It’s Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day

iStock.com/Fertnig

It’s Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day

Dump your New Year’s resolutions, then fuel your desire for personal growth.

According to Holiday Insights, January 17 is Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day. This is considered a fun holiday to help people get rid of the guilt-inducing, restraining, unreasonable, unrealistic resolutions likely made while plastered with alcohol on New Year’s Eve. Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day is designed to help people break the contract for change made with themselves and not feel guilty about it. This shows the foolishness behind the traditions of both holidays.

New Year’s Resolutions Fail!

U.S. News found that nearly 80 percent of all people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them by the second week in February. Another study showed that only 8 percent actually achieve their New Year’s resolution as a whole. This means that 92 percent of those who make resolutions fail. Forty-one percent of Americans and 63 percent of Britons make New Year’s resolutions. Assuming that the rate of failure is similar in both countries, that’s a lot of failure. Should we be concerned?

Actually, yes, we should be. If we want to live a wholesome, productive life—full of vibrant health, positive mental optimism and success—there is a real need for making personal changes in our lives. There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions. However, the most obvious reason most people overlook is the holiday itself.

Our modern New Year’s festival and its tradition of making resolutions are rooted in paganism. While its taproot goes back to ancient Babylon, our modern customs come from ancient Rome. “[T]he reform-minded Emperor Julius Caesar tinkered with the calendar and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year circa 46 b.c.,” wrote History.com. “Named for Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, January had special significance for the Romans.” Believing the pagan god Janus looked not only back to the previous year, but also into the coming year, the Romans offered him sacrifices and made promises to reform their lives over the coming year. Our New Year’s festival and its traditions are rank idolatry.

Ancient Rome’s New Year’s festival was a raucous and debauched event. So is our modern celebration for the majority of participants. Simple common sense tells us that making a resolution to change while participating in a raucous, pagan celebration is doomed to failure. However, there exists a proper way to ensure success at making positive and permanent changes in our personal lives. Here’s how.

Self-examination vs. Holiday Intentions

Change requires singleness of mind. “What happens is that we go through the holidays abandoning most—if not all—restraint, while indulging our bacchanalian [from Bacchus, the god of wine] impulses. Bellies full, we manage to sleep well at night clinging to the rationalization that, come the new year, we’re going to lose weight and get in shape,” wrote Joseph Luciani for U.S. News. “Yes, and I can show you a holiday road to hell paved with New Year’s intentions.” Luciani captured succinctly why people find change so elusive. It is double-minded to plunge yourself into a pagan party and think you can resolve to change your bad habits or negative personal situations at the same time. This kind of activity is sure to rip you apart mentally.

The truth of the matter is permanent lifestyle changes come as a result of regular periods of deep self-examination and a commitment to endure the mental, emotional and sometimes physical pain necessary to produce successful change. It is much more than a one-day, once-a-year thing! The numbers show that 92 percent of the people who know that a personal change is necessary can’t do it. Why? Some psychologists believe Westerners have fallen prey to comfort addiction. In other words, we have become a people who cannot do the “hard things.”

“Avoiding uncomfortable yet useful states keeps us from reaching our full potential,” write Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener in their book The Upside of Your Dark Side. “Despite its pockets of desperate poverty and breathtaking disparities in income, the United States is a remarkably orderly, convenient and comfortable place to live. Our traffic lights work, our cinemas are temperature controlled, bathtubs are as common as garden hoses, everyone has access to shampoo, and we choose our mattresses based on size, material and softness.” Americans have not only grown to love our comforts, we are rattled—sometimes seriously—if we don’t have them. Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom all have similar lifestyles.

What Kashdan and Biswas-Diener suggest may seem laughable at first, but they make a great observation: “Make no mistake, material comforts affect our ability to psychologically adjust to our surroundings and to deal with difficulties.” Our national wealth, comforts and pleasure-seeking lifestyles have made us soft! “Whereas our grandfathers and grandmothers could handle a bit of dust, sunshine and rain, modern people seem less able to,” they warn.

