|"Will I Really Find Faith?"
|This Week in the News
|What does it mean to bless our enemies and those who curse us?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
|Just Be Thankful
On July 18, 2009, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, respectively, “The Fool.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
"Will I Really Find Faith?"
by Norbert Link
When speaking about His return, Jesus Christ asked the pointed question, “… when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). He was not referring to just about any faith in just about anything–He was speaking of true and unwavering godly faith.
We should take His question very personally. Will He find that kind of faith in you and me? Faith which moves mountains? Faith without limitations and boundaries? Faith which is free from doubt and fear? Faith that knows with full conviction that God will do what He has promised? That nothing is impossible for God? That everything works out for good if we love God and do what pleases Him?
We cannot make up that kind of faith. Rather, God must grant it to us. It is not our faith–it is Christ’s faith living in us.
Paul knew this. He said in Galatians 2:20 (Authorized Version): “… Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…” Paul understood that he LIVED by and through the faith OF Jesus Christ. And it is that faith that must dwell in all of us, and that Christ will be looking for when He returns. He said to the church in Pergamos, in Revelation 2:13: “And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny MY faith…”
Christ’s faith in us is living and obedient faith (James 2:20; Romans 1:5; 16:26). When we ask God the Father for it, He is willing to give us more and more of His Holy Spirit–and with it the faith OF Christ–His spirit of faith (Luke 11:13; Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 9). We must live by and through it, not focusing on what we can already see, but on the things which we cannot see yet. Christ’s faith in us must endure–as Christ is not only the ORIGINATOR, but also the FINISHER of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
IF we allow Christ’s faith to endure in us, then Christ will find it in us when He returns. For it to endure, we must have received it earlier. Do we have it now? Paul challenges you and me to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
When Christ is in us, then we can “draw near [to God the Father] with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). Every time we are in need! Every time we look for help, and strength, and encouragement! And we have the faith–we are convinced–that we will receive from God what we ask of Him, “because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
Do you believe that? Do you have that kind of faith, which is necessary to please God (Hebrews 11:6)?
You can! You should! You MUST!
Christ expects no less of you and me. But will He really find it in us when He returns?
The call for global governance in all its multiple facets is growing stronger. The Pope advocates it in respect to world economy; President Obama and former Vice President Al Gore advocate it in respect to global warming.
Man has tried repeatedly to set up a world government. All these attempts have failed, but they have caused in the process much misery, pain, war, death, slavery and torture. The Bible reveals that a world government WILL BE set up, but not by man–and in a way quite different from what man might expect. For more information, please listen to our new StandingWatch program, posted on StandingWatch and YouTube, titled, “Our Only Hope for Survival.”
In his meeting with the Pope, Obama declared that he had “every intention, with the commitment of the government, to reduce as much as possible, the number of abortions” (Zenit, July 10, 2009). He also said that the White House will work closely with the Vatican on a number of issues.
In turn, the Pope expressed how impressed he was of Obama (in spite of the fact that Obama supports abortion and stem cell research). All of this came on the heels of an admission by one of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices, that the abortion issue in Roe vs. Wade was decided in the hopes of cleansing unwanted populations. While we cannot possibly agree with such a stance, we are publishing an article on the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, with which we do agree substantially.
Voices were heard again this week to the effect that Israel had no choice but to attack Iran militarily. And none other than the racist “insane” president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused Germany of racism over the brutal murder of an Egyptian woman in a German courtroom. It is true, the contemptible attack in a public place and the subsequent silence of the German government for over a week are highly regrettable–since the German government and the EU were very quick, on the other hand, to condemn the murder of a Russian human rights activist. However, Ahmadinejad’s hypocritical criticism must be viewed as nothing but a political scheme in an attempt to score points. Also, the German intelligence agency, “BND,” denied earlier reports about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb within a short period of time.
