by Philip Henderson
Being Fully Dependent
given Wales UK 4 July 2015
|Today - July 4th - is Independence Day in the USA, celebrated at a time when many of the religious freedoms they sought are now under threat. But far from being independent, Jesus Christ said: "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). He remained fully dependent on The Father - a stance we too need to follow. (2.6 Mb)|
by Joseph Forson
given Wales UK 4 July 2015
|Following on from the sermon given last week - "Seven Steps to Perfection" - this sermon expands the 6th point on praying intercessory prayers. It explains how we can interceed for: healing; divine intervention; compassion; getting back on track. (12.8 Mb)|
A Voice Cries Out: Civilization is in danger of cosmoscide.
It’s time to look to causes!
Back in the early 1980’s, Mr Herbert Armstrong placed several adverts in the prestigious Wall Street Journal. These messages were aimed at the leaders of the day. What follows is the text from one of these adverts which appeared November 1980. As you read the article, ask yourself the question: Did he get it right? Over 34 years later, is “Civilization really in danger of cosmoscide?”
“LEADERS OF AMERICA, WAKE UP! – or face human extinction! The nation and the world are fraught with troubles and evils seemingly past human remedy. SURVIVAL is now our No. 1 problem! It appears now that if weapons of mass destruction do not soon erase mankind from the earth, the population explosion will!
There has to be a CAUSE for every effect. Too often people try to find solutions by dealing with effects. But until CAUSES are removed, the effects will not just go away. In the imperative search for causes we look now to the six major facets that have made civilization what it is: government, business and industry, science and technology, modern education, organized labor, religion.
Where have these gone wrong?
A week ago we covered an overview of modern education. Civilization is what its leaders have made it, and education is the alma mater of the leaders. They are largely what the educational system made them. Education has succumbed to intellectual materialism. Knowledge of the TRUE VALUES was jettisoned somewhere along the way. Humanity’s problems are spiritual in nature and a materialistic knowledge cannot understand or solve them.
Later we will focus on business and industry, on science and technology, on organized labor and on religion.
But recently this country has been concerned with a presidential election. So we take, now, a quick overview of government. What has government contributed either to the cause or the solution of present escalating evils?
Over the years I have been invited to personal conferences with numerous heads of state – kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers – and others high in government under them, in many other countries.
I have said often to them that there are only TWO WAYS or philosophies of life, broadly speaking. And these travel in opposite directions. One will produce peace, universal prosperity and well-being. The other will CAUSE precisely what we have in the world today!
I simplify these two basic motivations so even a child can understand. One is the way of “GET” – the other the way of “GIVE.”
“GET” is the way of self-centeredness, vanity, covetousness, envy, jealousy, hostility, resentment of authority over one. “GIVE” is the way of outflowing LOVE – concern for the well-being of neighbor equal to self-concern. It is the way of helping, serving, sharing – of kindness, consideration, goodwill.
GOVERNMENT is that organized authority over the people to insure by law and order to each the freedoms and liberties that do not infringe on the lawful rights and liberties of others.
But politicians govern in a world living the “GET” way of life. Government should produce a contented, happy, peaceful and prosperous society.
But politicians have grown up in this world addicted to the way of “GET.” It would indeed be naive to suppose they have not absorbed the “GET” motivation. Nothing in their educational training inculcated within them the “give” incentive. So it is normal that they have followed the old saying, “Jones pays the freight, give Jones what he wants.”
Now Jones wants to “GET” from government. And political candidates want to “GET” Jones’ votes. But Jones in this country is divided in many group votes. What one faction may want to “GET” from government too often collides with another. The candidate often walks a tightrope, and to win both faction votes the candidate sometimes succumbs to making promises he can’t deliver.
If the public wants to “GET” from government, we must not suppose political candidates do not covet power. So in government in this country we have the merry-go-round of people trying to “GET” from government, and politicians using every strategy to “GET” POWER!
I will relate an incident in case. I was entertaining at dinner in my home an overseas diplomat sometimes called “the strong man of Europe.” A presidential inauguration had just occurred in Washington.
“What,” asked another guest of the European politician, “do you suppose was going on in the mind of the new president while taking the oath of office?”