If you truly want to be successful at making changes in your life, you will need to be willing to suffer discomfort, to metaphorically eat some dust, suffer some heat exposure, and face some driving rain without an umbrella. You can make changes successfully when you are willing to put in the effort to do so. You need not fail!

Created to Successfully Change

How do we know this? It is revealed in the Holy Bible. Did you know that God created mankind as a physical being so that we could successfully make changes in our personal lives? It is all part of God’s stupendous master plan for mankind.

“Why did God choose to make man out of physical matter instead of spirit? He made angels out of spirit,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in his timeless classic The Incredible Human Potential. “Remember God’s purpose is to reproduce Himself! His divine children are to be begotten of Him and then born into His God Family.”

Jesus Christ’s life is proof of this plan. He is the Firstborn of many brothers to come (Romans 8:29). He was born a spirit Son of God by a resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). This is also our destiny—if we qualify through the process of conversion, which is change (Matthew 18:3).

“In reproducing Himself, God requires righteous character development. And that requires change,” continued Mr. Armstrong. “Man, composed of matter, is subject to change. Man, if called by God, can be made to realize that he has sinned, and he can repentchange from his sin—turn to God’s way.” The ability to make changes in our lives is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. You can change.

No matter what problems or challenges you are facing, make the commitment to pursue personal growth. Keep your resolutions—no matter what time of year they are made.

200121-Abraham Lincoln-GettyImages-857314510.jpg

Book Club: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years | Meeting One

Read More

A Generation Without Historical Memory

iStock.com/PeopleImages

A Generation Without Historical Memory

Listen to the Jan. 17, 2018, episode of the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

America is losing its knowledge of the past. History is undervalued in schools and teachers aren’t excited about teaching the subject—when it is taught, it is often done without honesty or objectivity. As far back as 1985, writers like Diane Ravitch at the New York Times were warning about the decline of teaching history. “[A] society without a sense of history is like an individual without memory,” Ravitch wrote. When individuals forget their past, they repeat the same mistakes—the same is true of nations. On today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show, we explain why an understanding of the past is critical to understanding the future.

Listen on Stitcher

Download the show on iTunes

Catch up with the latest programs here

lincoln.jpg

Book Club: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years

Read More

January 16: More Than Just Another Date

Reese Zoellner/Trumpet

January 16: More Than Just Another Date

A look back on 32 years of history

The following is from the Trumpet Brief sent out yesterday. These daily e-mails contain personal messages from the Trumpet staff. Click here to join the over 20,000 members of our mailing list, so you don’t miss another message.

January 16, 1986: That is when the 20th-century’s foremost tv evangelist, Herbert W. Armstrong, died at the age of 93. It’s incredible to think about the massive impact this man had on the United States and the entire world. It’s also incredible that you will hear almost nothing about this man today—unless you happen to read our publications or listen to our broadcasts.

If you have been reading the Trumpet for long, you know all about Herbert Armstrong. And if you know anything about the work God did through that man, how can you deny that this man was one of the most prominent religious figures of our modern times?

He was more than a tv evangelist. He was an unofficial ambassador for world peace, a man who met more world leaders in their private offices than any other diplomat or world leader. He was the first religious leader invited to speak in China after the Cultural Revolution. When he died, presidents, kings and prime ministers alike mourned the loss of a great man and a leader in the pursuit of world peace.

Mr. Armstrong’s popular television program, the World Tomorrow, reached millions of people around the world on 382 television stations, more than any other religious program. He wrote dozens of books and booklets. In the four years between 1980 and 1984 alone, the church distributed 361.6 million books, booklets, magazines, newspapers, Bible lessons and letters. He headed a newsmagazine, the Plain Truth, published in seven languages with a monthly circulation of over 8 million at the time of his death—more than Time and Newsweek combined.

