Ultimate Faith

There came a time when Jesus Christ, knowing that He was about to face His greatest challenge, yielded to the Father, saying, “‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done’” (Matthew 26:42).

Jesus was able to look to the incomparable future of the glorious Kingdom of God with ultimate faith, “… who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus was sent by the Father to pay the price for our sins, and He died on our behalf (Romans 5:6), so that we could have “‘everlasting life’” (John 3:14-18). Jesus continues to work with us to lead us to salvation. The Apostle Paul writes:

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).

What exactly does that mean? How are we being saved by His life? Jesus, now “‘alive forevermore’” (Revelation 1:18), defends and helps us:

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

Jesus Christ is our living High Priest:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

You see, we will all face times of need when we will require great faith, and through God’s Holy Spirit we can find that help. Paul stated:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, King James Version).

We are saved by Christ’s life, because He lives in us through His Holy Spirit, giving us strength, comfort, assurance and conviction that everything will work out for good. Remember, we must have faith to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and we can ask God to increase our faith—as the apostles asked of Christ (Luke 17:5).

Lead the Way

In my work life, I am confronted with quite a lot of statistical information concerning the market that my company serves. I operate a non-profit transit company that provides para transit services along with a host of municipal buses, shuttles, and other specialized transport. This is challenging as inflationary pressures continue to impact all of us. Fuel costs, labor rates, insurance: all these things challenge any company, and the result can be reducing services to live within a budget.

This is just reality. However, here in Colorado, we are facing a unique problem. For the first time in our state’s history, the number of people over 65 years of age far exceeds those under 18. Of course, this sets up significant economic challenges for a growing state. Income tax revenue will decline while demand for elder services is increasing at a dramatic pace. There simply will not be enough money to provide care for our seniors.

In my job, we provide transportation for many seniors in an 8-county region here along the Front Range of Colorado. Trips for seniors include the obvious medical appointments, but also include grocery shopping, trips to senior centers and social events. Unfortunately, government funding for such needs has been declining due to shrinking revenues.

Our state government is focused on building a railroad from Fort Collins to Pueblo along Interstate 25. At the same time, state officials are discussing other very costly capital plans. These are not inherently negative projects to focus on, however, they will come as a tradeoff to needs like the senior services I’ve mentioned.

I write all of this as a prelude to stating that it occurred to me that in my line of work, as a leader in this industry, I need to do more to influence this issue. This means, speaking for those who cannot do so.

Millions of dollars are being programmed on visionary projects but sadly, seniors will be unable to get to dialysis and chemotherapy appointments. When I speak on this matter, I may not make those in power pleased.  However, we who are called by God to follow Him understand that there will be moments when we must calmly and appropriately stand up for that which we know to be right and moral. We must never do so with our own ambition or a self-righteous attitude. When we consider our actions, we should be guided by Scripture. Proverbs 3:5-6, provides excellent guidance: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

This must guide our actions as we interact with the structures of this world. As we know, they are not godly entities, yet they are allowed to exist by God, and we are required by Him to submit to these authorities unless this would compromise our obedience to God.

Our approach must be to focus on prayer and on the problem, and not the people we are interacting with. Titus gives us good guidance in relation to submitting to the ministry of the Church, and the same guidance is beneficial in our dealings at work. Titus 1:7-9 states: “For a bishop (other translations use the word elder or overseer, instead of bishop) must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,  but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” This is fundamentally a description of leadership, and if we wish to make progress in our efforts, accepting this advice is paramount.

In the example I began with, I know that the State’s leaders are eagerly working on their priorities. However, I also know that they care about the elders in our state who are in a troubling situation. There simply is not enough money or resources to achieve all the priorities. This is a common dilemma, and for true Christians, we can rely on God to show us the path we must follow to do His will. We see this illustrated in Romans 12:2: “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.”

In our interactions at work and in our communities, if we live by this direction, we are more likely to influence those around us. Not by self-righteousness, but by living as God intends, having our mind renewed by the commandments, and serving as an example to those we encounter. If helping our elders can be properly elevated by the example of our actions and priorities, we can raise the issue more effectively.

Jesus Christ provided the very best example of how we who are called by God must live. In John 13:12-15, we have the record of Jesus as our servant leader, and we read: “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.’”

As humans, we can never match the example that Jesus established for us—however, we can strive for this.

In Galatians 6:9, we see the admonition of continuing to work for good and being the example that God intends: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

I am thinking about the task ahead of me, and I know that if I follow God’s commandments, I will have done my job.

