God Is Present—Honor Him with All You Do!

The work of physicists and astrophysicists can be fascinating. While I’ve been intrigued, my impression changed when I became aware that some have questioned the existence of God.

 They are entitled to their beliefs, but it is difficult to reconcile that one, with a deep understanding of the majesty of the cosmos, does not believe an all-powerful Creator God is at the heart of all. Still, most physicists and scientists admit that humans know only a fraction of what lies beyond what we see with the strongest instruments.

Some prominent physicists have recognized the existence of God as the Creator of all things—from Johannes Kepler who recognized that God created the cosmos in an orderly fashion, to Isaac Newton whose belief in the Truth of God cost him his position at Cambridge.

Others such as Stephen Hawking and Marie Curie did not believe in God’s existence. Albert Einstein saw the logic of a grand Creator, but he believed in the pantheistic god of Baruch Spinoza. He did not believe in a personal God who concerns Himself with fates and actions of human beings.

One theoretical physicist of note in the mid-20th century was Richard Feynman. Born in Queens, New York, in 1918, he attended a public high school in his neighborhood. This high school produced 3 Nobel Prize winners, including Feynman. During his time at Cal Tech and MIT, Feynman had a profound impact on the science of theoretical and particle physics.

Feynman was down-to-earth with a child-like curiosity about the world, and a knack for explaining complex theories. Feynman considered himself agnostic, though he stated that it was impossible for science to disprove the existence of God, and therefore science and God could co-exist.

He made an interesting point concerning unseen waves of all kinds. He imagined two people having a conversation, and at that moment there are chaotic waves bouncing around between the two. Energy waves, radiation, light, heat, and radio waves—they are all present around each of us. We know that oxygen exists though we cannot see it.  Similarly, Feynman suggested placing a radio between the two people to illustrate the existence of radio waves by tuning in to a broadcast from a nearby station, or perhaps in his day, Radio Free Europe.

As believers, we know that God exists, just as those waves, and can be present with His people even though He is not seen.  In 1 Corinthians 3:16, we read: Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

For those whom God calls, this is fundamental. As believers, we know that God is with us, and that sin drives Him away. As children, we most often misbehaved when we thought our parents were not watching. One day, when I was eight or so, I was sitting on the curb up the street from my home. I had taken matches from the house and thought it would be a good idea to start a little campfire in the gutter. When I got home, my mom was angry. A neighbor had phoned her after watching my antics. I had gotten into trouble thinking I was out of Mom’s gaze.

Why then do we sin? God knows our hearts and intentions, and it would be better to remember this and honor Him! Consider, Psalm 139:7-10, a psalm we often sing as a hymn to honor Him:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”

We understand that God is always aware of our actions, wherever we are, much like Mom and Dad when we are young. We are human and God offers repentance, but think of God as standing next to you as you contemplate your next move—sin, or obedience? Choosing sin should leave believers remorseful. There is a remedy: repent, obey, and pray—as a first waking thought, and the last one before sleep. Proverbs 15:3 offers an image for us to take to heart: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

We cannot hide our actions or our intentions from God, so let’s not waste time justifying sinful behavior. It is better that we live each day with the understanding that God is there. We may not see Him, but we know He is there for us to turn to.

Jeremiah made the point that God is not as a limited pagan idol, but is both present and transcendent. He is everywhere through the power of His Holy Spirit emanating from Him. Let’s consider Chapter 23 of Jeremiah, and verses 23 and 24: “Am I a God near at hand,’ says the Lord, ‘And not a God afar off?  Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?’ says the Lord; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord.

God has never tried to deceive us to catch us sinning. He has been forthright as our Creator in using Scripture to illustrate that He is present with each of us. Perhaps we think that He is so busy and cannot be concerned about each person. Isaiah captured what God wants for us. In Chapter 57, and in verse 15, we read: “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”

God is a mystery to be revealed as we seek perfection for His Kingdom. However, God is with us now and we want Him close. Sin can be as subtle as an unkind thought; others require forethought. Choosing sin is counter to being a Christian. It is also foolish and willful. Let’s choose to honor our Father with respect and the obedience that He commands. Consider how Isaiah quotes God’s words in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Be Careful With Your Word

In today’s world, social media is king. People can sit behind their glass screens and post about anything they want to. A lot of this posting is filled with vitriol and hatred. The words that are used are oftentimes cruel and demeaning and devoid of empathy or love.

