Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Economic freedom and quality of life

Everyone should watch this short video. It illustrates what happens to quality of life whenever a country's economic freedom is destroyed -- usually in the name of 'economic justice' or socialism or entitlement programs, all ostensibly undertaken to 'help the poor,' etc. [Note: Believers should be all about helping others, but when the political/theological language of poverty is used to destroy the very country that helps the most people out of poverty, clear-eyed persons should be able to see the difference.]

There are deeply flawed assumptions, nay, even deadly assumptions in the entitlement philosophy that is sweeping our country. These unstated, deadly assumptions will shatter our nation if we continue on this path -- a path we started down in the name of helping people, all the while hiding the assumptions based in that definition of help.

The best thing that any country can do to fight poverty is provide economic freedom.

And, an even deeper issue in our current economic woes is spiritual freedom: we no longer can ignore the necessary moral component of benevolent action [e.g. what role should the State play in benevolence? When does benevolence become immoral and hurtful if not guided by divine principles? And how does benevolence enslave the very people it purports to help? etc.]. We no longer can hide the assumptions based in our definition of help. To do so is to tear down the finest country of the world, and most remarkable constitution in modern history.


Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A divine love vs. the "in love" feeling

Love always protects, trusts and hopes

Recent studies have shown that the "in love" feeling between couples lasts an average of two years. For those who look more deeply into love, this fact is not surprising, because the "in love" feeling is an emotion -- dependent upon many factors, cultural, familial, psychological and physical [most often self-centered]. Yet, what is surprising is that for all its celebration in song, in movies, in constant social emphasis, this "in love" thing is so transient. Two years is nothing. And sadly, two years is often longer than most people get, before the "feeling" is gone.

What hope is there, then, for those who want to love forever? Well, for those who want to love forever, there is a different kind of love... a love not birthed within the human heart, but given from without, that burns away selfishness and transcends mere emotions -- lifting the soul to the heights to which emotions can only dream, filling the human heart with far more than a need-based love and "in love" feeling can ever give.

I'm talking about divine love: a gift from above, for humans, in human time. It must be accepted and entered in faith, all the while enacting the will toward these higher things.

Here, described in 1 Cor. 13 is the ideal of Love: Divine Love, that which can transcend human failure and last forever. Read this list and let it wash over you!

Love is patient,
Love is kind.
Love does not envy,
Love does not boast,
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others,
Love is not self-seeking,
Love is not easily angered,
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects,
Love always trusts,
Love always hopes,
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What it means to seek the kingdom

For many people, God's kingdom has drifted out of sight

Note: This is a much longer blog post than I normally publish, but this is a unity, and is of such high value that it deserves fuller reading. Blumhardt talks of realities of the inbreaking kingdom of Christ -- and the unconscious, deeply internalized resistance of the human heart and human culture. Honestly, most of us would rather not have the kingdom of our Lord as a living, breathing reality with which we must deal integrally every day. This essay strikes that central idolatry of the human heart head on. It causes us to struggle with the real reason that the kingdom of God has dissipated in power. May God bless this essay to the waking of our hearts and minds!

Seeking the Kingdom
by Christoph Blumhardt

The history of Jesus’ life is the history of God’s kingdom then and now. Some people have been shaken and gripped by this. But for many people today the kingdom of God has drifted out of sight. People are stirred by many issues; the outward life makes great demands on them. More than at any other time, it would seem, man raises himself powerfully in his human search and progress. It is as though the whole world wanted to offer us its strength, saying, “Use me. Become great, become strong, become rich, creative, active – take everything into your own hands!” Powers that earlier times hardly dreamed of are now opened up for us [through technology]. Everyone finds himself in a position to make use of these new inventions and these new powers for his own purposes. Our whole society seems to depend on this. If we were to shut our eyes to these things, we would lag behind and finally perish in our earthly life. There is a spirit of intellectual accomplishment that pushes the concern for God’s kingdom to the side.

A tremendous misunderstanding has come about with regard to God’s kingdom. Much has been said about the church. Much has been said about the teachings that are preserved in the church, about the various denominations that have become a sacred good within the body of Christianity. Too much emphasis has been placed on forms by which we express ourselves as Christians. Thus today we cannot deny that many people no longer really find the living qualities that our Father in heaven wanted to give us in Jesus Christ. They have neither seen nor experienced the life that comes from God, and so they are in a fix. On the one hand they cannot deny that they too need God, God’s word, God’s revelation, in their hearts. On the other hand they no longer quite believe in the means through which God’s word is being proclaimed, and thus many of them no longer know what to do with themselves in regard to God’s kingdom. Their hearts hunger and thirst; they are aware that something of God’s eternity and truth should be revealed in us, but they don’t quite know what to do about it.

Because of all this we must begin to speak of God’s kingdom in a new way. In spite of present-day conditions where much of the church and of Christian fellowship is almost dead, we can speak of God’s kingdom to men and women of our time. The kingdom of God is and was and will be the rulership of justice, of order, of power, of authority, of all that is of God, over creation. This is what moves those of us who seek, and this must come more fully into being. And unless our lives are molded according to this rulership, we shall always remain dissatisfied. We may enjoy modern conveniences, but the reality of eternal things will be smothered unless the reign of God’s truth and justice dawns as the light of life.

Yet this very fact causes great discord as soon as it is pointed out. Millions of people are “Christians” in all peace and comfort from their childhood on until they are laid in the grave. They are satisfied with what is said about God, and it does not make them feel uncomfortable in any way. Religion is taken as part of one’s life; one accepts it such as it is. This causes no conflict – at the most an argument here or there about the interpretation of this or that teaching, but these arguments are futile. A new conflict arises as soon as we feel urged to proclaim the kingdom of God as something living. And this is what I want to do today. I don’t just want to edify you. I want to proclaim to you what God has put into my heart: God’s kingdom is a living reality, a rulership that impacts the here and now and even today is at hand – closer at hand than we may think. The intervention of the living God is more powerful today than many believe. God wants to manifest himself as the one who is something and who does something now. He alone is the one with whom we should joyfully concern ourselves.

In speaking of God’s kingdom, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is not dead. He is not merely someone who appeared two thousand years ago, to be viewed as a personality of the past about whom we retain certain recollections and teachings. No, just as Jesus lived two thousand years ago, he lives today. He wants to triumph in our midst for the honor of God. He wants to live among us so that our reverence for the Father in heaven may grow and deepen. We must come before God and in the weakness and poverty of our natures raise our eyes to him with a sigh in our hearts, saying, “My Father, my Father, I too want to be your child!” Then we may believe with life-giving strength: Jesus lives, he will help me, he is victor. Whoever I may be, his name can be sanctified in me and his rulership can enter in, so that his will may be done in me just as it is done in heaven!

I wish, my friends, that I could place in your hearts the living power of God. I wish that I could help you understand that this power makes us completely new. It can overcome much of our misery, even in our physical life. God’s living power seeks us out and wants to show us – despite the entanglements of life – clear, true values that can ennoble us.

In the realm of our own human nature, however, there is more resistance to God’s truth than people believe. And in human society, in all the influences to which we are exposed, there lies a grave hindrance to the living power of Christ, and this hindrance is also greater than people suspect. Often I find that when I speak of God, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, everyone agrees with me. Nobody gets annoyed. The conflict begins, however, as soon as I take a firm stand and say, “I have experienced who Jesus is. I have looked into the living power, into the kingdom of our God, which even today wants to take hold of us. I tell you that even now the truth and the life-power of our God is at work. I declare to you that even now the truth of God’s kingdom comes visibly to this earth. We do not have to wait until we lay ourselves down to die and be buried. Here and now we can hear with our ears, see with our eyes, who Jesus is, who the life-giving spirit is. It is the same today as at the time of the apostles. It is not a question of this or that church, of this or that teaching, but only of Jesus Christ himself (John 14:6). We have to come to terms with him!”

For me this is the one and only direction. Yet if I say this, people react and argue. “Who is this arrogant person? How can anyone say such things today? Aren’t the Bible and the existing denominations enough for us? This is superstition and exaggeration!” So there is a conflict, but it kindles a light in many hearts, a light of hope, a light of strength, a light from the heights beyond this earth. For nothing can give us more strength than the certainty that Jesus lives and acts and that he is not an empty word or a mere teaching. Nothing gives more strength than the knowledge that Jesus is in our midst (Matt. 18:20). We must believe this, so that his life may become true in us, so that his spirit may purify us.


Christoph Blumhardt, "Seeking the Kingdom," Action in Waiting, 31-35.

Reprinted from www.bruderhof.com. Copyright 2002 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.

Friday, June 17, 2011

TRUCKS singing in smooth diesel harmony!

Pure diesel, country gold

Enjoy, friends. Click and turn up the volume. Smile today!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Faith is the substance of things hoped for...

The evidence of things not seen

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

-- St. John of the Cross

Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD?

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge...

-- Isaiah 42:9; 11:3-4


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Idolatry and the will of God

Today's spiritual life and the lack of God's voice

John Baillie writes of the "Challenge of Revelation," how humans [Christians] turn the will of God into something so acculturated to personal and family desires, and do so in a subtle and all-consuming manner. In this schema, the mind becomes completely closed to anything not according with natural desires or social wishes. It is a very challenging thought, and cuts to the center of every human heart.

To listen and to obey, to be alert to whatever God may have to say to us, and then to adjust our lives to what we hear — if that be all that is required of us, we cannot surely say that it is too much to ask. For it means that if we hear nothing, there is nothing that we are expected to do.


So many people are willing to say, 'I'm listening and obeying,' but very few are willing to seriously examine what true listening is -- and thus, true obedience.

Baillie goes on to say that people set themselves up to say, 'God is really not speaking,' even about vastly important issues in life; to wit, even the most important decisions any human can make... all that is left then is for the individual to continue basing life on personal desires. After all, God isn't speaking specifically!

The point he makes is that if God has not spoken about the greater things, clearly, then the human has turned away from the voice of God in other things, not willing to hear something other than what the natural self desires.

It is a very convicting understanding of revelation. Very convicting!

On the positive end, Baillie seems to say that any individual can receive the revelation of God -- hear His voice and discern His will, if only s/he is willing to hear God in the other areas of life, and then radically obey those things. "In going, they were healed," and in obeying in the first things, we gradually hear.

It is only in allowing the idolatry of self [and family, culture and convention] to be addressed, and following through on that, that we can hear the voice of God.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Number one victim of hate crimes?

Attacks on Jews are increasing -- even in the Western world

Barry Rubin reports:

Now the figures for “hate crimes” in Canada have been issued and guess what? Like the FBI’s statistics for the United States, the number one victims of hate crimes are... Jews. Indeed, 71 percent of the hate crimes in the religion category are against Jews. The Jewish proportion of Canada’s population? Around 1 percent. That’s 71 percent of the hate crimes on a religious basis against 1 percent of the population.

Think about it: 71 percent of religion based hate crimes are against one percent of the population. Now that's some mind boggling math. Enough to make a person curious, right? I mean, who could be responsible? What groups and individuals are behind these reprehensible attacks on Jews?

It's pretty easy to figure out. This hatred of Jews seeping into the Western world and western media outlets [under the code language of anti-Israel] only mirrors the rise of antisemitism around the world. Look at the recent advertisement campaign in San Francisco, where they are seeking to ban the rite of circumcision: blatantly antisemitic [click on the pic and compare it to Nazi campaign posters -- sickening].

A thinking person might ask, 'What makes such evil advertising acceptable to the cultural power brokers?' How can this occur in our nation without vast hue and cry? Where are the honest media persons? Now look at president of Iran openly calling for the destruction of Israel. Or the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood declaring that they are called to finish what Hitler started. Or the president of Syria paying 'protesters' a thousand dollars per person to foment on the borders of Israel [while concurrently murdering and jailing thousands of his own people]. There is something happening in our world, in growing hatred of Jewish people, that is eerily similar to the sentiment that caused the demonic pogroms of Germany and Russia, and the attempts to destroy Israel in 1948 and 1967. No, we aren't there yet, but we are certainly at the point where clear-eyed people can see what's coming; and unless we speak against it, we are culpable.

Article here.

It's time to take a stand.


UPDATE: In a related link from today from Powerline: Yale Loses Interest in Antisemitism.

Hat tip: the intrepid Glenn Reynolds.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A message of love

Divine love -- it begins in God, and can only be accepted, not produced. Yet, once accepted, it can be shared. Alleluia!