Update 451


"Charity" and "When You are Converted"

On July 17, Robb Harris and Dave Harris will give split sermons, titled, respectively, “Charity” and “When You are Converted.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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The Faith

by Kalon Mitchell

The company that I work for as a store manager hires another company to inspect our stores. This inspection is unscheduled and very rigorous, and stores usually score in the mid 80’s to 90’s. When the company conducts their unannounced inspection, they want to catch you off guard, so you have to consistently ensure that your store is clean and ready, and that it manifests outstanding personal performance.

Over the last few months, many stores within the San Diego area have been having their inspections, but I hadn’t received mine until last week.

A few weeks ago I was on a conference call with my Regional Director and two District Managers, inquiring whether I was ready for the upcoming inspection. We went over a list of the top 20 most missed areas in stores. Near the end of the phone call the Regional Director asked me what score I would receive if my store was to be audited that day. I told him we would receive close to a hundred percent.

Last Thursday morning, I specifically asked God to please send us the inspection soon, as I felt good about where my store was in regard to its cleanliness status. I also asked Him to help us to achieve a good score. As I arrived at work and started my day, I told the employees that we would get audited that day. They laughed, and we went through the day, doing the things we needed to do.

As I had reached the end of my shift, clocked out and sat there, waiting for a drink to be made for me, I saw a lady in a blue shirt walk into our store, wearing a badge. My heart skipped a beat! Our inspection had actually arrived virtually at the last minute and on the very same day when I had earnestly prayed about it. I introduced myself to the lady as the store manager. She went ahead and started the inspection, as I waited nervously, saying quiet prayers. She finally came back to me with the result–an amazing 97%–which will greatly contribute to a year’s end bonus in addition to the bonus that I had recently received. As my wife has just delivered our baby, any additional income is helpful.

I can’t help but comparing our lives with this inspection. We have to be constantly cleaning, evaluating and eliminating the dirt in our lives. We don’t know the exact time when Christ will return, even though we do know that the time is near. If we give up and stop trying because it seems to be too hard and not worth the battle, then we will definitely lose out. And when the “inspection” comes, our score won’t be great. We can’t be like the unprofitable servant, burying his talent and not putting it to work. We must bear fruit. Otherwise, we would be like Peter before his conversion, when he walked on water for a short while, but when he focused on the wind and the roaring waves, his faith diminished and he sank.

If we are persistent, look to God and put our faith and confidence in Him, we will never have to worry about failing and about not making it. Christ told us that we can have total trust in Him, as He won’t let us down. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast “all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

How strongly do we believe this Scripture? Or the one in Hebrews 4:16, which says: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we  may obtain MERCY and find GRACE to help in time of need”? Our time of need is now! Satan is walking about like a roaring lion, with great wrath, seeking whom he may destroy and devour (1 Peter 5:8). He will try to discourage us and to cast doubt and despair, attempting to convince us that we should give up. We must resist him by being steadfast in the faith (verse 9).

When we submit to God, Satan will flee from us (James 4:7). When we stay close to God, He WILL help us (compare Matthew 17:20; 6:30-33). Isaiah 55:6 warns us to seek God while He may be found. Our faithful prayers are not in vain. God hears them. And He may answer in most unexpected, surprising and unannounced ways. We just have to have the patience and the faith that He will intervene for us in His time.

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We begin with reports about Great Britain–including the Oil Spill disaster in the Gulf, which affects more and more BP’s survival and the entire British economy, and the turmoil within the Anglican Church, indicating a potential mass exodus to the Catholic Church, which becomes more and more “bold” in its position regarding its ongoing sex scandal, ruling that a Catholic monk in Bavaria who admitted to wrongdoing “did nothing wrong.” The Catholic Church is also engaged in additional battles–including in its fight against ordination of women priests and the legalization of same-sex marriages (which occurred this week in Argentina). The Roman Church seems to be losing right now—but it will soon surprise the world.

While White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden “must have misspoken” when he reported that one of his top priorities, as given to him by President Obama, was to reach out to Muslim countries, Europe is becoming more and more determined to prevent its European Muslims from inflicting their life style on others.

The Swiss decision to free Roman Polanski and not to extradite him to the USA was met with approval and applause by Europeans and condemnation by the USA. While the relationship between the USA and Europe is constantly deteriorating and the EU is continuing to flex its political muscles, we are being warned that the US national debt is destroying the country from within like cancer. And not unlike Catholic priests who are unwilling to report their pedophile counterparts, many US doctors refuse to speak out against their incompetent colleagues.

Israel admits to some wrongdoing during their recent raid on the Gaza flotilla, and a bomb attack in Uganda by a Somali Islamist group, foremost targeting Ethiopians, brings into focus the volatile situation in that part of the world.

We conclude with ridiculous concepts by the world’s “most intelligent” scientist who is now explaining what aliens look like–for instance those living on planet Jupiter. Truly, this world’s wisdom IS foolishness with God.

