Letter to the Brethren – June 21, 2020

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Dear Brethren and Friends,

We are seeing greater worldwide persecution and hostility against individuals that call themselves Christians. The following are news headlines from the past several months:

“Gunmen Kill 27 in Predominantly Christian Villages in Mali,”

“10 Christians, Including a 3-Year-Old Girl, Killed by Extremists in Nigeria,”

“Militant Extremists Kill More Than 80 in Nigerian Village,”

“Gunmen Kill 58 in Attacks Aimed at Christians in Burkina Faso,”

“Christian Boy, 16, Stabbed and Stoned to Death for His Faith in Eastern India.”

These attacks are from extremists in predominantly Muslim-controlled regions. The hatred towards Christianity in these countries is nothing new, but this disdain is not just from Muslim radicals. Earlier this year, Open Doors, an international organization tracking Christian persecution, released their annual report, assessing 50 countries where Christians are at risk. 260 million Christians live in these territories, where they are subjected to high levels of violence because of their beliefs. Based on their practices, we can assume most of those tortured are only Christian in name, but groups that target Christians to persecute don’t care. The tide of persecution is rising, and we must do all that we can not to bring unnecessary persecution upon ourselves.

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Letter to the Brethren – May 26, 2020

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Dear Brethren,

These days we all have something in common. And when I say “we,” I mean everyone in the whole world. Every single one of us is affected by the societal response to the global pandemic of Covid-19. We’ve canceled trips. If we’re fortunate enough to have work, we’ve changed the way we do it. We’ve been forced to find masks to wear when we shop. We were told to stand in lines six feet apart from the person in front of us. Some have hesitated or refused shaking hands. We’ve been shocked to see shortages of goods. I could go on about how life has changed for everyone, but I think the point is clear. Life has changed on an unprecedented scale, and there’s no way that we can completely escape from it.

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Letter to the Brethren – April 22, 2020

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Dear brethren and co-workers,

What a difference a few months make. As late as February or the beginning of March, things were going along as usual with no major interruptions in our daily lives; yet all that has changed now since the outbreak of and the reactions to the Coronavirus.

Draconian measures have been implemented by most governments worldwide, including restrictions on travel and individual movements. In some areas, violations to these restrictions and the mandatory requirement to stay home can be punishable by fines and even imprisonment if not adhered to.

In some areas they are not so strict, allowing people to go outside for relaxation, as long as social distancing is maintained, or to work in essential jobs or buy essential goods.

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Letter to the Brethren – March 15, 2020

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Dear Brethren and Friends, 

Prophecy is being fulfilled! That which has been prophesied to occur is happening right in front of our eyes, and the effects are being felt around the world. The worldwide panic-stricken results from the coronavirus are only the beginning, and we have seen what an impact this has had already, day by day, minute by minute, and even as this letter is being written, more dire developments are arising. We hear news about more closures, cancellations and quarantining happening all over the world in large proportions like the canceling of sporting events, concerts, schools, flights, with entire cities and even countries being on lockdown and quarantined, affecting millions upon millions of people, increasing shortages in food and supplies as panic-stricken people are trying to prepare for the worst. This pandemic has led to economic collapse as the markets tumbled, and we have observed the worst day in the USA for the Dow on March 12, 2020, since the 1987 crash, and the worst week for stocks since the 2008 crash. This has also led to the Federal Reserve slashing interest rates to near zero as they try to battle this potential economic shutdown. We in the Church of God have been warning about these developments for years.

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Letter to the Brethren – February 13, 2020

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Dear Brethren and Friends,

In Galatians chapter 5 we read about the works of the flesh and the fruit of God’s Spirit. One such fruit is longsuffering, and it is one that I would suggest doesn’t come easily to most of us.

By comparison, God is very definitely longsuffering. Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries translates the word “makrothumia” as “(objectively) forbearance (or subjectively) fortitude; longsuffering, patience. Longsuffering is defined as enduring wrongs or difficulties; patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship; stoic, tolerant or uncomplaining; obliging, unconstrained and many other descriptions.” Does this describe you and me?

It could be said that we complain because there is much to complain about and there may be an element of truth in that. “Longsuffering” is not a word that we generally use today and is, perhaps, seen as a somewhat old fashioned word.

I have no doubt that over the last few years we have all, to one degree or another, had our share of problems. I well remember a former colleague who designated all problems as areas of opportunity, and of course he was right. Longsuffering is the Christian’s way of bearing troubles and ills and also the problems associated with being different to the rest of society. It is an opportunity to grow and overcome and demonstrate to God that we are sold on the Way of Life that He has revealed to us.

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Letter to the Brethren – January 16, 2020

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Dear Members and Friends:

How often do we feel like we are failing? That life is hard? Maybe wondering what the point of trying so hard is all about? Maybe asking ourselves what good is living in the world at this time in the way that we do? Why put forth effort in overcoming, in changing? Maybe we have questions about why life is so mundane and frustrating? Maybe our attitudes take on a negative and depressive nature? 

Often times, when these types of thoughts and feelings start to invade in my own life, the only way to overcome them is to meditate on God’s Word and start reading the words that are there for us. When these types of attitudes come, it is often due to a lack of closeness to God. The attitudes of this world invade us, even if we don’t want them. Therefore, it takes constant effort with our thoughts to work on staying close to God (Colossians 3:2-10). When we do, the Holy Spirit will guard and keep us (2 Timothy 1:14). But if we start to drift away, even the slightest bit, we start to have these issues which Satan constantly broadcasts and with which he tempts us (Ephesians 2:2).

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Letter to the Brethren – December 17, 2019

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Dear Members and Friends:

A well-known Christmas song, which we can’t avoid hearing, no matter where we are, goes like this:

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year… It’s the happiest season of all with those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings… and caroling out in the snow. There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago…”

For a converted Christian, these words could not be further from the Truth. Rather, they describe the most dreadful time, which, sadly, we must endure in this world ruled by Satan. After all, true Christians know that the Christmas season is not biblical at all; it is pagan to the core, and placing a “Christian” mantle on those horrible or silly customs constitutes a mockery of the real Jesus Christ who died for us and reconciled us with God the Father, so that we can flee from demon-inspired worship services.  

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Letter to the Brethren – November 18, 2019

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Dear Brethren and Friends,

Have you ever deeply considered what being called into the Truth means? It is our opportunity for salvation! It is our selection by God to be among the firstfruits and to be in the first resurrection! But most of all, it means that God is willing to give us His Holy Spirit if we respond to His call.

Without the Holy Spirit we could never grow in the Family of God to become perfect and one with both the Father and Jesus Christ. Because we have been called and have repented, been baptized and received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by the ministry of the Church of God, we now are the children of God—as 1 John 3:2 reveals.

We are among the very, very few throughout the history of mankind whom God has set aside to serve Him at this time in this world over which Satan now rules. We are to live as “ambassadors” of the Kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). It falls to us to live differently—as lights in this realm of darkness and deception (Mathew 5:13-16). To that end we have this guideline:

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Letter to the Brethren – September 13, 2019

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Dear Brethren and Co-Workers,

Here we are at the time of year when we make the last big push before the Fall Holy Days begin. The Feast of Trumpets is on Monday, September 30th. The Day of Atonement is on Wednesday, October 9th. The Feast of Tabernacles begins Monday, October 14th, lasting for 7 days, culminating with the Last Great Day on Monday, October 21st. All of these days begin, of course, with the previous evening, at sunset. With only a few short weeks away, now is the time when we make sure all of our arrangements are in order. We inform employers and teachers, finalize our travel plans, and prepare hundreds of other details so we can observe these Holy Days with the fullness of our hearts and minds. There is always a lot to do during this time of year.

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Letter to the Brethren – August 5, 2019

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Dear Members, Co-Workers and Friends,

In 1961, I was partaking of a track meet in Langley, British Columbia, as the second leg of a four-by-one-hundred-yard relay. The race started off well and by the time the first runner reached me, we were in second place. After the passing of the baton, I had to put all my effort into catching up to the first runner, and about halfway, I actually passed him. The pass-off to the third runner went smoothly and now being in first place, I thought we would come in first, and it looked like a sure victory. Unfortunately, the final pass-off went poorly, and we were overtaken and came in second.

Even though we finished the race in a disappointing second place, we did finish, which is the important thing.

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