|Live Services||Dead Center / The Open Door|
|Editorial||The Vicious Influence of the World|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||What can we learn from the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Dead Center / The Open Door
On February 20, 2021, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Dead Center,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “The Open Door.”
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.
The Vicious Influence of the World
by Eric Rank
At the end of January this year, Ohio Senator Rob Portman announced that he would not seek re-election following the completion of his current term that ends in 2023. For nearly 30 years he has worked in the upper echelon of federal politics, as an advisor for presidential administrations, as a member of the House of Representatives, and now as a Senator. Over the many years, he has prided himself as being results-oriented, crossing party lines to do what he believed was right, even when others in his party would disagree. To be clear, we are not endorsing or rejecting his political views or statements, and this Editorial should not be understood in any way as to approving or disapproving his positions. But in commenting on the reasons behind his decision not to seek re-election, he cited the divisiveness that is increasingly plaguing politics today. Portman stated, “Our country’s polarized right now.… It’s kind of shirts and skins. That makes it more difficult to find that common ground. Elected officials aren’t rewarded for that. What they’re rewarded for is throwing red meat to the talk show.” We see from this example an insider’s account of the problems that face the U.S. government. The divisiveness in politics, vaunted by the media and incited by the populous, draws attention away from the hard work of righteous virtue, focusing instead on feeding an insatiable appetite of bloodlust and vitriol.
What we see right now merely foreshadows the hostility of individuals and factions that will increase as the return of Christ draws closer. Jesus Christ reminds us of the reason why this is so when He states, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). The citizens and ironically, the lawmakers of our nations are not seeking the Will of God, but rather they are embracing lawlessness. We can see the consequences of these worldly actions today manifested in the hatred expressed against those who hold contrary opinions. Sadly, the world that we live in will need to suffer catastrophe and near-extinction before the return of Jesus Christ sets things straight.
Until then, we must endure life in this world, doing the hard work of upholding the Way of God. We know that Satan is the lying tempter who deceives the world, convincing individuals to adopt his way of sin rather than the Way of God (compare 1 John 5:19, Revelation 12:9). It is our responsibility to be on guard against these powerful forces in the world because they can be very subtle in their influence. We have the privilege of having the Truth of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It provides us with a guide to discern the worldly from the spiritual. But we have to put the Holy Spirit to work in our lives if we want it to be effective! If we don’t, we too may succumb to the way of sin without even recognizing our falling away from the Truth. We know that Satan will work to deceive even the elect – those who have the Truth (compare Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22). We must not fall into that trap. Since we live in this world that embraces a culture of conflict, we face the threat of becoming negatively influenced unless we are constantly vigilant. Jesus Christ spoke of this state of being when He prayed to God the Father in those last hours of His life on Earth, saying about His disciples, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:16-17). If we want to guard ourselves against the evil in the world that surrounds us, we must separate ourselves from the world by clinging to God’s Truth, rather than becoming influenced by the nonsense that swirls around us.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul offers instruction that can serve us very well today: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). We can renew our minds by focusing our attention on doing good, rather than those things that heighten our anger. This is not to say that we could not and must not become angry about the evils in this world or that we could not or must not hate what is wrong. We most certainly have to, but we are speaking here of the hate and anger of the carnal mind. By finding reasons to love what is right rather than hate in the wrong way, we please God. By making peace, we become sons of God. By offering mercy to others, we too will receive mercy from God. By doing good in our lives, we will overcome evil. (Compare Matthew 5:7, Matthew 5:9, Romans 12:21.)
Separating ourselves from this world is no simple task. As hard as we try, we will still become influenced by it. It is impossible to completely avoid it. Christ was the only One who was able to overcome this world and its evil influences perfectly, without ever sinning. But just as Christ served to glorify His Father in heaven, while still living in this world, we must do the same today by the way we live our lives. Our mission on this Earth is to continually work to find those areas in our lives where we can eliminate the worldly ways that influence us to sin and replace them with love and Truth. In doing so, we uphold godly righteousness and improve our own wellbeing right now, and we guarantee that we will be able to enter the Kingdom of God in the future.
by Norbert Link
We address Trump’s acquittal in his “impeachment trial” and subsequent reactions from Trump, Republicans and Democrats; and point out the use of reckless rhetoric and the phenomenon of the new McCarthyism, which are only all too common nowadays in the USA. We speak on the terrible cold and the insane green energy politics and further developments regarding the strained relationship between the USA and Israel, as well as Europe. n this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Can Israel Count on America’s Support?”
We report on Italy’s new Prime Minister, former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, and, in focusing on issues related in some way to the coronavirus pandemic, we speak on the problems New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and, to an extent, his younger brother, CNN moderator Chris Cuomo, are encountering; and we report Instagram’s latest atrocity in banning Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; as well as Parler’s return.
We address further nonsense regarding the use of the words “breast milk” and a new bill in the state of Victoria in Australia persecuting, in effect, Bible-believing Christians; and we point out an attempt by the UN to create a blacklist of those who oppose the LGBT agenda in any way.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
Trump Acquitted for the Second Time
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 13:
“The United States Senate on Saturday formally cleared former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol last month. Trump was the first former president to face trial after leaving office and the only president to be impeached twice. The US Senate voted 57-43 on the impeachment charge, which means that seven Republican senators voted to convict the former president. A conviction… was seen as highly unlikely as it required a two-thirds majority, and the 100-member Senate is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.
“DW’s Washington bureau chief Ines Pohl said the vote showed the influence Trump still has. ‘Picture is really clear that former-President Donald Trump has a grip on the Republican Party,’ she said. ‘Donald Trump is far from being done.’
