Will Germany Fill the Military Void? (Standing Watch) 11 min.video
Killer Psalms (New Horizons)
your enemy’ said Jesus. Yet about 10% of the Holy Spirit inspired
Psalms are so-called ‘imprecatory’, suggesting a degree of displeasure
by their writer with certain people.
Psalm 5, for example: ‘Condemn
and punish [my enemies] O God; may their own plots cause their ruin.
Drive them out of your presence because of their many sins and their rebellion
Or, ‘May they be like snails that dissolve into slime;
may they be like a baby born dead that never sees the light’ (58:8).
Gruesome! Is this compatible with the Christian ethic?
the usual Christian background of ‘Old Testament bad, New good’, it
poses a dilemma. Yet when we understand man’s proper relationship with
God as a deviant subject of the all-powerful Creator who has a timeless
plan for His kosmos, then the fact that God ‘kills and makes alive’ is
clearly part of that perfect plan:
‘I, and I alone, am God; no other god
is real. I kill and I give life, I wound and I heal, and no one can
oppose what I do’ (Deuteronomy 32:39).
The sentiment expressed in
these Psalms gives vent to the horror with which God - and, surely, His
own people - reacts to the terrible evil in our world.
We (ought to)
feel with the Psalmist, but we leave the ‘vengeance’ to our loving God
to deal with (Romans 12:19-20).
Learning from the Past (Sabbath Meditations)
once said that in life we have two choices. We can learn from the past
or be doomed to repeat it. It’s good advice. Individually and
collectively we must learn the lessons of history if we are to avoid the
traps and pitfalls into which others before us or perhaps we ourselves
have fallen. It’s advice, though, that should be taken with caution, for
the line between learning from the past and being a victim of it is
We might know of someone for whom past experience has
soured current aspects of their life. It may be the person who, because
of one or several failed romantic relationships, has exiled themselves
to a life of loneliness, refusing to risk further emotional trauma. Or
it could be the person who, having been raised in an abusive childhood,
determines never to bring children of their own into such a potentially
Whatever the hurts and injustices we’ve suffered or
witnessed in the past, living in it rather than using it as a tutor to
guide ourselves or others to a more successful future, makes us its
I believe that we, as Christians, perhaps more than most,
have a tendency to fall into this trap. We as a group have very
sensitive noses for justice. We are keenly aware of right and wrong and
we have a definite desire to see righteousness prevail and evil
punished. Although a desirable quality in most cases, this sensitivity
has the potential to work against us. In a world where evil often
emerges victorious and injustices are a daily occurrence, our spirits
can easily become embittered, cynical and negative. Allowed to linger,
this fixation on the injustices of the world can ultimately serve to rob
us of our joy and inhibit our growth forward. We become victims of the
past rather than its students.
In Philippians 3:12 through the
example of Paul, we are admonished to forget those things which are
behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead.
10:16 Jesus tells us “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of
wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
together, these passages encourage us not to let the past cripple us,
but rather gain wisdom from the injustices we or others have witnessed
or experienced, and use that wisdom to move forward in a positive,
God wants us to look ahead to Him as the Author
and Finisher of our faith and toward what He has in store for us. We
can’t do that if we are constantly obsessed by what’s back over our
Yes, it’s true. Those who do not learn from the past are
doomed to repeat it. We shouldn’t ignore the past. Let’s learn from it,
gain wisdom because of it, but not be victimized by it. It’s okay to
visit there once in a while but it’s definitely not a place in which we
In Praise of the Dandelion (Morning Companion)
parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a
man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy
came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the
grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So
the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow
good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them,
‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then
to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up
the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together
until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them,
but gather the wheat into my barn.’ (Matt.13:24-30 NKJ)
I spend a lot
of time every Spring and Summer digging up weeds from my lawn and
mulching them in my garden. The weed I dig up the most is the
dandelion. It and its pretty yellow flowers just don’t belong in my
Still, the parable of the wheat and the tares reminds me
of the dandelion. When God made the dandelion, he said it was good. When
I see one, I can’t wait to yank it out, put it into a bucket, and turn
it into fertilizer.
All because it’s growing where I don’t want it to grow. So let’s sing praises to the dandelion.
Its bright, cheery flower brings variety to a drab, green lawn.
Its leaves are full of iron and other nutrients and in some quarters are considered a delicacy.
Its sap is a fool-proof anesthetic for mosquito bites, and its roots, when steeped, make a nutritious tea.
And you can even make dandelion wine.
call the dandelion a weed, because it grows where I don’t think it
should grow. If I were to grow them in my garden on purpose, I would
call them a crop. Growing where they grow, I change one letter in what I
call them and treat them accordingly.
So when the man who sowed the
good seed instructed his servants to let tares grow together with the
wheat, it might be because you and I who are laboring in the fields
cannot tell the good from the bad. We might think one is a tare because
it is growing where we think it ought not. Or maybe it doesn’t look the
way we think it should look.
Or maybe we don’t see the value and potential of one who is despised.
God made the dandelion, he called it good. So to the Father who made
the dandelion - and each one of us - here’s a toast to you, offered with
a glass of dandelion wine.
No Gods Before Me (Children of God)
day we are faced with making decisions of “right” or “wrong.” How can
we be sure that we are pleasing in God’s sight? “Whatsoever we ask, we
receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things
that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3:22)
When we live by God’s
rule – defined by His Law and Commands – we can be sure that we are
acting on His behalf. However, any time we infringe upon any of God’s
laws, statutes, judgments or perfect way, we have stepped away from His
sanction. We are no longer acting on His behalf; no matter how important
and highly regarded we might think we are.
Because of certain men
who have crept in unawares over the years, there has been a great deal
of confusion over the issue of who is the head of the Church (Jude 4).
The difficulty arises primarily because of a misuse of the word,
‘church’. The Church of God is not a physical organization – but a
spiritual entity, the called out body of true believers – the Body of
Christ. Corporate organizations are ruled by men, whereas the Church of
God answers directly to Jesus Christ - the head of the Church.
the second half of the last century, the Gospel message went to the
world with great power. Many people were converted and learned the true
doctrines of Jesus Christ. But, at the same time, many brethren
suffered to one degree or another from the heavy hand of wrong
leadership. When the apostasy came after the death of Herbert W.
Armstrong, many brethren had great difficulty deciding what to do. Over
half of the people made the mistake of remaining loyal to the Worldwide
Church of God. They had learned to be loyal to men and their
organization. As a result, they accepted its heresies, and discarded
their devotion to God and His truth. They did not know how to remain
faithful to God and His Word.
Have we not learned our lesson? Some
corporate church organizations have fallen back into the same idolatrous
trap of putting loyalty to men and organizations ahead of loyalty to
God. The answer is not to love an organization, but to love God and one
another. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we
love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death ...
Hereby perceive we the love of God.” (1 John 3:14,16)
have suffered abuse or neglect at the hand of a hireling minister
causing them to be less inclined to trust any other minister. Brethren
were taught incorrectly that the minister could rule over their lives
and that, if he made a mistake, it really was not a mistake, because God
would set it right. One minister preached that he could do whatever he
wanted, because he was the Pastor. Ministers made decisions in
families’ lives that should only have been made by the head of the
family. Too many ministers taught that their decisions, whether good or
bad, were sanctioned by God Himself because of the authority invested in
No minister is ever above God’s law. Whenever a minister sins,
he acts on his own. He does not have God’s approval. His counsel will
not be blessed. God’s administration of His Law, which begins with God
the Father and flows down through Jesus Christ, extends to every member
of the entire body of the Church of God – but not through any minister.
Not even if that minister claims to have received the baton, or the
mantle of authority, and subsequently thinks that he rules over the
brethren of the Church in God’s stead. Many brethren have been led to
believe that organizational “Church Government” is merely an extension
of “God’s Government,” exercised and administered by the ministry. That
is not the case. No man is ever permitted to change God’s counsel.
the past, there have been many ministers who abused the brethren. Some
brethren are still hurt, angry, bitter, and resentful at the Church of
God because of the treatment they and their families suffered at the
hands of harsh ministers. Those ministers were hard taskmasters who
demanded obedience to themselves. Brethren were taught that their
salvation was at stake if they did not yield to every whim of the
Pastor, because he represented God on earth. That was a false teaching.
