Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings once again from the Five Cities Region of California.
We have been working on getting the next edition of the magazine out, in English and a variety of other languages.
This week’s recommended sermonette will be done by New Zealander John Hickey. We videoed another one as well, but decided that the one from John Hickey would be better viewed now and the other one for a later time.
Malawi and Mozambique
Sosten Libungwa sent me an email from Malawi. He said one pastor in Mozambique decided against CCOG, but several members disagreed with him and stayed with us. He also said another pastor in Mozambique said he wanted to be part of CCOG.
Sosten included some photos of brethren in Mozambique:
Sosten Libungwa also reported that they had a fine Pentecost in Malawi.
Over 400,000 views on the BibleNewsProphecy YouTube Channel
We are still having success on YouTube.
We have now passed 400,000 views on one of YouTube channels.
The BibleNewsProphecy channel has now past 412,00 views.
Another one of our channels, the ContinuingCOG channel has had over 224,000 views.
We choose YouTube ‘television’ because it was convenient and basically free. It also has wide viewership all over the world. People in at least 214 countries and territories have seen our sermonette videos on the BibleNewsProphecy channel. People in at least 200 countries and territories have seen our sermon videos on the ContinuingCOG channel.
We Need to Develop Patience
Decades ago, in the old Good News magazine Norman Shoaf wrote:
Real, godly patience is vitally important in overcoming the trials of this life and qualifying for God’s Kingdom. Here’s how to have this patience.
Patience, you tell yourself.
You were just cut off on the freeway by another driver, and you missed your turn. Your first urge was to blast your horn at him or call him some name. He was speeding anyway. Why couldn’t he have just eased into the lane behind you?
But then you catch yourself, and begin looking for the next exit.
You’re in the supermarket. You just stopped in to pick up a couple of items — you’re due somewhere and are already behind schedule. And wouldn’t you know it? Only one check stand is open, and you’re the fourth person in line.
You have several options. You can leave in disgust and come back later to get your groceries. You can find the store manager and, fuming, give him a piece of your mind. Or you can calmly wait your turn and be cheerful about the whole thing.
We all need to develop more patience to deal with problems in our everyday lives — disagreements with our mates, annoyances from our children, unfair treatment from employers and fellow workers, inconsiderate acts of our friends.
But, as Christians, we have an even greater need to develop real godly patience, living, as we do, in the pulsating pressure cooker that is this end time. We are challenged to endure to the end, and to patiently wait for the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment on earth of the Kingdom of God.
Paul tells us, “But if we hope for that we see not [our birth into God’s Family], then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:25).
So what exactly is true, effective, godly patience? And how can we develop more of it, to better deal with everyday trials and to endure until Christ’s return?
Hebrews 12: 1 tells us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Patience is one of the virtues Peter tells us to “add” to keep from falling away from the faith (II Pet. 1:5-10).
James writes that Christians should “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jas. 1:2-4).
In all the verses referred to above, the word patience is translated from the Greek word hupomone. This Greek word means “cheerful or hopeful endurance, patience, patient continuance or waiting.”
People with real patience bear trials calmly. They are steadfast in the face of adversity or strain. Patient people are not hasty or impetuous, but act with wisdom and discretion. The Bible gives many examples of people who were shining examples of patience. God’s Word also records the failures of some others to exercise this godly trait. …
The greatest example of patience was set by Jesus Christ, who, as an innocent Lamb, died a hideous death to make possible mankind’s reconciliation to God: “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:3).
Here, then, are several ways to develop godly patience.
• Keep your eye on the overall goal. All of us are forced to deal with trials and problems. When we’re trying to reason with unconverted mates or striving to please unfair bosses or struggling to make financial ends meet, it’s sometimes hard to keep our minds on our ultimate destiny — birth into God’s Family and co-rulership, with Jesus Christ, of the universe.
But that’s exactly what we must do — keep our minds on that great, overall goal. James wrote that Christians should focus on, and conduct their lives in expectation of, Christ’s Second Coming and the Kingdom of God:
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord … Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (Jas. 5:7-8).
The most important thing on God’s mind right now is the restoration of His government to this earth and the eventual establishment of His Kingdom throughout the universe. And that has always been His goal. But consider that a thousand years to God is like a mere day (Ps. 90:4) — consider the great patience of God! We are to emulate that patience in constantly looking forward to God’s Kingdom.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab. 2:3).
• Think before you act. There is an old saying that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” A person who jumps to conclusions is likely to end up at the bottom of a cliff.
Your husband or wife made an unkind remark to you? Don’t snap back with something you’ll later be sorry you said. Rather, concentrate on glorifying God. You’re sick and tired of standing in line at a church function or at the Feast of Tabernacles? Occupy your mind with something else! Don’t dwell on your consternation about the long line, or you’ll end up saying or doing something that will set a wrong example of God’s way of life.
• Concentrate on giving. Impatience is many times rooted in selfishness.
Paul said, “Be patient toward all men” (I Thess. 5:14) — the slow bank teller, the small child who can’t understand an instruction, the rude gas station attendant, the person who drones on and on with the most boring story you ever heard. Overlook the shortcomings of others (you may have a few of your own). Forget yourself and be concerned with their welfare. “The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Eccl. 7:8).
Sincerely love the other person and look upon him as a future God — it will drastically change your perspective.
• Talk out tensions. Does a mate, a fellow employee or a friend have an annoying habit that is about to drive you up the wall? Well, if you simply cannot overlook it any longer, tell the person about it and talk out your feelings. In almost every case, the other person will not have even realized his habit bothered you, and will make an effort to stop, if you approach him with tact, meekness and sincere concern.
Ask God to grant you favor in his eyes. Don’t let the impatience and resentment build up inside you until you explode into rage or retaliate some way — you would certainly not be setting an example of godly self-control or patience then.
• Rely on God for strength. Our Father in heaven is the very God of patience, and He can help you have a mind like His (Rom. 15:5). When you think you’re at the end of your rope — you just can’t grin and bear it any longer — ask God for more of His Holy Spirit — His strength.(Shoaf N. How to Develop Godly Patience. Good News, October-November 1981).
Patience is one of the ‘gifts of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22), thus with God’s help YOU CAN develop more of it.
World News Items
The main news item to mention is today’s vote in the UK about whether or not it will remain in the European Union.
Ultimately, the UK will be taken over by a power based in continental Europe.
Interestingly, Poland’s Lech Walesa of ‘Solidarity’ fame and also the second post-Warsaw pact President of Poland, has called for a reorganization of Europe, with German direction, should the UK vote to leave the European Union (see A Post Brexit will have Germany lead Europe).
Before Lech Walesa’s comments, EU Commission President Donald Tusk suggested that a vote to leave could mark the start of the end of Western civilization (see Donald Tusk: Brexit could destroy Western political civilisation). Over in the USA, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen voiced concerns about the effect of a ‘leave’ vote for the UK, plus she has indicated that the global economy could be negatively impacted (see Fed’s Yellen warns Brexit could hurt US economy).
The vote is significant and will have major consequences for the UK and Europe. But it will also affect the Western Hemisphere and the rest of the world.
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is a suggested Sabbath service for 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: Repentance & Baptism. 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: The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18. 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 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 Apostle Paul wrote:
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Brethren, when you go through various tests and trials, remember we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God! We are being built together for dwelling place of God!
Pastor and Overseer