“‘This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country,’ Trump said in a statement. ‘In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together,’ he added. He signaled towards a possible political future, saying that ‘our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.’ ‘We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,’ Trump said…
“… the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said Saturday he would vote against convicting the former president. McConnell said he could not vote to convict Trump because he is ‘constitutionally not eligible for conviction’ after leaving office. In a speech after the vote, McConnell called Trump ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the riot. Even though Trump was acquitted, the end of the trial saw the largest number of senators ever to vote to convict a president of their own party…”
Democrats such as Schumer or Pelosi fume and are beside themselves over Trump’s acquittal, thereby conveniently forgetting their own radical rhetoric arguably inciting violence. A particularly telling comment was uttered by Democratic Manager Eric Swalwell, himself not a stranger to scandals and controversies: “Democrats could have called ‘God herself’ to testify during the impeachment, and Republican senators would not have voted to convict former President Donald Trump” (Breitbart, February 14, 2021). How else than as being appallingly disgusting and blasphemous could such a comment be characterized?
Trump Most Potent Force in GOP
Bloomberg News reported on February 14:
“Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Donald Trump remains the party’s ‘most potent force’ even after his second impeachment, and suggested Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hurt the GOP by blaming the former president for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol…
“The South Carolina senator’s comments reflect the internal struggle facing the party… Trump’s level of support among the GOP base will help determine his future role in the party. Graham said there’s no question Republicans need to work with Trump to win future elections… ‘We can’t do it without him,’ Graham said…
“Republicans who have crossed Trump… already met pushback from within the GOP. Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Richard Burr of North Carolina were both censured on Saturday by their state parties… In another sign that Trump’s influence could live on, Graham predicted the former president’s daughter in law, Lara Trump, could run for Burr’s Senate seat in 2022…”
Some, even amongst former Trump supporters, such as former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, predict that Trump will never again become President. They might end up being surprised. On February 14, Newsmax quoted former U.S. ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell, as saying:
“I think that President Trump is 100% the leader of the Republican Party. Whether he decides to run or not — he’s told me in the past that he was definitely going to run — I think the reality is that we haven’t had a leader of the Republican Party that has grown Hispanic support, Black support, inner city support, support from women and gays. This is a president who has really put together an incredible coalition. And I think anyone who thinks that he’s just going to go away quietly is dead wrong. He’s going to be the leader of the party and certainly have the decision on who is going to be the nominee in 2024.”
Most Republicans Support Trump Running in 2024
The Guardian wrote on February 16:
“If the 2024 Republican presidential primary were held today, Donald Trump would be the clear favorite to win big. That was the message from a Politico-Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday… Among Republican voters, 59% said they wanted Trump to play a prominent role in their party, up a whopping 18 points from the last such poll, taken in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. A slightly lower number, 54%, said they would back Trump in the primary… Though the 45th president will be 78 by election day 2024, he will be able to run again if he chooses… [Mike Pence] placed second in the Politico-Morning Consult poll, with 12%…. Donald Trump Jr shared third place, with 6%, with Nikki Haley… Mitt Romney… scored 4% in the new poll. Ted Cruz… scored 3%…
“The battle for the soul of the party is on. On Monday, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell followed an editorial in the Wall Street Journal which said Trump would not win another national election with a column on his own… McConnell has also made clear that he will oppose pro-Trump candidates seeking Republican nominations in the 2022 midterms, if he thinks they would damage chances of beating a Democrat.”
McConnell’s divisive and self-serving role becomes more and more problematic for him and the GOP.
Politico wrote on February 13:
“What comes next for the 45th president is anybody’s guess. Uncertainty looms over nearly every aspect of the former president’s post-impeachment political future — from the causes he will embrace, to his level of influence inside the GOP, to the possibility he could face criminal charges or see diminished voter appetite for a potential comeback bid in 2024…
“The former president has promised to help the GOP retake the House in the midterm elections next fall but also wants revenge against 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him in the lower chamber. It is assumed he will reserve similar animus for the seven Senate Republicans who voted for his conviction on Saturday…
“Trump allies are unsure how much success he’ll see…, particularly on the heels of an emotional impeachment trial that may have deeply wounded his reputation… But others argue Trump’s acquittal will only cement his position in the party and send a message that Trump — and Trumpism — is the predominant force in GOP politics…
“Trump has framed his post-presidential legal exposure as remnants of ‘the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country’ — a phrase he also used to describe the Senate impeachment trial on Saturday. ‘It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree,’ Trump said.[According to CNN, Trump also added: “I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”]
“‘ACQUITTED AT LAST! The biggest political circus of ALL TIME is finally over and we want to send a message that the Republican Party is STRONGER THAN EVER BEFORE,’ read a message [by the Republican National Committee on Saturday].
That may seem like wishful thinking now. But perhaps not entirely so…”
Trump cannot be easily ignored.
Trump Calls Fox News, Mourns Limbaugh’s Death and Speaks about Election Fraud
The Sun wrote on February 17:
“DONALD Trump has again claimed that he won the 2020 election and said the nation is ‘angry.’ The 45th president underwent his first interview since leaving the White House on Wednesday afternoon. Trump [called in and] spoke to Fox News to pay tribute to the late Rush Limbaugh [who died on Wednesday at the age of 70 after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer last year], however quickly started discussing the 2020 election. ‘Rush felt we won and he was quite angry about it,’ he said. He also doubled down on his opinions on his claims that there was election fraud, dubbing the results as ‘disgraceful.’ Trump said the United States was a ‘third world country on election night,’ saying ‘you don’t know how angry this country is.’
