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"The Scripture says in the Ten commandments, listen, 'Thou shall not bear false witness.' That is, it's a sin against God to deliberately, willfully bear false witness. Now, you can bear false witness in several ways. You can insinuate something that is not true. You can manipulate a circumstance that you know is not the right thing. You can leave impressions, deliberately and willfully, that cause someone else hurt. You can say things with your mouth. You can say them with your actions. That is, there are all different kinds of ways to be deceptive. Any form of deception is a lie."
"They thought they had peace, but they didn't"
Senior Pastor David C. Cooper leads Atlanta's Mount Paran Church of God, which has a weekly attendance of about 2,000. Cooper is the author of several books, including For Better, Not Worse: Transforming Your Marriage from a Contract to a Covenant, Apocalypse! A New Look at the Book of Revelation, and Faith Under Fire: How Christians Respond to Islam and Other Religions. He delivered the following sermon, "Disturbing the Peace," on Nov. 27.
"You ever notice when you read the New Testament that every now and again, you read two statements by Jesus that seem to be completely contradictory? For example, in Matthew 10, verse 34, Jesus says, 'Do not suppose I have come to bring peace, but a sword.'
"Now, that is a strange statement for the prince of peace to make. But the last night before his Crucifixion, at the Last Supper, he says in John 14:27, 'Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.'
"How can Jesus say, 'Don't think I've come to bring peace, but a sword,' and then turn around and say, 'Peace I leave with you.'
"[Jesus meant] 'I've come to wage war against everything that threatens real peace, because sometimes you have to disturb the peace in order to establish real peace.'
"He tells us our mission in the world is to be a peacemaker.
"Blessed are the peacemakers. They shall be called the sons of God. The word 'peace' probably best describes the Christian life more than any word.
"See, to have real peace, sometimes you have to cut through to the real root problem. And that's what he meant when he said, 'I've not come to bring some superficial, false peace.'
"We can manufacture false peace. It's gonna happen in the last days.
"Did you know before World War II, in 1939, that Chamberlain, the prime minister of England, sat at a peace negotiations table with Adolph Hitler and signed a peace treaty between those European countries?
"And while Adolf Hitler was at the tables signing the treaty, his generals were in Berlin mapping out the Panzer tank invasion of Poland. And all of Europe thought they had peace with Nazi Germany, and the Polish people wake up one morning in September of 1939 with hundreds and hundreds of tanks. And within a couple of weeks, all of Poland was decimated by the German blitzkrieg, and we know the millions that died in Eastern Europe.
"Six million Jews died. But did you know that of all the concentration camps, the Jews only constituted 40 percent? The other 60 percent were non-Jewish people in those death camps.
"Millions and millions of people died at a time when world leaders were signing a peace treaty. They thought they had peace, but they didn't.
"You see, real peacemakers get to the root of the problem, not just smooth things over, not just offer political platitudes. You have to have truth in order to have peace.
"You want to be a peacemaker today? Do you want to be known as a son, a daughter, a mature, grown-up child of God? Live in the presence of God. He's the only one who can settle your heart, quiet your fears, calm your anxiety."
"We are in the Sunday of happiness"
Saint Benedict Catholic Church in Duluth offers six masses each Sunday, including an evening mass in Spanish. The Rev. Abel Guerrero-Orta, Saint Benedict's parochial vicar, marked the third Sunday of Advent, a part of the celebration of the Christmas season, with the following Mass, delivered Dec. 11. (Reported and translated by CL staffer Alejandro Leal.)
"Many of us have come to the United States to try and achieve a better life. So what happens then when we don't have a job? We are saddened. What happens when we don't have money? We feel uninspired because we believe that happiness lays only in material things. It is true that we use them to feed ourselves, to feed our body and our families. But everything cannot be based upon that.
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