After Mr. Armstrong’s death on Jan. 16, 1986, however, the Plain Truth and the work that produced it were no longer plain nor true. Although his teachings had been supported and enjoyed by millions over the course of decades, after Mr. Armstrong’s death they were repudiated and ridiculed by his most-trusted lieutenants—the very people who succeeded him in the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God (wcg).

After his death, the work that God built through this man fell to pieces, and quickly. Ten years after Mr. Armstrong died, the current pastor general of that church said regarding Mr. Armstrong’s work, “We have much to repent of and apologize for” (Plain Truth, March-April 1996). He described Mr. Armstrong’s teachings as “judgmental and self-righteous.”

Judgmental and self-righteous? That is not the man I remember—or the man that millions listened to on the World Tomorrow program each week—or the man who wrote such dynamic articles in the Plain Truth—or the man that dozens of world leaders around the world were proud to call their friend.

Here at the Trumpet, we are proud to follow in the footsteps of Herbert W. Armstrong. We declare the truths that God restored through him, and we honor him for the incredible work that God did through him.

Our magazine, the Trumpet, follows in the path of the Plain Truth magazine. Mr. Armstrong wrote dozens of books and booklets, and we went to court against the wcg for six years to win the copyrights to those books. Now we offer them to you, free of charge.

In the July-August 2017 Royal Vision, my father pointed out how pleased God was with His servant Herbert W. Armstrong. He wrote, “I have realized that every time i honor Mr. Armstrong, God honors me” (emphasis added).

That is a beautiful statement. God loved Mr. Armstrong’s attitude and his dynamic focus on His work. God honors Mr. Armstrong for what he did. And when we honor Mr. Armstrong, God honors us as well. That’s what my father said in that special Royal Vision issue.

Beginning in 1989, the same God who raised up His Church under Mr. Armstrong went to work raising the ruins of that church through the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg). The scattered people who held on to their original faith grew in number. In 1997, the pcg made a bold and exciting decision to enter a new phase of God’s work. The Church began reprinting and sending Mr. Armstrong’s literature—particularly his masterwork, Mystery of the Ages—to the largest audience possible.

Immediately, the same leadership that cut down Mr. Armstrong came gunning for this resurrected work, promising to bury the facts again, saying it was their “Christian duty to keep this book out of print.”

A grueling, life-and-death, six-year copyright battle ensued in which the wcg and the pcg went head to head over the beliefs outlined in Mystery of the Ages. The history of that amazing case and its wondrous outcome shines a stark light on what really happened inside the wcg.

Our court battle was all about honoring Mr. Armstrong’s legacy. That was the reason we went to court—to honor him and the revelation that God gave to him.

The wcg leadership had declared that Mystery of the Ages was “riddled with errors.” You can read that book for yourself to prove that statement wrong. We decided to print Mystery of the Ages, labeling it “© Herbert W. Armstrong.” Today, we print Mystery of the Ages and 18 of his other books and booklets with “© Philadelphia Church of God.”

God truly does honor us when we honor Mr. Armstrong. The outcome of the court battle shows that more clearly than anything else.

The wcg won in court at the appellate level, and things looked bad for the pcg. Yet Pastor General Gerald Flurry said a year in advance that one way or the other, the pcg would be able to print Mystery of the Ages. He based that on a revealed meaning of Habakkuk 3:2, where the Prophet Habakkuk implored God, “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

“The pcg has never needed reviving except in the court case,” my father wrote in the September-October 2002 Royal Vision. “This is a prophecy about God reviving us. So we need to prepare for a spectacular end! Yes—we are going to get Mr. Armstrong’s writings. … I believe that God will have to give us Mr. Armstrong’s writings. I state that in faith, and I strongly believe He will if we have the faith we need.”

On Jan. 16, 2003—17 years after Mr. Armstrong’s death, to the day—the court case came to a miraculous end. The wcg accepted our offer to settle out of court and gave us the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages and the other 18 works we sought to reprint. That was a truly miraculous outcome!