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Gulf Oil Spill Spells Disaster for Great Britain

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 13:

“With the oil continuing to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is facing ever greater challenges. Already, the company has lost half its market value. Should it be unable to cap the leaking well soon, the British oil giant may be forced to sell [off] assets. That could spell disaster for Great Britain.

“Such a crash has never before been seen. Fewer than 12 weeks ago, the multinational oil giant BP still held an uncontested fourth place on the list of the world’s largest companies. Its impressive balance sheet boasted annual sales of roughly $246 billion (€195 billion), a market value of more than $190 billion and after-tax profits of almost $17 billion. Indeed, insurance companies, retirement funds and pension funds worldwide viewed BP as a safe haven, an almost risk-free investment in an otherwise turbulent market. The company, many believed, would have no trouble weathering even the severest of crises. BP’s global earnings appeared safe, its cash and petroleum reserves seemed impervious.

“But April 20, the day that the company’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, marked an end to the once unshakable faith the financial markets had in the oil giant. The company has made several attempts to staunch the ensuing leak, all of which have failed… Few are holding their breaths. Experts estimate that more than 60,000 barrels of crude oil are surging out of the well and into the Gulf of Mexico each day. Already, the accident is one of the largest environmental catastrophes in US history — one that will have immeasurable effects on wildlife, eco-systems and the economy. Experts have estimated that it will cost more than €60 billion to repair the damages.

“With every extra day that goes by without a solution to the gushing oil, the threat facing the environment, and BP itself, increases. Bankruptcy is no longer seen as an impossibility… For Great Britain, the crash of its largest company has been a disaster, particularly given the timing — concurrent with Prime Minister David Cameron’s deep spending cuts in an effort to bring down the country’s substantial budget deficit and sovereign debt… The 10,000 British jobs BP provides isn’t the only issue. BP pays out nearly €7 billion each year in taxes and fees to the British state. Likewise, the company owns large segments of the country’s energy infrastructure…

“Even more ominous, however, is the fact that a significant chunk of British pensions depend on BP’s well-being. Whether directly or via large private-equity funds, many Britons own a piece of the company. Their pension funds have taken a serious hit from the company’s precipitous drop in value and missed dividend payments. London Mayor Boris Johnson has warned that the oil giant’s financial problems have become an issue of ‘national concern’…

“Just how far BP’s reputation has fallen among Americans can be seen from a recent survey jointly conducted by the Wall Street Journal and the television broadcaster NBC. BP landed just three percentages points higher than ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on a scale measuring public approval. The reasons for BP’s unpopularity are not difficult to find: disregard of safety measures mandated for deep-sea drilling; insufficient emergency response plans; and repeatedly unfulfilled promises by Tony Hayward that the leak would be rapidly staunched…

“The company estimates the oil will be stopped by late July or, at the latest, early August… Chances are, however, that the [new] effort [the so-called complicated “bottom-kill” method] won’t succeed on the first try — and the operation could also fail completely. That, of course, would be the worst-possible scenario for the environment. It would also mean that BP would likely be forced to sell off lucrative oil fields and gas station chains, such as Aral, at discount prices. Such a scenario may also include a bankruptcy declaration for the company’s US subsidiary or even a partial nationalization in Great Britain.”

The Associated Press reported on July 15:

“The oil has stopped. For now. After 85 days and up to 184 million gallons, BP finally gained control over one of America’s biggest environmental catastrophes Thursday by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring.

“Though a temporary fix, the accomplishment was greeted with hope, high expectations — and, in many cases along the beleaguered coastline, disbelief…

“If the cap holds, if the sea floor doesn’t crack and if the relief wells being prepared are completed successfully, this could be the beginning of the end for the spill. But that’s a lot of ifs, and no one was declaring any sort of victory beyond the moment…”

The Bible prophesies that the USA and Britain will fall together. Please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Church of England Faces Turmoil

BBC wrote on July 12:

“The Church of England’s ruling body [the General Synod] has decided that women bishops should be allowed, but there are further steps to take before they can be ordained… The law must now receive approval from a majority of the Church’s 44 diocesan synods, before returning to the General Synod. It must then receive a two-thirds majority at the General Synod before receiving parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent… Although the proposal gained a majority of votes in the synod as a whole, it failed because clergy – who vote separately from lay people and bishops – defeated it by just five votes…

“Campaigner Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod and chairwoman of Women in the Church, told the Press Association the synod’s decision on Monday was ‘a wonderful outcome’… But traditionalists have warned that the decision could result in many of them leaving the Church of England… David Houlding, a leading member of the Catholic Group on the General Synod, said he was concerned and he felt as if traditionalists were running out of options… ‘The scope for remaining in the Church of England is getting more and more narrow and the options are rapidly closing.'”

CNN added on July 12:

“The Church of England first began ordaining women as priests in 1994 and has been debating whether they should become bishops since 2005. But the issue, along with the debate over the ordination of gay priests, has put a serious strain on the 77-million-member Anglican Communion worldwide.

