Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Is all “Love” Equal?

stop judicial tyrannyToday, in a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called “equal protection” amendment should be interpreted to mean that marriage cannot be restricted to only heterosexual couples since homosexual couples must also have equal rights to access marriage licenses. This  same amendment, which was enacted during the U.S. Civil War period some 150 years ago,  also was used by the court in 1973 to create via judicial reasoning a right to abortion. An explicit reading of the 14th amendment says absolutely nothing about either abortion or homosexual marriage. In fact the original drafters of the 14th Amendment could never have imagined in their wildest dreams that their work would later be interpreted in such a curious fashion.

Writing a dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the court’s equalityruling majority of the justices are themselves “unrepresentative” of the American people. Further, Scalia asserts that what they are doing is a “threat to democracy”:

“Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination… Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine  [unrepresentative] lawyers on the Supreme Court.

“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” 

Cited from: http://www.mediaite.com/online/scalia-dissent-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling-represents-threat-to-democracy/

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, harshly criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as a “tragic error” and noted how the court’s majority used the same flawed legal reasoning 42 years previously to create an abortion right–but that “neither decision is rooted in the truth”:

bishops“Jesus Christ with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth…. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

Cited from: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/26/bishops-blast-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-rul/

But President Obama insists that “love is love.” And as such whatever someone wants to call “love” is good and equal to whatever someone else also wants to call love.

The Apostle John insisted that it was the duty of a Christian to love. He wrote the Church:

Beloved, we should love one another because love is from God; and everyone who loves has been begotten by God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4:7-8, all Coulter trans.)

So would the Apostle approve of President Obama’s statement that “love is love,” that all love is equal? Again, it is written:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love God Whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)

So, how can a Christian–who professes that he loves God–not agree with the secular policy that extends equal rights to homosexuals and thus, also allows homosexuals to marry in the Church? Does standing against homosexual marriage within the Church constitute  hating one’s brother?

Well, since a Christian should not rely on secular, human reasoning, as the U.S. Supreme Court does, to determine right from wrong, but rather the Word of God, which is the actual truth throughout the Universe for all time (cf. John 17:17), how would the Scriptures answer the above question?

Well, the Apostle John does not leave the clarification of the Christian duty to “love” both God and neighbour to human whim, reason, or passion. The Scriptures are far more explicit than the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

And by this standard we know that we know Him [Jesus Christ]: if we keep His commandments. The one who say, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked [discipleship]….

By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 2:3-6 & 5:2-3 Coulter trans.).

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops correctly observed: “Jesus Christ with great love,God made them taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.”

It is obligatory for any Christian who would see the glory of God to stand with Jesus Christ on this issue about whether there can be homosexual marriage within the Church of God. But it is not our obligation to judge those who are outside the Church. They can rely on the short-sighted wisdom of the Supremes if they so choose. But there will be consequences in the World Tomorrow and a price that we all may have to pay due to today’s decision. Today, indeed, may well be a turning point in the history of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

The Foolish Mistake of the West

charlie hebdoIn the aftermath of the recent Islamic jihadis attacks in France, many Western liberals still don’t get it. They don’t get the implication or meaning of what’s behind the on-going, widespread conflicts between Islamic jihadis and anyone who doesn’t buy into their fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam–which, by the way, is widely taught and vigorously sponsored  throughout the world, especially by Saudi Arabia.

Yet, I hear practically endless pontificating by liberal media about how Islam is a peaceful religion that is all about brotherly love, just like the other major religions. If that is true, how is it that broad swaths of the globe–Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, northern Nigeria, northern Mali, and now northern Cameroon–have become for all practical purposes no-go areas for non-Muslims, especially Westerners. All these areas just mentioned are descending or have already descended into an early medieval barbarism that Mohammad himself would recognize. Islam indisputably plays a major role in the rising level of violence throughout the world. Beheadings? Kidnapping women and girls for sex slave auctions? Massacring children at school? Murder?  Rape? Pillage? Dispossession and exile?

In the Western nations, WHO is responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks? charlie hebdo3WHO are the Western world’s security forces watching out for? Is it the the orthodox Jews, the Amish, the Catholic Sisters of Mercy or socially conservative Christians? WHO’s shooting cartoonists these days?

Yesterday, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke of the international Islamic jihadist movement,

“They have declared war and are already executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact, and they have declared war on any country, like ourselves, that values freedom, openness, and tolerance. We may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away.”

Nevertheless,  many in the West’s media continue to whistle in their own mental darkness as they try to re-assure us all that Islam as it exists is not somehow incompatible with modernity. But it cannot be denied that Islam is indeed the essential malevolent womb that has birthed the international jihadist movement. Without Islam there would be no jihadis shooting up Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris.