Continued Growth by Application

As we live our lives in this world, we are often bombarded by the realities of life. We read in 2 Peter 2:7-8 that God “…delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).” Lot was called righteous, even though some of his deeds were unrighteous. God deemed him worthy to be saved from the destruction of the society in which he lived.

We are finding ourselves living in times similar to that of Lot. So much is going wrong around us. It can be easy to be influenced by the “pleasures” in this world. We have to make sure that our moral compasses are being influenced by God and not being sucked into this world in our thoughts and our ways.

There are so many things that we can pay attention to in this life; but really, it comes down to the question if we will pay the most attention to God’s Words which should guide and direct us. God shows us in the Bible those actions that we are to take in our lives. We need to be asking ourselves if we are learning how to accomplish them by living them.

In Micah 6:8, we are shown a few examples of how we should be operating: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy (or lovingkindness), And to walk humbly with your God.”

We have to learn HOW to accomplish these things. It doesn’t come automatically. It requires us to spend time learning to do and develop them in our lives. We have to be paying attention and figuring out how to make them happen in our dealings. When we learn this, it should produce within us the love (agape) for God’s ways as we see how this helps others and benefits all. We have to understand what each of these words mean in the context of being a Christian.

Acting justly requires us to be impartial and knowledgeable, and to act lawfully and to know how to use righteousness (compare James 2:1-8; Proverbs 11:9; Romans 7:7-12; Isaiah 26:9-10).

To love mercy includes, to love the ability to forgive. God forgives abundantly! We also must learn how to forgive; otherwise, we are in jeopardy of not receiving God’s continued mercy in our lives. Mercy is not always easy to show. But it is required. We have to come to realize that all of us are guilty before God and each other (compare Ephesians 2:4-5; Isaiah 55:7; Lamentations 3:22-23; Luke 6:36; James 2:13; Matthew 5:7).

Finally, to walk humbly with God means, to be seeking Him in everything we do. We are seeking to be in alignment with Him. Our thoughts, our actions, our very being need to be in harmony with Him. This takes an immense amount of humility because it shows God we are willing to lay aside our own ways, our own thoughts, and seek and accept what He will show us (compare Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 28:26; Isaiah 55:8-9; Philippians 2:3).

As with so much of God’s laws, each of these characteristics and actions layer on top of each other. They are all required. This means then that we are to be learning how to develop and use all of them in partnership. If we miss out on growing in any of the areas, the other areas will not work properly. We have to continue to grow in righteousness, mercy and humility so that we can become the type of people that God is looking for. Our journey into the Family of God will require these attributes (and more)—therefore, we cannot neglect them! 

How Can We Tell if We Have Been Deceived?

Every now and then, we come across people whose behavior leaves us speechless. There is so much madness happening all over the world that I sometimes ask myself: “Is this the character of the person or is he completely deceived by Satan?” Many people around the world seem to shut their eyes to the absurdity of what is happening around us and simply accept what is about to happen even if they could change it.

We as Christians know what is coming to the world at large, and to us as well, and that Satan is the deceiver of this world. Revelation 12:9 says: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

We have been teaching time and again that it is very dangerous to become lazy, overconfident, selfish, or even arrogant, and that a person will never find their way out of the mire of self-deception on their own. We also have been explaining repeatedly that a deceived person does not know that he is deceived.

However, we are obligated to make sure that we recognize Satan’s tactics of deception, and we know that we can counter them with the power of God. We must ensure that Satan’s deception does not take hold of our hearts and trick us into believing that the wrong way is righteous and good. 

Solomon warns us firmly against this in Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

So, what would be a good remedy to get to the bottom of Satan’s deception, even if we do not know whether we are deceived?

One of the best remedies is “Humility and the Fear of the LORD.”

In the fifth book of Psalms, we read in chapter 111 and verse 10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Solomon had the same insight in Proverbs 1:7, where he wrote: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…”

It is through the power of God, through our humility and through the fear of the LORD that God will help us to obtain the possibility of understanding and open our eyes to whether there is something wrong in our hearts and whether something can or should be improved.

If we neither have nor desire this humility and the fear of the LORD in us, there is a terrible answer: “Because they hated knowledge And did not choose to fear the LORD, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies” (Proverbs 1:29-31).

Another method to recognize possible deception is “Self-Examination.”

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

James also explains to us in James 1:22-25 that we must be on our guard against precisely this kind of self-deception:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

We should always keep in mind that love is the supreme characteristic of God’s perfect law.

