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Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 6
On May 7, 2011, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 6.”
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)
Sin is man’s enemy. It messes with our thinking and can totally corrupt our minds–like Satan’s mind was so corrupted that it is impossible for him to repent. He cannot change because he refuses to repent. On the other hand, God cannot sin because He refuses to sin. He cannot even be tempted by sin (compare James 1:13).
Some time ago, I had a virus in my computer that was generating outgoing spam–up to three hundred emails a day. I spent much time just deleting this junk mail. I had a technician come over, and he stated he had never seen such a virus before. To solve the problem, he had to save all my files and totally delete everything else off my hard drive. Then, he had to re-install the programs and the saved files, which thankfully solved the problem.
Sin is like a very destructive virus generating “junk mail,” thereby affecting us and others. If we do not deal with sin, it will totally take over our minds, scramble our brains, and influence others negatively as well.
When David committed adultery, he wasn’t thinking straight, and because he did not repent at first, it only got worse. In trying to cover up his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, he had her husband killed. This only added to David’s guilt. By the time he wrote Psalm 51, he had come to his senses and realized that he had been in danger of losing God’s Spirit. This is an important lesson for us in regard to sin: If we do not repent and get rid of sin, we could lose out on salvation. This would be a high price to pay. David finally did acknowledge his sins and seek God’s great mercy and forgiveness, but he had to live with the constant realization and memory that his sins had caused the death of his son conceived out of wedlock. Still, due to David’s deeply sincere change of heart and mind, he will receive a high position in the Kingdom.
God is offering all of us a great rulership position in His Kingdom. But we need to do our part by conquering and removing sin and replacing it with God’s righteousness. In doing this, we can be confident that we will obtain God’s gift of eternal life, as well as a great reward that Christ is anxious to give us when He returns.
Is was announced on May 1 that Osama bin Laden was killed by American intelligence operatives, but many haunting questions remain. Was it necessary to kill him? Was it even preferable to do so? How will bin Laden’s supporters react? Was it in accordance with Islamic law to bury him at sea? And, perhaps the most interesting question, as posed by the British news agency, Sky News, and several other papers: How can we be so sure that it was bin Laden who was killed?
In other news, we focus on the tragic reality that the United States of America “has to be worried about the prospect of having to officially declare insolvency before too long”; that the Obama Administration is suing Deutsche Bank; and that the Canadian government fell. We continue with the killing of Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren through an airstrike by NATO and the controversial beatification of the late Pope John Paul II; and we conclude with a piece in USA Today, bringing inadvertently into focus why the USA is in so much trouble today.
This Week in the News
German Reactions to Osama Bin Laden’s Death—“An Eye for an Eye”
Der Spiegel wrote on May 2:
“Now the Americans have found the al-Qaida leader, and killed him immediately. Thus the complicated question of how and where to try such a mass murderer remains unanswered. But according to the old American understanding of guilt and punishment, justice has been done: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. One can question this form of revenge. Still, even diehard critics of America cannot ignore one simple fact — bin Laden’s death is good news for the world and for freedom…
“It would be naïve to think that the fight against terror is over. Naturally al-Qaida will continue to exist. Other terrorist leaders will take Osama’s place. Many lunatics will see bin Laden as a martyr whose death needs to be avenged, which will make them highly dangerous…
“America must finally make sure there is peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Otherwise there will be another Osama.”
We read in the Bible that God stirred up enemies to plague ancient Israel, when its ways did not please God. And unless we begin to live in a way pleasing to God, we can be rest assured that there will be another “Osama.”
“It Means Nothing… or at Least, Nothing Good…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 2:
“… there are still many unanswered questions and justified concerns. How could bin Laden live unmolested so close to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for so many years? Did the American intelligence services’ manhunt truly have the support of Pakistan? What about al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is still hiding somewhere on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan? And how independently do the individual cells of the terrorist network now operate?
