Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings from the Grover Beach, California.
Tomorrow, marks the time on the Roman calendar of the official declaration of the Continuing Church of God as an intended new entity six years ago.
So, because of this, the recommended sermon covers some of what has been happening in our six years, as well as some of what is ahead.
Spanish Language Materials
Last week, our Spanish language translator sent me the following translated news posts to place on the COGwriter.com news page:
Did Paul invent the virgin birth?
¿Inventó Pablo el nacimiento de una virgen?
‘Can America Fight Two Cold Wars at Once?’
‘¿Pueden los EE.UU. combatir dos guerras frías a la vez?’
China’s 40th, Robert Kuhn, and the future
Los 40 años de China, Robert Kuhn, y el futuro
J. Tkach (Jr.) sends out his last letter as a GCI employee
J. Tkach (Jr.) envía su última carta como empleado de GCI
‘100 days to Brexit: EU acts to cushion no-deal shock’
“100 días para el Brexit: la UE actúa para amortiguar el impacto de las negociaciones”
‘Why Some Christians Are Eating Biblically Clean’
“Por qué algunos cristianos están comiendo de manera bíblicamente limpia”
Is is wrong to say Amen?
¿Está mal decir Amén?
He normally does this once or twice per month.
So, in addition to having magazines and books in the Spanish language, we also post news items in it as well.
This is another avenue we utilize to teach all that we can in accordance with Matthew 24:14, Mark 13:28-37, and Matthew 28:19-20.
English and Spanish Language Magazines Mailed
We mailed the January-March 2019 edition of our Bible News Prophecy magazine to our English and Spanish reading subscribers (those in Kenya and Tanzania receive them in a different way).
Most of you should get you copies within a few days if you have not already received it.
Those going to Mexico, should get their copies in about two weeks according to Kindle Direct Publishing.
Here are online links: January-March 2019 edition of Bible News Prophecy and Noticias de Profecía de la Biblia January-Marzo 2019
Hunger in Malawi
Host Radson Mulozoa sent a report from Malawi that included the following:
We have buried two brother of the same family because of hunger, which is a sad news. They eat roots of a tree to relieve themselves from hunger without knowing that they are poisonous roots. This hunger is for the whole season until people harvest as you know we depend on agriculture as our source of income.
We sent some emergency funds on this and are looking at what we may be able to do to assist in the future (cf. Galatians 2:10; Romans 12:13; cf. James 2:14-16; Hebrews 13:16; Isaiah 58:7; Proverbs 28:27).
A Few Lines of ‘Fame’
Last Thursday, I was contacted by a writer for the UK Express who asked my opinion about an asteroid. My comments were included in an article published on Monday. Here is a link: Christmas Eve asteroid: Is this the biblical Star of Bethlehem? Is it a sign from Jesus?
As I have written before, I believe that media attention will magnify our reach and be a factor in fulfilling Matthew 24:14 and the short work of Romans 9:28. This is another, small, confirmation that this view is more than feasible.
Last Thursday afternoon, I was on the radio on the NutriMedical Report with Dr. Bill Deagle. We discussed matters related to Christmas.
I am scheduled to be on again today at 2:06 PST.
Dr. Deagle’s program is on Revolution Radio, Red State Radio, and other outlets.
Year-End Income Tax Matters
As mentioned last week, we are getting close to the end of the calendar year. Those who live in the United States, to have their contributions eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2018, need to send mail donations no later than December 31, 2018. For those who physically mail donations, they must be postmarked by December 31, 2018 to be eligible for deductibility for 2018.
All contributions received via US mail for residents of the United States are to be processed for the tax year based upon the postmarked date on the envelopes.
For contributions received via PayPal, we use the date that PayPal gives us.
The PayPal donation link for the USA is at: https://www.ccog.org/donations/
In Canada the rules may be slightly different for mailed and other contributions, so if you want the tax deduction for calendar year 2018, they likely also need to be made before the end of the calendar year to the CCOG in Canada.
(In New Zealand, they use a March 31st date.)
World News Items
The idea of a European army keeps being discussed. Germany, also, wants to recruit EU citizens into its army (see Germany’s Bundeswehr floats idea of recruiting EU citizens). Some say a European army is necessary, while others do not believe this a serious possibility (e.g. European Army: ‘Necessary’ or ‘not a serious suggestion’? However, those of us who properly understand biblical prophecy realize that it will happen (cf. Daniel 11:25, 39-43).
Over in the UK, Oxford scientists are concerned that a solar flare could one day greatly damage the economy of the United Kingdom (see ‘The Next Big Solar Storm Could Cripple Britain’s Infrastructure With £16 Billion Worth Of Damage’). But something similar, or even worse, could be caused intentionally and cause even more damage. Several nations have the capability of setting off electromagnetic pulse weapons–such weapons might one day cause damage to the UK, USA, Israel, and/or other nations.
The USA is more and more looking like a house that is divided against itself (Matthew 12:25). Currently ‘non-essential’ aspects of its federal government are shutdown over divisions on border security (see ‘White House insists anew on border wall funding’). Such divisions will not end well for the USA (Luke 11:17; Daniel 11:39).
Over in Indonesia, a tsunami hit and hundreds died (see Over 400 killed by tsunami: Could it happen to you?). The warning system many Indonesians trusted, did not work as hoped. Many did not have the time to take action as they thought they would be able to. The Great Tribulation is coming (Matthew 24:21-22). Christians need to heed the Bible’s warnings and be gathered together (Zephaniah 2:1-3) and doing the Philadelphian work (Revelation 3:7-13), and not think they can delay doing so (cf. Matthew 24:45-51).
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week for our scattered brethren:
- 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Scientists search for the human soul, but … Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: CCOG 6 years: Philadelphians understand scriptures others miss. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
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 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. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.
It is almost the year that will commonly be called 2019.
But is January 1st the beginning of the New Year God declared?
When speaking of the Hebrew month of Abib, which occurs around late March/early April God declared,
“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).
January 1st is not the beginning of the year for the true God, but only of certain false gods.
Now perhaps it should be mentioned that other cultures also accept that the new year begins in the Spring. And while those cultures have various non-biblical practices, it is certainly possible that because God’s year begins in the Spring that perhaps anciently these people were aware of it, and retained the correct season, but not the practices.
Not all have followed the practices of Julius Caesar (called “Julie” below):
For some thousands of years before Julie and the Roman Senate got involved, the new year was celebrated with the first edible crops of the season or the first new moon.
In much of India, Nava Varsha is celebrated in March or April, just as in the most ancient civilizations.
Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla in March; ditto for Persian Nowruz.
As celebrated in China and southeast Asia, Lunar New Year still has a floating date, the first day of the first lunar month. (Shore R. Pagan Party: New Year’s traditions that hail from the depths of antiquity The Vancouver Sun, Canada – Dec 26, 2008, http://www.vancouversun.com/Pagan+Party+Year+traditions+that+hail+from+depths+antiquity/1116320/story.html viewed 01/22/09)
From a biblical perspective, the new year begins in the Spring, and hence not January 1st. And it also begins with a new moon. The fact that even many non-Christian cultures realize that should make it easier for Christians to realize that they too, do not need to heed the later practices of the Romans.
Pastor and Overseer