It is interesting that recently, pictures were circulated on the Internet, showing Ahmadinejad in friendly conversation with Jewish rabbis and other Jewish leaders. Ahmadinejad’s conduct reminds us to a certain extent of Adolph Hitler. In fact, the same spiritual forces might have been, and could now be at work. When Hitler was coming to power, he behaved very friendly towards the Jews, and at first, rich Jewish bankers supported him and his party financially–even though he had written Mein Kampf and had made it very clear what his ambitions were. The same could be said, perhaps, about Ahmadinejad’s attempts to appear friendly towards the Jews. It is also telling that German intelligence agencies seem to underestimate Ahmadinejad’s abilities–just as the world underestimated Hitler, thinking they would see “peace in our time.” For more information on Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
In other news about Germany, a potential split between Angela Merkel’s CDU and the Bavarian sister party, CSU, could jeopardize Merkel’s re-election in September, and might even delay the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
Finally, the U.S. is slipping deeper and deeper into debt, while Democrats are attempting to legislate a most ridiculous health care plan; the swine flu is being compared with the flu epidemic of 1918; President Obama’s visit in Africa might not have resulted in any substantial improvement of US-African relationships, notwithstanding the President’s highly charismatic appearance and welcomed speech in Ghana; and a “bombshell” decision by the U.S. Military might bring into focus concerns that Barack Obama may not be a “natural-born” U.S. citizen.
This Week in the News
Obama and Benedict Meet
The Associated Press reported on July 10:
Reuters reported on July 10:
“President Barack Obama promised Pope Benedict on Friday that he would do everything possible to reduce the number of abortions in the United States, the Vatican said… In a surprise move, the pontiff gave Obama a booklet explaining Vatican opposition to practices such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research, which Obama supports… The White House said Obama wanted to work together on a range of issues with the Vatican… the pope was ‘very impressed’ by Obama and… ‘extremely satisfied’ with the talks.
“Obama told the pope during a picture-taking session after the private part of the audience: ‘We look forward to a very strong relationship between our two countries.’ The pope also gave the president a copy of his latest encyclical, ‘Charity in Truth,’ which called for a ‘world political authority’ to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies…”
Abortions to Cleanse Unwanted Populations?
LifeSiteNews reported on July 9:
“U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seems to have made a stunning admission in favor of cleansing America of unwanted populations by aborting them. In an interview with the New York Times, the judge said that Medicaid should cover abortions, and that she had originally expected that Roe v. Wade would facilitate such coverage in order to control the population of groups ‘that we don’t want to have too many of’…
“Justice Ginsburg’s remarks appear to align her expectations for abortion with those of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and other prominent members of the 20th century’s eugenics movement. Sanger and her eugenicist peers advocated the systematic use of contraception, sterilization, and abortion to reduce the numbers of poor, black, immigrant and disabled populations…
“When the Supreme Court upheld the partial-birth abortion ban in 2007, Ginsburg wrote a scathing dissent, saying the court’s reasoning ‘reflects ancient notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution – ideas that have long since been discredited.'”
Abortion Can Never Be Right
Zenit reported on July 13:
“In an article published in March in the Vatican newspaper, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, spoke about the case of a young Brazilian girl who was repeatedly raped by her stepfather, and was expecting twins. In early March, an abortion was performed on the girl, who is just over 52 inches tall and weighs 79 pounds. The case drew even more controversy when Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife excommunicated the mother and all the members of the medical team, generating criticisms against the Church in Brazil.
“Archbishop Fisichella lamented the precipitous condemnation in such a morally delicate case. Referring to the excommunication ‘latae sententiae’ [automatically incurred at the moment of the act], he said that ‘such urgency and publicity was not necessary’… He stated that Archbishop Sobrinho’s ‘hasty’ reaction has caused resentment and has undermined the credibility of the Church’s teaching, ‘which in the eyes of many seems insensitive, incomprehensible and lacking in mercy’…
“[The clarification] affirms ‘that the Church’s teaching on procured abortion has not changed, nor can it change… In regard to ‘procured abortion in certain difficult and complex situations,’ the text [of the clarification] continued, ‘the clear and precise teaching of Pope John Paul II is valid:
“”It is true that the decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful for the mother, insofar as the decision to rid herself of the fruit of conception is not made for purely selfish reasons or out of convenience, but out of a desire to protect certain important values such as her own health or a decent standard of living for the other members of the family. Sometimes it is feared that the child to be born would live in such conditions that it would be better if the birth did not take place. Nevertheless, these reasons and others like them, however serious and tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.”‘”
Gore for Global Governance
Climate Depot reported on July 10:
“Former Vice President Al Gore declared that the Congressional climate bill will help bring about ‘global governance.’
“‘I bring you good news from the U.S.,’ Gore said on July 7, 2009 in Oxford at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, sponsored by UK Times… ‘it is the awareness itself that will drive the change and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance and global agreements’…
“Gore’s call for ‘global governance’ echoes former French President Jacques Chirac’s call in 2000. On November 20, 2000, then French President Chirac said during a speech at The Hague that the UN’s Kyoto Protocol represented ‘the first component of an authentic global governance’…
“In addition, calls for a global carbon tax have been urged at recent UN global warming conferences. In December 2007, the UN climate conference in Bali, urged the adoption of a global carbon tax that would represent ‘a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations.'”
