Audio - 28 Nov 2020

Latest Audio - 2020-11-28

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World Tomorrow
by Mr Armstrong
Obey God's Law
broadcast date unknown - played Wales UK 28 Nov 2020
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Sermon
by Jon Pippy
Practising Thankfulness
given Peterborough Canada 8 Dec 2007 - played Wales UK 28 Nov 2020
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News Review - 27 Nov 2020
UFO’s And The Third Temple

The missing link between

UFO’s And The Third Temple

In the last few years, UFO [Unidentified Flying Object] sightings have steadily increased. There have been reports of strange craft entering live volcanoes to access their base – with some claiming to have seen strange UFO’s coming out of the sun!

But is there any real proof?

In a age when even cameras on mobile phones can capture a sharp quality image, we have yet to see a genuine, sharp, detailed photo of a UFO, much less a little green man!

At the same time, there is a great increase in the media about a third temple to be built in Jerusalem.

Is there a link between UFOs and the Third Temple?

Israeli Rabbi Says He’s Already Holding Meetings With Messiah

Let’s look at what is happening in Israel.

A snapshot of Israel’s spiritual hunger as biggest rabbis are afraid to leave the country lest they miss Messiah’s coming.

A recent interview on Israeli radio again featured prominent rabbis explaining that the Messiah is just about to reveal himself. Rabbi Yaakov Zisholtz told religious broadcaster Radio 2000 that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky recently told him that he (Kanievsky) is already in direct contact with the Messiah.

To understand why religious Jews are taking this seriously, it’s important to know that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is considered one of the two or three top rabbis of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Israel. And Rabbi Zisholtz says that Kanievsky and others of the mystical ‘concealed’ rabbis have now tasked him with informing the public of the Messiah’s imminent arrival.

‘Getting the word out now that the Messiah is closer than ever is a matter of life and death. Haven’t you heard of Gog and Magog? That is what is going to happen very soon. Right now, the situation is explosive more than you can possibly imagine. Everyone needs to know whether they are on the inside or if they are going to be left out’.” (israeltoday.co.il)

God is not Abandoning the World, He just wants us to Move to Israel!

“Regardless who is president of the US next year, God is certainly not abandoning the Jewish People! Israel’s history is proof. Understandably, following the last US presidential election there is a lot of anxiety among those who were used to President Donald Trump doing so much for Israel during his tenure, and worry about the future should he not be the next US president.

But regardless who is president of the US next year, God is not abandoning the world, and certainly, God is not abandoning the Jewish People! God wants Jews to eventually move to Israel, and there await the arrival of the true Jewish Messiah. May it happen sooner rather than later!” (israelnationalnews.com)

End Time Fever

Many people around the world are getting caught up in end time fever. The focus seems to be the building of a third Temple.

“The end of the world is said to follow the construction of a third Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which according to some, will be a prophetic sign of the biblical apocalypse. Christian prophecies about the end of the world predict a Third Holy Temple will be built in Jerusalem in the end days. End of the world eschatology claims the Third Temple will rise before the biblical apocalypse. Many Christian evangelists and preachers believe the Third Temple is also linked to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Discussions of the end times approaching were sparked in November 2018 in response to a letter penned by the Jewish assembly of rabbis known as the Sanhedrin. Jerusalem at the time was in the grips of a mayoral election and the Sanhedrin urged both running candidates, Ofer Berkovich and Moshe Lion, to rebuild the temple.

The first two Holy Temples of Jerusalem were constructed on the city’s Temple Mount centuries ago but were destroyed by the Babylonians and the Romans respectively. The Holy Temple plays a crucial role in Jewish tradition and is a central player in prophecies and tales concerning the apocalypse.

Fears of the world coming to an end were also sparked when a snake was seen slithering out of the Western Wall. Conspiracists interpreted the snake’s arrival as the third of three unusual signs foretelling the apocalypse – the other two being the birth of a red heifer cow in Israel and fish returning to the Dead Sea.

And according to the National Catholic Reporter, the Catholic Pontiff Pope Francis believes the world will come to an end in peace and not total destruction.

In 2014, the head of the Catholic Church said: ‘God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new Earth where justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart. ‘This is where the church is heading. More than a place, it is a state of the soul where our deepest aspirations will be fulfilled with abundance’.”

