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Trump Shocks Europe (Standing Watch) 19 min. video

A Disastrous Miracle (Sabbath Meditations)

In his book titled ‘It Is Toward Evening’, Vance Havner tells the story of a small town that made its living entirely from growing cotton. It was not a great living; nevertheless, it was a living. Then calamity struck as the boll weevil invaded the community, destroyed the economy, and threatened to ruin everyone. The farmers were forced to switch to peanuts and other crops that eventually brought them greater return than they would ever have made by raising cotton. Ultimately, what they thought was a disaster became the basis for undreamed of prosperity. To mark their appreciation, they erected a monument to the boll weevil. To this very day in that little southern town, that monument stands as a celebration of that disastrous miracle.
Too often we want to forget painful memories ... tribulations in our life, don’t we? We want to move on to good times and leave the past behind. I think one mistake we in the Christian world make is to focus only on all of the ways we’ve been blessed while we gloss over the trials and tribulations that have been visited upon us. But God doesn’t want us to do that. He wants us to recognize the trials that we suffer as blessings in themselves ... events that serve to prepare us for greater service to Him.
1 Peter 5:10 tells us, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
God wants us to mark the path of our growth. He wants to use our disasters to produce miracles in our lives. The suffering that we endure often serves a far greater purpose than the good times that come our way. The blessings that come as a result of His purpose being fulfilled are eternal.
Obviously it’s difficult to pretend we enjoy going through hardship. I’m sure the farmers in that small town weren’t having a good time watching the boll weevils eat their livelihood. But if they could have seen the end of the story, the prosperity that would ultimately come out of disaster, they would have no doubt had reason to rejoice while the boll weevils were feasting.
As God’s children we do know the end of the story, don’t we? In the midst of trouble, in the midst of hardship, we know that God is working out His plan. We don’t need to wait for that miracle to be completely fulfilled to rejoice. We can erect a monument of gratitude in our lives to daily express appreciation to Him for his deliverance from trials and the incredible miracle that He is accomplishing in us through His Son.

A Window to Our Society (Morning Companion)

Independence, Missouri is home to the Truman Presidential Library. When I lived in that neighborhood I was a frequent patron of the place, and this die-hard conservative became a fan and admirer of a guy I probably never would have voted for.
On one of my forays into the facility the curators had on display a looping video with clips of television programming from the early 1950s. Other artifacts from the popular culture of the day were figures from our entertainment industry who were effectively acting as unofficial ambassadors of American good will abroad. Louis Armstrong. Bob Hope. Bing Crosby. Gene Kelly. Fred Astaire. Quite a parade of popular culture and values depicting optimism, family, integrity, and standards.
Our popular culture was a window to our society, seeking to highlight what was good about our country and values. Go to YouTube and watch some of those old TV shows.  You’ll see an image of America that the world saw through the window of our media. True, we did not always lived up to our standards, but at least we knew what those standards were.
Take a look at the window to the world that the United States projects today. We are the largest producer and exporter of both Bibles and pornography, an interesting and blasphemous dichotomy if you think about it. Our ‘tolerance’ of every aberration - or, better said, our promotion of every aberration - and the propagation of it abroad, paints a troubling picture of who we have become to more traditional cultures around the world.
If I were sitting in some Middle Eastern country, it would not be some dopey 14 minute video clip about the Prophet that would enrage me. It would be the importation of materials designed to turn my daughters into harlots. I too would be tempted to level the charge of ‘Great Satan’ against such a culture. Don’t think this is not a factor in what we see in the world today.
Indeed, if I were the real Great Satan, I would be trying to infect the world, but especially the nation that has more Bibles than any other book on its shelves. I would offer them, more than any other nation, a healthy dose of heroin for the soul. I would do everything I could to enslave them to their passions. I would drug them up, sex them up, beef them up, and entertain them up, all at taxpayer expense.  I would distract them from little things like integrity, honor, service, and work. I would fill their minds with a curious mix of apathy, dependency, and fear instead of hope, faith, and self control. Then I would control them and their votes.
Psalm 11:3 - When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Practice Makes Perfect (First Century Christianity)