“John Bolton: Strike on Iran Is Israel’s Only Option”
Newsmax reported on July 13:
“Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton asserts that with Iran’s hard-line regime still in control, Israel’s decision on whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities is ‘more urgent than ever.’
“The unrest that followed Iran’s disputed presidential election suggested that regime change could possibly be in the offing. But that prospect seems lost for the near future, or at least for as long as it will take Iran to produce a deliverable nuclear weapon, Bolton argues. ‘Accordingly, with no other timely option, the already compelling logic for an Israeli strike is nearly inexorable,’ he declared in an article published in The Washington Post…
“Bolton insists Iran won’t negotiate in good faith, and further sanctions won’t prevent Iran from producing weapons when it chooses. ‘Time is too short, and sanctions failed long ago,’ he points out… ‘Those who oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons are left in the near term with only the option of targeted military force against its weapons facilities… Otherwise, be prepared for an Iran with nuclear weapons, which some, including Obama advisers, believe could be contained and deterred. That is not a hypothesis we should seek to test in the real world. The cost of error could be fatal.'”
USA and EU Give Iran Deadline of a Few Months
The Jerusalem Post reported on July 15:
“Just hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US expected Iran to respond to diplomatic overtures regarding its nuclear program ‘now,’ the European Union issued a similar call, saying that the Islamic republic had but a few months to resolve the issue.
“Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the EU presidency, said the international community faces ‘difficult choices in the next … weeks or months, but not very much longer than that’ to force Iran to improve relations by backing off its nuclear program.”
German Denials Raise Doubts
Reuters reported on July 15:
“Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND denied a report in a magazine on Wednesday that its experts believe Iran is capable of producing and testing an atomic bomb within six months. The report, in German weekly Stern [which is known for its ACCURATE factual reporting], cited BND experts as saying Iran had mastered the enrichment technology necessary to make a bomb and had enough centrifuges to make weaponised uranium. It quoted one expert at the agency as saying: ‘If they wanted to, they could detonate an atomic bomb in half a year’s time.’
“But a BND spokesman said the article did not reflect the view of the agency, which is that Iran would not be able to produce an atomic bomb for years. ‘We are talking about several years not several months,’ the spokesman said.”
These self-serving denials are contradicted by many authorities and experts who claim that Iran has already reached–or is very close to reaching–capability to produce an atomic bomb.
No End to Bloody Afghan War
Reuters reported on July 15:
“The death toll for foreign troops in Afghanistan halfway through July equaled the highest for any month of the eight-year-old war… The soaring death toll was an outcome of U.S. President Barack Obama’s escalation strategy… More fighting lies ahead.”
Swine Flu Resembles 1918 Flu Pandemic
Reuters wrote on July 13:
“The new H1N1 influenza virus bears a disturbing resemblance to the virus strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic, with a greater ability to infect the lungs than common seasonal flu viruses, researchers reported on Monday. Tests in several animals confirmed other studies that have shown the new swine flu strain can spread beyond the upper respiratory tract to go deep into the lungs — making it more likely to cause pneumonia…
“The new swine flu virus has caused the first pandemic of the 21st century, infecting more than a million people, according to estimates, and killing at least 500…”
AFP added on July 13: “All countries will need access to vaccines against swine flu as the pandemic is ‘unstoppable,’ a senior World Health Organisation official said Monday.”
US Budget Deficit Highest EVER
BBC News reported on July 13:
“The US budget deficit has moved above $1 trillion (£616bn) for the first time… The government stepped up spending to counter the recession, and the bailout of financial institutions has taken a huge chunk out of government finances. Falling tax revenues and unemployment benefit spending have also contributed. The figure compares with $455bn for the whole 2007/8 financial year…
“And the situation has led to increasing anxiety among the foreign buyers of US debt, including China… ‘These are mind boggling numbers,’ said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at the Smith School of Business at California State University. ‘Our foreign investors from China and elsewhere are starting to have concerns about not only the value of the dollar but how safe their investments will be in the long run.'”
How Democrats Want to Enforce Health Care!