The Pope also said humans will come ‘face-to-face’ with God at the end of it all.” (express.co.uk)

Red Heifers Prompt Third Temple Speculation

“‘It is a sign that man wants a connection to the Creator of the universe’. The altar and sacred vessels have been reconstructed. The architectural plans are being drawn up. Now a group is taking another step toward fulfilling the biblical prophecy of a restored Temple by raising a group of red heifers in the land of Israel.

Before the Temple can rise, builders must secure a red heifer, or ‘para aduma,’ a three-year-old female cow with totally red hair that is supposed to be able to restore a state of ‘purity’ after ritual slaughter. The Temple Institute, an Israeli organization dedicated to constructing the Third Temple, has launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to breed such animals and has already succeeded in accumulating almost $15,000 in three days.

Yet the fierce debate over the Third Temple and its importance for the contemporary world does not detract from a shared sense among many commentators of prophecy being realized in the modern world. Noting what he sees as the rise of global immorality, ominous signs of war in the Middle East, and the return of the state of Israel, Carl Gallups - pastor, talk-show host and author - enthuses, ‘The solid signs of Jesus’ soon return are all around us.’

And Joel Richardson - filmmaker, evangelist and best-selling author - believes Christians are going to be forced to confront their deepest held beliefs about the end times sooner rather than later. ‘If the Christian church seems divided now, imagine the great controversy in the days ahead when the third Jewish Temple is rebuilt. Those days are indeed coming and coming quickly’.(wnd.com)

Temple Not Required

So many people seem to be expecting a Third Temple to be built before Christ can return – but if we look carefully at scripture, this might not be the case. When the Beast’s army swoops down into the Middle East and surrounds Jerusalem, they stop the daily [evening and morning] sacrifices (Daniel 11:31).

When the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, one of the first things they did, on the Feast of Trumpets, was to build an altar and start the evening and morning sacrifices. This was before the foundation of the Temple had been laid!

Here is the account of events in the book of Ezra:

“And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.

From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid(Ezra 3:1, 6).

Sacrifices On The Temple Mount

“The only thing preventing the Jewish People from performing the Passover sacrifice is the Israeli government. The Passover sacrifice can only be offered in one place; on the Temple Mount. The sacrifice does not require an actual Temple structure but it does require an altar that is built to adhere to the Biblical requirements. Such an altar was constructed last year and stands ready.

The Sanhedrin emphasized that the plan to bring the altar to the Temple Mount was entirely consistent with President Trump’s recently released Deal of the Century which recognized Israel’s full sovereignty over the site.

‘Just like King Cyrus, this declaration by Donald Trump opens the door for the Jews to build the Temple. It is now up to us to take the next step forward. This is a watershed point in history. Once we bring the altar to the Temple Mount, even for the sacrifice of one lamb, there is no turning back. The prophesied next step is inevitable.’

‘This may have sounded drastic not so long ago but today, when faced with the coronavirus, climate change, and rogue nations, people of faith are certainly praying for the Temple service to begin immediately,’ Rabbi Meir Halevi Haka added.” (breakingisraelnews.com)

Temple-Ready Altar Dedicated On Last Day Of Hanukkah

“Although the Passover and daily sacrifices do not require a full temple, they must be done on an altar built according to the requirements of Jewish law, and placed at the appropriate spot on the Temple Mount, believed to be several meters east of the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine. Professor Hillel Weiss, a hard-right political activist and Temple activist, said he and the Temple activists and organizations would begin animal sacrifices immediately if the state allowed them to bring their altar to the requisite spot on the Temple Mount, and declared that the state should be ‘the first to support’ the resumption of these rituals.

Asked if restarting Jewish animal sacrifices on the Temple Mount would cause tensions and conflict with the Muslim world, which views al-Aqsa Mosque at the site as one of the holiest places in Islam, Weiss said emphatically that this should not be a concern and that only Jewish courage to rebuild the Temple would end anti-Jewish sentiment and actions.

‘This is propaganda disseminated by the Jewish unit of the Shabak [Shin Bet General Security Service] and antisemitic Jews who talk in the name of non-Jews and who have brought us the situation in Gaza, and other situations, and are trying to scare people,’ said Weiss.

We think the opposite, that as long as the Jews don’t have the courage to build the Temple, they will be persecuted. As long as there is no Temple, there will be antisemitism’.(jpost.com)

Christian “Awakening” To Holiness Of Temple Mount Draws Islamic Fury

“‘Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL peoples’ Isaiah 56:7 (The Israel Bible).

Until now, the bloody battle for the Temple Mount has been fought between Muslims and Jews, but a new awakening among some Christians to its significance is creating a shifting pre-Messianic reality at the already volatile site. The developing status of Christians on the Temple Mount played out a few weeks ago in a Muslim-Christian confrontation that nearly ended in violence.

Yaakov Hayman, Chairman of the United Temple Movements, encourages this awakening and sees it as having a significant place in the Third Temple. Hayman’s organization has brought a suit in the Israeli High Court to bring this vision of a House of Prayer for all nations to reality. ‘It is frightening that in this day and age that people are prevented from praying anywhere, especially on the Temple Mount,’ Hayman lamented.” (breakingisraelnews.com)

The Missing Link

Here is what Mr Armstrong had to say about the ‘missing link’:

“Notice! Understand! We speak of the mineral kingdom – the plant kingdom – the animal kingdom. Then there is the human kingdom – for humans are not animals and did not descend from animals. There is truly a “missing link”! But the ‘missing link’ does not link man to dumb animals. The ‘missing Link’ is JESUS CHRIST – the true Link between MAN and GOD – and through whom we may be born into the GOD Kingdom!(The Missing Dimension in Sex - Chapter 4)

And when that “missing Link”, Jesus Christ, returns to take over control of all nations, it will look like an…

INVASION FROM OUTER SPACE

An article that appeared in the Good News Magazine addresses the subject:

“Science fiction is one of the most popular forms of modern literature. It is read by millions. Movies, television series, comic books, magazines, all contribute to the public consumption of science-fiction themes. Isaac Asimov, the noted writer, once stated that science fiction is ‘the only kind of literature that fits this age.’ But Asimov is wrong. Science fiction is a combination of the known and the unknown. There is another form of literature that is even more relevant to this day and age and which is strictly limited to that which may be known. It does not dabble in speculation or far-out imaginings. And it is far more meaningful to this age than any science fiction that has ever been written! It is called the Bible. Now wait! Don’t go shrieking off into some philosophical solar system!

Let’s give it an honest look first!

The Bible is not a book of fiction. It is a book of facts. It contains history written in advance of its occurrence. It is a volume of revealed knowledge, impossible for mankind to arrive at by conventional means. It is the Maker’s Instruction Book, the Word of God. The Book contains an account of a coming invasion from space that will far eclipse all such fictional invasions envisioned by men.

And, more amazing, its writing was inspired by the Invader Himself! (II Tim 3:16.)

Details of the Invasion:

Does anyone know precisely when this invasion will take place? ‘But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father’ (Mark 13:32). No human knows exactly when the predicted invasion will occur. Only the great Master-Mind of the universe - God the Father knows.

But from what point in the universe will the invasion be launched? The Scriptures are specific. ‘… Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels’ (II Thess 1:7). Here we see the returning Christ leaving heaven and being revealed to the naked eye of those on the earth (Rev 1:7).

In the book of Ezekiel we are given a hair-raising glimpse of a bizarre vehicle. Read the entire first chapter of the book of Ezekiel for yourself. See if you can figure it out! This strange vehicle with its wheels and multicolored precious-stone ornaments is occupied by a Being ‘like’ a man. Its crew is made up of spirit beings called angels. It appears to be a portable throne which is conducted throughout the universe by spirit power! The last half of Revelation 19 pictures Christ’s second coming to this earth. His space flight is symbolically shown to be on a white horse. His angelic army is also symbolically descending upon white horses (Rev 19:11-15). In reality, He may actually use the means of transport pictured in Ezekiel 10.” (The Good News, November 1973)

“The Ubiquitous UFO”

Back in the early 70’s, several articles appeared in the Plain Truth magazine on the subject of UFOs.

“Astronomer and exobiologist Carl Sagan is equally skeptical. ‘I have no quarrel with those who see unidentified flying objects,’ observes Sagan. ‘It is only when they are identified that I sometimes have misgivings. As long as people are credulous and soft-minded, and as long as their wishes determine their beliefs, there will be a market for myths and prevarications dressed up in the robes of science.’

The article concludes: In the final analysis. the UFO controversy persists largely because after the crank and readily explicable cases have been excluded, a nettlesome residue remains. Roughly one in 30 UFO reports seemingly defies satisfactory explanation. For these especially puzzling cases, three possible solutions exist:

I. They would be explicable in terms of conventional science and known phenomena if the observational data were only more extensive and precise… many unsolved UFO reports are secret military aircraft, or simply clever, sophisticated hoaxes.

2. They result from purely natural phenomena which are either not yet discovered or not yet completely understood.

3. They are, in fact, not of this world, coming from another place and time, constructed by an alien technology and intelligence.

Perhaps the final answer to the ubiquitous UFO lies in a combination of all three possibilities. In any case, reports or UFOs and extra terrestrial visitations undoubtedly will persist - if only because there are so many man-made objects in our twentieth century atmosphere and because so many people have the will to believe.” (The Plain Truth, August 1976)

2020 - Our World Today

Today, in an uncertain world, people are looking to crystal balls, Viennese fortune telling tarot cards and Ouija boards to try to know what is coming on mankind. As Christian churches lie empty, the fastest growing religion in the Western world is Wicca! Many are looking to the occult for answers!

We must always keep in mind that Satan is today’s world ruler. He knows what’s coming… he knows his time is short… and we are warned to… “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

He knows that Christ is about to return to the earth…

He is preparing the earth’s inhabitants to fight anything that comes from space.

Known Knowns

We know that Christ is coming to take over the government of the whole earth.

We know that 1,260 days before He comes, the great tribulation begins.

We know that 1,290 days before Christ comes, Jerusalem will be surrounded by the Beast’s army, and they will stop the daily sacrifices. This means that the daily sacrifices have to start – something to watch for. One can only imagine the strife this would cause, not only in the Middle East, but in the whole world.

1,335 days before Christ returns, a blessing is pronounced on God’s people.

According to Mr Armstrong: “… it is the time when OUR WORK SHALL END.

That will be a time when the UNITED EUROPE shall appear – the revival of the medieval ‘holy Roman Empire’.” (Pastor General’s Report – November 20, 1979)

We shall then be warned, and readied to be taken to a place of refuge and safety from the Great Tribulation

Those who are watching cannot take their eyes off the Middle East.

This is the Ground Zero of endtime events!

While the existence of UFOs and a possible Third Temple raise questions, there is one solid fact to keep in mind…

Jesus Christ is going to return to the earth.

That’s tomorrow’s news – before it happens!

“He which testifieth these things saith,

Surely I come quickly.’

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Pastors Report - 20 Nov 2020
In Earthen Vessels

In Earthen Vessels:

"As a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13,14)

The Duality of Life:

In 1 Corinthians 15 – the 'resurrection chapter' – the apostle Paul makes very clear the dual nature of our life. The aim of both Christ and the Father is to enable us to have inherent spirit-born life, of the kind they themselves enjoy and referred to in this passage as "that which is spiritual" (verse 46). But before this is possible, it is important that we both understand and appreciate the life we presently experience – "that which is natural, from the earth, earthy."

  • It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
  • And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
  • Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
  • The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
  • As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
  • And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (I Corinthians 15:44-49)

From "dust thou art" at Adam's physical creation, and on throughout the Bible God reminds us of our humble beginnings. Job referred to " ... them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?" (Job 4:19) And as God points out in Isaiah 45:

  • Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? (Isaiah 45:9)

One key reason for being made thus is so we can change, but there are also other aspects we should keep in mind ...

Life's Purpose:

Each year in the church we rehearse the very meaning of life as we celebrate the Holy Days, which are very forward looking – focused on the spirit life that is up ahead for us as members of the very Family of God, and rescue for the human race. But I wonder if we sometimes fail to truly grasp the necessity of understanding – and fully appreciating – our current physical existence?

In our day-to-day lives we are faced with challenges, problems and often severe trials. What we really long to do – and often pray to that end – is to have them rectified ... ie. escape them as quickly as possible. Whereas God looks at the situation in a very different way from us, because most times 'escape' doesn't come about as speedily as we'd like! When Christ uttered the immortal words in the garden of Gethsemane "... take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." (Mark 14:36) He humanly would have appreciated a 'get out clause' – any possibility of escape from what He knew was coming, but He also recognised that the very purpose of His existence was nearing its conclusion, as the Saviour for all mankind.

Do we in similar fashion, as mere earthen vessels, keep in mind that the very purpose of our physical chemical existence now – as the end time around us approaches its conclusion – is to be ready as the teachers of the future, alongside our Elder Brother?

  • Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
  • and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
  • For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.
  • For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
  • Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV)
Old Age:

Many of us are now finding ourselves in a position we never expected – that of having to deal with the problems of old age. When we first came into the church we certainly foresaw the need to overcome the world as Ambassadors of a New Age, which we anticipated was just over the horizon. But it didn't quite work out that way! And God has not seen fit to allow us to escape the frailties, disabilities and bereavements that so often accompany the ageing process. But we shouldn't have been surprised – as with the exception of those that were martyred, most of God's people before us have had to face the same trial.

By the time Isaac decided to give the blessing to his son Esau, he had become blind in his old age, enabling Jacob to deceive him. In a similar way, before Jacob died, he too went blind, crossing his hands when it came time to bless Ephraim and Manasseh. In the case of king David, at the age of 70 he was described as "old and stricken in years" (I Kings 1:1). But in spite of old age, illness, bereavement etc, God had not abandoned His people. He never stopped working with them and caring for them and promises it will be the same with us;

  • And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (Isaiah 46:4)

As we age our physical strength diminishes, and 'the bloom of youth' certainly fades! Our mind becomes more tuned towards what is beyond this life and the vital necessity of God's help to not only get through each day, but to continue to achieve and grow. Often it's only the ageing process that drives home to us how short this life is and what really is important, and it's definitely not 'things'. If there is one chapter in one book of the Bible that addresses the shortcomings of ageing, it has to be Ecclesiastes 12, which encourages us all to "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;" (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

Even though the coming Millennium promises to be free of the sicknesses that so often accompany ageing, the indication is that during this time also there will still be old men and women – having to use a cane or staff for support – as there will still be much for them to learn from the ageing process:

  • Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
  • Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
  • And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. (Zachariah 8:3-5)
"That you might have Peace:"

How can we possibly effectively handle the trials, heartaches, challenges and stresses, when simultaneously limited by this very physical body that is basically dying each day we live? This is a reality that particularly hits home as we approach – and pass – the threescore and ten generally allotted to mankind. But Jesus Christ Himself encourages us with a promise of peace when we have to face such things:

  • These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

The things He had just spoken to them about concerned the actions of the Holy Spirit, and specifically the way it would not speak of itself but would impart to them the information Christ Himself wanted them to have (John 16:13,14). And as He then continues a few verses further on:

  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
  • I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:22,23)

Again – we're encouraged at the end of the gospel of Matthew that He would be with us always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) And the way that is possible is through the Holy Spirit. This is why – even though He points out that we'd all have trials in this world – we can still be of good cheer and have peace because we are not facing them alone. And the One who is with us has already overcome the world.

The Power of God:

The analogy of likening us to an earthen vessel comes from a passage in II Corinthians 4. In the preceding chapter the apostle Paul is explaining the ongoing process of conversion – changing the basic self-centred character of a carnal human being into that of a God-being:

  • Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
  • But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:17,18)

He then elaborates on this concept in chapter 4, explaining how the light of the character of Christ can then be expressed in each of the faces of those going through this conversion process, ending with the verse " But we have this treasure [this priceless process and the godly reactions that flow from it] in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (II Corinthians 4:7).

The key point is not merely the weakness of the earthen vessels but what those vessels are daily being filled with ... the power of the Holy Spirit! Paul then goes on to explain how our reactions and perceptions in the trials we face should correspondingly change as our understanding and conversion grows. And for Paul what he then goes on to explain in the next two verses of chapter 4, was not just book learning – mere academic understanding – by any means, but what he himself was having to regularly deal with. (For a list of some of the things he personally went through, check out II Corinthians 11:24-29!)

"Yet not Distressed":
  • "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed" (II Corinthians 4:8)

The translation in the King James version does not carry the full intent of the original. The words translated as "troubled on every side" would be better expressed as being squashed or squeezed from every direction. And the phrase translated as "not distressed" carries with it the inference of not being totally crushed. One particular translation that carries this concept well is the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, which says: "For we are squeezed in all things but we are not strangled.."

Naturally speaking an earthen vessel is easily broken – either by too hot an oven, or dropping it onto a hard surface. And in the outside world today, the 'heat is on' to a great degree for so many, with the covid-19 restrictions, which are not only damaging businesses and relationships – but driving some to suicide as they see their life's work ruined, their families separated and their homes repossessed.

However, the source of OUR strength cannot come from ourselves as mere "houses of clay", and it's vital that we recognise this, or we too will suffer mentally and emotionally. We have to remember the TRUE source of our strength:

  • Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
  • I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:4,5)
  • For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7)
"But Not in Despair":
  • "we are perplexed, but not in despair" (II Corinthians 4:8)

Once again, the original two words being used carry a little more meaning which links them together. "Perplexed" (Gk aporeo) carries with it the idea of "being without resources" ... i.e. not knowing which way to turn when things are going wrong. But we're not in despair ... "utterly destitute of measures or resources" (Strongs 1820) because we know that God, as the Master of Timing, will step in and see us through. With God nothing is impossible and nothing too hard for Him to do. (Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:27)

A classic example of God stepping in and rescuing His people was at the Red Sea. Ancient Israel obviously felt they didn't know which way to turn ... totally 'without resources', but the impossible happened – and was recorded for our learning:

  • And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation [rescue] of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
  • The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (Exodus 14:13,14)
"But Not Forsaken"
  • "Persecuted, but not forsaken" (II Corinthians 4:9)

We can see this in action in the Book of Acts when Paul and Silas, having been beaten were then thrust into prison. But their reaction was not a normal human reaction – and the surrounding prisoners certainly noticed this, as recorded in Acts 16:

  • And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
  • Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
  • And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. (Acts 16:23-25)

Why could Christ encourage us to have peace in verse 33 of John 16, even in such difficult circumstances? The previous verse explains:

  • Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (John 16:32)

And that is what Paul and Silas also understood "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18). At the end of the book of Hebrews, no doubt through personal experience, Paul was able to write:

  • Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
  • So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5,6)
"But Not Destroyed":
  • "cast down, but not destroyed" (II Corinthians 4:9)

Or as another translation graphically puts it: "We are knocked down, but we aren't knocked out" (II Corinthians 4;9 CEB)

How many times have we felt "I can't take any more ... ", "this is just too much pressure ... ", "this is just not working!" We might feel we just can't go on – life has become too hard, but we are able to call on supernatural help, as the apostle Paul understood:

  • Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
  • For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
  • Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Many of us, over the years can attest to the truth of the following encouragement given to the church in Corinth. This 'escape' happens in a multitude of ways, and varies from person to person, but it does happen:

  • There hath no temptation [trial, adversity, affliction, trouble] taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13)
God the Master Potter:

We're all earthen vessels – vividly described in Hebrew as "dust, earth, powder, rubbish, ashes, mortar, ground" (Strongs 06083). Indeed, "... if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing he deceiveth himself" (Galatians 6;3) And what we need to keep in mind too is that our fellow brethren – our fellow potsherds – they too are struggling in this life. We need to give each other space and time to change ... as we are all merely 'a work in progress'. Some may be a little further along the 'production line' in certain areas, often depending on age and experience, and even personality and family background. And some – as we have witnessed this past year – have had their final 'firing' and are now being safely stored by God, to be used in the near future when Christ returns. But meanwhile, we who have yet to arrive at that point, need to have confidence in the fact we're not having to battle through this life alone and should learn to relax in God's most capable hands – as Mr Armstrong, who himself was certainly no stranger to the trials and problems of this life, explains:

Now I overlooked some very important scriptures. One is how God is the Potter and we are the clay and He can fashion and mold us; we are the work of His hands but we must submit. Now I had to take a little therapy. I had a very bad knee yesterday. And my left knee is heavily wrapped in wrapping today and I think it will be all right in another day or two now. But while the doctor who takes care of that type of thing was working on me, and I had a cartilage a little out of joint and he had to twist and jerk the leg and it was a little painful at the time, but I had to just relax. I had to relax in his hands. And that’s what we must do in God’s hands. We must relax and let God form and shape us His way and He will do it. I, years ago, used to take some osteopath treatments, and I learned that the osteopath couldn’t do what he wanted to, in his twisting of my body and massaging and one thing and another, if I didn’t just completely relax. And that’s what we have to do in God’s hands. And I tell you, what He has in store for us, people in this world have no idea! It is, well, it is not just fantastic; it is awesome and clear beyond any human understanding or realization now–The Awesome Human Potential. (Transcript - Sermon (1982-10-16) - Aversion Therapy)

Transcript - 24 Nov 2020

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Listen to Me, You who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My Law: …I have put My words in your mouth, I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “you are My people” (Isaiah 51:7,16)