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FIRST, THE NEWS: FastDomain Website Hosting


FRANCE PASSES LAW IMPOSING UP TO TWO YEARS PRISON FOR RUNNING PRO-LIFE WEBSITES
from: Lifesite News

French national assembly (17 Feb.) The French National Assembly has adopted legislation to make what it calls “spreading misleading information” about abortion punishable with up to a two-year prison sentence and a fine.

The law specifically targets “electronic” and “online” means of spreading information with the intention of dissuading women from ending their pregnancy, but its wording is not restrictive. By and large, any person or group aiming to call public attention to the dangers and risks of abortion will be potentially at risk of prosecution.

Thursday’s vote was the final stage of a lawmaking process that saw various versions of the text come alternately before the Assembly and the Senate. The upper house repeatedly tried to impose less severe wording without trying to scrap the law entirely. In the absence of an agreement between the two governing bodies, the National Assembly has the last word and so it achieved its aim of virtually outlawing pro-life speech.

The law was adopted by a show of hands – an indication that few lawmakers were present in the Chamber – during which all left-wing representatives present as well as a majority of the centrists voted for the measure. It is the latest in a series of pro-abortion laws that have made “voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” as the French euphemism goes, a purely elective and 100 percent publicly-funded “fundamental right” since socialist François Hollande came into power five years ago. [read more...]


VICTORY FOR CHRISTIANS: GEORGIA STATE EMPLOYEE FIRED FOR WEEKEND SERMONS PREVAILS
from The Stream

Dr. Eric Walsh (10 Feb.) Dr. Eric Walsh’s lawsuit against the State of Georgia came to an end when the state agreed to pay the Seventh-Day Adventist and former state employee $225,000. First Liberty Institute, the non-profit law firm representing Walsh, announced the victory Thursday. The settlement comes after a nearly three-year legal battle in which Walsh, a lay-minister for his church, accused Georgia of religious discrimination.

Dr. Walsh, a member of former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and holder of multiple advanced degrees, was hired as a district health director with Georgia’s Department of Public Health in 2014. But officials abruptly fired him after reviewing YouTube videos of sermons he had preached on the weekends. First Liberty Institute, a national non-profit law firm based in Texas, helped Walsh file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC).

As The Stream reported last April, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits the discrimination of employers based on their religion. “No one should be fired from their job for something they said in a sermon," First Liberty Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys told The Stream at the time. Otherwise, “It will be fair game to examine the notes you took in church or the Sunday School lesson you prepared during your annual review.” [read more...]


ORTHODOX PRIEST MAY BECOME A VOICE OF THE COUNTRY
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine

Fr. Oleksandr Klimenko (13 Feb.) Archpriest Oleksandr Klimenko of the UOC impressed all four judges of the contest “Voice of the country 7” with his singing. During the blind auditions Fr. Oleksandr Klimenko has performed a song by Mykola Mozhovyi “Mother's Love” and by the power of his voice has made all the four coaches rotate their chairs to see him.

Answering Jamala’s question about the attitude of the Church to his participation in this show Fr Oleksandr said: “If the image of a priest on stage will inspire someone to pray – it is great. Chesterton, a famous writer of the twentieth century, said that entertainment is in human power, but the real joy is in the power of God. I will try to participate in things that bring authentic joy and withhold where there is just entertainment.”

Behind the scenes of the “Voice of the country 7,” Archpriest of the UOC, Fr Oleksandr Klimenko told why he actually came to the singing show and why it was important for him that only one coach rotates to see him. According to the priest, every song is a small sermon for him. “I was afraid that already two will turn faces on him. I would like only one to turn around. It would be a little easier for my pride,” says the priest. [read more...]


UZBEKISTAN: RELIGIOUS LITERATURE FINES AND CONFISCATIONS CONTINUE
by Mushfig Bayram: Forum 18 News Service

Forum18 News Service (10 Feb.) Bailiffs in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent in January confiscated a car from Seventh-day Adventist pastor Andrei Ten because he did not pay an August 2016 fine for giving religious books away. The books had originally been approved by the Religious Affairs Committee, which then apparently changed it mind so as to fine the Pastor. He was denied the chance to appeal against the fine, and an extra fine was imposed for not paying the first fine. The confiscated could be worth more than three times the value of the fines.