“How to be reelected four years from now, of course,” came the instant reply.
What, after all, has government contributed to the present state of society – the nation and the world? Government has not corrected or changed the human-nature way of “GET,” but operated with it. And every evil dragging this sick world toward cosmoscide has been CAUSED by the “GET” nature in MAN! We call it human nature.
But we need government. The alternative would be anarchy!
Governments of nations over the world do work for PEACE – even fight and war for PEACE! And we still have wars. I know that the responsibility of the chief office in government weighs heavily on men in such high office. I have talked with many heads of state who admit privately that they face problems beyond human power to solve.
Some world leaders have said humanity’s only hope lies in a single WORLD government over all nations, with only one military force. Yet in the same breath they admit the impossibility of man to produce it.
An editorial some time ago in U.S. News & World Report stated it a different way – that it would now seem the only hope for human survival lies in the intervention of a strong “Unseen Hand from Someplace”!
This voice announces, believe it or not, both these solutions will happen in our lifetime. MANKIND won’t change human nature, nor set up the world government – doesn’t even have to believe it – BUT IT WILL HAPPEN TO US! And in this generation we shall see a new WORLD TOMORROW, with universal well-being for all.” (The Worldwide News – November 24, 1980)
In the advert, Mr Armstrong stresses cause and effect. Here are just two areas where we can see this in practice.
Cause: People trying to “GET” from government
Effect: Worldwide “Monetary Mayhem”
People demand a certain standard of living from their government. They are trying to “get” from government. To stay in power, governments have to borrow money to pay the bills, and stay in power. The end result is that the world is being crushed under a burden of debt!
How big is that burden?
$53,008,208,452,765 - that's $53 trillion!!
“$53,008,208,452,765 - that number almost looks like something of fantasy - make believe - possibly the answer to a very complex mathematical equation. Globally, we somehow accumulated a debt just surpassing $53 trillion…
The US alone [accounts] for almost 33% of the world’s debt with a staggering $17.3 trillion, topping the list at number one…
Latest calculations indicate there is about $1.27 trillion [in cash] floating around in the US, worldwide there is said to be close to $10.5 trillion. With 97% of all currency which doesn’t even seem to really exist due to that it’s all electronic. You get to see a number under an account from a bank that’s all digital, you’ll never physically get to hold or really see this ‘money’ your account number displays to you.” (therichest.com)
The amount of interest/usury paid on all this debt is huge! Here are a few examples in billions:
As the US figure shows, these usury payments are crippling – the US defense budget for 2015 was around $560 billion – just slightly more than the interest payment on their debt!
Author and investment advisor Patrick Wood made the following comment in a recent newsletter:
“The biggest issue that bothers me is that the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) sparked a headline last night in Europe: ‘The world is defenseless against the next financial crisis’, warns BIS (telegraph.co.uk). The BIS is central bank to all central banks, and sets global central bank policy from Basel, Switzerland. The BIS report states that low interest rates and poor fiscal policy have contributed to global risk, and in particular, to Greece’s lack of structural reforms.
Considering that the BIS is largely responsible for the financial mess the world is in right now, it is very disturbing that they are the ones blowing the whistle. This just doesn’t pass the smell test.
Why is everyone ganging up on Greece and trying to scare the daylights out of everyone else? Are they TRYING to precipitate a global financial crisis?” (freedomsphoenix.com)
Do the financial leaders of today’s world realise that the only way out is to destroy the present financial system and replace it with a cashless society?
This is a situation to watch closely.
The fact that virtually all nations are in debt shows that governments around the world have failed to keep their financial houses in order.
This mountain of debt is the effect!
The cause is the nations all living the way of “get”!
Cause: Politicians strive to “GET” power!
Effect: We now live in a “post Christian society”
Governments that wish to stay in power often make big issues out of causes sponsored by minority groups. The decision to “legalise” same sex marriage is a prime example.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron: “Same-sex marriage was one of my proudest achievements in 2014”
Just last week the US Supreme Court made its long awaited ruling on same sex marriage. The media quickly responded!