“He added that he still believes that his administration ‘won substantially’… Speaking about Limbaugh just hours after his death was announced, Trump said he was ‘very brave… he was fighting until the very end.’… He said: ‘It was a great honor and an incredible night to give the Medal of Honor to him during the State of The Union address.”
The interview was conducted by Harris Faulkner and Bill Hemmer. As Yahoo!News observed, “neither Harris Faulkner nor Bill Hemmer… pushed back on the former president’s false claims of election fraud.”
However, most Republicans believe that Trump’s claim is accurate. It should be noted that Trump was asked in the interview how Limbaugh felt about the election. In addition, at the end of the interview, Faulkner thanked Trump for calling in and remarked, in effect, that she was glad that Trump was back on Fox, and that Fox would conduct many more interviews with him in the future.
Dangerous Reckless Rhetoric
On February 11, the Ron Paul Institute published the following article by Prof. Jonathan Turley:
“Reckless rhetoric reflects our age of rage… Fired FBI director James Comey has been given to reckless rhetoric… He recently said, ‘The Republican Party needs to be burned down…’ Likewise, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin declared that ‘We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again’…
“Such rhetoric even extends to academics, who historically abhor violence. One professor recently called for more Trump supporters to be killed. Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis… said he saw ‘nothing wrong’ with the killing of a conservative protestor’—a view defended by other academics.”
That is terrible, but a sign of our times.
New McCarthyism of the Left
Newsmax wrote on February 14:
“Former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz on Sunday blasted the ‘new McCarthyism’ of the Democrats’ ‘hard left.’… Dershowitz, a constitutional law expert, said some liberals have become radical censors of free speech.
“‘Common Cause, which purports to be a liberal, not a radical organization, has now demanded that Facebook keep Donald Trump off its platform,’ he said. ‘We are getting liberals… [calling for] Fox News [to be] taken off the networks. I hated communism but I defended the rights of lawyers to defend accused communists.’ ‘If any lawyer is the subject of this kind of McCarthyism, I will represent you pro bono, in front of universities and bar associations,’ he added. ‘I will dedicate myself that the new McCarthyism of the hard left doesn’t become American culture.’”
The attempts to censor free speech are rampant in the US these days.
The Insane Green Energy Politics
Breitbart wrote on February 16:
“Monday, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson opened his program with a sharp rebuke of so-called green energy policies that have wreaked havoc on the country as an Arctic blast makes its way across the United States. Carlson focused on failures in Texas, where millions suffered power losses in the wake of the colder weather, and said more of that should be expected with the left’s energy policies…
“‘The bad news is, they don’t have electricity. The windmills froze, so the power grid failed. Millions of Texans woke up this morning freezing. There was no heat, no traffic lights, and no cell service. Schools closed, cars crashed. Hospitals canceled surgeries. In Fort Worth, people had to boil their water because with no electricity, it couldn’t be purified. The ironically named Electric Reliability Council of Texas which oversees the grid had no solution to any of this. They simply told people to stop using so much power to keep warm… We’ve seen it happen repeatedly in California for years now. Rolling blackouts in a purportedly first world state that is slipping steadily into chaos. But in Texas?…
“‘There are huge natural gas deposits all over Texas. Texas is an oil and gas state famously… Rather than celebrate and benefit from their state’s vast natural resources, politicians took the fashionable route and became recklessly reliant on so-called alternative energy, meaning windmills… Last year, roughly a quarter of all electricity generated in the state came from wind…
“‘Green Energy inevitably means blackouts… It means failures like the ones we’re seeing now in Texas…’”
Tucker Carlson is right. Note the next article.
A Deep Green Freeze
The Wall Street Journal added the following opinion piece by the Editorial Board, dated February 15:
“Power shortages show the folly of eliminating natural gas—and coal. Gas and power prices have spiked across the central U.S. while Texas regulators ordered rolling blackouts Monday as an Arctic blast has frozen wind turbines. Herein is the paradox of the left’s climate agenda: The less we use fossil fuels, the more we need them.
“A mix of ice and snow swept across the country this weekend as temperatures plunged below zero in the upper Midwest and into the teens in Houston… the power grid is becoming less reliable due to growing reliance on wind and solar, which can’t provide power 24 hours a day, seven days a week… Regulators rationed gas for commercial and industrial uses to ensure fuel for power plants and household heating.
“Texas’s energy emergency could last all week as the weather is forecast to remain frigid… Blame a perfect storm of bad government policies, timing and weather. Coal and nuclear are the most reliable sources of power. But competition from heavily subsidized wind power and inexpensive natural gas, combined with stricter emissions regulation, has caused coal’s share of Texas’s electricity to plunge by more than half in a decade to 18%.”
Because of this self-destructing policy, people have died due to the freezing cold.
More Misery Coming
The Associated Press reported on February 17:
“Utility crews raced Wednesday to restore power to nearly 3.4 million customers around the U.S. who were still without electricity or heat in the aftermath of a deadly winter storm while another blast of ice and snow threatened to sow more chaos. The latest storm front was certain to complicate recovery efforts, especially in states that are unaccustomed to such frigid weather — parts of Texas, Arkansas and the Lower Mississippi Valley… Weather-related outages have been particularly stubborn in Oregon, where some customers have been without power for almost a week…
“Utilities from Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi have implemented rolling blackouts… The worst U.S. power outages by far have been in Texas, where 3 million homes and businesses remained without power as of midday Wednesday… The outages in and around Portland, Oregon, affected nearly 150,000 customers nearly a week after a massive snow and ice storm toppled many trees and took out hundreds of miles of power lines. The damage to the power system was the worst in 40 years… At the peak of the storm, more than 350,000 customers in the Portland area were in the dark… Rolling blackouts were imposed Tuesday in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Southeast Texas…”
Incredibly, the article also says that this terrible winter storm was blamed by scientists on “global WARMING caused by humans.”