Let’s do a reality check. If we could have a magic wand and could make Mohammad and his teachings instantly vanish from the minds and hearts of all who practice that religion, would the world also instantly become a better, more peaceful place? Yes or no? Well, the answer charlie hebdo2would be maybe or maybe not. It would depend on what would fill the void.  However, if the actual teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Scriptures were substituted for those of the medieval Arabian warlord, Mohammad, the answer would certainly be yes–the world would be a more peaceful place! The comparison between how Jesus actually lived and how Mohammad lived is truly dramatic.

The secular Western ruling elite is still willfully blind to the fact that they have created a “conflict of civilizations” problem, which they are completely ill-equipped to resolve. To beat a religious counterfeit that produces bad results one must deploy spiritual truth that produces good results. But when it comes to spiritual things, these secularists can’t distinguish black from white. They don’t understand why reading the Koran produces such different results in comparison to reading and following the Judeo-Christian Bible. They thought all religions were the same.  Consequently, they will never be able to live in peace even within their own borders. Why? Well they imported into the Western nations millions of people  whose belief system is proving to be completely incompatible with their own. They acted foolishly! The prophet Isaiah wrote of these willfully blind leaders:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Make the heart of this people dull,
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;

 lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
    without inhabitant….” (Isaiah 6:9-1, English Standard Version)

There Be Monsters Amongst Us! A Mother’s Day Message

It would seem that some people will do just about anything to satisfy their sexual lusts. The latest horrific installment of this dark human weakness occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. Yes, the infamous case of Ariel Castro is just the latest manifestation of this fact of life, that there be indeed monsters amongst us! Having kidnapped and held captive three young women—Gina Dejesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight—Castro used them as his sex slaves for almost a decade.

As if rape, threats, chains and ropes are not enough of a nightmare, according to Michelle Knight, when her pregnancies became noticeable, Castro would starve and the beat her, hitting her womb to induce an abortion.

But it would appear that Castro was not a total monster. I suppose even Frankenstein’s monster had his softer moments. After all, Castro wanted a baby girl born to Amanda Berry to live. Michelle Knight recounted that Castro threatened to kill her if she did not successfully play the midwife to Amanda Berry as she gave birth in a plastic kiddie pool.  This child was named Jocelyn and she too escaped with her Mom from Ariel Castro’s house. The little girl now 6 years old has known nothing but the society of her captor-father and his sex slaves. I doubt that without God’s healing the psychological scares inflicted on these women will never fully be healed short of that peace that can only be bestowed by God’s Holy Spirit.

I pray that God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Titus 1:4

The families in this poor Cleveland neighbourhood are stunned. Castro was a well-known integral part of that tight-knit Puerto Rican immigrant community. Ariel Castro is even remembered as having helping out during the search for one of his kidnapping victims and even went so far as to comfort the mother of Gina Dejesus at another occasion. Quite the act. The family of Ariel Castro, including his children and his two brothers Onil and Pedro, are also revolted at his kidnappings and rape and have publicly denounced him asserting, “We don’t have monster in our blood.” But as concerns the human race is that wholly true?

The two brothers of the Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive for about a decade say they have no sympathy for him. One called him a “monster” who he hopes “rots in jail.” http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/13/i-dont-care-if-they-even-feed-him/

Ohio prosecutor Tim McGinty said he plans to seek aggravated murder charges that could carry the death penalty:Tim McGinty

I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders, and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuated against the hostages during this decade-long ordeal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22475771

The public has been rightly horrified by this extraordinary Cleveland monster, Ariel Castro. But don’t we tolerate our own mundane, nameless monsters who lead seemingly “normal lives” yet commit offenses equally worthy of “aggravated murder charges for terminating pregnancies.” Aren’t we, as a society, being hypocritical?

These mundane monsters, on an annual basis, terminate the pregnancies of about 100,000 unborn children in Canada and about 1,000,000 per year in the United States, albeit at the request of their own mothers! But are these “bio-waste” children any less children for being unwanted by their mothers? Just because such hard-hearted people don’t care about the innocents in utero, does that give them the right to torture and kill at will for their own convenience? Did you know that babies in utero feel pain?

This lack of a moral conscience, this ethical black hole when it comes to empathy was also the mindset of Ariel Castro, the “Cleveland Monster.” He didn’t want to be burdened by any unwanted children that came from satisfying his lust with Gina Dejesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight.

