Update 505



On August 20, 2011, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Forgotten?”

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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My Vote Is For…


It is hard to believe that the campaigning for President of the United States has already begun. Sometimes it seems like it never stopped. Currently we have the “conservatives” starting to vie for the nomination of their particular party, while the sitting President has not really ever stopped his fund raising in a bid for a second term in office.

The News outlets are all agog with every prattling detail of the infighting, as well as the shots being fired across the partisan aisle. Yet individually, everyone still has a savior they are touting – the man or woman who is going to put the US back on the straight and narrow. This nominee will be expected to deliver us out of debt, redeem consumer confidence and master the economy, along with a host of other near impossibilities.

As each of the possible candidates are vetted for their responses to the crisis du jour, a more pertinent question that would get to the heart of the matter is not being asked. The issue at hand is not which politician should be elected, but rather, should we be looking for a solution from politicians at all? Are they the remedy for what ails the US… and the world, for that matter?

The answer is a resounding “NO!” But there is more to this than just that. The reason they are not the key is because politics are not the actual problem. The quagmire that we are in is due to a pervasive character problem. The trouble that we consistently see around us stems from a lack of Godly attributes in the people who are making the decisions.

At the root of what is going on around us are amoral ethics of greed, lust, hatred and selfish ambition… and the list goes on. If we are to carefully scrutinize the basis of the conflicts going on all around us, we would have to come to the conclusion that there is a vice underlying it.

So then to whom should we look to lead us? The answer would have to be one of impeccable and unimpeachable character. Someone who is going to make the right decision for all mankind. Of course, only the God Family has traits that are this virtuous – so naturally the returning Christ is the One that we should be looking to for leadership here on earth.  He is the only one capable of directing and guiding us out of this morass that the world is currently in.  To put our faith anywhere else would be to misplace it, because the Son of God truly is and will be our only Deliverer, Redeemer, Master, Savior and Leader.

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In light of a most recent court decision, declaring the individual mandate of the new U.S. healthcare law to be unconstitutional, we speak of analysts describing Obamacare as a terrible curse, and what it would do, and is already doing for or, more accurately, to this country. We continue reporting on the awful economic situation for many Americans; the fear of worldwide recession; and, what appears to be, short-sighted opinions of a leading U.S. Republican Presidential Candidate.

We address the volatile situation in the Middle East, especially in Israel, Iraq, Libya and Syria; speak of the universal moral decay in the UK and elsewhere; address Germany’s consistent and correct conviction that the euro will not and cannot fail, and that it is stable and sound; speak of German and French plans to create a European economic government; address the revelation of more oil spills; and conclude with terrible statistics about our family life.

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The Curse of Obamacare

Newsmax wrote on August 12:

“Opponents of Obamacare rejoiced Friday after a federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled that the individual mandate at the heart of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform legislation is unconstitutional. The 2-to-1 verdict in the 11th Circuit court in Atlanta sets up a dramatic, seemingly inevitable election-year showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court over the legality of Obama’s signature legislative initiative… In June, a Cincinnati court ruled in favor of the law… That ruling was notable because one of the judges in the majority was a Republican.

“So far, federal judges in Florida and Virginia have ruled against the act, while judges in Michigan and Virginia upheld it. Judges appointed by Democrats have consistently upheld the law, while Republican judges generally ruled against it. But Friday, one Republican judicial appointee and one Democratic judicial appointee concurred that the individual mandate is unconstitutional….

“‘The individual mandate was enacted as a regulatory penalty, not a revenue-raising tax, and is therefore unconstitutional,’ wrote Chief Judge Joel Dubina. ‘This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potential[ly] unbounded assertion of congressional authority: The ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives.’… Legal experts say it is almost inevitable now that the Supreme Court will hear the challenge to ObamaCare prior to the election.”

The White House Blog published the following statement on August 12:

“There has been no shortage of court cases regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Before today, four courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, examined the health reform law and found it constitutional. Today, a different court ruled against the Affordable Care Act’s individual responsibility provision. We strongly disagree with this decision and we are confident it will not stand…

“Judge Sutton, a Judge in the Sixth Circuit who upheld the law, declared that the individual responsibility provision is constitutional and wrote: ‘In choosing how to regulate [people who choose to self-insure], Congress also did not exceed its power.’

“Judge Martin, another Judge who upheld the law in the Sixth Circuit, said the Affordable Care Act is constitutional under the Commerce Clause because ‘(1) virtually everyone requires health care services at some unpredictable point; and (2) individuals receive health care services regardless of ability to pay. Virtually everyone will need health care services at some point, including….those without health insurance’…

“For the 83% of Americans who have coverage and who are already taking responsibility for their health care, the Affordable Care Act will help insurance premiums to decrease over time.  And only those who are able to pay for health insurance will be responsible for obtaining it.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 1 percent of all Americans would pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2016.”