It is therefore crucial that we all examine ourselves again and again. Let’s try to have a genuine look in the mirror and take a close look at ourselves and ask ourselves: “Am I pleasing God and Jesus Christ with my lifestyle? Is everything really okay, or am I doing something wrong? Should I change something about myself?”

If we ask God for His help, we might easily come to a new realization. There is always something to do within and about us!

I truly wish all of us the strength and courage to take a good look at our mirror image and gain new insights.

Initial Translation from the German: Daniel Blasinger

The Cure for Weltschmerz

The German language has a reputation for requiring more letters and words than the English language for expressing an equivalent meaning. However, there are exceptions for which a single German word conveys a deep, poetic sentiment with great efficiency. “Weltschmerz” is one of those words, so eloquent that it appears in English language dictionaries without modification. This word is a contraction of two words in German, “Welt” and “Schmerz”, which translate to “World” and “Pain” in English, respectively. Taken in a literal sense, “World Pain” does not convey the complete meaning of the word. Weltschmerz describes a personal emotion of feeling weighed down by the demise of the world at large, causing malaise, sadness, depression, or apathy. It describes a sense of personal hopelessness, resulting from internalizing the downward spiral of the world.

Today, there is no shortage of events in the world to inspire a feeling of Weltschmerz. World leaders are a disgrace to their countries, governments, and the people they rule. The prevailing morality in societies around the world is baseless and self-indulgent with no concern for God. Violence and wars escalate more and more, bringing death and pain to those affected. Desperation pierces the lives of the innocent in so many ways – with sickness, job loss, poverty, and pain. When looking around us, it can be difficult to see what’s happening, knowing where it all leads, without feeling the gut-wrenching agony of the world’s demise.

The prophet Jeremiah may have felt the agony of Weltschmerz when he inquired of God why the wicked prosper (compare Jeremiah 12:1-4). In his time, he observed the wicked ways of the people and how they caused the environment around them to become desolate. Unquestionably grieved in seeing God neglected, we get a sense of Jeremiah’s lament for the state of the world. God’s response to Jeremiah’s inquiry explains the corruption He saw from His perspective: “‘Many rulers have destroyed My vineyard, They have trodden My portion underfoot; They have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate; Desolate, it mourns to Me; The whole land is made desolate, Because no one takes it to heart’” (Jeremiah 12:10-11). In this example, we see the cause of desolation. The people of Judah, to whom Jeremiah prophesied, took God and His blessings for granted. [Of course, Jeremiah also had the responsibility to prophesy to other nations (Jeremiah 1:5) and in prophetic terms, to the entire world in the last days]. They chose to disobey Him, as is also the case today. They took part in the way of destruction. In figurative language, God’s creation mourns this dismal state of affairs.

I’m afraid that our current state of the world is far worse than described by Jeremiah for his day and age. The vast majority in the world have departed from God, blatantly choosing to follow their own ways. The world glorifies sin. It corrupts the Truth. It puts trust in the faultiest of men to fix its problems. Only Jesus Christ will manage to correct the path this world is on when He establishes His righteous government (compare Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 9:6-7).

Fortunately, the world has hope. The dire straits will become straight and smooth when Jesus Christ returns to save the world from mankind. And we, as true Christians, will have the opportunity to work underneath His perfect authority to make it happen. The world will breathe a sigh of relief. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:20-22). Just as the world has hope for relief from its grief, we too can find solace in knowing that the current corruption will cease, giving way to a wonderful restoration.

Condemning Hastily

We all find it way too easy to point the finger at another person and say, “Well, well, look what he or she is doing.”  But when we try to condemn another person, we thereby take away a privilege that belongs to God alone.

As human beings, we can only draw conclusions from what we see or hear.

We read in John 8:3-5: “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’”

Jesus Christ did not answer this question right away, as verse 6 shows us: “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.”

We don’t know what He wrote, but there was little doubt as to her guilt; she had been caught sinning. However, they did not bring the guilty man before Christ either, which was required by the law. The whole incident was an attempt to accuse Christ because of His expected decision. But Jesus did not answer them.

Verse 7 tells us: “So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’”  We then read in verse 8: “And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.”

After a few minutes, Jesus looked up and saw no one else but the woman. Verses 10-11 continue: “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’”

Christ makes clear at this point that He did not come to condemn people, but to save them. We should follow His example. As human beings, we can only draw conclusions from what we see or hear. But Christ told us not to judge based on physical factors. John 7:24 quotes His words: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.’”