Obama: We Need To Help People Overcome Their Religious Beliefs
“Sometimes there are days like this when that slow and steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” Obama said. Although the progress might have seemed slow to gay rights advocates, he added, the nation’s shift on same-sex marriage has been “so quick.”
“But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple often painfully, real change is possible,” the President continued.
“Shifts in hearts and minds is possible,” he said. “And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them. Because for all our differences, we are one people — stronger together than we could ever be alone.”
This veiled call to arms indicates that the war on conservatives is truly going hot. He has labeled religious people as backward and a hindrance to all others. The left isn’t capable of ‘help’. The socialists accomplish their ends with verbal and physical assaults wrapped inside lies and corrupt measures.” (12160.info)
What is interesting is that Mr Obama said: “those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them”. These were almost exactly the same words used by “enlightened” ministers in the Worldwide Church of God to “help” people understand the “new” doctrine – which was nothing more than a return to Protestantism!
Here is a government decision that affects less than 4% of the population. But as over 50% of the nation can’t see anything wrong with same sex marriage, this was, in many quarters, a popular decision. According to some, it shows a government that is “sensitive to the wishes of the people”. However, for those who claim to be Christian, this warped decision has serious repercussions, as the following article points out:
“Rod Dreher, writing in an article in Time Magazine, has this to say about the recent US Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage: ‘LGBT activists and their fellow travelers will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society.’
America in 2015 has officially become a post-Christian society, led by the treasonous activities of our post-American president, Barack Hussein Obama. The massive paradigm shift towards the full-throated embrace of same-sex culture will be the main legacy that Obama will leave behind. That is if he actually ever leaves the White House. Obama ran for president on the platform of being a ‘committed Christian’, but obviously, he is nothing of the kind. He has completely fulfilled his promise to ‘fundamentally transform America’, and Christians are now in the cross-hairs of the coming persecution.
This week’s US Supreme Court decision has set up a number of situations that American Christians must be wide-awake and prepared for. One of the first casualties in the coming war will be the ostracizing of all those who will not go along with the ‘new normal.’
Keep in mind that the LGBT have never wanted ‘tolerance’ or ‘acceptance’, what they are after is control of the narrative, and this is exactly what Obama and the Supreme Court have handed them on a silver platter. Churches who will not perform same-sex ‘weddings’ can say goodbye to their tax-exempt status, and pastors who preach against the LGBT agenda will be silenced. Already, we are seeing whole Christian denominations making the shift to embracing the LGBT agenda in order to preserve their income levels and avoid jail time.
The Holy Bible must Change!
In our new LGBT-centric society, the Holy Bible will be one of the first casualties. Because the Scriptures clearly declare, in both Testaments, that God is against same-sex anything on any level, the LGBT police are busy rewriting the Scriptures and attempting to explain away what God has to say about the same-sex lifestyle. One of the most vocal proponents of this is Matthew Vines, who wrote a book called ‘God And The Gay Christian’. Vines is conducting a very active campaign to convince Christians that God approves of the LGBT lifestyle, and that the Bible doesn’t really speak against same-sex unions.
Since most Christians do not actually read or study their Bibles, his slick presentation, I am sure, will serve to sway some of them to his side of the argument.
America, in the past, has been greatly used of God to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. But that open window of evangelism effectually closed with the Supreme Court decision, as the coming dark days ahead will prove. Christians who will stay true to God’s word should not be surprised when their employment is terminated, when they are denied health care coverage for being anti-LGBT, and when they are hauled into court for ‘hate speech’.
The tide has turned, and ‘one day, someday’ has arrived. America in 2015 has become something that our Founding Fathers would only not approve of, but wouldn’t even recognize. Are you ready for what comes next?” (nowtheendbegins.com)
No! …but it will be a close run thing! Jesus Christ did warn us!
“For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22 New Living Translation).
The root cause of today’s problems? A failure of government:
“Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you; they send you down the wrong road” (Isaiah 3:12 New Living Translation).
And the result? A nation cut off from God!
“Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (Isaiah 59:1-2 New Living Translation).
The following scripture describes the nations of Britain and America today! This is what is happening in our courts right now!
“We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked” (Isaiah 59:13-15 New Living Translation).
