Turkey in Chaos - What's Next? (Standing Watch) 15 min.video
How Can Worldwide Terror Be Stopped? (Standing Watch) 11 min.video
A Beauty to be Shared (Sabbath Meditations)
other night my wife and I went on a walk in our country neighborhood.
It was the first day the temperature had been under 90° for about a
week, so we wanted to get out of the house and get some air that wasn’t
About half a mile from our house we came upon a scene that
elicited both a chuckle and a feeling of sadness at the same time. It
was a house whose owners had obviously put a great deal of work into a
flower garden that lay to one side of their property. It wasn’t a large
garden but it was exploding with beautiful color ... that is, what color
you could see. It would have been the perfect scene of natural beauty,
had it not been for a 4 foot tall metal fence that they had erected
around the perimeter of the entire flower garden. It was as if the
flowers had been placed in the state penitentiary. Much of the beauty of
the garden had been horribly masked by the ugliness of cold steel.
was obvious to us why they must have put up the fence. Given the
mildness of the previous three winters, the critter population in the
area had exploded. These well-meaning people had erected this barricade
to defend their prize flowers from becoming critter salad. Flowers and
shrubbery aren’t cheap, and rabbits in particular can take out quite a
few flower plants in short order.
I couldn’t help but think that, had
it been my garden, I would have tried to find some more unobtrusive way
to protect my flowers. If, having found none, I think I would rather
run the expense of occasionally replacing a few plants than hiding them
away in Fort Knox.
Looking at the flower bed, I couldn’t
help but be reminded of a casual acquaintance I had while in college.
This person had qualities very similar to this garden. It took me quite a
while to learn that this individual was a wonderful person on the
inside. She was witty, thoughtful and enjoyable to be around. The
problem was that she was terribly shy and closed up on the outside.
Unless you were lucky enough to get behind the walled off exterior, you
never would have the pleasure of getting to know much about her at all.
never knew what circumstances in life caused her to shut herself off
emotionally from much of the world. I have a hard time believing that
she was simply born that way. Her emotional closure exceeded simple
shyness. Perhaps, like the flowers in the flower bed, her leaves had
been chewed on a few too many times in life. She might have been picked
on or teased as a child, or perhaps rejected by peers too many times as a
teenager. Whatever the circumstances, they led to her to pound in the
stakes and erect a steel cage around her emotions.
Jesus gives some
difficult instruction in Luke 6:27-31, “But I say to you who hear: Love
your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the
one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your
cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of
you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And
just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
think if I were to summarize these words of Jesus, it would be “don't
build fences.” Regardless of how people or events might hurt us, we as
Christians are to continue to reach out, to open ourselves up, to
others. We aren’t to close ourselves off from the world, regardless of
how vulnerable we may feel.
I’ve long since lost contact with my
acquaintance from college. Actually, it wasn’t till I saw that fenced in
garden that she came to mind. I guess there wasn’t much to remember of
someone who shared so little of herself. That, in itself, is sad. I pray
that she gradually was able to let down her protective fencing and let
others in to share her life. I pray that she learned that to risk having
a few leaves chewed on is far preferable to the loneliness of hiding
behind an iron curtain. The work that God is doing within us is simply
much too beautiful not to be shared.
Will He Find Faith? (Children of God)
have entered a time of alarming lawlessness in the USA. When the
government tramples on the nation’s God given constitutional rights
with impunity, how much longer do we have before our religious
broadcast and internet services are suspended? These are dangerous
times – not only for traditional American customs but also for our
spiritual lives. Will the people of God be able to withstand the
onslaught of chaos and disorder in government and society all about
us and endure spiritually unto the end?
that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark
trying days lie just ahead for those of us.
Everything that we hold sacred will soon be overthrown –
everything, that is, except our faith, which must continue until the
very end. Over and over in the Bible the brethren are admonished to
live lives of overcoming, and to remain faithful to the end.
we expect to find abundant faith just prior to the return of Jesus
Christ, or should we anticipate finding very little faith among God’s
people? Over the last few decades we have seen a terrible erosion of
faith. It seems clear from the following Scripture that there will be
a scarcity of faith. Jesus asked a very frightening and sobering
question and stated a very grave comment about our day. He asked the
question that probably shocked the original disciples:
the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke
would Jesus ask such a stern rhetorical question, if the great
majority of the Church brethren would actually be growing in faith as
we come to the end? Obviously, many will not continue until the end.