In the view of many, this last paragraph is illusionary. It is being pointed out that greedy health-“care” insurance companies are RAISING their rates in unheard-of amounts and with abominable frequency.  Not that they ever “need” to give any justification for their ungodly conduct, but one of the reasons they DO sometimes give is the very prospect of Obamacare, including its mandatory provisions for healthcare and the exclusion of denial because of pre-existing conditions. Of course, the frequently used excuse sounds like this: “As health insurer, we are impacted by costs that cannot be avoided. The cost of new medical technology, higher prescription drug costs, and higher utilization of medical services are just some of these cost factors.”

And so, it is being pointed out that our healthcare system is bleeding us to death and that it is literally in the process of DESTROYING more and more small companies and family businesses, and that the government stands idly by and does nothing about it—in fact, through its legislation, it contributes to the bleeding and makes matters much worse. And who in his right mind expects that insurance companies will ever voluntarily lower their rates? Sadly, many feel that Obamacare is a terrible curse for our country—not only because of its requirement of mandatory coverage.

Donald Trump was recently quoted as saying these profound words about Obamacare:

“Let me get this straight . . . We’re going to be ‘gifted’ with a health care Plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes,  for which we’ll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke!!!”

The Poor Americans

CNN Money wrote on August 11:

“When the unexpected strikes, most Americans aren’t prepared to pay for it. A majority, or 64%, of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to handle a $1,000 emergency expense… Only 36% said they would tap their rainy day funds for an emergency. The rest of the 2,700 people polled said that they would have to go to other extremes to cover an unexpected expense, such as borrowing money or taking out a cash advance on a credit card…

“Many respondents, 17%, said they would borrow money from friends or family. Another 17% said they would neglect other financial obligations — like a credit card bill or mortgage payment — in order to free up some funds. Alternatively, 12% of the respondents said they would have to sell or pawn some assets to come up with $1,000 and 9% said they would need to take out a loan. Another 9% said they would get a cash advance from a credit card…

“An earlier study… found that 30% of Americans have zero dollars in non-retirement savings. A separate study… found that 50% of Americans would struggle to come up with $2,000 in a pinch.” 

In light of facts like these, can we honestly say that we are still a nation which is greatly blessed by God?

Stocks Fall Hard Worldwide

USA Today wrote on August 18:

“Wall Street sank Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average plunging more than 500 points in early trading after renewed fears of global economic weakness rattled European and Asian markets… Thursday’s trading marked a return to the volatility that roiled the market earlier this month. And renewed economic fears spurred some bearish market strategists to warn of more declines… Wall Street, already under selling pressure from abroad, opened to renewed fears of a double-dip recession when investment bank Morgan Stanley’s economic team revised its forecast, concluding that the U.S. and Eurozone are hovering ‘dangerously close to a recession’ over the next six to 12 months. That report was just one piece of a spate of bad news to hit the market.

“The National Association of Realtors  reported that sales of previously owned homes fell 3.5% in July, third drop in four months, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.67 million… Separately, the Labor Department reported that the number of people applying for first-time unemployment benefits rose back above 400,000, largest number in four weeks. And a key manufacturing indicator out Thursday — The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s survey of regional manufacturing activity — also showed signs of weakness…

“Thursday’s selloff began in Asia, where Japan’s Nikkeii 225 stock index lost 1.3% on news that exports dropped 3.3% in July. German, French and British exchanges followed with sharp selloffs. London’s FTSE plunged 4.5% on [a] report that Britain’s retail sales were up just 0.2% in July.”

Fox Business News added on August 18:

“Wall Street plummeted deep into the red… as traders grappled with global economic fears and an escalating euro zone sovereign debt crisis…”

Ron Paul: Let Iran Have the Bomb!

Newsmax reported on August 11:

“Iran should be allowed to have a nuclear bomb, Republican candidate Ron Paul suggested during Thursday’s presidential debate… His comments brought scorn from rival candidates. Michele Bachmann said she would do everything in her power to prevent Iran becoming nuclear…

“Paul said it is natural for Iran to want a bomb as it is surrounded by countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel which all have one and with China, the United States and Russia all involved in the region. He said the U.S. should not get involved in the country’s internal affairs… He accused the other candidates of warmongering…”

This is the kind of terrible shortsightedness of popular politicians, which will contribute to the prophesied utter downfall of our country. Note also the next article in this context.

Iran Determined to Destroy Israel

WorldNetDaily reported on August 15:

“Iran is warning Israel that its citizens should flee the Middle East or face annihilation. The chief commander of Iran’s Basiji forces, Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, recently stated that Iran has no option but to destroy Israel. Ratcheting up the war of words, Naghdi is now threatening Israelis in the ‘occupied lands’ that they are surrounded by mujahedeen of Islam bent on their destruction.

“‘I quote our supreme leader, Imam Khamenei, who clearly stated during the recent gathering of the leadership’s elite that Zionists are now encircled by those who are willing to wage jihad for Islam, and that those concerned for their safety and well-being should quickly go back to the countries they left behind,’ Naghdi told the Fars News agency, the media outlet for the Revolutionary Guards….

“Ayatollah Khamenei met with high Iranian officials last week during which he analyzed the events of the region and the world, emphasizing that the time for the glorification of Islam is at hand. Many religious authorities in Iran credit the supreme leader for predicting the unrest in Europe, specifically the riots in England. They believe that Khamenei is the representative of Allah on earth and the deputy of the last Islamic messiah, Imam Mahdi, and that Iran’s supreme leader is in direct contact with him, preparing the grounds for his reappearance.

“Shia Muslims believe that Imam Mahdi, who was born in 869, is still alive but has been ‘awaiting the time that God has decreed for his return.’ It is this return that will usher in the day of judgment, and the mullahs ruling Iran believe it will mark the destruction of Israel… Last week, the Iranian state-controlled TV for the first time publicly announced that Khamenei is really the mythical figure Seyed Khorasani who, a centuries-old hadith (saying) states, will create the circumstance for the end of the world and the reappearance of the last Islamic messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam Mahdi, who will conquer the world under the banner of Islam.

“A recent video… reveals the radicals ruling Iran warn the end of the world is at hand and they need to destroy Israel to fulfill the prophecy called for by the prophet Mohammad and his descendants to trigger the coming of Imam Mahdi. The Western world, meanwhile, continues to experience growing alarm as Iran apparently continues it push for nuclear weapons. Some analysts estimate that the radicals ruling the Iranian people could have enough highly enriched uranium for its first nuclear weapon within months…”

Terror Attacks in Israel

Israel National News reported on August 18:

“… the State of Israel has moved to its highest security alert nationwide as hospitals report that five are dead following terror attacks that struck the country’s southern region midday Thursday… Two Egged buses and an IDF vehicle were targeted by unidentified terrorist cells in what appears to be a coordinated operation. Several soldiers were also wounded when explosives went off at the security fence with Gaza.”

Arab Spring No Good News for USA

Newsmax reported on August 12:

“A midsummer poll in six Arab nations (Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) by the Arab-American Institute found the ‘Arab Spring’ is not good news for the United States. The following are some of the Zogby poll results:

“The United States’ and President Obama’s favorable ratings are at an all-time low. Obama is less popular in the Middle East than Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Capturing and killing Osama bin Laden has not improved U.S. relations with the region. Far from seeing the United States as a leader of the post-Arab Spring movement, the countries surveyed viewed ‘U.S. interference in the Arab world’ as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East.

“Top concern is the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine is blamed on the United States. In five of the six countries surveyed, the United States was viewed less favorably than Turkey, China, France, and Iran. Iran’s policies are viewed more favorably than America’s.”

It does not look good for the influence of America in the Middle East. Some other power will have to step in to fill the void. That power will be none other than the final configuration of the United States of Europe—and Britain won’t be part of it. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Germany in Prophecy” and “Europe in Prophecy.” 

The Tragedy of Iraq

The Associated Press reported on August 15:

“Bomb blasts ripped through more than a dozen Iraqi cities Monday, killing 60 security forces and civilians in the worst attack this year, one that highlighted al-Qaida’s resolve and ability to wreak havoc. The bloodbath comes less than two weeks after Iraqi officials said they would be open to a small number of U.S. forces staying in the country past a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline.

“The blasts were coordinated to go off Monday morning and included parked car bombs, roadside bombs, a suicide bomber driving a vehicle that rammed into a police station and even bombs attached to lightpoles.

“The scope of the violence — seven explosions went off in different towns in Diyala province alone — emphasized that insurgents are still able to carry out attacks despite repeated crackdowns by Iraqi and U.S. forces. Iraqis were furious at security officials and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki… the persistence of violence in Iraq… underscores… Iraq’s precarious situation.”

Our attempts to liberate Iraq and bring them peace and freedom have been utter failures.

The Tragedy of Libya

Deutsche Welle reported on August 15:

“Waves of refugees have continued to flee Libya for European shores, as Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi pledged to up the ante in his battle to stave off advancing rebel fighters. Some 1,600 North African migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa this weekend, with the majority of them coming from war-torn Libya…

“The island of Lampedusa lies in the Mediterranean Sea between the Tunisian coast and Sicily. Since the beginning of this year some 11,000 North Africans have landed on the island, fleeing uprisings and conflicts in their home countries. The Catholic aid group Sant’Egidio said 1,820 North Africans have drowned his year in the Mediterranean Sea attempting to reach Europe.”

Die Zeit asked on August 15 what would happen if the Libyan rebels would win. The answer is sobering: Libya would end up in chaos, especially if the Libyan rebels would begin to take revenge on governmental officials and supporters, as is already presently the case in numerous instances. According to the law on paper, NATO could not do anything to prevent this from happening, and they would not even want to. Die Zeit concluded: “War is dirty business. There are no morally justifiable wars. But then, one has to admit that humanitarian bombs are also an inconsistency.”

The Tragedy of Syria

Deutsche Welle reported on August 15:

“Activists in Syria say Monday’s assault on Sunni neighborhoods of Latakia killed one person. At least 23 others were killed in the city over the weekend. Warships and tanks joined the shelling in a crackdown against protesters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. As the country’s anti-regime protests enter their fifth month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said snipers were wreaking havoc in Latakia and the provincial town of Hula…

“In Latakia, people are trying to flee but cannot leave the city because it is surrounded by Syrian troops… Latakia is a hotbed of dissent against the Assad regime, with around 20,000 people rallying every day to demand that the president step down.

“Elsewhere, Syrian security forces surged into two Damascus suburbs overnight, cutting off communications, firing shots and making arrests. In a telephone conversation, Obama and King Abdullah [of Saudi Arabia] expressed their ‘shared, deep concerns about the Syrian government’s use of violence against its citizens,’ the White House said in a statement…

“A spokesman for the British prime minister’s office said Cameron and Obama, in a separate telephone conversation, ‘expressed horror at the brutal reaction of the Syrian regime to legitimate protests, particularly during Ramadan,’ the holy month in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

“European diplomats estimated in a UN Security Council meeting last week that 2,000 people had been killed – mostly civilians – and a further 3,000 had disappeared since an uprising against Assad’s rule began in March. Thousands have also fled across the border to neighboring Turkey.”

Haaretz wrote on August 15:

“Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday that military operations against civilians must end immediately and unconditionally, warning him that these were Ankara’s ‘final words’… ‘If these operations do not stop there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken,’ he said, without elaborating…

“Davutoglu’s statement comes just days after the Turkish ‘Hurriyet’ newspaper reported that Turkey may consider cooperating with international powers in the event they decide to intervene militarily in Syria. According to the report, the Turkish foreign minister made it clear to Assad that in the event that Syrian forces continue to act aggressively against demonstrators Syria will no longer be able to rely on friendship from Turkey.”

Die Zeit reported on August 15 that Turkey may be providing Syrian rebels with weapons in an effort to diminish the impact of the Iranian-Syrian alliance. BBC reported on August 18: “The US, the EU, UK,  France and Germany have demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down to allow a democratic transition.”

Universal Moral Decay in Great Britain

The Telegraph wrote on August 15:

“David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the entire British political class came together yesterday to denounce the rioters. They were of course right to say that the actions of these looters, arsonists and muggers were abhorrent and criminal, and that the police should be given more support. But there was also something very phony and hypocritical about all the shock and outrage expressed in parliament. MPs spoke about the week’s dreadful events as if they [had] nothing to do with them.

“… the criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up…

“Our politicians… have shown themselves prepared to ignore common decency and, in some cases, to break the law. David Cameron is happy to have some of the worst offenders in his Cabinet… The Prime Minister showed no sign that he understood that something stank about yesterday’s Commons debate. He spoke of morality, but only as something which applies to the very poor: ‘We will restore a stronger sense of morality and responsibility – in every town, in every street and in every estate.’ He appeared not to grasp that this should apply to the rich and powerful as well…

“Something has gone horribly wrong in Britain. If we are ever to confront the problems which have been exposed in the past week, it is essential to bear in mind that they do not only exist in inner-city housing estates. The culture of greed and impunity we are witnessing on our TV screens stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media. It is not just its damaged youth, but Britain itself that needs a moral reformation.”

How accurately God describes the moral decay in our Western societies–mostly Great Britain and the USA, but also countries like The Netherlands, as the next article shows–when He says:

“Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, That have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up Or soothed with ointment” (Isaiah 1:4-6).

The Abuse of Power

Harvard Business Review wrote on August 12:

“26.3% of 1,250 Dutch business professionals with marital partners reported having engaged in infidelity, according to a survey led by Joris Lammers of Tilburg University in the Netherlands. An analysis showed that people with greater power within their organizations are more likely to be unfaithful, mainly because of the increased confidence that power confers. The power-infidelity association applies to women as well as men, the researchers found.”

