Update 149


Don't Become Negligent With God's Truth

On Saturday, June 26, 2004, J. Edwin Pope will be giving the sermon titled, “Do Not Become Negligent With God’s Truth!”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Words – Our Choice

by Dave Harris

“I wish I had said that,” might be our reaction, or it might be our thinking that we’re glad we said nothing at all! The words we use–even in private thoughts–can be our undoing, or they can bring both others and ourselves great joy.

James teaches us about our choice of words: “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:8-10).

The words we choose to speak are just that–our choice. In Proverbs 12:18, we find this comment: “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.” Proverbs elaborates on the first part of verse 18 with this statement: “An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like burning fire. A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:27-28). Then, complementing the last part of verse 18, Proverbs 15:23 states: “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”

Consider, also, these two quotes from the Book of Proverbs: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11); and, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

King David came to deeply understand that God knew everything about him. He makes this profound acknowledgement before God: “For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). That is true for all of us, but it is especially important for those of us who now live our lives as Christians!

James leaves us this further caution–a question we should always have in mind before we speak: “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening” (James 3:11)?

Words and how we use them hold great importance. Words matter to God and they matter to our families, friends and even strangers, and they certainly better matter to each one of us–words are, after all, our choice!

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EU Constitution Moves Forward

In a sweeping victory for Europe’s long-held dream for unification, a first-ever constitution was agreed upon this past June 18, 2004. Reuters reported that “EU leaders clinched a landmark deal on a first constitution for Europe Friday, ending months of tortuous negotiation over power-sharing in a bloc that now stretches into formerly communist Eastern Europe” (www.reuters.com 6/18/04).

The Reuters’ article continues: “The accord on a constitution for the newly enlarged 25-nation European Union of 450 million citizens will be seen as a victory by the leaders after a wave of public apathy and Euroskepticism in last week’s European Parliament elections.

“But the threat of rejection by any one of several member states due to hold a referendum on the treaty could still sink the constitution, over which outstanding disputes were wrapped up at the end of a two-day summit.”

Highlights of the constitution include provisions in law that would allow a member state to leave the bloc if it so chooses. Although successfully tempered by Britain’s efforts to preserve national vetoes on key policy areas such as taxation, social security, foreign and defense policy and criminal law, the new constitution establishes that EU law shall have primacy over national legislation.

Underlying this summit was the shadow of resentment from Germany and France as well as the other nations who remain opposed to the Iraqi war–especially to the U.S. and Great Britain’s roles. That divisive spirit may well be behind the failure to agree on a new president for the European Union’s Council.

The role of religion received only vague mention in the preamble to the constitution. The Vatican and Roman Catholic countries such as Spain and Poland had lobbied for a reference to “Europe’s Christian heritage.”

These events are the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. Note Daniel 2 and the all-encompassing vision of world dominion portrayed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. We find this timely revelation in verses 42 and 43: ” ‘And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be PARTLY STRONG AND PARTLY FRAGILE. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.’ “

Because there is this tenuous union of nations with widely differing interests, it will take something more emphatic than a new constitution to bring Europe to its fullest power. The Bible also reveals that a strong governmental leader will arise along with the backing of an individual of great religious office and influence. These key events are moving swiftly and they will soon change the world as we know it!

Anti-Semitism Grows!

From www.worldnetdaily.com (6/20/04): “How bad is anti-Semitism in France? A French Nazi hunter says it’s so bad, the best way to keep up the fight is to leave the country. Six decades after the end of the Holocaust, the prominent French Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld told the Jerusalem Post that French Jews should pack their bags and get out.”

This same article points out that, “With 6 million Muslims and 600,000 Jews, France has both the largest Muslim and Jew[ish] populations in Europe.”

Even in Canada we find more widespread hate-crimes against Jews. “A Jewish leader in Ottawa reacted angrily to anti-Semitic grafiti found at Beth Shalom West synagogue, saying it’s part of an ‘epidemic’ sweeping the country'” (ottawa.cbc.sc 6/21/04).

At the present time, Jews primarily either move to the U.S. or Israel if they choose to uproot and leave dangerous neighborhoods or unfriendly nations. However, the great freedom enjoyed by Jewish populations following World War II to live peaceful lives in many nations is rapidly shrinking. Unfortunately, the time ahead for both Jews and the modern descendants of Joseph (The British nations and the United States) will grow worse and worse. What we are now witnessing is only the beginning of a great and final world conflict that only the intervention of Almighty God will be able to bring to an end!

How Dry It Is!

A recent article from www.cnn.com (6/18/04) presents this staggering and mind-numbing statement: “The drought gripping the West could be the biggest in 500 years, with effects in the Colorado river basin considerably worse than during the Dust Bowl years, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday.”

This drought affects literally millions of people in the West and that includes populous Southern California.

Although recent weather patterns are bringing rain for this part of the year, the drought has been so prolonged that replenishing normal water reserves may take several seasons of above average precipitation.

A recent headline from NBC News for June 21, 2004, stated, “Cuba suffers through worst drought in history.”

World news tells of upside down weather patterns that are ravaging populations around the globe–either too much or not enough!

The weather that this earth is now experiencing is in God’s control. God promised to bless those who diligently obey Him. Note Deuteronomy 28:12: ” ‘The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.’ ”

The Middle East – A Boiling Cauldron!

Now a THIRD individual has been beheaded! “Islamic militants Tuesday beheaded a South Korean who pleaded in a heart-wrenching videotape that ‘I don’t want to die’ after his government refused to pull its troops from Iraq” (www.comcast.net 6/22/04).

Broading its fight beyond Israeli Jews, “The radical Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah has been moving fighters to Iraq in recent months to battle American troops, according to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“The report attributes the information to U.S. intelligence sources who say the transfer of fighters has been carried out through Syria, following an Iranian initiative. The transit through Syrian territory is permitted by Damascus along its porous border with Iraq” (WorldNetDaily 6/20/04).

From www.taipeitimes.com (6/20/04) we find a report that shows Iran positioning itself defiantly against U.S. and coalition interests–and EU influence as well: “Iran proclaimed yesterday that it was no longer committed to the agreements made last October with the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany and would resume uranium enrichment.”

Added to this, Iran arrested an eight-man British Royal Navy unit for straying into its territorial waters along the border it shares with Iraq. The captured men were blindfolded and humiliated into making a public confession.

Singled out as one of three nations President George Bush labeled “an axis of evil,” Iran seems to be mounting a renewed hard-line posture. Iran may well become a new battlefield in the war on terror. However, without the support of Europe, a widening effort to place the troops and equipment necessary for the U.S. and Great Britain may simply overwhelm even the resources of these powerful nations.

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Does the Scripture in Acts 20:7 reveal that Paul's custom was to observe Sunday as the day he worshipped God each week, rather than the seventh day Sabbath.

Acts 20:7 reads: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” This Scripture does not say Paul observed Sunday, the first day of the week, as a day of worship. If this were an example for us today, we would be starting the service on Saturday night – not on Sunday morning. Verse 7 shows Paul preached to them until midnight. Also services would have to continue till dawn (verse 11).

Next, we realize that the breaking of bread was not a religious service, but merely the eating of a meal. Acts 27:33-38 proves this. Notice Paul’s situation. He was a Roman prisoner in the midst of many Gentiles on board a ship (Acts 27:1-2). Obviously Paul was not holding a religious service. The men ate for their health (verses 33-34).

Acts 20:7 does not describe a regular service. Notice the context. Paul was en route from Greece to Jerusalem (Acts 20:2-3, 16). Since he did not know when he would see the brethren again, he wanted to teach them as much as possible. The people were more than willing to listen. So, after the Sabbath Paul remained behind teaching the brethren, while his ship sailed around the peninsula (verse 13). He remained talking with them till midnight and continued after a short meal until daybreak (Verse 11). Then after Paul had stayed as long as he could, he left them to walk across the peninsula to meet the boat (verses 13-14). He worked on that Sunday by taking this long walk of some 19 miles!

There is nothing in the above Scripture to indicate it was Paul’s custom to observe Sunday. In fact, all through the book of Acts we see it was Paul’s custom to observe the Sabbath (Acts 17:2; 13:14-15; 42-44). We also note in reading Acts 20:6 that Paul was traveling after having observed the Days of Unleavened Bread. He continued to observe the annual holy days as well as the weekly Sabbath years after Christ had died as He remained faithful to the commands of God.

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Latest Booklet

Brian Gale reports that our booklet, “Sickness and Healing, What the Bible Tells Us,” is ready to be picked up from the printer. We will proceed to send this booklet to those on our mailing list once copies are received.

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