Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings to all of you. Another full week of working on proclaiming the gospel, feeding the flock, and working on aspects of the final phase of the work.
The recommended sermon for this upcoming Sabbath is part one of an intended two-part series on Satan’s plan. There are many aspects of his plan that most Christians do not know, but that Philadelphian Christians really need to learn.
Bible News Prophecy In German!
We were able to get the Bible News Prophecy magazine in the German language uploaded today. Here is a link to it: Bibel Nachrichten Prophezeiung magazin, Januar – März 2015. This is fantastic. Our volunteer translators are greatly assisting us in our efforts to work towards fulfilling Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20!
I ended up doing a last minute radio interview on Monday. The host and I mainly discussed the decision by the US Supreme Court to allow the federal government to force the State of Alabama to allow homosexual marriage. I brought up various scriptures as to why this was not the moral thing to do (see also US Supreme Court pushes homosexual marriage on Alabama). We also discussed risks associated with mandatory vaccinations.
At this instant, I am also scheduled to be on the same show on the radio next Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 15:05 EDT/12:05 PDT. The program is called the ‘Nutri-Medical Report’ and prophetic and biblical matters are expected to be discussed. This is broadcast over the Genesis Communications Network.
Immunization Exemption Requests
Earlier this week, I was asked to provide some signed Immunization Exemption Request forms for children of members in the Midwest USA. The primary requester provided a lot of information which made it relatively easy to develop our own form for the Continuing Church of God.
Now that we have a form, I was able to send several out yesterday. If any members need one for themselves or for their children, we can provide them (but realize that it can take time as I travel and do not carry forms like that with me).
The Continuing Church of God teaches that vaccinations are a personal decision. The Continuing Church of God neither requires its members (or their children) to be vaccinated nor to refrain from vaccinations. This is a personal matter. For those who might wonder, my wife and I never had any of our children vaccinated nor have we personally ever been vaccinated for going overseas (though there could be places in the future that could mandate it).
It probably should be mentioned that although 48 of the 50 USA states allow for religious and/or philosophical exemptions to vaccinations, the US Supreme Court has basically indicated that public school systems can require this irrespective of the beliefs of the parents and/or their children. So, while we are willing to provide these exemption forms, please understand that in many lands (and not just the USA) the government is reducing rights in many areas, including those associated with vaccinations.
This upcoming Sabbath, many in the world will be observing a pagan holiday that was renamed Valentine’s Day. We have an updated article (see Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins) and a sermon available on it (watch Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam). It is NOT a Christian holiday.
Lighting for YouTube Videos
We found a portable light that was on sale (discounted) that we bought to increase the lighting we use for the Bible News Prophecy and Continuing COG YouTube videos. We used it for the first time last Sabbath, but since it was overcast outside (and we use a fair amount of natural light when we do most videos) the additional light may not be apparent. However, we think this is increasing the amount of light, which should improve overall viewing.
Neither my wife Joyce nor I are lighting experts, but have worked to improve this. In order to reduce glare, I might try something new the next time we video.
Food for Africa
Kenya-based CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng sent the following:
I went to visit our two congregations in Nyakach where I gave them the food support which was donated by the CCOG. Before saying anything, let me give the appreciation of our brethren in Nyakach. They received that support wholeheartedly and told me to thank you very much for the support.
There has been drought in Kenya in areas including Nyakach. We try to assist where we can.
World News Events
The northeast part of the USA keeps getting a lot of snow–enough to break some records (see Record breaking snowfall totals from Northeast USA; Does God use snow to correct?). What many probably do not realize is that the Bible shows that God sometimes uses snowy weather for correction (Job 37:5-6, 9-13) and even for times of trouble (Job 38:22-23).
The US Supreme Court took steps to try to force the State of Alabama to issue licenses for homosexuals to get married (see US Supreme Court pushes homosexual marriage on Alabama). While many county judges in Alabama refused, the direction that the Supreme Court has taken will result in the ‘legalization’ of homosexual marriage in all 50 states unless there is repentance there. A federal judge issued an order today to try to force a county official to issue homosexual marriage licenses. Interestingly, the Bible seems to tie the proliferation of homosexuality in with certain weather conditions, like drought (cf. Jeremiah 50:38-40), that have hit parts of the USA.
US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced that she believes that Americans are ready to accept homosexual marriage as a ‘Constitutional right.’ She mentioned “The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous” (see Justice Ginsburg: Americans are ready for homosexual marriage to be a Constitutional right). As those in the USA distance themselves more from biblical morality, they will accept many things that lead to destruction (cf. Romans 1:18-32).
In North Carolina, an atheist decided to shoot and kill three Muslims that he seemed to know. Oddly, he had earlier claimed that atheism would solve the problems in the Middle East (see Anti-theist murders three Muslims). Of course, atheists can kill and there would be national/ethnic/tribal/ego issues in the Middle East even if there was no religion like Islam.
In the USA, its President Barack Obama asked for authorization to send troops to fight the group calling itself the Islamic State (see Obama asks for troops to fight the Islamic State). Barack Obama had dismissed the Islamic State back in January 2014, but now sees it as a serious enough threat to ask for troops on the ground to fight it.
Over in the UK, Prince Charles said he hopes to “build bridges” between differing religious faiths (see Prince Charles seems to support the interfaith agenda). It may be of historical note to remember that the term Pontifex Maximus means master bridge builder. It was a title of the head of the ancient Roman Empire and was adopted by a pope in the fourth century right after a Roman emperor stopped using it. Many seem to falsely believe that the interfaith movement will bring real peace.
US Senator, and former Republican presidential nominee, John McCain accused the Europeans of promoting a policy of appeasement with the Russians over Ukraine (see John McCain indicates EU leaders using appeasement). Later, USA President Barack Obama indicated support for the European plan. As far as appeasement goes, I believe that when the USA put a German general of the the US Army in Europe last year, that was a form of appeasement. After it is too late, the USA will realize that Europe is a much bigger threat to it than Russia is (cf. Daniel 11:39).
Speaking of Russia and the Europeans, they ended up announcing a ceasefire deal today (see Cease fire deal reached for Ukraine: Will it really bring peace?). The last ceasefire deal did not last long. Ultimately, there will be a time of peace between Russia and the Europeans, but the Bible shows it will end with the Russians leading a force against Europe (e.g. Jeremiah 51:11, 28-29).
Over in the Middle East, Jordan made the news a few times for its bombing of territories controlled by the terroristic group calling itself the Islamic State (see Jordan again bombs Islamic State). The suggested sermonette for this week is related to Jordan and is titled Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon.
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:
- 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: Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon. A related written article is: Jordan in Bible Prophecy. Other sermonettes are also 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: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? A related written article is titled: Satan’s Plan. 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 that we list each week.
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.
The Book of Proverbs teaches:
2 When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. (Proverbs 11:2-6)
Brethren, be careful about pride. Pride is something that Satan counts on. Live righteously and obey God. You are in my prayers.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God