Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

Been another full week of writing, researching, and trying to assist with various issues around the world. Please pray for our New Zealand host John Hickey who was assisting me on some of this, and then was hospitalized, but is now back home.

Anyway, was able to put together a basic first draft of a new book related to how the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism. Since Evangelist Evans Ochieng wanted to see it and provide input, I sent a draft of it to him. He then requested that I add specific information related to differences related to the Seventh-day Adventist church, so, I have also been working on that. Plus, decided to add a bit of specific information on how the CCOG differs from the Seventh Day Baptists.

That being said, both of those Sabbatarian groups basically embrace Protestant doctrine, and though both claim some Church of God history, neither of those groups are truly Church of God: they are branches of Protestantism. The Continuing Church of God, on the other hand, definitely is NOT Protestant.

Bible New Prophecy Magazine

The latest Bible News Prophecy magazine is available at the following link: January – March 2020 edition of Bible News Prophecy.

We also mailed copies in English to our non-African subscribers as well as copies in Spanish to our Spanish language subscribers.

Our recommended sermon for the week is related to it: 20 Prophetic Items to Watch in 2020.

Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia Report

Deacon Radson Mulozowa sent the following report:

Dear Pastor Bob,
Greetings from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. I thank God for the great work he is doing in both countries. Thanks for your prayer and support towards the work we are doing.
May God Bless you.
The work is growing though we have enemies towards the rebuilding but really God is on our side.
BROTHER SOLOMON.
Let me report about the joining of brother Solomon with the family. They have attended four Sabbath together with her wife,
I have been teaching them the truth and I gave them some booklet for them to read. I will report more as time goes.
BAPTISM.
There is a need of baptism in Malawi. almost 70 brethren are in need of baptism in all congregation and we believe Pastor Evans will be coming soon as he promised to visit us this January. We will have a visit with him in mwanza district so that he can see the work there.
I have been teaching mwanza brethren about baptism  since they are new to the church.
HUNGER.
Pray for us too since there is much hunger in Malawi in the way that brethren are failing to have funds so that they can purchase food. As am saying now the maize is sold at 30 dollars per 50kg . The worse thing is that the government is not doing anything since there is election conflict up to now and the case is in court.
Some brethren have left the church and join churches that are distributing maize ,money to members.in addition to that is church enemy XXXX who is failing to destroy the church with all his plans by visiting members with false information. As the Bible says, If God is for us who can come against us. If this work comes from God no one can stop it.
Let me report that XXXX is not keeping Sabbath but he is saying that he is under ccog Ask him his mindset on what he is doing if he wants to come to the church let him come to me not what he is doing.
TRANSPORTATION
Pastor let me report to you that pray for me as God is opening many doors in Mozambique and different parts of Malawi but the great challenge is means of transport . when I tell brethren that I don’t have transport they think am abandoning them  as in the past it was very easy before my brother sold his motorcycle.
I thank God that despite these challenge many brethren are staying calm in these hard times.
CHURCHES COLLAPSED.
There was much wind in some parts of Malawi especially zomba district whereby Njenjete congregation church building has collapsed. Following this problem I managed to assist them with building materials so that they can put a temporary structure as they were meeting under the tree. we are planning so see what we can do in future.
VISITATION
I have received a letter from another part of Mozambique asking me to visit them as they heard the truth from one of our brother who visited Maputo and he gave them my contact. The place is very far that matiya doesnt know the place and he cant afford to go there since he don’t have proper document called SEDULLA PESSURA.
Best Regards,
Deacon Radson

I believe that a “sedulla” is a type of government identification card. We are looking at trying assist with this as well as some of the hunger situation.

We hope that Evangelist Evans Ochieng will be able to go to Malawi in January or February.

Kenya

Speaking of Evangelist Evans Ochieng, he visited our group within Nakuru County at Njoro sub-county at Nessuit ward. Elder David Cheruiyot sent the following email to me from there this morning:

The elders and youths appreciates your good work in the church and the whole Kenya. The meeting started on 18th – 21st December. We thank pastor Ochieng and pastor Joel Sowek for their contribution. Thank you and may the Lord bless you.

He send some photos also via pdf, but I was unable to convert them to include them here.

World News Items

Late last month, the US government raised the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 (see Smoking: Should you? Can you quit? How?). Because of that and since smoking is harmful and nicotine is highly addictive, we just made a sermonette video related to it: Should You Smoke? Would You Like Help to Quit?

The US responded militarily against targets in Iraq and Syria after a private contractor was killed, and Iran then made a threat (see CNN: Iran warns of ‘consequences’ after US strikes in Iraq and Syria). The day after the threat, the US Embassy in Iraq was essentially attacked by Iraqi protestors who were believed to support Iran (see ‘Iraqi Protesters Attack US Embassy in Baghdad’). Then, US President Trump issued a threat (see Trump issues threat against Iran and Khamenei said Iran is ready to fight as Embassy still under siege). Because of prophecies in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, expect Iran and Syria to eventually suffer serious losses.

 

In the US, itself, ‘hate crimes’ are reportedly up, particularly against Jews (see Hate Crimes Soar in Major US Cities & ‘Mass stabbing’ targets Hanukkah celebration in New York). Since CCOG members have some practices that people associate with Judaism, do not be surprised when direct persecution will hit some of our members (cf. Daniel 11:28-35).

Over in Europe, there are concerns as how Brexit will affect the economies of the UK as well as Europe (see ‘Brexit, Macron and Russia: Will 2020 be as Difficult for EU as 2019 Was?’ and ‘Why political and economic crisis could move from the UK to Germany in 2020’).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Should You Smoke? Would You Like Help to Quit? Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is:  20 Prophetic Items to Watch in 2020Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p. If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.

IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

The prophet Isaiah recorded the following from God:

9 Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

Brethren, we can rely on the Bible and the prophecies in it.

Unlike human beings, God can (and will) make what He says come pass.

“Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer