|Live Services||How Far Do You Want to Go?; The Servant of the Lord|
|Editorial||Once in a Lifetime|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||“Not Under Law, But Under Grace?” (Part 2)|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
How Far Do You Want to Go?; The Servant of the Lord
On February 20, 2016, Norbert Link will present the sermonette, titled, “How Far Do You Want to Go?,” and the sermon will be presented by Kalon Mitchell, titled, “The Servant of the Lord.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Once in a Lifetime
by Kalon Mitchell
We recently had the lottery here in the United States. The jackpot got up to 1.5 billion dollars. While this is a lot of money for most of us, it is hard to imagine that 65% of lottery winners are bankrupt within 15 years.
As one winner declared: “I tried to get too much, too fast.” This attitude of “get” is so prevalent in our current society; and yet, when those who do “get” it, they end up losing most of what they had, even to the point of going backwards, losing family, friends and in some cases wanting to commit suicide. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this attitude has permeated the very depths of our society. Take a look at the US National Debt Clock and you can watch the depressing amount of numbers continually streaming away. This is our nation crumbling before us. Will Durant’s quote stands in stark contrast: “A nation is born stoic and dies epicurean.” No longer are people willing to stand up for conscience and truth, but they rather look for the easy way out.
How many times have we in some way wished to win something? How many times have we wished that things would go more easily for us? Maybe our faith has been tested in areas of money, time and patience. Do we immediately lose hope? Do we wish it was instantly better? Or do we look to God and the Bible to start finding the answers that we need? James 1:2-4 plainly states that this is the right attitude that we need to be engaged in.
This time in our lives is our testing and proving ground. We are supposed to learn to be stoic, reliant, steadfast and unmovable with the Word of God as our rock. Look at Luke 21:19; Hebrews 6:12 ; and 1 Peter 1:7. How many times do we read biblical passages like these, think that they are great Scriptures and then walk away and forget what we just read?
As this nation and the rest of the world continue their crumbling decline, away from God and any and all morals, where does that leave us? Christ’s stark words were that the “world hates you” (John 15:18-19). Is this true for us? Do we stand out at times as sore thumbs because we hold fast to the truth? Or do we, for the sake of attempting to fit in, try and become a part of the world?
Our choices are daily. They are in the small things that we choose to do or not do–in the way in which we spend our precious hours. Now is the time to stop kidding ourselves, thinking that we have still much time to overcome, to become more acceptable to God. No, now is the time for deep self-examination, based on the Word of God. Truly, we have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the first in line for God’s soon-coming Kingdom.
How are we treating this? Hopefully not as those who go bankrupt after winning the lottery because they do not know how to use wisely what they have been given. It just came too fast for them. God is testing us NOW to see how we handle our responsibility, learning to make right choices, so that we can make good decisions when we become God beings.
We begin with reports on the national and international downfall of Angela Merkel, once called the “Queen of Europe” and “Europe’s Iron Lady,” and the questions regarding a possible successor who might come “out of nowhere,” as Merkel once did; speak on the blatantly obvious lack of European trust and confidence in the USA; and address the ongoing debate regarding a possible Brexit.
Turning to a critical legal battle between Apple and the FBI [please view our new StandingWatch program on the issue, titled, “Why Would Apple Resist the FBI?”] and the heated and brutal run for the American Presidency, we report on the fight between the Republican “establishment” and “outsiders”; speak on the less than fair methods by the GOP to support “their” candidates against the will of the people; point out a new fight between Pope Francis and Donald Trump; and address the sudden and unexpected death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Judge and Ronald Reagan appointee, Antonin Scalia.
We conclude with reporting on an agreement between Russia and Iran, violating a UN ban, Muslim opposition to Valentine ’s Day (even though they are right in objecting to it, they are wrong in their motives), and a revealing article of a medical doctor, showing the UNDENIABLE health risks of vaccinations in babies and young children.
This Week in the News
Is Angela Merkel Still the Right One?
The Telegraph wrote on February 12:
“Six months ago Angela Merkel was being hailed as the saviour of Europe, living up to the continent’s founding ideals of openness and tolerance by throwing open the gates of Germany to millions of refugees fleeing the horrors of Syria’s civil war… That was September – but how quickly the mood seems to have soured, as Germany comes to terms with the realities involved in absorbing more than a million migrants who were promised a better life.
“Is Europe’s Iron Lady really finished?… Is the most powerful politician in Europe about to be swept away by events in Syria, Turkey and North Africa that are increasingly beyond her control?…
“Germany hasn’t quite fallen out of love with her. Better to say the romance is on the rocks…It is worth noting that if there was an election tomorrow her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party would still be the biggest in Germany, and its current coalition would still command a majority… How can that be? A number of reasons. Perhaps chief among these is that Mrs Merkel doesn’t have a serious rival at the moment, either among the parties or political personalities…
“The crucial test for Mrs Merkel will be elections in three German states next month. It was defeat in a state election that triggered the downfall of her predecessor Gerhard Schröder in 2005. Mrs Merkel’s CDU does not have to win the state votes on March 13, but if it does not make a respectable showing the party could panic and look to appoint a new leader in time for next year’s national elections.
“She is also facing a legal challenge from the indefatigable Mr Seehofer [Premier of Bavaria], who has vowed to challenge her refugee policy in the courts as unconstitutional… If Mr Seehofer’s legal challenge to the country’s asylum policy is upheld in the courts, it could plunge Germany into a constitutional crisis and leave Mrs Merkel facing calls to resign…
“There is no obvious candidate now — but Mrs Merkel was far from an obvious candidate when she came out of nowhere to seize the party crown from Helmut Kohl, the man who had presided over the reunification of Germany. If Mrs Merkel falls, the repercussions will be felt far beyond Germany’s borders. In recent years she has been the dominant political force within the EU… It was largely Mrs Merkel who steered the EU though the Eurozone crisis. If she falls with the continent divided over refugees, new leadership will have to emerge somewhere…”
Merkel All Alone
The Local wrote on February 14:
“Abandoned by France, defied by eastern Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cuts a lonely figure in her struggle for EU ‘solidarity’ on the refugee crisis ahead of a Brussels summit… Merkel, long dubbed the ‘Queen of Europe’, has seen poll numbers drop at home, coalition members rebel and EU allies duck away as the refugee crisis has sparked deep discord and threatened the bloc’s system of open borders…
“She suggested its members could help Turkey’s refugee effort beyond the three billion euros ($3.3 billion) already committed by the EU. Turkey, which is hosting over 2.7 million mostly Syrian refugees, has voiced deep frustration with the EU as a fresh wave of Syrian refugees mass on its border. Angry over calls that Turkey should do more, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that his nation could throw out its existing refugees, threatening to fly and bus them to Europe. ‘We do not have the word “idiot” written on our foreheads,’ he said. ‘We will be patient, but we will do what we have to. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing.’”