A good friend is helping us add a room to our basement. OK, he’s actually doing it and we’re helping him. He’s very experienced in the trades and can overcome challenges that would cause me to hire a contractor in minutes. The room is being built with metal framing instead of wood. Just the way he knows how to trim/cut the pieces to fit made no sense to me until I saw him do it. I was totally confused.
My friend’s competence didn’t start out as competence. He had to learn and begin to apply the knowledge shown to him. He had to be motivated and possess the work ethic to better himself, mastering one task after another, until you see the mature professional he is today. As I am sure you’ve guessed, there’s a scriptural parallel to this:
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’. Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matt 7:22-24
Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. Most of us were brought up on lawlessness, or at least following a false law. We were taught that it didn’t matter what we ate, that we needed to go to church on Sunday, that Christmas and Easter were the highest days of the year, and a host of other doctrines of men. In fact, we practiced lawlessness. It was a way of life. Our time was marked off by pagan holidays and the pleasures of the world. At some point, though, we met someone who lived differently or we read something that didn’t compute. At some point, we came into contact with people who had actually acted on the words of scripture. They were different and that difference was alluring.
Many of the things we were learning were very confusing.What do you mean the day actually starts at sundown? What do you mean about resting on the Sabbath day and abstaining from work and commerce, what good would that do? Somehow, though, we felt compelled to work through the confusion. God is not the author of confusion, as Paul wrote in 1 Cor 14:33, albeit in a different context.
“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, Or can show forth all His praise? How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!” Psalm 106:1-3
Now that I have spent some time practicing the righteousness of the Law, it comes naturally, just like watching my friend construct a wall. He has done it so much and for so long, that it is second nature. He is experienced at it because he practices it. This is how one gets experienced following the ways of God, by practicing them.
And I also have an idea how to put up a metal framed interior wall.

The World is Changing (OzWitness)

Why are there so many bad men, Grandad?” My 8 year old grandson brought up the subject, and I could not help but remember how much the world has changed in my lifetime; how for example it was possible to drive overland from Britain to Singapore and then on to Australia and be safe everywhere.

I remember a beautiful old lady in my congregation regaling me with her epic drive in a 1930s Rolls Royce from Britain to Jerusalem and her showing me the old stone relic in her garden which she brought back in the Rolls, which must have weighed half a ton. Not a chance of that today!

Then, I received two calendars as gifts, and the first thing my wife noticed was that, in both cases, Sunday had been changed from the first day to the seventh day of the week on each calendar - one of very many small changes designed to undermine the truth. Just little changes, gradually introduced, which eventually add up to a completely changed world, which is not even aware of its departure from what was once normal, unless we look back, as I can do over many years.

Eventually, these small changes have also added up to what is often a complete reversal of right and wrong, to the extent that the criminal today can end up free while the victim is jailed, and the commandment keeper is made a criminal while the commandment breaker is now regarded as politically correct.

All of this has happened since World War 2, though previously the recognition of what was right and wrong had largely stayed the same for millennia.

Isaiah 5:20, 23, ‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!…Which justify the wicked for reward, [They proudly display their liberal correctness] and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!’

This has not happened by accident. The Bible explains that a time will come when Satan the devil will become very active, because his rule here is nearing its end. It is called in the Bible ‘the last days’, ‘the latter days’ or ‘the end time’. It will be recognised because of the rapid growth of evil, and its instigator is the god of this world.

2 Timothy 3:1-5, ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.’

2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘In whom the god of this world  [Satan the devil] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.’

The result is a world in which I fear for my grandchildren - for what it could be like in another 50 years for those who fear the true God. Thankfully, it is unlikely to reach that point, before the final seven years of the end time begin with the miraculous worldwide message of the angel of Revelation 14: 6-7: ‘Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 

Shortly after that it will be those who do wrong who will experience God’s wrath during the Great Tribulation, Matthew 24:21-22, followed by the return of Jesus Christ and His establishment of the Kingdom of God here on this earth:

Revelation 11:15. ‘For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. ‘Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

The Final Beast Empire (Children of God)

We are rapidly losing our right to freedom of religious expression here in the United States, but did you know that in Jerusalem it is forbidden for the men of Judah to worship on the Temple Mount? That is because the Temple Mount is under Islamic control. The Muslim community of Jerusalem has managed the site without interruption for hundreds and hundreds of years. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said of those in Judea, and particularly in Jerusalem? ...
“They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trampled down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled ... [Trampling down with the feet is the characteristic of the Final Beast Empire.] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:24, 27-28)
We have had a preoccupation with the “beasts” of the Bible.  Most of the time when the Bible uses the word beast, it simply means an animal - as in a beast of burden - a donkey for instance. But there has been an obsession by some artists to depict the beast of Revelation in religious artwork. I do not think that is particularly constructive, and in fact could be counter-productive for some. For example, if you are waiting for the emergence of a terrifying beast that looks just like the one on the cover of the August 1984 Good News magazine, you are not going to recognize the Final Beast Empire that is going to engulf the entire world.
That beast looks somewhat like a Hollywood depiction of a stainless steel, prehistoric, spade headed Triceratops dinosaur on a leopard’s body, with wild animals’ heads and horns coming out all over the place - standing in the ocean surf. An interesting fact is that the Triceratops lived only on the North American continent - and never in the Middle East. It makes great art, but it does not help us understand what we are to be looking for. Who is going to recognize the Final Beast Empire? Everyone on earth would be terrified of that fearsome monster traipsing and tramping across continents, but the truth is that the vast majority of mankind is going to be a part of this Final Beast Empire that is now shaping up.
Since Herbert Armstrong died 30 years ago (January 16, 1986), world conditions and geopolitical relations have changed drastically. Our Received Prophetic Narrative of the end-time European nations could use some scrutiny, if we are to be able to recognize events for what they really are. We are seeing China’s and the Pacific Rim’s ascendancy, the sunset of the United States’ supremacy and hegemony, all under the increasing threat of a world reaching Muslim caliphate.
An immense clash of religions and cultures is on the verge of taking place. We could easily be caught off-guard. Our Received Prophetic Narrative is not measuring up to our anticipation. Perhaps at the very last moment there will be a backlash against a Muslim refugee invasion, but that does not answer all the prophetic questions.
Today, Europe is aggressively secular, yet our classic end-time expectation is of a Europe fully under the control of the Roman Catholic Church’s False Prophet. If that were a correct narrative, and there were no other viable candidates for what religion the False Prophet is associated with, then there must be a plausible means by which a secular Europe becomes a Roman Catholic Europe. That is, unless the Final Beast Empire is not Catholic - but something else instead. Is there any evidence to support such a major shift in our paradigm? Keep in mind that the coming caliphate has as much veneration for the Catholic version of the Virgin Mary Mother of God as the Catholics themselves do.
I’m concerned that, if circumstances do not shape up the way we have always thought they would, some brethren could find themselves in a precarious position. The allure of the Final Beast Empire is going to be virtually overwhelming - and add to that the signs and wonders, and there exists a lethal mixture. We need to recognize the Final Beast Empire when it arrives in full force. Jesus said:
“Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16)
This tells us that the world cannot put the Scriptural prophecy together, but we, brethren, who know the Plan of God, are able to understand the end-time sequence so much better. The point is that God intends for His people to know! Paul said it this way:
“For yourselves know perfectly that the [end-time] day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4)
In the sermon on January 9, we took a look at what God has revealed about the Final Beast Empire. [mp3 audio sermon  transcript]

The Glory of God (New Horizons)

‘They shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD’ (Psalm 138:5)
God commissioned Moses to construct for Him a ‘house’, a Tabernacle, ‘let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them’ (Exodus 24:8).
His presence lived there for four centuries until the time of Samuel (1 Samuel 4:22), when Israel suffered the ignominy of an ineffectual and corrupt priesthood, and defeat by the Philistines, who captured the ark of the covenant - for which the Tabernacle was built. The ‘glory’ was gone.

A century later the ark was placed in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:6), and ‘the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD’ (1 Kings 8:13).
But two hundred years pass and God again withdrew: ‘I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face’ (Hosea 5:15). God’s nation, Israel, had spurned Him and ‘dealt treacherously’ (read ch.5) [Glory: in this context, God through His Spirit visibly manifest, traditionally known as the Shekinah.]
Veiled in flesh, that glory returned in the person of Jesus Christ when he came to tabernacle among us: ‘The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth’ (John 1:14).
It is a glory he shared with his chosen disciples just before his death: ‘I have given them the glory which You have given Me’ (John 17:22).
In the pattern of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Lord dwelt over the ark of the covenant between the cherubim, within the ‘holy of holies’ (Hebrews 9:3). The ante-type in this era is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). It will be fully manifest in the resurrection: ‘when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2).
Paul describes it thus: ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory’ (Colossians 3:4). John saw Jesus in glory (in veiled form): ‘his head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire.
His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace, and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall’ (Revelation 1:13-15).
In his first letter the apostle John writes: ‘Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure’ (1 John 3:3). It takes a lot of personal effort to ‘lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)

We are not, however, alone in the battle, for we ‘look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith’ (v.2). And, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13).

A New World Currency (Legacy Institute)

China’s currency has now been included into the basket of currencies that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) uses to back up its Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which is actually a new World Currency. This is a huge triumph for China. This move puts the Chinese Yuan on the same par as the U.S. Dollar, the English Pound, the Japanese Yen and the Euro. This makes China a major player in the world’s financial arena.
Until now, all international transactions have to be done in U.S. Dollars. If I want to send money to Myanmar (Burma) or anywhere else for that matter, I take Thai Baht to the bank and set up a wire transfer to a local bank in Yangon (Rangoon). The Thailand bank must first convert the Thai Baht into U.S. Dollars for the international transfer. When the receiving bank gets the wire in U.S. Dollars, it then converts the Dollars into the local currency, in this case the Burmese Kyat. Each time the money is converted, there is a fee.
Being the World Reserve Currency made the U.S. Dollar king. But that is all ending. The U.S. Dollar will soon be replaced by a new World Reserve Currency, possibly the SDR (Special Drawing Rights) currency of the IMF. China would like it to be the Yuan. That is why China is buying up as much gold as it can. They want to be able to back up their national currency with gold. This would make the Yuan much more valuable than the paper fiat money of the U.S. which is being printed by the wheelbarrow loads at the Federal Reserve.
What is backing the U.S. Dollar? Nothing. It is thin air. The only thing that keeps the Dollar afloat is confidence in the U.S. economy. But that confidence is quickly drifting away. Once the Dollar is replaced by something else as the World Reserve Currency, it will not be worth the paper it is printed on. The Dollar will collapse and with it, the American economy.
We must all remember that God will take care of all those who put their trust in Him. Faith is a living dynamic. We show we have faith in God by believing His promises and demonstrating active obedience in our everyday lives.
How long before the collapse of the Dollar takes place? I don’t know. But it is coming soon.
Jesus told His disciples: (Mark 13:28-29) “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.”
If you are watching world news, you can see the obvious signs. One of the biggest signs is the enormous debt the U.S. owes to China and other countries. It will be nearly impossible to pay it all back. Congress just keeps kicking the can down the road.
Believe God. Instead of America praying and getting Him to help us even more, we are driving Him out of our schools and universities, cities and towns, government agencies and departments, even graveyards and war memorials. The more we defy the Great God, the greater the crash will be. The Salt of the Earth must draw ever closer to Him and petition His divine intervention and great MERCY!