Canadian Journal: West to Alberta
From Doug Johnson: On Friday, April 14, my wife, Janel, and I headed west (and just a bit north!) to Alberta to spend the last half of the Days of Unleavened Bread with our congregations in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Their pastor, Mark Whynaucht, and his wife, Cheryl, were in the area for Passover and the start of the festival season, so the churches had more live speakers than usual over spring holy day season.
Arriving in Calgary early in the afternoon, Janel and I headed west to Banff National Park, one of our favorite locations, to witness how spectacular God’s creation really is. The majestic and rugged Canadian Rockies never fail to amaze and astound us. This time was no exception, with gorgeous (but brisk!) weather favoring the short side trip.
We spent the night in Calgary, then headed north on the 90-minute drive to Red Deer, halfway between the two congregations. The weather forecast was a concern, with snow forecast for the Sabbath of April 15. But snowfall was limited, and no one had to cancel plans to attend services. We had 20 in attendance for the service on the Sabbath, and almost all were able to continue fellowshipping over a meal at a local restaurant.
On Sunday Cody and Elsa Schafers hosted a wonderful luncheon for us and four other members at their home in Edmonton. It was a bit of a drive—roughly 180 miles (about 290 kilometers!) round-trip. One of the Calgary members remarked to us on the holy day (Monday), “I hope it was a good lunch!” It was!
The Last Day of Unleavened Bread (also held in Red Deer) was another of those special occasions when God’s people gather in obedience on His commanded annual holy days. Twenty-two attended, and a generous offering and catered lunch at the hotel where we met added to the fine day. Brethren here in these two congregations listen to the webcast from Salt Lake City (where the Whynauchts live) most Sabbaths, so the chance to combine the two congregations and have ministers and wives present is to them definitely not a typical Sabbath.
As we returned to Cleveland on Tuesday (April 18), we reflected on how fast these regional trips to Canada whisk by. We enjoy having the chance to renew acquaintances and make new friends in an area of the world so familiar to us from past years. Thank you, Alberta brethren, for your warm hospitality and dedication to the work God is doing. Much appreciated!
PCD Update on First Quarter of 2017
From Cecil Maranville: The Personal Correspondence Department processed 919 contacts in the first quarter of 2017. That is approximately 22 percent below last year’s number. Some of the difference is due to technical problems we had with our question forms. Also, our single highest month ever was last March (438!). Below is a sampling of the emails from this quarter.
· Psychic attacks from former New Age groups meant to keep me from studying and memorizing Scripture. Do I just “cast my cares upon the LORD our God” or take up the full armor of God and fight back? They intercept when I pray for forgiveness and play me like lizard gamers. This has been going on for several years. I’m not suffering from mental illness, nor do I do drugs or alcohol.
· When the angel told Mary to call Jesus Emmanuel, how come did she name him Jesus?
· I accepted Jesus and was baptized when I was 14, but I continued to live in sin … not at first but premarital sex, drinking, etc. throughout college and my young adult life. I knew it was wrong, and I feel so much regret for the way I’ve lived. Now I am married, have kids, and we are active in our church. I pray and talk to and think about Jesus all the time. I am still struggling with sin, and I confess them to God but not publicly. I am fearful that I’ve lost salvation and that God is not pleased with me. If you were to ask anyone who knows me, he or she would say that I am a good person and that I love God. I do love God, but I have done and thought filthy things. I try to control my thoughts and actions. Am I lost? Is there hope for someone like me?
· So, at the last trump, Jesus returns to raise us up in the air, in the clouds to be with Him. I cannot find a Bible passage that Jesus touches the earth. My question is, most people are teaching that the millennial reign will be here on earth, how is that possible? The earth will be so polluted with dead bodies, nuclear war, biological war, it would have to be cleaned up big time. I am not saying that God cannot do this, but it doesn’t fit what the Bible teaches. I believe that we will be in heaven with God until the 1,000 years are up and then the New Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven. What is your view on this? Thank you!
· I have a few questions to ask. What day is the Sabbath? And do we pay tithes? What is the mark of the beast? Who is the remnant church at the end of probation? Is the mark of the beast in the right hand or in the forehead or on …?
· Hello, I’d like to get Bible verses to straighten [out] my faith. In the past I went to card readers, and I want to find verses about forgiveness and protection. I want God to take away any witchcraft that I could have been exposed to.
