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Financial Crisis

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.”

    – Luke 21:20-21

Last week we looked at the third of three case studies in prepping from the Old Testament, Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt. The other two case studies were the accounts of Noah and the end of the world as he knew it and Lot’s narrow escape from Sodom. This week, I’d like to turn our attention to the New Testament and in particular to the teaching of Jesus himself that relate to the subject of prepping.

But before turning to Jesus’ teachings on prepping, it’s worth taking a little time to review the events in the financial markets last week. The general title for this series The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008, because it is the contention of this author that the crisis which manifested itself that year, sometimes referred to as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), has never gone away. Rather, the symptoms only were treated by massive money printing by the world’s leading central banks and other financial fakery, a great deal of which probably is still kept under wraps by the powers that shouldn’t be.

The first event from last week I’d like to look at was the New York Fed’s (The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most prominent of the Fed’s regional banks) bailing out the overnight Repo market to the tune of $53 billion late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, September 17th and 18th. Now you may be asking, “So just what is the overnight Repo and why should I even care?” Good questions.

Investopedia defines a Repurchase Agreement (Repo) as, “a form of short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities. In the case of a repo, a dealer sells government securities to investors, usually on an overnight basis, and buys them back the following day…Repos are typically used to raise short-term capital…Classified as a money-market instrument, a repurchase agreement functions in effect as a short-term, collateral-backed, interest-bearing loan. The buyer acts as a short-term lender, while the seller acts as a short-term borrower. The securities being sold are the collateral.”

For most of us, the repo market is a fairly obscure corner of the financial system, something that runs in the background. But what happened overnight while most of us slept was a sudden spike in the repo interest rate, which the week before had been 2.29%, but shot up to 10% before the Fed stepped in. As CNN reported, this was the first time the fed had to bail out the overnight repo market since late 2008, which just happened to be the height of the financial crisis.

The Fed conducted further bailouts on Wednesday night and Thursday night.

Finally, on Friday the Fed announced that it would conduct daily repurchasing operations through October 10.

One big takeaway from operation repo is that market forces want to take interest rates higher, which is exactly the opposite of what the Fed wants to have happen.

Which brings me to the second event of note in the financial markets last week, the Fed’s announcement that it was lowing interest rates by 0.25%. This is the second such announcement in the past two months, the previous one coming at the end of July.

Many mainstream commentators are confused by the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates. The reason is that lowing interest rates is something central banks do when the economy is struggling, but the official line is that the American economy is doing great and has never been better. Why is this?

Think of interest rates as the price of money. If the economy is doing well, this means businesses are borrowing to expand their facilities to keep up with demand, consumers and taking out car and home loans. And what happens when demand for a thing increases? All other things equal, the price goes up. With respect to demand for loans, this means that interest rates go up.

The opposite is the case when the economy is doing poorly. There is little demand from businesses to expand, so there is little demand for business loans. Consumers don’t have the income to support car an home loans, so they too are unable to take on debt to fund these purchases. When demand for money decreases, its price, that is to say the interest rate, tends to drop.

This is where the confusion comes in. Donald Trump is out there telling the whole world that the American economy is doing great, while at the same time forcefully arguing for lower interest rates. The Fed’s decision to lower rates strongly suggests that the economy is not doing as well as the Trump administration would like you to believe. Taken together with the Fed’s needing to bail out the repo market, lower interest rates are another data point suggesting an oncoming recession.

A third item of note from last week was the return of talk about a not too far off return to Quantitative Easing (QE) from none other than Fed Chairman Jay Powell. In plain English, QE is simply massive money printing (aka counterfeiting) by central banks to buy assets no one else wants to keep interest rates under control. First employed during as an emergency during the 2008 crisis, QE is now being seriously discussed in public. Question: If the economy really is as great as the powers that shouldn’t be want us to believe, why is the Fed talking about bringing back QE?

In the opinion of this writer, the three items mentioned above – the Fed’s bailout of the repo market, it’s decision to lower interest rates, and talk about QE – strongly suggest the Fed is worried about major problems in the financial system, perhaps even a financial crisis, just around the corner and strongly suggest what the Fed will do to combat those problems: print money.