The Associated Press reported on July 15:
“House Democratic leaders, pledging to meet the president’s goal of health care legislation before their August break, are offering a $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans. Left to pick up most of the tab were medical providers, employers and the wealthy…
“Under the House Democrats’ plan, the federal government would be responsible for ensuring that every person, regardless of income or the state of their health, has access to an affordable insurance plan. Individuals and employers would have new obligations to get coverage, or face hefty penalties.
“The legislation calls for a 5.4 percent tax increase on individuals making more than $1 million a year, with a gradual tax beginning at $280,000 for individuals. Employers who don’t provide coverage would be hit with a penalty equal to 8 percent of workers’ wages, with an exemption for small businesses. Individuals who decline an offer of affordable coverage would pay 2.5 percent of their incomes as a penalty, up to the average cost of a health insurance plan…
“The 1,000-page bill is unlikely to attract any Republican backing, and business groups and the insurance industry immediately assailed it as a job-killer… The House bill seemed unlikely to win broad backing in the Senate…”
Ahmadinejad Accuses Germany of Racism!
Deutsche Welle reported on July 13:
“The German government has rejected accusations from Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the murder of an Egyptian Muslim woman in a Dresden courtroom was evidence of the German government’s brutality. Ahmadinejad on Sunday demanded the United Nations impose sanctions against Germany and accused the West of applying double standards when it comes to human rights. The incident was proof for… the ‘brutality of the German government and clear evidence for corruption in the German justice system,’ said Ahmadinejad.
“Ahmadinejad added that while Berlin and Washington had plenty to say regarding events in Tehran following Iran’s presidential elections, no reaction had been registered regarding al-Sherbini’s murder. ‘We want condemnation from the United Nations Security Council and the imposition of sanctions,’ said the Iranian president.”
Questions About Murder of Muslim Woman in German Courtroom
The Netzeitung wrote on July 13:
“The tragic events in Dresden last week have left several unanswered questions: How can a defendant stab a witness 18 times in a courtroom without anyone stopping him? How can the only person apparently able to intervene – her husband – end up seriously injured? And how is it that the police officer coming to the scene ends up shoot[ing] directly at the Egyptian husband and not the attacker?… Why does the death of a woman wearing a headscarf – who wasn’t the victim of a so-called ‘honour killing’ – spark so little interest in Germany?
“And why did the country’s politicians merely… shrug their shoulders for an entire week after the heinous deed?… A young woman Muslim, an educated and employed pharmacist, refuses to accept outrageous insult[s] such as ‘slut,’ ‘Islamist,’ and ‘terrorist’ from a xenophobic man and decides to defend herself in a court of law. After suing her tormentor he is convicted, but at a retrial he kills her… In this case, a well-educated young woman, married to [a] man working at the esteemed Max Planck Institute, died…
“Chancellor Angela Merkel has remained silent and Geert Mackenroth, Saxony’s justice minister, apparently only wants to use the incident to push for closed courtrooms in the state – even though public access to trials is one of the most important pillars of a modern legal system. Mackenroth, the former head of the German Association of Judges, once tried to justify police torture in Frankfurt…”
EU Condemns Murder of Russian Human Rights Activist
Deutsche Welle reported on July 16:
“Officials from the European Union have issued a series of strong condemnations of the murder of Russian human rights activist Natalya Estemirova of the group Memorial, whose body was found Wednesday… Estemirova’s murder ‘draws attention to the necessity of protecting human rights defenders in Russia,’ the Council’s statement added.
“The Council’s statement follows a similar condemnation from the EU Presidency, currently held by Sweden, which took over the rotating six-month presidency of the 27-nation bloc on July 1… The newly elected president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, also called on Moscow to investigate the murder…
“Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Estemirova’s murder at a press conference following bilateral talks in Munich on Thursday. ‘The murder of our human rights activist is of course a very sad event,’ Medvedev said. ‘In contrast to earlier incidences, it is clear in this case: the murder was connected to her activity (as an activist).’
“‘She spoke the truth and openly, sometimes toughly described some processes that happen in this country,’ Medvedev added. ‘That is the value of a rights activist – even if these things are not pleasant and uncomfortable for the authorities.’…
“Estemirova, who was thought to have been abducted hours earlier in the Chechen capital Grozny, worked for the leading Russian rights group Memorial which has exposed a string of abuses in the conflict-torn region and has accused the current Russian government of complicity.”
Split Coming Between Angela Merkel (CDU) and Bavaria’s CSU?