“There is also fear that the followers of al-Qaeda will now try to demonstrate their strength in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death with a renewed round of attacks. The recent bombing in Marrakech and the arrest of alleged al-Qaeda terrorists in Germany shows that they could very well pull this off.
“The current upheaval in the Arab world could also create new opportunities for Jihadists. If persecution and chaos gain ground instead of freedom and stability then terrorism will find a new breeding ground… we are still a long way away from safety…”
In a related article, Deutsche Welle quoted several German papers, as follows:
“A decade after the deadly attacks of September 11, US President Barack Obama has announced the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. While Germany’s newspapers by and large welcomed the terrorist mastermind’s death, many questioned the nature of his killing – and what good it might bring in combating global terrorism…
“The Berlin-based, left-leaning Tageszeitung (TAZ) rated the killing as ‘a bit too “wild West.”’… ‘The news of his death comes years too late to stir up great emotions or even make waves in world politics…’
“The Frankfurter Rundschau daily was similarly dismissive of the American ‘victory.’ The paper recognized the symbolic significance bin Laden’s death had for Americans but stated that, in concrete terms, it meant ‘nothing – or if anything, nothing good’… ‘Was there really no alternative to granting the old top terrorist his wish of dying as a “martyr?”’…
“Germany’s most-subscribed newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung… warned that America could not afford to rest on its laurels, emphasizing that the threat of terrorism would not die with bin Laden… ‘The sheik has become a martyr, and the delusion now lives on’…”
The USA cannot please popular opinion of its allies—no matter what it does.
More German Reactions Condemnatory of U.S. Operation
Der Spiegel wrote on May 4:
“Europe, and particularly Germany, are uncomfortable with what looks increasingly like a targeted killing. Reports that bin Laden was not armed at the time of his death have only served to reinforce such unease…
“Financial daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘Osama bin Laden was a criminal… But that Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama celebrated bin Laden’s death in his speech with the words ‘justice has been done,’ and that the German chancellor supported this with an expression of her happiness over his death are shameful blunders. They place approval on an act that violates both the international prohibition of force and humanitarian law…’
“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself, says one of the most important basic precepts of Christianity. This principle is one of the hardest to follow, much more difficult to uphold than the ban on murder. Just how thinly the layer of Christian culture coats the low, archaic instincts of humans rarely shows itself as clearly as it did the day after the liquidation of the Islamist terrorist leader Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces. President Obama, a Christian, said in all seriousness that with bin Laden ‘justice had been done,’ as though there were no American constitution, no justice, no law. The US violated a number of principles of human rights with its operation against bin Laden. This is supposed to be an example to Arab democracies?…’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… George H. W. Bush lost to the widely unknown democrat Bill Clinton in 1992 despite his shining victory against Saddam Hussein, because the economy failed to gain momentum. For Obama the gutsy operation against bin Laden will mean little in the face of the enormous federal debt, the gaping budget deficit and high unemployment. In a paradoxical turn, America’s waning fear of terrorism after bin Laden’s death could reduce Obama’s chance of re-election…’”
The Reaction of the EU
The EUObserver wrote on May 2:
“A US-ordered strike in Pakistan which reportedly killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has been met with ‘relief’ and talk of a ‘safer world’ by EU leaders, despite the bloc’s official stance against targeted assassinations.
“’The news that Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world,’ said British Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement. Cameron was the first among EU leaders to react to the announcement made on Sunday night (1 May) by US President Barack Obama that he had ordered the ‘operation’ which killed the top terrorist. A spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel later said the German leader had communicated her ‘relief’ at the news to the US president…
“EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU commission chief in a joint statement said: ‘Osama Bin Laden was a criminal responsible for heinous terrorist attacks that cost the lives of thousands of innocent people. His death makes the world a safer place.’”