Merkel Blasted by Russia and France
The Local wrote on February 12:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy, which brought 1.1 million asylum seekers to Germany in 2015, is not sustainable in the long run, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned Friday… The French prime minister’s criticisms… came after his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev lambasted Merkel’s asylum policy. ‘It’s quite simply stupid to open Europe’s doors wide and invite in everyone who wants to come to your country,’ Medvedev said… ‘European migration policy is a total failure, all that is absolutely frightening,’ Medvedev added…
“But there was no sign of backing down from Merkel’s government on Friday…
“Opposition has been growing within Germany against Merkel’s decision to open the doors to those fleeing war and persecution. An opinion poll published late January showed that nearly 40 percent of German voters want Merkel to quit over her asylum policy…”
Merkel Responsible for War in Europe?
Breitbart wrote on February 17:
“One of Poland’s most popular weekly magazines (wSieci–The Network) has splashed a graphic depiction of the rape of Europe’s women by migrants on its front cover. The image may be one of the most politically incorrect illustrations of the migrant crisis to date… Featuring a personification of Europa being pawed at by dark hands — what the German media would perhaps euphemistically term ‘southern’ or ‘Mediterranean’ — the headline decries the ‘Islamic Rape of Europe’.
“Making perfectly clear the intention of the edition, the edition features articles titled ‘Does Europe Want to Commit Suicide?’ and ‘The Hell of Europe’. The news-stand blurb declares: ‘In the new issue of the weekly Network, a report about what the media and Brussels elite are hiding from the citizens of the European Union’…
“Outlining the fundamental differences between eastern Islam and western Christianity — ‘culture, architecture, music, gastronomy, dress’ — the editorial explains these two worlds have been at war ‘over the last 14 centuries’ and the world is now witnessing a colossal ‘clash of two civilisations in the countries of old Europe’. This clash is brought by Muslims who come to Europe and ‘carry conflict with the Western world…’
“The magazine also had strong words for German Chancellor Angela Merkel… ‘the arrival of “millions” of cultural Muslims will ‘shock and undermine Europe’. The blame for this, the article lays firmly at the feet of Mrs. Merkel.”
Polish Magazine Causes Outrage
The Independent wrote on February 17:
“The right-wing Polish weekly magazine wSieci (The Network) has caused outrage with its latest front cover. The publication features the image of a white woman, draped with the European Union flag, screaming as she is being groped and assaulted by dark skinned male arms. Twitter users have compared the images with fascist propaganda in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, which used images of women being attacked by Jewish and North African men.
“The image is a reference to the sexual assaults that have been claimed to have been perpetrated by migrant and refugee men against European women. The 1,000 reports of theft, sexual assault and rape of women at Cologne’s central train station on New Year’s Eve led to calls for stronger immigration controls…
“[The author] believes that whilst Muslims are actively promoting this [cultural] war, Europeans are engineering their own downfall by ignoring the negative impacts of multiculturalism. Quoting historian Arnold Toynbee, he writes: ‘Civilisations die from suicide, not by murder’…
“The news comes after Poland’s government – alongside Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – stated that they will support Balkan countries to seal their borders with Greece in order to stem the flow of migrants and refugees.”
Muslim Violence in Germany, While Extraordinary Amounts of Money Are Given Away
Daily Mail wrote on February 11:
“Christians, women and gay men are among the groups of asylum seekers needing their own accommodation in Germany after facing attacks by fellow [Muslim] migrants…There are also growing numbers of reports citing violence between the mostly Muslim groups that remain, with frequent police callouts to tackle the violence…
“Germany needs 450 million euros to integrate just ten per cent of the migrants and refugees who have arrived in the country in the past year, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs said… Bundesagentur fur Arbeit (BA)… boss Detlef Scheele said… that if things went really well, in the first year of arrival maybe ten per cent of the refugees might end up with a job, and in five years it might be half. He estimated that after 15 years, it could be around 70 per cent…”
Crazy German Governmental Idea Provokes Furious Reaction
The Local wrote on February 12:
“The government has announced plans to set a €5,000 limit on payments in cash – provoking a furious reaction from politicians, media and public alike… The outcry came from all quarters, with the populist right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) just as vocal as the right-on left-wing Green Party and the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). Economic weekly WirtschaftsWoche made the plans the cover story on Friday’s edition, titled ‘Save cash!’.
“And an article in highly regarded broadsheet the Süddeutsche Zeitung suggested the move was nothing less than a step in the direction of totalitarianism. The immediate suspicion was that – far from being aimed at preventing terrorism and organized crime as the government professed – the move was meant to help the state pry into the smallest minutiae of Germans’ lives…
“It is clear that Germans put a high value on individual liberty… This prizing of freedom… meant that imposing a limit on hard currency was like playing with matches around a powder keg for German leaders. Polls consistently show that Germans prefer cash to cards… with people feeling they can keep a better overview of their expenses, and they can keep their shopping list away from the government and companies’ prying eyes…”
To MANDATORILY limit cash payments is an absolutely crazy idea… and it DOES give rise to the question, as posed by the Süddeutsche Zeitung whether the real goal is to create a totalitarian government in Germany.
“Europe’s Convinced U.S. Won’t Solve Its Problems”
Bloomberg wrote on February 13:
“Europe is facing a convergence of the worst crises since World War II, and the overwhelming consensus among officials and experts here is that the U.S. no longer has the will or the ability to play an influential role in solving them.