“The Catholic Church has reached out to disaffected Anglicans, raising the possibility that conservatives could leave en masse. The General Synod rejected a compromise backed by the nominal head of the church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, over the weekend, with priests rejecting the measure despite the support of bishops and lay leaders.”

More and more of the clergy of the Church of England will migrate to and be embraced by the Roman Catholic Church. Recently, a married Protestant pastor with children converted to Catholicism and was permitted by the Catholic Church in Germany to continue in his office as (now) Catholic pastor, without having to separate from his wife and family.

“Monk Did Nothing Wrong…”

The Local wrote on July 13:

“A German Benedictine Abbot who resigned in February amid the Catholic child abuse scandal for failing to properly report abuse accusations is already set to return to his former post… Barnabas Bögle, 53, has been elected by the 45 voting monks of the Ettal Abbey in Bavaria, which was rocked by allegations of abuse, to return… The decision must still be approved by the Vatican.

“In recent weeks, Church authorities in Rome decreed there was no reason not to hold a re-election for Bögle, as well as for the head of the Ettal school and priory, Maurus Kraß, who also resigned in February. A Vatican committee had come to the conclusion that the former leaders of the abbey had done nothing wrong in their statements regarding the abuse scandal, the paper reported.

“The abbey is seeking approval from the Bavarian Education Ministry to have Kraß reinstated as head of the school. The two men resigned under pressure from the Archbishop of Munich and Freising after it emerged that there had been sexual, physical and psychological abuse happening at the abbey’s boarding school for decades. At the time, both admitted that regulations on reporting accusations of abuse had not been followed. At least 20 former and current students at Ettal made accusations of abuse.”

Even though they admitted to wrongdoing, the Vatican concluded that they did nothing wrong.

New Catholic Church Law Does “Not Go Far Enough”

The New York Times reported on July 15:

“In its most significant revision to church law since a sex abuse crisis hit the United States a decade ago and roared back from remission in Europe this spring, the Vatican on Thursday issued new internal rules making it easier to discipline priests who have sexually abused minors. But in a move that infuriated victims’ groups and put United States bishops on the defensive, it also codified ‘the attempted ordination of women’ to the priesthood as one of the church’s most grave crimes, along with heresy, schism and pedophilia.

“In its revision, the Vatican doubled the statute of limitations in abuse cases from 10 to 20 years from the victim’s 18th birthday and added possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of mentally disabled adults to the list of crimes handled by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith… But the revision fell short of the hopes of many advocates for victims of priestly abuse: It does not contain measures to hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor does it require mandatory reporting of sex abuse to civil authorities even in countries where it is not required by civil law…

“Critics immediately said the revisions announced on Thursday did not go far enough. ‘History has shown that church abuse policies are rarely followed. But even if these new guidelines are obeyed, their impact on the ongoing crisis is likely to be insignificant. Defrocking a predator, by definition, is too late,’ SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement.

“Bishopaccountability.org, which tracks cases of sex abuse by priests cases worldwide, said the changes ‘amount to administrative tinkering of a secretive internal process. Given his authority, Benedict could implement meaningful change,’ the group said in a statement.

“‘He could direct bishops to report every allegation of child sexual abuse to the police, regardless of whether civil law requires them to do so. He could threaten punishment of any bishop or church official who enables or fails to stop a child-molesting priest.’ It added, ‘It’s disturbing that the new rules merely will extend the statutes of limitations rather than eliminate them altogether.’”

Argentina Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages

The Los Angeles Times reported on July 15:

“Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples… The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have found Buenos Aires to be a welcoming place to live…

“The approval came despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to march on Congress and urged parents in churches and schools to work against passage…

“Same-sex civil unions have been legalized in Uruguay and some states in Mexico and Brazil. Colombia’s Constitutional Court granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans. Mexico City went further, legalizing gay marriage and launching tourism campaigns to encourage foreigners to come and wed.

“Argentina now becomes the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, granting gays and lesbians all the same rights and responsibilities that heterosexuals have. These include many more rights than civil unions, including adopting children and inheriting wealth.

“Gay rights advocates said Argentina’s historic step adds momentum to similar efforts around the world… But many Argentines remain firmly opposed to the idea of gay marriage…

“The president, who helped the law’s chances by bringing two senators opposed to gay marriage with her on a state visit to China, spoke out from there against the Catholic Church’s campaign and the tone she said some religious groups have taken. ‘It’s very worrisome to hear words like “God’s war” or “the devil’s project,” things that recall the times of the Inquisition,’ she said…”

US Debt–“Cancer Which Destroys from Within”…

The Associated Press reported on July 12:

“The heads of President Barack Obama’s national debt commission painted a gloomy picture as the United States struggles to get its spending under control… The nation’s total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

“‘This debt is like a cancer,’ Bowles [Democrat Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton] said Sunday in a sober presentation… ‘It is truly going to destroy the country from within.’