On July 12, Die Welt On Line wrote:
“The Bavarian allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel are set to defy her on tax policy and ratification of the EU’s Lisbon treaty, opening up cracks in the conservative camp ahead of a September election. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) have vowed to fight together to ensure her re-election.
“But the CSU also has an eye on its supporters in Bavaria and has shown it will not hesitate to break with Merkel and her CDU if it thinks it can score points closer to home. Tax policy is one area where the two parties diverge. While both have agreed to pursue tax cuts after the vote, Merkel has been adamant that the timing of such cuts should be left open…
“In addition to the tax issue, CSU leaders also agreed at the weekend to take a hard line on ratification of the European Union’s Lisbon treaty, German media reported. Germany is one of four countries, alongside the Czech Republic, Ireland and Poland, not to have ratified the treaty, which would streamline decision-making in the 27-nation bloc.
“Merkel had hoped, following a ruling by Germany’s Constitutional Court earlier this month, to rush legislation through parliament in September and get the treaty formally approved in the weeks before the election. But the CSU, which is traditionally sceptical of ceding powers to Brussels, appears intent on demanding legislative changes that could delay ratification beyond the Sept. 27 vote.
“‘One shouldn’t compromise on democracy by saying it should go fast,’ CSU leader Horst Seehofer told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper when asked about the timing of the treaty. A delay beyond the vote would be an embarrassment for Merkel and could embolden eurosceptic presidents in the Czech Republic and Poland, who have refused to sign off on the treaty until other EU members have approved it.”
Does German Ruling on Lisbon Treaty Undermine European Unity?
The EUObserver wrote on July 15:
“European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has expressed concern at a judgement by Germany’s constitutional court on the Lisbon Treaty, fearing it could undermine the ‘European project.’ The possible implications of the 147-page ruling is slowly becoming clear after the initial relief expressed in Brussels that the EU’s new treaty was given the green light.
“Germany’s judges on 30 June said… that Germany’s highest court should have final say on interpretation of EU law allowing it to overturn judgements by the bloc’s highest court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ)… The ruling has also raised strong debate in Germany.”
Obama in Africa–Change or No Change?
The Financial Times wrote on July 12:
“Barack Obama has tapped into a strong desire for self-determination among Africans in his maiden speech on the continent, evoking the inspiration that Martin Luther King Jr drew from Ghana’s struggle for independence and stressing that history was on the side of Africa’s reformers.
“But public opinion on the continent is divided over whether the first African American US president can bring something new to the table beyond his inspirational personal history, and whether the strong emphasis he has placed on democratic and accountable government will be matched by effective support.
“Amid all the excitement in Ghana in the run-up to Mr Obama’s first state visit to Africa, an undercurrent of scepticism has also been present among African intellectuals with an eye on Washington’s record. This is fuelled by the perception that US interests will ultimately be driven by the same concerns: access to oil, and security and humanitarianism…”
Obama Not a Natural-Born U.S. Citizen?
WorldNetDaily reported on July 14:
“A U.S. Army Reserve major from Florida scheduled to report for deployment to Afghanistan within days has had his military orders revoked after arguing he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his eligibility for office.
“His attorney, Orly Taitz, confirmed to WND the military has rescinded his impending deployment orders. ‘We won! We won before we even arrived,’ she said with excitement. ‘It means that the military has nothing to show for Obama. It means that the military has directly responded by saying Obama is illegitimate — and they cannot fight it. Therefore, they are revoking the order!’ She continued, ‘They just said, “Order revoked.” No explanation. No reasons–just revoked’…
“Obama has maintained he was born in Hawaii…
“Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born. Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.”
Obama Visits Slave Monument
Welt on Line wrote on July 12:
“U.S. President Obama got a glimpse on Saturday into one of the darkest chapters of Africa’s past — the transatlantic slave trade. Obama took his family for a poignant tour of Cape Coast Castle, a seaside fortress used by slave traders starting in the 17th century and which is now a monument to millions of Africans cast into slavery… He likened his tour of the slave castle to his visit last month to the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald in Germany, saying ‘it reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil.’
“… the visit to Cape Coast was a look back at a darker era of African history for Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas. His wife Michelle, who accompanied him on the tour along with their two daughters, is the descendant of Africans shipped to America as slaves.”
What does it mean to bless our enemies and those who curse us?
Actually, the command to bless others even though they may not seem worthy of our blessing is to be found throughout the Bible.
We read in Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, love your enemies, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Compare, Luke 6:27-28).
Romans 12:14-20 adds:
“BLESS THOSE who persecute you; BLESS AND DO NOT CURSE… Repay no one evil for evil… If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves… If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
1 Corinthians 4:12 states: “… Being reviled, we BLESS; being persecuted, we endure…”
1 Peter 3:9 adds: “… not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
The word “bless,” in the context of the above-quoted Scriptures, conveys the meaning of “calling down by prayer a blessing on him who persecutes us.”
The Greek word for “bless” is “eulogeo.” It is a compound of “eveu,” meaning “good” or “well,” and “logos,” meaning, “word, something said, speaker.” It can include “thought.” The word for “bless” means, then, “to speak well of” or “to invoke blessings upon a person.” (Compare Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, No. 2127, and W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).
When we bless someone, we refrain from cursing him. We bless with our lips, by what we say, but our blessings of others need to come from the heart; not only from our lips. Psalm 62:4 warns us not to behave like the wicked, when they bless others: “They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly.”
The Hebrew word for “bless” is “barah” and means, literally, “to kneel,” and by implication, “to bless God (as an act of adoration) or man (as a benefit).” (Compare Strong’s, No. 1288).
A good example of how to bless our hateful enemies can be seen in Luke 23:34 and Acts 7:60, when both Jesus and Stephen asked God to forgive their enemies and not to charge them with their sin of murder.
When we bless those who curse us, we do this with our mouth–but our words must be coming from the heart. This includes, praying for them. Our prayer could include, asking God to grant them repentance so that their sins may be forgiven. It could include asking God to prevent them from continuing their evil deeds, since their attitudes and conduct harm themselves and others.
Our prayer might include the plea to God to let our enemies see that what they are doing is wrong. We are not to avenge ourselves because we know that God will avenge us–and if this means that God will allow or bring trials on our enemies to bring them to repentance or a recognition of the evil of their doing, then that, too, would be a blessing for them.
The commentary of Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says about Matthew 5:44:
“Bless them that curse you – The word ‘bless’ here means to ‘speak well of’ or ‘speak well to:’ – not to curse again or to slander, but to speak of those things which we can commend in an enemy; or, if there is nothing that we can commend, to say nothing about him.”
Blessing would mean not to slander our enemies or to speak evil of them, by inventing facts or “adding to” the truth. It does not mean hiding the facts if there is a need to speak out, but even then, we must be sure that we do not speak or act with hate and with a desire to avenge ourselves (2 Timothy 2:17-18, 20-21; 4:14-15; 1 Timothy 1:18-20).
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states about Matthew 5:44:
“… when wicked men curse you, as Shimei cursed David, do not ‘render evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing’; give good words, use kind language, mild and soft expressions; such as may either win upon them, or put them to shame and silence: ‘bless, and curse not’; the latter belongs to them, the former to you; ‘let them curse, but bless thou’: curses better fit their mouths, and blessings thine. Blessing here, does not signify praising them, for that would be sinful…”
He adds in his comments about Romans 12:14:
“… bless them; that is, to pray for them, that God would show them their evil, give repentance to them, and the remission of their sins; which is the order Christ gave to his disciples [in Luke 24:47] and encouraged to an observance of, by his own example [Luke 23:34] and has been followed herein by his disciples and apostles [Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 4:12]. Moreover, by ‘blessing’ may be meant, giving them good words, mild and soft answers, ‘not rendering evil for evil, railing for railing’ [1 Peter 3:9]; but, on the contrary, blessing, in imitation of Christ, who, ‘when he was reviled, reviled not again’ [1 Peter 2:23]…
“… and curse not: to have a mouth full of cursing and bitterness [Romans 3:14] is the character of an unregenerate man, and what by no means suits one who names the name of Christ; for blessing and cursing to proceed out of the same mouth, is as absurd and unnatural, as if it should be supposed that a fountain should send forth sweet water and bitter, or salt and fresh [James 3:10]…”
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible writes about Romans 12:14:
“Bless them, pray for them, and on no account curse them, whatever the provocation may be. Have the loving, forgiving mind that was in your Lord.”