“At the Munich Security Conference, the prime topics are the refugee crisis, the Syrian conflict, Russian aggression and the potential dissolution of the European Union’s very structure. Top European leaders repeatedly lamented that 2015 saw all of Europe’s problems deepen, and unanimously predicted that in 2016 they would get even worse. ‘The question of war and peace has returned to the continent,’ German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the audience, indirectly referring to Russian military interventions. ‘We had thought that peace had returned to Europe for good.’
“What was missing from the conference speeches and even the many private discussions in the hallways, compared to previous years, was the discussion of what Europe wanted or even expected the U.S. to do. Several European officials told me that there was little expectation that President Barack Obama, in his last year in office, would make any significant policy changes to address what European governments see an existential set of crises that can’t wait for a new administration in Washington…
“During the first day of the conference, the U.S. role in Europe was hardly mentioned in the public sessions. In the private sessions, many participants told me that European governments are not only resigned to a lack of American assertiveness, they also are now reluctantly accepting a Russia that is more present than ever in European affairs, and not for the better…”
Europe will become more and more self-reliant, as it understands that it cannot count on the USA.
War Room of Lawyers in Brussels
The EUObserver wrote on February 17:
“EU leaders will gather on Thursday (18 February) afternoon in Brussels to kick off the meeting from which British prime minister David Cameron hopes to produce a deal for the UK that would enable him to put the UK’s EU membership to a referendum by June… However, Donald Tusk in a letter to EU leaders on Wednesday warned that ‘there is still no guarantee that we will reach an agreement’ and urged them to remain constructive… Leaders at the summit will be armed with a ‘war room of lawyers’, as one EU source put it, to tackle the remaining political and legal issues in the draft deal…
“The UK’s request to be left out of what the EU treaty defines as ‘ever closer union’ is [one] issue to be discussed by leaders, where different interpretations of deeper EU integration might clash.”
Merkel Woos Cameron
The Local wrote on February 13:
“German chancellor Angela Merkel has reaffirmed that she wants the UK to remain “an active member of a successful European Union”, as British Prime Minister David Cameron attended a banquet in Hamburg. Speaking at the historic ‘Matthiae-Mahl’ banquet, Merkel insisted, to thunderous applause, that continued UK membership was not only in Germany’s interest, ‘but also in Britain’s and in the interests of the entire EU’.
“The banquet’s host, Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz, said Britain was ‘irreplaceable’ in European foreign and defence policy. ‘And from an economic point of view, too… we can’t and won’t do without London,’ he added. Scholz, a member of the Social Democrat SPD party which shares power with Merkel’s conservative CDU, said Britain needed to show ‘pragmatism and courage… and their ability to compromise.’…
“Cameron expressed confidence that a deal could be reached which would allow Britain to remain in the European Union and avoid a so-called ‘Brexit’… ‘So when it comes to the question of Britain’s future in Europe, my aim is clear: I want to keep Britain inside a reformed European Union.’”
Scaremongering about EU
Express wrote on February 14:
“It’s a bit rich for the Germans to tell us that we couldn’t survive without them and it will undoubtedly provoke hollow laughter from those who still remember what Churchill in 1940 called ‘our finest hour’. Then Britain stood on its own and triumphed against tremendous odds. But now the various forces of ‘Project Fear’ – ranging from our own Prime Minister to German MP Gunther Krichbaum, who is head of the Bundestag’s EU affairs committee – deliver dire and entirely unfounded warnings about what will happen to Britain outside the EU.
“Mr Krichbaum threatens Britain with unfavourable trading conditions which led to a colourful exchange between him and anti-EU MP Sir Bill Cash, who said: ‘What do you take us for? Do you think we are incapable of running our own affairs?’ It is all perhaps to be expected that German politicians and Brussels apparatchiks are in the business of running Britain down. But even worse is the intervention by Dame Carolyn McCall, the boss of easyJet, who claimed that Brexit would increase the costs of budget airlines and, mysteriously, threaten the safety of British tourists.
“In the coming weeks there will be a lot of this kind of scaremongering from our own politicians, from pro-EU business leaders and from Europe. Nearly 70 years ago Britain had no qualms about going it alone and the threat we faced was a terrible one. We should show the same fortitude now.”
Except, it IS prophesied that Britain will ultimately leave the EU, and that shortly thereafter, a terrible war will break out between continental Europe and the UK, which the UK will lose.
Cameron’s Deal Does Nothing for Britain
Express wrote on February 17:
“Brussels’ top bureaucrat Jean-Claude Juncker sparked fury today after he claimed Britain ‘needs’ the European Union (EU) and would vote to stay in the 28-country bloc when the referendum is held… The president of the European Commission was accused of being ‘arrogant’ after he declared there was no ‘Plan B’ to the EU negotiations as David Cameron fights to salvage his renegotiation deal… Mr Juncker said the Prime Minister would be granted a ‘fair’ deal on his demands to alter the UK’s membership of the EU, but added that Brussels officials are also working to satisfy the 27 other member states…
“The ex-Luxembourg prime minister told German newspaper Bild: ‘… We need Great Britain in our European family and the British need the European Union.’
“But Mr Juncker’s comments caused outrage among British eurosceptics, as they scoffed at his suggestion the UK wouldn’t survive outside the EU. Ukip MEP Jane Collins… told Express.co.uk: ‘Just like Tony Blair, Juncker’s an asset to the Leave campaign… Every time he opens his mouth he lets people know just what the goals of the EU really are and just how pathetic Cameron’s “renegotiation” is… In fact the Prime Minister’s “reforms” are more watered-down than one of Prince Charles’ homeopathic remedies.’
“Tory MP Steve Baker, co-chairman of Conservatives for Britain and a member of the Vote Leave campaign, told Express.co.uk: ‘This is a question for the British people to decide first in their own interests.’… A spokesman for the Leave.EU campaign said: ‘… Cameron’s “deal” doesn’t do anything to bring powers back to Britain… Britain survived for thousands of years before the European Union, we can do so again after we vote to leave.'”
Apple RIGHTLY Resists!
Yahoo!News reported on February 17:
“The debate over encryption has reached new heights in a legal battle between Apple and the FBI. In response to a federal magistrate’s order requiring Apple to assist the agency in accessing data from a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, the company is pushing back, pledging to challenge the request in the name of its customers’ privacy.