USA vs. Israel
The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 14:
“If American planes are not allowed to operate emergency flights to Israel, Israeli planes will not be allowed to land in the US, N12 reported Saturday.
“The Biden administration accused Israel of violating the freedoms of the air and creating a crisis with the new administration following the Israeli border closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, N12 reported. The administration then demanded that planes from the US be allowed to land in Israel…
“The US Department of Transportation complained to the Foreign Ministry and Transportation Ministry that this situation violates the aviation agreement between the countries, which was meant to guarantee equal treatment of Israeli and American airlines.”
The relationship between the USA and Israel will never be the same under Biden as it was under Trump.
“Israel and Biden-Trouble on the Horizon”
Israel Today wrote on February 15:
“Israel has reason to be deeply concerned about the policy that US President Joe Biden’s new administration will pursue vis-à-vis the Jewish state… those concerns are justified and relate to diplomatic measures already taken by the Biden White House…
“… the Trump Administration’s recognition that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory was effectively withdrawn… The Biden Administration has announced that financial aid to the Palestinian Arabs, which Trump canceled, will resume… Biden, furthermore, will allow the Palestinian Authority to reopen the PLO diplomatic mission that Trump closed in Washington DC…
“One important issue viewed by Jerusalem as a threat to Israel is the opinion of certain key figures in the Biden administration regarding Iran. They say the US should return to dialogue with Iran and rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA). More recently, Biden has linked such a move to Iran’s willingness to stop enriching uranium…
“Another reason Israel worries about the policies the Biden Administration will pursue towards the Jewish state and the Middle East are the appointments of a number of ex-Obama officials to key positions. [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken, for example, is an appeaser when it comes to Iran. He was against including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the list of recognized terrorist organizations. Blinken was also the one who questioned the legality of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights last week.
“Biden’s Director for National Security, Avril Haines, signed a… letter, [in which] Israel was condemned for ‘violence, terrorism, and incitement.’… Then there’s Wendy Sherman, the female chief negotiator in the talks with Iran… She was a strong supporter of negotiations with and concessions toward Iran. At the time, she also refused to condemn Palestinian suicide attacks on Israelis.
“The appointment of Robert Malley as Biden’s special envoy to Iran is another problem point. Malley… is a left-wing extremist… [He] wants dialogue with Hamas and Syrian dictator Assad. He is also known for his aversion to Israel.
“Jen Psaki, another former Obama official, is now the White House press secretary. She questioned Israel’s commitment to peace, but remained silent about the Palestinian refusal to return to the negotiating table.
“Another anti-Israel official in the Biden government is Maher Bitar, who is the new head of the US Intelligence and National Security Council…. [He] is a Palestinian American who once wrote in a paper the following: ‘Israel’s political existence as a state is a cause for Palestinian dispossession and statelessness….’
“Another appointment of a Palestinian American to a key position when it comes to Israel is Hady Amr [who] is known for his radical anti-Israeli views and has strong ties to the Palestinian leadership…
“Reema Dodin… serves in the White House… She took part in rallies against Israel calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions… In 2002, Dodin said suicide bombings by Palestinian Arabs were ‘the last resort of a desperate people.’”
It really appears as if the relationship between Israel and the USA is to drastically change for the worse.
Biden and Netanyahu “Talk”
Newsmax wrote on February 17:
“President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone Wednesday after a month of silence that raised concerns in Israel about a frostier relationship between the two allies… Israelis had been complaining since Biden’s inauguration in January the new president had not reached out to Netanyahu, concerned the silence could forecast a chillier relationship between the two close allies after former President Donald Trump’s warm embrace… Many Israelis fear Biden, who served as President Barack Obama’s vice president, will revive his approach to the region, both by returning to the Iran deal and by pressing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.”
This phone call won’t change anything.
Europe’s New Identity
Middle East Monitor wrote on February 12:
“Despite the long-awaited political change in Washington, with Democratic President Joe Biden now safely in the White House, Europe is unlikely to resume its previously unhindered reliance on its transatlantic partner. The four years of Donald Trump’s term in office were full of tension and difficulties between the US and Europe… However, the strain in the US-EU relationship long preceded Trump’s presidency.
“The former president’s eccentric personal style — and often blunt rhetoric and action — was an indicator to Europe that the continent urgently needed to create its own leadership alternatives to Washington. Following World War Two, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1991, the US became the uncontested leader of the West. Eventually, it was the world’s only superpower. These dynamics are now experiencing an unparalleled state of flux.
“The US commitment to the post-war paradigm was clearly faltering. Consequently, statements from Europe’s political elites in recent years suggest a massive rethink among European governments regarding their definition of the relationship with Washington, an alliance that ran the world for decades. In an unprecedented statement in May 2017, German Chancellor Angela Merkel articulated the massive shift in Europe’s new political outlook when she said, ‘The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over.’ In that momentous speech in Munich, Germany’s strong leader signalled the beginning of the end of the disproportionate reliance on the US and Britain…
“Britain… is no longer a member of the European Union, and has confronted the bloc with its greatest challenges by rejecting not only the EU’s fiscal, migration and other policies but also the very notion of the ‘European Community’. Coupled with Washington’s global retreat, ‘Brexit’ decisively ended any illusion that a post-WWII political scenario can still be possible. Attesting to this seismic change in the attitude of Europe’s mainstream politicians, were the remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2018 when he called for a ‘true European army’ to protect the continent from outside threats. ‘We must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States,’ he explained…
“Actual data from a large pan-European survey commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations confirm Europe’s fundamentally changing attitude towards the US. The survey included more than 15,000 people in 11 EU countries and was held after it became clear that Biden had won the US election. According to the survey, the majority in leading EU countries believe that ‘the US political system is broken’; that ‘China will be more powerful than the US within a decade’; and, finally, that ‘the Europeans cannot rely on the US to defend them’. Particularly interesting, the ECFR-commissioned poll signalled a massive geopolitical shift in Europe’s view towards global alliances, seeing ‘Berlin, rather than Washington, as the most important partner’.