But this is not how we are to be. Our communication with each other and with the world is to be with love and kindness. The more the world turns inward towards hatred and evil, the more we will have to combat this attitude. We are living in this world, and we are susceptible to the attitude of the current world ruler.

In our dealings with each other, there is a constant need for respect and love – especially in the things that we choose to say to each other. If we really examine the words that are coming out of our mouths – they will show how close we are to God OR how influenced we are by Satan.

God is very serious about this matter. He cares about what we say to others. Because how we choose to speak shows what is in our hearts. And there really is no room for two ways in our hearts.

Matthew 12:33-37 states: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

We will have to give an account. That truly is something to keep in mind and to make us aware that we need to be very mindful of what we say to people.

Our communication is powerful. We are in charge of what we allow to come out of our mouths. We can destroy people – or we can lift them up – all is in our power. This quote speaks volumes: “Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.” If we just say, “Oh sorry, I can’t control my thoughts and my words,” then we are choosing to allow ourselves, through our words, to become part of this world. If we are not in control, who is?

The Bible confirms this assessment!

James tells us (James 3:5) that the tongue is a small part of our body – but if we are not careful, it can set on fire a forest, meaning that if we are not diligent in watching what we say, we can cause extreme damage—maybe with our spouse, maybe with our children, maybe with members of the church, and maybe even with those outside.

If we are constantly angry in our vocabulary or show disrespect to others, then there is something wrong within ourselves. When we do this, we are not behaving as a Christian. If we actually care about and have love for others, then we will be extra diligent with our words.

We find in Colossians 3:8 that we as Christians have an obligation to be mindful about communicating in a way that is right:  “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” We must be aware that individually, we can alter situations and help keep the peace. Colossians 4:6 says: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

While we are in the world, we do NOT have to act like the world. Rather, we can be the difference, the “Light on the hill”. We each can choose how we are going to speak. We each can choose how we will apply these Scriptures. Ephesians 4:29 states: “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouths, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

If we wait for others to treat us differently in communication, we are missing the point. We each can and must choose to lift others up in how we communicate. If we change how we communicate with others, it will have a positive net outcome. If we choose to speak harshly and without consideration, this too will have a net outcome – but in a very negative way.

Really, if each of us were to take scriptures such as Philippians 2:3 to heart and work on applying them in our lives, how much more powerful and good would our words to each other be?: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better [higher] than himself.”

It truly is amazing how much our words can affect others. As we live this Christian Way of Life, our duty is to continue to change, to continue to grow. What better way than to examine our words and see if they really are Christian-like, kind and loving, or if they are reflecting this ugly, broken and dying world. Notice the following proverbs:

Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 12:18: “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.”

Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:4: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

I would challenge each of us to take a look back on the words we have spoken during the week, and then work towards improving our choice of words the next week to be more in accordance with what God shows us. If we do this consistently, we will see the fruit that is brought forth in ourselves and with others!

Money is Power

Today’s focus is on materialism. Most people are very concerned about the difficulties that life brings – about making ends meet – and how to get more for their money.

God warns us about the greedy, selfish spirit that dominates our society today: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Most people are not ready for being wealthy. They simply can’t handle it.

How would we handle extra money? Would we use it wisely? All too often, that may not be the case.

Money is power. It needs to be controlled. Without self-control and restraint, money becomes a curse. Satan’s goal is to encourage us to destroy ourselves, to turn blessings into curses.

Wealth is a trial.

Christ tells us: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Where is our treasure? Are we materially-minded?

Christ also states: “…You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Satan knows, when it comes to the priority that dominates us, the choice is either God or material wealth. If he succeeds in tempting us into materialism, pleasure, and a comfortable life, so that we come to think we cannot live without these, then he can draw us away from the loving God.

Because the Bible clearly reveals that having the mindset on the things of the flesh and being carnally minded, is enmity against God. We can read this in Romans 8:4-7.