“CEO Tim Cook published a public response early Wednesday morning… “‘We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,’ Cook wrote in a letter to his customers. ‘Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.’
“The 3-page court order requires Apple’s engineers to create a new iPhone operating system designed to bypass the company’s security features and install it on the iPhone 5C that belonged to Farook’s employer, the San Bernardino Department of Public Health… Despite a warrant, prosecutors argued… that, ‘The government has been unable to complete the search because it cannot access the iPhone’s encrypted content. Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily.’
“While the order applies only to Farook’s device, Cook argued that creating this new software would ultimately compromise the privacy of the ‘tens of millions of American citizens’ who use Apple devices. ‘In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession,’ he wrote. ‘The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.’”
The New York Times added on February 17:
“In his statement, Mr. Cook called the court order an ‘unprecedented step’ by the federal government. ‘We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,’ he wrote…
“The legal issues are complicated. They involve statutory interpretation, rather than constitutional rights, and they could end up before the Supreme Court. As Apple noted, the F.B.I., instead of asking Congress to pass legislation resolving the encryption fight, has proposed what appears to be a novel reading of the All Writs Act of 1789… In 2005, a federal magistrate judge rejected the argument that the law could be used to compel a telecommunications provider to allow real-time tracking of a cellphone without a search warrant…
“The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends digital rights, said it was siding with Apple. ‘The government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone,’ it said Tuesday evening. ‘And once that master key is created, we’re certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.’…”
Also, Tim Cook wrote this in his letter to APPLE’s customers:
“When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal… But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession…
“Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority… The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge…”
The Washington Post wrongly opinionated on February 17 that “Apple faces an uphill fight over the Farook case in the courtroom, where law enforcement’s right to demand access to the phone data is fairly clear-cut.” But this is not addressing the case at issue. Rather, the magistrate’s order seems to be illegal on its face. It is absurd to compel a company to CREATE a new iPhone operating system designed to bypass the company’s security features. The repercussions and the security risks are grave and enormous, and those who advocate that APPLE should comply don’t seem to understand what they are saying. This does not negate the sad fact that APPLE may still lose in America’s court system, but as the New York Times suggested, it might have to be decided by the US Supreme Court. Also note the next articles.
Conservatives Attack Apple
Newsmax wrote on February 17:
“MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and other conservative voices railed Wednesday morning over Apple’s opposition to a court ruling that would help the FBI crack the San Bernardino terrorists’ iPhone passcode voluntarily, saying the company is jeopardizing the nation’s security to protect the rights of two dead killers…
“GOP front-runner Donald Trump, on Fox News’ ‘Fox & Friends’ program, also agreed that Apple needs to unlock the phone. ‘… to think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone, who do they think they are?’
“Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also appearing on the same show, commented that national security trumps Apple’s worries about privacy. ‘I blame this to some extent on [Sens.] Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and the ridiculous hysteria they created about privacy and the government trying to take the information for improper purposes,’ said Giuliani.”
Sadly, Scarborough, Trump, Guiliani and others just don’t get it. Their expressed opinions in this matter are very dangerous.
Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and WhatsApp Support Apple
Bloomberg wrote on February 18:
“From Google Inc. to Facebook Inc., the industry’s biggest names have rallied around Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer after he vowed to resist a court order demanding it help unlock the iPhone of a shooter in a terrorist attack… The escalation with the FBI… galvanized the company’s U.S. peers and forced them to choose between helping the government fight crime and protecting their customers’ privacy…
“Reform Government Surveillance, a group representing companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft Corp. and Twitter Inc., issued a statement on Wednesday reiterating that, while it’s ‘extremely important’ to deter crime and terrorism, no company should be required to build backdoors to their own technology…
“Google CEO Sundar Pichai came to Cook’s defense, saying the government’s request could spur ‘a troubling precedent’ in comments echoed by WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum…
“Google provides law enforcement access to data ‘based on valid legal orders, but that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices and data,’ Pichai wrote in a series of tweets…
“Ultimately, the matter needs to be decided by Congress, said Robert Cattanach, a lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney who practices in areas of regulatory litigation including cybersecurity…
“Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, said there was a risk this one order against Apple could lead to many more in the future. ‘While the FBI is attempting to be very clear that this is a one off request, there is no chance that it is,’ Cuban wrote on his blog. ‘There will be many government agencies that many times in the future, point to Apple’s compliance as a precedent. Once this happens, we all roll down that slippery slope of lost privacy together.’…
“‘Silicon Valley stands with Apple,’ Bret Taylor, co-founder of Quip and former chief technology officer of Facebook and co- creator of Google Maps, posted on Twitter. Steven Sinofsky, a former senior executive at Microsoft, on Twitter called for ‘broad support from full stack of technology companies.’”
The Guardian wrote on February 17:
“Analysts and lawmakers warn FBI that ramifications over its demand that Apple unlock San Bernardino killer’s iPhone ‘could snowball around the world’… Authoritarian governments including Russia and China will demand greater access to mobile data should Apple lose a watershed encryption case brought by the FBI, leading technology analysts, privacy experts and legislators have warned.
“Apple’s decision to resist a court order to unlock a password-protected iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers has created a worldwide privacy shockwave, with campaigners around the world expecting the struggle to carry major implications for the future of mobile and internet security. They warned that Barack Obama’s criticism of a similar Chinese measure last year now risked ringing hollow.
“Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a leading legislator on privacy and tech issues, warned the FBI to step back from the brink or risk setting a precedent for authoritarian countries. ‘This move by the FBI could snowball around the world. Why in the world would our government want to give repressive regimes in Russia and China a blueprint for forcing American companies to create a backdoor?’ Wyden told the Guardian. ‘Companies should comply with warrants to the extent they are able to do so, but no company should be forced to deliberately weaken its products. In the long run, the real losers will be Americans’ online safety and security.’
“Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said the FBI was using an ‘unprecedented reading of a nearly 230-year old law’ that put ‘at risk the foundations of strong security for our people and privacy in the digital age. If upheld, this decision could force US technology companies to actually build hacking tools for government against their will, while weakening cybersecurity for millions of Americans in the process,’ Wyden said.