The timing of that capitulation was not an accident. It was a marvelous miracle—a double wonder—an astonishing victory for a little Church that wanted to honor Mr. Armstrong and the God who worked through him. It was God who gave us those writings. And even more than that, He gave us great honor for honoring the legacy of Mr. Armstrong.

This story is one of the most astonishing events in all Church history. If you want to read more about it, please request Raising the Ruins. This book goes into deep detail about the court battle and, as the cover says, “The fight to revive the legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong.” You can also request Mystery of the Ages, a book that answers the most pressing questions of mankind—a book that, for us, was worth spending millions for, worth fighting for in order to be able to give it away to you free. If you study this book with your Bible, you will understand why we fought so hard to keep this truth.

200103-Indonesia Flood-GettyImages-1191301052.jpg

Fires, Floods, Droughts—and the Year of the Environmentalist

As weather disasters intensify, so does the deadly climate change deception.

Read More

China to Construct Afghan Military Base on Afghanistan-Tajikistan Border

A military parade is held at Zhurihe military training base to mark the 90th anniversary of the creation of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
China News Service/VCG/Getty Images

China to Construct Afghan Military Base on Afghanistan-Tajikistan Border

What is behind China’s increasing presence in Central Asia?

China will build a military base along the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan for the Afghan armed forces, according to a January 7 report by EurasiaNet. “The plan, if it is realized, promises a deeper Chinese military involvement in Tajikistan, which is necessary as a supply corridor to Badakhshan,” the report said.

The plan calls for China to supply the base with weapons, uniforms and gear, and also for Beijing to move military vehicles through Tajikistan into Afghanistan.

The news follows a visit in December by an Afghan military delegation to Beijing. Afghan Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami said the two sides agreed during the visit to “deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields including antiterrorism operations, and push forward the state and military relations between the two countries.”

Building a military base in this region fits in with China’s growing security ties to Afghanistan and its increasing presence in Central Asia.

China has been ramping up its ties with nations in this region partly to fight terrorism. Tajikistan and Afghanistan are often breeding grounds for Islamic extremism, some of which has spilled into China. The base will help China address its security concerns on its western border.

China’s increasing focus is also motivated by its Belt and Road Initiative. This project aims to rebuild the ancient Silk Road trade route, stretching from China to Europe by boosting connectivity and transport infrastructure along the thousands of miles between the two, a route that passes through Afghanistan and Tajikistan. “An increasingly important component of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative can be found in the Central Asian corridor that connects China and Afghanistan,” Stratfor wrote on January 11.

The Trumpet monitors China’s progress on the Belt and Road Initiative because of the project’s biblically prophetic significance. Isaiah 23 discusses a “mart of nations” that will form in modern times and function as a massive economic partnership. At the helm of the “mart of nations” will be a country Isaiah refers to as Chittim, an ancient name for modern-day China. Also at the helm will be Tyre, a city that represents the commercial center of modern Europe.

Isaiah 23 says these two economic powers will become partners and will control global commerce for a brief time. Deuteronomy 28:52 makes clear that this trade partnership will form at America’s expense.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains the details of this economic “mart” in his booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision:

The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America—and many other prophecies of America being besieged.

That is where China and the giants of Asia enter the picture. When the [European power] attacks North America, there will be no help or sympathy from Asia.

Instead, Asian nations such as China will assist in carrying out the attack. Mr. Flurry says the fact that “China has come to possess most of the world’s strategic sea gates” shows that “there may be a brief alliance between the German-led Holy Roman Empire and certain Asian powers ….”

He continues: “Should Europe, the resurrected Holy Roman Empire, find a way to take advantage—even for a moment—of key resources and strategic holdings of China, Russia and Japan, it would have more than enough power to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations ….”

The significance of China’s growing presence in Afghanistan and Tajikistan is revealed in these Bible prophecies. And China’s drive to connect itself to Europe through Central Asia and the Middle East is already redirecting some international trade in a way that marginalizes the United States.