In Canada there is no law regulating abortion. A child in the womb can be legally killed up to the day he or she is actually born. Shouldn’t we as a society re-consider giving anyone the right to kill an innocent for the sake of her own personal convenience? I hope you wished your Mum a Happy Mother’s Day, yesterday! She kept you despite the inconvenience you inevitably caused her.

In defense of our most ancient values & ideals

Towards the end of President Barak Obama’s second inaugural address he argued:

“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

I wholly agree with this inspiring proposition by the President. Barak Obama is indeed one of the most accomplished speakers of our time. Yet, I discovered as perhaps you did also that not all of Obama’s inaugural speech was equally inspiring.  Nevertheless, believing the President to be a fair and open-minded man, I lift up my voice in defense of my brethren’s most ancient values and enduring ideals and call upon the President to re-consider the logic and the spirit of some of the positions he has taken.

The United States of America is at a crossroads. Time is quickly running out for the world’s dominant superpower and number one economy to set its house in order. There are several startling trends afoot in the nation that will humble it, if not bring it down completely, if not effectively resolved.

But as you begin your second term in office, Mr. President, you seem to give every indication that you misunderstand just how gravely wounded the nation is financially and politically, certainly— but especially, morally. The secular press tends to overlook the fact that it will be of the Spirit if the Flesh [the nation’s material well-being & future] is to be saved from the gathering crisis. After all, what was it that sustained Abraham Lincoln and the Union in their time of trial?  Was it just their rifles and canons? Was it not the righteousness of their cause?

David Brooks, a conservative journalist working for the liberal New York Times, made this comment about your second inauguration speech:

I also think Obama misunderstands this moment. The Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society laws were enacted when America was still a young and growing nation. They were enacted in a nation that was vibrant, raw, under-institutionalized and needed taming.

We are no longer that nation. We are now a mature nation with an aging population [Why we might ask? Is it because the vibrant potential of so many millions of our white, black, and Latino youth and their potential children have been sacrificed on abortion’s pagan altar of selfish convenience?].

Far from being under-institutionalized, we are bogged down with a bloated political system, a tangled tax code, a byzantine legal code, and a crushing debt [not to mention an appalling amount of fiscal corruption at the highest levels of American society]. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/brooks-the-collective-turn.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1358883569-pQYbbD/j2/ypooIiqVZgIg

Mr. President, what are you going to do to address this harsh, on-going, destructive reality sapping America’s strength?

Next is the urgently needed healing of the nation’s bitter political divide. Do you remember what Abraham Lincoln said: a House divided will fall? [Actually, Lincoln was just quoting Jesus Christ from Matthew 12:25]. Good will and a spirit of collaboration with a generous sprinkling of patriotism are absolutely necessary to enact desperately needed reforms. I sense that your speech fell short in this regard. It seems to me that it failed to reach across the blue vs. red divide. It did, however, stoke up the partisan spirit of your so-called “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party.  Maybe that’s all your speech was intended to do.

Still, I consider it a failure to rekindle the spirit of collaboration desperately needed throughout America. This failure was symbolically evident by who was NEITHER present NOR accounted for at your swearing in.  Where were former President George W. Bush, and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney? Why weren’t they seated on the speaker’s platform beside you for the whole nation to see even a semblance of unity or brotherhood among the nation’s leaders? Couldn’t you find a few gracious words to speak in order to persuade them to come? Was extending the olive branch just too hard? Must it always be a zero-sum game? Is pride getting in the way of taking care of the nation’s urgent business? You know what they say about pride going before a….

The bad blood is obviously such that, ominously, most of the Republican delegation from the House of Representatives wouldn’t come to your big bash—even have a few free drinks!  Such political bitterness in Washington, D.C. is systemically weakening America’s ability to meet the long-term challenge posed by a rising geo-political competitor like China.

As for addressing the nation’s moral problems, The Washington Times newspaper noted in its January 22, 2013 editorial:

Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was “faith in America’s future,” the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom. The proposition that individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the vision of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances….

The signature achievement of his first term, Obamacare, established the precedent whereby the White House can force citizens to purchase a service that had previously been a matter of personal choice. The health care mandate goes so far as to override the distinct choices of religious organizations, forcing them to provide contraception and abortion coverage against their will. This is a clear attempt to undermine the previously sacrosanct respect for religious freedom in American political culture.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/22/inaugurating-leviathan/#ixzz2IjlLTXSy

Now please, carefully consider this final point Mr. President.  When you swore your oath of office with your left hand placed on the Bibles once used by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, you said:

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.

You pointed out in your inaugural speech following this oath that the nation’s “freedom was a gift from God” though it “must be secured by His people here on Earth.”

And like previous American presidents, at the close of his inaugural address you invoked a blessing from America’s historic God, upon both people and nation, saying: “God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.”