In August 2016 police and National Security Service (NSS) secret police arrested four men riding in a taxi in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. They then confiscated copies of a religious book which the Religious Affairs Committee had in writing stated that, after "expert analysis,” was allowed to be imported and distributed in Uzbekistan. One of the men, Pastor Andrei Ten of the registered Seventh-day Adventist Church, was summoned to a police station and asked to write a statement that he gave out copies of the book. He was only then shown a second "expert analysis” in which the Religious Affairs Committee contradicted itself banning the book. Pastor Ten was on 19 August fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage, the other three men being each fined five times the minimum monthly wage. On 19 January Bailiff Tuychiyev with five colleagues broke into the grounds of Ten's home. They waited for Ten, and when he returned home at 8 p.m. illegally confiscated his car.

In Nukus, police are pressuring a local Protestant to sign a record officers want to dictate admitting to the "offence” of having religious literature in his home. Nine police officers, only one of whom was in uniform, broke into Bakhbergen Abdikarimov's flat in Nukus in the afternoon of 27 November 2016. The police did not have a search warrant, so both their breaking into his home and subsequent search were illegal. Police confiscated one Christian book, three CD and DVD discs - one of which contained a video of Abdikarimov's wedding - and one memory chip, local Protestants who wish to remain unnamed for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18 on 2 February.

Police then took Abdikarimov to Nukus Police Station and questioned him for three hours. The unnamed officers demanded that he write a statement they would dictate, in which he would claim to be illegally storing Christian books in his home. Abdikarimov refused to do this and the police then released him. Since then Nukus Police have been "constantly making phone calls to summoning him to Nukus Police Station”, Protestants stated. [read more...]


MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE WELCOMES MEASURES ON BANNING STATE FUNDING OF ABORTIONS IN THE USA
from: Interfax-Religion

Interfax Religion (14 Feb.) The Russian Orthodox Church stressed the importance of anti-abortion measures recently adopted in the USA. "These actions aimed at strengthening traditional family values and supported by the United States Conference of Bishops, cause respect and solidarity," Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, said in his statement quoted by his press service.

As was reported, the House of Representatives in the USA Congress approved of a bill banning to use money of tax-payers to abortions and President Donald Trump prohibited state funding of international NGOs that carry out or spread information about abortions. Thus, he abolished Barack Obama's decision which eliminated this ban in 2009. According to Legoyda, the American bill that bans to allot budget money for funding abortions "witnesses to Christian views on holiness and integrity of a human life from the moment of conception, which was also reflected in suggestions of the Russian Orthodox Church on excluding abortions from the mandatory health insurance, supported by 100,000 people throught Internet vote."

"Efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church aimed at excluding abortions from the mandatory health insurance are backed up by representatives of American conservative circles. For example, Brian Stephen Brown, president of the World Congress of Families and American co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, spoke about it at our recent meeting," the church official said. [read more...]


THE POPE AND THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH MET A YEAR AGO. HERE'S WHAT'S NEXT.
from: Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis met Patriarch Kirill (12 Feb.) One year ago marked a historic first meeting between a Pope and a Russian Orthodox Patriarch. Now, the Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate will celebrate the meeting’s anniversary with a conference at Switzerland’s Freibourg University. The conference will take place Feb. 12, exactly one year after the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill at the St. Marti airport at the Havana.

Christian brotherhood and unity were the focus of the 2016 meeting. “We spoke as brothers,” Pope Francis said of the meeting last year. “We have the same baptism. We are bishops. We spoke of our Churches.” Patriarch Kirill said their private discussion was conducted “with full awareness of the responsibility of our Churches, for the future of Christianity, and for the future of human civilization” and provided a chance to understand each other. He said the two Churches will work against war.

Now, one year later, Catholic and Russian Orthodox leaders will gather in Switzerland for a conference. The event is held by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and Metropolitan Hilarion, president of the department of the external ecclesiastical relations of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate. Cardinal Koch and Metropolitan Hilarion both led the negotiations that led to Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill’s joint statement in Havana. At the Switzerland conference they will talk about progress and rapprochement between the two Churches. [read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

UKRAINIAN CHAPLAINS DO PUSH-UPs TOGETHER TO SUPPORT UKRAINIAN MILITARY
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

ROMANIA: A NATION IN PROTEST, A CHURCH IN PRAYER
from
Mission Network News

CROSS MISSING AT THE MOLDAVIAN FLAG DURING ITS PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO IRAN RESULTED IN A SCANDAL
from
Interfax-Religion

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ACTIVISTS THREATEN VIOLENCE AGAINST MOVIE THEATRES
from
Russia Religion News

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT GIVES A GRANT FOR RESTORATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF ORTHODOX CHURCHES
from
Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate

MEATFARE SUNDAY: THE LAST JUDGMENT
from
Pravoslavie.ru

CHINA: 36 SOUTH KOREAN CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES KICKED OUT
from
Eurasia Review

IMAGINING UNITY WITH THE CHURCHES OF THE EAST
from
Jappers and Janglers


NOW, OUR VIEWS:

Here are a few of this week's "Daily" posts. For more...
Go To: Daily News & Views and Share the latest
posts in your Social Media streams. Check it daily!



