY the Church of God by how we present ourselves before God and by the example we uphold for one another in even our manner of dress (Compare Revelation 19:7-9).
Lead Writers: Dave Harris and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube. It is titled, “Worse Economic and Political Troubles Ahead for USA.” In the program. Norbert Link is asking the question whether we are really going to see soon an economic recovery in the USA. According to the FDIC, the insurance fund needs about $65 billion through 2013 to help many of the designated 252 troubled banks, but we only have $18.9 billion in the fund. Decisions at the G-20 summit in London early April have laid the foundation “for the next crisis, which will be larger.” And America’s closest allies feel betrayed by the Obama Administration and are encouraged to build alliances among themselves–while isolating the USA. WHY is all of this happening?
A new German sermon was recorded this week, titled, “Nicht Aufgeben” (“Don’t give up.”). It will be posted shortly on Google Video and our German Website (www.aufpostenstehen.de).
This is a reminder to make reservations with the Woodfin Hotel in San Diego, for the Feast of Tabernacles 2009, if you have not already done so. For more information, please go to our Website (www.eternalgod.org) and click on “Feasts.” Also, you might want to begin sending to Headquarters your T of T and any excess 2T.
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
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