Wealth is a blessing from God. But it needs to be used properly.

The devil’s plan is getting people to misuse prosperity so that it becomes a curse rather than a blessing. He wants people to attach their hearts to material things and to forget God.

Satan would like to whisper to us: “Look, aren’t things going very well? Why are you keeping the shield of faith so high? And why have you put on the breastplate of righteousness? You do not need all this. And surely you do not need the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God).”

But at the end of the day, this is not a whisper, but rather the roar of a lion, walking about and seeking to devour us.

Ephesians 6:12-18 tells us:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”

Money is Power. Using it properly is up to us.

Initial translation from German: Daniel Blasinger

Where Is Truth? It Is Fallen in the Street

In 1949, George Orwell published a book, entitled “1984”, picturing what he thought the conditions in a future world would be like. The lead character in it was employed in the “Ministry of Truth” to revise past issues of newspapers in the cases where politicians’ promises were not fulfilled. His revisions were to change the promises to what really happened, destroy the old copies and file the new copies as their replacements.

This was also carried out by others in the “Ministry of Truth” on books and other historical documents so that all past references as to what was expected to happen would be changed to what did happen. So, historical researchers would “find” that all predictions actually happened as they were predicted to. In other words, they were destroying Truth to make politicians look good.

At that time, 1984 as suggested by George Orwell, the governments would be highly oppressive and employ “Thought Police” to arrest and “Disappear” citizens who disagreed with the government’s narrative—at times even going so far as to remove all records of that person’s existence, as if they had never lived. Orwell also coined the term “Big Brother Is Watching”. Of course, that was purely fiction and did not happen in 1984.

However, looking at today’s situation, some of the things George Orwell wrote about are happening. This present situation is mentioned in Isaiah 59:14-15. It is a prophecy that will occur just before the return of Jesus Christ, although it may have happened in other times as well. The verses state, “Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” The term prey is sometimes translated as ridiculed, but more often as plundered. It could even mean in today’s terminology, make oneself a target. All of these meanings are occurring in today’s world.

When we look at the situation today, justice is often dependent on political favour. Truth is certainly not evident in many places. And where do we find righteousness? The fulfilment of these two verses has been made plain during the current pandemic. The meaning of words has been changed for political reasons. Pandemic used to be a situation with extreme numbers of deaths and illnesses. This was changed within the last twenty years to only require a high number of cases without an extreme number of deaths.

Also, the definitions of vaccines and herd immunity have been changed to suit the current narrative.

As for becoming a target, doctors and nurses can lose their medical licenses if they treat patients with effective and safe medications that the government forbids for political or economic reasons. This even extends to requiring the professional to have a psychiatric examination before regaining their license—something no professional wants on their resume.

Regarding the legal area, some schools teach a distorted history and can groom young children towards trans-sexuality. The parents who object vocally at school meetings have been labelled “Domestic Terrorists” by a government agency. A Supreme Court nominee was unable to give a definition of what a woman is when asked. From a technical legal standpoint, she might even have been correct to an extent, when considering current law in some states, when anyone can legally call themselves the opposite gender from their birth sex. For example, a man has the legal right in some places to call himself a lesbian and anyone who objects can be prosecuted because of using hate speech. It is indeed a sick world, totally departing from God’s standards.

While people in this day and age are not usually “disappeared” as George Orwell wrote, they can be “disappeared” or cancelled from social and other internet websites for disagreeing with the government narrative and speaking what is true. Truth has indeed departed and people readily become targets for not agreeing with evil in today’s world.

So, what does God require of us as He is a God of Truth which we read in Deuteronomy 32:4? “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” So, those items mentioned as missing in Isaiah 59:14-15, justice, righteousness and Truth, characterise God.

As for us, God requires Truth to be a part of our character, a part of our Way of Life, and not just in our words, but also in our thoughts—our innermost being, if we want to live with Christ for eternity. As we read in Psalm 15:1-2: “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart.”

We live in a very corrupt and evil world ruled by Satan, and while we have to live in it, we must not be a part of it. As we read in Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.’” While this chapter begins by mentioning Babylon in Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:3 expands this to include all nations, the whole world, as “all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

So, we need to recognize that this world is evil, and to please God, we must not partake of any of this evil, but live a life of Truth and be valiant for it.