“Simpson [former Republican Senator from Wyoming, Alan Simpson] said the entirety of the nation’s current discretionary spending is consumed by the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs. ‘The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans, the whole rest of the discretionary budget, is being financed by China and other countries,’ said Simpson. China alone currently holds $920 billion in U.S. IOUs.

“Bowles said if the U.S. makes no changes it will be spending $2 trillion by 2020 just for interest on the national debt.”

The Silent Doctors…

NPR wrote on July 14:

“If a doctor consistently prescribes the wrong meds or arrives drunk to work, you’d hope that his peers would pipe up… But the responses of nearly 2,000 doctors to a recent national survey show the professional watchdog system is nowhere near perfect. More than a third of docs don’t think they’re responsible for reporting those who aren’t fit to practice… And only 69 percent of the docs who knew about an impaired or incompetent colleague reported them…

“What holds doctors back? The most common reason — given 19 percent of the time by doctors who said they were aware of a problem doctor — is that they thought someone else was on top of it. After that 15 percent of the respondents figured nothing would happen anyway. Fear of retribution was also a factor, cited by 12 percent of these doctors…

“In smaller practices, doctors are very dependent on referrals, so they may worry that if they report a colleague they’ll face some kind of retribution. Their number of referrals or professional reputation might suffer… states vary widely on how they deal with incompetent physicians. Only some states mandate reporting requirements.”

Lame Excuse–NASA Spokesman Must Have “Misspoken”

Fox News reported on July 12:

“White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden must have misspoken when he told Al Jazeera last month that one of his top priorities is to reach out to Muslim countries. ‘That was not his task and that’s not the task of NASA,’ Gibbs said. Bolden, though, said last month in the interview that it was President Obama who gave him that task. He made a similar claim in February.

“The White House also backed up Bolden last week when his remarks first stirred controversy. A White House spokesman last Tuesday said Obama wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and that to meet that challenge, NASA must ‘partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries’…

“The Muslim comments were met with a wall of criticism last week from conservatives and former NASA officials who said that while Muslim-nation outreach is laudable, it should not be a NASA priority.”

Robert Gibb’s statements sound rather hollow in light of Charles Bolden’s repeated assertions to the contrary…

France’s Fight Against Burqa

USA Today reported on July 13:

“France’s lower house of parliament has approved a ban on burqa-like Islamic veils, a move that is popular among French voters despite serious concerns from Muslim groups and human rights advocates. There were 336 votes for the bill and just one against at the National Assembly. Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, refused to participate in the vote.

“Following Tuesday’s vote, the ban on face-covering veils will go in September to the Senate, where it also is likely to pass. Its biggest hurdle will likely come after that, when France’s constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it…

“The issue is potent in Europe: Several other countries have similar proposals in the works, including Belgium and Spain, and they are closely watching the bill’s progress in France. France has Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated to be about 5 million of the country’s 64 million people…

“The legislation would forbid face-covering Muslim veils in all public places in France — even in the street. It calls for —150 ($185) fines or citizenship classes, or both. The bill is also aimed at husbands and fathers — anyone convicted of forcing someone else to wear the garb risks a year of prison and a —30,000 ($38,000) fine, with both penalties doubled if the victim is a minor.”

A clash between Europe and the Muslim world is slowly developing, which is prophesied to occur and which will end up in war, in accordance with Daniel 11:42-43.

Polanski Free–Obama Has Egg on His Face

BBC News reported on July 12:

“Authorities in Switzerland have decided not to extradite film director Roman Polanski to the US to face sentencing for a case dating back to 1977. Polanski, aged 76, has been under house arrest in his Swiss chalet since December 2009 pending the decision. The filmmaker is wanted in California over a conviction for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. The US was ‘deeply disappointed’ with the decision, a senior justice department official said… The justice ministry said that the US authorities had failed to provide confidential testimony about Polanski’s original sentencing procedure…

“In 1978, he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex following a plea bargain. He served 42 days in a US prison. He has always maintained he was promised a short sentence, but he fled the US after hearing rumours that the judge was about to re-sentence him for a much longer term. He has never returned to the US… The [Swiss] justice ministry added that… national interests were taken into consideration in the decision. A Swiss official said the US cannot appeal the decision…

“Polanski’s wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, said she was overjoyed at the decision. She said: ‘It is with great pleasure that I have just learned of my husband’s release. For me and for my children it is the end of a nightmare that has lasted more than nine months…’

“Polanski’s release was also welcomed by French politicians and artists. ‘The great Franco-Polish director will from now on be able to rejoin his friends and family and work fully on his artistic projects,’ French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said. The Polish foreign ministry also welcomed the Swiss decision.”

