Update 41


May 4th

Internet services will be presented by Edwin Pope this Sabbath. He will be addressing “Principles relating to God’s chosen leaders”.

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.

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"Be Converted (A Lifelong Process)"

by Dave Harris

If we lost the use of our dominant hand through an accident, we would be forced to change and learn to use the remaining good hand. That wouldn’t be easy, but it would be possible. If we lost our home through some disaster, we would have to build anew.

Again, even though this would be terribly upsetting, this is something we could do. Finally, even if our whole world was turned upside down such as happened to Job, we could still start over and carry on.

In a very true sense, all of the above and more has happened to each one of us who have been called to conversion. Our walk in this world, in this age, has been dramatically altered. We must never allow ourselves to grow dull and lethargic in this new pattern of living and learning.

Each year at Pentecost we are reminded of our calling. As we once again approach that special time for this current year, let’s consider those momentous challenges we accepted at God’s calling. In Acts 3:19 we found our first steps with these words from Peter, ” ‘Repent therefore and be converted…’ ” In our zeal of “first love” we embraced these commands with conviction and commitment.

Now, most of us find ourselves well along the path of our calling with much personal history of our Christianity already written. Another insightful directive in this process of our change was taught by Paul in Acts 26:20, in which he taught that all “…should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Where do we find ourselves, now? Have we changed? Are we converted to God’s way of life–still growing vibrantly after all these years with “works befitting repentance”?

Brethren, being called now is not easy. The proof of that is measured against how much we have changed. Central to the meaning of conversion is being changed into a different form or state. Christ told those willing to hear that humanity faced an almost impossible challenge when He said, ” ‘Therefore you shall be PERFECT, just as your Father in heaven is PERFECT.’ ” (Matthew 5:48).

For certain, we must remember and always consider the awesome and ongoing challenge we face in the conversion process. However, let us also thankfully rejoice that our Father in Heaven has given us of His Holy Spirit so that we can become what He desires of us–converted, sons and daughters of the Living God!

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Middle East – No Peace in Sight?
Commenting on Israel’s withdrawal from Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, the LA Times ran an article on May 2, 2002, titled, “Arafat’s Woes Just Beginning.” The article stated, “Inside his ruined compound, Arafat looked heroic to his people merely by enduring Israel’s siege. Once outside, he must address growing — and often conflicting — demands from Palestinians and the international community to change his ways… Palestinians are looking for Arafat to prove to them that their sacrifices were not in vain. Some Palestinians are clamoring for reforms. Others are clamoring for revenge.”

The article continued, “In meetings with U.S. and European representatives, Palestinians have estimated that they will need $350 million to repair roads, homes, business and ministries… [Jean] Breteche [the European Commission’s representative to the Palestinian authority] said that the European Commission is seeking assurances from Israel that it will not again destroy infrastructure that international donors pay to repair, and that it will allow Palestinian institutions to function.”

The article also reported, “A renewed Palestinian suicide bombing campaign in Israeli towns would trigger another military operation in the West Bank and possibly the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army and government have warned. Many Israeli analysts say a resurgence of Palestinian attacks — REGARDLESS OF WHO CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY — also will result in Arafat’s immediate expulsion.”

With these political uncertainties and so many monetary interests involved, it should be easy to see that there will be no peace in the Middle East, unless an outside power begins to play a mighty role in that area.

The United States and Europe…
Is a Trade War Coming?
In another article of the Los Angeles Times, dated May 2, it was pointed out that the Bush administration and European leaders were meeting in Washington IN HOPE OF LESSENING TENSIONS ON A NUMBER OF RISING TRADE ISSUES. Included were some “nasty fights on trade, such as steel and a U.S. export tax break.” After the meeting, however, “officials reported NO BREAKTHROUGHS.”

As it stands right now, the European Union has threatened to bring a case against the U.S. before the World Trade Organization (WTO). The L.A.Times commented, “Many trade experts fear that the WORLD’S TWO BIGGEST TRADING POWERS are on the brink of a tit-for-tat trade war that could SERIOUSLY HARM THE WORLD TRADING SYSTEM AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY’S FRAGILE REBOUND.”

In addition, the United States is facing high sanctions at the hands of the Europeans over a U.S. tax break for American companies who export. This tax break has been ruled ILLEGAL by the WTO which in June will announce the size of the penalties the EU can impose if the US and the EU do not reach a settlement over the issue, so the LA Times.

Europe – Outspoken Words from Austria’s Joerg Haider
While Europe is still in shock over the unexpected recent success of French right extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen, Austria’s Joerg Haider, made significant moves. He said that he would be willing to become Austria’s next chancellor and also proceeded to give a highly outspoken interview to Austria’s political magazine, Profil, (18th edition). HAIDER HAS ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD HOW TO MASTERFULLY EXPRESS THE OPINIONS OF MANY EUROPEANS. Here are some excerpts from his interview:

When asked whether he is willing to run for an international European party, he answered, “I could imagine such a movement, but it is also highly necessary. A counter-program against the bureaucratic nonsense in Brussels could accomplish much.”

When asked who his partners in such a movement might be, he responded, “I believe that we would have great potential in Denmark, Holland, the southern part of Germany, and Italy.”

In regard to Le Pen, he stated, “Le Pen and Haider are very different — I’d like to emphasize that. Le Pen follows goals that are unacceptable. He has in his program racist positions, which have no place in the modern world. But I do not want to make rush condemnations, as I do not know him yet.” He added regarding Jacques Chirac, “Unfortunately, he is now being given a historical chance to be elected [on May 5] with the help of the left, although he really should be brought to trial.”

Regarding Ariel Sharon and Israel in general, Haider stated, “Of course, [Sharon] is a war criminal… He is personally responsible… Israel has the support of the U.S. Apparently, they do not need to abide by any rules. The new Bush doctrine that states that only the U.S. can determine who is good and who is bad, is dangerous and must be rejected.” He added that Sharon must be brought before a war-crime tribunal in Den Haag.

Regarding Bin Laden, he said, “Osama Bin Laden is not only a product of the Arabic world, but he has helped the Americans quite well against the Russians in Afghanistan.” When asked why he has such a love for the Islamic World, he replied, “This has developed quite coincidentally through my contacts with Qadafi’s family and also through the Islamic world’s positive reactions towards [Austria] regarding the world’s sanctions against Austria.”

When asked whether he is going to convert from Catholicism to Islam, as Qadafi’s son Saif had indicated, Haider answered, “He would perhaps like to see that.”

Drought Begins
Many newspapers and local news programs now provide a running dialogue concerning the current unusual and sustained dry spell in the Rocky Mountain West. Encompassing areas from Mexico to the Canadian border, this critical region acts as a kind of water reservoir for all of the Southwestern United States as well as many of the plains states through its collection of winter snow fall.

This year has witnessed dramatic shortages with the portent of water rationing looming as a very real possibility. Warnings in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 indicate that God will withhold His blessings to our nations if we don’t turn to Him.

Leviticus 26:17-20 warns of imminent consequences to national disobedience: “I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.”

We find described in Amos 4:8 a time coming when “…two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water.” The Bible reveals that our nations face a period of national punishment from God. As that time draws close and is NOW even BEGINNING, we must make certain that we draw close to God and fulfill our part as watchmen willing to proclaim this fearsome warning before the world!

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This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

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