Letter to the Brethren: December 15, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

We trust you had a good week.

Radio

There was a scheduling mix-up and I was not on Jeff Crouere’s show Ringside politics with a punch, WGSO 990 AM, New Orleans, Louisiana last Friday. This is to happen again, but the date was not set.

Ended up being on radio yesterday as a last minute guest on Republic Broadcasting. The host and I discussed the mark of the beast, interest rates, and debt.

Three Youth Camps in Kenya

Received the following email yesterday:

Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from Kenya.
Thank you very much for what you have done of helping the work in Kenya to do better. The youths are very many in the camps. I received the information from Rift Valley now that they started well. But the youths from mau could not manage to go to chilani because of rain and mud. So it forced me to have three sites in Kenya.
Evans

Well, we are glad that it seems like the camps are going well, and we hope that includes the third unexpected one.

African Conference

We are working on preparing for the 2017 conference in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2017.

We had a similar conference in 2014.

The main difference this time is that we expect to have leaders from more countries.

In 2014, we had leaders from Kenya and Tanzania.

For the 2017 conference, we hope to have leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and maybe elsewhere.

As far as non-Africans go, in addition to my own attendance from the USA, we hope that Aleksandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic from Serbia, will also be able to attend.

We have approximately 45 congregations in Africa (for a listing, see Congregations of the Continuing Church of God). At this moment, it looks like we will have at least 60 leaders attend in Nairobi.

Back in 2014 we only had about 270 people in Africa who were part of the Continuing Church of God. We now have around 2000.

Because of that, this will be a more expensive conference to put on as we will have more leaders attend via bus, plus have leaders who attend via air. And cost is the reason that we have waited nearly three years to have this conference.  The famines in Tanzania, Kenya, and other parts of Africa have taxed our funds–and still are.

Yet, we really do need to get the leaders together to give them a chance to meet, discuss their needs and concerns, and go over various teachings and priorities of the Continuing Church of God as we strive to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

Short Article from Richard Close

richardclose
Richard Close

Deacon Richard Close sent the following to me yesterday:

Greetings Brethren    

Matthew 23 is a very interesting chapter of scripture.  In it Jesus speaks disparagingly about the Scribes and Pharisees, describing their actions and deed’s in very negative terms.  Eight times He said “Woe unto you”; calling them fools, blind guides,hypocrites,and lists many things that they are doing incorrectly. Math.23:23 is the only verse that has anything positive to say.  Lets look at it in more detail.Vs 23″ Woe unto you,scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment,mercy, and faith: These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone”.                                          

Two  important lessons we can learn from this verse.  1.Tithing   Scribes and Pharisees tithed mint,anise,and cummin—very small herbs, yet meticulously  tithed.  Jesus commended them for that.  It is the only positive thing said about scribes & Pharisee’s in the entire chapter. “and not to leave the other” (tithing little things) “undone”    2. scribes and Pharisees were chastised for omitting (the weightier matters of the law)  “judgement, mercy, and faith”                                                      

Lets look at ” tithe ” first.            

Tithing  has been practiced for millennia  and is taught in through out the scriptures.  I read Dr. Thiel’s article on tithing this past weekend: I believe it to be the best and most complete that I have ever read on the subject.  And to borrow a phrase from a popular news program–“fair and balanced”. I would like to encourage all who read this to study thru Dr. Thiel’s information. We are all going to be involved in teaching others and we need to know the subject. I learned some things reading thru it, and I have been a tithe payer for about 57 years. A personal experience that I would like to share with all. I started to work for the Worldwide Church of God,early summer 1970. I closed my auto repair shop in N.E. Pa and relocated to Wisc. Dells, Wisc. to serve under Raymond Cole as a part of a team that was constructing facilities to be used for keeping the Feast of Tabernacles.   I was in my 3rd tithe year.  My WCG salary was $150 per week. 1st tithe $15    2nd T $15   3rd T $15 leaving $105 per week for food, rent, vehicle expenses, etc. plus mortgage payment’s on my property in Pa.  On paper–in black and white–it could not possibly work.  There was just to much month left at the end of the money.  I still to this day do not know how God worked it out.  The main thing I learned that summer was that no matter how bleak, how dark, how impossible it looks on paper(physical/sight).  God will work it out.(spiritual/faith)      

Bottom line  BELIEVE GOD  TRUST GOD   OBEY GOD    Especially in your finances.    { if you want to divide here} Next time part 2. the weightier matters of the law                     

Part 2   Math 23:23  The weightier matters of the law listed by Jesus Christ as  “judgment, mercy, and faith.”  Judgment -def. “being able to decide what is right, good, practical”  Justly- def.”in a just way, rightly”                          

Mercy  – def.” the power to forgive or be kind”    Faith – def. “belief or trust that does not question or ask for proof.” and “a being loyal;allegiance”. 

Lets now look at Micah 6:8 ” He hath shewed thee,O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee,”   

Notice  that what is “shown” is both  “good” and “required”   

Put another way—It is the will of God for us– continuing ” but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”       

To do  justly  means to live our lives with  judgment. making right decisions to walk in God’s way at all times. Doing the will of God in our relationship with our spiritual brothers and sisters and also with all potential brothers and sisters who are not yet called.  Living by every word of God constantly.  Hard to do in the society Satan has designed. We have to be constant in prayer and be vigilant because situations pop up when you least expect them that test our attitude  and responses “to love mercy” not just show mercy in our actions and responses but to LOVE mercy  as God LOVES  mercy.      

“and to walk humbly with thy God”   

Walk= our way of living life—humbly=with humility before all people.     

Isa. 66:2  latter part”…but to this man will I look,even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth  at my word”.   

Walking humbly with God is an appropriate description  of Faith  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”   

Micah 6:8 blends with Math 23:23 to show us more clearly God’s will for us.     

Richard C

And, no I did not give him any suggestion to write about the above subject when he asked if he could send in an article.  That being said, here is a link to the article he mentioned that I wrote: Tithing Questions and Some Answers. Interestingly, and Richard Close would not have known that, I believe I read Micah 6:8 in the recommended sermon for this week (watch Living as a Christian: Pure Milk of the Word). And it is cited in my article Living as a Christian: How and Why?

World News Items

The President of Iran said that since he feels that the USA has violated its nuclear deal that Iran can develop nuclear powered naval vessels (see Iran to work on nuclear-powered boats after U.S. ‘violation’ of deal). Iran keeps taking steps that are raising international security concerns. One day, Iran is likely to ‘overplay its hand’ and/or attack Israel (cf. Isaiah 22:6-9) and then be ‘neutralized’ (cf. Jeremiah 49:34-38). Iran will not be the biblical King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43)–despite the fact that it hopes to lead the Islamic world.

China, India, Russia, and Europe are also working on increasing their military spending (see China and India increasing military spending: Confrontation in Asia or ‘time of the Gentiles’?). The Bible tells of the final time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:23-24) and we are getting closer to this. During the final time of the Gentiles, which is also the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), the UK, USA, and their Anglo-Saxon descended allies will be the tail and no longer the head (cf. Deuteronomy 28:43-57).

Perhaps one of the biggest news items was the Germany’s stellerator nuclear fusion project seems to work (see Germany’s functional stellarator, Donald Trump, and ‘the unthinkable’). This technology has the ability to theoretically provide all the energy needs for humans for centuries. This could really boost Europe’s position in the world. At the same time, US President-elect Donald Trump has named at least two intended appointees to his cabinet that are promoters of oil and other fossil fuels. This, combined with some of Donald Trump’s comments about climate change, could become a massive divide between Europe and the USA. Europe will tend to see the USA as a major polluter of the world, not interested in the environment. This could increase hatred against the USA in the future.

Europe is already in a semi-state of shock that Donald Trump was elected. Europe will take more steps to militarize (cf. Revelation 13:1-10), dominate trade (cf. Revelation 18), and ultimately reorganize (Revelation 17:12-13). The election of Donald Trump (see also NATO, Europe, Russia, and Donald Trump), along with the Brexit vote in the UK, are driving Europe away from the USA and UK.

In the meantime, today the Europeans announced that their Galileo ‘GPS’ system went live (see Galileo goes live–will Donald Trump figure this danger out?). Galileo is more advanced than GPS and is more accurate. The USA has, foolishly in my view, decided to rely on Galileo for part of its military defense. This will not end well for the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39).

Over in the USA, some seem to believe that Donald Trump will bring in another ‘gilded age’ (see M&M: A New Gilded Age?). While it is possible that prosperity will be extended under Donald Trump (cf. Daniel 4:27), he is not the answer for the USA–the Kingdom of God is. Some items related to him are mentioned in the recommended sermonette for the week Twelve ‘grey swan’ events to watch for in 2017?

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p. If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.

IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

The Book of Acts contains the following:

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:26-38)

Brethren, this part of why we need more than Bibles. Therefore, we provide literature, messages, and personal contact to help fulfill Matthew 28:19-20.

Thank you for your part in support this work.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer

Posted in Letters to the Brethren