June 29, 2002
This Sabbath, Dave Harris will be presenting the sermon, “Beyond Belief.” This topic will deal with the necessity for continued growth in our calling.
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.
As a reminder, we put the audio messages on the web site frequently. Quite a few new ones have been placed on our Web. Please have a look.
"To Tell The Truth"
by Norbert Link
How difficult it is for us to admit when we are wrong! How easy it is, instead, to justify our mistakes – to deny the facts; or to shade the truth; or to set forth a “multitude of words,” when we want to avoid speaking the plain and simple truth.
Many years ago, when reading about Cochise, the war chief of the Chiricahuas, I was appalled by his cruelties and murders, but, at the same time, I was impressed by his sense of honesty. In his book, “The Apache Indians,” (copyright 1938), Frank C. Lockwood quotes on pp. 111-112 a conversation between Cochise and his white blood brother and Indian agent, Thomas Jeffords: “‘The following will illustrate a point in Cochise’s character: He said to me once, ‘Chickasaw [i.e., Brother], a man should never lie.’ I replied: ‘No, he should not, but a great many do.’ He said: ‘That is true, but they need not do it; if a man asks you or I a question we do not wish to answer, we could simply say, I don’t want to talk about that.'”
When I read this statement for the first time, I wondered how an unconverted so-called “heathen” could know or appreciate, what many professing “Christians” seemed to have forgotten. And then I began to ask myself, What about true Christians? Are we always willing not to lie – no matter what the consequences?
Do we always know, and live by that knowledge, that “no lie is of the truth.” (1 John 2:21)? Following the living God, we must become perfect as He is perfect – and God’s perfect and holy will and character make it impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Numbers 23:19).
Lies can appear in many different forms and shapes. They can be blatant denials of guilt, as was the case with Adam and Eve; or they can be more subtle. Abraham claimed that his wife Sarah was his sister (Genesis 20:2). This claim was partially true, as Sarah was indeed his half-sister (Genesis 20:9-13) – but since Abraham made the statement to deceive Abimelech, it was a complete lie.
Whenever we lie, we follow Satan’s lead (John 8:44). Unless we repent of lying, unless we stop lying and change, we will end up in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8; 22:15). God wants us to be true, honest and sincere. We must put away lying, and speak the truth with our neighbor (cp. Ephesians 4:25). Our words must be as good as gold – better than any written, notarized, sealed and delivered contract could ever be. We don’t need to verify the truthfulness of our words with an oath (James 5:12), as people will know, in time, that our words are true. They will be able to rely on us — they will know that when we say that we will do something, we will do it (cp. Psalm 15:4). Rather than being forgetful hearers, we will be known as doers of God’s work (cp. James 1:25). There is never a need to lie. We don’t have to say everything that we know – but everything that we say must be true.
This Week in the News
WORLD NEWS HEADLINES
REACTIONS TO MR BUSH’S VISIT TO GERMANY
While most Germans welcomed and appreciated President Bush’s visit and address in the German Parliament last week, some of the European neighbor states reacted rather negatively.
President Bush had stated in his address on May 23 that Europe needs a strong Germany — and that a strong Germany would be good for the entire world. The German Bild-Zeitung ran a commentary the next day, stating, “Bush has convinced us.” The newspaper continued, “America’s President George W. Bush has given a convincing speech in the German Parliament. We did not listen to a war-monger, …but to a convincing … leader.” The German magazine FOCUS reported that the leaders of both major German parties expressed their “tremendous impression” of Mr. Bush’s speech. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder described it as an “extraordinary event.”
Britain’s Financial Times’ evaluation was less flattering. They criticized that Mr. Bush’s speech revealed a lack of a proper understanding of European concerns regarding the fragile state of the transatlantic relationship. Europe has continued concerns that Bush will in the end pursue his own course of action, “regardless of what his allies might say.”
The Zuercher Tages-Anzeiger of Switzerland criticized Bush as being generally without power of conviction, and “noncommittal.” The Standard of Vienna, Austria, concurred, stating that Bush’s speech did not include anything new.
(Additional Sources: Focus, May 23; Bild, May 24; Der Spiegel, May 23)
ANTI-SEMITISM IN GERMANY?
Juergen Moellemann, second-in-command of Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP), might have been surprised himself about the reactions to his televised interview in which he made some critical statements regarding Ariel Sharon of Israel and Michel Friedman, Vice-President of the Jewish Community in Germany. Moellemann had stated that Friedman’s conduct is responsible for a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Germany, and that Ariel Sharon’s policy is leading to war. Friedman responded by calling Moellemann an anti-Semite.
Virtually all politicians in Germany, regardless of affiliation, condemned Moellemann for his statements. Moellemann apologized for his statements against Friedman, but insisted that he is not an anti-Semite only because he is critical of Sharon’s policy.
While Schroeder’s party, the SPD, announced that they will almost certainly not build a coalition with the FDP after the September Parliamentary elections, Stoiber’s CDU/CSU did not rule it out. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of the Greens criticized Moellemann indirectly in Haifa, stating that it is “shameful when German Jews have the feeling again that they are left alone, and whether it was a mistake to stay in Germany.” He forcefully stated that “Israel can rely, in the future, on Germany as a friend and partner, regardless of the political constellations.”
In a poll in Germany, 29 percent felt that the amount of votes for the FDP in September would decrease, due to Moellemann’s statements. On the other hand, 19 per cent felt that the FDP would now gain votes.
Moellemann received unwelcome support for his stance by Austria’s Joerg Haider. Haider defended Moellemann and stated that the political leadership of the FDP are without courage and that they are political cowards. Although Moellemann had stated that Haider might as well go to the devil, Haider responded that this does not bother him — if this is the way for Moellemann to survive, so be it. Haider stated, in regard to Moellemann’s criticism on Sharon and Friedman, that he would not have said that “in that way,” but continued that one cannot dictate what one has to believe. Haider announced that he will found a European-wide party and that he will run as one of the candidates at the European elections in 2004. Haider stated that Moellemann would be a good asset and addition to that new party.
(Sources: Der Spiegel, May 29 and May 30; Bild, May 29; Der Stern, May 29; Max, May 29)
POPE JOHN PAUL II IN BULGARIA
As Der Spiegel reported on May 24, during his recent trip to Bulgaria, Pope John Paul II admonished the European states to emphasize more their Christian roots while uniting politically. He stated that, in its search for an identity, the European continent has no choice but to return to its Christian roots. He also encouraged the orthodox and the Roman-catholic Christians to move closer together.
KASHMIR — IS NUCLEAR WAR COMING?
Brinkmanship now threatens to spill over into the FIRST NUCLEAR EXCHANGE BETWEEN NATIONS. India and Pakistan, long bitter enemies over the control of Kashmir and further divided because of religious differences, now continue to prepare for a nuclear war.
Over one million men in each country are on full alert. That coupled with missile tests by Pakistan this week have edged the region into a sense of inevitable conflict. The United States is making preparations to remove its troops from Pakistan. Additional preparations are now moving forward for evacuating Americans from these nations. President Bush announced on Thursday that U.S. Minister of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and U.S. Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Richard Armitage, will travel to the conflict region next week to try to diffuse the danger. Some, however, predict that nuclear war could erupt within the next few weeks.
Der Spiegel reported on May 29 that scientists are convinced that we are closer to an outbreak of a nuclear war than ever before, excluding the Cuba crisis. They fear that Pakistan will begin the war, when it reaches the point that it cannot compete any longer with India’s conventional might. According to the British newspaper, The Times, the danger is real.
MEMORIAL CEREMONIES IN THE US
This week marks the somber observance of the final clean-up at “ground zero”–site of the former twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. National news in the United States revisited the horror and tragic aftermath of this attack on America during this period.
Lurking behind these commemorative events is the startling forecast of future terrorists attacks! Leadership in government has solemnly predicted that it is not a question of “if” but rather “when”. The specter of nuclear bombs being transported into the U.S. via cargo containers poses an almost insurmountable monitoring issue. Threatened attacks against apartment complexes and public transportation serve to further unnerve the whole nation.
Numerous Biblical warnings indicate that future destruction is coming. Isaiah speaks of a time when “Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire…” (Isaiah 1:7) Also, in Deuteronomy 28:52, God warns His people, ” ‘They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout ALL YOUR LAND; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout ALL YOUR LAND which the Lord God had given you.’ ”
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Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
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