Update 569


The Ten Commandments and the Model Prayer

On December 22nd, 2012, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, ” The Ten Commandments and the Model Prayer.”
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.

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When Is It Enough?

by Rene Messier (Canada)

Years ago there was a character in the pages of the funnies, called “Dennis the Menace.” Some of us may remember that character. Around Christmas time, they had a cartoon of him, sitting on a pyramid-shaped six feet high pile of toys and gifts, saying: “Is this all?” This typifies the slogan that “greed knows no bounds.”

When is enough of anything enough? 

Imagine for a moment that God gave you eternal life, perfect conduct, wisdom and beauty, and the possibility and ability to carry out your responsibilities. Would that be enough for you?

It was not enough for Satan.

Ezekiel 28:12-17 tells us this: 

“Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.

“By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.”

Something happened to the symbolic “king of Tyre”—none other than Lucifer, the bright star of the dawn, who became Satan, the prince of darkness. Along the way, he became corrupted by pride and as a result, his position and what he had been given were not enough for him. He not only wanted to possess and rule the whole physical universe, but also the spirit realm where God dwells. He convinced 1/3rd  of all the angels to follow him and went up to heaven to overthrow God. This attempted coup did not work, and he and the demons were cast back down to earth.

Isaiah 14:12-14 informs us of this:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

When his mind became corrupted, he felt dissatisfaction with his lot in life, and he wanted more. This whole attitude of craving for more permeates this holiday season.  People receive gifts and think they should be bigger, better and more expensive. They may also feel they deserve additional gifts. Not that the custom of giving gifts at Christmas times is anything biblical to begin with, but the accompanying attitude of many of those who receive gifts is even more telling.

No one seems to think about the admonition from Paul, as we read in Philippians 4:10-13:

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

What Paul is saying is that there are good times and not so good times, but he learned to be content with what he had, and he looked to Christ. What a lesson for people in the world today who never seem to be content with their physical possessions, who suffer from greed and who never know when enough is enough.

So we are left with this question: When is enough–enough?

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The terrible mass murder of innocent young students and teachers at a Connecticut schoolhouse has America in tears—but sadly, this incident will soon be forgotten, and necessary lessons will not have been learned. Rather, thousands of Americans will be killed next year because of America’s morbid fascination with guns and its fostering of a culture of violence. As General Douglas MacArthur once rightly said: “It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.” This necessary change of man’s evil and wicked heart will come for all of mankind, but only AFTER Jesus Christ has returned to this earth to establish the Kingdom of God. Our new StandingWatch program addresses this missing key to a correct understanding of the issue of gun control and violence. 

We are also warning of a cyber attack of a Russian gangster on American banks and customers early next year; and point out that even with or without the fiscal cliff, America is heading for another recession. While Germany is coping with an attempted terror attack on Bonn’s central station, which, if successful, would have meant  the loss of hundreds of lives, Germany—as well as the USA–are preparing for war in the Middle East, but especially Germany may be unprepared for what might be awaiting the troops there.

In other news, Israel’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in the wake of charges of breach of trust for allegedly receiving classified information on an investigation against him, and a majority of Egyptians voted for the Islamist constitution of the President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

We conclude with an article showing how twisted human reasoning can be used to support and endorse unbiblical Christmas celebrations.

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“Without Gun Control, 48,000 Americans Will Die Next Year”

Newsmax reported on December 16, 2012:

“New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday challenged President Barack Obama to take charge of imposing stricter gun-control laws in the United States following the horrific shootings of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut schoolhouse (before the murderer committed suicide). ‘It’s time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do, not go to Congress and say what you guys want to do,’ Bloomberg said…

“The staunch gun-control advocate, whose state’s gun restrictions are among the toughest in the country, said if Obama does not act, an estimated 48,000 Americans will die next year at the trigger of illegally possessed guns… Specifically, Obama, who campaigned in 2008 on an assault-weapons-ban platform, should enforce existing laws more aggressively and introduce legislation to Congress, Bloomberg said. ‘If Congress were to act, if Congress wasn’t so afraid of the NRA… if they were to stand up and do what was right for the American public, we’d all be a lot better off,’ he said…”

Countries Overseas Condemn American Politics on Guns

The Times of Israel wrote on December 15:

“… amid the messages of condolences, much of the discussion after the Connecticut rampage centered on gun control — a baffling subject for many in Asia and Europe, where mass shootings also have occurred but where access to guns is much more heavily restricted. Many Twitter users and media personalities in the UK immediately invoked Dunblane — a 1996 shooting in that small Scottish town which killed 16 children. That tragedy prompted a campaign that ultimately led to tighter gun controls effectively making it illegal to buy or possess a handgun in the UK. ‘This is America’s Dunblane,’ British CNN host Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter late Friday. ‘We banned handguns in Britain after that appalling tragedy. What will the US do? Inaction [is] not an option.’…

“Australia confronted a similar tragedy in 1996, when a man went on a shooting spree in the southern state of Tasmania, killing 35 people. The mass killing sparked outrage across the country and led the government to impose strict new gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

“China has seen several rampage attacks at schools in recent years, though the attackers there usually use knives and not guns. The most recent attack happened Friday, when a knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China. With more than 100,000 Chinese studying in US schools, a sense of shared grief came through. ‘Parents with children studying in the US must be tense. School shootings happen often in the US. Can’t politicians put away politics and prohibit gun sales?’ Zhang Xin, a wealthy property developer, wrote on her feed on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service, where she has 4.9 million followers. ‘There will always be mental patients among us. They should not be given guns’…

“Some in South Korea, whose government does not allow people to possess guns privately, blamed a lack of gun control in the United States for the high number of deaths in Connecticut… In Thailand, which has one of Asia’s highest rates of murder by firearms and has seen schools attacked by Islamist insurgents in its southern provinces, a columnist for the English-language daily newspaper The Nation blamed American culture for fostering a climate of violence…”

Will Gun Control Ever Come?

