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To the Ephesians, Part 2
On May 15, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “To the Ephesians, Part 2.”
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.
by Rene Messier (Canada)
When I was growing up and going through some trials or difficult times, my mother used to have the following saying in French: “Il faut endurez sur la terre.” Translated into English, it means: “You have to endure on this earth.” She understood that life wasn’t always a cake walk and that even as a youth at home, there were tough times that one had to endure, without caving in and giving up.
Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul conveyed this same understanding in his admonition to Timothy. He wrote in 2 Timothy 4:5-8:
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Christ expressed the same sentiment in Matthew 24:13: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
It is one thing to be called, but quite another to respond in a positive way to God’s calling. If one throws in the towel along the way, either because of trials or persecution, then there is no reward in the end. That is why it is so important to set our mind on the completion of our calling by enduring to the end–the end of our physical life or the return of Jesus Christ, whichever comes first.
As we are living in the end time, trials and persecution will increase even to the point that the love of many will wax cold (Matthew 24:12). This warning is addressed to Church members, not just to people in the world. It may be carnal people who will persecute God’s elect, but Christ said that the love of God will wax cold among the people of God. And unbelievably, perhaps, it will be God’s people who will persecute and betray and even HATE one another (compare Matthew 24:10). And why? Matthew 24:12 tells us, why: “And because LAWLESSNESS will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Lawlessness or transgression is the same as sin. Sin is defined as the transgression of the law, or lawlessness (1 John 3:4). It is the love of many that will grow cold because of lawlessness or sin. This refers to many IN THE CHURCH OF GOD. Sin among true converted Christians will abound or increase, because they will not heed Christ’s warning to endure and remain faithful.
Let us take very seriously Christ’s admonition in Revelation 3:11: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
Notice, we are to hold fast, that is to endure, so that we do not lose our crown–God’s gift of eternal life and rulership in His Kingdom. Christ added in Luke 9:62: “‘…No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'”
Once we have put our hand to the plow; that is, once we have begun to respond to our calling and commit to God’s way of life, we cannot look back to what we have left behind; we must not have regrets and give in to desires to go back into the world from where we came; otherwise, Christ will have no pleasure in us.
On the other hand, if we faithfully continue in our calling–through thick and thin–and endure to the end as profitable and diligent servants in God’s Work, then we can look forward to an incredible future. It includes living forever as spirit beings and members in the very Family of God–and to rule under Christ on this earth. Isn’t this something for which we should gladly endure?
When liberal CNN begins to attack liberal Washington, we know that the USA is in big trouble. And so is the entire world. The EU crisis contributes to the emergence of a more unified Europe, and the election results in Germany’s most populous state show the dissatisfaction of many Germans with their current government.
At the same time, the British people are becoming equally upset with their politicians. Whether the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be able to substantially change the demise of Great Britain is highly doubtful.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is continuing, and so is the volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland, as well as the Catholic sex scandal caused by perverted Catholic priests. And even though lip service may be made, “recognizing” human frailty and sinful conduct, no substantial change and acceptance of the truth are forthcoming.
This Week in the News
What the USA Should Learn from Greece
CNN’s Jack Cafferty wrote on May 6:
“If the fires and riots in Greece don’t get Washington’s attention, my guess is a 1,000-point drop in the stock market this afternoon might. In less than an hour, the Dow Jones industrial average went from down a couple of hundred – to down almost 1,000 points – before rebounding. The panic was triggered in part by Greece.
“Greece is a world-class welfare state… People retire in their 50s and are accustomed to government handouts at every turn. Now the Greek government says ‘we’re going to have to cut back,’ and people go crazy. Here in the U.S. we have a growing welfare state: Food stamps, aid to dependent children, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, rent subsidies, welfare and millions of illegal aliens.
“We have a $12 trillion debt that we’re unable to pay. And while it ain’t gonna happen tomorrow… at some point, we’re going to be faced with the realization that we can’t do it this way anymore. Something’s gotta give. When that day comes there will be cuts. Drastic, Draconian cuts… suffice it to say that when they start cutting… it’s gonna make a lot of people unhappy.
“The real tragedy is it’s preventable. But no one in Washington has the guts to confront this issue head on. It’s the ultimate act of selfishness and betrayal: We are literally destroying the lives of Americans who haven’t been born yet. Our children, our grandchildren and generations to come will suffer the effects of our irresponsible fiscal policy. Look at Athens. Look at Washington. Do the math.”
