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Communication


The printed word is a marvelous, exciting, and adventuresome way to communicate. Since readers are all different, this page will hopefully appeal to a broad variety of people, their worldviews, likes, dislikes, and collective understanding of the world around them. Hopefully you'll see some of those things in the Print Library, designed to help you come to understand why you draw breath on this life-sustaining planet. I invite you to visit this page often.

Are we entering the end of the age or are we there?

6/18/15 Updated

The apostle Paul wrote about his feelings (and observations) that he was living in the very end days. Immediately before AD 1,000, people in Europe thought that the end time or end days were upon them. In 1999, there were some who thought that AD 2,000 would bring on the end time. Now we're in 2015 and still no end time or final days. Why do people look for the very end days? Partly because people have read the book of Revelation, coupled with the Olivet prophesies (see Matt. 24:3). "Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" If you read on, you will discover major steps that lead to Christ's return: religious movements, political confederations and wars, and natural catastrophies, etc.

Today we have many religious bodies, each claiming primacy, confederations of nations (like the EU, which humanity would never have guessed given the different and differing nations that make up Europe), and natural catastrophies (like earthquakes on ground and the ocean floor, hurricanes, etc.). But there is another significant sign (trend) of the times that I think easily helps us to know how close we are to the end of the days and the last and latter days: that is what's happening in Syria and especially in Iraq (not forgetting Iran).

The book of Daniel tells us that in the end time, the Middle East will play the major role in the last days. Daniel 11:40 shows us that the king of the South and the king of the North will go to war with each other. Based on historical precedent, where the kings of the North and South in the Middle East fought each other, there will be final kings of the north and south. These terms came from the splitting up of the Grecian Empire after Alexander died. Two of them became kings of the North and South. That geopolitical scenario played itself out physically, but it will return in the very end time. The king of the South should be a monolithic Muslim confederation, which becomes what some call a caliphate (check history on this and you will see caliphates in the past). The king of the North will be the present EU, which will be compelled by the king of the South and the Russian push to the west to regain their former glory as the Soviet Empire, to put away their nationalistic differences and for a few years, arm themselves significantly (yes, I'm aware of NATO). Your Bible shows that they will also be a gigantic economic power on the global scene.

So are we entering the end of the age or are we there yet? Watch the Middle East and see how the caliphate will form. Keep your eyes on geopolitical movements in the Middle East; that's the key for the EU to come together as one. This may be an incremental evolution for a time but sooner or later it will suddenly form (or so it will seem). Remember Jesus' admonition: Keep you eyes on world news in light of Bible prophecy and pray always so you may escape the terrible things to come (Luke 21:36).

Have a great weekend and for you fathers, happy father's day!~jwa

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Keep on keeping on.

10/12/13 Updated

Years ago, in Texas, I picked up this phrase, which depicts steadiness in everyday living: keep on keeping on. It's not something that rocks and socks your world but it does make a good point: that we should not fail our everyday duties to ourselves and others.

Life can be mundane. What we did yesterday and the day before, we repeat today. We've done the same things over and over for so long, we take them for granted, or we slip up doing some of them, which might not be helpful for us.

For example, if you've been a church member for many years, you might let your Bible reading and/or prayer slip occasionally. Although we're human and weak (flesh and human nature), praying to God for His kingdom to come, for ourselves, and for others' needs is essential to our spiritual well-being. These are things that are essential to our "called and chosen" lives. Here's where we must "keep on keeping on."

God's calling is not something light. It involves living for God and representing Him on this earth. It involves looking out for others' needs, as well as our own. The end of our calling results in everlasting life. Being physical is not easy but it's easier when you're called; it's easier knowing why we are alive on this earth than not knowing; it's easier because it gives us great purpose to our lives.

Before you knew God, what was your life like? If you were like me, you had no clue as to why you were born or what God has planned for you and humankind forever. This is the most incredible knowledge that can be known to human beings. There's nothing greater.

So I remind you and me to keep on keeping on. When we pray, we ask God for help (and thank Him for helping us). When we read our Bibles, we learn the mind of God, and we get His answers for what we pray for. Sometimes He helps us even when we don't know why or we haven't asked for help. God knows our every thoughts and He knows what we have need of before we ask Him.

So keep on keeping on my friend. The end that God has planned for you and me is much greater than what we enjoy in this life.

Enjoy your Sabbath!~jwa

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My interview with Joe Kovacs on his new book, The Divine Secret."

3/29/13 Updated

You can read my interview with Mr. Joe Kovacs re: his new book, The Divine Secret. Hope you enjoy it.

http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/divine-secret/".