The New York Times wrote on December 14:

“Each slaughter of innocents seems to get more appalling… There is no crime greater than violence against children, no sorrow greater than that of a parent who has lost a child, especially in this horrible way. Our hearts are broken for those parents who found out their children — little more than babies, really — were wounded or killed, and for those who agonized for hours before taking their traumatized children home… We have no doubt Mr. Obama will help in any way he can, for now, but what about addressing the problem of guns gone completely out of control, a problem that comes up each time a shooter opens fire on a roomful of people but then disappears again?

“The assault weapons ban enacted under President Clinton was deficient and has expired. Mr. Obama talked about the need for ‘common sense’ gun control after the movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colo., and he hinted during the campaign that he might support a new assault weapons ban, presumably if someone else introduced it. Republicans will never do that, because they are mired in an ideology that opposes any gun control. After each tragedy, including this one, some people litter the Internet with grotesque suggestions that it would be better if everyone (kindergarten teachers?) were armed. Far too many Democrats also live in fear of the gun lobby and will not support an assault weapons ban, or a ban on high-capacity bullet clips, or any one of a half-dozen other sensible ideas…

“The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.”

That America’s morbid obsession with guns is terribly misguided is absolutely true. The conservative German paper, Die Welt commented that America’s “armored insanity” has become routine. “The American god of arms is insatiable,” the Italian newspaper La Repubblica wrote. According to Deutsche Welle, “The Economist… drew the conclusion… that the only effective gun control is ‘no guns.’ For ‘having few guns means that few people get shot.’ The Economist made a comparison with Great Britain where, following ‘a couple of horrible mass shootings, handguns have been effectively banned.’ Firearms-ownership is onerous, involving a lot of paperwork, the Economist explained, and it’s hard to get ammunition. The result: ‘In 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and Wales… In America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008.’” Spain’s El Mundo spoke of the “‘inculture’ of violence” which “is deeply engrained in American society.”

Fortunately, the day of abolition of guns WILL come—but only after Jesus Christ has returned and people will have a change of heart and mind. The next article succinctly addresses the need to change our way of thinking and acting.

Eradicate the Culture of Violence

On December 16, the Times of Israel wrote this:

“With the jolt and shock of the mass murder in Connecticut we will once again bear witness to a futile discussion about faulty policies around gun laws and the inordinate power of the gun lobby in the U.S. We know and grow weary of the claims for and against, and we also know that nothing will change… But isn’t it appropriate that a much broader and deeper conversation be opened, one that concerns not only Americans, but all of us who are searching for a society where values and cultural mores are taught? Can such a society exist with this atmosphere of public violence surrounding us? Even in a place like the State of Israel, where there is much better regulation regarding the sale and licensing of weapons?

“I myself grew up in a home where it was forbidden to hold anything resembling a weapon, from a water gun to a slingshot or even a small knife. We were not allowed to play war games of any kind. When we received items like these for birthdays, they were thrown directly into the trash, sometimes over our loud protests. Yet this is also how we educated our own children…

“The country I served as a rabbi forbade the airing of the series ‘Power Rangers’ in order to prevent acts of violence and so as not to expose children to violence. Today, I see the amount of violence on the Internet, television, and of course in the news and in our general discourse and in contrast, ‘Power Rangers’ looks almost like a ballet. This has entered so deeply into our contemporary culture that the implications go well beyond our ability to control or direct.

“When I led discussions in this direction in the Knesset Education Committee about television programs, the response was always the excuse that all programs provide an age warning. Of course this obviously just tells children who have not reached the appropriate age that they should watch…

“I hope that in memory of these slaughtered children we not only embrace our own children, as recommended by President Obama, but we also take action to eradicate the culture of violence from within our midst.”

The author has a point, even though he quite inconsistently relates in another portion of the article (which was deleted above) that his father had no problems with fighting in Israel ‘s wars, even though he taught the strictest form of pacifism at home. Sadly, such parental conduct gives mixed signals to their children.

Gun Lobby Silent—For Now…

Deutsche Welle reported on December 16:

“In the hours of media coverage about the Newtown shooting, representatives of the gun lobby have had little to say. David Gregory, host of ‘Meet the Press,’ said his show invited all 31 senators who expressed their support for gun rights to appear on the show but all declined. Bob Schieffer of ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS said the NRA refused an invitation to appear on the show.

“Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Texas, was one of the few conservative, supporters of gun rights who appeared for interviews. He argued that had teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School also had guns in their offices, they would have been able to kill the 20-year-old gunman.”

What nonsense… However, as CNN reported this week, more and more states seem to consider providing teachers with weapons. At the same time, the NRA issued a letter of sympathy and stated that they will prevent these massacres from happening again, without giving any details as to how this is to be accomplished.

America’s Morbid Fascination with Guns

In the context of the horrible Connecticut school shooting, it might be worthwhile to consider the next report, which was published by salon.com on December 3, 2012—BEFORE the terrible mass murder in Connecticut:

“The United States produces the vast majority of firearms in this country. It’s also the world’s leading weapons exporter by far. America exported $336.5 million worth of firearms in 2011… That’s $200 million more than Italy, the next leading exporter. In addition to feeding booming gun sales at home, however, the insatiable American appetite for weapons is also responsible for fueling a burgeoning small arms industry around the world. Despite producing so many of its own weapons, the United States is also the top global importer… global small-arms sales for 2011 [are valued] at $8.5 billion, more than double its 2006 estimate of $4 billion…

“American small-arms purchases in 2009 accounted for 38 percent of the global total at $1.8 billion, more than 47 other leading importers combined… Private citizens provide the main source of demand for small arms around the globe. Of the 650 million firearms owned by civilians worldwide, more than 41 percent are in American hands. It’s no surprise the United States has by far the highest proportion of guns per person, an estimated 89 civilian firearms per 100 residents… 47 percent of American adults… keep guns. That’s the highest since 1993…

“Experts say a lack of data makes it difficult to come up with an estimate of illegal arms sales… Even though Americans are the world’s biggest exporters and importers of small arms, however, the vast majority of US-made guns stay at home. The industry exported less than 4.5 percent of its new manufactures in 2010… US companies increased production by 2 million between 2006 and 2010, bringing the total to nearly 5.5 million…

“Some blame the recent increase in civilian spending on small arms on fear President Barack Obama would introduce stricter gun control… Despite decrying gun violence, however, Obama hasn’t pushed for gun control. His administration is also advocating new regulations that would make it easier to export weapons abroad… the US gun lobby… is spending tens of millions of dollars to ensure the highly lucrative industry keeps expanding…”

Joe Biden Got the Buck

The New York Times wrote on December 19:

“During… the White House news conference on Wednesday afternoon… President Obama made a forceful announcement in response to the massacre of children last week in Newtown, Conn. He said he was directing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to lead an effort ‘to come up with a set of concrete proposals’ about dealing with gun violence that he would submit to Congress no later than January.”

Some have criticized President Obama for passing the buck to Vice-President Biden; others have pointed out that Joe Biden was once before heavily involved in trying to pass legislation against the purchase and possession of semi-automatic weapons, but that this attempt failed miserably and that the Democrats suffered deeply as a consequence.

The Rush for More Guns

Newsmax reported on December 18:

“Thousands of Americans are rushing to their local gun stores to buy high-powered rifles and ammunition in a bid to thwart a potential assault weapons ban in the wake of last week’s Connecticut school massacre. At a Cincinnati gun show, ‘sales were through the roof on Saturday,’ Joe Eaton of Ohio’s Buckeye Firearms Association told the network. ‘People were buying everything they could out of fear the president would try to ban certain guns and high-capacity magazines.’ And in Colorado, an official at Colorado Bureau of Investigation told Fox the agency processed more than 4,200 background checks on Saturday, the day after the shootings.

“The hot-selling model is the AR-15 – the same firearm used by gunman Adam Lanza — along with the powerful .223 ammunition it uses. More than three million Americans own an AR-15, which gun store owners say buyers like because ‘it’s the civilian version of the fearsome M-16 used by the U.S. military,’’ CBS News reports…”

As the famous song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” puts it, “When will they ever learn?”

Mass Murder in Connecticut and Freedom to Own Guns

Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 17:

“Once again, the United States is debating its gun laws, even if the discussion is likely to be short and inconclusive…This old fairy tale of self-defense is popular in the pro-gun lobby. It has also been statistically disproved. Civilians who shoot back usually miss. And those self-proclaimed defenders of law and order often hit the wrong target…

“The madness continues. The statistics, quoted often again since Friday, are well-known. America leads the world in shooting deaths, with some 30,000 people killed by guns each year. Yet each time there’s a major shooting, weapons sales increase…”

The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote on December 16:

“President Obama’s ‘never again’ are little more than plaintive words. He’s trying to provide comfort, but he certainly isn’t promising any improvement. During Obama’s first term, more than 40,000 of his compatriots died in a hail of bullets. One out of 10 of these victims was under the age of 18. He never even had the courage to at least come up with stronger laws to take some of the deadliest weapons out of the hands of civilians… Obama points to the constitutionally protected right for US citizens to possess weapons. In reality, however, he is wary of a battle with the Republicans and the gun lobby…

“The statistical probability that a person will be killed by a firearm is 16 times greater in the US than Germany. Why?… Because all you really need to buy a gun [in the US] is a driver’s license. The obligatory ‘background check’ is pure farce, with officials giving the green light for 99 out of 100 applications.”

The Stuttgarter Zeitung wrote on December 16:

“This massacre, as difficult as it is to comprehend, is not a stroke of fate; it is not comparable to a natural catastrophe. … The bloody crime was made easier by conditions that can very much be influenced by people…

“Nowhere else in the world are so many weapons in circulation as in the US… Every 20 minutes, a US citizen is murdered by a firearm. American schoolchildren are killed by bullets 10 times more often than in comparable industrialized countries. Such numbers speak for themselves.”

“It is impossible to prevent mass shootings… Yet it is also clear that it is possible to significantly reduce the danger of such attacks. Where weapons are not part of everyday life, the risk of such a monstrous event such as that in Newtown is significantly reduced.”

Still, while people look for explanations for the humanly unexplainable massacre in Connecticut–the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Virgina Tech shooting in 2007 when 32 victims (and the gunman) were killed—there is no doubt in our minds that the perpetrator was demonically influenced or possessed, even if “medical experts” will ultimately diagnose and label him as “mentally unstable or ill.” In fact, some have already begun doing so. Of course, easy access to guns in his mother’s home made his bloody rampage much easier. Any “rational human explanation” for his insane killings will by necessity fall short of reality and truth. The real issue is, why and how did the perpetrator allow himself to come under Satan’s influence in such a drastic way? We must understand that demonic possession does not “just happen” without any involvement and personal culpability of the possessed. Besides dealing with the occult, uncontrolled human emotions, such as anger and the obsession with violence, can contribute to demonic influence as well.

Russian Cyber-Gangster Prepared to Rob Many American Banks and Customers

The Washington Times wrote on December 14:

“The U.S. financial services industry has issued a warning that a Russian cyber-gangster is preparing to rob American banks and their customers of millions of dollars. In addition, the computer security firm McAfee has reported that the cyber-criminal, who calls himself ‘Thief-in-Law,’ already has infected… hundreds of computers of unwitting American customers in preparation to steal their bank account data.

“The warning was issued Thursday by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), which shares information throughout the financial sector about terrorist and online threats… According to McAfee, Thief-in-Law has installed malicious software programs, known as ‘malware,’ on hundreds of computers as part of his plan, dubbed ‘Project Blitzkrieg.’ The malware steals passwords and login information, which hackers can use to drain victims’ bank accounts online. ‘McAfee Labs believes that Project Blitzkrieg is a credible threat to the financial industry and appears to be moving forward as planned,’ a company report states.