Our new StandingWatch program, “Britain and US in Trouble!” discusses the many problems which the USA and Great Britain are facing.
To Save the Euro…
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 10:
“The European Union package to bailout Greece, passed just over a week ago, proved to be insufficient. So to ward off what many thought would be a black Monday on the global markets, European Union finance ministers worked late into the night on Sunday night before coming up with a €750 billion package to prop up the euro and forestall further speculative attacks against the currency.
“On Monday morning, the emergency measure seemed to be having the desired effect, with the euro trading above $1.30 — up from the 14-month low of $1.2523 it hit late last week. Asian and European stock markets were up…
“‘The euro zone is certainly regaining confidence,’ European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday. ‘Our fundamentals are certainly good.’ Still, with many of the details of the plan not yet widely known, a number of analysts remained unwilling to pronounce the end of the euro crisis…
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that the package had become necessary because there had been a ‘broad assault on the euro’ since last Friday. ‘We are protecting the money of people in Germany’… Merkel said… there was no need to rush the bill through as €60 billion was available immediately, if needed. ‘The member states of the European Union yesterday showed that we have the common political will to do everything for the stability of our common currency,’ she said.”
The EU will not fall apart, and the Euro will not disappear, as explained in our recent StandingWatch program, “Is the Euro Doomed?”
German Reactions to Bail-Out Package
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 11:
“The euphoria on the markets was hard to miss on Monday… Day two, though, has seen doubt gain ground as analysts and investors wonder whether the package… will actually bring the euro back to health.
“Christoph Schmidt, head of the economic research institute RWI, told the tabloid Bild that European governments ‘have merely bought themselves time, nothing more’… Wolfgang Franz, head of the German Council of Economic Experts, which advises the government on economic issues, told the Berliner Zeitung that the package pushed through early Monday morning will not provide the euro with long-term stability. The first priority, he said, was ‘putting out the fire. Now it is time to focus on cleaning up — starting right away.’
“The markets seem to agree. After Monday’s rally, the German stock exchange on Monday was back below 6,000 points and the euro had fallen below $1.27 in morning trading after briefly topping the $1.30 mark on Monday…
“The conservative daily Die Welt writes: ‘… The separation of powers between monetary and political policy in Europe is now a thing of the past…’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… How much sovereignty are democratic states willing to give up in return for such support [?]…’
“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘(The ECB’s decision) shows that it has given in to massive political pressure. On the long term, it could lead to problems. But, on the short term, it was the only correct move. By agreeing to buy bonds, the ECB is mitigating the most urgent liquidity worries in the market and sending a signal to both investors and speculators. To investors, it signals that they no longer need to fear a collapse in prices; to speculators, it signals that it’s not worth it to bet on this happening. The decision doesn’t save the euro yet, but it does set the preconditions for that to happen…’
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘€750 billion… is large enough to infuse respect, even fear… What’s going on here? And, who is in control of this game?…’
“The website of the influential weekly newspaper Die Zeit writes: ‘Europe will remember this moment in the spring of 2010 for a long time to come. The Greek lies, the chuminess of other euro zone countries, the fright spread by the financial markets with their increasingly unscrupulous bets on the Greek state’s eventual bankruptcy. For a dramatic moment, it looked as though the fate of the entire European Union — a historically unprecedented work of over 60 years — was hinging on a thread from some dubious rating agency.
“‘That we Germans — and 14 other euro zone states — have to pay for Greece, or at least provide it with guarantees, is bitter. And it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the fright will not return. But there’s another aspect that Europeans will look back on one day. The developments of recent weeks have shown just how advanced European integration has become over time — and not just on the paper of treaties in Brussels. It may sound like a paradox after all the disputes, but Europe has been pulled closer together by this crisis…'”
Surprisingly, and as Die Zeit pointed out quite correctly, the current EU crisis will continue to contribute to the emergence of a closer economic and political unification of Europe. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
Predictable Debacle for Angela Merkel
BBC wrote on May 9:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party and its coalition allies have been defeated in regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia [NRW]… Mrs Merkel’s national coalition [has lost] its majority in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat. The campaign has been overshadowed by the government’s decision to contribute to a huge rescue package for Greece.