This trend points to some troubling times ahead for America and some of its allies. But these troubling times will be immediately followed by the most prosperous and peaceful age in mankind’s history. Mr. Flurry writes: “[W]hat a dynamic market of nations it is. All of them are going to besiege America, Britain and the Jewish nation. … But that trading partnership won’t last long. Soon they will clash, just before Jesus Christ returns and destroys both of them” (ibid).

China’s increasing presence in Central Asia and beyond is leading to the long-awaited return of Christ! He will usher in an age of peace and prosperity for the Chinese, Afghans, Tajiks, Europeans, Americans and all other peoples.

200106-Gray Divorce-iStock-942577164.jpg

The Tragedy of Gray Divorce--It's Not About Finances

Some boast that divorce rates are plummeting. Not so for the senior set!

Read More

Violence Erupts in Tunisia on Anniversary of Arab Spring

Tunisian protesters clash with security forces in the town of Tebourba on January 9.
FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Violence Erupts in Tunisia on Anniversary of Arab Spring

The spark that lit the Arab Spring is burning again.

Widespread rioting is flaring up across the North African nation of Tunisia. The on-again, off-again rioting has continued since January 3. What started as peaceful protests against government austerity measures has devolved into looting and vandalism. Security forces have reacted with force. One protester has been killed in a confrontation with police.

According to the Tunisian Interior Ministry, more than 900 people have been arrested. At least 100 security forces have been injured.

The riots started following the implementation of government price and tax hikes at the start of the year. The measures were part of a deal for Tunisia to receive $2.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The Tunisian economy is woeful: Jobs are scarce and tourism is languishing.

According to one Tunisian economic adviser, the current debt is 70 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. The government needed the cash injection, but the terms and conditions have been deeply unpopular. Discontent first stirred through social media. Soon after, came the rioting on the streets.

The protests were organized around two key dates in Tunisia’s history. The first is January 3, the anniversary of the bread riots. In late 1983 and early 1984, the late President Habib Bourguiba announced price hikes on items such as bread and flour. Tunisians took to the streets in anger. Dozens of protesters were shot dead by security forces. The bloodshed led to Bourguiba annulling the unpopular measures. Today’s protest leaders say unrest will continue until current Prime Minister Youssef Chahed follows in Bourguiba’s footsteps.

The second and perhaps more tell-tale date is that of the Arab Spring. In late 2010, a street vendor lit himself on fire to protest police harassment. It sparked rage across the country. On Jan. 14, 2011, then President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia. This momentous time in Tunisia’s history birthed the Arab Spring, reshaping the Middle East.

An Islamic Political Resurrection?

Today, Tunisia is seen as one of the best outcomes of the Arab Spring, since its upheaval led to a “democratic” government taking control. But it is far from perfect and far from stable. For instance, the Ennahda Islamist Party went mainstream and even controlled the ruling coalition until 2013. But public anger over security shortcomings led to the party’s loss of its majority in the 2014 elections.

While it claims to have become a civil political party, Ennahda has been accused of refusing to abandon its Islamic roots. Recent efforts by Ennahda to support groups branded as terrorist organizations has only increased suspicion. Despite its Islamic ties and problematic three years of rule, Ennahda has managed to form a coalition government. Its partner is Nidaa Tounes, or “Tunisia’s Call.” This secular party won the most seats in the 2014 election, giving it the right to choose a prime minister and form a government.

While many hailed this as a great way to sideline Islamists like Ennahda, the 2018 protests could prove otherwise.

Being second fiddle in 2018 might play into the Islamist party’s hands. Notice what the Guardian recently reported:

Now it is the secularists who are in charge and face protests. Ennahda, the largest party, has become part of the government playing with fire in the dry tinder of inequalities and graft. In Tunisia, the Arab street ousted a dictator; it could also oust democrats.

If protests topple the current administration, Ennahda could be waiting in the wings for another chance to govern! The protesters on the street are chanting antigovernment slogans, but most of the heat is directed at Prime Minister Chahed, not the Islamists.