German Reaction to Polanski’s Freedom

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 13:

“Should the Swiss have freed famed director Roman Polanski from house arrest and denied a US extradition request? Many in the US are outraged by Monday’s decision. But some German commentators think it was the right thing to do… The surprise Swiss decision has left US officials fuming…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘The Swiss… were under enormous pressure. The US insisted on co-operation — they had another fight with Bern too: A tax evasion dispute involving Swiss banking giant UBS, and they could apply the thumbscrews if need be. Meanwhile France, the chosen home of the director, has always asked why the Swiss were the executors of American justice…

“‘The Swiss had been searching for some judicial lever in the conflict that would allow them to reject the extradition order. They found it in the form of documents that had not been turned over by the US. Also contributing to the decision was the length of time Polanski had already been in custody, both now and when he was originally arrested, as well as doubts about the correctness of the original US trial. And last but not least, there was the question of whom the resurrection of the 33-year-old criminal procedure would really benefit’…

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘The situation with Polanski is more than just awkward. It is tragic. … The fact remains that Roman Polanski sexually abused a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977 and escaped punishment by fleeing to Europe. Therefore he is an offender — even if he is an offender that the victim has long since, publicly, forgiven. But Polanski is also a victim. He only escaped the Nazi persecution of the Jews because he went into hiding: His mother died in Auschwitz. In the US in 1969, his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson’s cult.”

“‘Racism will only be overcome when one’s ethnic origins no longer play a part. But that will never happen. So in order to assess any situation we must also consider biographical information in context. Yesterday the Swiss decided to release Polanski from house arrest and not to extradite him to the US. A good decision — particularly when one considers how many Jews fleeing from the Nazis were turned away at the Swiss borders and how many Jewish assets were never revealed because of Swiss banking secrecy…'”

The most interesting aspect of this tragedy is that Europe is willing to stand up to America, and America must grudgingly concede defeat…

EU-USA Disagreements

Fox News reported on July 15:

“Europe’s disappointment with President Barack Obama’s presidency was laid bare Thursday as the EU’s most senior figure called for a dramatic effort to revive transatlantic relations. The President of the European Commission said the new era at the White House was in danger of becoming a ‘missed opportunity’ for Europe. José Manuel Barroso said the EU-U.S. relationship was not living up to its potential. The criticism follows a series of fundamental disagreements on how to deal with the economic crisis, climate change and trad reform.

“The feelings of a deepening rift are mutual. Senior U.S. figures said Obama could never live up to Europe’s sky-high expectations. Barroso revealed his frustrations with Washington during a wideranging interview in which he also admitted that the euro had acted like a ‘sleeping pill,’ luring some countries to the edge of economic disaster with an ‘illusion of prosperity.’ It has been a fractious few months for EU-U.S. relations, culminating in a fundamental clash of ideas at the G20 summit between Europe’s austerity strategy for ending the economic crisis and Obama’s call to maintain fiscal stimulus…

“The U.S. defended itself forcefully against claims that it had neglected Europe… The view from Washington is that communication with Europe on a range of crucial issues is difficult because the EU still lacks ‘a clear foreign policy apparatus.’”

Soon, the USA might not have that kind of an excuse again for its deteriorating relationship with the EU, as the next article shows.

Soon–EU’s New Powers at the UN

The EUObserrver reported on July 15:

“European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will in future be able to address the UN chamber no differently from US President Barack Obama or Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmedinejad under draft reforms agreed by member states… An EU diplomat said the idea behind the changes is to boost the profile of the EU as an entity in itself at the international level…

“Britain’s EU minister, David Lidington, in the UK ministerial letter said however that the move should not be interpreted as undermining Britain’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council… The new rights flow from changes established by the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force last December. ‘The Lisbon Treaty established new structures for the management of the EU’s external relations,’ Mr Lidington explained.”

Gaza Raid–Israel Partially to Be Blamed

BBC reported on July 13:

“An Israeli military inquiry into the naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla says commandos were under-prepared and mistakes were made at a senior level. The report says the operation suffered from flawed intelligence-gathering and inadequate planning. But it also praised the commandos involved and found the use of force had been the only way to stop the flotilla. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died in the naval raid in international waters, which provoked a major outcry.

“The report criticised the operation’s planners for not having a back-up plan in the event of violence. But it also said the mission had not been a failure and did not recommend any dismissals. It said there had been a lack of co-ordination between military and intelligence bodies, and preparations for the 31 May takeover of the ships had been inadequate… its findings that serious mistakes were made confirm that questions also need to be asked of Israel’s political leaders, who approved the operation…

“The operation prompted an international backlash and has severely strained Israel’s relations with its once-close Muslim ally Turkey. Amid the criticism, Israel eased its land blockade on the Gaza Strip, allowing most civilian goods through. The naval blockade remains in place. Israel says it is necessary to keep weapons from reaching the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls Gaza.”