“The Times reported in October that Thief-in-Law was trying to recruit an army of hackers to rob U.S. bank accounts next year and had posted a video of himself boasting about his online criminal activities and his immunity from law enforcement. ‘If you accurately target [bank] customers in the USA while being in Russia, then you can [sic] fear nothing…’ [the gangster wrote]…”

Fiscal Cliff—Britain Already Jumped…

The Washington Post wrote on December 16:

“If President Obama and congressional Republicans fail to reach a deal in the coming weeks, Americans face a fierce wave of tax hikes and spending cuts that could threaten the U.S. economy. Yet Britain has already crashed over its own economic precipice, with the Conservative-led government unleashing a radical experiment in austerity since coming to power in 2010 that has seen public spending corralled and taxes increased on this side of the Atlantic…

“Other indebted European nations, including Greece and Spain, have forcibly adopted austerity to appease international lenders and financial markets, both with devastating economic effects. But no country in Europe shares a closer profile — both economic and cultural — with the United States than Britain.

“Bringing with it even harsher austerity than the plan imposed here, the fiscal cliff, economists say, could damage the U.S. economy proportionately more than the battering in Britain. But even if the worst is averted in Washington, the British experience suggests just how difficult the challenges may be for a large and deeply indebted industrial economy like that of the United States… David Riley, managing director for sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings in London [said:] ‘If the U.S. follows the same path as Britain, it could end up in recession, anyway.’”

Washington—Deeply Dysfunctional

Deutsche Welle reported on December 19:

“Whether or not the US will avert the fiscal cliff or jump over it at the end of the year, one thing is already clear. In Washington’s deeply dysfunctional governing process compromise is a four-letter word. The media hype, incredulously headlining that there is “hope” after all, and the bounce by Asian stock markets after the news that the US government hasn’t given up yet on trying to prevent the country from spiraling into a self-made recession, just goes to show how low expectations have become for Washington to accomplish even the most urgent tasks.

“All it took to trigger this pre-holiday outbreak of joy was that Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner didn’t end their talks over a fiscal cliff deal within a matter of minutes after starting them, but have managed to keep their conversation going for a few days now… Never mind that a real and lasting solution is all but assured and that even if one is reached, the important details have to be hammered out next year…

“Much is at stake. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated earlier this year that failure to avert the fiscal cliff – the double whammy of massive tax hikes and massive spending cuts slated to go into effect January 1, 2013 – would reduce the US budget by $607 billion or four percent of GDP. As a result, predicted the CBO, the US would probably slip back into a recession in 2013…

“The road toward the fiscal cliff is long and was paved by Congress in 2010 with the extension of the temporary tax cuts of the Bush administration and by automatic budget cuts agreed in 2011. Without new legislation, the Bush-era tax cuts will expire at the same time the automatic budget cuts kick in come January 1. ‘If Americans are about to jump over the fiscal cliff, it’s because Congress has been totally dysfunctional in the last two to four years in terms of its essential function, which is to make a budget,’ Vincent Michelot, a US expert at Sciences Po university in Lyon, told DW… Naturally this leads to the question why it is so difficult for Congress to reach any significant deal, be it over the fiscal cliff, Wall Street Reform, Health Care Reform, Immigration Reform or even to pass a budget…

“So even if a compromise on the fiscal cliff is reached and then hailed as the holiday miracle of the season, Washington’s political logic has not changed. Compromise doesn’t pay off. The next big test for this rule is already written on the wall: Gun control legislation.”

The Washington Times wrote on December 20:

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he plans to send his chamber home for Christmas and then reconvene on Dec. 27 to try to work through the ‘fiscal cliff’ — even as House Republicans said they’ll keep their troops in town to try to strike a deal. The moves come as both sides jockey for the upper hand in trying to avoid blame for a possible breakdown in the budget talks to avoid the fiscal cliff.

“House Republicans are poised to pass a bill Thursday that would prevent spending cuts and most tax increases, and have said they’ll stay here to get a deal done. But there won’t be anyone on the other side of the table — at least not until next week… Mr. Reid said the House Republicans should forget about passing their bill and not bother sending the Senate anything, but instead go deal with President Obama… Reid said he won’t put that bill up to a vote in the Senate. ‘There’s nothing to discuss. We are not taking up any of the things they are working on over there now,’ Mr. Reid… said.”

Terrorist Attack on Bonn Central Station

Deutsche Welle reported on December 15:

“Federal prosecutors in Germany have taken over the investigation into a failed bomb plot at the Bonn central station. They say the incident was likely an attempt by an Islamist organization to commit an act of terror. The announcement on Friday from the German federal public prosecutors’ office in Karlsruhe confirms that Monday’s bomb scare is being treated as an attempted terror attack…

“In a recap of the facts in the case so far, the prosecutor’s office said that a man left a sports bag on one of the platforms at the main train station in Bonn early in the afternoon on Monday. The bag contained a prepared explosive device. An initial investigation of the device revealed it consisted of a metal pipe approximately 40 cm (15.7 inches) long that contained ammonium nitrate. Compressed gas cartridges were wrapped around the pipe, as were a timer and batteries meant to serve as an ignition device… An investigation is still ongoing as to why the device did not explode…”

Debate Over Circumcision Will Continue in Germany and Europe

On December 16, JTA published the following “opinion” by Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations:

“[The] German parliament passage of legislation to protect male circumcision for religious purposes occurred, coincidentally, during Chanukah. The holiday celebrates the Jewish uprising against the Syrian Greeks more than two millennia ago. It was a revolt triggered by religious persecution, including punishment by death for performing circumcisions.

“By contrast, at no time in the 1,700-year history of Jews in Germany has the practice been forbidden — not even by Hitler — despite repeated attempts, particularly during the post-French revolution era of emancipation. What a shock, therefore, when a court in Cologne last May determined criminal liability for those who perform circumcisions without medical indication on children below the age of consent.

“Following the ruling, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle affirmed religious circumcision in Germany. The German parliament vowed to pass legislation intended to quell the legal uncertainties stirred up by the Cologne ruling. Despite this swift political response, public controversy ensued.

