Update 75


Not Just Right

The Sermon this weekend will be given by Dave Harris and is entitled, “Just Right.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream.”

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by Norbert Link

My dad had been a very heavy smoker, enjoying his use of pipes, cigars, and cigarettes. When he reached the age of 50, his older and younger brothers began to die because of different kinds of cancer related to their smoking. My dad rightly concluded that if he was not to stop smoking immediately, he might very well be the next dead member of the Link family, but it was not easy. Without perhaps realizing it, my dad had become addicted to smoking. He decided, however, that he would smoke his very last cigarette at noon of a particular set day, and he did. He has never smoked since. This month, he will turn 94. He was able to overcome his addiction, because he saw the absolute need to do so, if he wanted to stay alive.
Addiction can come in various forms and shapes. People might be addicted to smoking, or to alcohol, food, drugs, sex, money and material wealth, movies and television, gambling, sports, certain hobbies, various forms of entertainment, video games, computers, the telephone, including cell phones, or the company of their peers or friends. Some have become work “addicts,” while others have become “addicted” to their present or future mates, their parents or children, or even to someone married to someone else.
Whatever the type of addiction, it must be overcome. First, though, we must admit to ourselves that we have indeed become addicts, if this is the case. The denial that we might have a problem prevents us from overcoming the problem. Most addicts refuse to acknowledge their addiction. They might realize that they may drink too much alcohol at times, but they don’t see that they have become addicted to alcohol. When it comes to smoking, they might deny their addiction, by saying, “I could stop smoking at any time, if I wanted to.” Denial of addiction leads to the feeling that nothing is wrong — to the “searing of our conscience” (1 Timothy 4:2). Note how the way of the adulterous woman — we might say, of a sex addict — is described in Proverbs 30:20, “She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, ‘I have done no wickedness.'”
We are told to seek first God and His righteousness. This means, for instance, that we cannot seek and serve God and “mammon” — wealth and riches — at the same time (compare Matthew 6:24). If we are addicted to wealth, we are not seeking God first. Rather, we are to be bond-servants or slaves of God and Christ (1 Peter 2:16; 1 Corinthians 7:22-23), bringing even our thoughts “into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Nothing — and no one — must take a place in our lives that is more important to us than God and His Will for us.
To be addicted to some worldly thing means that we have lost our clear focus of right priorities. If we want to know whether we have become addicted to something, so that we “need” and “depend” on it in order to feel happy or “fulfilled,” let us make a test. Can we do without it for a while — whatever it is? If we cannot, we have indeed become addicted to it.
Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 6:12, even in relationship to things not contrary to God’s way of life, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful [or, profitable]. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Let’s examine ourselves, whether we have become addicts. If we are, we need to overcome our addiction. Without perhaps realizing it, we have been violating the very first of the Ten Commandments, telling us not to have other gods — whatever they may be — before the true God (Exodus 20:2-3). With God’s help, we can overcome every addiction. And we must do so. In some cases, our physical life might depend on it. More importantly, addiction stands in our way to obtaining eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Notice Christ’s words in Luke 14:26,33, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love less by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” 

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Western society has changed! That change is founded on fear–a fear that things have spun out of control. Indeed, from the perspective of the daily–or should we say hourly–news, headlines seem to have a shorter and shorter “shelf-life” as new events flood onto the scene. Lead stories for the morning news are replaced by the time the evening news is reported.
Individuals, families, crowds and even whole nations are caught up in a time of terror. A case in point occurred this week in Great Britain. From reuters.com, 1/8/03, “British police were searching for a deadly stockpile of ricin Wednesday after discovery of traces of the poison in London heightened fears around Europe of a chemical terror campaign.”
Commenting on the efficacy of the poison as an agent of mass death, the article points out that, “Experts said an attack, even if unsuccessful, would generate a climate of fear.”
Speaking of a time that the Bible refers to as the Day of the Lord, the prophet Isaiah cites God’s warning of an “overflowing scourge” that will punish the rebellious of this world (Isaiah 28:18). Continuing in verses 18 and 19, “Then you will be trampled down by it. As often as it goes out it will take you; For morning by morning it will pass over, And by day and by night; It will be a terror just to understand the report.”
In Luke 21:25-26, Jesus also reveals sure events that will descend on this earth and its inhabitants: ” ‘And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ “
These imagination-defying times of terror that are ahead will come upon this world step-by-step–even as they now begin. For Christians, coupled with this forewarning, we must remain ever vigilant–watching and praying. The really good news is that God will cause His Kingdom and His peace to put an end to these days of fear–these times of terror!


As the Irish Times reported on January 4, 2003, European Parliament President Pat Cox met privately with Pope John Paul II to discuss “a variety of EU issues, including enlargement and the future European constitution… During the audience, Mr. Cox invited the Pope to address the European Parliament.”


It was reported this week that Hans Eichel (SPD), President of the German Bundesrat (the second chamber of the German Parliament), and prime minister of the province of Hesse, has called for the formation of a European Union army, replacing the national armies of the member states. He was quoted as stating, “Why do we still need purely national armies? One European army is enough.”


Der Spiegel Online reported on January 8, 2003, that the German government confirmed its position that they will not participate in any war against Iraq. “Such a war cannot be justified,” a spokesman for Joschka Fischer’s Green Party stated in an interview.
Bild Online ran an article this week, pointing out that a secret UN report estimates that within the first few days of a war with Iraq, 500,000 people would be injured, followed by a massive famine. Der Spiegel Online stated on January 5, in quoting from a research paper of a medical organization, “medact,”  that about 260,000 people would die in a conventional war with Iraq, followed by a civil war in Iraq which would lead to the death of another 20,000 people. The organization, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, predicted that within the first several months after the end of the war, another 200,000 people will die of war-related causes, such as injuries and diseases. Medact also stated that 3.9 million people would die if nuclear weapons would be used in the war. In either scenario, most of the “casualties” would be civilians. Medact pointed out, too, that the costs associated with the war and the subsequent necessary reconstruction would reach 200 billion dollars.

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Q: Why does the Bible teach that a man is to leave his parents in order to cleave to his wife? What is meant by this? Does this also mean, by extension, that the wife is to leave her parents as well, in order to cleave to her husband?

A: The Bible is very explicit, for important reasons, to enjoin the newly married couple to live separate from their parents. We read about this Biblical injunction at the institution of the marriage, in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Later, in Matthew 19:5, Jesus Christ quotes this very Scripture with approval, to explain and to uphold the sanctity of the marriage relationship.

Commentaries agree that this command is meant to be taken and obeyed quite literally. A reason for this command is given in the Ryrie Study Bible, as follows, “Jesus cites the purpose of God in creation that husband and wife should be one flesh — the oneness of kinship or fellowship with the body as a medium, causing marriage to be the deepest physical and spiritual unity.”

The Nelson Study Bible elaborates, “The implication is that the Creator is Lord and is the One who determines what is the ideal in marriage… God ordained marriage as the strongest bond in all human relationships. A man leaves his parents and is joined to his wife. The language is very strong here. Leave means ‘to abandon’; joined to means ‘to be glued to.’ The most permanent relationship in society is not between parent and child, but between husband and wife.”

Paul explained, in Ephesians 5:30-32, that the literal application of the Biblical command to the newly-wed couple to leave their parents’ house and to start a new and separate household, should even be applied, in a spiritual sense, to our marriage relationship with Christ, by coming out of this world and to be separate from it, spiritually speaking.

The Biblical injunction to “leave their parents” is given to a newly-wed couple, as they need to spend much time together — apart from everyone else — to become a “physical and spiritual unity.” They cannot, and will not, achieve this goal, by staying with the husband’s or the wife’s parents in the same household, and under the same roof. This is not to say, of course, that the newly-wed couple is not to visit their parents often, continuing to show them respect and honor, as commanded in Scripture (Exodus 20:12). But, the couple is to live separately from the parents. Of course, later on in life, the couple may have to take into their home a lonely parent who might otherwise not be able to take care of himself or herself.

If a young couple cannot afford, financially, to start a new home away from their parents, they should not get married until they are able to do so. It is the duty of the husband to provide for his family. He should be financially able to do so before getting married. Proverbs 24:27 instructs, “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”

In his book, “The Missing Dimension in Sex,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, on page 228 of the hard-cover version, “The best age for a man to marry is around twenty-four to twenty-six, after he has devoted those top aptitude years between sixteen and twenty-five for mature education, experience and preparation — after he has acquired the knowledge, preparation and preliminary experience to assume adult responsibilities — after he is able to assume the responsibility of supporting a wife — and family.”

God wants us to have a happy and fulfilled marriage. One of the keys for success in marriage is to follow God’s instruction to a newly-wed couple to leave their parents, and to cleave to each other. In other words, the newly-wed couple needs to be looking to one another for support in the shared responsibilities of the marriage. If they are staying with either set of parents at the outset of their marriage, they are effectively asking the parents to share in this responsibility, thus illustrating the inability of the newly-wed couple to support themselves.

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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

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