Enduring to the end is not a matter of relying on our own strength
and will-power. If we rely on ourselves, we will ultimately fail. We
have the example of the Israelites, who had the faith to leave Egypt,
but lacked the faith in God to give them a victorious entry into the
Promised Land. They did not endure unto the end – the promised rest
4:1-2). Do we have the proper faith in God to deliver us in every
trial and bring us securely to the Kingdom of God? Jesus indicated
that conditions would worsen as the end approaches:
night comes when no man can work.” (John
time will not continue indefinitely for the brethren. Will we be in
good standing with God when He brings everything to an abrupt end?
will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a
short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” (Romans
not take it for granted that we will always be able to tune in to a
plethora of literature and sermons.
the days come, says 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.” (Amos
only will Sabbath services not be available, those who continue to
express their faith will be persecuted. Even now, long time, well
meaning brethren, are being singled out and persecuted. No one is taking a stand to defend them. Often it is the
wayward ministry demanding that “their authority” be recognized.
When the disfellowshipped brethren beg for reinstatement to their
local congregation, they are made an example of, so that all the other
brethren will learn to submit in fear. Jesus said:
shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that
whosoever kills you will think that he doeth God service.” (John
message is very clear; now is the time to draw near to God.
ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while he is
warning Scriptures show that it will be a small minority of the
brethren who will be fully living up to God’s expectations of His
people. It is not enough to be in a friendly congregation – there
are many denominations that have pleasant services. It is not enough
to be in a congregation that keeps the Sabbath – the Jews do that.
It is not enough to be in a tithe paying congregation – there are
Protestants who do that. Millions are missing the mark terribly. What
kind of faith is Jesus looking for among His people? What makes a
faithful Christian? Who is fully pleasing in His
is it that makes us Christians who live according to Godliness? How
many attend Sabbath services for the purpose of provoking all the
others to love and good works (Hebrews
10:24)? How many could define Godly love – or good works for
that matter (1John
5:3)? How many are actually laying their lives down daily as
Jesus Christ gave us example (John
15:13)? How many even know what that means to lay down their
3:16)? How many know how to overcome Satan (Revelation
we striving with every ounce of our being to imitate the life of
Jesus Christ? Paul said:
do not cease to pray for you that you will walk worthy of the Lord
pleasing Him in all that you do, being fruitful in every good work,
and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)
it is not safe to think that we are all doing just fine; having all
the faith in the world. Should we not heed God’s warning to us and
aim high, seeking to have that faith of which Jesus spoke?
is not where you think it is (Morning Companion)
Take out a concordance and look. This
word, at the center of Christian doctrine, is surprisingly sparse in
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Here are the only places where the
word grace appears in the King James Version of the Gospels:
2:40, where we are told that Jesus as a child waxed strong in the
spirit and that the grace of God was upon him.
1:14-17, where John emphasizes that Jesus was filled with and came to
give grace and truth.
Some translations use the word “grace” in Luke 2:52 in place of
the the King James rendering of “favour”.)
might say that grace is conspicuous by its absence from places where
we might think it should be, for we never find the word grace in the
red letters of your Bible. Put differently, the word never passes
through Jesus's lips, and I would offer that this curious fact is by
design. Jesus did not have to use this word that is so important to
understanding God's nature, because he didn't have to. He didn't have
to because he modeled what grace is through the way he lived his
life. He lived it so perfectly that we can learn what grace is by
looking to his example.
going to take a brief look at how Jesus lived grace by by taking a
brief tour of John's Gospel. In the preamble to that Gospel (John
1:1-18) John lays out the main themes of the book. In verses 14-17 he
the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of
grace and truth. John
bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake,
He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before
me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for
grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace
and truth came by Jesus Christ.
tells us that, among the many things that he is going to address, two
of his major themes will be “grace” and “truth”. In virtually
every chapter of John's Gospel Jesus is either addressing some
important point of doctrine (“truth”) or is showing some manner
of grace, or he is doing both. In this piece we are going to focus on
grace question and how Jesus lived it. If we are able to understand
grace as Jesus lived it, we can better understand what it is and how
John 1 Philip decides to follow Jesus, believing he might have found
the Messiah. In his excitement he finds his friend Nathaniel, who
promptly utters a slur about Jesus's home town. “Can anything good
come out of Nazareth?” Jesus overhears it, but rather than reacting
in corrective mode, he jokes, “Behold an Israelite indeed in whom
is no guile!” (John 1: 43-51) That is showing grace.
chapter 2 Jesus is attending a wedding celebration. They run out of
wine. That could have been quite an embarrassment for the host of the
wedding and the families of the bride and groom. Jesus could have
done nothing, but instead he has some jars filled to the full with
water and turns them into wine. The party continues, the guests
continue to rejoice, and families are saved from public
chapter 4 Jesus approaches a Samaritan, a woman from a despised
ethnic group, who also happened to have a questionable lifestyle.
Instead of condemning her, he shares the word of life to her and
offers her a way to satisfy the unquenchable thirst in her heart.
chapter 5 Jesus singles out an ailing man, who could not obtain
healing from any source, and heals him, even though the man does not
ask Jesus to heal him and does not even know who Jesus is. Grace.
chapter 6 Jesus multiplies the fish and loaves in order to feed
thousands who would otherwise go hungry. Grace.
chapter 8 Jesus saves the life of a woman caught in adultery, but
also tells her not to do it again. Grace.
chapter 9 he sees a blind man who has been in that condition from
birth. Jesus reaches out and heals him. Grace.
could go on about how Jesus comforts Mary and Martha at the death of
their brother, and of his servant's attitude that he shows when he
washes his disciples feet, even the feet of Judas. I could explain
how Jesus treats Pilate with respect and dignity. And I can tell you
about how he maintains his own dignity in the face of unspeakable
indignities, but I think I have made my point. Grace is much more
than just the dictionary definition of “unmerited pardon”.
little English word “grace”, if Jesus's example is any guide,
should maybe be replaced by a more encompassing word. Maybe it would
be better to use the word “gracious”. If we use that, we'll see
it for what it is and maybe be motivated to live grace the way Jesus
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.’
God Means It For Good (First Century Christianity)
you ever been through any trials in your life? Sure, we all have.
Oftentimes we think the trials we face may be due to something we are
doing wrong; that God is trying to show us correction or discipline
us. The examples of people and even nations in the Bible having to be
brought low before they receive correction are extensive. But the
nature of trials is not so cut and dry.
the clearest example of this is with Paul. Acts
7:58 - 8:3 shows Paul before his conversion actually holding the
cloaks for those who stoned Stephen to martyrdom. Paul was
energetically persecuting the Church of God for years after this,
going from town to down and dragging believers in Messiah back to
Jerusalem to be jailed and punished for their faith. Paul had to be
stricken blind and visited by the risen Yeshua in order for him to be
converted. He had to be brought incredibly low before he, an
incredibly educated Jew and Roman citizen, could admit his errors and
being brought low was just the beginning. Paul had to publicly and
repeatedly repent. He had to prove to the brethren that he was no
longer a threat. Surely they must have been scared to be in the same
room as the guy who delivered so many to the Jews. Then Paul had to
go on to be punished in the same manner that he punished others.
Beaten, whipped, stoned and left for dead. But the lesson was not
just for Paul! It was for the brethren as well. They had to trust God
to believe that they would be protected and they had to forgive the
very man that had persecuted them. This is a very hard thing to do my
Forgiving and trusting someone who has a history of violence
or destructive behavior is one of the hardest psychological hurdles
for people to cross - despite Yeshua telling us we must do so 7 X 70
also very easy to see other people’s trials as punishment by God.
This is a trap that has existed for a very long time. When we see
people begging on the side of the road for coins, our reflex action is
to assume they are charlatans. When we see people who have made bad
decisions suffering for their poor judgment, thoughts like “well,
that’ll teach ‘em” creep in to even the most compassionate
But what does Yeshua say about these things?
He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked
Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be
born blind?” Jesus answered,“It was
neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the
works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3
you see the accusatory attitude in the disciples? They assumed,
because the man was blind, that it had to be because of his sin or
his parent’s sins. But the man was born blind, perhaps in excess of
30 years prior, for this one moment in time. God had a plan. How many
eyes do you think were opened on the day that this man received his
sight? Those disciples had their eyes opened much more than the blind
man. His disability was put on him so that many would be able to see
attitude check about those who are less fortunate is part of the
judgment of Matthew
25:31-46. In fact, it’s the ENTIRE basis for the judgment! What
do we see about the character of the righteous when Yeshua sits on
His throne and starts separating the sheep from the goats? The
righteous are the ones who ministered to those less fortunate. The
trials of the infirm, the malnourished, the poor, and the prisoners
are a test for those more fortunate.
brethren, God has a plan for each and every person on planet earth.
These plans are intertwined with others and their relationships. When
we see someone in a trial, our reactions are recorded in the books.
When we are in a trial, we also must give glory to the Most High.
Because, like Joseph said so long ago, God meant it for good.
Battle for Sovereignty - Can Britain Survive? (New Horizons)
print and the broadcast media are increasingly focused on this week’s
in-out UK referendum: stay—or leave our association with the European
Union. The future of the United Kingdom hangs in the balance, the core
question being the vital one of national sovereignty.
attempt to reform the EU was a failure, and the Prime Minister walked
away empty-handed. As is so often the case, the public is now drowning
in a torrent of misleading statistics designed to persuade, and the date
chosen (June 23) avoids angry public reaction to the expected summer
influx of immigrants.
The Prime Minister has brokered a deal, which
he claims secures our sovereignty as part of the Union, while those who
wish to leave our political association with Europe believe little has
been achieved. Big political and business ‘guns’ have lined up on
opposite sides of the increasingly acrimonious argument.
of a ‘United States of Europe’ was conceived centuries ago—the ‘European
dream’—and took more concrete form over the last sixty years, now with
twenty-eight nation members. That ‘dream’ was conceived in the early
Christian centuries, and has since been pursued by emperor after
emperor, dictator after dictator, Pope after Pope.
example wanted to see ‘...one people throughout Europe’. Mussolini and
Hitler, too, had their dreams of a United Europe. In 1965 Pope Paul VI
said: ‘...The Holy See hopes to see the day when a new Europe will
arise, rich with the fullness of its rich [Catholic] traditions’. And a
decade later he said that the Church alone can ‘...re-awaken Europe’s
Christian soul where its unity is rooted’. In Austria (1983) the Pope
stated: ‘...Europeans should overcome the menacing international
confrontations of states and alliances and create a new united Europe
from the Atlantic to the Urals’.
Europe was consecrated to Mary by
the Vatican in 1309. The European Union is the latest reincarnation of
the dream. Indeed the EU flag has the twelve stars—not one per nation—
and blue colour associated with the Virgin Mary.
The British people
were deceived by the then Establishment led by Prime Minister Heath into
joining the Union (under the guise of a free trade area) in the
mid-70s, via a misrepresented referendum.
The nation state is a
divine institution. Nations develop from original family units that have
grown large, each developing its unique language, culture, traditions
(see Genesis 11). Each has a unique treasure house of God-given
intellectual and economic resources and an assigned (by God)
The sixth century BC prophet, Daniel,
explains: ‘…the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of men, and He gives
it to whomever He desires’ (Daniel 4:25).
The apostle Paul adds:
’...He made every nation of men of one blood, to live on all the face of
the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their
dwelling’ (Acts 17:26).
The ground rules for successful nationhood
are patterned on the ancient nation of Israel—a nation selected by God
to fulfil a promise to a faithful (to the LORD) forebear, Abraham. What
set them apart from other nations was their covenant with God: ‘...Now
therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then
you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the
earth is mine’ (Exodus 19:5). That covenant included their readiness to
abide by the divine Law, the foundation of which is the Ten Commandments
and the statutes and judgments based on it (ch 20f).
This, though neglected, is the gold standard for every sovereign Constitution—throughout the ages.
fusion of disparate nations—different in language, heritage, culture—in
a union flies in the face of God’s wise decision to establish mankind
in sovereign nations. It is noteworthy that the prophets predict the
survival of nation states even during the millennial reign of the
Messiah: ‘…He will settle arguments between nations’ - Isaiah 2:4.
resurrected King David, for example, will under Christ then head the
Israelite nations, the House (government) of Judah and the House of
Israel (Jeremiah 31:33, 30:9). Isaiah, too: ’...He [Messiah] shall judge
among the nations’ (2:4). But it will be a time of co-operation and not
conflict among the nations, old enmities buried: ‘…In that day Israel
shall be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst
of the earth’ (19-24).
[Note. This results from the direct
intervention of Jesus the Messiah and not from the gradual
evangelization of mankind by the Christian church.]
being subject to the authority of another State’—is the argument wielded
by both sides, and surely must be at the heart of the discussion. The
‘ins’ claim we won’t lose it, nor do we need it. The ‘outs’ claim we
have already lost it. But the ‘S’ word hasn’t really been at the heart
of the discussion, the focus instead being on the economy and the
relatively small welfare benefits factor.
There is, however, a
transcending factor that eclipses such factors as sovereignty, economy
or benefits. It’s the God-factor: ‘…righteousness exalts a nation, but
sin is a shame to any people’ (Proverbs 14:34). Sin, of course, is any
behaviour that conflicts with God’s revealed will, and that includes His
Law, His guidelines for a successful civilization.
in the context of nationhood that’s the application of divinely–revealed
law. Begin to tamper with that foundation and—whether the United
Kingdom chooses ‘in’ or ‘out’ there will be an on-going deterioration in
all aspects of life. The economy. Health and well-being. Financial
management both public and private. Law and order. The integrity of the
family. Security of our borders.
Citizens of the United Kingdom
have, via the referendum, been given the challenge of determining the
nation’s future. A referendum will provide the opportunity to determine
whether we remain subject to European Union laws or to again become a
The nation votes—but it is God who determines! He
‘...changes the times and the seasons; He causes kings to pass away, and
sets up kings’ (Daniel 2:21).
As notes the recovering (and
repentant) King of Babylon: ‘...He does according to His will among the
army of Heaven, and among those living in the earth. And no one is able
to strike His hand or say to Him, What are You doing?’ (ch 4:35).
God, the all-powerful Creator, has manipulated kings and nations to
choose to conform to His pre-determined scenario for the ‘times and
One hundred and fifty years before his accession as king,
Cyrus was predicted through the prophet Isaiah to ‘...complete all my
[God’s] pleasure’ (Isaiah 44:28). Foreseeing Israel’s future captivity
in Babylon, God chose Cyrus to provide the means to rebuild Jerusalem
and the Temple.
Earlier (c.720BC), the northern House of Israel had
sunk into idolatry and civil disorder. By way of correction God stirred
up the King of Assyria to remove them from the Land: ‘...Woe to Assyria,
the rod of My anger! And My fury is the staff in their hand. I will
send him against an ungodly nation [Judah]’ (Isaiah 10:5-6).
too, exceeded common decency norms and came under condemnation. God
contained them by manipulating the ancient Persian nation: ‘...I stir up
the Medes against them’ (Isaiah 13:17).
It is gross error to imagine
that God has taken ‘hands off’! He remains in control of world affairs,
and is especially concerned with those nations descended from His
nation of Israel—several of which are now associated with the European
The LORD, however, is patient, long-suffering. All these
nations have strayed far from His prescribed path and are ripe for His
correction, long delayed. But it is inevitable, if we are to survive.
‘Israel’ will, unless we turn back to God and His ways, experience a
time of severe privation. God’s protective hedge—His Law—has been
systematically uprooted from our national polity—how we conduct our
[God’s correction, note, is focused on our ultimate restoration.]
the end of the first century, the apostle John was presented with a
vision of the end of man’s rule. It envisaged a union of ten nations in
Europe, bent on forging the continent into one sovereign nation, a ‘Holy
Roman Empire’. This ‘beast’ has, as predicted, raised its head several
times over the centuries under a string of dictators from Charlemagne
through to Hitler and Mussolini. The task of harmoniously welding
disparate nations, cultures and religions into one by democratic means
is impossible. As said a modern proponent, former Belgian Prime Minister
Paul-Henri Spaak, ‘...we don’t want a Committee but a man of sufficient
stature to hold the allegiance of all people. Send us such a man, and,
be he god or devil, we will receive him’.
In view of the present
parlous financial state and the democratic deficit of the European
Union, such an individual will indeed be the catalyst for full union.
But it won’t be a ‘god’ (except in his own mind)!
of the current 28 members will pull out, or be forced out. A letter to
the European Journal (1996) wrote of ‘a European super-state from which
there will be no escape short of civil war, bloodier even than the
Such a leader, however, won’t be content with a
‘United States of Europe’. A Resolution of the Congress of Europe in
1948 states: ‘The creation of a United Europe must be seen as an
essential step towards the creation of a United World’.
the Christian Scriptures have predicted. And that’s why Jesus Christ
must intervene to prevent His precious creation from destruction.