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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Passion 4 Him: How Do You Measure Up?

Passion 4 Him: How Do You Measure Up?: By John MacArthur We’ve reached the end of our series on spiritual formation and sanctification, but before we close the discussion, I w...

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Power of a Holy Life


by John MacArthur - gty.org
Despite many technological advancements, the twenty-first century has entered frighteningly dark waters. Look at the headlines--the threat of global terrorism, the chaos of unthinkable criminal activity, the defilement of pornography, the confusion of gender roles, the future of the economy, the "lostness" of our children, etc., etc. People are helplessly buckled up, strapped in, and holding on to a world careening out of control into a future of even greater fear, confusion, frustration, uncertainty, and isolation.
As a Christian, a true Christians, you are quite a contrast. Anchored in Jesus Christ, you are immoveable, steadfast, and strong. Your eyes are fixed on the Word of God, a beacon that stands out like a "lamp shining in a dark place" (2 Peter 1:19). As you move toward that light, God changes your life by the power of the Holy Spirit. The message you proclaim and the life you live guarantees you will stand out in the culture.
Holy, righteous lives are the backbone of the gospel we preach. The apostle Paul understood that. In the midst of a pagan society that did all it could to persecute Christians and discredit the Christian faith, he wrote to Titus telling him how to instruct the Cretans "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12).
As I've reflected on what Paul told Titus, I can see three compelling reasons we ought to live holy lives. And each reason has little to do with benefits that come from godly living, though there are benefits (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6). Rather, Paul sets forth evangelism as the motive for holy living.
Holy Living Honors God's Word
In chapter two, Paul instructs Titus regarding different age groups in the church. The young women, he says, are to act in such a way "so that the word of God may not be dishonored" (Titus 2:5). The Greek word translated "dishonored" literally means "blasphemed." We can't allow unbelievers to mock, ignore, or totally reject God's Word. Yet, how we live will directly affect how people feel about it.
No matter what their station in life, Christian men and women who are not what they ought to be will give people reason to blaspheme God's Word. The world doesn't judge us by our theology; it judges us by our behavior. The validity of Scripture in the world's view is determined by how it affects us. If unbelievers see that our lives are truly transformed, separate and distinct from the world, they might conclude that Scripture is true, powerful, and life-changing.
The credibility of the Christian gospel is inseparably linked to the integrity of the lives of those who proclaim it. That's why it is so devastating when well-known evangelists or Christian leaders are caught in some gross sin or immorality. How do you think unbelievers react when they see such hypocrisy? They laugh at it, thus blaspheming God's Word and short-circuiting any opportunity we have to tell them about its power to transform their lives. The impact of the lives of men and women who bear the Lord's name is vital to the credibility of the faith and the effectiveness of personal witness and preaching. That's ultimately what is at stake in the way we live.
Holy Living Silences the Opposition
Paul's second reason for living holy lives gives us the heart of what he wants to communicate: "so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us" (Titus 2:8). The Greek word translated "put to shame" literally means "to blush," emphasizing the opponent's utter embarrassment over having no just criticism.
Opponents of Christianity love to gloat when Christians cause a scandal. Don't you think some of the unbelievers in your sphere of influence would love to see you fail significantly so they can justify their unbelief? They don't want to see God transform your life--that would stand as a rebuke to their sinful lifestyles. But that's exactly what you want to do--you want to embarrass them when they criticize you because there is nothing for them to justifiably criticize.
The issue is evangelism. The proper strategy for our evangelization is not methodological. We reach the world through epitomizing virtue, godliness, holiness, and a purity of life that makes our faith and God's Word believable.
The apostle Peter understood the way believers have impact on the godless world. He wrote, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage ware against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the [pagans], so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:11-12).
Do you see how imperative it is that we live godly lives? We want unbelievers to examine us. They come initially to criticize, but if our behavior is excellent, the criticism of some might turn to curiosity. And if that curiosity turns to conversion, they'll glorify God because of their salvation. Thus we've done our part in bringing God glory. You lead people to the credibility of Christianity and ultimately to conversion by the virtue of your life. So stay away from fleshly lusts and maintain excellent behavior.
Holy Living Makes the Gospel Attractive
Paul states his third reason for holy living in Titus 2:10, "That they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect." "Adorn" is from the Greek word kosmeo and refers to making something beautiful.
What is our primary message to this world about God? Do we want the world to know that God is omnipotent? Omniscient? Omnipresent? Immutable? Sovereign? Eternal? The Creator and the Sustainer of the universe? Yes, we do. But by far the main attribute of God we want the unsaved to understand is that He is a Savior.
How will we ever make the good news about God as Savior beautiful in every respect if we don't look like we've been saved? When we live in obedience to God, that in itself will be a testimony against wrong. When those around us see us helping rather than exploiting, hear us talking with purity instead of profanity, and observe us speaking truthfully rather than deceitfully, our example will itself be a rebuke of selfishness, unwholesome talk, and falsehood. Simply refusing to participate in a dishonest business or social practice will sometimes be such a strong rebuke that it costs us our job or friendship. Dishonesty is terribly uncomfortable in the presence of honesty, even when there is no verbal or other direct opposition.
Often, of course, open rebuke is necessary. Silent testimony will go only so far. Failure to speak out against and to oppose evil things in practical ways is a failure to obey God. Believers are to expose them in whatever legitimate, biblical ways are necessary.
Unfortunately, many Christians are barely able to keep their own spiritual and moral houses in order. Thus they lack the discernment, inclination, or power to confront evil in the church or in society at large. That's why it is imperative that we be so mature in biblical truth, and in obedience, holiness, and love, that the natural course of our lives will be to expose, rebuke, and offer remedy for every kind of evil.
Making salvation attractive is a high calling, and we will fail in that endeavor unless we can demonstrate that we have indeed been delivered from sin. Rebuking sin in others without an accompanying lifestyle of righteousness is the greatest hypocrisy. But lives characterized by purity, power, and joy reflect the order, beauty, and power of a saving God. When we make salvation beautiful, we make God attractive.
To convince a man God can save, I need to show him a man He saved. To convince a man that God can give hope, I need to show him a man with hope. To convince a man that God can give peace, joy, and love, I need to show him a man with peace, joy, and love. To convince a man that God can give complete, total, and utter satisfaction, I need to show him a satisfied man. When the world sees people who are holy, righteous, peaceful, joyful, and fulfilled, they see the evidence of God's transforming power.
At stake is the eternal destiny of unredeemed souls. Christians who are unholy lead unbelievers to slander God; those who are holy lead them to glorify God. The central issue in evangelism is holy living. A powerful church is not built on its strategy, but on the virtue and holiness of its people. What we believe is linked to how we live, and how we live is directly linked to the effectiveness of our gospel proclamation. So, Christian, it's imperative that you be "blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). gty.org