Bomb Attack Directed Against Ethiopia

BBC reported on July 12:

“The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab has said it was behind twin blasts which hit the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday, killing 74 people. In a statement in Mogadishu, spokesman for the group Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage threatened more attacks. Police said the bombings targeted football fans watching the World Cup final…

“The explosions, which also injured about 70 people, ripped through a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant… at least 60 Ugandans were killed in the explosions… an Irish woman was among those who died at the restaurant. California-based aid group Invisible Children, which helps child soldiers, said one of its workers, Nate Henn, 25, was among those killed at the rugby club. Officials said the dead and wounded also included Ethiopian, Eritrean, Indian and Congolese nationals…

“The attack on the Ethiopian restaurant also fits in with al-Shabab’s regional policy. Addis Ababa backs Somalia’s government against the rebels. And Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust an Islamist movement, stoking an insurgency that still rages. BBC East Africa correspondent Peter Greste says security services across the region will now be reassessing how they can protect themselves from a force that has proven itself willing and capable of striking outside Somalia’s borders.

“Many – if not most – of those killed and injured in the Kampala blasts were foreign nationals… At least three Americans, members of a Church group from Pennsylvania, were wounded at the Ethiopian restaurant… US President Barack Obama said the explosions were ‘deplorable and cowardly’. The African Union has said the attacks will not affect its summit, which is due to be held in Kampala later this month.”

Again and again, Ethiopia is somehow making the news. And as it is being pushed, it might very well react by pushing…

What the “Smartest Man on Earth” Thinks…

On July 13, Bild Online reported the following:

“They hunt using poisonous stings, make their own light through bioluminescence and can transform lightning into energy for their bodies: This is what astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (68), the smartest man in the world, thinks aliens would look like! He developed the research for a documentary film for the Discovery Channel… Hawking determined shape and behaviour of the theoretically possible creatures by combining conditions on different planets, including their geology, climates and atmosphere…

Alien creature with huge trunk by Stephen Hawking

“This creature uses its massive trunk to cling to steep rock faces while it eats moss and grass.

Bioluminescent octo alien

“This bioluminescent ‘octo alien’ would be capable of living in a salt sea on Jupiter.

Predator aliens with poisonous stings

“These small predators leap from rocks and numb their prey with their poisonous stings… An extendable skin fold allows them to sail through the air towards their victims.”

This is of course all based on the ungodly theory of the evolution idea. What does the Bible say? “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults.”

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Did the Father really forsake Christ?

When Jesus was dying a terrible death on the cross, He cried out, just before He died, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Did He really mean it? Did the Father forsake Him at that moment? If so, why? And if not, why would Jesus have uttered those words?

Some, not understanding the significance and deep meaning of Christ’s words, say that He just shouted out these words to fulfill a prophecy from Psalm 22:1. They contend that Jesus repeated the words written down by David in the Old Testament, just to show that He was the Messiah.

Even though Jesus had inspired David to pen down these words, which WERE pointing at the time of His crucifixion, this does not mean that they are not to be understood quite literally, and that the Father did not in fact forsake Jesus at that moment. If He did not, then both the prophecy written down in the book of Psalms, referring to Christ, and Christ’s words, while hanging on the cross, would constitute a lie. If the Father did not forsake Christ at that moment, then Christ was saying something which did not occur–and no “interpretation” to the contrary could do away with the fact that Jesus would have lied at that moment.

This, of course, is impossible, as Jesus never lied, since He never sinned (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15), and lying is sinning (Colossians 3:9; 1 John 1:6; 2:21; Revelation 21:27; 22:15).

Having clearly ruled out the possibility that the Father did NOT forsake Christ on the cross, let us now explain WHY and in what way the Father HAD to forsake Jesus.

This is what we wrote in the last Q&A:

“It is true that for a brief moment the Father forsook Christ on the cross (Matthew 27:46). This happened just before Christ died (see verse 50), because at that time, He was carrying, symbolically, the sins of all of mankind (compare John 1:29), and the Father, being of purer eyes than to behold iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13), turned His eyes from Christ, as unrepented sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2)…”

Again, we ask, how and why, exactly, did the Father forsake Christ? God–both the divine Father and the divine Son–cannot look on iniquity. This is not to say that they are not aware of the sins of the world–they most certainly are–but it means that sin separates us from God and that God will turn away from us if He sees unrepented sin in our lives–sins which we are unwilling to repent of.

Notice what we read in Deuteronomy 23:9-14:

“When the army goes out against your enemies [as true Christians, we are today engaged in a constant spiritual battle with Satan the devil, as well as the world and our own selfish and carnal desires], then keep yourself from every wicked thing… you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. For the LORD your God WALKS IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CAMP [today, both the Father and the Son live IN us through the Holy Spirit, compare John 14:23], to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may SEE NO UNCLEAN THING AMONG YOU, AND TURN AWAY FROM YOU.”

Interestingly, we understand that it was Jesus Christ, as a divine being in the God Family, who spoke these words, but He spoke them in obedience to the Father’s Will (compare John 14:24). As divine God beings, both the Father and the Son are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity–that is why the world is cut off from God, and why only those who repent of their sins can come to God. Of course, this is not to say that God is not aware of our sins, but His eyes can’t stand them. Even in the flesh, the human being Jesus Christ–who was fully man (John 1:14)–cautioned everyone to forsake sin–to sin no more–to repent to avoid perishment. When Peter sinned against Christ, adopting Satan’s thoughts, Christ told Him, “Get behind me, Satan.” When Peter denied Him, Jesus looked at him–not at his sin, but at him–to lead him to repentance. And Peter did repent.

At the time of Jesus’ death, He carried on His shoulders the load of the sins of the world. Think about it! He carried all the terrible crimes, abominations and perversions which the world committed since creation–including the very sins which caused God to bring the flood on this earth and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as sins which were so terrible that God said He never considered the possibility that man would commit those (compare Jeremiah 19:4-5; 32:35).

Jesus took all of these sins for which man is responsible and placed them willingly on His shoulders. The Bible says that when He did this, He BECAME sin and a CURSE for us.

Notice what we wrote in our free booklet, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery“:

“In order to come to the point of DYING for our SINS—to be a perfect sacrifice that the Father would accept—Christ had to fulfill certain requirements, as follows:

“1. He had to become a human being. Galatians 4:4–5 explains that He had to be born of a woman; that is, He had to become flesh and blood, a human being. Spirit beings do not and cannot die.

“2. He had to become sin for us, as 2 Corinthians 5: 21 explains. This does not mean that He sinned while He was human. But it does mean that He BECAME sin, that He personified sin in the Father’s eyes, so that His shed blood could COVER sin and wipe it away. He—the Lamb of God—placed our sins on Himself, and He, in that sense, BECAME THOSE SINS. In God’s eyes, when Christ was killed, all those sins were eradicated with Him.

“3. He had to become a curse for us, as Galatians 3:13 points out. He became a curse for us when He was crucified. In becoming a curse for us, He freed us from the curse that we were under. When we violated God’s law and sinned, the curse of the law—the death penalty—was upon us. Notice that when we sin, we are placed under the curse of the law. Galatians 3:10 tells us: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ James 2:10 adds: ‘For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.’ When we break one of God’s commandments, we are guilty of transgressing God’s law, and the curse of God’s law—the death penalty for sin—is upon us. If this curse were not removed, we would die the second death—eternal death. Notice this in the sobering example given by Christ in Matthew 25:41–46 where Christ is referring to people who have sinned, because when they had the ability to help others in need, they actually held back and refused to extend the needed help. They apparently sinned willfully and maliciously, so that their penalty—their curse—was eternal death in gehenna fire. But Christ became that curse for us so that the curse CAN be removed from us, IF, and WHEN we repent and claim His perfect sacrifice.

“4. He had to come in the form of sinful flesh, as Romans 8:3 explains: ‘For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh [humans were too weak to keep it], God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.’ Christ was a human being, like you and I. He was exposed to the same human temptations that confront us. He had the same human nature that we have. He was in the form of sinful flesh. He did not sin, but His sinful flesh tempted Him many times to sin. However, Christ overcame His sinful desires, and by doing so, He ‘condemned sin in His flesh,’ that is, He showed that man, with the help of God’s Spirit within him, can overcome sin. He came, as a human being, ‘on account of sin.’ He had to, and did, overcome sin IN THE FLESH.

“5. Christ had to experience being separated from God the Father. Matthew 27:45–46 records that just prior to Christ’s death, while hanging on the cross, He asked the Father: ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ Yes, indeed, WHY?

“WHY did God forsake Him? Before we answer that, we need to understand what sin does to us. Isaiah 59:1–2 explains that our sins, unrepented of, separate us from God. God will not hear our prayers if we live in sin. It can be compared with a wall between God and us.

“Habakkuk 1:13 adds that God cannot look on, or accept, wickedness. Good and evil are not compatible, and God, who is good, cannot and will not accept evil. So, God does not regard the prayers of an unrepentant sinner. Deuteronomy 23:12–14 explains the principle that God does not want to see something unclean in a person. If the uncleanness is not taken care of, He will turn away from us and forsake us. Finally, Psalm 5:5 points out that God will not allow a boastful evil person to stand before Him. God will not hear somebody who is proud about his or her sins and who is not willing to repent of them.

“But why did God forsake Christ who never sinned, who was never boastful or unclean or wicked or evil?

“We know already that Christ had become sin for us, that the curse of the law for our sins was upon Him when He was crucified. We also read that at the time of His crucifixion, just prior to His death, something remarkable happened. We are told that it became DARK over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour. What is the significance of this period of darkness?

“Darkness symbolizes sin, as many Scriptures reveal (Compare Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:8–14). When Christ had all the sins of mankind placed upon Him, thereby having ‘become’ sin, in that sense, He had to experience separation from God, the Father! God, the Father saw all of the sins of man placed on His Son and He could not look at them. His eyes were ‘purer than to behold’ those sins. Remember, those sins included mass murders, rapes, terrible wars, tortures, sorceries, demonic idolatries, holocausts, martyrdom of the saints—all of the wicked, evil, rotten, despicable and deplorable abominations man has done, and continues to do—and all of these were placed on Christ!

