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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

December 2007

California Wild Fires

When the blasting Santa Ana winds propelled as many as 16 major wildfires across California last week, they summoned a veritable hurricane of embers and ash that swept from the Mexican border to north of Los Angeles. By week's end, the fires had blackened 500,000 acres, killed seven people, and destroyed at least 1,800 homes, many of them the multimillion-dollar mansions that embody California's promise of the American dream.

But for most Southern Californians, the fiercest fire since 2003 also proved to be a showcase for goodwill and lessons learned. Four years ago, a record-setting blaze that charred 750,000 acres and killed 22 people sparked recriminations among politicians, fire officials, and victims over a response that was widely characterized as slow and disjointed. In contrast, the current disaster has generated mostly praise for and among officials. ("Lessons From the Flames," www.usnews.com, Oct. 26, 2007.

Inspired Commentary

While over a century has elapsed since the following prophecy, current conflagrations should remind thoughtful observers of the conflagration to come at the second coming of Christ.

The Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth. We shall see troubles on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the depths of the sea. Navies will go down, and human lives will be sacrificed by millions. Fires will break out unexpectedly, and no human effort will be able to quench them. The palaces of earth will be swept away in the fury of the flames.

Disasters by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment's warning will occur on the great lines of travel. The end is near, probation is closing. Oh, let us seek God while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near! The prophet says: "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." (The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890.) Emphasis added.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10

Sexual "Equality"

A news item from Britain raises concern:

They are devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for almost 30 vulnerable children.

But Vincent and Pauline Matherick will this week have their latest foster son taken away because they have refused to sign new sexual equality regulations.

To do so, they claim, would force them to promote homosexuality and go against their Christian faith. ...

Earlier this year, Somerset County Council's social services department asked them to sign a contract to implement Labour's new Sexual Orientation Regulations, part of the Equality Act 2006, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal.

Officials told the couple that under the regulations they would be required to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages.

They could also be required to take teenagers to gay association meetings. ("Foster child to be taken away because Christian couple refuse to teach him about homosexuality," www.dailymail.co.uk, Oct. 7, 2007)

Inspired commentary

Remember the prayer of Jesus for His disciples:

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. John 17:14-16.

Pope Receives Saudi King, Mennonites

On Nov. 7, the Pope met with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah, the first ever meeting between a pope and a reigning Saudi king.

"The Vatican authorities expressed their hope for the prosperity of all the inhabitants of the country, and mention was made of the positive and industrious presence of Christians," said the Vatican communique on the meetings, referring in diplomatic language to the religious plight of non-Muslims in the kingdom.

Benedict greeted the king warmly, grasping both his hands before heading into 30 minutes of private talks in his library. ("Pope greets Saudi king, raises concerns," www.washingtontimes.com, Nov. 7, 2007)

Previously on October 19 the Pope received in audience a delegation from the Mennonite World Conference.

The Holy Father said: "In the ecumenical spirit of recent times, we have begun to have contacts with each other after centuries of isolation.

"Since it is Christ himself who calls us to seek Christian unity, it is entirely right and fitting that Mennonites and Catholics have entered into dialogue in order to understand the reasons for the conflict that arose between us in the 16th century. To understand is to take the first step towards healing.

"Mennonites are well known for their strong Christian witness to peace in the name of the Gospel, and here, despite centuries of division, the dialogue report 'Called Together to be Peacemakers' has shown that we hold many convictions in common," affirmed the Pontiff.

He added: "We both emphasize that our work for peace is rooted in Jesus Christ 'who is our peace, who has made us both one making peace that he might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross.'

"We both understand that 'reconciliation, nonviolence and active peacemaking belong to the heart of the Gospel.'"

But, cautioned the Pope, "Our witness will remain impaired as long as the world sees our divisions. Above all, what impels us to seek Christian unity is our Lord's prayer to the Father 'that they may all be one so that the world may believe that you have sent me.'" ("Mennonites Hear Benedict XVI's Call for Unity," www.zenit.com, Oct. 19, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. Rev. 13:3 Emphasis added.

Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders are continuing to seek a unity, but at what expense?

The wide diversity of belief in the Protestant churches is regarded by many as decisive proof that no effort to secure a forced uniformity can ever be made. But there has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed however important they might be from a Bible standpoint must necessarily be waived. (The Great Controversy, p. 444)

And to what is the unity leading?

When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result. (ibid. p. 445)

Page created:11/09/07. Updated: 11/09/07
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