The rich and powerful should be setting a good example, but sadly, mostly the opposite is the case.

“The Euro Is Stable”

On August 15, Der Spiegel Online published the following revealing interview with Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble:

“… while we in Europe have a common currency and thus collective monetary policies, we still have national financial policies… we’re now going to make the Stability Pact significantly stricter. Still, it’s going to be a step-by-step process to make EU institutions as strong as we might wish them to be right away, here and now…

“We have a stable currency, and no one has to worry about their savings …There were also some skeptics when the euro was introduced. But it’s working! And it’s stable! We shouldn’t forget that we’re living in an unusually stable economic situation. We are in a position to overcome this crisis…

“When we created the euro, it wasn’t possible to create a political union along with it. People weren’t ready for that. But since then, they’ve grown more willing to go in that direction. It’s a process, one that is sometimes laborious and sometimes slow… If we chose not to continue pursuing the European project, our prospects would look much, much worse… let me say it once again, very clearly: The euro is not going to fail.”

These comments should rule out the preposterous idea that Germany, of all countries, would give up the euro and return to the deutschmark. Also, the concept is equally uninformed and unsound that European core nations—including Germany—would forsake the euro and create their own common currency. The economically and financially intertwined European conditions clearly prohibit the realization of such a fanciful idea—apart from the fact that the Bible indicates that ten European nations or groups of nations will arise out of the current EU, not separate and apart from it. It is the euro that is the glue that holds Europe together, and that will help to bring about the political unification of European core nations. Notice also the following articles on that subject.

Plan for European Economic Government

Der Spiegel Online reported on August 16:

“Following a summit meeting in Paris, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have announced proposals to introduce a ‘true European economic government’ as part of a long-term plan to battle the debt crisis… The two leaders also pledged to integrate financial and economic policies to a greater extent in the face of Europe’s debt crisis… Merkel said the goal is to ‘strengthen the euro as our common currency. In order for it to succeed, we need a strong integration of finance and economic policies in the euro zone.’ The chancellor added, ‘The euro is our future, it is the foundation of our prosperity. And it contributes to our peaceful coexistence.’ For the first time in the crisis, Merkel also described the euro rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), as a ‘European Monetary Fund,’ a proposal long championed by Sarkozy…

“There would also be attempts to improve cross-border economic governance in what Sarkozy described as a ‘true European economic government,’ to be led by Herman Van Rompuy, current president of the European Council, for a two-and-a-half-year term. Leaders of the euro-zone states would meet twice a year and perhaps more often to discuss harmonization of finance and economic policy. ‘We want to express our absolute will to defend the euro and assume Germany and France’s particular responsibilities in Europe and to have on all of these subjects a complete unity of views,’ Sarkozy told the news conference at his Elysee Palace offices, where he was flanked by Merkel…”

It was also reported by Reuters on August 16 that “Jean-Pierre Pollin, a member of France’s Circle of Economists think tank, told the daily Le Parisien it was now unavoidable that euro zone states give up some sovereignty. ‘The monetary union inevitably implies a political union,’ he said.”

“Welcome to the Fourth Reich!”

On May 17, Mail On Line published a  controversial article about Germany and the German government. As predictable, German tabloids like Bild Online are furious and label the article as scandalous and defamatory. Here are excerpts from the article, titled, “Rise of the Fourth Reich, how Germany is using the financial crisis to conquer Europe”:

“Although [Angela Markel] will not yet admit it, this [the announced plan for a European economic government] all suggests the first step has been taken towards a fiscal union that will leave Germany dictating the financial terms for the rest of Europe… It is the one country that is able to do so… if such a plan succeeded it would make Europe effectively a German empire, with non-Eurozone countries such as Britain on the sidelines… For be in no doubt what fiscal union means: it is one economic policy, one taxation system, one social security system, one debt, one economy, one finance minister. And all of the above would be German….

“If Germany is to continue to prosper, Europe must prosper: but a ruthless solution may have to be imposed in order for that to happen. If the European project is to continue, Germany will not merely have to underwrite it, but control it.

“The recently-agreed European Financial Stability Facility is not the answer… The alternative is the massive surrender of sovereignty to Germany by the rest of the Eurozone that would allow the economic policy of Greece, Ireland and Portugal to be made in Berlin… That would reassure the markets, but it would also remove any pretence of democracy in those 16 countries: for once you have lost control of your economy, you have lost your sovereignty.

“Every spending department in every government in the Eurozone would have its policy made in the old capital of Prussia. And if the people did not like their governments being left with fewer powers than a county council, that would be tough. The alternative is ruin. Where Hitler failed by military means to conquer Europe, modern Germans are succeeding through trade and financial discipline. Welcome to the Fourth Reich.”