What’s coming – in the very near future, is not cosmoscide – it’s a future for the whole of mankind that is so wonderful it seems unbelievable! But this is not a new message. This is the same message which Christ brought over 1,900 years ago – which is totally neglected by modern day Christians.
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’.” (Mark 1:14-15 New King James Version)
The old English word “gospel” means “good news” - Christ came to give the world the “good news of the coming Kingdom of God”. This “good news” was tied to our time today – right before the end of the age – the end of the 6,000 years of man’s efforts to rule himself – which has been a total disaster! Jesus Christ Himself explains:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and THEN THE END WILL COME” (Matthew 24:3, 14 New King James Version).
The “good news” has been preached in all the world…
That “good news” of the coming “Kingdom of God” went out for over 50 years on radio, television, in the Plain Truth magazine, in books and booklets and in sermons. These adverts in the Wall Street Journal were another phase in that same program…
Re-read the last few lines of the advert…
That message still stands! That “Unseen Hand from Someplace” is not far off!
“An editorial some time ago in U.S. News & World Report stated it a different way – that it would now seem the only hope for human survival lies in the intervention of a strong “Unseen Hand from Someplace”!
This voice announces, believe it or not, both these solutions will happen in our lifetime. MANKIND won’t change human nature, nor set up the world government – doesn’t even have to believe it – BUT IT WILL HAPPEN TO US!
And in this generation we shall see a new WORLD TOMORROW, with universal well-being for all.”
For more information on this vital subject, go to getbackontrack.org
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
As the saying goes, "The longest journey begins with a single step" – and the longest journey for all of us, within this present physical existence, is life itself. Every facet of daily living begins with a single step - but that step inevitably also involves a simple, yet vital, decision of which way to go, what path to choose. Before setting out on any undertaking we need a goal – to know where we are heading. It might be a job search, or a house move, or a need for a husband or wife, or a myriad other smaller issues. But unlike the world, we in God's church should want God fully involved in the process. And in order for Him to be our partner in life's decisions, He gives us a clear direction as to what must be our first priority and goal – to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness:
The above passage, by specifying "seek first" also clearly acknowledges our need for secondary and tertiary goals in life, but the primary direction of all choices we make now, while being moulded and worked with, is clearly set for us by the Master Potter Himself.
But what exactly should this phrase – "his kingdom and his righteousness" – mean to us on a day by day basis? God's righteousness as a primary goal is relatively straightforward to understand – to live by all God's commands (Psalms 119:172) by "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), and to do so with a converted, outgoing mindset. But how do we seek first the Kingdom of God in the choices we make? The answer to that question is given to us in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11:
Seeking first the kingdom of God, or the country ruled by the Family of God, requires a total shift in our approach to this world – to this age, whatever country we presently live in. It requires a total shift in the decisions we make. It affects the choices we take day in and day out, hour by hour, minute by minute! This is not our world, our society, our age. We must therefore choose our path continually in this life as mere strangers and pilgrims of the age in which we find ourselves. Aliens, in fact. And when we do this, we declare plainly that we are seeking a different kingdom – the kingdom of God! But are we doing this on a regular basis? Do we really make our choices as ambassadors of a completely different world – a completely different Spirit-born Kingdom? Are our decisions affected by the rank materialism that seems to be the overriding mindset of the western world in particular? Or are we letting this age's despondency and hopelessness impact on us as well? Drag us down? Divert our eyes from the goal - and promise - set before us by God Himself in the following verses:
From time to time we in the ministry come across people who let us know they are angry with God. We receive emails from individuals who end up blaming God and/or the Church for the circumstances they find themselves in. "For we have fasted, prayed, fasted and prayed yet no answers are forthcoming ..." they write. Yet all too often such individuals are striving for and coveting the big break physically – while totally ignoring the small opportunities that continually come along to fulfil the far more important spiritual goals. King Solomon shrewdly expresses the problem this way: "Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth." (Proverbs 17:24)
If we find ourselves falling into such a position we need to ask if our goals have shifted, skewing our day-to-day decisions. Are we really still seeking first God's kingdom and righteousness in the choices we make – recognising this present life – with all its highs and lows – as part of our training for an immortal existence? That what we experience now is merely temporary, but what we are working towards is eternal? (II Corinthians 4:16-18)
Or have we been sucked into this world's view of life and success and are therefore made prone to suffering the world's despondency and hopelessness of the situation when the mirage fails to materialise?