“Meanwhile many cities in NRW are on the brink of bankruptcy… The coalition in NRW between Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats mirrored the one at the federal level…
“Our correspondent says local councils in NRW are sinking into debt, with rising kindergarten fees, and libraries and swimming-pools closing. She adds that in Wuppertal, even the theatre is under threat.”
According to German press releases in Bild, Der Spiegel and Der Stern, this is a real debacle for the governmental coalition parties and their leaders, Angela Merkel (CDU) and Guido Westerwelle (FDP). According to Der Stern, all major parties, including the SPD, are to be blamed for this disaster.
Reactions to Merkel’s Loss in State Election
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 10:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first big electoral test since she embarked on her second term has ended with a sharp rebuke from voters. The slump in support for the governing parties in Sunday’s election in the key state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous, means that she has lost her majority in the Bundesrat, the country’s upper legislative chamber, and thus the ability to push through legislation without seeking opposition support… The government has itself to blame… Fiscal reform, healthcare reform, a return to nuclear energy — all the coalition’s big plans were pulverized on Sunday…
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… the darkening clouds over Greece… threatened to turn into a euro storm… the ruling politicians came across as being the victims of a crisis that was increasingly getting out of control.’
“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘… Turbulent times lie ahead for the chancellor and her governing coalition’…
“The mass-circulation daily Bild writes: ‘The voters in Germany’s most populous state have given the government a lesson that won’t be forgotten until the end of this legislative period… Merkel’s government has three years to go and has no majority in the Bundesrat…’
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘The Christian Democrats-FDP combination is in decline… because the coalition at a federal level has become a turn-off. The public’s great expectations of the new government have turned into deep disappointment. The CDU-FDP misery has spread to the states. And North Rhine-Westphalia is the first to show it. … The Merkel-Westerwelle coalition is a coalition that came too late, a coalition that is out of date, a product of a past… CDU-FDP is a coalition of parties that are alienated from each other. … Under Merkel’s leadership, the CDU has been transformed… The FDP on the other hand is exactly where it was 20 years ago… Sooner or later the CDU is going to dump the FDP for the Greens. And the Green Party will become what the FDP once was: the joker in German politics, the party that both the SPD and CDU need to court.'”
“Sooner or later,” the Germans will be so fed up with their incompetent government that they will look for “better” and “more promising” solutions, as the next article suggests. Sadly, a charismatic person will emerge in Germany who may appear to bring relief, prosperity and security, only to plunge the world into utter devastation. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”
More German Anger Against Merkel
The Daily Mail wrote on May 11:
“German anger at the 750billion Euro Greek bailout is swelling as world markets slid after initial excitement at the bailout fizzled. The headline on the front page of Germany’s biggest newspaper, Bild, summed up the national mood, declaring: ‘We are once again the schmucks [or idiots; “Deppen” in German] of Europe!’…
“Hard-pressed taxpayers – led by a flailing coalition government that could be the template for one soon to be assembled in the UK – are being asked for more sacrifices to save a currency they never wanted at a time when the country has record postwar debt… Now German citizens have also been told that a tax cut is shelved for at least two years, and will probably never materialise in the life of this administration… Bild said: ‘The EU and the Eurozone want to spend a massive 750billion Euros to save the European currency. Germany alone will have to fork out 123billion Euros for its bankrupt neighbours. There is now not enough money for the planned tax cuts here! Are we really the schmucks of Europe? Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We are protecting the money of people in Germany.” Really?’
“Voters already delivered their verdict on Mrs Merkel’s handling of the Greece crisis by punishing her in a regional election on Sunday which saw her party kicked out of power in North Rhine-Westphalia… There are rumours that the right-wingers in her conservative CDU party are plotting a coup against her – rumours strengthened by the visceral distaste for her latest largesse in trying to prop up the common currency. ‘The biggest “all-in” in the history of poker,’ was how Henrik Enderlein, economics professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, described the massive aid package assembled on Sunday night in an effort to save the Euro from collapse.”
Merkel a Liability for Germany and Europe?
The Times wrote on May 12:
“Once hailed as the undisputed Queen of Europe, Angela Merkel presided over the bleakest Cabinet session of her career yesterday as the German political world pondered whether she could survive the crisis of the Greek bailout… the Chancellor is facing increasing criticism that she is dithering just when decisive leadership is needed.
“Although she does not formally face a general election until 2013, her coalition could fall apart beforehand… Mrs Merkel has to contend with a fractious Cabinet weakened by illness and plotting. She has had to stand by and watch as the European Central Bank surrendered some of its independence to politicians…
“The circle around Ms Merkel has shrunk. Her suspicions about the outside world have grown and her propensity to dither, to delay decisions, once seen benignly as a sign of mature leadership, is now viewed by her critics as serious liability. According to American reports, it took a telephone call from President Obama to Chancellor Merkel, who was in Moscow for end-of-war anniversary celebrations on Sunday, to abandon her caution and embrace a bigger rescue package. A strange way to run Europe, say Ms Merkel’s critics but one that reflects the present poor quality of EU leadership.”
Britain’s Election Woes
ABC News reported on May 7:
“People in Britain woke this morning to an uncertain future. One of the most closely fought elections in decades has yielded no clear winner, and no party strong enough to form a majority government… The division of seats means that Britain has a hung parliament for the first time since 1974. ‘It’s the Mick Jagger election. It’s no satisfaction. Everybody is utterly dissatisfied with the outcome,’ Peter Hennessy, a constitutional expert, told the BBC…
“In order to form a majority government both parties will look to the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition… The Liberal Democrat’s performance was the election’s surprise disappointment…
“News of a hung parliament added to the financial markets’ woes, already troubled by yesterday’s massive plunge in the Dow, riots in Greece and Europe’s mounting debt crisis. The pound fell, London’s stock exchange continued to sink and experts warn that the U.K.’s credit rating could be in danger.
“‘The net result is masses of uncertainty. The new government is likely to be weak at best,’ Alan Clarke of BNP Paribas told Reuters. ‘Even in the case of a coalition, the partners will be constantly looking over their shoulders, and compromise politics will mean that the scope for delivering radical or unpopular fiscal tightening is limited.'”
People in Britain Angry with Politicians
The Times wrote on May 11:
“Citizens of every age, gender, race and background congregate on that expanse of concrete between platforms nine and 14 each day. Commuters and students, pensioners and housewives, wait there for the trains that take them in and out of London from the capital’s southern hinterlands. They are a diverse lot who would normally have little in common, but today is different. Their patience is running out. Increasingly they are united by a shared sense of anger, even betrayal, as the political bargaining and extraordinary post-election limbo drags on.
“This is not what they were promised, they say. On the campaign trail all three leaders pledged ‘change’ and a new, more transparent style of politics. Instead they feel shut out of the whole process by politicians pursuing not the national interest but their own narrow self-interest — the acquisition of power…
“Only one man expressed any optimism. Michael, 43, a post office worker, was going home to Thornton Heath after an early shift. He did not believe in politics, he said. He was waiting for the kingdom of God on earth. ‘The time I’m looking forward to is when there will be no politics and no one doing deals behind peoples’ backs and everything will be fair and just for all.’
“That time might not be far off, he added as he ran for his train. The Bible said the Second Coming would be preceded by signs. The present chaos could be one of them.”
Amen to that!
Britain Has a New Prime Minister… For Now…
The New York Times reported on May 11:
“Britain’s Conservatives returned to power on Tuesday after 13 years in opposition when David Cameron… took over as prime minister from Labour’s Gordon Brown. Five days after a general election that left the Conservatives 20 seats short of a majority, Mr. Cameron cobbled together an unlikely alliance with the Liberal Democrats to form the first coalition government since World War II.
“The strength of that partnership will be tested immediately by the financial crisis facing Europe and Britain’s high levels of debt, which will call for deep and unpopular spending cuts. And the pressure will be on the new government to act swiftly to appease restive markets, which have battered the pound and threaten to downgrade Britain’s debt unless bold measures are taken.
“Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ leader, will be deputy prime minister. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are far apart on many issues, from immigration to relations with Europe…
“Even before Mr. Cameron went to Buckingham Palace to accept Queen Elizabeth II’s invitation to form a government, speculation centered on how long the pact with the Liberal Democrats would last. The party, which emerged in 1988 from a merger between a Labour breakaway group called the Social Democrats and the old Liberal Party, remains an often fractious mix of two competing traditions…
“Many Conservatives said they doubted that the Liberal Democrats could hold to the pledges they were believed to have made to the Conservatives…”
Coalition of Convenience–Will It Last?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 12:
“At 43, Cameron is Britain’s youngest prime minister in 198 years, the 12th to take the government’s helm under Queen Elizabeth II. The first was Winston Churchill. Fashioning a government following last week’s elections… proved difficult, at least by British standards. Normally, the change in power takes place within hours of elections. But this time it was different. Facing a hung parliament, Brown, Cameron and Clegg first had to come up with a coalition government, as is standard procedure in most European countries.
“In Britain, however, the back-and-forth of coalition negotiations is viewed with a certain degree of disgust and mistrust… The British watched with trepidation as negotiating teams from the three parties tried to hammer out an agreement… The back-and-forth shows just how difficult the decision to form a government with the Conservatives was. For the Lib Dems, it came down to choosing the lesser of two evils; forming a government with a Labour Party which had clearly lost the faith of British voters would have been difficult to defend.
“But the pact with the Conservatives is certainly not one of conviction… the two parties have never been particularly friendly and are divided on a host of issues, including immigration, the European Union, nuclear power, nuclear weapons and foreign military missions. The list is long…
“But in the end, the Liberal Democrats felt that a coalition with Labour — a ‘coalition of losers’ as the British press called it — would have been an even greater risk…
“Currently, though, all eyes are on the new government… There are so many predetermined areas of possible conflict that the first fight between the coalition partners cannot be too far off. Especially because the country is in need of restructuring. Cameron himself has said so: ‘This is going to be hard and difficult work,’ he said in his first speech as prime minister, adding that his role was to help the country ‘face up to our really big challenges, to confront our problems, to take difficult decisions, to lead people through those difficult decisions so that together we can reach better times ahead.’
“But British commentators are already expressing doubts about how long the coalition can last. The life span of a hung parliament — where no single party has a clear majority — is usually counted in months rather than years in the UK.”
Cameron Something of an Enigma
The Times wrote on May 12:
“After a month of campaigning in an intently watched general election, five days of political wrangling and 24 hours of frenzied speculation, David Cameron has finally made it to Downing Street. Yet the man at the centre of this remarkable story remains, to many, something of an enigma… Over the past few days, while a ferocious struggle for power took place, Mr Cameron’s character has been cast into relief: his supreme confidence but also a willingness to compromise; self-belief coupled with a gambler’s instinct for brinksmanship…
“Mr Cameron is an idealist, not an ideologue, a pragmatist not a zealot. That is why his best moment came at the darkest hour, when his party had failed to win an overall majority, and the grim and gritty bargaining began. His statement on Friday morning, announcing that he intended to try to forge a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, was the best speech of his campaign: focused, jargon-free, a brave step into the unknown. There is something of the gambler in David Cameron.
“This, then, is the man who will now lead the country, not with the simple, overwhelming mandate he could once have expected, but through an agreement with his former foes… Why is he doing this? Is it out of duty, or ambition, or a desire to change the world? Why would he give up the opportunity to live a fulfilling and comfortable life with his beloved family, of the sort that he enjoyed, for the uncertainty, terrible hours, and brutal stress of life at No 10?
“Politicians, whatever they may claim, are not like the rest of us. To want to be prime minister requires a special sort of madness, an overwhelming, if often hidden, sense of destiny.”
These are remarkable words. There can be no doubt that the outcome of critical political elections is not a matter of time and chance. God is working out a plan down here below, and there are times when He places certain ones in influential leadership positions to carry out His purpose. This is not to say that those leaders are the most competent and godly ones–in most cases, just the opposite is true (compare Daniel 4:17, 32; 5:21).
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 15:
“Making Europe immortal is a very old idea. After being struck by one of Eros’s arrows, Zeus, the father of all Greek gods, fell madly in love with Europa, the daughter of the Phoenician king. When he later realized that his beloved was doomed to pursue the path of an ordinary mortal, he named a continent after her and proclaimed: ‘You shall be immortal, Europa, because the continent that has accepted your body shall bear your name for all time’…
“I am one of those idealists who have always believed in the European idea and will continue to do so. It was and still is incredible how this continent has bundled together its economic, political and military forces, and that there is more that unites its countries than divides them… The absence of war for more than half a century [is] Europe’s greatest achievement… those who were born after World War II take it for granted to a far greater extent than they should…
“After the common currency was introduced, the next logical step would have been to announce the goal of forming a joint military… Instead, Europe has been disintegrating since Maastricht. The house grew bigger and bigger, while becoming more and more warped and wobbly at the same time. More and more additions were built, even though the foundation wasn’t really designed to handle those additions.
