Where Do Our Dreams Come From?

In a previous Q&A, the question about whether Satan can influence us when we are asleep was answered.  It was proved that God would not allow His people to be subjected to such a situation.

And so, the next question to ask may be: “Where do our dreams come from?”

On the website: https://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/dreams/facts-about-dreams/what-are-dreams we read about the process of dreaming:

“What Is a Dream, Anyway?

“A dream is a collection of images and ideas that occur involuntarily during certain periods of repose. When you first drift off, your heart rate slows, your temperature drops, and your brain is busy processing the day’s events. During this initial sleep stage, dreams are made up of flashes of thoughts and images from your waking life: what you ate for lunch, a phone call you made during the day, the movie you watched before bed. You rarely remember these dreams unless you wake up during them.

“After about 90 minutes, you fall into the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, where vivid, often surreal dreams occur. The amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for processing emotions, and the hippocampus, the seat of memory, are both active, which is why REM dreams have a story like quality and are the ones you tend to remember the next day and recount to friends. If you get six to eight hours of sleep, you experience four to five REM periods of various lengths, all of which are dream filled (though you probably won’t remember most of them).”

The article then goes on to say that “they help you understand new experiences, prepare you for change, help you cope with trauma or loss and can facilitate learning.”

Most, if not all of us, can attest to the fact that we do dream, and regularly.  We have learned that God will not allow His people to be tested and tempted when we are asleep – a time when they are not in a position to defend their minds.  But that should not put us in a position where we don’t pray for the protection of our minds whilst we are asleep!

As we read above, our dreams are a combination of what is in our mind following experiences of the day, and of our lives so far. Before we were converted, we may have developed bad habits that have subsequently been difficult to dislodge but we understand that all of these have been recorded by our brain and are part of who and what we are.   Our thoughts, pre-conversion and post conversion, can have a dramatic effect on what happens in our minds when we are in the subconscious state of sleep.

In “Understanding Your Subconscious Mind,” Brian Tracy states: “Your subconscious mind is like a huge memory bank. Its capacity is virtually unlimited. It permanently stores everything that ever happens to you.

“By the time you reach the age of 21, you’ve already permanently stored more than one hundred times the contents of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Your unconscious memory is virtually perfect. It is your conscious recall that is suspect.

“The function of your subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data. Its job is to ensure that you respond exactly the way you are programmed. Your subconscious mind makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with your self-concept, your ‘master program.’

“Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Just as your conscious mind can be thought of as the gardener, planting seeds, your subconscious mind can be thought of as the garden, or fertile soil, in which the seeds germinate and grow.  Your conscious mind commands and your subconscious mind obeys.”

One well-known speaker, Jim Rohn, said: “Our thoughts shape our reality.  Our thoughts shape our beliefs.  Our thoughts decide whether we feel happy or sad, calm or anxious, content or unfulfilled.  So we must exercise caution towards what we allow to enter the door of our minds because it affects our thoughts.  And our thoughts are the engine that starts everything – and we do have a choice.”

We mustn’t become complacent just because Satan can’t attack us when we are asleep.  Put simply, for the purpose of this Q&A, we have to be careful about our thoughts.   Whatever we think about and allow into our minds can surface in dreams at a later time.

We read in 1 Peter 1:13-14 in the NIV translation: “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”

We should regularly pray for the protection of our minds whilst we are asleep. Satan may not be able to affect us at this time but the way we live our lives, and what we say and do, can certainly impact on what we dream about. We are warned in Ephesians 4:26-27 that we should not let the sun go down on our wrath and not to go to bed with an angry attitude, nor give place to the devil. Satan cannot directly influence us when we sleep, but evil and bad thoughts, which were recorded by the brain, may lead to unpleasant dreams.

In Isaiah 26:3 we read that: “You (God) will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”

In the first two verses of the chapter we read about safety which is the result of faith in God, and it reflects on the mindset of those who are focused on God through trust in Him. One writer, Oswald Chambers, penned these words when speaking about the subject of our minds being stayed on God:

“Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him.  You should seek to be ‘bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This will be one of the greatest assets of your faith when a time of trial comes, because then your faith and the Spirit of God will work together.”