“On the issue of trust, only 27 per cent of those polled believe that ‘Americans can be trusted’ after they voted for Trump in 2016. With Germany currently being Europe’s de facto leader, the views of Germans towards their American counterparts are particularly critical. Hence, the US should really take note that 53 per cent of German respondents have lost trust in a country that was once a close partner. The ECFR chose the eve of Biden’s inauguration to release the findings of the report. This was in itself a message to the new administration to tread very carefully while attempting to repair broken ties on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The ball is no longer in Washington’s court alone. The fact that the majority of Europeans believe in China’s impending global leadership in a matter of a few years means that the EU will have no patience with any US ultimatum to choose between Washington and Beijing…
“The next few years should be enough for Europe to determine its new identity, without Britain and without relying on American guidance and leadership… it will redefine itself, despite the political shift in the US.”
And so, as we have proclaimed for many, many years, Europe will rise to become a mighty hostile superpower, in competition with and challenging the USA and Britain.
Mario Draghi New Prime Minister of Italy
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 13:
“Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi was sworn in on Saturday as Italy’s new prime minister. The 73-year-old economist, credited by some with having saved the euro, will now be charged with political reform and leading Italy out of devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic… Draghi is expected to oversee spending of more than €200 billion ($242 billion) in European Union recovery funds aimed at relaunching the country’s economy…
“62% of Italians surveyed said they supported Draghi. The pandemic, which hit Italy one year ago, left more than 93,000 people dead and triggered Italy’s deepest recession since World War II. Many Italians hope they can count on Draghi’s banking experience and his years working in the Italian civil service. The government of Draghi’s predecessor Giuseppe Conte, which had assumed office in September 2019, was the 66th in the Italian Republic (since World War II)…”
npr added on February 13:
“A boost for the Italian economy could benefit the whole eurozone. ‘Your experience will be an exceptional asset for Italy and Europe as a whole, especially in these difficult times,’ European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.”
Draghi has been nicknamed “Count Draghila” by the German mass tabloid Bild. Italy is predestined to play a major role in end-time prophecies related to Europe.
The Cuomos in Trouble
Fox News wrote on February 13:
“CNN was blasted as ‘an abject disgrace to both the journalism profession and America’ in the wake of an aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitting the state withheld COVID-19 nursing home death data after months of glowing coverage from the disgraced network. Gov. Cuomo’s little brother, Chris, hosts ‘Cuomo Prime Time’ on CNN, regularly providing a platform last year for the governor to appeal to viewers by conducting playful on-air conversations masquerading as interviews amid the nursing home scandal…
“The scandal started when Gov. Cuomo infamously ordered nursing homes in the Empire State to accept patients who had, or were suspected of having, COVID-19 in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic… thousands had died from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes before Cuomo reversed course… the scandal… took another turn on Thursday when a top Cuomo aide told leading state Democratic lawmakers that the administration had withheld data on COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes to avoid federal scrutiny…
“The latest revelation prompted condemnations and even talk of impeachment in Albany, the state’s capital… DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall echoed the notion that CNN should not have allowed ‘Chris to interview his newsmaker brother about any matter remotely related to actual news’ when Americans wanted answers. ‘There is just no way that Chris can maintain any sense of journalistic distance, especially when reporting about matters of pandemic life and death. All major journalism codes of ethics, including the Radio Television Digital News Association, clearly warn against conflicts of interest. Interviewing a brother for news purposes is exactly such a conflict of interest,’ McCall told Fox News….
“The [New York Post] first reported that Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, told leading Empire State Democrats that the administration feared the data could ‘be used against us’ by the Justice Department during a video conference call… DeRosa’s bombshell admission also fueled fury over an earlier discovery by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who said in late January that an investigation by her office revealed Cuomo’s administration had undercounted the COVID-19 death toll linked to nursing homes by as much as 50 percent. DeRosa has since attempted to walk back the claim, insisting Friday that the governor’s office was “comprehensive and transparent” in responding to records requests from the Trump administration’s Justice Department. The statement did little to quell the anger from Republican lawmakers, some of whom are now calling for a criminal indictment of Cuomo and top staffers for their mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic…”
Apart from the obvious scandals Gov. Cuomo is involved in, it is incomprehensible that CNN would allow Cuomo’s brother to interview and openly support the Governor, given the fact of a blatant conflict of interest. While some are calling for the resignation of Gov. Cuomo, others ask for a revocation of his emergency powers.
Daily Mail reported on February 12:
“A conference is expected to be held discussing rescinding Cuomo’s emergency powers – which granted him the authority to suspend existing statutes or effectively create new laws – a new report states. Allegedly a growing number of Democrats are joining Republicans’ calls for a revocation, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“On Friday, 14 Democratic New York State Senators joined Republicans in calling for Cuomo’s pandemic emergency powers to be rescinded. ‘Without exception, the New York State Constitution calls for the Legislature to govern as a co-equal branch of government,’ they wrote.”