“Secular humanists, anti-abortionists, human rights activists, and medical and legal professionals vociferously demanded a ban on circumcision. Their well-financed campaign included newspaper ads, Op-Eds, letters to the editor and cartoons mocking practitioners of circumcision. Using a body of flawed evidence, opponents alleged that circumcision is a high-risk and irreversible procedure, intimating that Jews and Muslims cause irreparable harm to their children. The depiction of Jews and Muslims as societal outcasts with primitive practices, not surprisingly, unleashed crude anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim sentiments in hate mail, reader’s comments and the Internet. Parliamentarians were bombarded with anti-Semitic hate mail on circumcision.

“Ostensibly respectable German groups devoted to public health, some of them doctors’ organizations, cited alleged clinical proof that circumcision endangers a boy’s health, interferes with his later sexual functioning and causes long-term psychological damage. Interestingly, the anti-circumcision groups dismiss U.S. data claiming that circumcision is an ‘industry’ with American pediatricians earning enormous profits by performing unnecessary circumcisions. Accusations behind closed doors are that American medicine is in the hands of profit-greedy Jews…

“In fact, there is ample evidence that circumcision has no deleterious effects and may even lessen the odds of contracting HIV and other diseases. Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend circumcision on health grounds. Israel, a country with well-documented records on circumcision, reported complication rates in 2011 of less than a tenth of 1 percent. Given the overwhelming body of evidence, the question arises as to why Germany came so perilously close to becoming the first country to ban circumcision for religious purposes?…

“Although Jews have been part of German life for nearly 2,000 years, this debate revealed the degree to which the Jewish minority is understood by many as ‘the other,’ with demands that Jewish rituals be reformed to an allegedly more modern era. Interestingly, even though there are 4 million Muslims in Germany and approximately 250,000 Jews, the controversy focused mostly on Jews, revealing the continued discomfort with the subject of Jews in Germany nearly 70 years after the Holocaust…

“In the end, the Bundestag remained true to democratic values and affirmed the religious rights of minorities — exactly the message of the Chanukah holiday… Nonetheless, circumcision opponents are likely to challenge the legislation. A German parliamentarian has vowed to bring her fight against circumcision to the Council of Europe… Debate over circumcision, a test of democracy and religious tolerance, is likely to continue in Europe.”

America Is Preparing for War

The New American wrote on December 10:

“More than 3,000 U.S. military personnel have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait and 17,000 more are on their way in response to the civil war in Syria that has spilled over into northern Iraq, according to a report published Monday by Iran’s Press TV. [Update: On December 14, U.S. Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor said in an email to The New American, ‘All reports of 3,000 troops returning to Iraq are completely false.’]

“The news follows by four days a report from the Russian news service RT that the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower has joined the USS Iwo Jima off the coast of Syria. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week issued stern warnings to Syria about unspecified but serious ‘consequences’ that would follow if government forces in Syria were to use chemical weapons against insurgents fighting to overthrow the government led by President Bashar al-Assad. The warnings came after reports that intelligence sources have reported signs of activity where the Assad regime is believed to have chemical weapons stored. At the same time, U.S. officials have expressed concern over the possibility that Jihadist elements among the rebel forces might capture those same weapons. Israel is worried — along with Western nations — that the militant Islamic group Hezbollah, an ally of Iran and enemy of Israel, might be among the rebels likely to get hold of and use chemical weapons…

“Without citing specific numbers of troops on the U.S. ships off the Syrian coast, RT reported that the Eisenhower is equipped to carry eight fighter-bombers and 8,000 men, while the Iwo Jima is designed to carry 2,500 U.S. Marines. RT last week also quoted an Australian news report of U.S. covert forces either in or very near Syria, ready to strike…

“There has been no United Nations resolution authorizing the establishment of either a no-fly zone or of U.S. ground forces. More importantly for the United States, there has been no authorization from Congress, as the Constitution requires, for the Obama administration to intervene militarily in the Syrian conflict. There is, however, a long line of precedents of presidents waging war without congressional approval, including the aerial campaign ordered by President Obama in 2011 in a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to save the rebel forces that toppled the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya. Anti-Western, militant Islamic groups involved in the fighting against Gadhafi’s forces later participated in the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.”

US and Germany Send Patriot Missiles to Turkish Border

CNN reported on December 14:

“The United States and Germany are sending Patriot missiles and troops to the Turkish border… The surface-to-air interceptors would be ‘dealing with threats that come out of Syria,’ said U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Threats would include Syrian strikes inside Turkey and fighting between the government and rebels that extends into Turkey… Despite the prospect of U.S. missiles on Al-Assad’s doorstep and a weakening regime, U.S. intelligence officials said the Syrian leader is showing no signs of giving up… The moves come a week after NATO foreign ministers approved the deployment of Patriots to protect Turkey against any threats from al-Assad’s regime…

“Also Friday, the German parliament approved the deployment of German Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey… The Netherlands have shown willingness to add Patriot batteries… Turkey and NATO insist the Patriot system would be used only for defense.”

The Unprepared German Troops at Turkish-Syrian Border

The Local wrote on December 14:

“As the German government gave the go-ahead on Friday to send 400 troops to the Turkish-Syrian border, a soldiers’ association voiced concern that they would not be properly equipped against chemical, nuclear or biological attack. There was no plan in place to shield troops at the border from nuclear, biological and chemical warfare…

“The government approved Germany’s participation in the NATO mission by a large majority on Friday afternoon. Around 400 of its troops will now be sent to Turkey to be deployed alongside a number of Patriot missiles to help defend the country’s border with Syria. They should arrive in January 2013 and will probably stay until January 31, 2014. The Green party and the Social Democrats have both suggested they would be supporting the operation.”

NBC News Richard Engel Freed in Deadliest Country–Syria

The Associated Press reported on December 19:

“The last missing member of an NBC team that was kidnapped in Syria has been freed and is safely in Turkey, NBC News executives said Wednesday. Ian Rivers was part of the NBC team led by the network’s chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel. They were kidnapped in Syria on Thursday, and Engel and several other members escaped unharmed on Monday… Appearing on NBC’s ‘Today’ show Tuesday, an unshaven Engel said more than a dozen pro-regime gunmen dragged him and his colleagues from their car, killed one of their rebel escorts and subjected them to mock executions. He said they escaped during a firefight Monday night between their captors and rebels at a checkpoint.

“Engel said he believes the kidnappers were a Shiite militia group loyal to President Bashar Assad’s government, which has lost control over swaths of the country’s north and is increasingly on the defensive in a civil war that activists say has killed 40,000 people since March 2011… According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Syria is by far the deadliest country for the news media in 2012, with 28 journalists killed in combat or targeted for murder by government or opposition forces.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman Resigned

Deutsche Welle reported on December 14:

“Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned… ‘I have decided to resign my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and… also to remove my [parliamentary] immunity forthwith so I can end this matter quickly, without delay and clear my name absolutely,’ Lieberman said in an emailed statement on Friday. The announcement came one day after Israel’s attorney general had indicted Lieberman for alleged breach of trust, but had dropped more serious allegations against him including fraud and money-laundering. Lieberman is being charged for allegedly receiving classified information from a former ambassador to Belarus on an investigation against him. Lieberman has maintained he is innocent.

“It remains unclear whether he can still stand in the Jan. 22 general electionm, but he confirmed on Saturday he would attempt to run. A coalition between Lieberman’s right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu (Our Home is Israel) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party has been predicted to win by opinion polls. Without Lieberman on the bill, some pollsters believe the coaltion group will lose support.

“An official in the prime minister’s office said Netanyahu would serve as acting foreign minister until the election.”

Egyptians Vote for Islamist Constitution in First Round

Reuters reported on December 16:

“President Mohamed Mursi has won initial backing from Egyptians for a new constitution that he hopes will steer the country out of crisis, but which opponents say is an Islamist charter that tramples on minority rights. A first day of voting in a referendum on the draft basic law resulted in 56.5 percent ‘Yes’ vote, Mursi’s political party said. An opposition official conceded that Egyptians voting on Saturday appeared to have backed the measure. Next Saturday’s second set of balloting is likely to give another ‘yes’ vote as the voting then will be in districts generally seen as even more sympathetic towards Islamists, and that would mean the constitution should be approved.

“But the apparent closeness of the early tally gives Mursi only limited comfort as it exposes deep divisions in a country where he needs to build a consensus for tough economic reforms… A narrow loss could still hearten the leftists, socialists, Christians and more liberal-minded Muslims who make up the disparate opposition, which has been beaten in two elections since Mubarak was overthrown last year. They were drawn together to oppose what they saw as a power grab by Mursi as he pushed through the constitution…”

Deutsche Welle reported on December 19:

“The tensions over Egypt’s referendum on the new constitution show no signs of going away as more judges say they’ll boycott monitoring the second round of voting… Also, the judges of the Supreme Judicial Council have said they will not oversee the second round of voting, which is likely to raise doubts about the entire referendum’s legitimacy… The opposition has campaigned for weeks against the draft constitution. They see it as an Islamist basic law which would limit fundamental freedoms and turn society towards a religious path… Overall, the rift between the political camps is growing… society is getting ever more divided.”

Intermarriage OK?

The Jewish news agency, New Voices, published an article on December 17 by an author who forsook the Jewish faith and who advocates “intermarriage.” When reading the article, one must feel deep sorrow and grief for the author’s misguided opinions (We omitted his curse words and other inappropriate and offensive language).

“Like many other particularly un-athletic Jewish youth, I spent many Sundays playing Little League baseball at my local JCC… One day while waiting in the lineup I struck up a conversation with a fellow player. He told me all about how he got to celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, because his dad was Jewish and his mom was not… Not long after this I met one of my distant relatives for the first time, and I learned that he was intermarried. He has two children, and it disturbed me immensely that they were not Jewish…

“When I first discounted Judaism, I still held my old opposition to intermarriage… I have searched far and wide for reasons not to intermarry. Many rabbis, family members and peers have been consulted but I have yet to find a satisfactory answer. The most common reply people have given me is always about ‘keeping the traditions going,’ or something of that sort. I understand the appeal of this, but I do not find it valid. These traditions such as celebrating Passover are nice but they are indubitably based on falsehoods…

“Through all of this I don’t have one decent theological reason not to marry whoever I damn please, but I still have a pretty good practical one. Could I do it to my family? I know it would destroy my parents…

“But no matter how much I rationalize my Jewish heritage or contemplate intermarriage I have to admit that, strangely, I still feel Jewish. When Aly Riesman won the gold medal I felt like a proud Jewish mother and almost cried tears of joy. Whenever I see Israeli F16s fly over I get chills down my spine. Any athlete or celebrity that is Jewish immediately goes to the top of my favorite list. I do not keep Shabbat, I ate bacon cheese fries on Rosh Hashanah while drinking and watching football at a bar, and I do not even fast on Yom Kippur. This feeling of Jewish pride is the last vestige of my forsaken faith, and it may be the most essential one. I would love for my children to be able to identify as Jews simply so they could have something to be proud of, but what kind of sacrifices am I willing to make for that to happen?”

If the author had not forsaken the faith of the Bible, he would know the answer. It is not a matter of feeling proud to be Jewish, while forsaking everything which makes one Jewish. Both the Old and the New Testament teach that God’s people—ancient Israel and Judah in the Old Testament and Christians in the New—should not intermarry with others of a different faith. (If such a marriage exists, Paul’s admonitions and teachings in 1 Corinthians 7 apply). However, since the author has fallen for deceptive Satanic reasoning (such as, that the Passover is built on falsehood), and is disobedient to God by not keeping His Holy Days and by not refraining from unclean meat, whatever understanding he might have had has left him. One can’t help but to feel deeply sorry for him.

Christmas Tree Symbolizes Divine Light of Christ?

Zenit wrote on December 14:

“Pope Benedict XVI received in audience a delegation from the Italian region of Molise, which this year has donated the fir tree raised next to the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square. The lighting ceremony will take place later on today. The Pope thanked the delegation for the silver fir – which was accompanied by eight other smaller trees… [He] said that event of God becoming man was to ‘dispel the shadows of sin, bringing His divine light to humanity.

“‘This highest of lights, symbolized and recalled by the Christmas tree, has not only shown no sign of dimming through the passing of the centuries and the millennia, but rather continues to shine upon us and to illuminate every person who comes into the world, especially in moments of uncertainty and difficulty.’ Recalling the words of Christ, who proclaimed, ‘I am the light of the world’, Pope Benedict said that there have been many attempts to ‘extinguish the light of God.’ These attempts, the Pope continued, are meant ‘to replace it with the glare of illusion and deceit’ and ‘have heralded episodes of tragic violence against mankind.’”

The tragic confusion is that the Christmas tree—a pagan custom and object of worship used to pray to heathen gods—is part of that very “glare of illusion and deceit” which is trying to “replace” and extinguish the true Light—Jesus Christ.

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How is faith measured?

The Bible is clear that faith is measured in terms of both quantity and quality.

Before going into detail about what the Bible says about measuring faith, it is important to clarify just what faith is. Hebrews 11:1 says it best: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We understand this to mean that faith is an action which treats things that have not yet happened, and things which are not empirically evident, as truth. There is no practical distinction between the object of faith and reality to the believer. Faith is the ability to believe in deed.

The Bible tells us that proper faith is very powerful. Having the right kind of faith allows amazing miracles to become possible. Healings of otherwise incurable illnesses are possible (Mark 5:34). Moving mountains is possible (Matthew 17:20). Causing trees to wither (Matthew 21:19-21) or become uprooted and move is possible (Luke 17:6). Each of these actions and events of similar miraculous stature are possible, but always subject and pursuant to God’s Will, when the right kind of faith works within the life of a Christian.

The first way that faith is measured is in terms of quality. When we talk about the quality of faith, we refer to the type of faith, and how well that faith is able to work for its intended purpose. A person may have faith in ungodly, selfish or misapplied things or people, such as riches, pride, power, or violent man. However, this is not the kind of faith that God looks for. In fact, it is disloyal to God to have faith in anything that is not of God. Jesus Christ tells us in Luke 16:13: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” A Christian must first determine if his or her faith is the correct type to ensure that it is Godly faith if it is to be the kind that is pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:1). Faith in Godly things is different from faith in “magic tricks.” Jesus refused to perform any miracles which, by themselves, were not ungodly, but which would have placed His action in a wrong light. For instance, He refused to command stones to become bread when He was hungry, as He would otherwise have given in to Satan’s temptations.

There are different kinds of Godly faith as well. The first kind of Godly faith is faith in God and Jesus Christ. This quality of this kind of faith is characterized by the belief that it is possible to receive salvation and the gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of God the Father’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. In our free booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Galatians – How to Understand It,” we write about this in detail:

“It is of course true that we must have faith in Christ—including in His name, identity, role and function, His message, and His sacrifice (Acts 3:16; 20:21; 24:24; John 3:14–15; 5:24; 11:24; 12:46). Before we receive the Holy Spirit, which God gives us only after repentance, belief, proper adult baptism (Acts 2:38) and the laying on of hands through God’s true ministers (Hebrews 6:2; Acts 8:14–20)—our faith IN Christ is the ONLY kind of faith we can have.

“But even this is not a ‘dead’ faith, but a ‘living’ faith—it is that kind of faith that manifests itself through works of OBEDIENCE (James 2:14, 17, 22, 26; Romans 1:5; 16:26; Acts 6:7). John 3:36 reads, correctly translated: ‘He who believes IN the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not OBEY the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him’ (compare Revised Standard Version). In fact, without living, obedient faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ, we cannot even receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).”

It is also important to note that true faith in God and Jesus Christ requires that a Christian is called by God first. It is only then that one may begin to be receptive to understanding God’s way of life and truth. In John 6:44-47 we read the words of Jesus Christ: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes [in Me] has everlasting life.”

Jesus Christ taught very clearly that being called by God is necessary before it is possible to truly learn from God. Additionally, it requires faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to make it possible to obtain salvation. But this kind of faith is a gift from God. We cannot just decide to have this kind of faith—it must be given to us by God as a free gift. As we explain in our free booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians,” when discussing Ephesians 2:8–10:

“Paul states in verse 8, in the Authorized Version, that ‘it is the gift of God.’ First, this refers to ‘faith’… our belief in Christ is a gift of God (Philippians 1:29). Nobody can come to Christ unless the Father draws Him (John 6:44, 65). In fact, even repentance is a gift from God (Romans 2:4), and so is our ability to understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:9–12). God must reveal Himself and His knowledge to us (Matthew 11:25, 27; 16:17).”

Yet, the faith in God and Jesus Christ by a Christian who is called by God is only the beginning of Godly faith. In order to actually obtain the gift of eternal life, another type of faith is required. This is the faith of Jesus Christ living and working within us.

Once a called person has been properly baptized, he or she literally receives the faith of Christ working within his or her life. The object of the faith of Christ working within us is unique. It is the actual faith of Jesus Christ Himself that allows us to become righteous. Again quoting from our booklet “Paul’s Letter to the Galatians – How to Understand it,” we describe how the faith of Jesus Christ works within the life of a Christian:

“The Bible teaches that the faith of Christ—Christ’s faith in us—makes us righteous. Those who believe in Christ must have the faith OF Christ living IN them. Philippians 3:9 says: ‘… and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.’”

The type of faith that we have is a qualitative way of measuring faith. Godly faith is required to please God, and that involves having both faith in God and Jesus Christ, as well as having the faith of Jesus Christ working in us to obtain righteousness.