One good comparison would be with our computers   There are many versions of different anti-virus protection which can protect our computer and all of our information.   If we didn’t take steps to protect our information, we could be open to hackers who could do serious damage.   Satan and his demons work in a similar way.   They will do everything they can, particularly to members of the true Church of God, to influence and affect us in a way that will dent our chances of making it into the Kingdom of God.   As we need protection for our computers, we need protection for our minds from the evil forces that do anything they can to derail us.   And our protection can only come from God.   He will help us to be careful what we let into our minds which can adversely affect us and it is essential that we don’t just carelessly allow wrong thoughts and ideas into our minds which can then surface in any dreams that we may have.

We have to be fully aware at all times about our carnal mind and nature: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).   Later, in the same letter, we read: “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 must not be part of this society and its ways, and our minds are an integral part of our Godly Way of Life.

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 the apostle Paul discusses spiritual wisdom, showing that the “natural man does not receive the things of God.”   Verse 16 should apply to us: “‘For who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?’  But we have the mind of Christ.”   With the mind of Christ, we will only let good and wholesome thoughts into our minds and, if and when these are included in our dreams, we can be assured that our dreams will not distress us or cause us any spiritual concerns.   However, probably all of us are still working on our relationship with God and have yet to arrive at the place where we should be and, therefore, any wrong thoughts could easily become part of our dreams; in addition, our brain has stored memories and thoughts which might have happened a long time ago, but which might come to the surface now.  That is why we do need to ask for the protection of our minds when we are asleep.

We are instructed not to be involved with those with a wrong attitude and approach: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself” (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

In 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (New RSV) we read: “Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.”  We have to guard the truth given to us with help from the Holy Spirit and have to have the mind of Christ as it states in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”   That is the mind that we need, and must have.

In Ephesians 4:17 we read: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.”   We are not to have that approach and a few verses later in the New Living Translation of verses 22-23, we read: “… throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

That’s the key – to let the Holy Spirit of God help us in all things and in renewing our thoughts and attitudes. Then, our minds will be protected when we are sleeping. This is the only way to live!

We read in Romans 8:5-6:  “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”   This clearly shows the difference of mindset and the direction in which we must go.

How we live, what we think, say and do, and what we allow into our minds will reveal to God how seriously we take our calling.   Keeping our minds on the things of God and not of this world will enable us to live a life pleasing to our great God.

We know that Joel 2:28-29 gives us a view of times to come: “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.  And also on My menservants and, on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”   However, that time is yet to come when dreams will mean something.

But for now, as we haven’t yet achieved perfection, there will be some failings along the way, but asking God in prayer to protect our minds while we are asleep will continue to be necessary.   Satan and his demons are not allowed to influence us when we are sleeping. However, let us not cause problems for ourselves by giving way to wrong thoughts and actions that could be reflected in our dreams.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

Norbert and Johanna Link, along with Margaret Adair, are traveling to visit some of the brethren. This coming weekend, they will be in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Was Sagt die Bibel über Rauchen und ‘Kiffen?‘ (Teil 2),” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link.  Title in English: “What Does the Bible Say about Smoking and Pot?” (Part 2).

“A Willing Attitude is a Winning Attitude,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Joe Bourque, is now posted.

“Alcoholism in the Bible,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What does the Bible say about alcoholism and alcohol addiction? Do we understand the physical and spiritual dangers which could prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God? Are there any particular admonitions and prohibitions for those in religious and political authority, ministers and church members? Are you addicted to alcohol? How much may be too much?

This Week in the News

Violence on the Temple Mount

The Guardian wrote on July 23:

“Israelis and Palestinians braced for further confrontations in Jerusalem as death toll rises in wake of new security crackdown. Amid a mounting toll of deaths and injuries in the crisis, Israelis and Palestinians are braced for weeks of confrontation, as both sides appeared to dig in to their position… Israel has also began installing sophisticated security cameras at one of the entrances to the compound housing the al-Aqsa mosque, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and revered by Jews as the Temple Mount…

“The issue exploded into more serious violence on Friday, after days of night-time clashes after the metal detectors installation, which followed the attack on 14 July that killed two Israeli policemen at the entrance to the site by three Israeli Arabs who Israel says smuggled weapons into the compound.

“In clashes that have grown in intensity since mass protests on Friday, four Palestinians have been killed in confrontations with Israeli security forces, while a family of three Israeli settlers was stabbed to death by a Palestinian who entered their home in the West Bank citing the issues around the al-Aqsa mosque as his motive.

“The sheer scale of the risks involved was made clear on Sunday morning when the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas – who has long threatened to end security cooperation with Israel – cancelled a planned security meeting after announcing he was cutting all contacts…”

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 24:

“The death toll stemming from the Temple Mount crisis is continuing to grow. As both sides look for a solution, the conflict is taking on an increasingly religious dimension that could be difficult to control.

“Israel’s security cabinet early on Tuesday decided to remove metal detectors at the entrance to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, after the new security measures unleashed a deadly round of unrest. A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said it would replace the metal detectors with ‘a security inspection based on advanced technologies and other means.’… ‘What is happening is the beginning of the judaization of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which has been planned since the founding of Israel in 1948,’ wrote the popular Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds. For this reason the newspaper sees a connection between the current incidents and the visit to the Temple Mount by former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in September 2000 – a move viewed by many Palestinians as a religious provocation…

“The crisis has led to an uproar in other parts of the world…”

Israel National News wrote on July 23:

“‘The Temple Mount is in our hands,’ [an Israeli governmental official] said, quoting the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem’s Old City during the Six Day War. ‘We will not cede sovereignty. The State of Israel is responsible for preserving law and order on the Temple Mount.’… Cabinet members authorized Israel Police to make any decisions necessary ‘to ensure safe and free access to holy places, while ensuring public safety and order’ on the Temple Mount.”

Israel will not give up sovereignty over the Temple Mount. In fact, very soon, a Temple will be built on the Temple Mount and sacrifices will be given there, which will set the region on fire.

More Violence in the Middle East

On July 21, Euronews published an article by Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor:

“With the retaking of Mosul in northern Iraq, the so called Islamic State (ISIL) could soon be a thing of the past. But the defeat of ISIL and the demise of its self-proclaimed Iraqi-Syrian caliphate won’t bring peace to the Middle East, or even an end to the Syrian tragedy. Rather, it is likely to open a new chapter in the region’s bloody and chaotic history – one no less dangerous than the previous chapters since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I…

“Western powers are hardly blameless for the Middle East’s woes. Any mention of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which Great Britain and France partitioned the post-Ottoman territories, still incites such rage in the Arab world that it seems as if the plan, devised in secret in 1916, had been conceived only yesterday. Nor should we forget Czarist Russia’s role in the region. Following World War II, its successor, the Soviet Union, and its Cold War rival, the United States, began their multiple interventions.

“Indeed, the US may be the most significant contributor to today’s regional turmoil… America’s involvement in Afghanistan, too, has had profound repercussions for the Middle East. The US-backed insurgency of the 1980s, launched under the banner of jihad against the occupying Soviet Union, transformed two close American allies – Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – into strategic threats. This became clear on September 11, 2001, when it emerged that 15 of the 19 attackers sent by al-Qaeda were Saudi citizens. And it was Pakistan that created the Taliban, which provided al-Qaeda a haven for hatching its plots against the US and the West.

“The success of the first Gulf War, launched in January 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, was fatally undermined 12 years later by his son, President George W. Bush, whose own Gulf War caused a regional catastrophe that continues to this day. Whereas the senior Bush had pursued the limited objectives of liberating Kuwait and didn’t seek regime change in Iraq, his son’s aims were far more ambitious.

“The idea was to topple Saddam Hussein and bring about a democratic Iraq, which would catalyze comprehensive change throughout the Middle East and transform it into a democratic and pro-Western region. Within the younger Bush’s administration, imperial idealism prevailed over hardheaded realism, resulting in sustained destabilization of the Middle East as a whole and helping to place Iran in a position to expand its influence.

“After the Islamic State’s demise, the next chapter in the history of the Middle East will be determined by open, direct confrontation between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran for regional predominance. So far, this long-smoldering conflict has been pursued under cover and mostly by proxies. The two global powers active in the region have already clearly positioned themselves in this conflict, with the US siding with Saudi Arabia and Russia with Iran… And with Saudi Arabia and four Sunni allies imposing isolation on Qatar, in part owing to the Qatari’s’ close relations with Iran, this conflict has reached its first potential tipping point at the very center of the region, the Persian Gulf.

“Any direct military confrontation with Iran would, of course, set the region ablaze, greatly surpassing all previous Middle East wars. Moreover, with the fires in Syria still smoldering, and Iraq weakened by the sectarian struggle for power there, ISIS or some successor incarnation is likely to remain active. Another destabilizing factor is the reopening of the ‘Kurdish question.’ The Kurds – a people without a state – … want to use their new political and military clout to make progress toward autonomy, or even an independent state… the next chapter in the region’s history promises to be anything but peaceful… the US… cannot win a land war in the Middle East, despite its vastly superior military power. President Barack Obama sought to withdraw US forces from the region, which proved difficult to achieve both politically and militarily. That’s why he ruled out military intervention – even from the air – in the Syrian civil war, leaving a vacuum that Russia quickly filled, with all of the known consequences.

“Obama’s successor, Donald Trump… clearly faces a steep learning curve when it comes to the Middle East – a region that won’t wait for him to master it. There is no reason to be optimistic.”

Indeed, the Middle East is entering a phase of unparalleled violence and war, which the Bible describes as the “great tribulation.”

ISIS in the Philippines

USA Today wrote on July 25:

“The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, views the drawn-out battle as a major win at a time when it is being driven out of its base in Iraq and Syria, bringing greater attention to the Philippines and Southeast Asia as a new beachhead for extremists… While residents [in Mindanao] blame the extremists for the violence and chaos, many are also growing impatient with the military and its heavy airstrikes…

“The Philippine congress voted Saturday to extend martial law on Mindanao until the end of the year. President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law for 60 days when the fighting began…

“As ISIS loses ground in the Middle East, militants from around this region are moving their operations to Southeast Asia — primarily the Philippines, said Sidney Jones, director of Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict. ‘The idea that the Philippines is now the destination of choice rather than Syria has sunk in,’ she said. ‘That’s definite now.’

“Jones warned that the Philippine military is treading a thin line by using excessive force, because of its long history of taking a harsh stance against extremist groups in Mindanao. ‘One theme that was used to bring people on board to the ISIS message is the brutality of the security services,’ she said. ‘This was before even the airstrikes. So I think there’s got to be a serious re-think of how the Duterte administration responds to extremism. Because if they’re not careful, they’re going to be building a new generation of extremists, not eradicating the generation that’s there now.’”

Hawaii to Roll Out Plan on how to Deal with North Korean Nuke

The Star Advertiser reported on July 20:

“The public education and information campaign will emphasize steps to be taken on short notice, according to state officials, because a North Korean ICBM would arrive in just 20 minutes, leaving just 12 to 15 minutes to warn the populace… The plan… will include school students drilling for evacuation…

“The tourism industry is not at all happy with the arrival of the campaign, which it fears could spook tourists… But state officials say they want to get out ahead of North Korea’s goose-stepping march toward greater nuclear capability — even if it would be suicide for leader Kim Jong Un to launch missiles at the United States…”

With North Korea’s mad leader, anything seems to be imaginable. Note the next article.

North Korea and Iran vs. USA

Fox News reported on July 26:

Two enemies of America are poised for upcoming rocket launches… with another North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile launch expected… and Iran on the verge of sending its own vehicle into space. Iran’s Simorgh space-launch vehicle is believed to be carrying a satellite, marking the second time in more than a year that Tehran has attempted to put an operational satellite into orbit…

“North Korea and Iran have long been accused of sharing missile technology… U.S. officials are skeptical, however, that North Korea and Iran are coordinating their rocket and missile launches.

“While Iran insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, officials have long said any components used to put a satellite into orbit can also be used for building an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States…”

New US Sanctions Against Russia Are Raising Concerns

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 26:

“The US House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly endorsed  [a] bill that places restrictions on President Donald Trump from loosening sanctions on Russia, a measure that could tie his hands as he seeks a reset in relations with Moscow. Lawmakers voted 419-3 to pass the legislation, which also imposes a new round of sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. The legislation must now go to the Senate, where it is likely to pass before being sent to the president’s desk, possibly as early as August.