“Should the FBI prevail, and Apple create what is functionally a custom-built version of its mobile operating system, governments around the world ‘will see this as a blank check of legitimacy’, said human rights lawyer Carly Nyst, who called the Apple showdown ‘groundbreaking’….
“US-based tech firms have long dealt with efforts by countries worldwide to undermine user security in the name of law enforcement and national security – terms that vary widely with government prerogative. China in particular has fought with Apple over the iPhone, in a struggle that echoes the FBI’s latest move. Chinese state media in 2014 labeled the iPhone a national security threat for collecting location data from users and compromising ‘state secrets’. The accusation, coming after leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency had hacked Chinese tech giant Huawei, prompted Cook to defend the devices’ security features.
“‘Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will,’ Cook said at the time…”
Hitler Sent by God?
On February 14, The Times of Israel wrote the following:
“Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz repudiated evangelical Christian leader Mike Bickle’s statements that Adolf Hitler was a ‘hunter’ sent by God to target the Jewish people… while at the same time praising Bickle’s service and the work of his ministry…
“Bickle, the founder and director of the International House of Prayer, a Kansas City-based ministry, works actively to convert Jews to Christianity… In public sermons over the years, Bickle has focused intensely on end-times prophesies, and has predicted that Jesus will not return until Jews embrace him as their Lord and savior. He has predicted a new era of Holocaust-like conditions for Jews before the Second Coming, insisting that Jews who do not embrace Jesus will either die or be sent to prison or concentration camps.
“In a 2011 sermon, Bickle cited a passage from Jeremiah 16:16 to elucidate the attempted extermination of European Jewry. ‘The Lord says, “I’m going to give all 20 million of them the chance to respond to the fishermen. And I give them grace.’ And he says, “And if they don’t respond to grace, I’m going to raise up the hunters.” And the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler,’ he told an audience…”
Hitler was not sent by God, but by Satan. Our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,” and “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire,” explain this fact in much detail.
Why the Republican Debate Was So Brutal
Time wrote on February 14:
“Saturday night’s gathering of the remaining GOP presidential candidates was not a debate. It was a savage roar on the road to the White House as hopefuls shouted over each other, questioned each other’s character and, in one case, even went after a candidate’s mother. The ruckus was, in many ways, overdue… But was it too late to throw up a roadblock between Donald Trump and his party’s nomination?…
“It was a furious night that found, for the first time, Trump squarely being piled on from all sides. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush excoriated his business record and foreign policy judgement, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested he would appoint liberals to the Supreme Court and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio lambasted him for questioning the legacy of George W. Bush.
“Trump alternated between condescending smirks and prickly interruptions, but it was clear he was getting his first real all-against-him attack. He did not enjoy it… But Trump was hardly the only candidate who left the stage in Greenville, S.C., bloodied. The candidates are increasingly desperate to find a break-out moment—often at their peers’ expenses… Trump and Rubio ganged up to call Cruz a liar and Rubio was once again hit on his work on comprehensive immigration reform. Bush was called to defend his family’s legacy time and again…
“South Carolina has an appetite for such intra-party sparring—in fact, the state rewards it. Voters here, in the first Southern state to have a nominating contest, want a fighter for a nominee. Spurious attacks are the norm, and harsh rhetoric helps candidates fare well. Just ask Newt Gingrich, who four years ago used a fiery tone to best Mitt Romney…
“At different points, it was as if Trump were trying to lose support and goad the crowd into rowdiness. He mocked South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who has deep supporters in some corners. He praised Planned Parenthood [but condemned them for their abortion practices], a bogeyman among conservatives. He defended eminent domain, called George W. Bush a liar and blamed him for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks [Actually, he said that 9/11 happened on his watch, and that he did not keep the country safe.]. He called the war in Iraq a folly [stating that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which is an undeniable fact; even George W. Bush admitted this]—while standing on a stage in a state with the heaviest concentration of veterans in America.
“It might not matter. Trump has a lead in the polls here… His crowds respond to his brazen style and in-your-face personality. Trump’s brand of personality-driven politics might be what Republicans decide they want in a nominee…
“The debate marked the realization by more of his rivals that to win the nomination, they’ll have to get past Trump…”
And that will be quite a challenge!
The Real Weakness of the Republican Party
Salon wrote on February 14:
“I’ve written before about [the] influence of Matt Drudge [editor of the “Drudge Report”] and his online poll, and it continues to help paint a picture of the political reality inside the GOP. Drudge has carefully curated the news content on his site to build a massive anti-establishment army that is much bigger than the loyal GOP establishment…
“The problem for… the Republican establishment is that there just aren’t that many of them left anymore. Their numbers have dwindled over the years as more and more longtime Republicans… have left the party…
“The all-out war inside the GOP between the establishment loyalists and Drudge’s army was on display during the debate last night, and it was loud and raucous. The loudest loyalist boos at Trump came when he stood on that stage in the traditionally pro-Bush state of South Carolina and essentially blamed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 on former President George W. Bush. Bush is still very popular among GOP elites, especially there. In fact, his brother, presidential candidate Jeb Bush, will be campaigning with the former president in South Carolina this week.
“The real weakness of the GOP establishment will be measured on Saturday in the [primary in South Carolina] because it will show, in real hard numbers, just how many traditional Republicans are left. If Trump can blame 9-11 on establishment icon George W. Bush and then win the South Carolina primary, then we’ll know that the old Republican Party just doesn’t exist anymore. If that doesn’t sink his campaign, then nothing will, and he will be the GOP nominee. We’ll know for sure on Saturday, but the Drudge Poll today has given us a hint.”
GOP Stacks Debate Audience with Anti-Trump and Anti-Cruz Donors and Interest Groups
The GOP is becoming desperate in trying to do whatever they can in order to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. But their actions might backfire.
Breitbart reported on February 14:
“The chairman of the local Republican Party here confirmed to local television that 2016 frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump’s concerns—and those of his closest competitor Ted Cruz—with the Republican National Committee (RNC) allocation of debate audience tickets are well-placed.
“… more than 1000 tickets… went not to voters in the upcoming election and not to campaigns for equal distribution to their supporters but to special interest distribution of those connected to the party, mostly high dollar donors…
“Trump’s and Cruz’s concerns are even being confirmed by many across the political spectrum. In fact, even the left-of-center Huffington Post confirms that the RNC’s ticket allocation system seems to have been ‘behind’ the excessive and unwarranted booing of Trump and Cruz—and cheering of the donor class supported Rubio and Bush…
“Vox, another left-of-center outlet, ran a headline that made it even clearer: ‘The Republican establishment packed the debate audience with Donald Trump haters.’… Vox… admits that Trump’s claim on stage that the odd—and unrepresentative of the party’s voting base—audience was made up of ‘Jeb’s special interests and lobbyists’ was really not ‘that far-fetched.’”
With these questionable tactics (which are vehemently denied by the GOP), the Republican establishment is harming itself.
The Pope vs. Trump
Newsmax reported on February 18:
“Pope Francis assailed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s views on U.S. immigration as ‘not Christian’ on Thursday, prompting the billionaire businessman to reprimand the religious leader as ‘disgraceful’ for questioning his faith…
“In a freewheeling conversation on his flight home from a visit to Mexico, Francis told reporters, ‘A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.’…
“Asked if American Catholics should vote for someone with Trump’s views, Francis said, ‘I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt,’ he said.
“Trump… said, ‘If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president [He added, quite inconsistently and contradictorily, that under his presidency, such an attack would not have happened.]… For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful… I’m a very good Christian [Trump is a Presbyterian] … I’m proud of it.’…
“Trump’s social media director… tweeted, ‘Amazing comments from the Pope – considering Vatican City is 100 percent surrounded by massive walls.’
“Trump accused the Mexican government of making disparaging remarks about him to the pope ‘because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border…’ He said the pope only heard one side of the story and did not see what Trump called the crime, drug trafficking and negative economic impact Mexico’s policies had on the United States.
“Evangelical Christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr, who has endorsed Trump and spent time with the candidate on his private plane, described him as generous to his employees and family, adding, ‘I’m convinced he’s a Christian. I believe he has faith in Jesus Christ.’”
The Bible prophesies that the relationship between the Church of Rome and the USA will deteriorate dramatically.
German Minister Blasts Jeb Bush’s America
The Local wrote on February 17:
“After US presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweeted an image that seemed to equate the American Dream with gun ownership, Germany’s Justice Minister struck back with his own image of the USA. Jeb Bush’s tweet simply read ‘America’ and included a photo of the former Florida governor’s personal sidearm, engraved with his name and his office.
“Supporters showered the tweet with likes – reaching almost 19,000 by late morning on Wednesday. But the tweet also turned into a snowballing Twitter row, provoking mass outrage and an outpouring of parody.
“German Justice Minister Heiko Maas apparently couldn’t resist getting involved in the mess, copying Jeb’s tweet but replacing the pistol with the Bill of Rights. It looks like an attempt to show that Germans value America’s long history of constitutional democracy more than the nation’s – to Europeans – puzzling attachment to machines that put small pieces of metal into other people very fast.”
Indeed, most Europeans have a hard time understanding America’s insane fascination with guns. More importantly, God does not approve of it, either.
Jeb Bush Comes Under More Fire
JTA wrote on February 17:
“Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweeted an image of a gun manufactured by a U.S. company with a parent European firm that made firearms for Nazi troops… The image was retweeted over 22,400 times and prompted widespread commentary, mostly negative, across the Internet.
“FN America is owned by FN Herstal, a Belgium-based corporation… During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, the Nazi military requisitioned the company… to produce thousands of its weapons, including the pistols carried by Nazi officers and pilots.
“In addition… FN Herstal’s Five-Seven model gun is a popular weapon used by Mexican drug cartel leaders.”
Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia Dies… and Leaves Behind Another Fight…
Thomson/Reuters wrote on February 14:
“Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates hardened their positions on Sunday on blocking a move by President Barack Obama to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a lifetime appointment that would help decide some of the most divisive issues facing Americans. The next justice would tilt the balance of the nation’s highest court, which now consists of four conservatives and four liberals. The vacancy left by the death of Scalia, 79, quickly became an issue in the 2016 presidential race.
“The nine-justice court is set to decide its first major abortion case in nearly 10 years, as well as cases on voting rights, affirmative action and immigration. Cruz said the vacancy makes November’s election even more critical, warning that a justice chosen by Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would mean the Second Amendment right to bear arms would be ‘written out’ of the Constitution and abortion on demand would become the law of the land…
“Democrat Obama said on Saturday that he would nominate someone to fill the now-empty seat, setting up a battle with the Republican-controlled Senate, which must approve any nominee. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said hours after Scalia’s death was announced that the high court vacancy should not be filled until Obama’s successor takes office next January so that voters can have a say in the selection. His Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid, said failure by the Senate to act would be a ‘shameful abdication’ of the chamber’s constitutional responsibilities…
“Trump, appearing on NBC, was [very] direct when asked what he would want in a nominee: ‘Someone just like Justice Scalia.’”
Conspiracy theories abound that Scalia’s death was not natural. What is puzzling is that no autopsy was ordered, even though state law seemed to have required one in this case, according to an article by Infowars, dated February 17, claiming that “By not performing an autopsy on late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Presidio Co. Judge Cinderela Guevara likely violated state law,” adding, “The question now is, will Texas Gov. Greg Abbott call for an investigation into what’s likely illegal behavior by a county judge?”
Russia To Send Iran Fighter Jets in Violation of UN Resolution
Fox News reported on February 17:
“Russia announced Wednesday it will sign a contract to supply a batch of fighter jets to Iran in violation of a U.N. ban… A U.N. resolution passed on July 20, just days after the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., forbids Iran from making conventional arms sales for the next five years.
“The resolution specifically bans the sale of ‘battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, [and] warships…’ from being purchased by Iran without prior approval from the U.N.
“The deal, if carried out, would represent Iran’s latest violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution… Iran carried out a medium range ballistic missile test on Nov. 21 from a known missile test site along the Gulf of Oman. The test led to strong condemnation from members of the U.N. Security Council.