Have a great Feast!~jwa

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What constitutes good leadership?

3/4/13 Updated

The following is one of my articles on good leadership published in the Good News Magazine.

What Constitutes Good Leadership?

by Jerold Aust

Submitted July 18, 2012

Have you ever wondered what constitutes good leadership?

I have asked that question for many years, with the thought in mind that most of our readers have seen leadership strengths and weaknesses in the supervisors they have worked for.

Certainly all of us have lived our lives under the leadership of political leaders. Some of them showed good leadership characteristics, some less than good. This means every human alive has worked or lived under some kind of leadership.

For over 54 years in the workplace, I have experienced all kinds of leadership characteristics, not unlike some of you. I rejoiced under good leadership, but when I worked for leaders who suffered from poor leadership qualities, I prayed for them and hoped for better leadership ahead. Often, during those debilitating times, I lived out my working existence in laboring, sometimes painful, patience.

About seven years ago, our son Phil, whom we call "Dr. Phil," and who is a professor of communication at a large university in the U.S., discussed with me the significant differences between being a leader and the assumption that since one is in a leadership position, he must automatically exhibit true leadership.

Dr. Phil knows something about leadership. He teaches it and has taught it in some of his university classes for at least a decade. He has been recognized for his work in leadership on the university level by the governor of his state.

Our ongoing discussions about true leadership inspired me to write three other articles on this important subject in another United Church of God publication.

Perhaps my greatest motivation came from the many appointed leaders that I worked with over five decades...(Click on the link to read the rest of the story.)

http://www.ucg.org/blog/what-constitutes-good-leadership/ .

May we all strive to develop good leadership qualities.~jwa

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Who will win the battle over marriage?

11/05/12 Updated

Here's the link and the introduction to the latest Good News Magazine (Nov-Dec 2012) and the article I wrote as the cover story. I hope you enjoy it.

Who Will Win the Battle Over Marriage?

by Jerold Aust

Family values are changing dramatically. Television and other forms of media promote wrong values that undermine marital relationships. Who and what is behind this subtle, seductive battle over marriage, and why?

Is Modern Family God's idea of family? This ABC television comedy series, now in its fourth season, could help reshape your children's view of marriage and family.

The fictional story follows the family lives of Jay Pritchett, his adult daughter Claire Dunphy and his adult son Mitchell Pritchett—all living in the Los Angeles area. Jay, having split from his longtime wife, is remarried to a much younger woman, Gloria, and helps her raise her preteen son Manny. Claire, a homemaker and mom in a traditional family, is married to Phil Dunphy, and they have three children. And then there's Mitchell's household.

This brief description leaves out some important plot elements, though. Jay spends his time making fun of Gloria, a native of Columbia, and especially her son Manny. Claire's husband Phil is attracted to Gloria, the wife of his father-in-law. Jay's son Mitchell is gay, and he and his partner Cameron Tucker raise together an adopted Vietnamese baby girl, Lily.

Now here's the kicker: The producers of Modern Family aim to represent, humorously, the alleged 94 percent of U.S. families today characterized by clinicians as dysfunctional.

Of course, those who don't view their families in the Modern Family category might be distraught over what is now portrayed as typical. Yet the presumption among producers and network executives would seem to be that even if the show is not an accurate portrayal of the modern American family, it will still entertain enough Americans to draw in advertising dollars.

Remarkably, Modern Family is one of ABC's highest-rated shows, frequently rating as American TV's top scripted series among adults under 50. The show has won Emmy Awards for outstanding comedy series, outstanding supporting actor and actress in a comedy series, and outstanding writing and directing for a comedy series. Not bad for a day's work, but is this type of program in anyone's best interests, spiritually speaking?

While many are unaware of or do not care about it, it's vital for us to understand that there is a war going on for the control of your mind and the minds of your children, much of it being waged on television. And central to it is the perilous battle over the God-ordained institution of marriage and family.

Continue by clicking on the link.

http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/who-will-win-battle-over-marriage/ .

Have a great week and thanks for visiting my web site!~jwa

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Paul Harvey: America's Future

7/19/12 Updated

Someone sent this to me from the Net. Paul Harvey had remarkable prescience. Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwahotPj3XU&feature=fvwrel.

All the best.~jwa

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What makes a true leader?

7/4/12 Updated

There are leaders and there are leaders. Some leaders make a point out of being a leader, which disqualifies them as a good leader. Other leaders lead by getting involved with those whom they lead, think about their welfare, and try to improve their lives.

True leadership is more than being a "leader." Jesus said that if you want to be important in this life, then make up your mind to serve everyone else. How many leaders do you know that do this?

Our latest issue of the Good News magazine has a little to say about leadership (www.gnmagazine.org).

Whether someone is digging ditches or running a nation, leadership is required. May God help us to become good and true leaders, as Jesus was while serving humankind on this earth.

May we all become more service-oriented.~jwa

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Profiles of Faith: Mary & Martha - Lessons from Two Sisters

6/3/12 Updated

by Jerold Aust (From the Good News Magazine archives)

In a world filled with distractions, the story of Mary and Martha can help you set your life in order.

Jesus and His disciples arrived at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha about mealtime. It was Martha who invited them in. Nothing is said in the Bible account about the cordial greetings they exchanged, but an important lesson was recorded during that visit that should positively affect us.

Notice the exchange between Jesus and Martha: "She [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her' " (Luke 10:39-42).

Scripture doesn't record whether Jesus' response made a lasting impression on Martha's understanding, but we can hope this spiritual lesson—so inseparably linked to our priorities—will favorably impact us.

What did Mary have that Martha needed? What was the "good part" Mary chose? Why will the good part that Mary chose remain hers forever?

In a world filled with distractions, the story of Mary and Martha can help you set your life in order.

Home away from home

The Gospels record that Jesus felt comfortable in the home of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. The four weren't just acquaintances; they were close friends.

Earlier, when Jesus had come to resurrect Lazarus from the dead, He showed great respect and love for Mary and Martha (John 11:3, 20-39). They spoke to Jesus as if He were a part of their immediate family. Jesus was so troubled by their anguish over their brother's death that He was moved to tears before raising Lazarus to life again (verse 33).

Luke's account also shows the closeness between Jesus and this family. "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house" (Luke 10:38). Jesus was at ease with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Their home, at Bethany just outside Jerusalem, might have been considered Jesus' home away from home.

But, though Jesus felt a deep affinity for all three, their personalities and perspectives differed.

Martha's view of life

When we visit friends and relatives we have a good idea of how they think and act. Jesus was no different. He appreciated the differences among His three friends and felt comfortable enough to offer constructive advice as to their priorities.

Martha's outlook on life was quite different from Mary's. It is possible that Martha was older and that her age figured into her personality and perspective. Martha's words and actions depict her as practical and efficient. Nothing is wrong with being practical and efficient if it doesn't interfere with the more important things in life. If it does, it can become a problem. God recorded important examples for us in Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:11), so we can learn from Martha's and Mary's recorded actions.

Martha appears to be the leader and the more hospitable and social of the two: "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house" (Luke 10:38 ).

Mary's outlook

"And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word" (verse 39). If one were to read no further, one could assume Mary may have been a little lazy, leaving the needs of hospitality and hostess to her gregarious sister. It was Martha who invited Jesus into their home. It was Mary who simply sat at Jesus' feet, listening to Him talk. Who was the more hospitable, the more sociable? Who was more concerned about serving her Savior, Martha or Mary?

Maybe Mary was shy. But we should consider Jesus' evaluation of Mary's actions. "But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her' " (Luke 10:40-42).

To better understand Mary's actions, let's read details in John's account of that same visit. "Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus [and the disciples] came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil" (John 12:1-3).

John emphasizes here that Mary was so humble, convicted and dedicated to Jesus and His teachings that no expense or personal act was too great or demanding for her to honor her Savior. This attitude, outlook and perspective is the kind of approach God desires in all His disciples. Jesus highly regarded Mary's approach.

It is illuminating to contrast Mary's reverence with Martha's demeanor. Martha was so comfortable with Jesus that she openly included Him in her frustration. Her words "Do You not care?" and "My sister has left me to serve alone" show her frustration. For Martha to intimate that Jesus didn't care whether Mary was not helping shows both a close relationship and considerable forthrightness. Martha didn't suggest to Jesus that He ask Mary to help her; she told Him directly to "tell her to help me." Martha put the onus of responsibility for serving a meal, to her the most important of all responsibilities, on Jesus.

Jesus responded forthrightly but tenderly: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:41). Martha was fretting over something quite important to her: providing a meal for Jesus and His disciples. But how important was this compared with other priorities?

Choices in life

Jesus continued: "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (verse 42).

Jesus said Mary made a conscious decision between two alternatives: She chose listening to Jesus over preparation of a meal. This may sound strange to those who, like Martha, think meal preparation is more important than visiting. But couldn't that depend on who the guest is? The most pressing need in Martha's eyes was that of preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples. Mary saw this situation differently. She chose to listen to the wisdom of Jesus, her Savior, while she had the opportunity.