The Bible shows that a United States of ten core European nations—or groups of nations—will arise in these last days, and that Germany WILL be leading them. In fact, all of them will surrender their authority and power to a charismatic political and military leader of German or Austrian descent – the “beast” in the book of Revelation—and he won’t be ruling democratically. So, the article of the Daily Mail—even though they most certainly did not think of biblical prophecy—seems to be right on target.

More Oil Spills…

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 16:

“Facing scrutiny from regulators over a large oil spill in the North Sea that continued for a sixth day, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) Tuesday acknowledged that some oil is still leaking from a pipeline that it had repaired last week… The U.K.’s largest oil spill in a decade could revive questions about the offshore drilling industry barely a year after a catastrophic U.S. Gulf of Mexico accident. The spill comes weeks after the release of a United Nations report detailing decades of oil pollution in Nigeria, where Shell has operated since the 1950s. The company is also in the process of applying for U.S. federal permits to explore for oil offshore Alaska…”

In a harshly worded article, Der Spiegel Online accused Shell of secrecy and asked whether Shell’s recent statements, as quoted above, should be believed, or whether the damage is much greater than admitted. Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 17:

“Oil has been flowing into the North Sea from a leak at a platform off the coast of Scotland for a week, but Shell has failed to be open with the public. Details of the leak are scarce, and information on the amount of oil which has escaped so far remains uncertain. Oil giant Shell is struggling to contain the worst North Sea spill in a decade amid criticism over how honest the company is being with the public. The spill, which has continued through a second leak after the company had initially said the incident was ‘under control,’ was reportedly discovered last Wednesday but was only made public over the weekend…

“The leak is on the Gannet Alpha rig about 112 miles (180 kilometers) east of the Scottish city of Aberdeen. Shell has admitted some problems — albeit in an ambiguous way… ‘Exactly how much oil is now flowing into the North Sea, we don’t know,’ said Greenpeace’s Feddern. And the experience of the Gulf of Mexico disaster suggests that the public should be wary of preliminary numbers provided by oil companies: BP’s initial figure for the amount of oil which poured into the Gulf in April 2010 was 60 times too low…

“Shell has admitted that the spill is ‘significant … in the context of annual amounts of oil spilled in the North Sea.’ The British government… has in the meantime described the spill as ‘substantial.’ It has also been labelled as the biggest incident of its kind in more than a decade… When the leak will be fully blocked up is unknown.”

Our Poor Children…

In an article, dated August 16, stumbleupon.com wrote the following:

“Today, NPR reported that kids living with unmarried, cohabitating parents are worse off than children of married parents. According to a new study, kids of unmarried parents are more likely to have trouble in school and experience psychological stress, physical abuse and poverty. The National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values also found that while divorce rates have dropped since the late 1970s, the number of cohabitating families has soared, especially among lower socioeconomic classes. More than 40 percent of babies are now born to unwed mothers, and a quarter of mothers with multiple children got pregnant by more than one man.”

We will leave it with these terrible statistics and do not dare to quote the rest of this article, as it includes some sophisticated, but utterly misleading “twists” in logic and thinking, concluding, “The lesson here is one many of us have known for a while: married or not, kids are better off when their parents have a solid relationship and the means to take care of them.” Indeed, we are becoming more and more a nation without values and morals.

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Do you have any guidelines for opening and closing prayers?

The Church of the Eternal God in the USA, the Global Church of God in the UK, and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada, conduct their weekly and annual Sabbath services by opening with prayer (usually after singing three congregational hymns), and by closing with prayer (after singing a final congregational hymn). These prayers are given by baptized men who have been selected by the song-leader—sometimes after consultation with or direction from the presiding minister. On occasion, and subject to the discretion of the presiding minister, baptized visitors and guests from other Church of God organizations, who might not regularly attend our fellowship, might be asked to give the opening or closing prayer.

To clarify at the beginning of this Q&A, it is not against biblical commands to have baptized men conduct opening or closing prayers in services. We explained the following in our free booklet, “Teach Us to Pray!,” on page 5:

“The Bible shows us the proper way to pray, both publicly and privately. For instance, when we pray in public by giving an opening or a closing prayer in Church services, we must not pray to be ‘seen by men’ (Matthew 6:5). Our motivation must not be to please men, but rather to please God. On the other hand, heart-rending, intimate prayers should be communicated to God the Father privately (Matthew 6:6).”

The Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates trace their roots to the Worldwide Church of God under the late Herbert W. Armstrong (who died in 1986). During his lifetime, Mr. Armstrong established the way in which Church of God services should be conducted, and we have substantially adopted these procedures. As a consequence, we are hereby reproducing and quoting with approval excerpts from an article of the Worldwide Church of God’s monthly magazine, “The Good News,” dated August 1971, titled, “How to Open and Close Services With Prayer.” Of course, the following is not a rigid outline or formula that must and should be adhered to EVERY time, but it is meant to give valuable guidelines.