“The controversial agreement to supply the Islamic Republic with Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighter jets comes one day after the Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin… Dehqan is accused of orchestrating the 1983 terror bombing that killed 220 U.S. Marines and 21 other service members in Beirut, Lebanon.”
Iran and Saudi Arabia Opposed to Valentine’s Day
The Associated Press wrote on February 12:
“Iranian news outlets reported the police directive Friday warning retailers against promoting ‘decadent Western culture through Valentine’s Day rituals.’ Police informed Tehran’s coffee and ice cream shops trade union to avoid any gatherings in which boys and girls exchange Valentine’s Day gifts.
“The annual Feb. 14 homage to romance… has become popular in recent years in Iran and other Middle East countries. The backlash in the Islamic Republic is part of a drive against the spread of Western culture. Saudi Arabia has also sought to stamp out Valentine’s Day but it’s celebrated widely in nearby places like Dubai.”
Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries oppose Valentine’s Day, which is in fact a pagan celebration. However, Muslim opposition is not based on biblical and godly concerns.
The CURSE of California’s Mandatory Vaccination Law
On February 11, the website of ptreyeslight.com published the following article by Dr. Michelle Veneziano, a family practice physician:
“The medical community acknowledges that vaccines are not 100 percent safe for everyone. A public dialogue that shares relevant, unbiased research is critical. When I began to look into vaccine safety, I discovered many studies that questioned their safety; I also found that these studies are not easily located in the medical literature. I discovered evidence that industry’s reach has run deep into trusted public health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control.
“As I looked further, I discovered that tragic accounts of severe vaccine injury, usually thought to be rare, are in fact all too common. I discovered a host of peer-reviewed, non-industry-funded studies that illustrate that vaccines and the way we administer them pose very serious short and long-term health impacts, and not just to a marginal number of children…
“My work on this issue is not funded. The pharmaceutical industry, on the other hand, has many billions of dollars at stake. And its influence on the medical community is evident. The New York Times published a story that Harvard earned the grade of ‘F’ for rampant conflict of interest within its own medical school. Even Richard Horton, editor of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet wrote last year that ‘much of the scientific literature may simply be untrue.’…
“Skepticism among all physicians is rising more quickly, perhaps in part due to the mandating of the hepatitis B vaccine. The Hep-B virus is transmitted through blood, most commonly through the use of needles or through sexual contact. This vaccine contains aluminum, a known neurotoxin, and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Yet it is recommended on the first day of life and is now required for children to attend preschool. Common sense and science cannot support this practice…
“The United States ranks 49th in the developed world in health. According to non-industry-funded research, the chemical accumulation in our bodies from vaccines and other sources could be said to be claiming more lives than infectious diseases ever have or ever will. Vaccine preservatives and adjuvants are associated with cancers and other immuno-compromised states.
“Data connects aluminum in vaccines to Alzheimer’s and sudden infant death syndrome. We have the highest vaccination rate and the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. And the state with the highest vaccination rate also has the highest infant mortality rate.
“There are thousands of reports of a single vaccine causing devastating injury… Yet the C.D.C. still says it is permissible for babies to receive up to 13 vaccines at either their 12-month or 15-month checkups.
“If children were to receive all the recommended vaccines, they would be dosed 70 times before high school, compared to 22 times in 1983. All the while, rates of chronic illness are rising dramatically… Efforts are underway to author a new bill that could delay the implementation of Senate Bill 277 until a much-needed review and public discussion can take place…”
Let us pray that this ridiculous and DANGEROUS mandatory California vaccination law will be rescinded.
“Not Under Law, But Under Grace?” (Part 2)
In the last installment, we discussed the meaning of Paul’s statement in Romans 6:14-15 that we are “not under law.” In this installment, we will discuss the remainder of his statement, that we are now “under grace,” and we will also show why that this fact may abolish sin’s “dominion” over our lives.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 tells us that death will be swallowed up in victory when we become immortal spirit beings (unable to die anymore), exclaiming: “O Death, where is your sting?… The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” When we sin (by transgressing the law), then we bring the death penalty upon us. But Paul continues: “But thanks to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice: God GIVES us the victory. The Bible tells us that we can find mercy, forgiveness, protection and help from God. We can be placed under God’s grace, rather than living “under the penalty of the law.”
God, through Jesus Christ, is offering us His grace, so that we can be freed from the law’s death penalty. When we accept God’s grace, then we are UNDER His grace. We can be under God’s protection.
Jesus uses a similar analogy when He states in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under (Greek: “hupo”) her wings, but you were not willing.”
We must be willing to come under Christ’s wings. You must be willing to “humble yourselves under (Greek: “hupo”) the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
The use of the Greek word “hupo”, in English “under,” is important. We are no longer “under” the law—it’s death penalty—but “under” grace. Since God is willing to give us protection by, symbolically speaking, gathering us “under” His wings, and as we are to humble ourselves “under” the mighty hand of God, we can come “under” God’s grace; that is, under God’s protection and authority. In Matthew 8:9, a Roman centurion states that he is “a man under (Greek, “hupo”) authority, having soldiers under (Greek, “hupo”)” him (compare also Luke 7:8). In the same way, we are “under” God’s grace, coming “under” and putting our trust “under” the shadow of His wings (compare Psalm 17:8; 36:7).
We are still using similar terminology today when we want to express the thought that someone is under authority of someone or something else. We speak of someone who is “under the influence” of alcohol; or that someone is placed “under observation.”
What, then, is meant in detail that we are to live “under grace”?
Simply put, God’s grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is the gift of God. It includes manifold facets of God’s undeserved pardon and forgiveness, His mercy and His compassion, and more.
The Greek word for “grace,” “charis,” can mean benefit, favor and gift. The Greek word “charisma” is derived from the word, “charis.”
God’s grace is a gift, and it includes forgiveness of our sins and thereby the removal of the death penalty. We were freely justified by God’s grace—in that God forgave us our sins, following our repentance and belief in Christ’s Sacrifice (Romans 3:23-24).
Paul makes clear that we cannot justify ourselves. When we sin, we incur the death penalty, which needs to be forgiven. The law–any law, whether ritual or spiritual–
cannot forgive our sins or justify us. We read in Galatians 5:4: “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Titus 3:7 confirms that we are justified by grace, adding this: “… having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
When and as long as we are under grace, and not under the law’s death penalty, then we have the promise of eternal life (Romans 6:23: “the GIFT of God is eternal life”)—something which is promised to us by grace. (1 Peter 3:7 speaks of the “grace of life.”)
We need to realize what all is included in the concept that we are under grace. First of all, grace is a GIFT which is FREELY given to us. We cannot earn it—nothing that we do “entitles” us to receive God’s gift of His grace (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 3:7).
We read that God calls us to salvation through His grace (Galatians 1:15). It is a gift from God that we even CAN come to Him. We read in John 6:44 that we cannot come to God unless God draws us to Him (and John 6:65 says that this must be “granted” to us). And Romans 2:4 adds that repentance is a gift from God as well.
We read that we believe through grace (Acts 18:27). It is a gift from God that we even CAN believe.
We read that it is through the grace of God that we have been and can be saved (Acts 15:11; compare Ephesians 2:8).
None of this does away with the need to keep God’s law.
Paul asks the question in Romans 6:1, whether we should continue in sin after we have obtained God’s grace of forgiveness. His conclusion is: Absolutely not. He says that we were once slaves of sin, but that we now have become slaves of righteousness. If we were to continue in the practice of sinful conduct, we would have received God’s grace in vain.
Paul warns in Hebrews 12:15 that we must be diligent not to miss out on God’s grace. In Jude 4, we read of evil ungodly persons who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, thereby denying Christ.
In Ephesians 6:24 we read that God’s grace will be given to all those who love Jesus Christ in sincerity, and Christ told us that we love Him if we keep His words and commandments (John 14:15, 23).
Grace is not limited to the past. Rather, it is through grace that we can serve God now. Hebrews 12:28 says: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, BY WHICH we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” We are to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).
It is through grace that God gives us His Holy Spirit, and that is why we are warned not to insult “the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29).
Grace includes more than forgiveness of past sins. Otherwise, sin would again rule over us the minute we fall for its evil devices. And we oftentimes do. When we do, we can again obtain forgiveness after true repentance and belief in Christ’s Sacrifice, and God cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9). But grace is no license to sin. God expects of us to become more and more perfect… to live more and more without sin.
However, as we saw, we cannot keep God’s law or be obedient to God, just on our own strength. We need God’s grace to be able to accomplish this.
And so, grace is not only the favor of forgiveness of past sins, but it also includes the strength and power to overcome sin now and in the future and to live more and more righteously. And this is an all-important reason WHY sin will have no more dominion over us, as we read in Romans 6:14-15.
In Titus 2:11-12, we read that God’s grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that we are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we must instead live soberly, righteously and godly in this present evil world. The German Luther Bible is even clearer, emphasizing that it is the grace of God, which helps and motivates us to forsake ungodliness and to embrace a righteous and godly life.
The Life Application Bible has the following annotation: “If we’re no longer under the law but under grace, are we now free to sin and disregard the Ten Commandments? Paul says, ‘By no means.’ … the law does not justify us or help us to overcome sin. But now that we are bound to Christ, he is our Master, and he gives us power to do good rather than evil.”
Romans 5:8-10 adds that we were justified and reconciled to God through Christ’s death, but that we will be saved by His life. It is Christ’s life in us that continues to justify us and that saves us.
When we are under grace, we receive justification for our sins when we repent of them and believe in Christ’s Sacrifice. We become justified through faith. We must believe in Christ, but we must also have the faith OF Christ in us (Galatians 2:16, Authorized Version), which is given to us through the Holy Spirit. Christ must be living in us. It is HIS faith which continually justifies us.
In addition, we receive power and strength to become more and more righteous. God’s righteousness, which we are to seek (Matthew 6:33), is also God’s gift, as is God’s grace (Romans 5:17). In other words, God gives us His righteousness through His grace. He offers it to us, but we must accept it. When we let God live in us and guide us through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, then we will become more and more righteous.
We can only keep the righteous requirements of the law, IF Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit, and IF we follow Christ’s lead. Christ must keep the law in and through us (Romans 8:3-4). He condemned sin in His flesh—and we must allow Him to condemn sin today in our flesh.
Rather than abolishing law through grace, it is God’s grace which cleanses us from sin and which enables us to become more and more righteous by obeying the law. We are under grace—including its power to overcome sin—thereby abolishing sin’s dominion over us.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new Member Letter (February 16, 2016) has been written and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Norbert Link addresses the looming trouble the world faces as events grow more difficult in the year ahead. Mr. Link also warns of the danger of compromises and that the Church of God must continue to powerfully preach the gospel message—as a witness and warning to the entire world!
Rundschreiben vom 16. February 2016, is our new German “Rundschreiben,” (Member Letter), which was sent out via email to about 130 recipients. The first part contains much information about services and activities during Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, as well as comments for potential baptisms, and the second part is a German translation of the English February member letter.
“Why Would Apple Resist the FBI?” is the title of the newest StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Is Apple hundred percent wrong, as Donald Trump said, for not cooperating with the FBI in the fight against terrorism and for not obeying a court order compelling Apple to turn over electronic data? But does this narrative reflect the issue at hand? We need to understand what Apple’s concerns are; what the federal magistrate actually ordered Apple to do; why the industry’s biggest names, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, WhatsApp and others, are supporting Apple; and why there are worldwide security concerns if Apple were to lose this fight.
“Wir sind unter der Gnade,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “We Are Under Grace.”
“SW Talking Points: Baptism — A Requirement for Salvation?” is a new video presented by Pastor Rene Messier. Here is a summary:
Is baptism necessary for salvation? Should you be baptized? What is acceptable to God: immersion, watering ,sprinkling? Some think it’s not necessary for salvation. Our booklet on Baptism covers all these details about what truly is acceptable to God.
“Stay Close,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Our relationship to the Father and Jesus Christ depends on staying close to them—otherwise, we fail!
“Inside Out,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Christians are challenged to examine themselves as to whether or not their Christianity is true! This testing will not succeed if it is only superficial. The vital key for us is to have God’s help in the process.
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
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom