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Monday, November 11, 2013

What does God want?

   On Sunday I had a long phone conversation with my daughter who is at college.   She is looking for a church to attend down in the Anaheim area and so we spent a while talking about faith and our world.   One thing I was pondering was our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire for our country to be strong.   But is our desire for our country to be strong economically and God's desire for all to come to faith in him and enter his kingdom diametrically opposed to each other.  I say this because often I feel many Christians desire our country to return to God not so much for them to be saved but instead because they fear God will be angry with us and will punish our country with economic and military turmoil which we do not want.  No one wants "fire and brimstone" to rain down on their city or country.

    But I believe we live in a period grace and not fear.   After all, Jesus has paid for ALL of those sins ("He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also the sins of the whole world"  1 John 3:2) and there is nothing to fear.   God's plan is save as many as possible.   (John 3:16: "For God so loved THE WORLD ...").   If we allow ourselves to live in fear then we have not put our trust in God and what he has done.

   But what if God's plan to bring more people in means that our country must fall?   Are we willing to still pray as he tells us to:  "Thy will be done".  We must look at our hearts and ask ourselves WHY we want God to turn our country politically back in the right direction.   Is it because we want to have a cushy life and a certain economic future?   I have to say I do!   I am no different than many others who see what's happening around us. 

    I told my daughter "I know I spend too much time worrying about politics and I need to spend more time growing spiritually in grace and humility".  I need to ask God to do whatever it takes to save as many as possible and to let myself be used in whatever way he needs.

    I've told my son this before. "America and all the countries of this world are not going to last.  The Constitution is not going to last.   But what will last is God's word and his promise of salvation".  Does this mean we should not care?   No.  But I believe it changes your attitude.   Like a football team what knows "It's only a game", and that after the last second has ticked off the clock their lives go on.  This attitude allows them to keep their cool and play the best game possible.  So also we need to have that same attitude.  We need to know that our eternal salvation is not dependent on who is in the White House.   Those who scrape and claw to get all their political desires met by the next election will in the end be the losers.  

     We will know that God has a bigger plan for us

Lessons from the Roadrunner

    Like many adults my age, I grew up watching on Saturday mornings "The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour" and it was the highlight of my week as a kid.   We laughed so hard as kids watching Wile E. Coyote go after the Road Runner with his plans involving rockets, anvils, springs, catapults and explosives purchased from ACME corporation (he must have had an enormous credit card bill).     Often his escapade ended with him going over a cliff and true to fashion he would go straight off the cliff until he lost speed.  Finally after he came to a complete stop, the truth of the situation would dawn on him as he looked down and see the canyon floor.  Then suddenly gravity would take control and down he would go after only moments of time for him to deploy a sign saying "Help" or some other message for us viewers to read to let us know what he was really thinking while the Road-Runner was standing nearby to watch the fate of his adversary.

     And down he would go , getting smaller and smaller until all we would see was a puff of dirt and the sound of a bang as he hit the dessert floor. (Note: I learned more about one-point perspective drawing at the age of 8 watching these cartoons than any where else although I had no idea that it was called that at the time).

     I don't know if our President ever watched these cartoons when he was young, but now I do believe he feels like Wile E. Coyote right now as he watches his poll numbers fall off the proverbial "cliff" and see what it feels like to be "George W Bush".

     The media for so long had helped him "defy gravity".  They gave him softball interview questions, allowed shows like "The View" and "Jon Stewart" to fill in as pressers.   They put pictures of him on their magazine covers with the Presidential Seal in the background as a Messianic "halo" and labelled anyone who was against him a racist or a bigot.  But now he has lost speed and he must look down at the chasm below from which no one can help him.   His promises are now the seed for late night comedians and his namesake legislation, embossed with his name ObamaCare (although many in the media are now starting to refer to it by its legislative name Affordable Care Act), is the laughing stock of the internet world.   While I don't find it as funny as the Road-Runner cartoons I do find it a sorry situation that our country has found itself in.  After all, we elected him to this office despite his lack of leadership skills, his lack of business skills and lack of political skills (no bills he ever had to write or sell, voting present instead of yes/no and only two years as a Senator).  We, in a sense, put the rocket pack on his back and he lit the fuse to send himself over the cliff and now we must watch his presidency disappear into the vast canyon of history.

    But even sadder is that his downward flight still has 3 more years to go.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Never go into business with a competitor

    This blog falls into the category of "Are you stupid??"

    There is an old rule of business that says to never go into a business venture with a competitor (especially a much LARGER competitor).  It never ends well for you.   The reason is simple.  Your competitor doesn't have your best interest at heart and will always leave you hanging.

   With a collective "What were you thinking?" we wonder who thought this would be a good idea to go into business with a competitor (i.e. the government) to sell insurance?   To me it's been a bad deal all around for the healthcare companies.  First, they have to modify all their plans to be ObamaCare compliant thus forcing many of their plans to be cancelled and thereby losing customers.   Then they have to rely on the government to set up the "exchanges" on websites to funnel new customers (hopefully young and healthy ones) to the healthcare providers.  But now we find out that the website was only designed to handler roughly 1000 customers at a time (that's 20 people per state... ugh!).   So not only is their competitor making them lose customers, they are not aiding them in getting new ones. 

It's almost as if the system was designed to fail and put the healthcare companies out of business.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can I be good without God?

      Recently when I was driving down I-80 in California I saw a billboard that asked:
               "Are you good without God?"

     Immediately I began to ask myself, "Can you?".   On the surface it seems plausible as we do see plenty of charitable people who are openly non-religious.  Ted Turner once gave the UN one billion dollars to help remove landmines from countries recovering from war.  Certainly that is a noble cause and no one compelled him to do it (as least that we know of) and he has often declared himself to be atheist.  but let's dig a little deeper into that claim, "I can be GOOD without God".   Just what is GOOD?   Jesus was once approach by a rich man who said "Good Teacher what must I do to inherit the kingdom?" and Jesus replied "Why do you call be GOOD, when there is only ONE who is GOOD and that is God".   To define good, you need a reference to compare to is what Jesus is saying.    You can't know what is black unless you compare it to what is white.  You can't tell what is a lie unless you have the truth to compare it to.

      Some would say it would determined by society and those around me rather than an ancient religious teaching.  To some degree that can be true.  Japanese culture for example puts extreme social pressure on its people to as to how to take care of their families and behave in society.  But can this be a false or misleading measuring device?   Take for example Nazi Germany.  Here a whole country was lead down a path of eugenics and committed nationwide genocide on other citizens illustrating how "good" can be so horribly modified over time to be so destructive.  First they determined that they could not afford to take care of the mentally or physically handicapped and buses would pull up to hospitals with "special medical staff" to help end these patients lives.  Posters were made asking Germans if its right to spend so much money on people who will never be able to take care of themselves.   After a while they decided that the terminally sick and those with genetic diseases were to be euthanized to save society the pain of providing for them.  From there it was not hard to convince that certain ethnic groups were weaker and damaging to their race and complete eradication was in order. 

Ask yourself:

              "What if Darwinism was the first religion"?
               "How would our world look today under Darwinism?"
        Would we have anything remotely resembling the 10 commandments?   Probably not.  Of course the first 3 would be out because they deal directly with "God" (although I might suppose they would have some rules regarding discussion of other ideas as being unsavory or wrong-minded).  What about the 5th commandment?  Thou shalt not kill?   Under Darwinism, survival of the fittest, this concept is counter productive.  After all, if another person is too "weak" to defend themselves then they should be eliminated and improve the gene pool.  Protecting the weak from elimination is foolish in their sight.   Then there's the 6th commandment: "Thou shall not commit adultery".  Doesn't this create a conflict with the main tenant of Darwinism to create as many of your offspring to dominate a region?  Isn't it in my best interest to have as many wives as possible?  Heck, why even have wives at all?  That just slows down the whole procreating process altogether and the concept of rape would be non-existent.  Then there is the 7th commandment: "Thou shall not steal".   This too would be counterproductive in Darwinism for the same reason as the 5th.  The stronger should be able to maintain their possessions and their food.  Too illustrate, I recently watched a program on how wolves reintroduced to Wyoming are stealing food from mountain-lions and so they have to hunt more often.  This is having a negative impact on their ability to reproduce (side note:  it was so called well meaning environmentalists from the group 1491 that came up with this ingenious plan to bring wolves in from Canada).  Here we see nature using "stealing" as a way to help "their kind" to advance.  And what about the 8th commandment?  Thou shall not lie.  Hmmm.   This too is in the same category as stealing.   After all, lying is actually used by the animal kingdom in many ways.  For example, the use of camouflage is a method of "lying" because it says "there's no one here waiting to pounce on you".  Some animals even pretend to be other kinds of animals.  For example the gopher-snake has the same colorings as a rattlesnake.  Why?   So they can kill other rattlesnakes. Some birds will take over a nest, lay their eggs in the nest along side the other eggs and then take off to let the other bird incubate them and feed them. When the birds get bigger, the bird that was added, kills the other birds and takes their food (isn't nature lovely!).   Lying can be used advantageously by one person over another and if under Darwinism they other is to stupid or dull-minded to know the difference then too bad.   And finally the 9th and 10th would be gone as well as they are about wanting what others have for yourself which goes against our human nature to provide as much food and protection for ourselves as we can gather to live as long as we can.

      So there you have a world in which Darwinism is the first religion of the world.  Kill who you want.  Steal from whom you want.   Have sex with whoever you desire.  Lie and cheat as much as you want and by all means take all you desire. 

     What a wonderful world it would be (sarcasm added)

      I hope this shows that atheism piggy-backs on other religions and claims it can do it all by itself when clearly it cannot.  For if atheism was the first on the scene, we would have none of the laws that have benefited society and our world for thousands of years. (Technically atheism can never be the first on the scene, for in order to have a belief in "no god" you must first have a belief in a "god" to not believe in. In other words, atheism must always derive itself from theism and therefore come later)

     Jesus once said, "The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.  Though it is small, it grows into the largest of garden plants and the birds of the air nest in its branches".  For the Jew, birds are meant to symbolize evil people or non-believers and so Jesus is showing that even non-believers benefit from the Kingdom of God.

   Q:  So can you be good without God? 
   A:  Not unless there is a God in the first place to tell you what GOOD IS FIRST!