July 20, 2002
Dave Harris will be speaking this Sabbath on God’s blessings.
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.
"How Convicted Are We?"
by Norbert Link
We are living in perilous times. We hear of suicide bombings in Israel on a weekly basis. We hear of wars and rumors of wars at the India-Pakistani border. In following the news carefully, we realize that the relationship between the United States and Europe is steadily deteriorating. We recognize the grim reality — for example, that large arsenals of nuclear weapons are stored, many of them undetected, around the world. We hear of increasing earthquakes, wild fires, hurricanes and tornados. Understanding prophecy, we know that all of these, however, are just the beginning of sorrows.
What is our responsibility in the face of coming disaster? Since God showed us what is to come, He wants us to respond! We are to warn our fellow man of the evil times ahead of us. But, in order to do so effectively, we ourselves must be convinced and convicted that God does in fact mean what He says.
Notice Abraham’s conviction! He is the father of the faithful — one whose faith we are to imitate. We read in Romans 4:21 that Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”
Sometimes, we may want to give up. We may think that we have done all that we can do, and that it does not really make a difference. But it does. God would not give us a job to do, if it were hopeless. At least at one time in his life, Paul was ready to die. But, he realized that it was needful for the brethren that he stay alive and continue to do his job. He explains in Philippians 1:21-25 (NIV):
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith…”
And so, we, too, must be “fully convinced” in our own minds (Romans 14:5) that God still wants us to preach the gospel and to feed the flock, and that we have a part in this commission. And while doing God’s will, let us, too, be convinced that our labor is not in vain and that we, with God’s help, will succeed. Notice these encouraging words of Paul, a deeply convicted apostle:
— “For this reason I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Paul knew that he would succeed — because he knew something about God, which kept him going. Paul wants all of us to come to that same conviction and persuasion:
— “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose … For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28, 38-39)
The righteous men and women of old had strong convictions. These convictions motivated and inspired them to accomplish mighty deeds. They knew that God’s word was true. They had no doubt about that:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…” (Hebrews 11:13).
God gave all of us very powerful and encouraging promises. They should motivate us to actively respond to God’s love. But they only will, if we are convicted that those promises are for real.
This Week in the News
WORLD NEWS HEADLINES
COLORADO DISASTER AREA
This has been a long, long week for the fire ravaged west–especially Colorado. As new fires sweep up acres of wilderness in Arizona, California and the state of Colorado, the up close and personal cost is settling in as families numbering in the thousands first evacuate their homes then anxiously await the outcome.
Words such as apocalyptic are being used to describe these out of control fires. There is even talk of these fires lasting for months with the only hope for dousing the flames being from snowfall! This week has seen a few welcomed rainfalls, but most of the moisture was falling only on the exterior boundaries of the largest fires. Continued low humidity and historic dryness throughout western forest areas portends even more sweeping destruction during the summer ahead.
HOME GROWN TERROR
A stunned public learned that the so-called Hayman Fire in Colorado was started by a U.S. forest Service employee. Motives as to why she did this have become the grist mill of the media while angry and displaced home owners in the affected area voice outrage and a deep loathing for the actions of one who should have been the first to protect the public.
This tragic occurrence magnifies poignantly the utter breakdown in societal traditions and values. More and more, societies are not only suffering wrath from outside their own borders, but now terror reigns from within national confines. Expensive and devastating acts have whole populations reduced to shocked awareness that we are now living in a very different kind of world than the more comfortable times of the recent past.
ANTI-ISRAELI VIEWS IN GERMANY
Germany’s “spokesman” and Second-in-Command of the Free Democrats, Juergen Moellemann, does not seem to give in to pressures to retract certain of his statements which have been interpreted by some as anti-Semitic. He continued his criticism this week of Ariel Sharon, stating that Sharon should not be surprised when Palestinians retaliate, even with suicide bombings, for Israel’s attacks on them. Der Spiegel ran an analysis on June 7, 2002, pointing out that, although the official figures show a decline of popularity of the FDP, there remain concerns that a majority might agree with Moellemann, but remain silent during polls. Allegedly, Moellemann received 11,000 email messages supporting his policy and position. Scientists were quoted by Der Spiegel, stating that up to 30% of the German population might be supporting anti-Semitic concepts and might therefore vote for Moellemann and the FDP in September. Others feel that this figure is far too high, as it is based on studies in the 80’s.
US HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS?
In an unusually strong article, Der Spiegel accused the United States on June 20 of engaging in violations of human rights of its citizens and legal residents in its fight against terrorism. In citing several examples, the German magazine concluded that flagrant constitutional violations might lead soon to a new form of civil resistance in the U.S., even though 64% of the U.S. population are presently willing to give up individual liberties, and 80% would be willing to endorse detentions of U.S. citizens (without the benefit of granting them certain constitutional rights) in order to gain security. At the same time, according to Der Spiegel, Amnesty International speculated that the U.S. participates in or at least tolerates torture in foreign countries in their fight against terrorism, stating that Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Pakistan do use torture in order to obtain confessions from prisoners.
As pointed out in the booklet, Evolution – A Fairy Tale for Adults, this world will soon experience devastating collisions with asteroids, meteors or comets. Now, perhaps as a warning and a foretaste of what could have been a terrible disaster, an asteroid, approximately a hundred meters in size, almost hit the earth on June 14. It came within 120,000 kilometers of Earth. According to Der Spiegel in its on-line article of June 20, scientists tell us that if there had been a “deep impact,” devastating damage would have been the result. It is almost certain that the effect would have been at least the same as if an atomic bomb had exploded. Especially discomforting and frightening is the fact that the asteroid was only discovered on June 17 — three days AFTER the impact almost took place.
More information on the asteroid can be found at http://skyandtelescope.com/news/current/article_641_1.asp
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
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