Obama's Birthplace - Why It Still Matters! (Standing Watch) 10 min.video
Fools Professing to be Wise (Morning Companion)
screwed up place, the Middle East is, where Muslims are killing
Muslims, the White House is supporting Saudis, who are attacking Iranian
proxies, but are supporting the Iranian proxies against Sunni
terrorists in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is doing all it can to
delegitimize its strongest and most loyal ally in the region, Israel,
while giving away the store to the terrorist state of Iran whose
habitual chant is “Death to America.”
This is all a reminder of what
we read in Paul’s letter to the Romans. The followers of Christ in the
capital of a godless empire could see daily the Byzantine antics of
despots in action, and they no doubt knew what Paul was describing when
he wrote about “godlessness”, “unrighteousness” and “those who suppress
the truth” (Romans 1:18).
They knew what Paul meant when he called
their thinking “nonsense” and their senseless minds “darkened”, and how,
“claiming to be wise, they became fools.” They knew what he meant
when he said that God had delivered them to their own lusts, degrading
themselves and even applauding those who practice such things.
as some have posited, the strategy of supporting both sides in the
Middle East while marginalizing Israel is a clever way of keeping
terrorists occupied in killing each other off. Others say there is no
strategy at all, and whatever the U.S. is doing there is based on the
expediency of the moment.
Indeed there is an instance recorded in 1
Chronicles 30 where, in the days of King Jehoshaphat, the people of
Judah were besieged by a coalition of enemies, but in the end the
enemies turned their swords on each other. Some do see a parallel here.
there is another parallel event that happened not too many years ago.
When Neville Chamberlain returned to London waving a piece of paper with
Herr Hitler’s autograph on it and proclaiming “peace in our time”, his
vision of peace was not how we might envision peace. Chamberlain had
ulterior motives. Knowing that Hitler, like the Tories in Britain,
despised Stalin’s Bolsheviks, he was attempting to push Hitler closer
geographically to Russia in the hope that they would declare war on each
other and kill each other off. Imagine his consternation when Hitler
signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin that contain secret protocols
dividing eastern Europe between them and then, with his eastern flank
secure, attacked westward.
Whether U.S. foreign policy is a
reflection of incompetence or subterfuge -- or both -- it seems to be an
instance of fools professing to be wise, with their foolishness either a
product or a cause of reprobate minds.
Potato Salad and Other Reasons to go to Church (Sabbath Meditations)
I’ve been thinking a lot about this thing we call church lately.
do we go to church anyway? After all, it’s sometimes a lot to put up
with, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, there are the good things, the
things we enjoy. But, there’s also a lot of stuff we could just do
without, isn’t there? There’s the couple with the crying baby that can’t
seem to get the concept of a mother’s room; there’s the deacon who
fools everyone with his show of piety, when you know full well he’s
anything but that during the week; there’s the well-meaning elder who,
bless his heart, couldn’t give a cohesive sermon to save his life; and
then there’s the monthly church potluck, an event filled with culinary
land-mines of runny jello, meat dishes of questionable origin and potato
salad teetering a little too close to the edge of rancidity for
comfort. The list could go on and on ... the gossip, the posturing, the
power trips, the hypocrisy. All of this and more begs the question, “Is
it all really worth it?” Wouldn’t it be easier just to stay in our own
world, carry on our own private Bible study, our own personal worship
service, have our own private religion between just us and God? You have
to admit, sometimes it would be a lot less of a hassle, wouldn’t it?
So, why do we do this church thing anyway?
Well, there’s the obvious
answer. God says do it. There’s that pesky little scripture that tells
us, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” But why?
sister called me the other day. There’s a handful of States separating
us physically and we’re both not that great at phone conversation so,
when she called me, after several months of not hearing from her, I knew
something important was on her mind. She had stopped attending church
as a teenager sometime back in the early 80s, ditching it along with
pretty much everything else having to do with religion in favor of going
out to ‘find herself’. Now, twenty or so years later she realizes that
she had, in fact, left a very huge and important part of who she was
behind. She asked me a lot of questions during the course of our
conversation, but they could all pretty much could be summed up as: “How
can I find my way back?”
There were so many things I could have told
her. I could have explained the importance of repentance and faith. I
could have encouraged her to get into her Bible and get on her knees.
But that’s not what I led with. Not that she doesn’t need, at some
point, to do these things. She does. I just didn’t feel it was where she
needed to start. So, what did I encourage her to do? Get to church.
she could have studied on her own, prayed on her own, been nourished in
her faith on her own, but that is just not how God wants us to walk in
relationship with Him ... on our own. He wants us to be connected to
others, to be in an environment where we can support, encourage and
carry one another’s burdens, and yes, put up with one another’s
imperfections and baggage. It’s all part of the package.
western world we are conditioned to believe in the ‘pull yourself up by
your own boot straps’ mentality. We embrace the ideal of ‘rugged
individualism’. We are a very individualistic centered society. It’s so
easy to bring that mentality into our walk with God. The problem is God
really isn’t all that into the ‘individual’. In His word, there just
isn’t a whole lot of focus on the ‘me’, the ‘I’ of our faith. Rather,
the focus throughout is on the ‘we’, the ‘us’, the community of
believers. Yes, we come to Him individually in repentance and faith,
yes, we are individually restored to a relationship with Him. But, after
having been individually restored, we then lay down our lives, our
individual identities, and are placed into a community of believers,
into the body as it pleases Him.
Hebrews 8:10, quoting Jeremiah,
says, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind
and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall
be My people.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 tells us, “Now, therefore, you are
no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief
cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows
into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built
together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
We are His
‘people’ (plural). We are ‘fellow’ (not individual) citizens. We are
‘members (plural) of the household of God’. We are ‘fitted together’. We
are being ‘built together (not separately)’.
Not much gets built if the bricks are all scattered around doing their own thing.
bottom line is, as I expressed to my sister, God doesn’t want our faith
to be about only ‘my’ walk and ‘my’ relationship with Him. He wants our
walk of faith to be outward, focused on the ‘us’, ‘our’ walk together.
He wants us to get outside of ourselves and get connected to the body.
Serving each other, encouraging one another, building one another up,
and collectively witnessing and ministering to a world that desperately
I told my sister that I would pray that God would continue
to work in her heart to return her to that community some day. Yes,
she’ll be returning to some hassles. There will always be hypocrisy.
There will be one or two annoying ‘super’ deacons. It’s sure she’ll hear
the occasional boring sermon. And, unfortunately, the need to keep a
keen eye out for rancid potato salad will never go away. But all of
those hassles pale in comparison to the sense of shared purpose and
community that doing this life together will bring her.
As we said
our goodbyes and I hung up the phone, it hit me what a blessing it is to
be there already. Hmm ... I wonder what the mystery meat will be this
Famine of the Word (Legacy Institute)
world is changing rapidly. We know that someday there will be a famine
of the word. Amos 8:11-12 says: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord
GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a
thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall
wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall
run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
is a crime in Canada to talk about what God says about homosexuality in
the Bible. How long before preachers and televangelists start being
imprisoned for so-called “hate speech”? The LGBT and atheist lobbies
are gaining in strength daily and any mention of God or Jesus as an
important part of the fabric of our Western society is targeted. God
must be removed, they say!
A recent PEW research survey shows that
an alarming number of Americans are just giving up on God. “Half of
Americans who have left their church no longer believe in God, leading a
surge of nearly one quarter of the nation who have no affiliation with
any religion, according to a new survey.”
For those who have stopped
looking for the Word of God, a famine of the Word will not affect
them—that is, until they realize they need God and start to seek out
those who are preaching and teaching His Holy Word.
Will they find
Him? Not if the media, internet and other public forums are all
controlled by those who want to erase God out or our Western
This famine will affect the whole world, not just the
U.S.A. All of us involved in preaching the Gospel to the whole world
must step up our efforts to make the Word of God available to many, many
more who thirst for the Truth.