However, the British Telegraph reported on May 6 that “Dr Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the 80-million strong worldwide Anglican Communion, criticised the White House for repeatedly changing its account of the raid on the al-Qaeda leader’s compound in Pakistan. Killing bin Laden when he was not carrying a weapon meant that justice could not be ‘seen to be done’, the Archbishop suggested.”
It is interesting to note that even though the EU condemns assassinations, it praises the USA for having done just that. We can expect that in the future, the EU will act in the same way to eliminate unpopular individuals, when an opportunity presents itself. In fact, as a later article suggests, NATO and the EU might already be attempting to do just that.
The Reaction of the Arab World
Reuters reported on May 2:
“Some Arabs mourned him as a holy warrior and martyr, while others saw him as a ‘pillar of evil’ whose deadly attacks on the United States unleashed a backlash against Muslims across the world. From his Saudi birthplace to the Gulf Arab shores and Palestinian territories, the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden highlighted the sharp divide between subjects and rulers, radicals and moderates across the Arab world.
“The U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority welcomed bin Laden’s killing as ‘good for the cause of peace.’ Its rival and prospective power-sharing partner, Islamist Hamas, deplored his death…
“Some said the killing of bin Laden in a raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan was scarcely relevant in an Arab world fired by popular revolt against oppressive leaders who had resisted violent Islamist efforts to weaken their grip on power… Many believe bin Laden and al Qaeda brought catastrophe on the Muslim world as the United States retaliated with two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq…
“A rival view sees bin Laden as the only Muslim leader to take the fight against Western dominance to the heart of the enemy — in the form of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.”
As the Arab world is even divided when it comes to the viewpoint on Osama bin Laden, it should be obvious to any impartial and objective observer how dangerous it could be if true democracy by majority vote would be established in some of those countries.
Burial at Sea Likely to Cause Rage
The Associated Press reported on May 2:
“Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets. Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial — as with many issues within the faith — a wide range of senior Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca…
“Bin Laden’s burial at sea ‘runs contrary to the principles of Islamic laws, religious values and humanitarian customs,’ said Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning… A U.S. official said the burial decision was made after concluding that it would have been difficult to find a country willing to accept the remains. There was also speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants…
“According to Islamic teachings, the highest honor to be bestowed on the dead is giving the deceased a swift burial, preferably before sunset. Those who die while traveling at sea can have their bodies committed to the bottom of the ocean if they are far off the coast, according to Islamic tradition.
“‘They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam,’ Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai’s grand mufti, said about bin Laden’s burial. ‘If the family does not want him, it’s really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that’s it. Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances,’ he added. ‘This is not one of them’…
“Prominent Egyptian Islamic analyst and lawyer Montasser el-Zayat said bin Laden’s sea burial was designed to prevent his grave from becoming a shrine. But an option was an unmarked grave. ‘They don’t want to see him become a symbol, but he is already a symbol in people’s hearts.’”
Even in his death and “burial,” Osama could ignite hatred against the USA.
What Is It With May 1?
The New York Daily News reported on May 2:
“Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler share a towering reputation for evil – and also an anniversary. Both were declared dead on May 1.
“Late on May 1, 1945 – about as late as President Obama’s TV announcement Sunday – German radio announced that Hitler had fallen ‘fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany.’ He had actually committed suicide the day before.
“In some cultures May 1 is the official beginning of summer. In many places, May Day is also Labor Day, a celebration of the working man. May 1 is also the anniversary of President Bush’s ill-conceived 2003 Mission Accomplished speech, prematurely announcing an end to combat in Iraq.”
Osama’s Killing in Violation of International Law?
While US and EU officials have declared that the killing was not a “targeted assassination,” but a legal operation, as the goal was allegedly not to kill him but to capture him alive (compare the EUObserver, May 3, 2011), not everyone agrees. It was now clarified by the White House that Osama Bin Laden was not armed, but that he “resisted” his arrest. One senator claimed, without really providing any evidence, that he was trying to get to a gun, while others say that there were no guns in the room. Pakistan claims that Osama was killed brutally and in cold blood. Der Spiegel Online published the following analysis, on May 3:
“Is this what justice looks like? Al-Qaida boss Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday in a secret military operation in Pakistan. Americans are celebrating, but there are serious doubts about whether the targeted killing was legal under international law and the laws of war.
“US President Barack Obama gets precious few opportunities to announce a victory. So it’s no wonder he chose grand words on Sunday night as the TV crews’ spotlights shone upon him and he informed the nation about the deadly strike against Osama bin Laden. ‘Justice has been done,’ he said.
“It may be that this sentence comes back to haunt him in the years to come… Obama and his predecessor Bush never sought the kind of justice that would have seen bin Laden tried in an international court. As early as his election campaign in 2008, Obama swore he would ‘kill bin Laden’ and finish the job begun by his predecessor after 9/11… A US national security official didn’t beat around the bush, telling Reuters, ‘This was a kill operation’…
“The operation didn’t take place on the actual battlefield of Operation Enduring Freedom, i.e. in Afghanistan, but rather on Pakistani territory… The commanders of the war on terror consider the entire world to be a battlefield. The US would seek to justify a military operation like the one that took place Sunday anywhere it believes the enemy is hiding — regardless whether it be in Europe or Islamabad… the vast majority of other experts on the law of armed conflict find this view unacceptable…
“And what business did the United States even have acting within the territory of Pakistan, a foreign power? A military strike that crosses national borders, barring acts of self-defense, is generally viewed as an infringement on sovereignty…”
Is It Really bin Laden?
SKY News wrote on May 2:
“Can [the] US Offer Final Proof Of Osama’s Death? The circumstances surrounding Osama bin Laden’s reported death raise urgent questions over how the US is so sure it got its man.
“US officials have said DNA testing has proved the al Qaeda leader was killed in a villa in Pakistan. They have also identified him by facial recognition… The fact his body was buried at sea has so far only added to the speculation… The release of a photograph purporting to show bin Laden’s corpse – which was later confirmed to be a fake – added to the confusion…”
In the meantime, additional photographs were published, which have all been declared to be fakes by the U.S. government. As questions are continually being raised pertaining to the authenticity of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, so nagging doubts will remain whether it was Osama bin Laden who was killed, or someone else, and whether the corpse’s burial at sea was done for the purpose of covering up the true identity of the assassinated person.
Does DNA Fingerprinting Identify Bin Laden?
National Journal wrote on May 2:
“His face is one of the most recognizable in the world, but in the end, could it have been DNA fingerprinting that proved to U.S. officials that they had finally nailed Osama bin Laden? Maybe – but the Obama administration had better be saving some evidence.
“U.S. officials have told various news sources that CIA facial-recognition technology was used to identify bin Laden, and that his wife… called him by name during the firefight that ended his life. But they say that DNA was the final piece of evidence… One problem – whose DNA did they compare it to?… does the government have earlier DNA that, for certain, came from bin Laden? Not likely, and so the next-best source is a sibling. And in that case, says Stephen Quake, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor of applied physics and bioengineering at Stanford University, all the DNA analysis will say for sure is that the dead person is one of the many sons of Osama bin Laden’s father…
“If bin Laden’s mother, now known as Hamida al-Attas, could be persuaded to give some of her DNA, that might provide compelling evidence. She was last reported to be living in Saudi Arabia… The White House says that bin Laden was buried at sea. One can only hope they kept some tissue and blood samples to back up the DNA claims.”
The Obama Administration announced that they will not publish any pictures of Osama bin Laden, which allegedly show that he died of mortal wounds. With that highly controversial decision, conspiracy theories are bound to continue, as the next article explains.
Conspiracy Theories Abound…
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 5:
“The confusion over the details of Osama bin Laden’s death has prompted wild speculation and a slew of conspiracy theories. Many Pakistanis believe the al-Qaida leader was not actually living in Abbottabad, while some jihadists are claiming the Americans buried Osama at sea because they had defiled his body.