So, what are Christians to make of all this? The most logical conclusion is that we are, in fact, facing a major financial storm and we need to rig for heavy weather. That is to say, we need to get prepared and to stay prepared. All which brings us back to where we started, the teachings of Christ on the subject of prepping.

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The End of the World

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

– R.E.M.

To see the headlines from the past week, one would suppose we’re on the verge of an end of world as we know it moment. Stocks are crashing, the military is retreating and, horror of horrors, the government is shutting down. As Christians, what are we to say to these things?

Certainly, the headlines are disturbing. Those who have read my work in this space may already be aware that I take a dim view of our current national condition. Our nation’s finances are a mess, with exploding deficits and debt and a dollar that purchases less every year by design.

Our militarist foreign policy is an ongoing train wreck which threatens to involve the US in open wars, all avoidable, in any number of theaters.

Our culture is an open sewer where people cannot make the simplest moral distinctions and find it impossible to even answer the question what is marriage. It’s a place where classic songs such as “Baby It’s Cold Outside” are considered unfit for human consumption, but the vilest rap lyrics raise not so much as an eyebrow.

We live in a time where those in power delight in calling evil good and good evil.

How did it come to this? How can it be that a nation largely founded by Puritans can come to such a state?

One could write a long treatise on that subject, but that’s not my intent here today. But the basic answer is that for well over a century Americans have been rejecting the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ for those of secular philosophy. It would seem that we’re determined to learn the hard way just how brutal the world without Christ can be.

As Christians, it can be very easy to look at all this and fall into despair. And lest anyone suppose he’s not immune to despair, consider the case of Elijah, who, upon securing a stunning victory over the priests of Baal, soon found himself on the run from wicked Queen Jezebel who was determined to have him executed.

This was not an easy time for Elijah. Had he not been faithful in all God called him to do? Of course he had. And yet, not for the first time, he found himself on the run from those who sought his life.

As Christians, it can be very easy to fall into the same mindset as Elijah. We pray for our unsaved family members, yet unsaved they remain. We pray for our nation, yet our countrymen go from vileness to vileness. And not only that, but they even boast about it. Deeply disturbed men such as Bruce Jenner are praised for their courage to embrace their true selves, while Christian bakers are dragged through the court system for their refusal to endorse same sex marriage. Justice, at times, can seem far from us.

But what did God say to Elijah in his despair? “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Though Elijah thought he was alone, he wasn’t. And though the destruction of the priests of Baal was the end of the world as they knew it, for God’s elect, it was a chance at a fresh start.

Let us consider another passage in Scripture, the account of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. At Christmas we’re treated to bright lights, the hustle and bustle of the season and songs of the baby in the manger. “How idyllic it all must have been,” some may think.

But life in the first century Roman Empire was not all sweetness and light as many people seem to suppose. In his book Christ and Civilization, John Robbins pointed out that life the world Christ entered was in many ways quite brutal. It was a world of cruelty and violence. It was a world of superstition and anti-intellectualism. It was a world of slavery and poverty and injustice.

Looking at the condition of the world, who would have supposed there was any reason to hope for any improvement to the wretched conditions enjoyed by most, let alone the birth of a Savior? And yet a Savior came indeed. For the corrupt religious leaders of Israel, Christ’s coming was the end of the world as they knew it. But for God’s people, it was life from the dead.

In the early 16th century, the Church of Rome reigned supreme throughout Europe. All resistance to Rome, it seemed, had been snuffed out. The popes were large and in charge. And in spite of widespread discontent with the state of things, what hope was there for ordinary people to break free from the Church’s straightjacket?

Yet God, in his providence, sent Martin Luther and other men to preach the Gospel of Justification by Belief Alone. And as sinners were made free in spirit, so too were they made free politically and economically. For the papal Antichrist and his henchmen, it was the end of the world as they knew it. But for the Lord’s elect, the Reformation was a light and life.

In our own day, beset with strife as it is, we may be tempted to ask where is our deliverance, and where is our hope? How an unbeliever may answer, I do not know. In truth, so long as a unbeliever remains and unbeliever, there is no deliverance and there is no hope.

But those of us in Christ, we know whence comes our help. Our help, as the psalmist wrote, comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

In this Christmas season, let us remember that the child whose birth the angels sang even now sits at the right hand of the Father and one day will return to judge the quick and the dead.

What will the new year bring? I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet and do not pretend to know the future. That said, it appears that we very well may face serious challenges in 2019. Will it be the end of the world as we know it, or a chance at a fresh start? If the past is a guide, the answer to that question will depend on whether we trust the evidence of our senses or the revelation of God in Scripture.

Come what may, my prayer is that the Lord’s people would face the future, not in fear in trembling at the end of the world as we know it, not in sorrow as those who have no hope, but in the confidence of what the angels spoke to the shepherds that night so long ago, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

 

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SMC_Facebook_2“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19).

These familiar words of Jesus commonly are known to Christians as the Great Commission. While not the only call for evangelism in the New Testament, they certainly are an important proof text supporting the call of Christians to evangelize the lost.

The Apostle Paul provides another proof text in his epistle to the Romans. In Chapter 10 he writes, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14, 15).

Now someone may ask what these passages have to do with the topic at hand, the tech left’s attack on free speech and why Christians, and especially Christians, should object to it.

It is my hope that a little thought would make the relationship between these two passages and the issue at hand clear. Christianity is a religion of the Word. And how to people hear that Word? From a preacher. If the Word cannot be spoken and written, if it cannot be communicated to unbelievers, they have no chance of coming to faith in Christ.

Further, Christ commands us to go, to make disciples and to teach all his commandments. To fulfill this commandment, Christians must use words. That is to say, they must be able both to speak and to write.

For any civil magistrate to prohibit or to attempt to prohibit Christians from speaking freely means to prohibit them from doing the very thing Christ himself commanded his disciples to do. This represents an enormous abuse of power by the civil authorities and is itself a great evil.

Someone may object to my reasoning here by saying that internet censorship is not being done by the civil authorities, but rather by private companies who have the right to regulate traffic on their websites. This may seem like a plausible argument, but as I hope to show next week, Big Tech as represented by companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not acting on their own when they deplatform conservative and libertarian political commentary. Rather, in this author’s opinion, these companies really are acting on behalf of Deep State to censor views it deems dangerous to its cause.

As some have put it, the Deep State has simply outsourced censorship, which in the United States cannot be done directly by government officials due to the First Amendment, to private corporations which are to a significant degree under the control of the Deep State.

As I noted last week, I hope to lay out the case that it’s the globalist Deep State that’s largely behind the push for social media censorship. Lord willing, I plan to make this case next week.

For this week’s installment, I’d like to continue with additional examples of deplatforming found in the Scriptures. Last seek we looked at deplatforming in the Old Testament. This week, our focus will be on deplatforming in the New Testament.

Deplatforming in the New Testament

Although the deplatformings recorded in the New Testament happened many hundreds of years after those we looked at last week in the Old Testament, the spirit, the purpose, behind them is the same. In both cases, it is the vested power interests attempting to quash any challenge to their authority.

The premier examples of deplatforming and attempted deplatforming in the New Testament can be found in the life of Jesus Christ himself. Throughout his earthly ministry, the Jewish religious authorities were Jesus greatest enemies and constantly sought out ways to silence him.

In one case, ordinary Synagogue members attempted to deplatform Christ by throwing him off a hill in Nazareth when they decided they didn’t like his sermon.

And in the end it was the combined efforts of the Jewish leaders, the Jewish people and the Roman civil authorities who joined forces to temporarily succeed in deplatforming Jesus when they brutally executed him on the cross.

Worth noting is the reason why the Jewish religious leaders and some of the Jewish people wanted Christ killed. It was not what Jesus did, but what Jesus said that drew their wrath.

Consider this passage from John’s Gospel. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God’ ” (John 10:31-33).

Note well that it was what Jesus said, not what he did, that so angered these people, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You…make Yourself God.”

Consider another example, this one recorded by Luke. Early in his ministry, Luke tells us that Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and there read the Scriptures and preached.

Jesus’ hometown crowd was on his side at first, but quickly became hostile when he recounted how the prophet Elijah was sent outside the covenant to Zaraphath to help a widow suffering from the famine and how Naaman alone was cured of leprosy by Elisha.

Luke tells us these good church goers were “filled with wrath” and led Jesus outside the city where they planned to throw him off a cliff. That’s deplatforming with a vengeance.

Note that here, as with incident recorded by John, the impetus for the attempt of Jesus life was what he said, not what he did.

At Jesus trial before the elders of the people and the chief priests, once again we see Jesus words were what got him in trouble. Luke notes that Jesus interlocutors asked him if he were the Son of God. When Jesus told them, “You rightly say that I am,” they rested their case, saying, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

John the Baptist also was deplatformed for what he said. In John’s case, his speech got him imprisoned and beheaded.

As Matthew tells us, Herod had John thrown in prison, “Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her [Herodias, his brother Phillips wife].’ ” Matthew records that Herod would have killed John for his saying but for the fact that he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

Peter and John are another example of deplatforming. They were arrested for their preaching (speech) in the temple and dragged before the Sanhedrin who “commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

This is noteworthy, for Peter had just performed a miracle, healing a man who had been lame since birth. The Sanhedrin even admitted that “a notable miracle had been done” through the apostles. But the Sanhedrin did not order Peter and John not to perform miracles, they ordered them not to speak nor teach in the name of Jesus. It was the apostles’ speaking that concerned the Sanhedrin, not their miracle working.

Acts chapter 5 recounts how Peter and John were arrested and deplatformed a second time. On this occasion, there were not brought directly before the Sanhedrin, but were imprisoned. Scripture tells us that an angel of the Lord came and brought them out of prison, telling them, “God, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Once again, we see the emphasis laid on the apostles preaching, their speaking, not on their miracle working. The angel did not tell them to go to the temple and heal people. He told them to preach.

The Biblical emphasis could not be more clear. Christianity is about words. It’s about understanding. It’s about belief. In order to understand and agree with the Gospel, one first has to hear the words of the Gospel. In order to hear and believe the Gospel, the information must be communicated in words.

The ministry experience of the Apostle Paul mirrors that of the examples above. Time and again Paul found himself in trouble, not for what he did, but for what he said.

Any number of examples could be brought forth to buttress this point. One example comes right after his conversion on the Damascus road. Acts chapter 9 records how Paul “Immediately…preached Christ in the synagogues,” and that he, “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus was is the Christ.”

So how did the Jews in Damascus react to Paul’s preaching. Acts tells us they, “plotted to kill him.”

Another example of deplatforming can be seen in Paul’s speech to the crowd at the temple. Paul was addressing an already hostile crowd when he told of his commission by Christ to go to the Gentiles.

Acts notes that the crowd listed until Paul said “Gentiles” and then started to riot, crying out, tearing their clothes and throwing dust in the air. This resulted in Paul’s arrest, spending many years in jail, and being taken to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Paul was deplatformed because of what he said.

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John RobbinsThe following sermon was preached by John Robbins at Reformation Chapel in Unicoi Tennessee. Last week I featured part one of this sermon.  Today, I present part two. To read part one, please click here. The transcription is my own.

– Steve Matthews

Well, Luke continues in verse five,

Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how he spoke to you while he was still in Galilee.’

Well, these women are terrified. These men suddenly appear, and the women are terrified. Luke says they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth. And the angels speak to them and say, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

This reminds you of the opening chapter of Acts, where Luke is telling about the apostles watching Jesus being assumed into heaven. And two men again appear, maybe the same two angels, and speak to the apostles, and they say, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here staring up into heaven?” They ask them a question again. And here the angels ask the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead. And then they tell them, “He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke to you.” And this makes it clear about the important of words. See, we’re told in the first chapter of John that the Word preceded the visible creation, that everything that was created was preceded by the Word. The Word comes first, the Logos comes first. And many people get everything backwards, they think events, or history, or creation come first, rather than the Word.

But notice here no one witnesses the resurrection event. And what the women receive are words from the angels. They’re told specifically, “He is not here. He is risen. He is living. He’s not among the dead.” And then the angels remind them of Jesus’ own words that he spoke while he was still with him. Their faith rests on the testimony of Jesus and the testimony of the angels. The women did not see the resurrection event, but they received these words from Christ and from the angels.

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Sanders and Vought

Bernie Sanders questions Russell Vought in Senate confirmation hearing, 6/7/2017.

Tolerance. It may be the single dominate buzzword or out time. Everyone has heard of it. Progressives claim to have it. Conservatives are berated for lacking it. All must bow down to it. Yet rarely does anyone attempt to define it.

There is a Christian sense to the term “tolerance,” one to which any believer in Jesus Christ would readily affirm, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As Christians, we are to treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated, “for this is the law and the prophets.”

Negatively, tolerance in the Christian sense does not mean agreeing with everybody, saying that all ideas about God, ethics, politics or economics are equally true. There is truth, and there is falsehood. There is darkness and there is light. The prophet Isaiah condemned those who put darkness for light and light for darkness. As Christians, we are called to proclaim the truth and expose the lie.

Aye, and there’s the rub, at least as far as 21st century progressives are concerned. These folks have infinite patience for every idea under the sun, no matter how irrational or destructive it may be, just so long as they can use it as a weapon to smash what little is left of Western civilization.

For the cultural Marxists, if an idea or action doesn’t shock and offend the Protestant bourgeoisie and serve to tear down their civilization, it is by definition intolerable.

Barak Obama gave voice to this notion a few years ago with his “bitter clingers” remark.

Hillary Clinton showed her contempt for ordinary Americans last fall, labeling a large swath of the American population as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic…they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

Not only does Mrs. Clinton think Americans, her present company excepted, are a bunch of bigots, but she adds that they are irredeemably so. And by stating “they are not America,” it appears that the thinks of these individuals, not as fellow Americans who deserve her respect, but as animals who must be controlled.

And she wonders why she lost the election.

All of which brings me to Bernie Sanders and his remarks in a Senate confirmation hearings this past week. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please take a couple minutes to review it.


The terse exchange between potential deputy White House budget director Russ Vought and Senator Bernie Sanders is packed with theological, legal and political implications. Let’s look at a few of them.

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Resurrection and the Life

On this Lord’s Day with its special emphasis on the bodily resurrection of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, it seemed good to present without comment what others have said concerning this miracle, foretold by the prophets, witnessed by the apostles, and preached by believers ever since.

Scriptural witnesses

  • For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job 19:25).
  • For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10).
  • Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:10).
  • And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).
  • He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay (Matthew 28:6).
  • “Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).
  • I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (John 11:25).
  • Now when she [Mary Magdalene] had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him Rabboni!” (John 20:14-16).
  • [B]eginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection (Acts 1:22).
  • And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:33).
  • Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son or God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:3).
  • It [righteousness] shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:24-25).
  • For is we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5).
  • He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4).
  • For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21).
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

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separation-church-and-state

“We have the same vocabulary, but a different dictionary,” was a saying coined a hundred years or so back. It was used by Bible believing Christians to describe liberals who were surreptitiously working to undermine the churches of the day.

The liberals didn’t like a fair fight. Instead of openly declaring their unbelief in the Bible, liberal ministers and scholars were wont to cloak their liberalism in the language of Scripture. The social gospelers would speak of the “divinity of Christ” and for all the world appear to be sound Christians. But instead meaning that Jesus was fully God, they meant only that Jesus, as do all men, had a spark of divinity within him. This is not Christianity. It is a humanist lie.

But old-school social gospelers are not the only people to redefine words to suit their agenda. One prominent example of this is what some atheists and liberals have done to the term “separation of church and state.”

If you’re like me, you probably grew up thinking that 1) these words are found in the Constitution and 2) they mean Christian ideas are legally prohibited from having even the smallest influence in matters of government. Both ideas are false.

But their falsity doesn’t stop many people from passionately believing them. Take a look at this video of a recent Town Hall held by Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.


When minister steps up to pray, some in the audience scream “Prayer? Prayer?” A man can be heard loudly repeating “separation of church and state, separation of church and state.” Another says, “He’s [the minister] not supposed to be up there [at the lectern].”

When the minister ends the prayer in Jesus’ name, the crowd again explodes.

Now for all I know, the loud mouthed protesters may have been dupes paid by George Soros. Perhaps they were expressing an honest, albeit mistaken, opinion. At any rate, they would be better served taking time to learn a thing or two about the Constitution before getting so worked up a minister doing his job.

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