It is getting more and more
difficult to bring young people from Burma here to Thailand to prepare
them to return home and preach the Gospel. Satan always uses governments
to squelch the true Gospel message, even if those governments do not
even know they are being used as tools of Satan. Satan is the god of
this world, never forget!
Legacy cannot and will not stop preaching
and teaching the word of God. There is much more work to be done. We may
just have to do it in a different way. One door closes and another
Suspended and Disfellowshipped (Children of God)
is a strange phenomenon that is an entrenched part of the culture of
the Church. This trend existed to some degree for those of us
who were a part of the Worldwide Church of God organization.
Surprisingly, today, with the Church widely scattered, there remains
a good sized segment of the brethren who are fearful of being “put
out” of the Church.
it is not the lawbreakers or heretics who are afraid of being
rejected, marked or disfellowshipped, it is the truth-seekers who are
trying to find other true believers who have not let down and become
lukewarm. These concerned brethren with valid questions are the ones
most likely to arouse the ire of controlling ministers, who suspect
them of rebellion against their organization. There is something
inherently wrong with the membership being controlled and restrained
by the means of fear tactics.
find the Biblical practices of suspension, and marking in the
Scriptures. The questions we should understand are these: When is
someone supposed to be suspended; and what is supposed to be achieved
by putting a member out of the congregation like this? What would
cause a person to be marked or disfellowshipped? Those who are living
Christian lives should never be afraid of asking questions or
standing for the truth.
is nothing to fear. Those who have been disfellowshipped from
corporate organizations for political reasons have not been removed
from the Body of Christ. We were warned by Jesus Christ that we would
be disfellowshipped – but woe to the perpetrators of those
Jesus said: “These
things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be scandalized.
They shall put you out of the synagogues [meeting places]: yes, the
time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God a
service.” (John 16:1-2)
are topsy-turvy in God’s Church in these last days. Instead of the
corporations or colleges being the sole repository of right doctrine
– it has fallen to the faithful brethren to also be defenders of
the truth. It is often the dedicated brethren who are standing in the
gap for doctrinal purity.
when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation,
it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye
should earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints.”
tells us in both the Old and New Testaments to be a holy people:
unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto
them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.”
is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:16)
“holy” means that we should each be set apart from sin and
uncleanness. We are supposed to be a Godly people. When a member is
engaging in sin, he becomes unholy, and should not come among the
faithful brethren. The Scriptures do not instruct us to disfellowship
a brother or sister in this case, but to suspend their contact
with the faithful brethren until such time as they repent of their
Corinthian congregation was not mature or well developed spiritually.
One of Paul’s most important responsibilities before God was to
promote the spiritual growth and development of the Church
congregations that he pastored. In this epistle, Paul did not address
this problem on account of the immoral man, or his father, whom he
had so grievously wronged (Leviticus 18:8). Paul’s purpose in
writing was for the welfare of the congregation – for the care of
the congregation – to enable them to spiritually mature to the
point of handling their problems themselves.
though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his [the sinner] cause that
had done the wrong, nor for his [the father] cause that suffered
wrong, but that our care for you [the congregation] in the sight of
God might appear unto you.” (2 Corinthians
had told the congregation to handle the problem with the fornicating
sinner themselves – by putting him out – suspending
him until he repented.