People make choices. They are a part of life. The prophet Moses declared: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19). Our daily choices affect our lives, and the end result of this life is determined by the choices we make every day. Jesus said Mary chose "that good part." The good part we need

We have to make a choice as to whether we seek the good part. Jesus tells us our highest priority in life should be to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . ." (Matthew 6:33).

He also gives us guidance in how to do that: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4; compare Deuteronomy 8:3). He adds, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

For Mary, Martha, Lazarus and the 12 disciples, the Word of God was in their presence in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14-15). Apparently Mary knew that Jesus' words were the most important needs of her life. Jesus recognized this when He reminded Martha that her life was taken up with many secondary needs, but her greatest need was that which Mary acknowledged: the words of eternal life (John 6:68).

The book of Hebrews tells us the importance of hearing and heeding the words of life: "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him" (Hebrews 2:1-3).

The good part lasts forever

What did Jesus mean when He spoke of "that good part, which will not be taken away from her"? (Luke 10:42). The apostle John answers this question: "All that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:16-17; compare 2 Peter 3:10-12).

God's truth and laws will abide forever. Our bodies won't last forever, for they must be replaced with spirit bodies. The spiritual knowledge we accumulate in this life will be ours forever, never taken away from us. But we must not allow physical needs and duties to consume us.

Like Mary, we need patient faith, that in a world hell-bent on destruction, filled with frivolous trappings and empty, momentary sensual pleasures we can keep the good part forever: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).

Mary and Martha were Jesus' good friends. Martha stayed busy supplying her guests with things that made their visit more comfortable. She should be commended for seeing to the important needs of others.

But Jesus commended her sister Mary. Jesus noted, in effect, that Martha stayed busy with form, but that Mary concentrated on substance. He commended Mary for choosing the good part, the holy words, truth and faith of Jesus Christ, which will never be taken from her. We should follow Mary's example and desire God's truth above everything else.

Have an encouraging and safe week!~jwa

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Ruth: an example of Pentecost

5/23/12 Updated

I updated the print page and bring to your attention that Ruth exemplifies more about Pentecost than any book in the OT.

Ruth shows us these things: that Gentiles are promised to be saved, along with all Israelites; that Israel refused to follow God who delivered and blessed them so He brought the Gentiles on board to fill the gap; Ruth shows us the expected faithfulness of the NT saints; Ruth also shows us that though she was a Gentile, she married Boaz and now figures in the physical line that leads to Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1 and last chapter of Ruth). There's much more to the book of Ruth and her inspiring example then what I can relate here. Please read the book, my friends!

Ruth said these now famous words, often quoted in marriage ceremonies: "But Ruth [to her mother-in-law, Naomi] said: 'Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me'" (Ruth 1:16-17).

This you may have heard in some marriage ceremonies.

In a word, Ruth is the quintessence of the coming NT saint.~jwa

Please reread my article that follows that can lead you to a better understanding of Pentecost!

Profiles of Faith: Ruth - An Example of Faith and Devotion

by Jerold Aust

Although we live more than 3,000 years after Ruth, we can almost feel her emotions as we hear these words repeated in the modern marriage ceremony. Woman in field picking grain with men watching - Profiles of Faith: Ruth - An Example of Faith and Devotion.

Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God" (Ruth 1:16 ).

For centuries, men and women uniting in holy matrimony have looked to Ruth's famous words as a standard of unfailing devotion to each other. Although we live more than 3,000 years after Ruth, we can almost feel her emotions as we hear these words repeated in the modern marriage ceremony. Truly her words are timeless.

Few examples can compare to that of Ruth's devotion to Naomi. Ruth's loyal devotion can inspire us to remain faithful to God, His truth and His Church.

Blessing out of affliction (first sub-title) Click on the link for the rest of the story.

http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/profiles-faith-ruth-example-faith-and-devotion.

Have a great Sabbath and a greater Pentecost high Sabbath!~jwa

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Paul-Apostle to the Gentiles

2/16/12 Updated

I want to share with you an article I wrote in the free international magazine called the Good News Magazine about the apostle Paul. I hope you enjoy it and that it helps your Christian growth.

http://www.ucg.org/faith/profiles-faith-paul-apostle-gentiles.

All the best.~jwa

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There is great hope for the future!

1/22/12 Updated

I want to share with you an article I wrote in 2011.

http://www.ucg.org/science/planet-earth-will-survive-and-flourish/.

Have a great week!~jwa

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