Other ministers tacitly approved of and even supported that ungodly
ministerial behavior by turning a blind eye to the evil that was being
perpetrated on innocent brethren. Those men who close their eyes to the
abuse are more than willing to condone sin and corruption on a
ministerial level. They are guilty of iniquity. (Leviticus 5:1).
have got to get back to the Truth of God. There is no man between a
Church member and Jesus Christ. Our loyalty is to Jesus Christ and His
Father – anything less constitutes idolatry. Jesus is our advocate ...
“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1
John 2:1) Jesus is our mediator ... “There is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3). That is the rule of
God in our lives as His Spirit leads us. Nothing, or no one can
supersede that relationship (Romans 8:14). Is there a proper place for
the ministry of Jesus Christ? The answer is an unequivocal, Yes!
apostle Paul said that the work of a minister in the Church is to serve
the brethren in Godly love and to feed, nourish, protect, and care for
the flock of God. The very last time that Paul saw the elders of
Ephesus, he admonished them concerning their responsibility to
faithfully serve God and the brethren. “Take heed therefore unto
yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath
made you overseers [guardians], to feed the Church of God, which He hath
purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
There is a need for
ministers of Jesus Christ who preach and teach the Truth ... to counsel
according to the word of God ... to marry ... to bury ... to visit the
sick and to anoint with oil ... to facilitate the ministry of
reconciliation ... to return those who have gone astray ... for the
laying on of hands, and baptizing those whom God calls ... and there are
Festivals to administer, babies to bless, and the Gospel to warn the
The apostle Peter warned the ministers not to use coercion or constraint in their teaching and care of the flock. (1 Peter 5:2)
are to follow a minister's faith only as it complements and corresponds
with the teachings of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). We, the people
of God, live by, and are bound by the rules of the Kingdom of God –
Nothing New Under the Sun (First Century Christianity)
which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is
that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.’
Solomon remains the second wisest man to ever walk
the earth. He held the 1st place record for a pretty long time until it
was shattered by the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. However, being
number 2 in this regard is still sufficient to consider Solomon an
authority. I know, I know, in our society ‘number 2’ just means the last
person to lose, but in the Bible, that’s not the case. I’m certain
Solomon’s self-esteem will be just fine when he is resurrected and
learns that his wisdom was actually surpassed and by whom.
goes on to impart incredible wisdom and philosophy in the book of
Ecclesiastes. He speaks of many things being vain pursuits. We can
relate to almost all of them and also draw analogies from them into our
One of these vain endeavors is attaining great wealth. I
don’t know about you, but I would like to experience the vanity of
attaining wealth myself just to test this concept. They don’t call it
‘the show-me state’ for nothing!
But I digress. What I want to focus on is how Solomon spent time specifically on books and learning.
Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth
correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these
collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.
But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is
endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.’
Solomon spent time in the ‘studying and
blogging’ phase! But he warns that excessive devotion to books is
wearying to the body and endless. This is a phenomenom that happens on
no small scale in our circles. I call it ‘studying yourself stupid’.
Many of us land in this stage of the walk and spend considerable time
there. It’s intoxicating to keep learning new things and honing and
perfecting our faith from an academic perspective. Solomon enjoyed
writing and consuming words of truth. One can only imagine the level of
wisdom there must have been in the books Solomon studied for him to be
impressed by them. But studying is not the destination, it’s a way point
on the journey.
Our way of approaching the scriptures is exploding
today. A great calling has been heard and thousands of people are coming
to the knowledge of the 1st century believers at an astounding pace.
This learning is happening largely to people who are all by themselves
for a long time with no assembly to visit. Learning takes place with
one-way conversations, as many receive information from YouTube (or by
listening to mp3 sermons, hint, hint) and never have a chance to bounce
those ideas off other believers or enjoy the blessings of a fellowship. This is not where our faith is supposed to land. Take a look at Solomon’s last words of the book:
conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His
commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring
every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or
evil.’ (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
We have been told that the goal of
the learning, the earning, and all the other wonderful things
articulated by King Solomon is to fear God and keep His commandments.
Guess what? Many of those commandments are about having assemblies. Like
the whole chapter of Leviticus 23. We’re supposed to get together. This
requires action and effort. We have to learn how to get along on a
weekly and annual basis. Take a break from the independent studying,
brethren. Even Solomon did. Get together, share a meal, discuss some
scripture, sing, laugh, pray, listen, console, etc. For in doing this,
we keep the commandments and grow as body. And those commandments are
God Is Kind (and He wants you to be too!) (Guardian Ministries)
are two Greek words translated ‘kindness’ in the New Testament. They
are (in a transliteration) ‘chrestotes’ and ‘philanthropia’. The first
of these words is used much more often and means ‘moral excellence in
character and demeanor, goodness of heart, kindness, and gentleness’.
again at these definitions They describe God Himself - ‘moral
excellence in character and demeanor’. Is God good? That’s another
definition of ‘chrestotes’ - ‘goodness of heart’. Also our English words
‘kindness’ and ‘gentleness’. God is all these in His character. That is
why this word is used to describe God. Here’s an example: “so that in
the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in
kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7 NAU).
God grants us
His grace in kindness!
In the United States today, we could use more
kindness, especially in what has been a tumultuous election year. People
get on social media sites and just lambast, insult, name-call, deride
and verbally insult others who do not agree with them. Some have had
their reputations trashed because they voted differently from others.
Friendships have ended over differences of choices of candidates. How
We ought to follow the example of Thomas Jefferson who said:
“When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to
myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine.” He gave this
advice to his grandson: “Why should I question it (another’s opinion).
His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring
all men by force (or intimidation) of argument to one opinion? Be a
listener only, keep within yourself, and endeavor to establish with
yourself the habit of silence, especially in politics.”
Paul said that the proofs of his ministry were many. He outlines them in
2 Corinthians chapter 6:3-6, “Giving no offence in anything, that the
ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the
ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in
distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in
watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by
kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.”
Please notice that
kindness is one of the proofs Paul cites of his ministry. In his list of
the fruit of the spirit Paul mentioned ‘kindness’ (Galatians 5:22).
order to be a new person in Christ, we have to put off the old man with
its evil deeds. And we must put on the new man. One of the things we
must put on is ‘kindness’ (Colossians 3:12). In his list of the
qualities of love, Paul places kindness. He says, “love is kind” (1Corinthians 13:4). And Proverbs 19:22 says, “What is desirable in a man
is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.”
counseling with young single people, especially women, I emphasize that
one of the most important qualities in a man is kindness.
There is a
second Greek word used that is translated kindness. It is
‘philanthropia’, which comes from two Greek words combined. One is
‘phileo’, which means love or deep friendship, and the other is
‘anthropos’. Literally, this Greek word means a love for mankind. Luke
tells us in the Book of Acts that the natives of Malta extended kindness
(philanthropia) to Paul and the members of the ship who were stranded
on that island. See Acts 28:2.
When Paul wrote the letter to Titus,
he used both these Greek words in chapter 3:4. “But when the kindness
(‘chrestotes’) of God our Savior and his love for mankind
(‘philanthropia’) appeared ...” The kindness of God reflects his
wonderful character. With that wonderful character God then expresses
his love for mankind. God manifested his wonderful qualities and His
love for mankind after humans have been foolish, disobedient, deceived,
enslaved the various lusts and pleasures, hateful and hating one another
(the opposite of kindness). For more details see Titus 3:3.
are to manifest the fruit of the spirit and are to put on the wonderful
qualities of love in the new man, there is no doubt we should have
kindness. Kindness is definitely a Christian quality. If you and I are
not kind, we are not manifesting the love of God or the fruit of the
spirit. There are people who have kindness who are not Christians. But
no one can claim to be a Christian who does not have kindness.
and I must follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, of our God
and Father, and in the admonitions of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
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
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.’