Gov. Cuomo received an International Emmy award “in recognition of his masterful leadership and briefings during the COVID-19 pandemic.” What a joke! Now, the Academy is suspiciously silent on whether they will rescind the award. But rather than taking responsibility and admitting guilt and failure, Gov. Cuomo blamed everybody else but himself in a “press conference” this week, while misrepresenting the facts, as Fox News clearly proved in their broadcast. And President Biden keeps silent… as does Chris Cuomo.
Instagram Bans Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
LifeSiteNews wrote on February 11:
“Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the son of former U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former president John F. Kennedy, has been banned from Instagram due to what the social media company called ‘sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.’… In recent years, Kennedy has become an outspoken critic of harmful vaccines, highlighting the dangers children can be subjected to…
“Kennedy’s Instagram ban came just hours after the Washington Post had reported lobbying Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, to ‘take action’ against Kennedy, after he shared a clip from the ‘Planet Lockdown’ film — a movie that links Big Tech to governmental and societal control, as well as claims that COVID vaccinations were being controlled by global elites. The video has been widely banned by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube…
“Kennedy’s ban comes shortly after he wrote an extensive report detailing the manner in which Bill Gates had quietly become the largest owner of farmland in the U.S. and warning about the power Gates could exert upon the world and its food supplies…
“Kennedy wrote a strong statement:
“‘Every statement I put on Instagram was sourced from a government database, from peer-reviewed publications and from carefully confirmed news stories. None of my posts were false. Facebook, the pharmaceutical industry and its captive regulators use the term ‘vaccine misinformation’ as a euphemism for any factual assertion that departs from official pronouncements about vaccine health and safety, whether true or not. This kind of censorship is counterproductive if our objective is a safe and effective vaccine supply’…
“‘The pharmaceutical industry is hastily creating vaccines using taxpayer money and untested technologies. These include a rash of risky new products that are exempt from liability, from long-term safety testing and that have not received FDA approval. Emergency Use Authorization is a mass population scientific experiment. If it has any prayer of working, it will require extraordinary scrutiny from the press and the public. Instead, the mainstream media and social media giants are imposing a totalitarian censorship to prevent public health advocates, like myself, from voicing concerns and from engaging in civil informed debate in the public square.
“‘They are punishing, shaming, vilifying, gaslighting and abolishing individuals who report their own vaccine injuries. Anyone can see that this is a formula for catastrophe and a coup d’état against the First Amendment, the foundation stone of American democracy.’”
It was also reported that YouTube has permanently banned LifeSiteNews.
Parler Back Online
Fox Business wrote on February 15:
“After more than a month offline, the social media platform Parler relaunched using a new web hosting service… Parler, which has more than 20 million users and was first launched in August 2018, is currently back online for current users and will be available for new users starting next week, the company said…
“Last month, Amazon… decided to suspend the upstart social media platform for failure to moderate ‘egregious content’ related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot… Apple and Google previously suspended Parler from its app stores…
“Parler’s interim CEO, Mark Meckler, issued a statement following Monday’s development saying, ‘Parler was built to offer a social media platform that protects free speech and values privacy and civil discourse.’ ‘When Parler was taken offline in January by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together, determined to keep our promise to our highly engaged community that we would return stronger than ever,’ he continued.”
The left-wing media and Big Tech are not interested in free speech if it does not agree with their agenda and ideas. In this context, note the thoughtful comments by the Ron Paul Institute, dated February 17:
“Gazillionaire globalist Bill Gates has a new book out on how to tackle what he sees as the problem of climate change. One of his guidelines to save the planet? Give up your meat and grab a ‘plant-based’ burger instead. ‘You can get used to the taste difference,’ he said in a recent interview. While such ‘big ideas’ might normally come under some scrutiny in the media, it turns out that Gates has given something like a quarter of a billion dollars to dozens of media outlets. He also funds the ‘fact check’ organizations who play their part getting independent voices silenced.”
This is just INSANE. But more insanity is coming; note the next article.
Insanity Galore… Don’t Say “Breast Milk Anymore”
Fox 8 Evening News reported on February 17:
“There is a new push by some health care professionals to change the term ‘breast milk’ to ‘chest milk.’ In the United Kingdom, one hospital made international headlines for changing the term ‘breast milk’ to ‘human milk.’ It’s an effort to be more inclusive to transgender and non-binary parents.
“Illinois mother Jill Aspinwall… opened her own lactation service… Now she teaches parents how to naturally feed their child. Recently, Aspinwall implemented terminology changes at her practice… She says she started to use the terms chest milk or human milk, instead of the traditional term. She says it’s a way to create a more comfortable atmosphere for transgender parents as well as non-binary parents — who do not identify with any gender…
“Medically, it is possible for transgender men and non-binary people to have a baby. Aspinwall says the term chest milk, human milk, and chest feeding make gender minorities feel more comfortable and open to the process…
“Dr. Cecilia Banga specializes in delivering babies and prenatal care… ‘It’s very important for infants to get milk that comes from humans. Depending on what we want to call it, breast milk, chest milk, human milk. That depends on the patient and what they are comfortable with. It doesn’t change the fact that the milk is coming from humans and that it’s coming from the breast… Breast milk is a huge first step towards a baby developing a strong immune system because it is chock full of multiple nutrients…’”
This is getting SO ridiculous.
Victoria’s New Radical Bill
LifeSiteNews wrote on February 8:
“The Australian state of Victoria has written another radically leftist bill into law after a 12-hour debate in parliament… [It] makes it illegal to try to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in Victoria. The bill must now be signed by the Victorian governor-general for royal assent, and will come into effect in 12 months’ time.