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states about Romans 12:14:
“Bless, and curse not – Bless only; or continue to bless, however long or aggravated may be the injury. Do not be provoked to anger, or to cursing, by any injury, persecution, or reviling. This is one of the most severe and difficult duties of the Christian religion… To curse denotes properly to devote to destruction. Where there is power to do it, it implies the destruction of the object. Thus, the fig-tree that was cursed by the Savior soon withered away [Mark 11:21]. Thus, those whom God curses will be certainly destroyed [Matthew 25:41; that is, if they remain under the curse and refuse to repent]. Where there is not power to do it, to curse implies the invoking of the aid of God to devote to destruction. Hence, it means to imprecate; to implore a curse from God to rest on others; to pray that God would destroy them. In a larger sense still, it means to abuse by reproachful words; to calumniate; or to express oneself in a violent, profane, and outrageous manner.”
When we curse someone and wishing him ill and longing for his destruction, we are motivated by Satan the devil; not by God. When James and John, the “sons of thunder,” asked Christ whether they should command fire to come down from heaven to destroy and devour the Samaritans who had refused to provide shelter for them, Jesus rebuked them and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:55-56).
Satan is called the destroyer (Revelation 9:11–the Hebrew word for Satan, “Abaddon,” means “Destruction,” and the Greek word for Satan, “Apollyon,” means “Destroyer”). On the other hand, Jesus is the Savior of the world (John 3:17; 4:42). We need to follow Christ’s example, not Satan’s. Moses prayed to God to relent from killing the nation of Israel when they had greatly sinned against Him (Exodus 32:7-14); and Abraham asked God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of ten righteous (Genesis 18:20-32).
In conclusion, we must be careful not to curse anyone, including our enemies who are hateful towards us and try to do us harm. Vengeance is God’s alone. Rather, we are to bless our enemies and pray for them, asking God to help them to see the evil of their ways and to repent. Our love towards all men will
be seen if we do good to those who hate us, and our righteous attitude will also be manifested when we ask God to do them good. God is kind even towards the unthankful and evil (Luke 6:35). He shows His perfect love for mankind when He “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Jesus said that we must become perfect in love as our Father’s love is perfect (compare Matthew 5:46-48).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch and YouTube. It is titled, “Our Only Hope for Survival.” In the program, Norbert Link discusses the following: Obama visit to Russia unsuccessful. G-8 leaders meeting in Italy without substantial results. More civil unrest in China and Honduras. Conflicting messages on a coming war between Israel and Iran. Troubling news about the U.S. economy. What is the solution? Do we need a world authority, as proposed by Pope Benedict XVI? What IS man’s only hope for his very survival?
Please have a look at our new design at YouTube. Just go to one of our more recent StandingWatch programs, as posted on YouTube, and click on “standingwatch” (in blue) at the top of the right-hand corner. As of now, 200 viewers have become regular subscribers to our StandingWatch programs, as posted on YouTube.
Norbert Link’s video-recorded sermon “How Real Is God to YOU?,” dated July 11, 2009, has been posted on the Web.
A new German sermon, titled, “Das Buch Hiob–Fuer Uns Heute,” (in English, “The Book of Job–For Us Today”) was posted on the Web. The sermon addresses Job’s suffering, his unhelpful unmerciful friends, God’s answers, as well as Job’s self-righteousness and God’s righteousness and mercy.
Just Be Thankful
by Michael Link
Lately, work has been tough at times and oddly enough, despite the economic troubles we are currently facing, it has been rather busy. Now I’m not complaining that I’m still employed and that the company I work for is presently in good standing, but I sometimes feel that I’m being taken advantage of with certain expectations that may seem a bit unreasonable. Every time when my job performance is pushed yet to another level and I address it, I hear the same statement from my immediate supervisors: “Just be glad you have a job.”
My managers and I get along very well, and we communicate often, but there are certain things that could be done to make the job flow more easily when it comes to performance and operation. My company just recently went through a huge merger, and this week there were many new unfamiliar tasks that had to be done. All of this required a lot of patience, teamwork, learning, and a “just do it” attitude.
Yes, my patience and attitude have been tested, getting myself frustrated at work with some of my co-workers; especially, when new things were thrown at us that we were expected to learn almost immediately. I got myself caught up in the negative when those around me also complained about what was going on. It shouldn’t be like that, however, since I know that I need to be an example and look to the positive.
Sometimes I get sidetracked easily, but it doesn’t take long for me to realize that I need to snap out of it. I tell myself that what is happening right now at work is hopefully only temporary, and I have to believe that things will get better. But even if they don’t get better, I have to think beyond that and know that God will take care of me. With that in mind, I need to perform to the best of my abilities, maintain a positive attitude, and be thankful that I do (still) have a job.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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