“The bill is a rare case of Republicans allying with Democrats against their own president, whose administration has been plagued by investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. A key feature of the bill is a requirement for the president to seek permission from Congress before removing sanctions on Russia – an attempt to block any unilateral move to lift sanctions. The Trump administration is against the bill… Trump has not said whether he would veto the bill…

“Russia has warned against the new sanctions and their impact on relations with the US, but has said it would wait until the final wording of the bill is clear… Russia could retaliate against the United States by escalating or playing a spoiler role in any number of areas, ranging from Ukraine and Syria to Afghanistan and North Korea…

“The Russian bill has also raised concern with the European Union because it could result in fines and other measures against companies involved in the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project… It would also limit the access of European energy firms to US banks… The sanctions have particularly unnerved Germany and Austria, home of large energy companies that could be negatively impacted by the new bill. On Wednesday, German Foreign Ministry warned that Berlin ‘could not accept’ the US using sanctions against Russia as a tool of industrial policy…

“EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned of far-reaching consequences for transatlantic ties. ‘If our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days,’ he said in a statement… ‘America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.’ Juncker added that the EU was  ‘raising its concerns via all diplomatic channels with the US and its counterparts.’”

Even though sanctions against Russia’s activities are highly appropriate, economic interests in Europe seem to be more important.

Chemical and Biological Weapons in the Hands of Terrorists

The Sun wrote on July 23:

“Black Death could once again wipe out millions in Britain if terrorists sprayed an antibiotic resistant form above a city… The plague killed a third of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages – but scientists and governments fear it could return. It comes after research papers were found hidden at Mosul University after the fall of ISIS detailing experimentation using chemical weapons on human beings… with ISIS imploding in Iraq and Syria it is feared the death cult could step-up any clandestine development and wreak revenge on the West.

“World Health Organisation researchers estimated releasing a 50 kg aerosol cloud of plague bacteria over a city the size of London and its surrounding areas could cause at least 300,000 to become infected with 72,000 perishing from the nightmarish disease. Meanwhile the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US believe plague is a major concern along with anthrax, smallpox, and viral fevers like Ebola and Marburg… health writer Eric Boodman writes: ‘After all, the bacteria were being used as weapons long before anyone even knew to call them bacteria. Plague-infected corpses were catapulted over walls. Venetians plotted to distill deadly liquid from swollen lymph nodes. Japanese planes sprinkled a rainfall of infected fleas. If those with nefarious motives and technical expertise wanted to weaponize the bacteria today, they could.

This is a frightening scenario. The Bible shows that biological and chemical weapons will be used in addition to nuclear weapons, threatening the very survival of mankind.

Merkel’s Re-Election Not Assured

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 23:

“Social Democratic (SPD) candidate Martin Schulz… took aim at what is perhaps Merkel’s Achilles heel: her policy toward migrants from Muslim countries. ‘In 2015 more than 1 million refugees came to Germany, mostly without government monitoring,’ Schulz told Bild. ‘The chancellor opened our border with Austria for humanitarian reasons but unfortunately without consulting our partners in Europe. If we don’t act now, that situation could repeat itself.’

“Merkel has promised German voters that there will be no repeat of what happened two years ago when hundreds of thousands of people, many fleeing war-torn Syria, arrived in Germany. Numbers of migrants lessened last year but could well be set to rise again as people try to escape political uncertainty and economic hardship of places like Nigeria and Eritrea…

“Well over 70,000 migrants made the extremely risky Mediterranean crossing to Italy in the first half of this year, representing an increase over 2016 of more than 25 percent. Italy has asked other EU states for help in dealing with the new arrivals, but it has so far been rebuffed…

“At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015 and early 2016, Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) fell to historic lows in public opinion polls, with more than 80 percent of those asked saying they believed her government didn’t have control over the situation. Merkel and her party have since recovered and currently lead Schulz and the SPD by around 15 percentage points in opinion surveys…

“The greater threat could come from the right, where Merkel is considerably more liberal than the vast majority of conservatives in Germany and the rest of Europe…

“CSU chairman Horst Seehofer couldn’t resist calling out the chancellor on the issue. In an interview with Welt newspaper, Seehofer said ‘everybody knows’ that the ‘waves of migration will continue.’ Seehofer predicted that Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders would cost the CDU-CSU an absolute majority in September’s election and claimed that conservatives throughout Germany were coming round to the CSU’s position…

“The connection between refugee policy and the AfD cannot be dismissed. Germany’s right-wing populists made a quantum leap in the polls… All of this suggests that the upturn in the number of migrants to Germany this summer would benefit the AfD at the polls and possibly have an effect on Angela Merkel’s attempt to win a fourth term as chancellor….”

It will be interesting to see what will happen in September. From a prophetic standpoint, both Angela Merkel’s re-election and Martin Schulz’ election could lead to meaningful developments.

Senate Votes to Begin Debate on Repealing Obamacare

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 25:

“The United States Senate has voted to begin the process of repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare… The vote to begin the repeal process was deadlocked at 50-50, with all senate Democrats voting against the measure. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to push the debate towards a bill forward. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the only two Republican senators who did not vote yes on the measure…

“Republican senator John McCain of Arizona returned to an ovation as he cast his ‘yes’ vote after being diagnosed with cancer  last week…  ‘I know many of you will have to see the bill changed substantially to support it,’ McCain said, adding that he would not vote for the Republican health care plan ‘as it is today.’”

No Democrat voted for the measure. The future debate on Obamacare vs. Trumpcare will be interesting. To just repeal Obamacare without replacing it, which has been advocated by some, seems to be a ridiculous proposition. 

The New York Times reported on July 25:

“The Senate voted narrowly on Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but hours later, Republican leaders suffered a setback when their most comprehensive plan to replace President Barack Obama’s health law fell far short of the votes it needed. The Tuesday night tally needed to reach 60 votes to overcome a parliamentary objection. Instead, it fell 43-57. The fact that the comprehensive replacement plan came up well short of even 50 votes was an ominous sign for Republican leaders still seeking a formula to pass final health care legislation….”

It is hoped that ALL Americans will finally be given an affordable and meaningful health-care bill, without the corrupt political bickering and self-serving special interest groups we are all used to. But this would be a miracle.

No Transgender People in the Military

The New York Times reported on July 25:

“President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States will not ‘accept or allow’ transgender people in the United States military, saying American forces ‘must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory’ and could not afford to accommodate them…’ After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,’ Mr. Trump wrote. ‘Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.’

“The sweeping policy decision reverses the gradual transformation of the military under President Barack Obama, whose administration announced last year that transgender people could serve openly in the military. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, also opened all combat roles to women and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary…”

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 25:

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-profit and non-partisan rights advocacy organization, immediately launched a counter-series of Tweets… The Democratic leader in the Senate Nancy Pelosi (California) described Trump’s ban as ‘vile and hateful’ and a policy that would ‘weaken our military and the nation it defends.’… she also highlighted that on this same date in 1948, then US-President Harry Truman signed an executive order desegregating the US military – a ground-breaking move that helped usher in a era of civil rights legislation. ‘President Trump has shown his conduct is driven…by raw prejudice,’ the senator wrote…

“Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican’s most senior woman in the House, also spoke out against Trump’s ban announcement. The Florida representative has a transgender son and has been a long-term Republican supporter of same-sex marriage…”

How individuals claiming to obey God and His Word can support the practice of transgender, homosexuality and same-sex marriages is hard to understand. Based on the Bible, President Trump’s decision is correct.

Why Russia Is Afraid of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Business Insider wrote on July 23:

“Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity. For most Christians, God is a union of three persons… Instead, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is distinct from God – not united as one person with him. The ‘Holy Spirit’ then refers to God’s active power. Such doctrines distinguish Jehovah’s Witnesses from mainline Christian denominations, all of which hold that God is ‘triune’ in nature…

“Their biblical interpretations and missionary work certainly have critics. But it is the political neutrality of the group that has attracted the most suspicion. Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the legitimate authority of government in many matters. For example, they pay taxes… But they do not vote in elections, serve in the military or salute the flag. Such acts, they believe, compromise their primary loyalty to God… Jehovah’s Witnesses have no political affiliations, and they renounce violence. However, they make an easy target for governments looking for internal enemies, as they refuse to bow down to government symbols. Many nationalists call them ‘enemies of the state.’ As a result, they have often suffered persecution throughout history in many parts of the world.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses were jailed as draft evaders in the US during both world wars. In a Supreme Court ruling in 1940, school districts were allowed to expel Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to salute the American flag…  In Nazi Germany, Jehovah’s Witnesses were killed in concentration camps; a purple triangle was used by the Nazis to mark them. In the 1960s and ‘70’s, scores of African Jehovah’s Witnesses were slaughtered… for refusing to support dictator Hastings Banda. Many Witnesses fled to neighboring Mozambique, where they were held in internment camps.

“Now it is Russia. The Russian Supreme Court maintains that the country needs to be protected from disloyal religious fanatics. But given their commitment to God above all things, Jehovah’s Witnesses see themselves as being persecuted by those who value loyalty to country over any other principle… Many Jehovah’s Witnesses [pointed out that] April 20, the day the Russian Supreme Court first ruled against them, is also the birthday of Adolf  Hitler.  Their memories of persecution have not faded with time.”

Many of the “peculiar” teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which are mentioned in this article, are also held by many Sabbath-keeping Churches of God, which denounce violence and refuse to serve in the military or to vote in governmental elections. To be clear, the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the divinity of Christ, which the Churches of God uphold, but both do not believe in the Holy Spirit being a Person. It should be clearly seen that totalitarian governments such as Russia will direct their persecution against those Church of God groups as well.

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.

Are You an Overcomer?; What Does the Bible Say About Smoking?

On July 29, 2017, Dave Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Are You an Overcomer?” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “What Does the Bible Say About Smoking?”

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.

Current Events 

by Norbert Link

We are reporting on ongoing violence and turmoil in the Middle East and especially the Temple Mount, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran; continue with terrorist activities in the Philippines and threats from North Korea; US sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea; and the danger of biological and chemical weapons in the hands of terrorists.

We continue with focusing on the coming parliamentary elections in Germany and the fact that Angela Merkel’s re-election might not be as assured as many may think. We report on the US Senate’s vote to permit a debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare; and on President Trump’s announcement not to allow transgender people in the military.

We conclude with an insightful article on why Putin’s Russia is so frightened about the Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

The Lure of God

In my formative years I spent many summers in Orr, Minnesota. Some of my earliest memories during that time included fishing.  My biggest fishing concern as a child was keeping hold of the rod when something was on it and making sure worms were secured to my hook.

It is not always enough to simply throw a lure out and assume you will get a bite on retrieval.  Are you fishing in muddy or clear water, in cloudy or sunny conditions?  Are you in shallow weed banks or deep rocky ledges?

The environmental conditions in our physical or spiritual life must be considered with care.  Christ lived a balanced life and expects us to do the same.  He understood when to speak and when to remain silent, when to preach of the Father’s love and when to sternly correct.  Christ noted an extremely important aspect of this calling, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).  We must act upon this command on a daily basis, continually professing godliness. But this should not lead us into an attitude that by merely spouting off Christian platitudes, we fulfill our commitment to God.

Christ saw four men fishing and knew they would fulfill His plans to do even more.  “And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:9-11). They proved their love for Christ by walking away from everything.  We prove our own commitment to God by doing the same in our daily lives. But we must not walk in this light of Truth unprepared.  Christ later told His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

Paul tailored his “fishing” to the mindset of those around him.  When speaking to the Athenians at the Areopagus (see Acts 17), he used the conditions around him to prove God’s Truth. Because God inspired Paul in this manner, some were called out of that pagan society.

We are warned that this Truth is precious, and how we profess this understanding to others should display that carefulness.  Christ stated, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matthew 7:6). We can become better fishermen by taking the time to understand those around us—people before whom we are representatives of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we can be part of this glorious work of building the Family of God.

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