“A similar bill was passed in the state of Queensland last year, but the Victorian legislation goes much further in that it prohibits ‘harmful practices’ not only in healthcare settings but also in churches. This includes ‘carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism.’ Transgressors could face fines of up to $200,000 and 10 years in prison…
“… the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s Director of Public Affairs Monica Doumit – who is also a lawyer –… detailed a list of examples of who could be penalized under the new law, given the broad and vague definitions in its text:
“A parent whose five year old son was insisting that he was a girl would be prevented from seeking any help – medical, psychological, behavioural, spiritual, social or otherwise – to assist their son in understanding and accepting that he was a boy. Anything less than affirmation of him as a girl would be prohibited.
“Christian teenagers who had committed themselves to saving sexual activity for marriage would be prohibited from gathering together to support each other to remain faithful to their commitment to chastity.
“Not only would Courage, a ministry for those Catholics experiencing same-sex attraction but who want to live chastely in accordance with their religious beliefs be banned, the teaching of Theology of the Body would not be allowed, and it is even possible that preaching the same verse from Corinthians that got [Australian Rugby star] Israel Folau sacked could get a cleric imprisoned.
“A man who was tempted to cheat on his wife could not go and see his priest or minister, asking for advice on how to stay true to his marriage vows, without risking the priest or minister being punished. And alarmingly, the laws as currently drafted would even prevent a psychologist from trying to ‘convert’ the attractions of a paedophile…”
It is obvious that it is Satan who is behind these attempts to destroy biblical teachings and practices pertaining to marriage and sexual relationships and identities. Also note the next article.
Black List for LGBT-“Hate” Groups
C-Fam wrote on February 12:
“The UN rights office is collecting the names of anyone who opposes the LGBT agenda in any way. Politicians, religious leaders, and organizations from around the world who defend life and family will likely be put on a blacklist by the UN office for human rights. The drastic new measure may be used to impose sanctions on pro-family advocates and expose them to terrorist attacks…
“In the broadly worded prompt, the UN rights office asks for examples of ‘public expressions or statements by political and/or religious leaders’ who challenge LGBT rights… The UN rights office is especially focused on religions of pro-life and pro-family groups. It asks for any ‘examples where the concept of gender has been used in religious narratives or narratives of tradition, traditional values or protection of the family’ in opposition to new LGBT laws and policies…
“The UN LGBT czar appears to be adopting the approach of the Southern Poverty Law Center, of creating a list of ‘hate groups.’ The hate list of the Southern Poverty Law Center was notoriously used by domestic terrorist Floyd Corkins in an armed attack on the Family Research Council in 2015…
“Democrats introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress to create a similar international blacklist last year, called the Global Respect Act, imposing sanctions on all foreigners who oppose LGBT rights. It is not the first time the UN LGBT expert has attempted to focus on religion. In a 2019 report he called on states to ‘take decisive action’ against religious leaders who oppose LGBT rights.”
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
What can we learn from the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas?
It’s a good question to ask and one to carefully consider; after all, they were doing the Work of God not long after Jesus was crucified and returned to heaven. In fact, this question is more important than we may, at first, think!
We know the process that true Christians have to go through when they are called by God. In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, just 7 weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, Acts 2:38 states: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” It is not just a question of “giving your heart to the Lord” but a complete change of direction. We read that we are to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13). The Authorized Version has here, more accurately, “But straight is the gate, and narrow is the way…”
It can sometimes be difficult to walk that narrow way towards the straight gate, and it can be difficult to understand why those who make such a life-changing decision may have problems with inter-personal relationships, from time to time, with others who are making the same journey. After all, they have all received the Holy Spirit of God to lead them in living a godly life, so how can there be difficulties?
First of all, we should consider three different scenarios in the New Testament, one of which is the heading of this Q&A — the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas.
Paul and Barnabas were very good friends, not just casual acquaintances. We read in Acts 9:26-27 how Barnabas had been instrumental in convincing the disciples that Paul was genuine and no longer the persecutor of the brethren that he had previously been:
“And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.”
But they had a disagreement, as we read in Acts 15:36-41:
“Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.’ Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”
We read in Colossians 4:10 that John Mark was the cousin of Barnabas and he was commended. However, he decided to return to his home in Jerusalem (Acts 13:13), but no mention is made about why he did that. Many suggest that he did so because of his youth and personal weakness. William Barclay wrote in “The Acts of the Apostles,” under the heading, “The Deserter”:
“Mark was a very young man… Paul and Barnabas took him with them as their helper… but he turned and went home… When [Paul] set out on the second missionary journey Barnabas wanted to take Mark again but Paul refused to take the one who had proved a quitter (Acts 15:38) and he and Barnabas split company… over it. Then Mark vanished from history, although tradition says he went to Alexandria and Egypt and he founded the church there. When he re-emerged almost 20 years later he is the man who has redeemed himself… By the grace of God the man who was once a deserter became the writer of a gospel and the man whom, at the end, Paul wanted beside him.”
Later, under the heading, “Paul takes the road again,” Barclay says:
“It is impossible to say whether Paul or Barnabas was right. But this much is certain, Mark was supremely fortunate that he had a friend like Barnabas… It may well have been the friendship of Barnabas which gave Mark back his self-respect and made him determined to make good.”
We also read that later Mark is called by Peter “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). Mark was not Peter’s literal son; this is an expression of spiritual closeness—Mark was Peter’s son in the faith. Tradition has it that Peter dictated his letters to Mark to reduce them to writing.
This disagreement between Paul and Barnabas was not over any doctrinal matter, but it was a personal issue. From what we read, it didn’t seem to adversely affect the work that they were doing.
We read years later in 2 Timothy 4:11 that Paul wrote: “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.”