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and
my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such
an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
(1 Corinthians 5:4-5)
the other hand, had the sin involved been heresy, Paul would
have handled the situation differently. When someone has gone off
doctrinally and seeks to spread heretical doctrine among the
brethren, the much more stringent measure of disfellowshippment is
called for. The church does not condemn people – but people do
man that is an heretic
after the first and second admonition reject;
[shun that person] Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and
sinneth, being condemned
of himself.” (Titus 3:10-11)
two clear warnings and Scriptural admonitions, Paul brought a matter
before the entire Church – to protect the flock. When we follow the
Scriptures – we are under God’s authority. If we handle things
contrary to the Scriptures – we have departed from God’s
we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that
ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and
not after the tradition which he received of us. And if any man obey
not our word by this epistle, note
that man, [distinguish] and have no
company with him [disfellowship], that
he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6,
faithful minister will not let loyalty to an organization, or to
another man, nor any ulterior motive influence his judgment when
dealing with a member of the Body of Christ. Too many ministers have
thrown around disfellowshippments like a gunfight of wild cowboys at
OK corral. They cause the brethren to believe that these very serious
matters are handled in a haphazard way – which they never should
someone must be suspended or disfellowshipped there must be ample
evidence and witnesses who attest to the sinful behavior on the part
of the sinner that warrants the appropriate action. Fasting, prayer
and counseling with every warning and admonition must be a part of
the process. It is reconciliation to the greater Body of Christ that
is of the highest priority. Only after a person is apprised of the
sinful and erroneous conduct and given opportunity to correct it,
should the disciplinary action be taken for the purpose of preserving
the holiness of the congregation.
Life is Good (First Century Christianity)
Oftentimes we look around
and only see the strife in the world and the contention in the
assemblies that believe like us. There is one sure fire way to cheer
oneself up and have a positive attitude, and that’s to refuse to
participate in the doom and the gloom.
“Thus says YHVH of hosts, the
Elohim of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from
Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens
and eat their produce. ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and
daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to
husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and
do not decrease. ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you
into exile, and pray to YHVH on its behalf; for in its welfare you will
have welfare.’ (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
Today, as we are being
called out of Babylon, while we continue to live in Babylon, this verse
applies to us as well. The exiles were hauled off to a pagan land and
were commanded to do what? Have lives. Relax, plant some gardens, get
married, have kids. Live their lives. Why were they commanded to do
this? Because YHVH has a plan. They could relax, because the days of
their captivity were numbered before there was one of them. To show
their faith that He would deliver them back to the land, they had to
simply live their lives. We are to do this as well.
“I have given
them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of
the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them
out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of
the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14-16)
- and -
devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one
another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted
to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing
hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the
same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate
with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back
evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
We are to live our lives. We are to live them
within the structure of Torah as shown to us by the New Testament
writings, but we are to enjoy life. Sure, we are to repent, study,
learn, and do charitable works, but we are also to enjoy the fruits of
our labor and our spouses and our children as well.
As we prepare to
observe the fall festival of the Most High, let’s take some time to
reflect on the blessings we have been granted. Do you have an assembly
to attend, whether small or large? Then rejoice in it! Do you have a
believing spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend? Then rejoice in that blessing!
Do you have children? Are they healthy? Then rejoice! Do you have a job
that allows you to observe the Sabbath and Holy Days? Then rejoice! Do
you have a job at all that provides for your material subsistence?
Rejoice! Do you have a place to lay your head and food in the
refrigerator? Then rejoice! Do you have any friends that you can count
on? Rejoice. Do you have friends in the faith? Rejoice greatly!
time to enjoy life. Take time to thank the Creator and His Messiah for
the blessings you have. Build houses and live in them. Get married.
Start a family. And trust that, when it’s time to go wherever we’re to
go in His Name, that He’ll let us know – just like He did for the
What Makes It ‘Moral’? (New Horizons)
can of itself always be labelled as ‘wrong’” Bishop
the pen of an Anglican Bishop that might sound strange. It could,
though, be argued that war isn’t always ‘wrong’. Perhaps that
it isn’t always wrong to steal - to eat, for example (Exodus
22:3-4). What of abortion - always
Growing up I was warned about playing cards - the ‘devil’s
cards’. For others it’s dancing, or alcohol, or co-habitation, or
deviant sexual relationships, or war, or drugs. We all have our list!
may we not be permitted to claim that serial murder is indeed ‘always
wrong’? Or, the molesting of a small child? Or the gross neglect of
the disabled or the elderly? Or criminal activity as an occupation?
modern consensus is that anything goes, that if it doesn’t bother
you, then do it. And unless it seriously impinges on someone’s
‘rights’, then the Law isn’t bothered.
are, of course, consequences. That last statement concerning law
enforcement brings to mind the sage comment of wise King Solomon:
sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the
heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
8:11) Hence repeat offenders.
that’s not all. Getting away with murder generates a laissez-faire
to violence, from street crime to further violence and more murder. A
blind eye to rape begets more sexual violence. A casual attitude to
the killing of the unborn undermines respect for life in every age
group. The growing menace of sexually transmitted disease and
infertility stems from the blasé attitude to sexual promiscuity of
all kinds from serial co-habitation, to adultery, to same-sex
relation-ships. (Witness the devastation wreaked by divorce.)
consequences affect everyone and are not the sole province of the
‘religious’. Atheists and humanists will experience the same
consequences! And when they analyze human behaviour, they must
quickly reach the same conclusion - that standards are essential for
a stable society.
don’t, then, have to wheel out the Bible to say ‘be good’.
Moral standards are writ large on the canvas of human experience and
are obvious to anyone who thinks carefully about them. The Bible,
however, puts these standards (morals) into the context of the sole
purpose for life. The Creator formed mankind as the raw material
which He could shape into beings who would reflect His character,
become truly His children - for eternity. Those who embraced His
‘standards’ would become part of His Spirit Family - the Kingdom
formulated the planet and its resources to perfectly supply every
need to sustain us. The health of our physical, psychological and spiritual needs
depends on our observance of those in-built laws of life - true
morality. Transgress those Laws and we experience adverse
degree to which a society voluntarily adheres to such standards
determines its vitality, its success as a nation. Ditch them and
ultimately oblivion awaits. The pattern of rise and fall set by
ancient Israel is a red flag of warning for all nations - especially
those spiritually nourished by the Christian Scriptures.
protective hedge is uprooted as a consequence of our rejection of the
laws of life.
Science Catches Up! (OzWitness)
you noticed that scientists recently have begun to discover that more
long held ‘unscientific’ beliefs which they had scoffed at, have
been discovered to be true after all? Today in one newspaper was the
news that ‘mother was right after all’. You’ll catch a
cold if you don’t put on a coat in winter! Scientists have long
claimed that coughs and colds are not caused by a drop in temperature
but more likely by warm stuffy rooms where he cold virus can spread
more easily, though now thy have recognized that our immune systems
work better when we are kept warm with coat and scarf!
‘new’ discovery mentioned in today’s news is that whole milk
may actually help to reduce blood pressure because it apparently
contains high levels of nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels, and
this improves blood flow to the heart. That information joins other
recent news that full cream milk is better for us than half cream
milk, and even that butter may be better for us than vegetable oil
I would not be surprised if that were true. Years ago I had a
recurring problem like King Henry the Eighth. Gout in my big toe!
Every year I would get an attack and have to hobble about with an
unbending toe until someone told me about cherries. OK, so it was
unscientific, but apparently several cherries each day keeps the gout
away (By the way, I don’t drink much wine or alcohol!). I
tried it, and the gout disappeared, never to return. Any cherries
will do – tinned, fresh or bottled – only a few each day and
information can point us to another source of ‘unscientific’
information that we can refer to for even more authoritative health
guidance. The Bible. The Bible is the handbook the Creator provided
with His product – us. You may not realize it but it contains
a great deal of advice on how to live long, and stay healthy.
it is simply promises – keep this commandment and you will live
long e.g. Exodus
your father and your mother, so that
you may live long
in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
it is guidance on which foods are designed to be good for us to eat,
and which bad, and elsewhere we are advised on which behavior and
attitude will help our mental state to remain healthy and avoid
psychosomatic illness. Also, God incidentally mentions things
that His people eat, and food which some shared
with God Himself, when
He has appeared on earth. Food like fish, whole grains, meat, milk,
butter, honey, which in that way gain God’s stamp of approval.
yes, as the years go by, more and more of the Bible’s teaching is
being shown to be true after all. You can be in there in advance of
science, and enjoy the health benefits before science catches up.
Just study the Bible! Joshua
this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and
night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
you will be prosperous and successful.’