Feb. 17, 2017 - Here’s a Preview of Where Transanity Is Leading Us

Feb. 17, 2017 - Is the Left Playing With Fire?

Feb. 16, 2017 - Leftwing Intolerance and Rightwing Hypocrisy

Also, SHARE my posts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Pinterest because
I post much more on Social Media than what's on my Hosken-News website!


Christianity a sanitized fairy taleThere are many people, even some who call themselves Christians, who think Christianity Is a Sanitized Fairy Tale. They prefer to believe that if everybody would just love each other, if we would all simply "go along to get along," if those politicians would just operate according to Robert's Rules of Order, then everything will be just lovey-dovey and hunky-dorey. Wishful thinking!

But this is not a fairy tale world or a Christian Paradise that we live in, if it ever was. This is the real world, folks, where there really are mean and nasty people out there who are trying to destroy our tolerant, democratic Western civilization, and massacre anyone who dares to resist. Toleration only works if all parties agree to practice it. The above headlines FRANCE PASSES LAW IMPOSING UP TO TWO YEARS PRISON FOR RUNNING PRO-LIFE WEBSITES and VICTORY FOR CHRISTIANS: GEORGIA STATE EMPLOYEE FIRED FOR WEEKEND SERMONS PREVAILS should tell us that anti-Christian political and cultural forces are at work in Europe and the U.S. to radically change our culture. Socialism is now showing the teeth in its ugly face right here in the West.

the soft coup continues Judicial Watch, a non-partisan (but conservative-leaning) legal organization, and several other sources have just this week broached the topic that a "soft coup" against the current U.S. Administration is underway. The recent upsurge in divisiveness by Main-Stream Media news reporting seems to indicate a broad move by the Leftist secular humanists who sense their control over society is slipping away. They are putting on a full-court press to use whatever levers of power - the press, judiciary, intelligence as well as political circles - to chip away at the Administration's authority.

A "soft coup" is a non-violent attempt to delegitimize a government and cause it to collapse, as the video and transcript explain (the problem is, the latest street riots indicate that it might not be very "soft"). The recent resignation of the newly-confirmed National Security Advisor for violating the Logan Act of 1799 is merely a pretext. Nobody has ever been prosecuted under that Act, because the Logan Act contradicts the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. How many former U.S. Presidents, other former politicians, actors, actresses, war protesters, etc. have visited foreign countries and have conducted "unofficial diplomacy" with those countries' leaders?


Just in case you hadn't noticed it at the top of this newsletter, the reminder below is to remind you (doubly redundant!) about our next free online course. Please, don't skip over it thinking, "I'll just let someone else do it." You are that someone: DO IT!

The enrollment deadline for our next free online course, "Care for Various Health Conditions," (← click!) is next Thursday, 23 Feb.! The course starts on Monday, 27 Feb. and runs for 6 weeks. So enroll today, before you forget!


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We Are Coworkers Together With God

coworkers together with GodSt. Paul wrote: "For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's planting, God's building" (1 Cor. 3:9). The Greek word for "coworkers" or "fellow workers" is "synergoi" and for "working together" is "synergeo" - often used in the New Testament as workers or working together with God:

"They went out, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen" (Mark 16:20).

"Working together with Him [Christ], then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain" (2 Cor. 6:1).

"and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith" (1 Thes. 3:2).

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them" (Eph 2:8-10).

The Early Church's teaching on "Synergy" is just what the above verses describe: God's grace working in all human beings, enabling us to freely choose to work together with Him and do good works. God's love and grace toward all mankind is the overriding theme of the Apostles, the New Testament, and the Early Church:

"Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mat. 28:19).

"He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light, the true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world" (John 1:8-9).

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

"Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Let all the peoples praise Him" (Rom. 15:11).

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people" (Titus 2:11).