Why Should You Care?

Anyone who thinks a riot or two in a faraway African nation is little cause for concern needs only glance back to 2011 to realize the error of his thinking. The Guardian is right: Tunisia is a tinderbox. And that tinderbox has already lit fires across the Middle East in this decade!

And the region is much more flammable today than it was in 2011. The Arab Spring was a failure. It has left many nations across the region divided and rife with domestic unrest and terrorist infiltration. Just look at Tunisia’s neighbor Libya. The nation is a radical training camp today. Further east, Egypt is teeming with unrest similar to that of Tunisia. Only the strong hand of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his United States-funded military is keeping the terrorists in the Sinai and off the streets of Cairo. Yet Egypt still languishes in poverty—the scars of Muslim Brotherhood rule post-Arab Spring.

If Tunisia were to go up in flames again, it is easy to see how other nations in the region might follow its lead once more.

Tunisia has by no means seen the end of unrest. Nor has the Middle East.

There is more proof of this beyond the protests, economic hardship and terrorism. The Trumpet always points it out when discussing world news: It is the element of Bible prophecy.

For those who were following the Trumpet during the Arab Spring, you know that we pointed to prophecies in the book of Daniel and elsewhere that discuss the rise of a radical Islamic power known as the king of the south. Even if you are new to the Trumpet, ask yourself, “Who has gained the most from the Arab Spring?” Which nation has used the crises to expand its regional influence and fund terror?

Iran.

And it is Iran that the Trumpet identifies as the head of this prophesied Middle Eastern power known as the king of the south.

Before reading further, watch the video below—it’s only 90 seconds long.

Tunisia may be not only the spark that lights the next Arab Spring, it may yet find a place in Iran’s regional empire. Notice what Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his free booklet Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy:

All you need to do is get a good map of the Middle East, with the emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Then you can see why the king of the south, or radical Islam, is so interested in an alliance with or control over these two countries (as well as Egypt and Tunisia). They are the two seas that comprise the most important trade route in the world!

Tunisia sits on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Much like Libya today, Tunisia could become both a training ground and a staging ground for radical Islamists. The target: Europe. Remember, prophecies in Daniel say that the king of the south will “push” at Europe! Do you think the flow of terrorists and migrants through Libya is a push at Europe? It certainly is!

Mr. Flurry continues:

Just look at what happened in Tunisia. It didn’t take long for that food crisis to topple a regime. In times of dramatic upheaval, people often look to the vocal radicals for solutions. Extremists will be empowered.

Even if Tunisia quells the unrest, the Trumpet forecasts that the nation will continue to be badgered by the influence of radical Islam.

For these reasons, it is important for us to keep a close watch on the protests on the streets of Tunis. These rioters toppled a government and sparked a regional revolution before. They might do so again.

You can read more on the role Iran will play in the future of the Middle East and North Africa, and why we keep a close eye on the rise of radical Islam. Visit our Trends page and read the article “Iran and Europe Heading for a Clash of Civilizations.”

While the prophecies about climactic wars between world powers are inevitable, so too are other prophecies. Prophecies of world peace and the soon-coming Kingdom of God are just as certain! And they are coming quickly on the heels of the brief but terrible clash between the king of the north and the king of the south.

decade collage.jpg

The 20 Most Important Events of the 2010s

Read More

January 16, the Fight for Mystery of the Ages and Honoring Herbert W. Armstrong

January 16, the Fight for Mystery of the Ages and Honoring Herbert W. Armstrong

Listen to the Jan. 16, 2017, episode of the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Herbert W. Armstrong died 32 years ago today. Even before his death in 1986, the church he founded was in the process of dismantling his legacy and destroying the powerful work he’d established 50 years prior. On today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show, we remember the legacy of Mr. Armstrong and the history of the Philadelphia Church of God’s battle to print his works.

Listen on Stitcher

Download the show on iTunes

Catch up with the latest programs here