“As a result, politicians, in their desperation, resorted to declaring a two-speed Europe. Or… creating an ambitious core Europe and assuming that the slower nations would eventually catch up. It was a pathetic display, and it has long since become reality… Europe, a potentially strong entity, has become a bureaucratic monster and a bad design…
“Instead of creating a joint military, Europe must now be worried about keeping its common currency… Either Europe sees this existential crisis as a chance to correct the mistakes that were made for years, or this potential world power will go down in the history of empires as the first to fail before it even became one. There are reasons to be very worried about Europe. It is as mortal as a Phoenician princess.”
However, the Bible clearly prophesies that Europe will first become a dominating world power before it fails.
Oil Spill Uncontrolled
The Associated Press reported on May 9, 2010:
“[BP’s] first attempt to divert the oil was foiled, its mission now in serious doubt. Meanwhile, thick blobs of tar washed up on Alabama’s white sand beaches, yet another sign the spill was worsening.
“It had taken about two weeks to build the box and three days to cart it 50 miles out and slowly lower it to the well a mile below the surface, but the frozen depths were just too much…
“In the nearly three weeks since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers, about 210,000 gallons of crude a day has been flowing into the Gulf. As of Sunday, some 3.5 million gallons had poured into the sea, or about a third of the 11 million gallons spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster…
“There are 15 boats and large ships at or near the site some being used in an ongoing effort to drill a relief well, considered a permanent if weeks-away fix…
“News that the containment box plan, designed to siphon up to 85% of the leaking oil, had faltered dampened spirits in Louisiana’s coastal communities.”
This man-made disaster is just one of the many contributing factors leading to the destruction of this earth and its environment, just prior to Christ’s return, as prophesied in Scripture (compare Revelation 11:18).
Volcanic Ash Cloud Continues…
The Associated Press reported on May 8:
“Most flights between Europe and North America [were] delayed on Saturday due to the spreading cloud of volcanic ash stretching across much of the northern Atlantic… Flights [were] rerouted north over Greenland or south over Spain to avoid the 1,200-miles (2,000-kilometer)-long cloud stretching from Iceland to northern Spain… Approximately 600 airliners make the oceanic crossing every day… The plume of ash also forced the closure of 15 airports in northern Spain…
“Until Eyjafjallajokul… the volcano in southern Iceland, stops its emissions, the key to the future course of Europe’s ash crisis will be the prevailing winds. The eruption of the glacier-capped volcano has shown no signs of stopping since it began belching ash April 13. It last erupted from 1821 to 1823.
“Since the ash is reaching altitudes of up to 35,000 feet (10,000 meters), right in the path of most trans-Atlantic flights, it will effectively block the usual routes…”
The Times wrote on May 11:
“The ash cloud that has dogged air travel plans over the last few weeks forced shut the skies above South-west Europe and North Africa today. Passengers aboard a flight to Madeira spent six hours in the plane only to end up back in Exeter where they started because volcanic ash prevented them from landing in the Portugese isle. The Thompson flight with its 160 passengers had to change course twice en route before finally doing an about turn and landing back in Britain…
“Meteorologists say until the volcano in southern Iceland stops erupting, aviation in Europe will be heavily affected by how prevailing winds distribute the ash.”
The eruption of just one volcano in far-away Iceland is causing incredible problems for the entire world. Just imagine the effects when several volcanoes will erupt at the same time, in addition to major earthquakes, tidal waves, and other natural disasters. Sadly, this is exactly what the Bible prophesies to occur soon. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults.”
German Bishop Mixa Gone…
Deutsche Welle reported on May 8:
“A statement from the Vatican said the Pope had accepted the resignation tendered by controversial Augsburg bishop, Walter Mixa, who has been embroiled in a child abuse scandal. The 68-year-old bishop found himself caught up in the Catholic Church’s child sex abuse scandal in April after first denying, and then admitting, that he had slapped children decades ago at a children’s home when he was still a parish priest…
“Further controversy erupted on Friday when prosecutors said they were investigating allegations of sex abuse by Bishop Mixa… German weekly magazine, Focus, reported on Saturday that the pope had been told by senior German clergy of the sex abuse allegations against Mixa before the bishop had tendered his resignation… In recent weeks, a Belgian bishop resigned after admitting he had sexually abused a boy and three Irish bishops quit over their handling of sexual abuse cases.”
Catholic Church Needs Purification
Deutsche Welle reported on May 11:
“Just before landing in Portugal for an official four-day visit, Pope Benedict told journalists aboard his plane that the crisis of child sexual abuse by priests has made the Church realize what he called the ‘terrifying truth’ that its greatest threat comes from ‘sin within the Church.’
“In perhaps the pontiff’s most revealing public comments since the abuse scandal broke two months ago, Benedict said the Church had ‘a very deep need’ to acknowledge that it must do penitence for its sins and ‘accept purification.’ The pope said ‘the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside, but is born from the sin within the Church.’
“In recent weeks, a number of Vatican officials have accused the international media of waging a smear campaign against the Catholic Church. Facing the worst crisis of his five-year papacy, Benedict said the Church had to seek forgiveness from the victims of sexual abuse, but also noted that ‘forgiveness cannot be a substitute for justice.'”
The Catholic Church does indeed need true and genuine repentance and purification. This would include the abolition of heretical beliefs and teachings, as the next article shows; but talk is cheap.
Reuters reported on May 11:
“The main purpose of the pope’s four-day visit to Portugal is to visit the shrine at Fatima where the Madonna is said to have appeared to three shepherd children six times in 1917. One of the three messages the Madonna is said to have given to the child visionaries — the so-called ‘Third Secret of Fatima’ — was what the Vatican has said was a prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt against the late Pope John Paul. Benedict told reporters he believed that interpretation of the Third Secret, revealed in 2000, could include the suffering the papacy and the Church would have to endure as a result of today’s sexual abuse crisis.”
The “Madonna” did not appear to anyone, and whatever “messages” were given would have been of ungodly origin. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”
by Simon Akl
It is hard to believe that four years have already past since the beginning of my studies, and that I will be completing my Bachelors of Health Science in two weeks. Before finishing, I need to stay focused on balancing the remaining homework assignments, exams, internships, and not to mention my job. There have been many stressful moments throughout these four years, with which I have been dealing. Those moments will surely continue after my official graduation, as I will start a new chapter in the fall at my new school.
My Christian faith has allowed me to stand up constantly and take on each obstacle or stressor, which has been sent my way. It is easy to get caught up in the many distractions and lose perspective. However, I have coped by constantly remembering that God is in charge of my life and leading it, so long as I continue to submit to His Will. It is always comforting to remind myself that I am not alone in dealing with my burden, and that I have God on my side to help me, no matter how big the challenge initially appears.
Recently, I reflected on numerous decisions that I faced throughout my academic career. I remember that I had no idea as to what I would do or where I would go. I turned to God for guidance and instruction. At no time has He ever left me or forsaken me, and I can see His direction at each crossroad. I am thankful for the blessings He has granted and for the many doors He has opened. I could have never come to this point without Him. I am assured in knowing that He has guided me completely, and I am confident that when I do my part, God will take care of the rest. I keep reminding myself that I could not have imagined being where I am today, and for this I have to give the glory to God–always.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new member letter was sent out this week and has been posted on the Web. In the letter, Dave Harris is asking how we should prepare for the annual Holy Day of Pentecost, and he is cautioning all of us not to give in to complacency. We are also requesting that you set aside a day of fasting prior to Pentecost.
A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web. It is titled, “Britain and US in Trouble!” The Times wrote on May 6–Britain’s “Election Day”–that Britain is “not going forward,” but it “may go back.” So is the USA, and the parallels are staggering. Is tragedy awaiting us? Will we face Greece-like economic turmoil and civil unrest–and even nuclear devastation? Experts tell us, “it is more likely than not to occur within the next several years”; it will come as “a compete surprise”; and we will be “grossly unprepared” to handle it!
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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