"The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).

Synergy seems to strike the right balance between God's sovereignty and mankind's liberty/responsibility. The Augustinian-Calvinist doctrine of predestination and God's sovereignty obliterates our liberty, we are not morally responsible for our actions because our freedom to do good or evil is merely a mirage. God's sovereignty and predestination of all events, the salvation of the elect and damnation of the unelect, are predetermined. And just as people prefer to think they will win the Megabucks lottery rather than being struck by lightning when there's less chance of the former than the latter, many prefer to believe they are among the elect.

Thus whatever they do is OK, because they've convinced themselves they are among those chosen for eternal salvation, they have "eternal security" - a guaranteed ticket to heaven! This idea of "limited atonement" - that Christ died only for the elect - leads directly to a totalitarian mindset, excusing one's own actions while accusing those of the "damned" or "deplorables." In his Predestination Paradise of Geneva, John Calvin had his opponents executed: obviously, they were predestined for it, so disposing of them must be God's will! We see a similar mindset of "only we are the enlightened ones" with Marxists and Islamic terrorists, promising to build their paradise on earth, which excuses their violent elimination of all opposed.

How different is the original Church's doctrine of Synergy! It promises that God's grace is for all mankind: "He [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who for their sakes died and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:15). Here we see the implication of human responsibility: because He died for all, we should no longer live for ourselves, satisfying our fleshly passions. We struggle against the passions all our lives.

It may seem contradictory that both are true: God is sovereign, and mankind is also free and responsible. Einstein was puzzled over "Spooky Action at a Distance" - a seeming contradiction to his discovery that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. And yet, experiments now seem to prove that quantum particles can communicate instantaneously over vast distances of hundreds of lightyears. The article even mentions how it applies to human freedom. We are like tiny little quanta in the universe, floating around in an indeterminate state until we are observed by God, and known only by Him.

This Sunday is "Meatfare Sunday" for Orthodox Christians, when "we commemorate the inexorable Second Coming of Christ. The holy fathers have ordained that it be observed after the second parable of the Prodigal Son, so that no one who has learned from it of God's love of for mankind will live in laziness, saying, 'God loves mankind, and when I am separated from Him by sin, I will nevertheless be restored.' This terrible Day of Judgment is now commemorated, so that through fear of death and the expectation of future torment, those who live in laziness may be encouraged to strive for the virtues, not only trusting in the love of God, but also realizing that He is the righteous Judge, who will judge all men according to their deeds." We begin the Lenten period of repentance by saying farewell to meat for the seven weeks of Lent. The Christian life should be one of continual repentance because we cannot know if we are among the elect. Only those who "persevere to the end" (Mat. 24:13) will be saved.

I've written about this in my most-read blog article "Does God Give Us a Second Chance?'. Everyone will have a fair opportunity to hear and respond to the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Christ. But that also means that everyone is responsible to respond to the Gospel. This is not Universalism! How must we respond? Not by words only, but by faith that results in works: Caring For Orphans and Widows and Building Christian Communities.

It is high time to swing into action, not whiling away our days doing the same old stuff. It's time to repent and change our ways. There might not be much time left!

YOU CAN ALSO READ THIS at my Hosken-News Blog, and write your COMMENTS there!


Prayer and Praise:   For a daily reminder to pray for the items below, go to My Daily Prayer Guide and click on the "H-N pr." link! For our Daily News & Views, click HERE!

Sun. - Pray that secular humanist France will repent and change course from outlawing pro-life speech and websites opposing abortion.
Mon. - Thank the Lord that Dr. Eric Walsh, a State of Georgia employee fired for preaching Christian values on weekends, was exonerated.
Tue. - Praise God for Fr. Oleksandr Klimenko who uses his singing voice to glorify God, and pray that the Lord will keep him humble.
Wed. - Pray for Adventist Pastor Andrei Ten in Uzbekistan - arrested, fined, and his car confiscated for having one Chistian book.
Thu. - Thank the Lord that the Russian Orthodox Church supports the U.S. Congress decision to ban funding of abortion internationally.
Fri. - After a historic meeting in Cuba a year ago, pray for further rapprochement between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.
Sat. - Thank the Lord that we can be coworkers together With God, if we repent and turn away from our passions to follow Christ.

Who Are We?   Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...

  Your fellow-servants,

  Bob & Cheryl

  p.s. The measure of a man is not how much he has accumulated for himself, but how much he has done for others.