The Bible says nothing about the future relationship between Paul and Barnabas, but it seems that in the end it all worked out. We can learn from this. We may differ at times about certain matters but that should never affect us in following the Way of God and the life we have been called to.
“Here we see an example of Christian leaders modelling good disagreement. Sometimes there are times where one can ‘agree to disagree’” (christiantoday.com).
The second example is where Paul took Peter to task, as we read in Galatians 2:11-15:
“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles…’”
In our booklet “Paul’s Letter to the Galatians,” we read the following on pages 25-26:
“The truth of the gospel requires no separation between Jews and Greeks. All are to be ONE in Christ. God is not a respecter of persons, compare Acts 10:34–35; Romans 2:11; 1 Peter 1:17.
“But Peter set the wrong example. As it is stated in verse 12, he still feared those who were of the circumcision. The understanding prior to the conference in Acts 15 had been that a Jew was not to eat with uncircumcised Gentiles (compare Acts 10:28; 11:2–3). But God had revealed to Peter that that understanding was wrong and that it had no place in the Church of God.
“What does Paul mean, in verse 14, that Peter was compelling Gentiles to live as Jews?
“Peter was ‘compelling them’ by first sitting and eating with Gentiles—thereby living after the manner of Gentiles—but then separating from the Gentiles when Jews came, as IF there still WAS a separation and as if there still WAS a need for Gentiles to be circumcised and to keep all the Jewish rituals. That is, he was inducing them or coercing them to think that they should perhaps adopt those customs and be circumcised.”
Paul was accusing Peter of hypocrisy which was one of those sins committed frequently by the religious establishment at that time. Paul said that even Barnabas was affected or “carried away.” Peter should have known better, as we read in Acts 10:28: “Then he (Peter) said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’”
We do not read about Peter’s immediate reaction to Paul’s public rebuke (some suggested that Paul was a little bit overzealous in this matter and could have handled the situation a little bit differently), but it is obvious that they had the highest regard for one another in spite of this rather public disagreement, as we read in 2 Peter 3:15-16: “… and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”
The third example is the story of the disciples arguing amongst themselves, as we read in Luke 22:24:
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.” In verses 25-27 Jesus corrects them: “But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” (Also see Matthew 18:1 and Mark 9:33.)
Pushing for position is not new; it is as old as the hills. Right from the dawn of civilisation man has wanted to be at the top table, the one calling the tune, the one who is in charge and the one that others can look up to. Even with the Saviour of mankind teaching them, their own carnality showed through although, again, there is no Scripture that shows that they didn’t co-operate in the Work they had to do after Christ’s ascension. They were a co-operative whole who worked for God and for each other.
God hates bickering between members of His Church. Let us review just a few Scriptures that highlight His view on people’s problems where human interaction is problematic.
James 4:1-2 says:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.”
We read in 2 Corinthians 12:20:
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults…”
Galatians 5:15 states:
“But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”
An answer to difficult personal relationships can be found in Philippians 2:3-4:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better [“more important,” New American Bible] than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
As Church members today, it is vital that we conduct ourselves in such a manner. Jesus said in the beatitudes (blessings) in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.”
Also, Ephesians 4:32 is important: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:1-3 adds: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Over the years in this era of the Church of God, there have been many instances where brethren have fallen out with others by not resolving their issues with them. That particular procedure as to how to solve problems is covered in Matthew 18:15-17: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
Unfortunately, this biblical instruction in resolving conflict and interpersonal problems has sometimes been ignored with “offended” brethren just leaving either their particular Church fellowship or the Church altogether. It is a very sad state of affairs that, occasionally, a member may replicate the “waiting to be offended” mindset that is a mark of current society. The problem is that they can “infect” others and persuade them of the rightness of their situation and cause them to question their Church membership.
A few others, from time to time, can be argumentative which is certainly not what God expects of His people. Galatians 5:22-23 sums up perfectly what our approach must always be: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” When we implement this teaching, we will insulate ourselves against the wiles of the devil and happily remain in the true Church of God.
As the end of this age looms large, it behooves us all to forge close and strong relationships within the Church which should keep us in good stead as world problems increase and where membership of God’s Church will be a magnet for Satan’s further assault through worldly individuals. Leaving the Church must never be an option for any of us.
If they had inter-personal relationship problems in the New Testament Church, why should we believe that we won’t have them today? The key is how we deal with them that matters.
In this context, we would do well to apply the following part of the model prayer that Jesus gave as we read in Matthew 6:12: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” If we do that, we will strive to reconcile any differences we may have with others, esteem others better or more important than ourselves and prayerfully and faithfully push ahead toward the Kingdom of God. With that attitude and mindset, we will give ourselves the best chance of making it into the wonderful world tomorrow.
And that, at all times, must be our goal!
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Can Israel Count on America’s Support?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The relationship between America under the Biden Administration and Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu is bound to deteriorate, and their recent phone conversation, with nice sounding but unrealistic platitudes, will not change this a bit. This program shows the many reasons why Israel cannot count on meaningful support from the USA, at least not for the time being.
“Kann sich Israel auf Amerikas Hilfe verlassen?” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This program covers the same topic as the English version described above.
“Das Leben gehört Gott!” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Jens Herrmann. Title in English: “Life Belongs to God.”
“His Marvelous Light,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We have been called out of darkness to be the light of the world. We who are Christians are to be living in the marvelous light of God—how are we doing?
“Why We Don’t Stop,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Christianity is not a destination but a process of improvement. We were called by God in a broken state, and through His Holy Spirit, we can achieve a life of success. But is this eye-opening understanding something that we relish or just endure? True success, which is entrance into the Family of God, requires a persevering and joyous heart.
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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