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sola Sisters: Does Mysticism Lead Us To God?

Sola Sisters: Does Mysticism Lead Us To God?: Posted by Christine Pack Tomorrow's New Age  Global Oneness Summit is proclaiming that spiritual growth and peace can be achieved on e...

Papal Contradictions and the Roman Child


by Jesse Johnson
Article Link at Worldview Weekend
papal bull
          In 1497, Pope Alexander had a crisis of his own making that was threatening to undermine his ability to govern the Catholic Church. A romantic rivalry between two of his sons (he had at least six children) had become a source of intrigue around Rome. In fact, this scandal was so lurid, it was appalling even to those accustomed to flagrant immorality from the papacy.
          The two sons in question were Cesare and Juan, and they were both in love with their sister, Lucrezia. The plot thickened, as the Pope refused to let either of his sons marry his daughter, as he was sleeping with her himself. As the famous biographer and historian William Manchester wrote, "Even for those times, this was scandalous."
          When one of the sons, Juan, turned up murdered, suspicion was split between the father and brother. When Lucrezia turned up pregnant, that same divided suspicion remained. Rome had long been accustomed to assassinations, orgies, and public rioting from the Pope's family. But this scandal involved all three simultaneously, and even the public was beginning to demand change. Alexander decided he needed to marry his daughter off to a powerful Duke, consolidating the Pope's power, and ending the scandal.
          There were numerous problems with this plan. First, Lucrezia was already married (technically speaking…it was a political alliance thing). No problem, that marriage could be annulled by the Pope. But in order for that to happen, the Pope and a Vatican council had to certify that she was a virgin. This would be impossible to do with a straight face, seeing as how she was known to be the Pope's lover, was six months pregnant, and visibly showing. So the Vatican council acted without the straight face, and when they declared her a virgin, witnesses said that laughter echoed throughout the Vatican. One poet, Jacopo Sannazaro, wrote a poem commemorating the declaration. Translated from the Latin, it reads:
Here lies Lucrezia, who was really a tart,
The daughter, wife, and daughter in-law of Alexander.
          In Latin it rhymed. But regardless, the third obstacle was insurmountable, and the marriage was halted when the groom was murdered by Cesare.
          This lead to the uncomfortable development that the Pope's daughter gave birth to a son, Giovanni, and there was no way of knowing if the father was the Pope's son or the Pope himself. By the time the child was 3 years old, his mother was 21. It became necessary politically for the Pope to marry her off, and the Pope chose the Duke of Ferrara. The new problem was that Canonical Law forbade the Pope from recognizing his own illegitimate children (only if they were fathered while he was Pope, which in this case was obvious; in fact the public labeled Giovanni "the Roman Child"). That difficulty here was notably compounded by they fact that the mother of his son was also his daughter. But…if the Pope recognized Cesare (his other son and her other lover) as Giovanni's father, then the Duke of Ferrara would likely not marry Lucrezia for fear of losing his title as Duke.
          If that is confusing, here it is simply: The Pope was in a Catch-22. Either the Giovanni was his, or his son's. One option was permissible legally, the other was possible politically. So what would he do?
          First, read/remember yesterday's post on Papal Infallibility.
Here is his solution, in the words of William Manchester:
The Pope, deciding to legitimatize his daughter's child, issued two extraordinary bulls September 1, 1501. The first, which was made public, identified the three-year-old boy as the offspring of Cesare and an unmarried woman… The second, a secret bull, acknowledged Giovanni to be the son of the pope and the same woman.
          In other words, Giovanni had two fathers. And, don't loose sight of the fact that he was born only three months after the Vatican and Pope had declared his mother a virgin. That is a truly immaculate conception!
The Bad Popes
          I was alerted to this story by reading E. R. Chamberlin's book The Bad Popes. Believe me when I say that this affair is not even in the top five as far as radically immoral acts committed by the Popes of that time. In fact, some of the stories were so graphic and stunning that I paused to ask myself why I was even reading them. The answer is two-fold. First, it is a powerful reminder that Luther's Reformation was not in a vacuum. Theology has consequences, and bad theology destroys lives. In this case, bad theology had the potential to destroy a continent, which it did. The dark ages were so backwards and perverse, in large part because of the rampant immorality of the Popes.
          Secondly, it is a reminder that the strongest argument that Catholic Apologists use today-that the Catholic Church has an unbroken chain of tradition stretching back to the Apostles-is pure fabrication. Not only is it fabrication in the historic sense (because the papacy did not being in any recognizable way until the 400's), but it is fabrication in the ethical sense. Many Popes, Luther said, "have so often contradicted themselves," and he did not simply mean on the finer points of theology. When Alexander declared his daughter (whom he had been sleeping with) to be a virgin, only to see her give birth 3 months later, Luther was 16 years old. When Alexander issued official Church Bulls declaring that his son had two fathers, Luther was 19 years-old. He entered the monastery four years later.
          It would be another twelve years before he posted his thesis on the church door. From that point forward, it is simply no longer feasible to maintain that Catholics and Protestants essentially believe the same things. There are substantive differences, one of which is the concept of papal authority, and another of which is the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has a glorious and unbroken continuity of being Christ's seat on Earth.
          They may have a tradition, but is neither glorious nor unbroken.

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com 

By Jesse Johnson Click here for bio and archived articles

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Ken Ham On: More Intolerance



        Well, it seems that many secularists will never quit trying to make a mockery of God's Word. The BBC in the UK has started airing a new documentary TV show called Conspiracy Road Trip. Each show has a theme, and the host, Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell, takes a group of people committed to whatever belief he's talking about and tries to convince them that they're wrong.
        Maxwell considers creationism a "conspiracy," no different than a belief in UFOs. Of course, it becomes obvious that the program is not intended to sincerely search out a matter but to make a mockery of Christians-particularly biblical creationists.
        In a recent episode, Maxwell took five British creationists on a tour of various sites in America (though not all of them were professing Christians). He asked five evolutionary scientists to speak to the group. Maxwell claims he just wanted to have a debate, and seemed at first like he was trying to be objective. However, as he realized that most of the group would not be swayed, he lost his objectivity.
        At one point, Maxwell took the group to the Grand Canyon to meet with Don Prothero, an evolutionary geologist and professor at Occidental College in California. Prothero told the groups that he's a scientist and that he deals "only with natural forces and things that we can observe and test in nature." He then proceeded to give an evolutionary/millions of years explanation of the Grand Canyon's formation. His determination to deal only with "natural forces" eliminates God automatically. In other words, he started with the assumption that God and His Word have nothing to do with explaining reality. He started with a bias against anything to do with the God of the Bible. He did not start by looking objectively at the evidence.
        Though he claims to work only with observational (or operational) science, evolutionary ideas like millions of years of history are not observable or testable. They're part of what we would call historical (or origins) science. (Find out more about this distinction in Troy Lacey's (AiG-U.S.) article, Historical and Observational Science.)
        Prothero falsely claims that "all scientists around the world" believe in naturalism and uniformitarianism. One of the TV participants, a vocal creationist and professing Christian named Phil, challenged Prothero on this false claim, noting that there are many scientists who are creationists. In fact, not only does AiG employ such scientists with advanced degrees (like Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. Andrew Snelling, Dr. David Menton, Dr. Tommy Mitchell, Dr. Terry Mortenson, and soon Dr. Danny Faulkner), but a list of very qualified creation scientists appears on the AiG website.
        Prothero's response to Phil speaks volumes. "I don't count them as scientists." In other words, he has arbitrarily decided that if a person is a creationist, he or she cannot be a "scientist." So much for Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, and so on!
        You see, evolutionists really cannot handle any dissent from their view of human origins-their religion-the religion of evolution and millions of years. So they resort to questioning people's credentials and refusing to acknowledge their abilities and qualifications as scientists if they disagree with their evolutionary beliefs.
        Recall Bill Nye's recent video about how necessary he believes evolutionary ideas are to every area of science. He believes that we will be unable to produce good scientists without them. (You can read my blog post on Bill Nye's comments.) But, molecules-to-man evolution has nothing to do with observational science and the great advances scientists have made in research and technology!
        In the BBC program, evolutionist Jerry Coyne told the creationists that "any reasonable person who's not perverse" would have to call the account of Noah's Ark a "fairy story." Throughout the episode, the host, Maxwell, like the evolutionary scientists, spoke very negatively of the creationists in his group. He was puzzled as to why all the supposed evidence for evolution and millions of years did not sway them. But of course, his agenda all along was to mock those who believe the creation account in Genesis.
        Unfortunately, the program's failures do not all lie with the evolutionary scientists and the host. With the exception of one (Phil, mentioned above) the creationist participants displayed their own lack of biblical knowledge or the ability to defend their position with reasoned and well-researched answers. Phil seems to have a firm grasp on what the Bible actually says about creation. Of course, he was generally shut down when he tried to explain his views.
        Such is typical of so many intolerant secularists nowadays. They don't want Christians to be shown giving answers and thus showing up the evolutionists for what they are-anti-Christian activists with a blind faith in their anti-God religion of evolution and millions of years. But most of the other participants on the TV program seem unfamiliar with what Genesis says about creation, Adam and Eve, the global Flood, and so on.
        I don't want to eliminate personal responsibility for professing Christians to be reading their Bibles, but I think this highlights an even bigger problem. If the church fails to teach apologetics (i.e., how to use logic in defending the Christian faith and giving answers to the skeptical questions), believers will not be able to give an answer when they are faced with skeptical questions about their faith.
        I usually find that when the secular media are discussing the topic of origins,
  1. they try to find some leader in the church who compromises with evolution,
  2. they find people whom they know are not equipped to answer the questions, and
  3. they avoid using creationists who are qualified scientists.
        They act this way because they are not out for the truth. They want to shake their fist at God-and "suppress the truth" (Romans 1).
        Overall, this BBC program is just another demonstration of the kind of intolerance for God's Word that exists in our Western culture today.
        Frankly, we weren't surprised at all about what happened during this show-we expected it. And particularly with the BBC network involved, we anticipated nothing but a slam against Bible-believing Christians. That seems to be the norm for the BBC, as we have discovered over the years (especially in its coverage of our Creation Museum). We have found them to be perhaps the most aggressively anti-God media in the world today. answersingenesis.org

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

Obama And Romney Both Favor A One World Economic System That Kills American Jobs


Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/
Related Article: 55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know
Either way this election turns out, American jobs are going to continue to get slaughtered by the millions. During this campaign, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have both attempted to portray each other as the "outsourcer in chief". Unfortunately, they are both right. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both participated in the outsourcing of American jobs, and both are openly admitting to the American people that they favor the emerging one world economic system which will continue to destroy millions of American jobs. In fact, they argue with each other about which of them will be more aggressive in pursuing more "free trade" agreements over the next four years. Unfortunately, the "free trade" agreements that the U.S. government enters into are never "fair trade" agreements. As a result, over the past decade we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of national wealth. This year alone, we will buy about half a trillion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they will buy from us. This trade deficit will be about 7 times larger than the trade deficit of any other nation on earth. Our economy will continue to bleed jobs at a horrifying pace, but Obama and Romney insist that the answer to our problems is even more "free trade". What makes all of this even more dreadful is that most Americans continue to fall for this nonsense.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that merging our labor pool with the labor pools of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages was going to kill American jobs and drive down wages for the jobs that remain in the United States.
Why should some giant predator corporation pay you 15 dollars an hour plus benefits when they can pay a worker on the other side of the planet a dollar an hour with no benefits to do the same job?
During the second presidential debate, when Obama was asked why high tech products such as the iPhone could not be made here in the United States, Obama openly admitted that there are some jobs that aren't ever going to come back.
But why does that have to be so?
Why can't those jobs come back to America?
It seems to me that if you cracked down on nations that are cheating such as China, imposed a system of common sense tariffs and cut the corporate tax rate to a level more consistent with the rest of the world that you could get a lot of those jobs flooding back in by the end of next year.
But Obama is so blinded by his faith in the emerging one world economy that such measures are unimaginable to him.
In recent years, the Obama administration has entered into new "free trade" agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia. In addition, the Obama administration is making the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("the NAFTA of the Pacific") a very high priority.
Considering what a nightmare the first NAFTA was, do we really need another one?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a treaty that would essentially ban all "Buy American" laws. It is being touted as one of the most comprehensive "free trade" agreements in history, and it would open up the door for millions more good jobs to be shipped out of the country.
The workers of America simply cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama.
In fact, the Obama administration has actually spent billions of taxpayer dollars to create jobs in other countries. The following is from a pro-Republican website...
Over his four years in office, Obama promised that he would focus on creating "jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced." However, as he racked up trillions in new debt, billions of dollars did go to create jobs that were outsourced or spent overseas. Whether it is electric cars made in Finland or solar panels in Mexico, taxpayers would be astonished to learn that their hard earned money went abroad for jobs that weren't created in the United States.
You can get all the details right here. Needless to say, the Obama administration has been an absolute disaster on these issues.
So would Romney be an improvement when it comes to trade?
That is very doubtful.
The truth is that Mitt Romney was involved in outsourcing jobs while he was at Bain Capital. The following is from a recent article posted on Forbes.com...
David Corn of Mother Jones reports that "according to government documents . . . Romney, when he was in charge of Bain [Capital], invested heavily in a Chinese manufacturing company that depended on US outsourcing for its profits-and that explicitly stated that such outsourcing was crucial to its success."
This didn't happen after 1999, when Mitt Romney says he left Bain Capital to run the Salt Lake City Olympics (Corn was one of the first reporters to raise questions, now gaining wide exposure, of whether Romney really left Bain then), but the year before. On April 17, 1998, Brookside Capital Partners Fund, a Bain Capital affiliate of which Romney was the sole shareholder, sole director, president, and chief executive, invested an estimated $14.2 million in Global-Tech, an appliance maker in Dongguan, China. Global-Tech made products for American companies like Sunbeam, Hamilton Beach, Mr. Coffee, and Proctor-Silex. In September 1998 Global-Tech's CEO announced that the company was postponing a factory expansion because Sunbeam was slowing its rate of outsourcing, and said, "Although it appears that customers such as Sunbeam are not outsourcing their manufacturing as quickly as we had anticipated, we still believe that the long-term trend toward outsourcing will continue."
Since Romney left, Bain Capital has become even more aggressive with outsourcing jobs. In fact, Bain Capital has been forcing American workers to train their Chinese replacements even in the midst of this campaign. Aren't they concerned that they are making their former boss look bad? The following is from an article written by an American worker that is having his job shipped to China by Bain Capital...
On Monday, November 5th Bain Capital is outsourcing my job to China. On Tuesday, November 6th I'm casting my vote against Mitt Romney.
Yes, I blame Mitt Romney for the loss of my job. Here's why.
I've worked at the same factory in Freeport, Ill. for thirty-three years, making sensors and controls for the auto industry. It's tough work, but it pays a living wage with health benefits that folks can count on, and it fuels our town's economy and tax base.
That's been changing since Bain Capital came to town. Two years ago, our factory was sold to Sensata Technologies, a company created by Bain Capital, and they told us that by December 2012, all 170 of our jobs would be shipped to China. They even made us train our Chinese replacements.
Layoff notices have been sent out, and some folks have already been laid off. Where there was once lots of people and energy and life, now there's only the discoloration on the floor where the machinery used to be. It's depressing. They're not just dismantling the equipment and the plant; they're dismantling our community.
All of this outsourcing is killing America.
Back in 1950, the population of this country was less than half of what it is now, and yet there were more Americans working in manufacturing back in 1950 than there are today.
The decline in manufacturing jobs in the United States has been really dramatic since the year 2000.
In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million...

I think that it is interesting to note that China joined the WTO in 2001. Since that time we have been losing jobs to them at an astounding pace. According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute, U.S. trade with China "cost more than 2.7 million jobs between 2001 and 2011".
The Chinese slap huge tariffs on many of our goods, they manipulate currency rates to make sure that U.S. companies cannot compete, they steal our intellectual property and they deeply subsidize their own businesses.
And yet Obama and Romney insist that this is "free trade".
What a joke.
And our tax structure is absolutely killing us as well. The following is from a recent articleby Ernest F. Hollings...
A U.S. manufacturer exporting to China pays the 35% Corporate Tax and a 17% VAT when its exports reach Shanghai. A China manufacturer exports tax free to the U.S.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Our trade policy is a complete and total disaster, and yet Obama and Romney continue to insist that we just need to become even more integrated with the emerging one world economic system.
Well, in a previous article I listed 22 statistics which prove that the current path that we are on has been absolutely disastrous for American workers...
#1 One professor has estimated that cutting the U.S. trade deficit in half would create 5 million more jobs in the United States.
#2 The United States has a trade imbalance that is more than 7 times larger than any other nation on earth has.
#3 Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the globe since 1975. That 8 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. businesses and pay the wages of U.S. workers. Federal, state and local taxes would have been paid on that 8 trillion dollars if it had stayed in the United States.
#4 When NAFTA was passed in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars. In 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
#5 In 2001, American consumers spent 102 billion dollars on products made in China. In 2011, American consumers spent 399 billion dollars on products made in China.
#6 The Chinese undervalue their currency by about 40 percent in order to gain a critical advantage over foreign competitors. This means that many Chinese companies are able to absolutely thrive while their competition in the United States goes out of business. The following is from a recent Fox News article....
To keep Chinese products artificially inexpensive on US store shelves, Beijing undervalues the yuan by 40 percent. It pirates US technology, subsidizes exports and imposes high tariffs on imports.
#7 According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China thanks to all the tariffs.
#8 The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was 295.4 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
#9 Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was only about 6 million dollars (million with an "m") for the entire year.
#10 U.S. consumers spend about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that Chinese consumers spend on goods and services from the United States.
#11 The United States has actually lost an average of about 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
#12 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing about half a million jobsto China every single year.
#13 The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
#14 During 2010 alone, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities closed their doors in America every single day.
#15 Since the auto industry bailout, approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.
#16 As I have written about previously, 95 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were middle class jobs.
#17 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.
#18 The percentage of working age Americans that are employed right now is actually smaller than it was at the end of the last recession.
#19 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#20 Due in part to the globalization of the labor pool, only about 24 percent of all jobs in the United States are "good jobs" at this point.
#21 Without enough good jobs, more Americans than ever before are falling into poverty. Today, more than 100 million Americans are on welfare.
#22 In recent years the U.S. economy has embraced "free trade" and the emerging one world economy like never before. Instead of increasing the number of jobs in our economy, it has resulted in the worst stretch of job creation in the United States in modern history....
If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009-nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.
At this point, more than 41 percent of all working age Americans do not have a job, and the vast majority of the new jobs that are being created are low paying jobs.
Median household income has fallen for four years in a row. In fact, median household income is down by more than $4000 since Barack Obama entered the White House.
One recent survey found that about 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings. We are a country that is full of broke people.
What we need are more good jobs. But Obama and Romney are both determined to keep shipping good jobs out of the country.
The path that we are on will only lead to disaster. Please wake up America.

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com 

Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button. 

Passion 4 Him: 40 reasons to be part of a local church

churchPassion 4 Him: 40 reasons to be part of a local church: By Jesse Johnson Is it possible to live a faithful Christian life without being a faithful part of a local church? I've heard many...

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Last Days Of America? 25 Signs Of Extreme Social Decay


Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/

Are we on the verge of societal collapse? Many of the greatest empires throughout world history were not conquered by outside forces. Rather, they crumbled inwardly as extreme social decay set in. There have been many that have compared the last days of the Roman Empire to what America is going through right now. In the decades following World War II, the United States was the most powerful and the most prosperous nation on the entire planet, but now things are rapidly changing. There are literally thousands of signs that our society is collapsing all around us. All you have to do to see this is turn on a television or pick up a newspaper. I spend a lot of time discussing our nightmarish economic and political headaches in this column, but the truth is that our problems go much deeper than that. Even if a major miracle happened and we got the "right person" into the White House, the Federal Reserve was shut down, our 16 trillion dollar national debt was paid off, our trade deficit went to zero, a solution was found for the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble and the "too big to fail" banks were broken up, we would still be facing a national crisis of unprecedented magnitude. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that America has become an absolute cesspool of filth and corruption, and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is rapidly disappearing. Until we get our hearts right, there is not much hope for the future of this once great nation.So are these the last days of America? The following are 25 signs of extreme social decay....
#1 We have come to accept that it is "normal" that security goons should be allowed to touch the private parts of our women and our children in the name of "national security". Just check out the ordeal that conservative radio host and Breitbart editor Dana Loesch suffered through recently at the hands of the TSA...
They performed the regular pat-down and then the agent informed me that she would be using the front of her hands to "sweep" my groin. She pressed and swept across my crotch three times horizontally and three times vertically. In any other circumstance this would be sexual assault.
The agents themselves were friendly and smiled, yet I was still denied a public screening and no witness of my own present for the screening itself (a second agent was in the room at the time). I had no reason to be angry with the agents themselves, yet I was angry, and still am, at the regulations which require them to routinely violate men, women, and children in the name of a false sense of security.
#2 Police up in New Jersey say that a man kept his girlfriend padlocked in a bedroom for most of the last 10 years.
#3 It is hard to imagine some of the sick things that people do behind closed doors. Down in Florida, one former medical examiner was apparently collecting human body parts...
In what could be described as an episode of "Auction Hunters" turned reality horror show, authorities in Pensacola are investigating after finding human brains, hearts and lungs in a storage unit they say belonged to a former medical examiner.
Someone bought the storage unit at an auction last week and noticed a foul smell as they were sifting through furniture and boxes.
Officials at the medical examiner's office in Pensacola say the remains of more than 100 people were found crudely stored in Tupperware containers, garbage bags and drink cups.
#4 A former fifth grade teacher down in Atlanta has admitted that she helped her students cheat because they were "dumb as hell".
#5 Many debt collectors are willing to say absolutely despicable things in order to collect debts. One debt collector recently told a disabled military veteran that if he would have "served our country better" he would not be disabled and that he "should have died"...
"If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off Social Security while the rest of us honest Americans work our asses off," one of the agency's debt collectors allegedly told the vet. "Too bad, you should have died."
Michael Collier was declared 100 per cent disabled after suffering permanent spine and head injuries while in the Army. As a result, both Collier and his wife receive disability payments from the federal Social Security Administration, which are exempt from seizure by debt collectors.
#6 In many areas of the country, street drugs have become so powerful that they are pushing users completely over the edge. Of course there is never any excuse for murdering children, but would any rational person do this kind of thing without being high on drugs?...
A Camden, N.J. man was charged with murder for allegedly slashing the throat of a 6-year-old Camden boy. Police say he told investigators he was smoking a combination of marijuana and PCP, known as "Wet" just before the killing.
Osvaldo "Popeye" Rivera, 31, was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with murder and attempted murder.
Police say Rivera was trying to sexually assault the boy's 12-year-sister and the little boy tried to come to her defense. Investigators say Rivera slashed the throats of both children.
#7 A school bus driver in Wisconsin recently told a 12-year-old boy that "maybe your mother should have chosen abortion for you" because he didn't like the Romney campaign sign standing in his front yard.
#8 We are continuing to see a rash of "zombie attacks" all over the nation. The following is one recent example from Pennsylvania....
A Doylestown man, who was naked and bleeding profusely, gnawed on woman's head all while "screaming like an animal" during a wild neighborhood rampage, state police said.
#9 A beekeeper over in North Carolina says that someone recently stole 20,000 bees from his property.
#10 Evidence of social decay extends to the highest levels of the federal government. Just check out what some highly paid federal workers have been doing when they were supposed to be working...
In 2006, the deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested for trying to seduce online someone he thought was a teenage girl. Four years later, the Securities and Exchange Commission found that 17 of 31 employees caught accessing porn at work since 2008 - one for up to eight hours a day - were senior staff.
In 2010, the Boston Globe reported that senior Pentagon staff were downloading child porn. Instead of generating a media storm, the story died. Senior staff were watching the sexual torture of small children on Pentagon computers, and Americans were not outraged?
#11 In a shocking murder trial in southern California, prosecutors have played a tape of a former chef admitting to police that he slow cooked the body of his wife for four days.
#12 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world, and many of our prisons are absolute hellholes. The following is what a former inmate named Daniel Miller recently told Business Insider about what really goes on inside our prisons...
"When they found out the black homosexual had approached me talking that homosexual stuff, I was told 'Look you have to stab him or pipe him down,'" Miller recently told Business Insider about his first experiences during two decades spent in and out of prison, most recently for robbery.
"The guys were there just to make sure I actually split this guy's head open."
Those "guys" were the Aryan Brotherhood, one of the most famous and feared jailhouse gangs.
Miller, now 38, joined up when he first entered the correctional system in Kansas as a teen. He bounced around a number of different facilities before being released on Sept. 19 this year.
"At 16 years old, I wanted to be accepted in prison," he said. "I would fight everybody."
He grew so cold and so good at fighting he became the one ordering attacks on fellow inmates - something that still haunts him.
#13 A 7-year-old boy was part of a gang of youths that recently invaded the home of a 51-year-old woman and beat the living daylights out of her.
#14 What in the world has gotten into our kids? Many of them have literally turned into little monsters. Just check out what two little boys recently did to a church in Virginia...
Two little boys caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to a Loudon County church, according to officials.
The vandals used the children's toys and art supplies to damage the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and Sunday school rooms. They also smeared food for needy families and their own feces and urine on walls and floors.
According to Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider, all that damage was done by two boys, aged 6 and 7.
#15 A former high school English teacher has been accused of having sex with five different male students. The most disturbing part is that she is a mother of three children and her husband is serving this country in the U.S. Army.
#16 You might want to think twice before becoming a pizza delivery worker. Just check out what happened over in Dallas recently...
Two Dallas teens called in a pizza order to lure a delivery worker to a Grand Prairie house, then beat the woman in the head with a pistol and sexually assaulted her on the porch, according to Grand Prairie police reports released Wednesday.
Bleeding and wearing just a bra, the 30-year-old woman drove herself back to a Grand Prairie Pizza Hut, the reports stated.
The 17-year-olds accused in the July 24 robbery and sexual assault were in custody Wednesday at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas in what Grand Prairie police are calling one of the city's "most heinous offenses" in recent memory.
#17 According to shocking new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,approximately two-thirds of all Americans in the 15 to 24 year old age bracket have engaged in oral sex.
#18 Last year it was reported that 86 teen girls at one high school in Memphis, Tennessee were either pregnant or had recently given birth.
#19 Sex trafficking has become a raging epidemic in America. It is estimated that there are now approximately a million prostitutes in the United States. Most of them are being trafficked by male "pimps".
#20 As our social decay gets even deeper, it is going to become more important than ever to secure our homes. Just check out what happened over in Kansas City, Missourirecently...
An elderly couple is recovering Tuesday after they were brutally beaten inside their south Kansas City home.
The woman was also raped, according to a police report.
Tony L. Putman, 18, of Kansas City was charged with six felonies Tuesday afternoon. The charges include one count of rape and two counts of robbery.
The couple's ordeal began about 1:30 p.m. Monday when a man broke into their home near 73rd Street and Campbell Avenue. Entry was gained through a basement window, which was broken.
#21 It is becoming easy to understand why so many Americans are arming themselves these days. Even Brad Pitt says that he "doesn't feel safe" without a gun.
#22 Racial hatred is rising to distressing new heights in this country. Here is one recent example...
A Michigan State University student is recovering after he was beaten up and had his mouth stapled shut during what investigators are categorizing as a brutal hate crime.
Zachary Tennen, a 19-year-old sophomore in MSU's journalism program, said he was at a house party on the 500 block of Spartan Avenue early Sunday morning when two men approached him and asked if he was Jewish. When he responded "Yes," the two men raised their arms into a Nazi salute and said "Heil Hitler" before knocking him unconscious, according to Tennen's mother, Tina.
About 20 people reportedly watched as the men proceeded to staple Zachary Tennen's mouth shut at the lips and gums. His jaw was broken in two places during the attack.
#23 Overall, more than 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States since Roe vs. Wade was decided back in 1973. At this point, the number of babies killed by abortion in America every year is almost as high as the total number of military deaths in all of U.S. history.
#24 Respect for parents has declined to shockingly low levels in America. Just check out what one son down in Florida recently did to his own mother...
A Florida man yesterday rubbed dog feces in his mother's face during an argument in the home they share, police report.
Cops arrested William Jenkins, 22, on a felony domestic battery charge for pushing his mother, 53, to the floor during the dispute, according to a Palmetto Police Department report.
When questioned by cops, Jenkins denied pushing his mother, but admitted that he "did rub dog defecation on her face because she yelled at him," investigators noted.
#25 A 21-year-old Utah man is being accused of stabbing his grandmother 111 times and then removing some of her organs. But news like this hardly makes headlines anymore because crimes such as this one have become so common.
Sadly, a list like this one could go on indefinitely. More examples of extreme social decay pop up in the news almost hourly.
But we don't like to admit that we have problems. Our politicians continue to proclaim how we are "the greatest nation on earth" and that the rest of the world should follow our example.
Rarely do you ever hear politicians talk about how we are the most obese nation on the planet, about how we have the highest divorce rate on the planet or about how we have the highest teen pregnancy rate on the planet.
Until we are willing to admit just how bad things have gotten, we will never be willing to accept the solutions that are necessary to start fixing things.
Many Americans are pinning their hopes on the upcoming election, but instead of making things better I am concerned that this election may trigger a lot of the anger that is boiling just under the surface in this country.
If we continue down the path that we are currently on, the social decay that we are now experiencing is going to accelerate.
The fundamental level of trust that any society needs in order to operate efficiently is breaking down, and more Americans than ever are living in fear. You can see it in their eyes.
Our politicians can pile on millions more laws, rules and regulations and they can put a police officer on every corner, but that isn't going to make Americans trust one another. Once confidence in our societal institutions and our faith in one another is gone, it is going to be incredibly difficult to ever rebuild it.
Yes, we really are on the verge of societal collapse. What we are experiencing right now is just the leading edge of the coming crisis.
Things are going to get a whole lot worse from here.
Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com 

Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button. 

Religious Trojan Horse: When Being “Right” Is Wrong - The Social Gospel, Right and Left


by Brannon Howse
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Should Christians promote righteousness within our nation and be concerned about the worldview our various levels of government and education promote? Of course.
After all, God Himself drew the borders of nations and chose the very nation in which each man and woman would be born. God created government. Because we are Christians, we must judge everything against the Word of God, which is a reflection of God’s character and nature. Therefore, Christians should support legislation and initiatives that reward the righteous and punish the wicked, purposes for which God created government (Romans 13). The two institutions are to complement one another...but the church is not to become by government, and the government is not to become the church.
The religious right of the 1970s and 1980s has drastically changed and is now a New Religious Right (NRR), embracing and participating in many unbiblical activities and projects. Consistent with this misdirection, many within the NRR seem more interested in being the civil government than in being the church. Some adherents are seemingly so shallow in biblical knowledge and discernment that they fail to recognize the error of their commitment to a social gospel. Among other problems, the NRR embraces ecumenicalism in order to build political coalitions, to increase revenues, and because they simply are not committed to biblical theology and sound doctrine.
[For example], most pro-family organizations claim to be Christian and boast that they embrace “Christian values” because the majority of their donors call themselves “Christian.” When it comes to defining what it means to be a Christian, however, most of the New Religious Right will not reflect biblical Christianity because they don’t want to offend their Catholic, Mormon, Word of Faith, or New Apostolic Reformation donors. So, in the end, the NRR betrays the Gospel in deference to “another” gospel embraced by these disparate groups. But is “another” gospel of the NRR any different from “another” gospel of the religious left? From whichever side a social gospel originates, it is always man-centered. Its basic claim says man needs to fix or improve his condition through social activism, Christian activism, philanthropy, and good works. A social gospel leaves out the preaching and teaching that sin is the primary reason for the problems of our world.
Rick Warren’s social gospel, for instance, involves leaving out the biblical Gospel so he can work with Muslims and other world religions to improve education, address poverty, combat disease, and promote globalism. The social gospel from the NRR is primarily about lowering taxes, decreasing the size of government, and giving people more political and economic liberty. But accomplishing these goals—as laudable as they may be—will not solve man’s root problem of sin and rebellion against God. Our problems will not be addressed by more liberalism or more conservatism but only through...the biblical Gospel.
If 80 percent of a society’s problems and heartaches are directly related to the demise of the family unit, one merely has to ask why the family is in decline. The answer will quickly ring up “sin.” Unfortunately, for many within the NRR, it is too late. They have already compromised the Gospel by their willingness to unite with false teachers. Certain members of the New Religious Right have admonished me...not to expose the unbiblical theology of Mormonism or Catholicism or liberation theology on the NRR airwaves. Such biblical truth offends the unbeliever and causes these ministries to lose donors. What the NRR does not seem to understand is that the culture war is really only a symptom of the serious spiritual problem from which man suffers, and only the preaching of the Gospel will cure this disease. Even if the New Religious Right could implement every law it wants and turn America into one great big town of Mayberry, the result would simply be a more comfortable and moral America from which millions of people could enter hell. The secular website of National Review published an insightful article about this very issue. David French’s article “Evangelicals’ Collapsing Cultural Influence” notes:
We are more focused on meeting the material needs of the poor than their spiritual needs. Spend much time in the evangelical community, and you’ll soon learn that the old-fashioned Gospel-focused mission trip is largely a thing of the past. Now, you go build schools. Now, you go dig water wells. Now, you repair houses. These are worthy goals, all, but service projects by themselves don’t change hearts and minds; they often make (frequently) self-inflicted misery more bearable. Service must be accompanied by intentional, vocal evangelism and discipling.
French comes to the same conclusion I announced in the first five words of [my book] Grave Influence : “We’ve lost the culture war.” Mr. French explains why: “I once heard it said that following the social and political disruptions of the 1960s and early 1970s, religious conservatives decided that they had to win elections, while secular leftists decided to win the culture—and both groups succeeded. So now here we are, enjoying unprecedented influence on presidential outcomes even as our cultural foundation rots away beneath our feet. Not even the best presidential candidate will fix the family, nor will our most generous service project save a soul.”
In Matthew 23, Jesus calls the religious leaders of His day “whitewashed tombs.” They looked good on the outside. They thought they were promoting morality, but they were dead spiritually. Jesus warned that they would strain out a gnat but swallow a whole camel. And, indeed, the New Religious Right is notorious for such activity. In similar whitewashed-looking causes, the NRR has chosen: 1. Family values over biblical doctrine. 2. Moralizing over evangelizing. 3. Prosperity over sacrifice. 4. Christian activism over biblical discipleship. 5. Compromise over commitment.  6. The flag over the cross. 7. The White House over the church house. 8. The wolves over the sheep. 9. An earthly kingdom over the Kingdom of God.
 [For example], the Southern Baptist Convention called for a boycott of the Disney Company, but in 1993 refused to pass a resolution at their national convention condemning the occultism of Freemasonry. Instead, the denomination passed a resolution stating that there are aspects of Freemasonry consistent with Christianity (compare this with Ezekiel:5:11-16; 8:5-18). [Ironically], the New Religious Right will boycott a company whose unsaved executives promote the homosexual agenda but will themselves promote and give credibility to false teachers who preach another Jesus and another gospel [leading millions to hell].
When Christians call on unbelievers to conform to a certain “religious standard” without faith and repentance in Jesus Christ, we run the risk of leading them to believe that becoming a Christian means simply living a good life. No matter how many pieces of legislation become law and no matter the number of laws to which the unsaved conform, they are still lost in sin [so] when the church takes on the role of morality police...we are only addressing the symptoms of their unsaved condition. How can the unregenerate be anything less than they are? Their worldviews are the foundation of their values, and their values are the foundation of their conduct. Until their unbiblical worldviews are transformed into a biblical view through faith and repentance in Jesus Christ, they are slaves to sin.
[Tragically], moralism is just as dangerous and deadly as outright liberalism. As John MacArthur has said, “It makes no difference if an unsaved person is for or against abortion, [is] a political liberal or a conservative, a prostitute or a police officer; he will spend eternity apart from God unless he repents and believes the gospel.”
—Excerpts from Religious Trojan Horse by Brannon Howse