The quality of faith is also measured by how pure and complete it is. Faith that is mingled with doubt is marred and becomes less effective or ineffective completely. Writing in the context of asking God for wisdom and understanding, James states the following in James 1:6-7: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” This description of how doubt affects faith is enlightening. When doubt gets in the way of the belief of a Christian, the effect is instability, and may even make the object of faith fruitless. The quality of faith is measured by the degree to which doubt contradicts and interferes with its efficacy.

Faith is also measured by quantity. The amount of faith each individual has varies, and may grow or shrink, depending on his or her conduct. In Romans 12:3 we can see that Godly faith—“quality” faith– is clearly quantitatively measured when Paul writes the following: “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” The amount or measure of faith each Christian receives from God varies according to His Will, as He looks at our heart and to what extent we obediently act upon the faith that we have already received. It is also important to note that the faith that Paul mentions—both the faith in God and Christ and the faith of Christ in us–is a gift from God, and not something that originates in the individual Christian pursuant to his or her own will. Fortunately, faith is quite potent, and only a small amount may be required at first in order to do amazing things. But as the proverbial mustard seed is very small, but grows into a big tree  (Luke 13:19), so our faith in God and Christ must grow and increase, and we must allow Christ’s faith in us to work more and more mightily and powerfully in our lives. The apostles asked Christ to increase their faith (Luke 17:5).

At the same time, we are told that Abraham did not become weak in faith, but that his faith grew. Romans 4:19-21 reads, in the Revised Standard Version:

“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead, because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. “

The amount of faith of a Christian may also decrease. We read the following in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 when Paul writes his greetings to the early Church: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other…” Even though the members of the Church in Thessalonica may have initially received a small measure of faith, Paul acknowledges that their “quality” faith has grown in quantity. At the same time, Christ chided His apostles for their little faith, as He had been expecting a larger amount of faith in them (Mark 4:40). He even said that He had asked for Peter that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32).

Jesus Christ Himself acknowledges the amount of faith a believer has when evaluating the faith of His followers. In Matthew 8:10, Jesus encounters a faithful centurion who believes that Jesus has the ability to heal his servant. “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’”

The Greek word for the word “great” is “tosoutos” which means “of great quantity or amount.” Understanding this, we can plainly see that faith varies in amount, and in this case the centurion demonstrates that he has it in large amounts relative to others in Israel.

Faith is a critical element involved in being a Christian and obtaining the gift of eternal life provided by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. By growing in the amount of faith one has and by allowing Christ’s faith to work mightily in him or her, the ability for a Christian to obtain the object of faith, whether it is healing, understanding, or righteousness, becomes even more sure.

Lead Writers: Eric Rank and Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The new StandingWatch program is titled, “A World Without School Shootings and Gun Violence–How?” Evangelist Norbert Link offers challenging answers from the Bible–here is the summary: After the horrific mass murder of schoolchildren and adults in Connecticut, the issue of gun control was raised again. Many countries condemn America for its gun culture in a most hypocritical fashion. Pastor Joel Olsteen refused to take a position on the matter, as he felt it was a political issue that divides people. However, the question pertains to the very core of true Christianity. Will we ever experience peace on this planet? The answer is, Yes, indeed, but not in the way that most people think or expect.

This program will alsobe broadcast on radio, beginning Sunday, January 13.

“Neujahrsfeiern—Nur Harmloser Zeitvertreib?” (“New Year’s Celebrations—Only Harmless Amusement?”) is the title for a new AufPostenStehen program which reveals the non-Christian origins of New Year’s celebrations.

“Neu! Abrahams Wachstum im Glauben, Teil 2” (“New! Abraham’s Growth in Faith, Part 2”) is this week’s new German sermon. In this presentation, Mr. Link discusses the dream in Genesis 15, the incident with Hagar in Genesis 16, also in the context of polygamy, another covenant in Genesis 17, and the beginning of the visit of Jesus Christ and two angels in Genesis 18. The main emphasis of the sermon is the need to grow in faith.

Our brethren, who assemble for Sabbath services in Germany, are able to connect at times via SKYPE (that is, through a video transmission) with several other scattered brethren and prospective members to allow all an opportunity to “meet” together.

In addition, please note that live services are broadcast in the U.S. each Sabbath and can be accessed through our website–http://eternalgod.org/. We have meetings in Ramona, California; Woodburn, Oregon; Fort Collins, Colorado; Summerland, BC (Canada); and we conduct services in England. Members also participate in the Chat Room that is associated with our Internet transmissions. If you desire more information, please contact us.

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Purposefully or Purposely?

by Louise Amorelli

Lately, with all the unrelenting challenges and trials in both my and my husband’s lives, I became much more aware of my response to them and to others. Since these daily and long-term challenges have been front and center and without little down time, I started to more closely analyze how I handle these tests and how I re-act to them.  After all, I know that God knows all and has His direct Hand  in our lives. With this in mind, I know it is all for our edification and for building Godly character. So… do I act purposefully or re-act purposely?

By definition, if I do something on purpose, I re-act purposely. Usually for me, it’s without really thinking  my actions through and I re-act based on my emotions and my human nature. But if I act purposefully (basing my actions on Godly thinking), I then act (not re-act!) with a specific purpose in mind. It goes against my human nature to want to analyze each situation, meditate, pray and sometimes fast to act purposefully and with Godly intent, instead of re-acting too quickly and without much thought. I must remember that each of my actions draw a reaction from others and along with that, consequences. Ultimately, I know that I will have to stand before God and give account for wrong conduct that I was unwilling to change.

No matter how hard the challenge, I am convinced that I can overcome it with Godly wisdom and character, through submission and through His Spirit. I am learning to not let the trial overtake me, but letting God’s purpose shine its light, to be able to control and accept the challenge, instead of the trial controlling me. I am working on accepting each situation as an opportunity for seeing God’s purpose, and I am concentrating on acting purposefully to achieve the desired result for myself and others!

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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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God