October 27, 2011

Greetings from Charlotte,

We are receiving very positive reports about the Feast of Tabernacles 2011 from all around the world. God certainly blessed the Fall Festival this year with beautiful weather, inspiring sermons, uplifting music and warm fellowship. We have also heard many positive comments on the Behind the Work film that conveyed Mr. Meredith’s observations about the recent history of God’s Work and his role in this exciting Work. We would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your dedicated service and willing cooperation at the Feast this year. When everyone works together in a spirit of harmony, the Feast truly becomes the high point of the year and an exciting foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God!—DSW

Church Administration
Philippines Update: Typhoon Nesat

Before the Feast of Trumpets, Typhoon Nesat made landfall in the Philippines. Following is a report by Miss Merle Chua of the Philippines Office, sent on September 30: “According to Mr. Basilio Osillos, the brethren, particularly in the Cagayan and Isabela areas, where the Typhoon eye made landfall, did not suffer any damages. The daughter of Mrs. Lolita Martin in San Mateo, Isabella, sent text messages about how fearful they were because of the strong winds. Thankfully their properties are ok….. Mr. Jes Puzon was able to conduct services in Baguio for Trumpets yesterday. The brethren in Manila are coping ok, and most of the brethren were able to attend Trumpets in Quezon City where they had a full house yesterday.”


Goals for the Coming Year: In the book of Proverbs, Solomon advises, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:26-27). As we return from the Feast, inspired by the sermons and fellowship, it is a good time to think about setting goals for the coming year. What changes would you like to make or do you need to make to improve your physical or spiritual health? What can you do to improve your relationship with God or with your family? What can you do to serve God and others more effectively? How can you prepare now for the Kingdom of God? It will be profitable to think and pray about these issues in the days just ahead. The Apostle Paul urged Christians to “walk circumspectly [carefully, diligently]” and to make the most of the time at our disposal (Ephesians 5:15-16). Peter exhorted his audience to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). What goals can you set and work toward in the coming year that will help you prepare for the Kingdom of God? You might consider reviewing the Bible Study Course, reading a booklet per week or month, studying a different book in the Bible each month or taking a Living University course. Now is the time to prepare for the future!

Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—October 27, 2011
Earthquakes Shake the Globe. On Sunday, October 23, a 7.2 earthquake shook Turkey and destroyed thousands of buildings, killed more than 500 people, injured more than 1,600 and left as many as 40,000 homeless (Telegraph, October 27, 2011; Washington Post, October 27, 2011). On October 26, a 3.2 quake rattled the San Francisco Bay area of California and a 6.0 quake struck the South Pacific region near Fiji—just about a month after a 7.2 quake shook the same region of the “Ring of Fire,” which stretches around the Pacific Rim (washingtonpost.com, October 26, 2011; CNN Wire Staff, October 26 and September 15, 2011). Jesus admonished His disciples that they should mourn and care for those who are afflicted (Matthew 5:4). He also prophesied that as we approach the end of the age, there will be “earthquakes in var ious places” and other natural disasters (Matthew 24:7). Bible prophecies indicate that the increasing frequency and severity of these traumatic events will be the “beginning of sorrows” that will mark the imminent return of Jesus Christ to this earth (Matthew 24:8). Christians need to watch as these events begin to dominate world news and pray earnestly, “Thy kingdom come!”
Coming Eurasian Union. In a recent Russian Izvestia article, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shared his vision for a Eurasian Union. Mr. Putin noted this future union would include several former “Eastern Block” nations, and also nations from Asia and the Pacific Rim. His vision calls for “a close integration based on new values and economic and political foundation [that] is a demand of the present time.” Mr. Putin commented that “Along with other key players and regional structures, such as the European Union, the United States, China and the Asia Pacific Economic Community, it should ensure stability of global development” (Associated Press, October 4, 2011). Bible prophecy has long-foretold of something very similar to Mr. Putin’s vision f or a Eurasian Union, but with a very different outcome! Revelation 13 and Daniel 11:40-44 indicate that an end-time European Beast power [the King of the North] will move into the Glorious Land (Israel), but the Beast will be disturbed by news from the “east and the north”—the location of Mr. Putin’s Eurasian Union! Revelation 8 and 9 describe events that will take place during the final year prior to Christ’s return—the Day of the Lord. The sixth trumpet plague of Revelation 9:13-19 and Daniel 11:44 describe a 200-million-man army that will descend on Jerusalem from the East. This army will kill one-third of mankind and destroy the armies of the Beast that have occupied Jerusalem. The only nations on earth today that have the potential to muster such a vast army are located in the geographical area of this proposed Eurasian Union—Russia, China, India, etc. For more information on this exciting topic, read our booklet Armageddon and Beyond.

Government vs. Religion. For several centuries, the United States government has strictly avoided getting involved in matters dealing with churches and religion. However, in a current Supreme Court case, a woman is suing the Lutheran Church with a disability claim—something previously prohibited due to interpretation of federal law. A U.S. attorney is arguing that the case has “nothing to do with religion and church practice.” However, several Supreme Court justices expressed “shock” at the reasoning of the U.S. attorney. One justice, appointed by the President, stated she was “amazed” by the argument. Another justice found it “extraordinary” that the U.S. attorney completely dismissed two major clauses in the Bill of Rights related to church freedoms. Opponents of the case claim the goal of the U.S . attorney and the current administration is to denigrate Christianity (Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 2011). Long ago God warned that the Israelite nations would turn away from Him, “those who handle [manipulate] the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me… you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you” (Jeremiah 2:8, 19). Many today no longer appreciate the religious freedoms that stem from the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was founded, and Bible prophecies indicate there will be serious consequences, “Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you” (Jeremiah 2:19). The days ahead are going to be instructive and sobering if America continues down this path.—Scott Winnail and Justin Ridgeway

COGwriter 2011

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