· I’ve just now stumbled upon your website. I haven’t been through all of it yet, so I don’t know if there is any false doctrine like the trinity or the rapture, but from what I’ve seen so far your beliefs are very similar to Herbert Armstrong and the old Worldwide Church of God. Any ties or relation to that belief system?
· Do you think God is hard to know? It seems like I am always two steps behind everyone else and that God is keeping me separate from others. I have sought Him with others and often talk to Him when I am alone. How do you find God when you are feeling lost? Does God want us to be responsible for our own salvation, or do you think that we are saved through Christ?
· I accepted Jesus and was baptized many years ago. I have recently repented of my ways and want to follow God completely. Do I need to be baptized again?
· What happens to someone who dies but did not believe in God [and] was not saved? Do they go to heaven or hell? I know the answer but it’s being fussed about on a niece we lost about five weeks ago. How can I tell her dad where she is (he wants me to)? I told him to find a preacher. I even told him he could talk to my pastor. I don’t want to tell him. Thank you.
· Thank you very much for answering my questions. So you [are] saying that maybe my baptism is not valid. So if I would like to find out more, do you have a church in London where somebody can explain [to] me more face to face? And also where are you based?
· How can I know that I am called?
· Isaiah 3:12 says negatively, “And women rule over them.” Is it wrong or a curse on a nation if women are in positions of power, such as the British prime minister? And down to a more personal level, is it wrong for a woman to be a manager in a shop?
· If you are cremated, will you still rise and go with Jesus?
· I really love the info on your website. What is your denomination? Is there any phone number [where] I can reach you?
· I’m a Christian, I believe in the Almighty so much that I don’t want to question Him about my current situation. Being married for five years to a believer also. I just found out he has been cheating since 2015, and he agreed [and] promised to quit. As believers, we had 10 days prayer and fasting together for God to restore our marriage. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I caught him again the next week. I don’t want my marriage to break, as Jesus instructed that marriages shouldn’t break, but I find myself troubled every time I look in my husband’s eyes now that he is saying he has really changed. I have seen him pray alone at times but I don’t believe him. I can’t even pray with him now. … Please help me.
· Can you be forgiven for killing yourself?
· Hi. I’m one of your million readers. I thank you for allowing your articles to inspire people. Aside from receiving letters and articles from you, could you also give me some pieces of advice because I’m experiencing tough times in my marriage and finances. I hope I can receive replies from this. Thank so much and God bless!
· I have the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:22-23) but no power of the Spirit to heal, prophesy, etc. How do I receive this power? I find it hard to know or discern the voice of the Spirit of God in my life. How do I know what the Spirit says in my dreams?
· When did the dinosaurs live in relation to God’s creation of the animals and humans, and why do we not see any living ones today?
· I wanted a little background. If it is on your page, just direct me to it. Please, may I know your associations and your version of the Bible? Thank you!
· Simply I don’t have a problem, but I want to thank you and may God bless you. We see different things on Internet that doesn’t advertise words of eternal life, but you take your time to help others know a lot of about the truth. Bye. God bless each step you take in your life.
· Why [since] Sunday is the first day of the week is [it] our worship day instead of Saturday?
· I’m Catholic, so please where can I worship the Lord on the Sabbath without the carved idols?
· What is the true meaning and the best definition of sin as in the eyes of the LORD?
· I am the resource director for the Biblical Counseling Coalition. I was wondering if I could reproduce an article by David Johnson from your website, “The Power of His Resurrection,” in a document of ours. If so, do you have a citation format you would want me to use?
· Can you have the Holy Spirit and yet continue to live in sinful ways of lying and deceit to your marriage partner?
· It is my understanding that Gabriel can help with progress of creativity if summoned. Is that true?
The Personal Correspondence Department also takes phone calls from people requesting help. Here are summaries of just two of many:
· Telephone call from a person driving along the freeway who picked our telephone number at random. He wanted help overcoming addiction to pornography and adultery.
· Telephone call from a man who sees supernatural things via dreams. He wasn’t fanatical. He was open to instruction and advice. We talked about the spirit world, genuine conversion and building a spiritual foundation. I recommended our prophecy segment, the articles on demons and the articles about how God calls.