Famine…

The term famine is currently on everyone’s lips, today even more than ever before. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the entire face of the world and people are suffering from great anxiety. Due to the reciprocal sanctions which the world rulers are inflicting on each other, the tensions and problems among them and in the whole world are getting bigger and worse, until it will ultimately lead to a nuclear world war.

We know that these days we find ourselves in are the beginning of sorrows, and that these point, among other things, towards a coming great famine. The current trading and speculation with food on the stock markets are increasing more and more. Thus, the food prices keep rising more and more, and so will worldwide inflation. This refers not only to wheat and corn, but many other groceries are also affected as well, such as rice and soy, coffee and sugar, and many more other goods like raw oil, not to mention the constantly rising energy prices.

Der Tagesspiegel wrote on May 3, 2022: “We are heading for the greatest famine in human history.

“The farmers in Ukraine are producing much fewer resources, the infrastructure is destroyed, the ports are blocked. But the problems are much worse.

“The poorest countries have already been hit hard by the pandemic. On top of that, there is climate change with droughts in Africa and China. Because of lack of energy China is producing less fertilizer, and due to the blockade of the Black Sea, hardly any fertilizer is being exported from Russia and Belarus. Added to this are global logistics issues. Even if there was enough food, it doesn’t necessarily get to where it’s needed. The Russian invasion is deeply shaking the world food system. We fear that the number of hungry people will double in 2023 or 2024. If we have ten percent less artificial fertilizer than we need, up to 320 million people are robbed of their food base.”

In Austria, the city of Vienna posted the following statement on its platform:

“Waste on the one hand, hunger on the other.

“1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away each year or constitute losses along the value chain. For Europe, the authors estimate an annual loss per capita along the entire value chain of 280 to 300 kilograms. European and North American households throw away between 95 and 115 kilograms of food per year, especially fruit and vegetables, although a large proportion would still be edible. Add to those mountains of food that retailers discard.”

There is no way to realize by any stretch of the imagination the full extent of the scenario that is rolling toward humanity.

This leads to a crucial question for us. Will such news also raise fears and worries in us because of a coming famine?

Christ already warned us about this very scenario 2000 years ago: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).

The world simply ignores these statements, but it should be clear to us that these prophecies of God are being fulfilled today right before our eyes. If we heed the words of Christ and do what He commanded us to do, namely, to keep the laws of God from the heart, God the Father and Jesus Christ will be with us to help, sustain and protect us in these terrible times.

Let us remember the famine in Abram’s time, when he had to go to Egypt (Genesis 12:10). Isaac also fled from a famine (Genesis 26:1). When famine broke out in all lands by the time of Joseph, who was a righteous ruler directly under Pharaoh, God showed His power and saved the children of Israel from starvation (Genesis 41:53-57).

In Genesis 45:11, because of God’s power, Joseph was able to promise Jacob and his descendants to help them: “There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.” When Israel was in the wilderness and had nothing to eat, God provided them with manna and quails (Exodus 16).

Many prophets experienced famines as well, such as Elijah and Elisha, but they were saved by God. And David wrote with full knowledge and conviction: “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).

Christ once fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, and all were filled (Mark 6:30-44). On another occasion, he fed four thousand in the wilderness with seven loaves (Mark 8:1-9).

So why should God let us die in a famine today? Of course, there will be moments when we are tested, and it may be difficult for some. Paul experienced what it was like to be hungry. But as Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). Paul was fully convinced that nothing could unsettle him or us!

Christ tells us what to focus on: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:31-34).

In the end, it doesn’t matter to us personally how much we speculate about food wastage in the world, or how much of it ends up in the trash, or how much the world’s population increases in the face of hunger, even though it is all very tragic. What is of the utmost importance for us is to realize that only God can and will help us in all future suffering and misery.

God trusts each one of us. And therefore, we must also trust Him to the fullest extent.

Initial translation from German: Daniel Blasinger

A Pandora’s Box

In the introduction in our booklet, entitled, “God’s Teaching on Sexual Relationships,” we state the following: “We live in a world of ever-changing relationships, be it among nations, peoples, or individuals, and along with these changes, there is no end to personal opinions as to what constitutes right or wrong actions.  Yet out of the abundance of opinions, there is little regard for what God calls sin or what His standards are for happiness and health. Mankind, as a whole, is determined to live in ways that ‘seem right in his own eyes’ (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25).”

There can be no argument that there have been monumental changes in every phase of society around the world in the last few decades, with the pace of change accelerating at a frightening pace.   A “Pandora’s box” has been opened.

Collins English Dictionary has this definition: “If someone or something opens a Pandora’s box, they do something that causes a lot of problems to appear that did not exist or were not known about before.”

In our booklet, we reference the ridiculous idea about there being 72 different gender designations.   We wondered what would be next.

In the UK, the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 was passed in 2013. It legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales, and former Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, was instrumental in this endeavour.   In many nations around the world, same-sex marriages have become totally acceptable. But it has gotten worse.

We now have the revelation that last year, three men made history in Colombia by becoming the first trio to wed in a same-sex ceremony in Colombia – called a polyamorous family. A newspaper report revealed that “Three people are legally allowed to marry each other in Colombia, where it is known as a ‘trieja’ – a word derived from two others: trio and pareja: trio and couple.”

Another type of relationship revealed was where three women were married to each other and, at the time, were the world’s only wedded female threesome – and one of them was expecting a baby.   This relationship, apparently, is called a throuple!   No doubt, since then, more people have jumped on the same bandwagon.

I came across an article about a divorced British woman who finally found the partner of her dreams – her dog – and married her in a “romantic ceremony in Croatia, and the ceremony was attended by 200 people!”   There have been quite a number of other such “arrangements”.

In this world, once Pandora’s Box is open, there is no going back.

To slightly misquote Rudyard Kipling: “We must keep our heads when all around us are losing theirs!”

Whatever next?

Well, hopefully, there won’t be many more ridiculous revelations about even more absurd relationships, before Jesus Christ returns to put a stop, once and for all, to this nonsense.  We can all be sure that in the soon-coming Government of God, which God will establish here on earth during the Millennium, marriage between humans will be between one man and one woman, and mankind will be all the happier that the godly and correct institution of marriage (see Genesis 2:24) will be the only marriage allowed.

Nothing in This World Really Matters Anyway

I recently woke up during a weekday in a pretty grumpy mood. I knew that I had a grueling day at work that was about to begin, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Even my morning cup of coffee didn’t do much to lift my mood! But I proceeded to face the day, as was my duty.

As I sat down at my desk to begin my workday, I took a moment of pause before getting started. This is a regular habit that I have built into my day. I normally take about a minute before I officially start work to simply write down something that I’m grateful for. Some days, it can be more difficult than others to find something to write, and this particular day was one of them. I began to write, “I am grateful that…”, and stopped there. It took a few moments to contemplate, considering the difficult day that I had ahead of me. But then I continued, “… this stuff in life doesn’t really matter.” Almost immediately, the weight of the day was lifted.

Of course, such a statement as “nothing in this world really matters anyway” is a nihilistic expression that needs to be qualified, rather than taken as an absolute truth. The fact is that there is a lot in this life that does matter. We need to be good stewards of the blessings that God provides us with. We take care of our health, maintain our relationships with others, and dedicate ourselves to the work that we put our hands to do, even when we might not look forward to it (compare Ecclesiastes 9:10). To say that “nothing matters” is not categorically true, but there is an element of truth when put into the right context.

To begin with, the stuff in this life does matter because this is where God presents opportunities for us to grow. We learn to overcome the world by putting our spiritual understanding into practice in the context of our current circumstances. We are training now to live a godly life, walking in the Spirit. And the only way we can do that is by taking advantage of the stuff in life that we have to deal with, both good and bad. The lives that we live are a physical means to a spiritual end.

Knowing that we seek a spiritual change to live an eternal life in the Family of God, we do not work towards an end goal that is physical in nature. In this way, truly, nothing that this physical life has to offer really matters. This is the perspective that God instructs us to have. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Placing our value in worldly outcomes only leads us away from God.

Regardless, we are bound to live in these physical bodies, in this physical world. This is our place now where we have to learn how to overcome. We cannot yet leave it behind. When Jesus Christ was preparing for His Sacrifice to take place, He prayed to God about us and our circumstances in this life. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:18-19). Even though we are not to love the world, we have to be here now so that we can put the Truth of God into practice, and overcome the world through Christ. We are set apart for a spiritual purpose, learning obedience and the love for God’s Way of Life.

The only possible way that we can overcome the world, living and walking in the Spirit, is through the Spirit of God that lives within us. Jesus Christ had to leave the world so that the Holy Spirit would become available to us (compare John 16:5-7). Because of this amazing gift from God, we understand what it means to say that nothing in this life matters. With the mind of Christ, we look forward to a life that is so much better than what we can possibly imagine.

With Pentecost upon us, we have an annual reminder that the Holy Spirit is ours to use. It lives within us, giving us the discernment that we need to overcome sin in this world. When we face our circumstances in life, we can find encouragement in knowing that the glory that God has in store for us is what matters, making everything else worthless by comparison.

In His Footsteps

The apostles had a unique advantage in that for 3 ½ years, they were able to observe and learn from the interactions Christ had with those who were trying to trip Him up and how He always responded in a manner that left them no comeback. They also observed His love and mercy toward young children and how He picked them up and blessed them while His disciples wanted to shoo them away (compare Matthew 19:13-14).  They also experienced how He had compassion for the sick and was ready to heal people (compare Matthew 7:16-17), and even raised the dead as He did for His friend Lazarus (compare John 11:38-44).

Some of what they experienced is recorded for us even though we were not there to witness it at the time. But we can read about His life, His experiences and even His death for mankind.

We are admonished to walk in His footsteps as mentioned in Psalms 85:13: “Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway. “

We are further admonished in Philippians 2:5 to be like minded: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

One of our goals is to develop the mind of Christ. This is something we cannot do unless we are willing to take the time to read and study our Bibles for admonition, learning, education and instruction. In that regard, we have an advantage over those in the distant past since we have the whole Bible to study, including how Christ, the God of the Old Testament, dealt with individuals and the nation of Israel.

We should not leave a stone unturned to accomplish our task given to us, and furthermore, to show gratitude for what has been written in the Word of God and the gems we can find there. The book of Proverbs and of the Psalms are full of wisdom on how to live a true Christian life. We have the history of the New Testament Church laid out for us in the book of Acts and also in the first chapters in the book of Revelation where historical and prophetic events are reported, pointing out the good things about each era and the admonition to repent and change when required.

We sometimes talk about the gold standard. We have our gold standard in the written Word of God, and it is our responsibility to dig out the words written for our continued growth in grace and knowledge which can only come from our study and thinking about the Holy Scriptures which have been preserved for us. How are we doing?

Valuable Lessons of Cain and Abel

The story of Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis is well known to many people in the world.  The huge majority if asked, religious or not, have at one point or another heard or read about this story; however, most would probably not recognize the meaning and symbolism it holds for us today.

To begin, let us look at the kind of work differentiated between both Cain and Abel.  Abel’s line of work was very symbolic since he was a keeper of sheep and we know how David was a shepherd and how Jesus many times was referred to as a keeper of sheep. This showed how He cares for the Church and His people by looking after them, watching over them, loving them, and feeding them. He is using today the ministry in God’s church for this task as well, showing compassion and love for others, a giving attitude and even the willingness to give one’s life for the flock if the circumstance arises.

Cain’s line of work was quite different.  It was very labor-intensive by raising fruits and vegetables.  His type was predicted already by God in Genesis 3:17-19 and how there was much work involved to provide food.

In Genesis 4:3, we read about the process of time, the end of days, which could signify the end of agriculture and the beginning of Autumn.  Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states that this might refer to the time “after harvest, after the fruits of the earth were gathered in, and so a proper season to bring an offering to the Lord, in gratitude for the plenty of good things they had been favoured with.” Their offerings would then be symbolic of the Feast of Tabernacles where we also give up offerings to God. This shows the brothers might have appeared before God at a precise time near the Autumn of the year, which could mean that they were told by God when to bring the offerings.

Now when it came to what was given, we read in verses 3-5 that God approved Abel’s offering but not Cain’s, and as a result, Cain became angry.  He had the wrong attitude since his offering was not from the heart, and in verse 7 God makes it clear what Cain should do: “If you do well shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door.”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states the following:

“… sin lieth at the door—sin, that is, a sin offering—a common meaning of the word in Scripture (as in Ho[sea] 4:8; 2Co[rinthians] 5:21; Heb[rews] 9:28). The purport of the divine rebuke to Cain was this, ‘Why art thou angry, as if unjustly treated? If thou doest well (that is, wert innocent and sinless) a thank offering would have been accepted as a token of thy dependence as a creature. But as thou doest not well (that is, art a sinner), a sin offering is necessary, by bringing which thou wouldest have met with acceptance and retained the honors of thy birthright.’ This language implies that previous instructions had been given as to the mode of worship; Abel offered through faith (Heb[rews] 11:4).”

In other words, the phrase in verse 7 could be understood to convey the following thought:

“If you do well, shall you not be accepted [in the future and bring the proper sacrifice]? And if you do not well, sin [a sin offering] lies at the door.”

God was really being compassionate with Cain here, giving him another chance, showing that He had mercy. If Cain would repent and still bring the proper offering (“if you do well”), then he would be accepted; but if he did not do so, then “sin [a sin offering] lies at the door.”  At the end of verse 7, Cain would have to gain control over sin, over his mistakes, by an offering provided by God, which was a noble gesture of grace on God’s part. Yet in spite of this act of mercy, Cain did not accept God’s grace of supplying a sin-offering for him to conquer sin. He responded with something terrible and in no way in accordance with God’s command.  He offered up his own brother, as stated in verses 8-9.  The sin of murder continued with lying.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary includes these additional remarks:

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?—A better rendering is, ‘Shalt thou not have the excellency’? which is the true sense of the words referring to the high privileges and authority belonging to the first-born in patriarchal times….  it was Cain’s conviction, that this honor had been withdrawn from him, by the rejection of his sacrifice, and conferred on his younger brother—hence the secret flame of jealousy, which kindled into a settled hatred and fell revenge.”

Cain had his chance and he blew it, and as a result, he was now to be sent away from the land (verses 10-12).  He was to be a wanderer — one without a fixed dwelling place.  Yet Cain considered this punishment to be harsh, more than he could handle (verses 13-14).  Cain’s punishment involved him being “driven out” from the land he formerly tilled, and away from the “face” of God.  However, Cain did not show any remorse for what he had done, by killing his brother, and he didn’t repent of that sin.  God could have killed him right there on the spot but He chose to spare his life, even preventing others from killing him (verse 15), perhaps still giving him a chance to think about what he had done, so his heart could change, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

We saw here how one brother was more righteous than the other and also more giving, especially in the heart, while the other brother was not.   Because God was more accepting of Abel’s offering, rather than Cain’s, jealously crept in and got the better of him, thus resorting to murder – the first recorded murder in the Bible (1 John 3:12).  As a consequence, his life would prove to be very difficult and his blessings would be taken away.  Being righteous could very well have its sacrifices.  Because Abel was willing to do what God wanted and to please God rather than pleasing man, his life was given up, just as Christ’s life was given up as a sacrifice for us so that we can be saved.

God could have intervened on Abel’s behalf but He let it happen since He had something better in store for him anyway.  Life is only temporary.  Abel was righteous in God’s eyes, and he will be in God’s Kingdom.  This was a good lesson for mankind. Human nature is carnal and hostile towards God. We read about what happened to Adam and Eve, and how easy it is for sin to take over.

In this world today, we should have the attitude that Abel had by pleasing God rather than man.  We in the church will be hated by others because of our beliefs, and the end time prophecies tell us how the church will be persecuted for righteousness sake.  Those who hate God and disobey His laws will have their reward, which isn’t a pleasant one by any means.  And those who love God and obey His laws will also have their reward, blessings beyond what the human mind can even comprehend.

Abortion… a Horrible Crime in the Eyes of God!

A leaked initial and not-binding draft of US Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito, stating that the majority opinion from the court would overturn the judgment known as Roe v. Wade, which legalized the right to abortion across the country, has been met with outrage and condemnation. The leak has been described as an “original sin for judicial ethics,” and “one of the greatest breaches of security in the history of the Court.”

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, then each state would be allowed to decide whether to permit, restrict or ban abortions within its own borders. It is estimated that 26 states would be certain or likely to restrict abortion procedures.  On the other hand, pro-abortion states have been taking aggressive action to expand abortions, including, in particular, California, Colorado, Oregon and Illinois.

Practicing Catholic politicians like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer strongly opposed the proposed decision, saying that the woman’s right to choose must be upheld and that the decision would be “one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” even though the Catholic Church prohibits most cases of abortion, focusing thereby on the killing of an innocent unborn child. But Joe Biden said that “a woman’s right to choose is fundamental.” However, his church is not consistent either, and the alleged Pope’s declaration, if true, that Joe Biden is a good Catholic would be hypocritical and shameful.

Apart from the egregious violation of ethics and confidentiality, the most shocking but not surprising development has been the outrageous reaction by progressives to the substance and contents of the leaked draft. Vice President Kamala Harris responded: “How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body?… How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?”

Kamala Harris echoed of course what Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had said, and they are by no means the only ones. For instance, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the “right to choose is a woman’s right and a woman’s right alone.”

On the other hand, Joe Biden took quite a different stance in the past when he opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion one year after Roe v. Wade. “I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body,” he told the Washingtonian in 1974, one year after the court legalized abortion. Not only does Joe Biden’s changed position show how extreme the Democrat Party has become, but it is also obvious that Joe Biden has become a tool in the hands of the radical left.

In our new booklet,The Ten Commandments, we address the question of abortion. In that booklet, we prove from the Bible that life begins with conception. No matter what progressives and “pro-choice” proponents might say, the killing of innocent unborn life in the mother’s womb IS murder in the eyes of God. While those who uphold abortion state foolishly that it is strictly and solely the decision of the mother whether or not to kill her child, the rights of the unborn child and of the father are simply and conveniently ignored, and God is completely forgotten.

As we point out in our booklet, “Statistics of abortions are nothing short of alarming.” At the end of May 2019, “Abortions in the USA since 1973 (the time of Roe v Wade) are now over 61 million. Worldwide abortions for 2019 were 16 million. Worldwide abortions since 1980 are over 1.5 billion… Over 200,000 abortions are performed each year in Britain… One of the nations with the highest rate of abortion is Russia… [F]or every 1,000 women between 15 to 44, 37.4 had an abortion. Another nation with a high abortion rate is Cuba [with] an abortion rate of 28.9.”

We also list in our booklet the horrifying abortion rates in many other countries. Most of them would be described as “civilized.”

Let me be clear, then. Abortion for ANY reason is murder in the eyes of God—and it should be in our eyes. With this godly understanding, it is obvious that there can be no exception, and in this area, not only progressive “pro-choice” proponents, but also conservatives and religious leaders, taking the “pro-life”-position, fail miserably as well, and that almost universally. To illustrate the point, let me quote from an article by Breitbart, dated May 5:

“Kathy Barnette, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, released a powerful video Tuesday in which she discussed being conceived in rape when her mother was just age 11… Barnette affirmed her life has value despite having been the byproduct of a tragic act of violence [stating:] ‘In the world the Left desires, I would never have been born…’ Barnette said her own experience made her become more adamant about the sanctity of life and cautioned people against believing that children like her should be aborted. ‘Even among Christians, even among staunch conservatives, an exception to the rule of being pro-life, for many, is in the case of rape, and yet my life has value,’ she said. Barnette cited her own family, including her husband and children, as evidence of this value. ‘None of this would have happened if the exception to the rule had applied,’ she said.”

What a powerful testimony! I wholeheartedly agree with her sentiment. Don’t you? Let me repeat: In God’s eyes, EVERY abortion is murder. It is a horrible crime and can NEVER be justified, regardless of the circumstances.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God