“Christ was WILLING to offer Himself as this sacrifice for us. And the Father was WILLING to have His Son go through this ordeal, knowing that He would have to withdraw from Him at the time of Christ’s death.

“And what a sacrifice it was! Christ, who had been forsaken by everybody, had always found comfort in the fact that God, the Father, would never forsake Him (compare John 16:32). But at that moment in time, God, the Father, would HAVE TO FORSAKE HIM, not because of anything that Christ had done, but because of what WE had done and would still do.”

The fact that the Father quite literally forsook Jesus Christ has been consistently taught by the Church of God, under its late human leader, Herbert W. Armstrong (who died in 1986). This fact has also been overwhelmingly accepted by biblical commentaries.

The Ryrie Study Bible writes:

“This cry may reflect the desertion Jesus felt as He was bearing the sins of the world (2 Cor. 5:21).”

The Nelson Study Bible adds:

“The duplication of ‘My God, My God’ indicates Jesus’ deep sorrow. The fact that Jesus spoke in Aramaic, the tongue of His birth, may be another sign of the extreme stress He was encountering…”

Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, states:

“Upon the cross Jesus was making atonement for the sins of the world, ‘bearing our sins in [His] own body on the tree,’ for upon Him was laid ‘the iniquity of us all.’ He was so closely identified with the race which He came to save, that He felt the burden of its sin, and cried as the Representative of Humanity… The Lord was forsaken, that we might not be forsaken; He was forsaken that we might be delivered from our sins and from eternal death…”

J.H. Blunt, The Annotated Bible, offers the following additional thoughts:

“The cry reveals to us the depth and intensity of Christ’s sufferings [on the cross]… At that time fell upon our Blessed Savior the full burden of the sin which He had come to bear that He might save man from its consequences. [He] was made an offering for sin… [He was made] sin for us Who knew no sin… [He was] being made a curse for us… Who.. bare our sins in His own body on the tree… At that time the chastisement of our peace was upon Him… so that He felt the Divine anger towards sinners… [He] was for a [short] time banished from the Presence of God, as bearing the punishment of sin… At last the anguish of those hours of darkness concentrated itself into the words which, like these, had been spoken prophetically in His name by David… and in which our Lord spoke as the Representative of all sinners, ‘The rebukes of them that rebuke Thee have fallen upon Me’ [Psalm 69:9].”

Note the following remarks by Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible:

“… our Lord Jesus was, in his sufferings, for a time, forsaken by his Father. So he saith himself, who we are sure was under no mistake concerning his own case…Christ was made Sin for us, a Curse for us… Christ’s being forsaken of his Father was the most grievous of his sufferings, and that which he complained most of… when his Father stood at a distance, he cried out thus.”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds:

“He calls him his God, not as he was God, but as he was man… When he is said to be ‘forsaken’ of God… he made not this expostulation out of ignorance: he knew the reason of it, and that it was not out of personal disrespect to him, or for any sin of his own; or because he was not a righteous, but a wicked man… but because he stood in the legal place, and stead of sinners… the heinousness of sin may be learnt from hence, which not only… separates, with respect to communion, between God and his children; but even caused him to hide his face from his own Son, whilst he was bearing, and suffering for, the sins of his people…”

Albert Barnes’ Note on the Bible states:

“This expression is one denoting intense suffering. It has been difficult to understand in what sense Jesus was ‘forsaken by God.’ It is certain that God approved his work. It is certain that he was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. As his own Son – holy, harmless, undefiled, and obedient – God still loved him. In either of these senses God could not have forsaken him…

“Isaiah tells us… that ‘he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; that he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him; that by his stripes we are healed.’ He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us… he was made a sin-offering… he died in our place, on our account, that he might bring us near to God. It was this, doubtless, which caused his intense sufferings. It was the manifestation of God’s hatred of sin… that he experienced in that dread hour. It was suffering endured by Him that was due to us, and suffering by which, and by which alone, we can be saved from eternal death.”

To deny the fact that Jesus Christ HAD TO BE forsaken–and that He WAS forsaken by God the Father for a very short time, is tantamount to failing to appreciate the seriousness and magnitude of the Sacrifice of the Father and the Son. It is tantamount to not appreciating what the Father did [forsaking His own Son] and what the Son endured [being forsaken for a short time by His Father]. They did it for us, so that we could have forgiveness of sin. Denying this fact is tantamount to limiting and belittling the Father’s and Christ’s Sacrifice and to perhaps become slack in motivation to overcome sin. It is a dangerous thought pattern that must be repented of immediately.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, Our Great Depression and Healthcare Debacle:  Alarmed financial experts are telling us that we are entering another Great Depression–or that we are already in it — while outrageous and costly provisions within the new healthcare law come to light. Why are we experiencing such an unparalleled economic disaster?

A new German AufPostenStehen was posted on the Web, titled, “Obamas Misserfolge” [“Obama’s Failures”].

A new German sermon was posted on the Web, titled “Sex in der Bibel, Teil 1” [“Sex in the Bible, Part 1”].

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How This Work is Financed

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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