But there is another approach we also see from time to time within God's church in regard to choices made. Some fast and pray about a problem – and because they claim to have fasted about it they therefore assume that whatever may then pop into their mind just has to be right. In fact, is so "right" it can be set in stone, and woe betide anyone who points out evidence to the contrary. The approach is only marginally different from the Pharisee who fasted twice a week, but yet remained blind to his shortcomings;
And God specifically addresses the contentious approach when He says:
The problem is, such fasting is self-centred. It's entire aim is to GET answers – and get what WE want – but that's not why we should fast, nor how we should pray, nor how we must learn to make righteous choices in this life.
Certainly when faced with major choices and decisions, fasting is a vital tool in our armoury. But fasting in the carnal ways described above does not achieve a Godly result. It is approaching the subject from a worldly perspective. And according to Scripture it is impossible for the world, currently swayed by Satan and therefore blinded, to use a correct spiritual perspective towards anything:
So too for fasting – which is an absolutely vital spiritual tool on a par with prayer, Bible study and meditation. The reason those in the world fast and the reasons we should fast in the Church are very different. Ghandi used fasting in a worldly way to to force his own will over his flesh, and to force his own will over others. But that's not the reason Christ gives us in the Church for fasting.
Jesus Christ explains that fasting is done as a means of drawing close to God – not self-mastery.
When Christ spoke the above words, He revealed the heart and core of why we in the Church must fast today. At the time, the disciples had Christ with them. So there was no need for them to fast – as they could just talk with Him, and He was God, there, in the flesh, with them. There was absolutely nothing stopping them communicating. But once Christ left this earth, they lost that intimate physical contact and needed to fast. And we all desperately need to keep in contact with God. Yet the passage in Isaiah 66:2 explains that to do this, a humble spirit is essential – the very antithesis of Satan's spirit of vanity that is being pumped into the world in which we currently live. (Ephesians 2:2)
Fasting therefore is a tool that enables us to speed up the process of humility that we need to gain this clear contact with God by destroying our normal spirit of vanity. It allows us to very rapidly see reality – of how pathetically frail we actually are, and how different Almighty God actually is in comparison. And that view then allows us to approach Him in the correct way. It is not in any way self-mastery, as that is incoming. It must be self-humility (before God). That's the key. And unfortunately for all of us, feeling rotten is indeed part of that process!
If it is any help, I personally find that the benefit is not during the fast at all. During the fast, I may meditate, study, pray – but unable to do any of them with any real fervour as I feel so fuzzy-headed. The benefit I find is afterwards. Then the mind is clearer and you can look back at the lessons of humility learned during the fast using a brain that then works!
The abject misery, violence and chaos we witness in the world today is the result of a series of choices. Genesis chapter 3 concentrates on one of the most critical human decisions of all time:
Although it was Eve who took the forbidden fruit, Scripture tells us that, unlike Eve, "Adam was not deceived" (I Timothy 2:14) but appears to have been persuaded by a conversation with his wife against his better judgement (Genesis 3:17) – a fatal choice that brought physical death on all mankind (Romans 5:12)! And so it is today – a world held captive by the same "way of get" (sin) – a way of life that clouds every judgement, every choice this unhappy world makes. It takes to itself the knowledge of what is right and wrong – disregarding God's revelation, and indeed as Jeremiah 9:6 brings out, even refusing to acknowledge there is a God! Instead we witness countless billions walking "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2) ....and reaping the miserable results.
But just as today's world is the way it is because of a series of choices, so will it be in the World Tomorrow. Having a clear and exciting perspective on the correct goal in life will automatically guide mankind to make correct and godly choices:
And this is why it is so vitally important for us within God's church today to seek first "the kingdom of God and his righteousness" so we will be able to fulfil our calling and be ready to teach the correct choices in life – the very thinking of God;
And the result? – a true Utopia for all mankind: