I once heard a preacher say that people almost always choose organized evil over disorganized evil. His point was that societal breakdown, if it lasts long enough and is violent enough, has great potential to result in totalitarianism. The modern corollary might read something like this – we will give away our freedoms to a government that makes us feel safe from random evil acts. Read more
I find it interesting that the gospel message presented in the Western world emphasizes the forgiveness salvation brings to guilty sinners yet in biblical times, people in Israel and surrounding lands lived in cultures that seemed just as concerned about alleviating shame with honor and fear with power (Psalm 44:13–15; Isaiah 54:4). Read more
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Most economists and investors believe our economy recovered from the Great Recession. They and the mainstream media say our economy is strong and that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy worked. Conservatives seem convinced that Trump’s tax cuts signal the beginning of a new prosperity in America. Read more
False teachers typically turn Bible doctrine on its head. They take passages out of their context and apply them to whatever point they want to make. Of course, in the process, they ignore many Bible passages that assert reality and disprove their message. The doctrine of suffering is an easy target for these charlatans because, simply put, no one wants to suffer. Read more
If you don’t subscribe to the idea that capitalism is the only moral economic system, an idea boldly proclaimed by Christians infatuated with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and you dare mention inequality, you will probably be accused of class envy. Or, you will be labeled a socialist. It matters not to these ideologues that you reject socialism outright. Read more
Few topics invoke a maddening response like income and wealth inequality does. Just as Pavlov’s dogs salivated in response not only to food but also to stimuli (like lab coats and bells) associated with food, the mere mention of inequality causes many of us to salivate at the opportunity to make our ideological opponents look stupid or immoral. Read more
President Trump has referred to the tax relief plan he signed into law yesterday as “a giant Christmas present” for the American people. I’m convinced he really believes it is.
It certainly looks like one. I don’t know anyone who will refuse the hundreds or thousands of dollars this tax bill affords them. Yet we need to ask this question—who is this present really from? Read more
The Road to Economic Ruin
In Part 1, I asked if the economic havoc wreaked by socialist dictators can be replicated in a capitalist democracy. I also stated that while Venezuela exports oil to fund their social programs, we, in part, export dollars to fund ours.
But what if the price of our main source for funding our social programs drops dramatically, will we experience the same problems as Venezuela did when the price of oil plummeted? Read more
How Much Socialism Does It Take to Collapse An Economy? Part 1
Economic and societal collapse in any nation is a tragedy. Inflation at 700% (expected to reach 2000% by 2018) devours the life savings of every Venezuelan. Food shortages along with high food prices caused the average poor Venezuelan to lose 19 pounds last year. Violent protests wrack Venezuela leaving some no choice but to flee their homes hoping to find a better life in a neighboring country. Others, with medical or engineering degrees in hand, have fled to Columbia but have found no work except as prostitutes. Economic sanctions squeeze Venezuela, restricting its ability to borrow money, though some nations, for political reasons, may lend at punitive rates. Meanwhile, President Maduro apparently has no intention of stepping down or declaring bankruptcy. Read more
Some of my favorite Bible teachers on radio have been dispensationalists who believe in a pretribulation rapture of the church. They rarely bring up the subject. In fact, you could listen for years without hearing a sermon on the rapture. The same is true of the church I currently attend. When they say one’s stance on the rapture shouldn’t divide Christians, they mean it. They are more interested in building up the body of Christ and making disciples. Read more
Does the Bible predict a future “Rapture” of the Church when believers are suddenly snatched off the earth to meet Jesus in the air, and unbelievers are left behind to deal with airplanes without pilots, driverless cars and other assorted chaos? Is Jesus 2nd Coming a two-stage event in which he comes first for his Church, delivering them from the horrors of the Great Tribulation, and later to judge the world and usher in the Millennium? Read more
If you attend an evangelical church, especially a Baptist, Pentecostal or non-denominational church, you might be surprised to know how many Christians do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture or in a “great tribulation” lasting seven years or that Revelation chapter 20 speaks of a literal thousand-year period (millennium) when Christ rules on earth.
According to LifeWay Research, only one-third of American Protestant pastors believe in a pre-tribulation rapture and only half believe in a future, literal thousand-year reign of Christ.1 Read more
Money creates problems for many people. Too much of it and we may disown God, too little of it and we may dishonor his name:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God
It also creates lots of confusion. We need look no further than our political divisions to see the problem. Read more
In the wake of cruise missile strikes in response to Sarin gas attacks in Syria, the U.S. dropping the largest conventional weapon in history on an ISIS target, and U.S. warships sailing toward North Korea, internet searches for World War 3 on Google have reached an all time high. Other people, especially those who believe this show of strength will deter aggression from other nations, show considerably less concern. Read more
Last Monday morning the social media world was in a huff because United Airlines denied boarding to teenage girls on one of their flights because of inappropriate attire. All the major news outlets reported the story.
How dare anyone tell us, the paying public, what to wear? Read more
What have you done for me lately?
This is not a question we should be asking God, but it seems we do. What better explains an inconsistent prayer life? We get excited and thankful when God answers our prayers, certain we will remain connected to our Creator. Then we drift. This comes up, then that. We become too busy, too self-sufficient, too satisfied with life without Him. Read more
Most Christians would probably agree that stewardship of our money is an important aspect of our faith. But if we merely nod our head in agreement without taking demonstrable action, we may be in grave danger. Read more
Some on Christian radio proclaim Donald Trump’s victory as an act of God’s mercy, giving our nation a second chance. I suggested in a previous article that we should consider the choices we had for president this election as judgment from God. Read more
According to some economists and government leaders, parents all across America have evidently been wrong for decades. Money actually does grow on trees. Read more
I found the widespread description of this past presidential election as a choice between the lesser of two evils perplexing. From an issues standpoint, I considered nearly every presidential election in my voting lifetime to be such a choice. Why were people in such turmoil over this election and not the previous ones? Read more
Dark Clouds On the Horizon
This past presidential election cycle awakened fears in the hearts of many Americans that might otherwise have lain dormant had there been a candidate who rose above the lesser of two evils criterion.
Christians across America sense that time is running out. Like a train speeding toward a canyon not knowing its bridge is out, our nation has failed to slow its moral decline or alter its course by taking a different track. On the contrary, we seem to be accelerating as we approach the abyss. Read more
Stolen Jobs, Stolen Future
Stagnating wages, American job losses to overseas workers, underemployment and inequality have all been front-and-center issues for both Democrats and Republicans in this year’s presidential election. Read more
A Pleasant Respite Read more
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:5-10
Many Christians are in a quandary about who to vote for in the upcoming election in the United States. Read more
Both Israel and the Church are referred to in Scripture as God’s Bride. But, there are other names they share.
Both Israel and the Church Are Called God’s Chosen People Read more
In my post, The Church Is Not a Parenthesis In God’s Redemptive Plan, I challenged the idea that God has a different redemptive plan for Israel and the Christian Church and posed this question – If Israel and the Church are so distinct, why are they often described the same way in the Bible, or called by the same name? Read more
(This is the first article in a series that explores God’s plan and the Christian’s place in the unfolding drama that is indeed the greatest story ever told. It is God’s story, not ours, yet God has graciously made our story part of a larger, exciting, awesome, and beautiful story – God’s redemption of the world. Included in this story is the Great Tribulation. Will Christians be Raptured and thus escape this troubling time or must they be prepared to be faithful witnesses through it?) Read more
My recent article, America’s Level of Prosperity is Not Sustainable, dealt mainly with the yet to come lowering of living standards in the U.S. due to having to pay back external debt to our trading partners. Read more
The proposition that the level of prosperity the U.S. enjoys is unsustainable will inevitably draw scorn from patriots and economists alike. Wealth creation, to many, has no fixed ceiling. Whether because of faith in the idea of American exceptionalism or in Yankee ingenuity or that America possesses an unsurpassed entrepreneurial spirit, or in our military might or that the good times will continue because we are the recipients of God’s favor, many cannot be convinced that our fortunes will decline significantly and for a considerable length of time. Read more
In John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem Maud Muller, a poor maiden and a rich judge, upon a happenstance meeting, imagine how different and better their lives would be if they left their own situations and lived like the other. But their chance meeting was soon over, with neither having voiced their imaginations, as the judge closed his heart knowing his family would oppose him accepting a lower station in life. Read more
The human heart is fragile. It can be broken and crushed (Psalm 147:3). This same fragile heart is the one with which we are to love God passionately along with our mind and soul and strength (Luke 10:27). The fact that God “inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal (Job 5:18)” makes this conundrum even more baffling. Read more
Micah denounced Israel not only for their sins against God in the form of idolatry, but also for their sins against each other. There is no doubt about their guilt, as it is God himself who testifies against Samaria and Jerusalem (Micah 1:2).
Israel Had An Incurable Wound
In the book of Micah we learn that Samaria (the capital of Israel) had an incurable wound and like untreated gangrene it had spread to Jerusalem (the capital of Judah). What was the wound that was so loathsome to God? The northern kingdom’s idolatry had reached a level from which judgment would no longer be withheld. As a result, God proclaims to the whole earth that he will make Samaria a heap of rubble. Read more
Are you ever surprised by how quickly you forget what God has done for you or what he expects of you? I am not just referring to something you heard in a sermon you thought was interesting. It could be something that touched you so deeply that, at the time, you would never believe you would forget it or fail to act on it. But you did.
You are not alone. Read more
Christians naturally want to know what God’s will is for them. However, when the focus of this question is on vocation rather than following Jesus, we are liable to get sidetracked. Read more
Cashless transactions are nothing new; they are part of the fabric of modern society. Online bill paying, credit cards and our phones allow us to make transactions without touching paper money. But, is a totally cashless society something we should embrace or should the idea alarm us? Read more
On January 29, 2016 the Bank of Japan announced it would join the European Central Bank (ECB) and three national banks in the negative interest club. Members in this exclusive club pay their own nation’s banks negative interest to keep excess reserves at the central bank in hopes that losing money will overcome the risk aversion banks have during uncertain economic times. Coercing the member banks to buy assets in this manner increases asset prices and decreases borrowing costs. By loosening credit the central banks believe they will spur economic growth and win the fight against their dreaded enemy – deflation.1 Read more
Do you feel repressed? No? Well, maybe you should.
Please let me explain. If you live in a nation that has a central bank (and who doesn’t?) then you are probably subjected to some form of financial repression. Read more
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Ps. 90:4
I remember my concept of time when I was a child. It went by slowly. On my seventh birthday my present was a fishing rod and tackle box ordered from the Sears catalog. (Remember those?) Every day I watched for the mailman hoping he would bring my package. It took six weeks to arrive. To me, it seemed like an eternity. Read more
“…all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air.” – President Obama
It is odd that the president said this about the economy last Tuesday in his State of the Union Address. Read more
Recently, some Republican Candidates have begun to acknowledge that income inequality is a legitimate issue. They, for the most part, differ from Democrats mainly by blaming inequality more on government policy than on the actions of the wealthy. Read more
In part 1 of this series on inequality, I proposed that an abnormally high level of income and wealth inequality is a sign of a dangerously sick economy. Read more
I feel it sometimes. Cold, heartless evil. It’s all around. It’s dark and ugly. It’s chill penetrates to the bone. I felt the cold when I heard of the murder of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I feel it when I read about ISIS beheading and crucifying Christians. The darkness draws close with countless other events reported on the nightly news. Read more
Is inequality the defining moral issue of our time as Bernie Sanders suggests on his website? Or, is inequality a normal outcome in an economy based on people making free choices?