Beginning with the discussion of opening prayers, the article stated the following:

“What, after all, is the object of having opening prayers?… We are instructed in God’s Word not to be given to ‘vain repetitions’ (Matt. 6:7). An opening prayer should not be vain and worthless, nor should it be repetitious… Nor should an opening prayer be overly long. Simply because a prayer is short does not mean it is ineffective. The Bible contains examples of very brief prayers that resulted in powerful miracles being performed.

“An opening prayer to one of God’s Sabbath services should also be prayed in earnest, believing FAITH! You should expect that prayer to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the service that follows…

“The primary purpose of this type of prayer is to ask for God’s guidance and inspiration on the entire service. This includes both the hearing and the speaking. It takes in… even the announcement period. It would be appropriate to begin by THANKING God for the opportunity to meet in peace and harmony. Gratitude could be expressed for the hall or the fine weather or various other favorable conditions the Church has been blessed with…

“The most important thing is to ask and expect God’s inspiration on the sermonette and the sermon. You could request that Jesus Christ actually be present in spirit to guide and direct the proceedings. Ask God to speak through his human instruments and lead them to say what is most needful and profitable for the whole congregation. As the world becomes more and more violent and Satan’s wrath is increasingly intensified, it becomes more necessary also to ask God for protection…

“Keep in mind that you are speaking to GOD—not the listening audience before you. Remember it is a prayer! … Be sincere… It is a prayer meant to open the services. There is not time or need to cover the entire spectrum of current events…

“Do not use the opening prayer as an opportunity to give a sermonette… Get your mind OFF SELF and say what you have to say. Be confident without conceit. Be humble, but not groveling. Use a normal, clear voice and avoid any form of theatrics.”

Similar guidelines apply to a closing prayer at the very end of the Church’s worship services. The article in The Good News continued:

“Often, closing prayers are so general that they are totally unrelated to the message that preceded them! Express gratitude for the spiritual food God has provided.”

One word of caution here is in order! It would not be appropriate to try to evaluate the contents of the messages—either directly or indirectly—or to give a lengthy repeat of the contents of the sermonette or the sermon. Remember that the opening and the closing prayers should be SHORT. For instance, when a sermon discussed seven points, it would be unnecessary to repeat them in the closing prayer. It might be perhaps beneficial to very briefly mention one or two points, which had the biggest impact on you.

But beware that the closing prayer is not supposed to be a sermonette—rather, it is a SHORT prayer to God. On the other hand, a closing prayer which has no relationship to the sermonette and the sermon would probably not be most effective. As in all aspects of Christian life, balance is the key. If you have specific questions in this regard, or in regard to anything else which is mentioned in this Q&A, please ask your local minister.

The article in The Good News went on to state:

“Of course, it is not necessary to summarize, or add an ‘additional point’ to the sermon in the closing prayer!… It is also appropriate to ask God’s protection on the brethren traveling home following the services…

“The announcements may have contained news of a very sick person or some other crisis in God’s Work. This could certainly be alluded to in the closing prayer. Many men neglect to acknowledge the sermonette in the closing prayer… the sermonette is part of our spiritual food every Sabbath, and we ought to thank God for it…

“Be sincere, but not overemotional. But the closing prayer, as the opening prayer, should not be overlong [sic].

“If you are called on to lead an opening or closing prayer, look upon it as an opportunity and a blessing. And be sure your prayer is one to which the whole congregation can sincerely say ‘Amen’ (so be it!).”

In addition, it would be appropriate to ask in the closing prayer for God’s blessing on the meal which we might partake of after services, and to ask God for His blessing and protection for special activities which the Church might have planned for the time after the Sabbath, or for activities on days during the annual Feast of Tabernacles, which are not weekly or annual Holy Days, or for special occasions such as weddings or funerals.

We should not read from any notes when we give an opening or closing prayer. Rather, we should allow God to inspire us through His Spirit at the moment when we begin to pray aloud in front of others. Let God speak through you, and don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any notes that you might have written beforehand. Have FAITH in God that He will inspire you when you are about to pray, and that He will put His words in your mouth, and then speak with confidence, knowing that God has heard you, and that He is answering your silent prayer to Him for inspiration. This includes, of course, that we pray habitually in private, so that we are not unprepared when we are to give a “public” prayer in Church.