God tells us that before we can judge someone, we first have to be righteous ourselves. This is the message Christ gave to those who accused the adulteress.

Righteous judgment requires us to look deep into a person’s heart in order to recognize his or her innermost motives. Obtaining such insight is beyond the power of man—no matter how righteous we think we are.

Jesus said that it is easy for us to see exactly those faults in others of which we ourselves are most likely guilty.  We read in Matthew 7:3-5: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

When we are tempted to criticize a fellow human being, we are well advised to examine our own actions and see whether we might not be on the same path. Paul warns us in Romans 2:1-3: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Let’s try pointing a finger at someone and then have a look at our hand: there will be three fingers pointing at us.

James 4:11-12 admonishes us: “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”

We know that God had decided not to heal Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” People at the time of Paul may have judged him as weak in faith or as a sinful man. But today we know that it was for the glory of God (compare 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Anyone who condemned Paul was wrong.

Let us apply the same principle today. When we are tempted to condemn other people, let us remember that we have no idea what God has in mind for that person.

Many times, we don’t even know all the circumstances that are involved, causing a person to act in a certain way. And we have no idea of the tremendous battle someone might be fighting.

Christ must have seen something in the adulterous woman who was standing before Him, that the accusers could not or did not want to recognize. Although she was guilty, Jesus could see that she detested the deed she had committed. He could see that she was repentant, and He forgave her.

In Isaiah 11:3-4, we read about Christ after His return: “…And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth…”

Then we will rule and reign under Christ, and then we will be able to judge with perfect righteousness.

(Initial translation: Daniel Blasinger)

The Evil of Lies

I read an interesting quote recently: “One of the greatest challenges each society faces is deciding what constitutes ‘truth.’ Whoever holds that power wields enormous influence and steers the direction of that society for better or for worse. For centuries, ‘truth’ was delegated to the ruling institutions of the time, and hence truth was simply the narrative which conformed to their interests.” These ruling institutions of the various times could be the king, the government or the religious leaders of the day.

Of course, this “truth” was usually far removed from God’s truth and was more than likely inspired by Satan, who we know is a liar. And currently, he is the ruler of this world or the god of this age (refer John 14:30, John 16:11 and 2 Corinthians 4:4). So today, we live in a world with many lies.

Some of these lies may have small immediate consequences, but some are quite deadly. A couple of these lies with deadly consequences come to mind readily. The most recent are statements about the Covid vaccines, that they are safe and effective. This narrative was proclaimed from all official sources basically in unison around the world. As has been shown over the past few years, many thousands have died from these vaccines and many more have been seriously injured. As it also has been discovered, any effectiveness these vaccines had wears off very quickly and makes their recipients more likely to suffer from the current virus or even other illnesses. Those doctors who saved lives with early treatment for Covid were censured because they were going against the narrative (the official “truth”). Some lost their medical license and received fines for going against the government directive that certain early treatments were not allowed.

Another lie we heard in 2003, was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and they were developing nuclear weapons. This lie was spread so that the U.S. and some allies had a reason to go to war. When the U.S. military invaded Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction were found, neither was there any evidence that nuclear weapons were being developed. In fact, some intelligence agencies knew beforehand that this was a lie, but they were ignored. However, this lie resulted in the death of over two hundred and eighty thousand Iraqi citizens and thousands of US troops.

As it turned out, both of these lies resulted in vast profits for the medical and military industries, so they had a vested interest in pushing these lies. Certainly, this showed that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (refer to 1 Timothy 6:10).

In Proverbs 6:16-19, God lists things He hates. “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” In this list, it is significant that lying is mentioned twice to reinforce its importance.

While this sin of lying has been extant over the millennia, it has been greatly enabled by the increased use of technology in this modern age. The use of Artificial Intelligence will further aid the dissemination of lies in the future. It will be more difficult to discern between lies and the truth.

The only hope this world has is for Jesus Christ to return as the king of the earth. So, what will be the ultimate fate of liars? Revelation 21:8 informs us, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, idolater, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstones, which is the second death.”

Revelation 22:14-15 reinforces this: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

We must be striving in our own lives to avoid lies, and constantly be praying earnestly, “Thy kingdom come,” when God’s truth alone will be lived by.

Complete Confidence

When we are confident in our abilities, it brings about gratification and a sense of accomplishment which in return makes us feel good.  

We can be confident in our various talents; especially, when it leads to good fruit.  When we do well and are successful in a sporting event, or a work project, or a school assignment, or when we have finished a task, whatever it may be, we then have that feeling of achievement. 

Being confident in our conviction should also make us feel at ease; especially, since we know what we believe is the Truth and we have the Bible to back us up. 

Paul had this conviction, and he was confident that he was going to make it by overcoming all the trials he had to endure and that he would receive his crown when Christ would return.  He said in 2 Timothy 4:8: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  He was absolutely convinced he would succeed as he said in verses 6 and 7: “… the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

When Jesus was on this earth as a man, He could have sinned and was tested repeatedly but He obviously passed the tests and lived a sinless life.  He also had the absolute confidence that He would not sin, as did God the Father, for they knew the crucial role of Christ’s sinlessness to accomplish God’s plan, for the sake of you and me, and all of mankind. 

Just as God the Father and Jesus Christ were confident in their plan, they also have that same confidence in us that we will succeed.  They are convinced that all those whom God calls to eternal salvation in this day and age WILL succeed. He WANTS those whom He calls to salvation to be in His Kingdom— to be in His Family. 

Because Paul knew this, he was certain that the following statement in Philippians 1:3-6 would apply to him as well: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

Is this the kind of confidence we have in ourselves, just as Paul did? And for those of us who are called today, do we believe that we WILL make it into His Kingdom?  It takes work, though, and we need to prove to God that we are serious in our obedience to Him so that our confidence is acceptable by fruits worthy of repentance and of the gospel.

“Never Complain, Never Explain”

This phrase is a public relations strategy that has become particularly associated with the British Royal Family. 

Wikipedia states that “The phrase is believed to have originated with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Benjamin Disraeli. The surgeon and writer Robert Tuttle Morris wrote in his 1915 book Doctors vs. Folks that ‘It is well to follow the rule to “Never complain, never explain.” A man is judged by his character as a whole – not by individual acts.’   The motto became particularly associated with Queen Elizabeth II and was perceived as crucial to the success of her long reign.”

In the UK, as in many countries in the western world, there has been a certain level of free speech allowed although with the advent of political correctness and wokeness, this has been considerably eroded in recent years.  Nevertheless, criticism of the British Royal Family has been permitted unlike the situation in a number of other regimes where any criticism of their royalty or political leaders is simply not tolerated and any infraction can lead to arrest, and even imprisonment.   

In spite of Queen Elizabeth II having an impeccable reputation for her diplomacy and the way she conducted herself in over 70 years as a monarch, there have been those who would want to replace the Royal Family with yet another set of politicians. Such views can be said and written about in the UK without fear of any legal action although such views seem to be held by a small minority. 

For many decades, she was a figure of national pride and a symbol of stability and continuity who was respected around the world.  With the conduct of some of her family before her death in 2022, she must have been grieved with what she saw and heard and yet no one would have known. It can be so easy to become embroiled in argument and debate, and the Royal Family has not been an exception to that in recent years.

The Bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest person who ever lived (except, as we know, Jesus Christ): “So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom” (1 Kings 10:23); and “…men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 4:34). No human being other than Christ has surpassed him since then.

Those of us who have been called at this time can learn from biblical examples, and those who set high standards in public life, like the late Queen who, being a God-fearing woman, implemented standards expected of someone in her position.   And the result was, that as the reigning monarch in the UK for over 70 years, no one could ever point an accusing finger in her direction about her life style and behaviour.  She put up and shut up and she never complained and never explained if adverse publicity arose about the Royal Family.   Had she done so, she could have been embroiled in unseemly conduct but her behaviour was impeccable.  She chose her approach early in her reign and stuck steadfastly with that until her death in 2022.

We know that Jesus Christ didn’t argue and debate when He was accused in His last hours before His crucifixion.   He knew, more than any mortal being, that it was neither the time nor the place to do so and that it was foreordained that He was to die for the sins of mankind.   And that was the best example of all!

Solomon gave some brilliant advice as recorded in the Word of God.  I’m sure that the late Queen would have been very familiar with his advice.  Let us look at a few of these wise admonitions:

Proverbs 26:4-5: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

Proverbs 15:1-2: “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”  (Also see verses 7, 23, 28)

Ecclesiastes 3:7: “[There is a] time to keep silence, And a time to speak.”

Ecclesiastes 5:2: “Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.”

These golden nuggets of information, and there are many more along the same lines, are there to enable us to live a life pleasing in the sight of God.   Like the Queen, we must choose our approach, and the Bible is there to guide us in this matter.

In Matthew 5:16, we see the instruction of Jesus: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

When we, as true Christians, let our light shine, we set the best example of God’s Way of Life which is not seen when we unnecessarily argue and debate with others.

Let us behave as Proverbs 25:11 instructs: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.”

Is Time Running Out?

It seems God’s disciples have always felt that Jesus Christ would return during their lifetime. Today is no exception. But why is it now different than in times past? Or is it?

Christ told us that we should be able to determine the time of the end. And there should be no doubt that we are now living in the last days. World War III is coming—the war which would annihilate all life on earth if Christ was not to return to shorten those days.

Even unconverted people begin to realize more and more that we are now living in unprecedented dangerous times.

Germany’s defense minister Boris Pistorius said recently: “We have about 5-8 years to catch up, in terms of armed forces, industry and society,” to be able to defend against an invading Russian army. In Germany, compulsory military service was suspended in July 2011 after 55 years by the then Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

But Pistorius declared that this was a mistake and that compulsory military service could be reintroduced. The conservative opposition is supporting this concept. For instance, Bavarian leader Markus Söder has spoken out in favor of a return to compulsory military service for at least seven months. Söder also said: “We are talking about implementation over a period of five years at the earliest in order to adapt the necessary structures.”

Many feel that Ukraine has already lost the war with Russia, and the pressure on Ukraine is growing to cede some territory to the Russians in order to bring this war to a close. A Republican-controlled House has not approved Biden’s funding request of $106 billion, which includes $61 billion in additional aid for Ukraine. The feeling is that it is “unlikely” that Ukraine will become victorious against Putin’s forces and push them out, and if the USA stops supporting Ukraine financially and militarily, the war will be over for sure.

It was reported that, according to military experts, Russia would be prepared to launch an attack on Europe about six years after the Ukraine war has ended.

We know from the Bible that a fierce and devastating war will be fought between, on the one hand, Russia and its allies and, on the other hand, Europe under German leadership. We also know that this war will break out 2 ½ years after the Great Tribulation has begun, describing Europe’s war with the USA, the UK and Israel, and about 1 year before Christ’s return.

In this context, the estimated timeline is quite interesting. The number five (or a combination of five’s) appears quite predominately in the above-quoted prognostications. To recall, military conscription ended in Germany after 55 years; allegedly, Germany needs five years to reintroduce it; and it also needs at least five years to be ready militarily to “defend” against Russia.

In the Bible, the number five signifies quite often God’s grace and power (compare our free booklet, Hidden Secrets in the Bible.”)

For instance, following the four worldly kingdoms described in the book of Daniel, the Kingdom of God—the fifth Kingdom—will be established on earth.

The coming war between Russia and Germany does in fact signify God’s grace and power… in that Christ will graciously and powerfully intervene to make an end to man’s misrule and Daniel’s fourth kingdom. He will destroy Russian and European armies which will be determined to fight Him when He and His saints stand on the Mount of Olives.

We also saw that it is proposed that it will take Russia about six years, after the war with Ukraine has ended, to launch its attack on Europe. (In fact, Europe will strike first, and then Russia will retaliate). We say in our above-quoted booklet:

“Number six is the number of a man who is far from God or alienated from Him. The most famous combination of the number six is perhaps the number of the beast in the book of Revelation, namely 666. In the Greek, this number is written as 600 and 60 and 6. This number stands for total separation from God and the unconditional submission to Satan the Devil. Most people will be so deceived that they will worship Satan and his human instruments—the beast and the false prophet—while rejecting the true God and His Law. The sixth commandment forbids murder in all of its different forms (Exodus 20:13), but man, separated from God, thinks that some kinds of murder are permitted, such as killing in war.”

The coming war between Russia and other Far Eastern nations with Europe under German leadership exemplifies clearly man’s total separation from God and man’s willingness to completely destroy all life on earth, and to even fight against Jesus Christ.

We are not saying that these events will in fact occur within five or six years from now. But it is interesting that these numbers are mentioned by people who know little, if anything, about the Bible. Are these mere coincidental estimates, or are they perhaps inspired, in some way, to use those numbers? And if they are inspired, who inspired them?

What we are saying is that the time is short (1 Corinthians 7:29), and that “knowing the time,” “now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Romans 13:11); while “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16; compare Colossians 4:5). We are to watch and to pray always in order to be counted worthy to escape all these things which will surely come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man when He returns (compare Luke 21:36). Let us be mindful of the fact that this “is the last hour” and that “the end of all things is at hand” (1 John 2:18; compare 1 Peter 4:7).  

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