I don’t think it would be too controversial to assert that the God you officially referred to was in fact the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Not Allah. Not Buddha. Not one of the millions of the Hindu gods. Not John Lennon of the Beatles who once boasted that he was more popular than Jesus Christ, nor even the latest re-incarnation of some Marilyn Monroe Hollywood sex idol. America’s Founding Fathers and patriots overwhelmingly claimed the Bible’s God as America’s God. I’m sure you must know that.

But did you realize, Mr. President, that when you took this oath of office calling publicly upon the Bible’s God to be a witness and to hold you accountable, and  claimed in your inaugural speech to want to govern our people by “our most ancient values and enduring ideals,” that there would be negative consequences if you did all this just for show—hypocritically.

And make no mistake about it, the Bible’s ancient values and ideals are indeed enduring because they are the Truth and are essential reading for anyone who wants the Bible’s God to give him or her a blessing of hope and peace in this life and, eventually, the fullness of eternal life—rather than a cursing, heart-ache, and futility in this life and then the emptiness of eternal death. As Jesus of Nazareth said:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth (John 17:17 Amplified Bible)

And…

“Man shall not live by bread [materialistic means] alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God [spiritual means]” (Matthew 4:4 English Standard Version). 

In the Judeo-Christian Scriptures we see that there is a clear and repeated historic pattern of bad consequences that come when either leaders or  people hypocritically claim God as their God, take oaths and invoke blessings using His name, but do not do what He commands. God does not consider such people to be guiltless even though they just say what they say because of tradition and the fact that they want to look good in public (Exodus 20:7). There are unpleasant consequences for such hypocrisy.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, freedom—we’re talking political, economic, and religious freedom—is always presented as being conditional upon obedience by the nation or leader who calls upon the Bible’s God. In other words, a leader or a nation that calls upon the Bible’s God as their God must be found living within the ancient values and ideals expounded in His law or face the consequences.

Consider, Mr. President Obama, this statement that you made in your second inaugural speech:

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Is the physical expression of homosexual love in a marriage allowed by man’s law truly equal to that of a heterosexual one, which is sanctioned by the Scriptures, in the eyes of the Bible’s God? Does the Bible’s God have a preference, or none at all?

The New Covenant Scriptures tell us this: “For the whole law [God’s law] is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14 English Standard Version

Well, someone might argue, surely this Scripture justifies your proposition, Mr. President, because of what that person may subjectively feel about someone else. But does it? Is God’s standard of Truth based on subjective human feeling? Is it correct to say that as long as I just feel “love” for my neighbour then surely I’m okay in God’s sight whatever I do homosexually or heterosexually—that it’s all equal?

To answer this question one needs to know just how the word “love” is defined by the Bible’s God in the original languages in which the Scriptures were written and in its actual usage. To answer this question, if you really want to know, check out my online, streaming archived sermon series on love at:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-love-your-neighbour/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-self-love-or-selfishness/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-our-love-for-god/

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

U.S.A.—already off the cliff and falling from greatness?

The financial market looked into the crystal ball when trading began the morning of Election Day, November 6, 2012, and predicted an Obama victory. The market’s prediction came about 12 hours before the TV networks made their predictions that evening. So how did the market decide that Obama was going to win? Well, it just looked at the money. And I’m not talking about flipping a coin.

After several soft weeks of declining, weak gold prices, in one hour during the morning of Election Day the rustless yellow metal spiked upwards $31.50 an ounce. This signaled that the market believed the Obama government’s inflationary, deficit-spending, quantitatively easing fiscal policies would continue as our status quo. While Obama’s slogan focused on change, and on protecting change, from the market’s perspective very little, if anything, was going to change.

It is ironic that while the majority of Americans want a change for the better, what they actually voted for is the preservation of a status quo characterized by many as divided, gridlocked government that’s failing to deliver that change for the better.

Despite the Obama administration having one of the poorest economic and unemployment records among all U.S. administrations over the last 100 years, a narrow majority of the American people decided to give Barak Obama another four years so that he could improve upon his prior failure. And, to insure this outcome, Americans also re-elected most of the incumbent Republicans as the majority in the House of Representatives. And, of course, they will assuredly “help” Obama achieve what Obama thinks is best for the nation?

Duh! Seems like Hollywood writer and director Peter Farrelly was being prophetic when he created the 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber. I’ll let you figure out which of the two American political parties is dumb and which is dumber. Why is this happening? Because the heart is sick, the head is foolish.

And, what did the obscene $6 billion spent by big American money on this last election really buy or accomplish, besides turning the U.S. of A. into a “bastardized democracy,” according to the Canadian MP Pat Martin?

Well, a political cartoon that appeared in today’s Times-Colonist newspaper (Victoria, B.C.) sums it up nicely.  In 2008, America was divided almost equally between smug Democrats and angry Republicans. The 2012 American political map is now divided between very smug Democrats and very angry Republicans. Wow! So U.S.$ 6 billion can only buy in 2012 a couple of adverbs on negativity?

There have been times over the course of the American republic during the last two hundred years when strong leadership would have been nice, but it wasn’t really essential for the nation’s growth, much less its survival.  Almost as if it was on automatic pilot, the American nation grew noticeably more prosperous and qualitatively stronger year after year. America’s ascendency to greatness seemed unstoppable, a genuine manifest destiny.

But that’s not the situation any more. Now America is in decline. See Sarah Boesveld’s article in the National Post: Canada rises to Top Five in Economic Freedom ranking as U.S. plummets to 18th  http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/09/18/canada-rises-to-top-five-in-world-economic-freedom-ranking-as-u-s-plummets-to-18th/ Accessed Nov. 8, 2012

 America is living on borrowed money and borrowed time. And far too many very smug Americans are living in denial about the seriousness of their situation. America, now, is more like Wiley Coyote who has just run off the cliff but his legs are still churning furiously in the air—while outside observers wait breathlessly for the inevitable to happen: the sudden plunge that always ends with a violent crash on the rocks at the bottom of the canyon.

Media commentators are talking about what is called the “financial cliff.” But Rep. Ron Paul, who unsuccessfully ran for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party during this last election cycle thinks we’re already over the cliff. We’re broke, he says. And beyond that, the nation can’t fill its leadership positions with enough people who will do the wise things necessary to avoid complete disaster. According to Rep. Paul:

 People do not want anything cut. They want all the bailouts to come. They want the Fed to keep printing the money. And they don’t believe that we’ve gone off the cliff or are close to going off the cliff. They think we can patch it over, that we can somehow come up with some magic solution. But you can’t have a budgetary solution if you don’t change what the role of government should be. As long as you think we have to police the world and run this welfare state, all we are going to argue about is who will get the loot.

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/ron-paul-on-fiscal-cliff-and-vows-to-compromise-MYkAiqYBTaiHwXZL9Tvxkw.html Accessed Nov. 8, 2012

During his victory speech on Election Night, Barak Obama insisted that the best days for America are yet in the future. Well, maybe. But not if the nation’s political leadership remains gridlocked and frustrated from formulating real solutions to America’s massive problems: its uncontrollable appetite for racking up more than U.S.$ one trillion of debt every ten months, its trade imbalance with the rest of the world, and its lack of energy independence. And that’s just for starters.

Most media commentators today aren’t talking about the massive and rapid growth in the nation’s deficit in morals and ethics. Even the phrase “social conservatism” seems to be anathema to the very smug among the governing class these days.

There was a period of time in America’s past, about 150 years ago, when Democrats and Republicans and the nation as a whole were similarly embittered and divided. We call that period of time the American Civil War. The occupant of the White House at that time was trying to hold a divided America together. Abraham Lincoln, however, unlike most of the 21st Century’s hypocritical American politicians, got his inspiration about the right things to do in his personal as well as public life from the Judeo-Christian Bible. He understood the truth and wisdom of the following the principles taught by the Scriptures. One of those principles that Lincoln was fond of is particularly pertinent at this exact moment to the America of the 21st Century:

 Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man, so that he was able to talk and see. The crowds were all amazed at what Jesus had done. “Could he be the Son of David?” [the Messiah who will rule in the prophesied Kingdom of God] they asked.

When the Pharisees heard this, they replied, “He drives out demons only because their ruler Beelzebul gives him power to do so.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and so he said to them, “Any country that divides itself into groups which fight each other will not last very long. And any town or family that divides itself into groups which fight each other will fall apart. So if one group is fighting another in Satan’s kingdom, this means that it is already divided into groups and will soon fall apart! (Matthew 12:22-26 Good News Translation)

It is neither money, military strength nor “political correctness” that makes a nation great. To back away from the edge of the cliff, America’s leaders and people need to change their vicious partisan spirit that has infected the whole nation with bitterness, rancor and backbiting.  The whole political dialogue needs to change. As Jesus of Nazareth said to the political slanderers and mudslingers of his day,

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34 English Standard Version)

The American people and its leaders need to re-embrace the motto that their ancestors once believed in so strongly that they even had it inscribed on their money: In God We Trust.  Unless the nation returns to its roots, America like Wiley Coyote, will eventually plummet and crash on the rocks below, being bankrupt not only financially but also morally. And the world will marvel at how the leaders of what was once the greatest nation on Earth destroyed it bit by bit foolishly, all by themselves, as Abraham Lincoln warned so long ago.

For the full text of Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided speech see: http://www.angelfire.com/my/abrahamlincoln/HouseDivided.html

America’s Midwest cursed with drought; B.C. overly blessed with water

I recently returned from a visit to my dad who lives in the irrigated farming area of southern Idaho’s Snake River Valley.  After leaving a very green and lush British Columbia, once I drove south into Washington State and then over the pass through the coastal Cascade mountain range immediately east of Seattle, the dominant impression is one of a heat-blasted, parched-brown countryside. As we drove through northeastern Oregon the temperatures soared to 43 degrees Celsius, which translates into 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot! I got a good tan without even trying due to the blazing sun.

My son, Jeremiah, who accompanied me to Idaho, then caught a flight to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was volunteering as a youth camp counselor and photographer. While visiting  America’s Midwestern heartland of grain production (more than 75 per cent of the corn and soybeans grow there), my son experienced more roasting temperatures along with high humidity—up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit! Only a snake could like such hellish weather. It was so hot that the teenage campers participating in my son’s “adventure” races were only allowed to walk from hydration station to hydration station lest they suffer heatstroke.

Much of the American heartland is literally baking. The implications of devastating drought in the world’s breadbasket are serious.

“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”

The drought scorching the U.S. Midwest is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website on Monday. Drought is affecting 55% of the land mass in the lower 48 states (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/07/17/americas-worst-drought-since-56-threatens-world-food-supply/)

Already, prices for corn and soybeans are up more than 50 percent over the last four weeks. The coming food price sticker shock is going to affect all of us. For nations that import large amounts of grain to feed their populations, these higher prices is going to mean a good deal of personal hardship and national political instability.

Is all this heat and blasting mere coincidence? Just part of the normal weather cycle?

Meanwhile, here in British Columbia, our water reservoirs are critically full due to big melting snowpacks in the mountains and torrential rains in June and July. For the first time in 50 years, all of B.C.’s major dams are having to spill water in increasing amounts just to keep the dams from breaking. Dam managers have never seen anything like what’s happening this year at B.C.’s water reservoirs.

How strange. Here in B.C. we have a super-abundance of water, while just south of us the American heartland is bone dry. It sounds like some sort of ironic biblical curse. We have way too much but the Yanks have way too little. All the water that should have gone to America’s grain-growing Midwest has been dumped on us Pacific Canadians. What gives?

Actually, the Bible’s God, whom the Old Covenant scriptures referred to as YHVH (see Exodus 3:14-15, that is to say I am the One who was, is, and will be) and the New Covenant scriptures identified as Jesus Christ (see John 8:58), did promise to mess up the normal weather if those who claim to be His people fail to live according to His revealed way of life and belief. Americans, after all, make their boast even on their money “In God We Trust.” But do they really? Is the Bible’s God sufficiently fed up with North American hypocrisy to take action to punish us? Consider this prophecy:

“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed (Deuteronomy 28:15-20, 23-24).

Americans have long proudly exclaimed, “God bless America.” And for the longest time it seemed so. But what happens when a nation’s leaders and its people no longer believe in living so as to receive a blessing but rather stubbornly and rebelliously live in such a way that earns a curse instead? If God can bless can’t He also curse? Is a drought and soaring food prices a blessing or a curse? What do you think?

The Difference between Rich and Poor

Your average person assumes that the rich people of this world are just like them—only that they have a lot more money! Well, you know what they say about the word “assume,” don’t you? When one assumes something he or she takes a risk of making an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” So how are the rich different from the poor?

Writing in the journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley, suggests that our society assumes that the lower socio-economic classes have all the problems in life. Granted, he says, the poor truly are more susceptible to all kinds of diseases and health problems than the rich. However, the poor have something extremely valuable that the rich haven’t been able to buy up with their piles of “filthy lucre.”

In fact this qualitative distinction between rich and poor classes—please note that class difference has been markedly increasing in the Western world—has become so pronounced that neutral observers can determine a person’s socio-economic class based on merely 60 seconds of video-taped social interaction.

During those 60 seconds of human contact between two strangers, your typical rich person reveals his class affiliation through consistent displays of social behaviours that are lacking in empathy, social engagement, generosity, and sensitivity. In comparison, your typical member of the lower classes instinctively treats others with far more empathy, altruism, and sensitivity because a person who is NOT wealthy has learned that he or she needs other human beings to survive and prosper. Lower class people learn early in life that they have to ask for help when they need it and to offer it to others in return. In contrast, the wealthy generally feel entitled to “focus on the self” and they believe that they’ve earned their own opportunities without the help of others.

The research model that produced such conclusions is not a fluke. It’s been replicated nearly a dozen times by other psychological researchers. Most charities have long known that the poor will give three times more as a percentage of their pre-tax income to help others than the rich. This charitable fact of life has been consistent for the almost 40 years that I’ve been involved with religious charities. It has always been the poor people who’ve carried the major part of the financial burden of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the $10, $20, and $50 donations from the working poor and blue collar people for the most part that have enabled the Church to survive and do its work.

Of course, there are notable exceptions to this generality on both sides of the class divide. But perhaps, surprisingly to you, this observation that the rich ARE different in comparison to the poor is not new. In fact this pattern is thousands of years old. Consider this observation made by Jesus of Nazareth:

Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
The man asked, “What in particular?” Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?” “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom” (Matthew 19:16-23 The Message translation by Eugene Peterson).

The problem with too many rich people is that they possess too many things and all this stuff begins to mess with their heads! Things have a perverse way of subtly taking hold of and possessing the possessor. Consequently spiritual attitudes like altruism, self-sacrifice, and doing for one’s neighbour as one would have done for oneself—just end up seeming to cost too much for too many of the wealthy.

Harold Camping and other Apocalyptic Imposters

As amazing as this lovely sunny Victoria Day weekend may seem, the American radio evangelist, Harold Camping and his followers, who are mostly evangelical Protestants, are adamantly expecting and vociferously announcing to the world that there will be a massive earthquake rolling around the planet through its various time zones on May 21st at about 6 p.m. The earthquake, according to these people, who strongly proclaim themselves to be Bible-believing Christians, will signal their Rapture to heaven as Christ’s true believers, and the beginning of Judgment Day upon the ungodly who are left behind. Or, so they think.

Camping, using a ton of money given to him by his “sheep,” has paid for more than 2,000 billboards, many full-page advertisements in major newspapers, and countless radio programs in order to broadcast and publicize this latest incarnation of an End of the World prediction addiction.

To the liberal media, people like Harold Camping are indeed made in heaven! Mostly secular and cynical, the press has long had a morbid fascination for people like Harold Camping They’re great for the “news” business! Besides, from their perspective, such weirdo prophecy bugs can serve as useful straw-men in the ideological political struggle between left and right over the role of Biblical morality in our society. After all, according to press’ logic, if someone like Harold Camping, who proclaims himself to be such a strong believer in the Bible, actually reveals himself to be a complete moron, then anyone else who believes what the Bible teaches must also be one. Thanks Harold for making their job so easy!

Harold Camping is ignorant of what the Bible teaches. He has loudly and widely misrepresented Scriptural teachings bringing disrepute onto the name of God, Jesus Christ, and the Church. Shame, shame, shame on him! Camping should have bothered to take the time to read Matthew 25:1-13:

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

These are trying times for all believers. People like Harold Camping—who are spouting pride, deception and doctrinal lies—are just making life difficult for both you and for me by bringing Christianity into disrepute. Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to his coworker Timothy about these times:

1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres [unbelievers] opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. 10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived (2 Timothy 3 New Living Translation).

Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by imposters like Harold Camping. Jesus actually warned His disciples about this!

As he [Jesus] 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 close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray (Matthew 24:3-5 English Standard Version).

Most of today’s deceivers are not going about saying that they are the returning Messiah. Rather, they are saying they are Christians, and all that one needs to do is say, “I believe Jesus is the Christ.” This common verbal profession is camouflage or subterfuge. The real test to determine who is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ is not revealed by words but by actions.

The Apostle John explained this validity test in his first general circular letter to the Churches:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6 ESV).

You will be able to eliminate 99.9% of the so-called “Christians” with apocalyptic prediction addiction syndrome if you ask yourself: do they remember to keep holy the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath. Secularly this day is called Saturday and the commandment to keep it holy is stated in the 4th of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12. As the New Covenant’s book of Hebrews points out:

There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping [Greek: sabbatismos] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 Coulter Translation).

When Christ returns as prophecy foretells, He will give “rest” and bring peace to a war torn world, but meanwhile, followers of Christ will be honouring Him weekly by keeping His Sabbath rest. God only grants spiritual discernment and knowledge of future events to those who are willing to obey HIm. So, I dare say, neither the cynical secular press, nor the religious false prophets like Harold Camping— all of whom refuse to obey God’s commandments—are going to be able to clearly understand Scriptural prophecy before the actual Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Picture this… the Second Coming of Osama Bin Laden

In a CBS News interview yesterday, U.S. President Barak Obama rejected releasing grisly death pictures of the al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, saying,

“We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies… The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don’t need to spike the football” (referring to the iconic athletic enthusiasm exhibited by American footballers when they score touchdown points).

Yes, Bin Laden was indeed worthy of the death penalty as he led the terrorist organization responsible for the massacre of many thousands of innocent people. As the Judeo-Christian scriptures explicitly teach in the Law:

However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death (Exodus 21:13 New Living Translation).

A few bullets to the head administered by a Navy SEAL, however, is just the beginning of the justice process for Osama Bin Laden.

In this, President Barak Obama, a self-professing Christian, seems to be ignorant. While acknowledging in the CBS interview that some people will indeed deny the certainty of Bin Laden’s execution without the release of convincing pictures, Obama asserted:

There is no doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is no doubt among al-Qaida members that he is dead…There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see Bin Laden walking on the Earth again (Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News, May 5, 2011).

Well, the real fact of the matter is, and this will be news to President Obama and perhaps many readers, Osama Bin Laden will yet again walk on the Earth! Yes, you read that correctly. There will be a “Second Coming” of this killer. And I’m not just talking metaphorically as when some other murderous Muslim fanatic commits similar crimes under the inspiration of Osama Bin Laden’s example.

How can I make such an assertion? Well, the fact of the matter is, as explained in multiple places in the Holy Scriptures, such a “Second Coming” is precisely what is going to happen to Osama Bin Laden. Notice this biblical prophecy foretelling what shall take place in the End Time:

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people [He is one of God’s archangels]. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-2 English Standard Version).

Even the New Covenant’s Apostle Paul asserted that bad men like Bin Laden will come to life again and walk on the Earth:

…there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust (Acts 25:15 ESV).

Why would God bother to bring back the bad guys? Well, God has a plan for every mortal human being including you, and me:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 King James Version).

Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God, taught there is indeed coming a time of reckoning for all who have ever lived, including wicked men like Osama Bin Laden and all his al-Qaida crew of cutthroats:

Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and they shall come out–those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence] (John 5:28-29 Amplified Version).

The fact of the matter is, the real judgment day is still to come when Bin Laden will stand in the docket to fully answer for his behaviour. I’m looking forward to having a courtroom seat to witness such an event. But in the meantime I’m making it my business to be among those whom God will call righteous rather than unrighteous. How about you?

What’s your life worth?

This morning on the one-year anniversary of the world’s worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was listing to a CBC Radio 1 interview with Kenneth Fineberg, who is also known as the “pay czar” for British Petroleum’s US$20 billion compensation fund for those hurt by that environmental disaster. Fineberg, a legal specialist in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, was previously the Special Master of the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund a decade ago and wrote a book about his experience called “What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11.”

So, how does Mr. Fineberg place a value on a human life? Well, it’s all fairly cut and dried being mostly numbers and statistics: A) Determine how much the person was making at the time of his or her death B) Estimate how many more years could that person reasonably have been expected to continue earning such money. C) Multiply A x B + something for “pain and suffering,” and voilà, you get a sum printed off on a compensation cheque.

Of course, the party or parties who suffered the loss of their loved one can always sue and try to make the case for a higher figure. But you’re going to have to convince the judge and the jury, dollar-wise. For most people, the high legal costs for such a run through the “justice” system makes accepting the pay czar’s formula fixing the life-value of their loved one the only rational choice—even if the final figure seems low and cold.

So, have you ever stopped to figure out what YOUR life is worth? Or, maybe even, what is all human life on this entire planet worth? To most people the logical answer would have to be: “utterly priceless” or “more than the total sum of all the money and things of value in the world.” I mean, how else could you figure such enormous present and potential value?

Actually, someone once working in a capacity like a “pay czar” did put a value on all humanity’s redemptive value in monetary terms. The amount was equal to what it would cost to hire the average, full-time workingman for 120 days. In 2007 U.S. dollars this would be $22,560 in Canada or about $31,680 in the United States or $26,688 in Germany or only $16,992 in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. That was the value of 30 pieces of silver in A.D. 30.

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me” (Matthew 27:1-10 New King James Version).

The value of Jesus’ life to his Father was priceless. But for the lawyers and compensation specialists of 2,000 years ago, 30 pieces of silver was enough. So, what is YOUR life worth?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

So don’t place a low value on your life. You are worth more than any lawyer or accountant could imagine. As the Apostle Peter said,

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19-19 NKJV).

If you would like to hear more about your worth to God and the value of human life check out my messages “Preparing for the Passover” and “Spirit of Service” posted on http://cogwebcast.com/