This principle of allowing God’s Spirit to inspire us, when we pray, is clearly set forth in Scripture. For instance, note what Christ told His disciples regarding how to behave when they would be asked to explain their convictions, perhaps in the context of a court proceeding: “… do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speaks, but the Spirit of your Father [which] speaks in you” (Matthew 10:19-20, compare Mark 13:11, Luke 12:11-12).

Even though Christ is addressing here especially the time of arrest and the subsequent opportunity to testify for Him and God’s Way of Life, the principle applies nevertheless in other circumstances as well. This is not to say that we should not prepare our messages and reduce our thoughts to writing and that we should not have any notes when delivering a sermonette or a sermon, but it is to say that speakers must not be too “note-bound” when they deliver their message. Rather, they should and must allow God to inspire them, while speaking. We will address this topic in more detail in a subsequent Q&A, dealing with the art of preparing and delivering powerful sermonettes.

However, insofar as opening and closing prayers are concerned, it is our belief that notes should not be used in that regard.

We would also like to explain here why we do not believe that women should give opening or closing prayers in Church services. We stated the following in one of our Q&As, answering the question whether women should preach and give sermons or Bible studies in Church. The following comments apply likewise to the biblical prohibition for women to give prayers in Church.

“The Bible is very clear that such conduct would be in violation of Scripture. We are setting forth below excerpts from pages 13-14 of our booklet, ‘The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families’:

“‘Notice 1 Timothy 2:11-15 where Paul says, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence…” Notice, too, the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak… And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”’

“These passages clearly teach that women are not to give sermons or Bible studies in church. Older women can teach younger women in private, but not from the pulpit (compare Titus 2:1-5). We also note that Aquilla and Priscilla took Apollos aside to explain to him the Way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26). Priscilla did not teach Apollos publicly, in front of others…

“‘Rienecker’s Lexikon zur Bibel points out, under “Women,” “The relationship between man and woman, ordained by God, can also be seen in the role of service and function within the church… Paul does not allow the women to teach, that is, to fill the office of teacher in the church (1 Timothy 2:12). It is different when Apollos is introduced more fully, in a personal conversation with Aquilla and Priscilla, to the teachings of God (Acts 18:26).”’

“The message of Scripture is unambiguous: Christian women are not to teach Biblical or spiritual matters in church or in a public forum. It may be difficult for some to accept and apply God’s Word on this issue…”

The biblical prohibition for women to preach or teach or “speak” in Church services–or to give “testimony,” as is so common these days in certain Pentecostal services–applies equally to the prohibition for women to give opening or closing prayers in Church services. This is not to say, of course, that a woman should never pray; nor, that she should not pray at home with her children, or sometimes in private together with her husband; or, that she should not, on occasion, ask for the blessing of a meal at home, in the presence of her husband and their children. We are strictly addressing here prayers by women “in public,” and we emphasize again that women should not give opening or closing prayers in Church services.

In conclusion, the opening and closing prayers are an integral portion of Sabbath services that invite God to be present in spirit and inspire them, and subsequently to thank Him for doing just that. Baptized members of God’s Church, when called upon to give the opening or closing prayer, should not take this opportunity lightly, and they should carefully consider these guidelines that they may deliver a prayer in the correct manner and in a right frame of mind.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Mr. Cege Muinamia, our “traveling” member in Kenya, informed us that Mr. Gladstone Chonde, visiting minister from Malawi, baptized Esther Nyambura Koileken on our behalf. We had counseled with Esther extensively and subsequently asked Mr. Chonde to baptize her. Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone and Alice Chonde are associated with us, and they attended with us the Feast in England in 2009. Esther is the daughter of long-time members of the Church of God in Kenya, Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel and Jane Karanja. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Esther and welcome her into the Church of God.

A copy of our new booklet, “Germany in Prophecy” will be sent out soon.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on our Web site (www.standingwatch.org) and on YouTube, titled, “English Riots-a Generation Without Values!” England is terrorized by looters who burn buildings and cars. Young people are willing to commit violence without inhibitions. We observe a moral collapse in the Western world, with a breakdown of the family and a rejection of just and fair punishment. The teaching of biblical morality is needed, and a realization of who is behind this terrible mayhem, which is just a small foretaste of worse things to come.

The German version of the English program titled, “Englands Krawalle—eine Generation ohne Moral,” was posted on our German Web site (www.aufpostenstehen.de) and on YouTube.

A new German sermon was posted on the Web, titled, “Saudi Arabien in der Bibel, Teil 2.

Please feel free to proceed with making reservations for the Feast of Tabernacles 2011 with the Hilton Garden Inn at 601 James Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. When you call under 1-805-773-6020, please make sure that you mention that you are attending the Feast convention of the Church of the Eternal God. Further information is available on our Web site (www.eternalgod.org), under “Feasts.”

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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:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2023 Church of the Eternal God