“The citizens of Abbottabad have a lot of questions these days. Was Osama bin Laden truly ambushed and killed in their midst? Was it really the world’s public enemy number one, hunted down with great effort and expense, who had been living in their city? And if so, had he been living there for ‘five to six years’ as the White House is now claiming?
“’‘Impossible,’ says Zubair Gul, who lives a few hundred meters from the house where a US Navy Seals team killed bin Laden. Gul finds it hard to believe that the terrorist leader was killed here. ‘Abbottabad is in a valley, and you immediately hear every helicopter that flies by. Who can possibly believe that bin Laden was sitting in his house and had no idea that the helicopters were coming?’ Gul, a German citizen, runs two restaurants in Damme near Osnabrück in northern Germany. Originally from Peshawar, he moved to Abbottabad with his German wife in 1998, ‘because of the good climate and because things were always peaceful here,’ as he says…
“Nazar Abbasi, a pharmacist in Abbottabad, says that he was pleased about the news that bin Laden was dead. But then he was surprised that no photos of the body were released as evidence, and that fake photos were circulating instead. ‘And when I heard that the Americans had thrown the body in the sea, I knew that all of this was just a big show.’
“Many in Abbottabad agree with Gul and Abbasi. It’s all because US President Barack Obama is running for reelection, people there say…
“Or maybe it was indeed bin Laden, but the way the raid on the compound was carried out was very different to how it had been described. On Wednesday, the Al-Arabiya television network reported that a 12-year-old girl, supposedly a daughter of bin Laden, had said that her father was captured alive and then shot. The girl claimed to have been present when the building was stormed. The network’s source was an unnamed Pakistani intelligence officer.
“Given that the ultimate evidence of the death of the al-Qaida leader has not been provided, and that Washington has already had to correct its initial statements on the question of whether bin Laden was armed, speculation is now running rampant…”
On May 3, Der Spiegel Online wrote:
“…there have been about 6,000 dead US soldiers, not to mention $1.3 trillion in new federal debt that is attributed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the real costs will likely be much higher. The US has accumulated a total debt burden of over $14 trillion, even though it was running a budget surplus just 10 years ago. The seemingly most powerful country in the world has to be worried about the prospect of having to officially declare insolvency before too long.
“America has become so caught up in a culture of fear and anxiety that it spends more on defense than all other countries put together. And it is caught up in wars that it cannot win — and which it no longer wants to fight, if one believes American opinion polls about the war in Afghanistan…
“The US is still at the forefront of spending on election campaigns. The next US president will need about $1 billion to spend on aggressive advertising spots and smear campaigns against rivals…”
Already on April 19, the mass tabloid Bild Online wrote:
“Obamaland is burned down. Why is the richest country on earth suddenly insolvent?… the President is gliding into another crisis…”
USA Sues Deutsche Bank
The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 3:
“U.S. authorities sued Deutsche Bank AG and a mortgage subsidiary, alleging that they repeatedly lied about the quality of mortgages to be included in a government insurance program so that they could profit from the resale of those mortgages.
“The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, alleges that Deutsche Bank and its MortgageIT unit ‘recklessly’ selected mortgages that violated the rules of the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage-insurance program ‘in blatant disregard of whether borrowers could make mortgage payments.’ Those government-insured mortgages were then resold, according to the lawsuit.”
Such a lawsuit by the US government against Germany’s most prestigious bank, even if justified, is not going to help to create or maintain a friendly relationship between America and Germany.
Canada’s Number One Party “Killed”
On May 2, adcentriconline.com reported the following:
“It was an amazing two days. On Sunday, President Barack Obama announced that he had killed Osama bin Laden. And within a mere 30 hours of the demise of the world’s number one terrorist, Michael Ignatieff killed the Liberal Party of Canada, the country’s number one political party…
“The opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois forced an election that no one wanted on the basis of Prime Minister Stephen Harper being found guilty of contempt of Parliament for not providing the House of Commons with the true cost of its spending. As if all governments provide proper costing. The opposition cried that Harper and his Tories were undemocratic and had to be replaced. Canadians ‘needed’ to go to the polls…
“What started off as an unnecessary election that would produce the same results the last one did became, morphed into an historic election that saw a major party realignment… for the first time in the country’s history, the NDP will form Her Majesty’s Official Opposition. And it wasn’t even close.”
NATO Kills Gaddafi’s Youngest Son
BBC News wrote on May 1:
“The death of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi… is likely to have come as a consequence of Nato’s increasingly aggressive tactics… his killing in an air strike is a grievous strategic error – militarily insignificant but diplomatically disastrous…
“Assassination of a head of state is illegal under international law, and forbidden by various US presidential orders. On the other hand, the targeted killing of those woven into the enemy chain of command is shrouded in legal ambiguity.
“Given the personalistic nature of the regime, and the ‘all means necessary’ clause in UN Resolution 1973, it might be argued that killing Col Muammar Gaddafi and certain members of his family – such as his son Khamis, commander of an elite military brigade – would be permissible, even if it posed a risk to those non-combatants around the regime. Legality, though, indicates neither legitimacy nor prudence.
“This strike, and the death of Saif al-Arab, have produced little military result at the greatest diplomatic and symbolic cost to Nato. Saif al-Arab was, unlike his brothers, not a senior military commander or propagandist. His death is redolent of the 1986 US strike on the same compound. That raid killed Col Gaddafi’s adopted daughter and, in the scarred buildings and craters, furnished him with a long-lasting symbol of defiance.
“The propaganda value of such unintended deaths is potentially severe… The problem is that the direction of this effect is unclear. The dramatic visual impact of this air strike, and the death of those disconnected from political and military leadership, will harden the diplomatic opposition to the war, from Russia and China amongst others. More consequentially, it will anger the alliance’s warier members, like Germany and Turkey, and inflame parts of Arab and African public opinion.”
Many suspect that it is the declared goal of NATO and Europe to kill Gaddafi, even though the official reason for the attacks is to “protect civilians.” The killing of Gaddafi’s son and grandchildren places NATO in a bad light, as it appears to reveal their true motivation. This, in turn, is bound to backfire.
John Paul II beatified in Vatican Ceremony
BBC News wrote on May 1:
“The late Pope, John Paul II, has been officially beatified at a ceremony at the Vatican… It comes amid criticism of the Church for the speed of the beatification and the clerical child sex abuse scandal. Much of the abuse occurred while John Paul II was Pope, from 1979-2005, and the Church has been criticised for not doing enough to punish those found responsible.
“Police in Rome estimated that one million people had come to the city for the event… Rome has not seen crowds of this size since the death of Pope John Paul II six years ago…
“Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe was among those attending the beatification. A Roman Catholic, he was given special permission by the EU to fly to Italy despite being the subject of a travel ban. The presidents of Poland and Mexico are also among some 90 heads of state and other dignitaries attending the beatification…
“Beatification, or declaring a person to be ‘blessed’, is the necessary prelude to full sainthood. For this to happen, the Vatican must declare the person to have performed a miracle. In John Paul II’s case, Sister Marie, 49, said she and her fellow nuns had prayed for the intercession of the Pope after his death to cure her from Parkinson’s Disease. Her sudden cure had no logical medical explanation and she later resumed her work as a maternity nurse, the Vatican says…
“If the late Pope is declared to have performed another miracle he will be eligible for canonisation as a saint…”
In case you did not notice it, the beatification of John Paul II required that he performed a miracle after his death!!! This false belief holds that he is alive in heaven, from where he performs miracles. But Christ said that no one goes to heaven, except for the Son of Man. In fact, the Bible teaches that everyone who has died, including John Paul II, is in their graves, waiting for the resurrection from the dead. They are right now without any consciousness, knowing nothing, and they can therefore work no miracles, either.
USA Not a Christian Nation?
On May 2, USA Today published the following article by Henry G. Brinton, pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia. Although clearly not intended, his statements at the end of the article show the reasons WHY the USA is in the terrible state that it is in:
“The King James Version is the most influential Scripture translation of all time, molding Christian faith and English literature for the past four centuries. It has also played a role in political and moral debate throughout the history of our country.
“John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, spoke in 1630 of a ‘city upon a hill’— an image drawn on by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in their descriptions of America, with Reagan famously speaking of a ‘shining city.’ This line is based on the King James Version, which says, ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid’ (Matthew 5:14).
“’Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof’ is inscribed on the Liberty Bell and on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty (Leviticus 25:10). During the Civil War, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison changed the motto of his anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator to this verse from the King James Version. Facing the prospect of a nation half slave and half free, Abraham Lincoln said, ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’ (Matthew 12:25)…
“America is grounded in the Constitution, which never mentions God or Jesus, and forbids the establishment of religion. Because of this, we will never be a Christian nation. But our use of the King James Version has made us a biblical nation, and we will be such a country as long as we turn to this book for inspiration and guidance. So what does it mean to be biblical but not Christian?
“… citizens in a country based on religious freedom must always be allowed to disagree with scriptural admonitions. The Bible should never be used as the basis of legislation… God does not appear in our Constitution, and no more than three of the Ten Commandments would be appropriate for civil law — specifically, ‘thou shalt not kill,’ ‘thou shalt not steal,’ and ‘thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor’ (Exodus 20). The legislation of other commandments would either create an inappropriate and unenforceable law (‘honor thy father and thy mother’) or violate the Constitution’s rule against making laws respecting an establishment of religion (‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’)… I do not support legislation based on the Bible, or any effort to label America a Christian nation. And I say that as a proud and practicing Christian.”
This highlights a grave conflict between the Bible and man’s government. The Bible demands that a nation under the true God must be a Christian nation, and that it must be subject to the laws of the Holy Scriptures, including all of the Ten Commandments, judgments and statutes. A nation which is refusing to do so has subjected itself to God’s curse, while rejecting to embrace God’s blessings. Thanks be to God that He will soon send His Son Jesus Christ to this earth to establish the Kingdom of God, and with it righteous and true laws and injunctions, as set forth and revealed in the Bible.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Our new member letter for April was posted on the Web and sent out this week. In the letter, Rene Messier addresses the need to stay focused.
A new StandingWatch program was posted today on the Web and www.standingwatch.org. It is titled, “What Is Prophesied for Syria?” Violence is erupting in Syria. Does the Bible tell us anything about the past and future of Syria and its capitol, Damascus?
Another StandingWatch program was posted last week on the Web and www.standingwatch.org. It is titled, “The British Wedding—A Critical Look.” Is the wedding of William and Kate an aberration of history and a sad spectacle, as Der Spiegel says? Are the royal families of the world a terrible example, as The Local postulates? Does the wedding detract from the fact that Great Britain is going down-partly because of family breakdown and a lack of commitment towards marriage, as the Daily Mail reports? God tells us clearly what is right and wrong, and the royals have not set a proper example in this regard.
A new German AufPostenStehen program was posted on the Web and www.aufpostenstehen.de. It is titled, “Der Justizmord an Jesus” (“The judicial murder of Jesus”).
Several new German video-recorded sermons were posted this week on the Web, titled, “Erloese Uns Von dem Boesen” (“Deliver Us From Evil”); “Gottes Jaehrliche Festtage” (“God’s annual Holy Days”) ; “Wuerdig Leben” (“Live worthily”); “Christi Kreuzigung und Auferstehung” (“Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection”); and “Fuehre Uns Nicht in Versuchung” (“Don’t Lead Us Into Temptation”).
How This Work is Financed
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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
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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:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom