Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mourning for Jacob - Genesis 50:1-3


Then Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him.  And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father.  So the physicians embalmed Israel.  Now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming.  And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

We come now to the last chapter of the first book of the Bible.  In it, we read of Jacob’s burial and also the death of his favorite son, Joseph.   For now, let us focus on the former.   The relationship between the two is evident in verse one.  When Jacob died, the Bible actually records only Joseph falling on his dead father’s face and weeping and kissing him, although it is likely the others did likewise.  This was indeed a great loss for them.  Joseph in particular had recently got his family back after all those years of living without them in Egypt and now he loses the man who was his strength and godly example.

Matthew Henry writes that just as “it is an honor to die lamented, so it is the duty of survivors to lament the death of those who have been useful in their day, though for some time they may have survived their usefulness. The departed soul is out of the reach of our tears and kisses, but with them it is proper to show our respect to the poor body, of which we look for a glorious and joyful resurrection. Thus Joseph showed his faith in God, and love to his father, by kissing his pale and cold lips, and so giving an affectionate farewell.”  Can you imagine dying as an older person and not being lamented?  Yet it happens every day in this cruel world of sin.  Relationships between spouses, between parents and children, have often broken off long before death and then death is simply something one reads about in the obituaries of the local paper.  No lament; no mourning; no missing of a loved one.  That is not how God intended it.

And though he was mourning, Joseph also realized he had responsibilities.  Taking charge of the situation on behalf of the clan, he commanded the ‘physicians’ or so-called ‘healers’ among his servants to embalm his father.  The embalming process in Egyptian took forty days and the mourning period for great men in Egypt was seventy days.  Joseph did abide by the Egyptian practices and traditions with respect to his father’s burial.  He may have also done so because he knew that the body had to be transported to Canaan a lengthy trip that needed considerable time to be planned and undertaken.  The man was dead and his son did the best he knew for him.  Once a person dies is no time to stand on ceremony as to which burial rites are appropriate and which are not.  It is interesting to note the thinking of commentator Chuck Smith who suggests that if one were to find the cave in the field of Machpelah were Jacob was buried, you would not find the bodies of Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebekah, and Leah as they would have long ago decomposed.   But you may well find the mummified body of Jacob who because of his being embalmed, may have been preserved like the Egyptian Pharaohs.  Some of us have seen the mummified body of King Tut in recent exhibits.

Not only did his sons and their families mourn Jacob for the seventy days, but Scripture records that Egyptians did so as well.  Perhaps these were servants of Joseph and others he had come to know.  Perhaps even Pharaoh visited and mourned with them for a while.  I attended a rather large funeral lately.  Most were there because they esteemed the deceased.  Others were there who never knew him, but wanted to pay their respects to his family.  The honor went to the person who was being buried either directly or indirectly through the wonderful family he had raised and left behind.

As we reflect on the loss of Joseph and his brothers, let us also reflect on the losses we have experienced and reconsider whether or not we lamented for those that went before us.  If not, let us do so now.  Perhaps more importantly let us reflect on whether or not we ourselves are living the kind of lives that would be worthy of lament by our children when we die.  If so, let us continue.  If not, let us change.  There is still time.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Death of Jacob - Genesis 49:28-33


All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site.  There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah -- the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.”  When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

As I read the first sentence in this portion of Scripture I realize the value in the blessing one bestows on his or her children (the ‘blessees’) is not always found in the words one utters (for Jacob uttered some tough words), but in both the act of blessing a child prior to one’s passing and in the sharing of the truth that lies ahead to the extent it has been revealed by God to the ‘blessor’.   Each of Jacob’s sons, regardless of their history, was blessed with a blessing suitable for them and with a glimpse of what God had in store for their descendants.

What came next was an instruction to all of them.  Jacob told them he was about to die and join his ancestors.  He wanted his sons to bury him in a particular field with his fathers.  This field was purchased many years ago by his grandfather Abraham to bury his beloved wife Sarah.  It was the same field where his father Isaac was buried along with Rebekah his wife, and it was the field that Jacob himself had buried Leah, his first wife.  We note also this was not where Jacob had buried Rachel.  She was buried on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem, near where she had died, because the family was in the midst of a journey.  But Jacob wanted to be buried with his fathers and with Leah.  Perhaps this was yet another indication that as a godly man, he also loved her as he did Rachel.  Given Joseph’s position in the land, Jacob could have been buried in the best of tombs in Egypt, but he did not want to.  He realized he was not an Egyptian, but rather as David Guzik says, “he was a son of the promise, an heir of God’s covenant with Abraham”, and thus he wanted to be buried in the land of promise.  This was a simple instruction, given once to Joseph, now to all the sons, and it was expected that it be carried out.  And then Jacob died.

I will never forget the one simple request made of me by my own father as he lay dying in the hospital in his 91st year of life.  The simple request that I not sell the family property as long as I lived.  I agreed.  It was like a charge at the end of my father’s life to me.  But it was also God’s blessing to my wife and I through my dad.  In order to make it financially feasible to keep my family’s property, a decision was made that both my wife and I and our daughter’s family as well sell our respective homes, and build one together where we could all live.  We are now in our fourth year and while there are always some challenges when the range of the oldest to the youngest in a group of seven spans nearly six decades, the blessings and advantages to all do outweigh them.  We would do well to heed the charges that our godly parents leave us.

There is a possibility that at his great age, Jacob in saying, “I am about to be gathered to my people” was actually indicating his desire, or at least welcoming that ultimate end to physical life.  He had lived long, he had experienced much, and he had been part of God’s plan for him and others, and now it was time to be gathered to his people.  As one rereads the last sentence of verse 33 above, one realizes that it is possible that Jacob actually realized he had completed all he had to do in life.  He then put himself in the ‘yielding to death’ position drawing his feet towards him in the bed as like unto a fetal position.  And thus, he indicated his willingness to take the next step.  And then God took him.  It is a blessed man or woman that can die like that, knowing he or she has done what they were intended to do, and that their death was a natural next step in their deeper ongoing relationship with their God.

And even in his death, or more specifically his burial, he wanted to be sure that by requiring his sons to bury him in the land of Canaan, they would continue to remember that they were not true Egyptians, but really people of the covenant – people of the God of Israel.  They all still had a part to play in fulfilling the promises of God to his people.

It makes me wonder how we will charge our children when it is time for us to go?  Will it be something for the building up of our own memorial; will it be something for their own good; or will it be something that compliments God’s plan for mankind?


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Monday, March 26, 2012

It’s not Islamophobia to call a jihadist, a jihadist.

Rex Murphy once again does a superb job in this article.   If he can speak up, so can you and I.  Take a look.
 
Rex Murphy: It’s not Islamophobia to call a jihadist, a jihadist | Full Comment | National Post


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Simple Explanation of Just How All Hell Might Break Loose.

I hate to refer you to the New York Times -- I find it to be a most bias newspaper, almost un-American and very liberal.  Nonetheless, once in a while they allow someone to write a piece that has something wise and fair and balanced to say.  This is one of those times.  So I thank them.

The Bomb and the Bomber - NYTimes.com



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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jacob’s Prediction About Benjamin - Genesis 49:27


“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he devours the prey, And in the evening he divides the spoil.”

We now come to the blessing of Jacob’s last child, the second from his beloved Rachel, Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin.  It is nowhere near the length of the blessing spoken over Joseph or Judah, but nonetheless the blessing, as well as the tribe it describes, packs a punch.   Later on in scripture we see that Benjamin’s was indeed one of the toughest fighting tribes of them all.  They were almost erased due to wickedness and all the other tribes joined forces against them to defeat them, although just.  But at the same time this is the tribe that gave Israel Ehud the second judge, and Saul, its first king, along with Esther and Mordecai who were very instrumental in destroying the enemies of the Jews.  And this was the tribe that gave us the great apostle, Paul.

Some, like Matthew Henry, argue that this blessing is more proof that “a spirit of prophecy” not just his personal feelings, was indeed guiding Jacob, as otherwise he would have spoken with greater tenderness and love towards Benjamin, a child which he dearly cared for as was evidenced by his reluctance to let him go to Egypt in order to get grain.

Instead he speaks of Benjamin as one who would lead a great warrior tribe that would take and use well the spoils of its conquered enemies who feared it greatly.

So, what are we to take from all this?  What is the message for you and I today?  I suggest that in the tribe of Benjamin we learn that we can never underestimate the ways of God.  God, in accomplishing His divine purpose for individuals, groups, or mankind as a whole, can, does, and will use all manner of men and women, with different dispositions and temperaments, some good, some not so good.   In fact, as Charles Stanley pointed out recently, Romans 8:28 does not say, “And we know that God causes all good things to work together for good,” but it says, “God causes all things to work together for good,” including things that happen to you and I that we don’t like, things that stem from our enemies or Satan himself, and things that we wouldn’t wish on anyone else.

Here is more evidence then, through the history of the tribe of Benjamin (without which we would not have the great teachings of Paul in the New Testament today), that God is fully in control of all circumstances, aware of what schemes of the Enemy He allows, and by so being, can and does ultimately bring about His purpose.   Being confident of that very fact should bring incredible solace to an otherwise anxious life.  I pray you have that peace today.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Jacob’s Prediction About Joseph - Genesis 49:22-26


“Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall.  The archers bitterly attacked him, And shot at him and harassed him; But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), From the God of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.  The blessings of your father Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.”

Jacob now comes to his first natural son of his beloved Rachel.  You will remember it was Joseph that had received the coat of many colors from his father and had become the envy of his brothers.  The first thing we note is that Jacob devotes more words in his prophecy of Joseph (136 words in the NASB) than he does to any other son, with Judah coming in a close second at 124 words in the NASB.  You may well ask, “Why would anyone bother to count the actual number of words involved?”  The answer is simple.  If God was indeed guiding Jacob’s prophecies about his sons, which I believe He was, then it is important for us to note where God placed His emphasis.  Clearly it is on Joseph and Judah.  We will find out why Joseph momentarily, but why Judah?  I believe it is because of two main reasons as given in the prophecy about him.  First, this was the son that did all he could to preserve the life of Joseph when the other brothers would have left him for dead.  Judah had a redeeming nature as we pointed out when earlier discussing the prophecy about him.  He was the original “lion” among the Israelites who ruled for a long time.  Secondly, this is the tribe through which Jesus Christ, the Savior, the ultimate “Lion of Judah” would enter the world.

Returning to Joseph, we find Jacob describing him as a “fruitful bough by a spring with branches running over a wall.”  His tribe was to be attacked (as Joseph was by his own brothers) but he was constantly to be protected by God Almighty.  He was to be blessed both from above and with the “blessings of the deep” (which we discuss below), and so on.  Jacob admitted that he had been more blessed than his ancestors (Isaac and Abraham) and now Joseph was to be blessed in a similar fashion.  But let’s look at this blessing a little closer.

Jacob, with God’s guidance, starts to describe Joseph as being one who brings forth good fruit, as God would want all of us to do.  Commentator Chuck Smith states it is fruit that is the test of a man’s life.  The Psalmist David follows up on this description in Psalm 1:3 where he says that a righteous man is one who “will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season.”  What a goal for each of us – to be firmly planted (in our doctrine), by streams of water (pointing to the life of Christ), and yielding fruit (helping reproduce new and mature believers) in its season (our here and now).

The fact that its branches run over a wall implies that others were indeed blessed by Joseph.  How true that was – just think of how many were saved because of his wisdom and the management skills he applied as God first put him in a place of responsibility in Egypt.  He fed the entire nearby world at the time rather than keep all the harvests for himself and his earthly master.

In verse 23, we read that archers shot at him.  This was likely a reference perhaps to his brothers, teaching us that oftentimes our enemies will be from within our own camp or family – places from which we would least expect it.  As I observe the Church of Jesus Christ, I notice there seems to be as many if not more ‘inside jobs’ at work destroying the Body than we find in the secular world of business and politics.  Judas Ischariots abound in the Family still and the real ‘GOD-Father’ must continue to be greatly grieved.

But people were not the only arrows shot at Joseph.  Smith points out there were also arrows of temptation, false accusations, and forgetfulness of others.  Still, through all this we read in verse 24 “his bow remained firm (in strength, or ‘held in check’).  Joseph had opportunity to strike back, to take revenge, but did not.  The strength we’re talking about is the strength needed sometimes ‘not to act’ rather than to act and shoot our own arrows back.  What an example for us.  What a difficult lesson for us to learn yet one greatly needed today.  And Jacob goes on to tell us why that was with Joseph – because the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob bolstered his own arms.  We may have our bow and arrows ready – in our arms – but are those arms themselves in the hands of Almighty God who will direct them accordingly?  When we go to do spiritual battle – be it personal or involving others – we can be as weak as our own arms or as strong as the Arms that hold ours.  Throughout his life, Joseph realized that God was with him.  He gave God credit for his ability to interpret the dreams he interpreted, when he rejected the seduction of Potiphar’s wife, and earlier when his brothers had tried to kill him saying, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”  Clearly his strength was coming from God because he trusted in Him.

Jacob was indeed blessed ending up with very large tribes under him representing the double-portion he had been granted.  All this because of his relationship and understanding of Who God was in his life.  David Guzik points out that Jacob lists five great titles for God in his words about Joseph, showing his own growth in his relationship with God later in his life.  You will remember that early in his life, God to Jacob was simply “the God of Abraham” or “the Fear of his father Isaac” (Genesis 31:53).  The titles he uses here are:

  • The Mighty God of Jacob
  • The Shepherd
  • The Stone of Israel
  • The God of your father
  • The Almighty

Much can be written about each one, but suffice it for us to ask the question, “does our understanding and more importantly, our relationship with God take in all of these attributes?”

In summary, Robert Jamieson writes, “The patriarch describes him (Joseph) as attacked by envy, revenge, temptation, ingratitude….”  That describes many of us well, does it not?  Jamieson continues about Joseph, “…Yet still, by the grace of God, he triumphed over all opposition, so that he became the sustainer of Israel….” Jamieson says, Jacob then “proceeds to shower blessings of every kind upon the head of this favorite son. The history of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh shows how fully these blessings were realized.”  Truly Joseph was a blessed man.


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Afghanistan War and the recent Burnings of the Koran . . . How Convenient for the New York Times' Double Standard on Advertising.

This is a follow-up to my recent blog on the NYTimes publishing an anti-Catholic full page ad.  Here are the details when someone went to publish an anti-Islam ad, similar size, similar approach. 

Unbelievably convenient.  Unbelievable double-standard.   I will never buy another New York Times paper or weekend magazine again.   How strongly do you feel?  Will you boycott it?

New York Times Caught in Bias Debate Over Anti-Religion Ads, Christian News


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New York Times ad proof anti-Catholic attacks are fair game.

I only have one question:  Would the NY Times allow a similar advertisement questioning the activities of Muslims with respect to Islam?   Yes or No.   Now is the time for some very rich Christians to help us find out by trying.

New York Times ad proof anti-Catholic attacks are fair game: Charles Lewis | Holy Post | National Post


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Friday, March 16, 2012

A few years ago I had Colorectal Cancer. So far so good. But you can prevent it.

I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer a few years back.  They were able to get all of it, but since then I've had regular (every six months for two years and now every year) visits to the doctor for a colonoscopy.  Not fun.  The procedure is not so bad -- it's the prep work that kills you.    But here's the bottom line -- you can help prevent it or reduce your chances of getting and I'm living proof of that. . . .  so far.   Here's what you do:  less or no red meat; regular exercise; and loss of weight -- get down to where you've never been before!  (within reason of course)    And just in case, I am not a doctor -- I'm only someone who can attest to the findings in the attached research article.  The rest is up to you.

Obesity Increases the Risk for Colorectal Cancer and Polyps


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Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's So Special About Jerusalem to Islam? Maybe Not That Much Unless . . .

Okay I know this is from an Israeli newspaper.   And I know this is based on the thinking of a Jewish panel.   But it lays the topic on the table.  It takes a position using the Koran / Qur'an and it begs the Muslims to argue with it.  I'll be waiting.  In the meantime, compare the importance of Jerusalem to the Jews, and even the Christians, with its importance to the Muslims.  Take a look. 

Panel: J'lem of incidental importance in... JPost - National News


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Is Your Doctor a Racist? How Would You or He/She Know?

Here's some very interesting research.   Bottom line is that even if your doctor is unaware of his/her racism towards you, it can well affect the doctor-patient relationship to the point that it makes a difference in your health care.  Take a look to find out the telltale signs.   E.g. is the doctor dominating the discussion when you see him/her? caring little about your social and emotional needs? or making all the decisions on his/her own?

If you suspect this is happening (after you read this article) -- consider the need to change things, if not doctors.  Also, if you are a younger person who has older parents who have doctors who may be treating your parents like this -- consider the need to address matters.     Here's the excellent article on the research brought to us by Newswise and John Hopkins Medicine.

“Unconscious” Racial Bias Among Doctors Linked to Poor Communication with Patients, Dissatisfaction with Care


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Syria timeline: One year on - Interactive

Here is an INTERACTIVE scroll-down list of all the events in the Syrian situation that started one year ago tomorrow.   Not to mention those that have been killed so far.  And TODAY Mr. B.O. announces that it is still premature to move in on Assad.   Happy Syrian anniversary Mr. Pot-US.   I wonder if you'd be doing the same thing -- "sitting on your derriere" and relying on your "do nothing" policies if it were Kenyans being treated like this?   Unbelievable that the West would allow this to go on for a year.  

Syria timeline: One year on - Interactive - Al Jazeera English


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Monday, March 12, 2012

More on One of My Pet Peeves: Why Most Educators Are Ignorant.

I was a teacher, I married a teacher, her father was a teacher, and one of my daughter's was a teacher and in some respect, still is an educator.  So don't tell me I don't know anything about education and the usual line, "until you walk a mile in their shoes, don't criticize".    Sorry folks, done that, been there -- in reverse order, of course, to be more correct.

For some time now, I have been pointing out the stupidity of educators.   But less I be totally misunderstood -- it's not always teachers I am after.   Usually it's mainly bad teachers and those from that group that get promoted to the ranks of administrators (because they're not so hot in the classroom).

Oh well, you decide for yourself.  Read the story along with other similar ones people share along this line.  Then ask yourself, "why is it that we're seeing more and more stupidity from the education sector these days?"   Is there really a plot to make us all stupid?

Seems to me I remember an old adage that goes like this:  Those that can do; those that can't teach; and those that can't teach, teach others how to teach.   I think it's still applicable.   

Reading Frederick Douglass in Rochester - By Kevin D. Williamson - The Corner - National Review Online


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What the Israelis Are Thinking w.r.t. Iran and the Palestinians Today

I thought you might want (or need) to know exactly what the Palestinians are thinking -- at least the part they're making public.  This is a good article for just that, written on March 12th, 2012.

It amazes me that over 150 rockets have been aimed and fired at Israel from Gaza in the last two days alone.  This is not a petty little mishap.  But because the Palestinians are not successful in destroying their targets and human causalities are low for Israel, and because Israel's reactive measures are more successful killing more Palestinian terrorists and unfortunately some civilians that are hit, Israel is made to look like the big 'bad guy'.   But hey, that's liberal media.   Nevertheless, take a look at what P.M. Netanyahu is thinking -- he may well be tipping his hand.   Don't say we here at "epistoli" didn't draw it to your attention.

PM: Iran owns and operates Islamic Jihad - JPost - Defense


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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The real U.S. unemployment rate? It sure isn’t 8.3%

Don't let Mr. B.O. fool you too.  Here are some figures on the real unemployment rate in the U.S. and it is not pretty.   But you won't hear this on CNN.

The real unemployment rate? It sure isn’t 8.3% � The Enterprise Blog


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Let's Hope All 50 States Will Eventually Be As Brave As Florida.

This is a fascinating story of the liberal press.  It has to tell what's happening but it clearly emphasizes why what's happening is ridiculous in their opinion.  But it's not ridiculous at all.  It is buying insurance out front to prevent something from happening.   And where that insurance is not present, judges seem to be clearly ruling in favor of allowing "foreign law" (read Sharia Law) to be slowly introduced.  Well, Floridians may join three other states that are clearly saying in America, there's only American Law that's legal.  Take a look.

The Associated Press: Florida mulls outlawing Shariah, other foreign law



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A Senior Democratic Senator and Chair, Senate Intelligence Committee Speaks Out.

What Obama is doing (i.e. nothing) with respect to Iran is totally risky and unjustifiable -- even his own party's senior member of the Senate and Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee thinks he may well be wrong.  Take a look and then decide again who you're voting for this November.

'US might not know if Iran start... JPost - Iranian Threat - News:


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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Banks foreclosing on U.S. churches in record numbers is mostly our fault.

At first I wanted to title this blog "Hope Obama is Happy Now" but then I thought better.  It occurred to me that while the Pot-US may have helped create and/or fueled this problem, we in the church have contributed greatly to it.  Let me explain.

Some of the questions we need to ask ourselves or thoughts we need to consider are:

1. Why did churches not see the 2008 financial crash coming?  Okay, many others did not as well.  But shouldn't Christians live in a way that says we need to be aware that something like this could happen any time.  Didn't Christ warn us about this?  And then plan and spend and live accordingly.

2.  Why are so many churches 'struggling' the way they are even in good times?  Is it because we spend more than we have?  Is it because, in these cases discussed in this article at least, we strive to build big buildings, bigger than we need, rather than focusing on building up the spiritual maturity of the saints?

3.  Is it because more and more churches are becoming 'independent' in nature?  They're leaving their association with denominations behind in an effort to be free of certain constraints the denomination may put on an individual church.  Now, in some cases where a denomination clearly makes a decision to go against the will of God (e.g. in supporting gay or lesbian clergy ordination, etc.) this makes sense; but often it is because a pastor or a leadership team simply does not want to answer to anyone outside the church and/or want to do something that may well not be acceptable in that denomination.  Or, it may be because they do not want to pay any 'fees' to their denomination, keeping every cent they have for themselves. A little greedy I'd say.  And often this type of greediness extends to their willingness to spend millions on themselves and give so little to missions.  And thus they split.

4.  Is it because too many congregations are indeed dividing due to differences that they should otherwise have been able to solve with the help of reconciliators and with true spiritual seeking of God's will?  Then one of the parties tries to start over, often passively competing with the other.  And sometimes failing big time.

5.  Is it because some church leaders have big egos?  They want to build big and become well known following in the footsteps of the big guys they see on TV.  One would do well to remember Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral -- how much bigger can you get?  And yet they fall.

6.  Is it because they don't use good financial wisdom when they take on a building project?  Instead they're like a young couple buying too big a house with too small a down payment.

7.  Re-financing is a lot easier when a congregation's numbers and givings are growing.  Perhaps pastors and lay leaders should keep their eyes on those balls more and less on the special unnecessary features that many church architects sell them on.  It would make renewing a loan much easier.

Instead, many churches are now faced with foreclosures, declaring bankruptcy, and even being auctioned off.  That does not give the name of Christ and His Church as a whole a good name, especially these days when the media attacks us on so many other fronts -- now they can add 'bad managers of their assets' to the list.

And then, I couldn't believe it, there are also pastors who have not shared the bad news with their congregations allowing them to think that everything was fine.  The excuse given being they fear they'll lose "congregants prematurely".   Unbelievable, first that they would keep this from them, and secondly, that they are so 'temporally' minded since they know they'll lose congregants anyway when they default.  Clearly, pastoral training these days is not sufficient, being void of teaching the necessary leadership skills.

Perhaps this is a time when we need to rethink two things:

1.  The same thing that each of us has to face individually, as families, or as business owners.  It is the debate between -- "waiting until God provides the money to pay cash" or "using a down payment and going by faith to pay off the rest in the future".   There is merit in both.  I personally used to be more in favor of the latter, but it is clear that in these days, doing so puts us "out on a limb" and the branch may well break off.  I believe God says to trust Him but to do so using our intellect that He Himself has given us, first.

2.  Paying more attention to Luke 14:28 -- "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?"  More of us need to do that in our own lives, in the way we manage our homes, our businesses, and our churches.

Okay, here are the details in a good article from the Financial Post. . .

Banks foreclosing on U.S. churches in record numbers | Mortgages | Personal Finance | Financial Post


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Friday, March 09, 2012

Why Israel, America, and the Rest of the World Cannot Trust Obama

In this excellent article, Charles Krauthammer gives us lots to think about.  He points out all the duplicity of Obama in his statements and actions.  For Obama, it seems, it is all about winning re-election on November 6th and Israel, America, the world go hang.

I am convinced more than ever that Americans AGAINST Obama need to unite and do all in their power to defeat him in the next election.  What they have in the White House right now is a man that can deceive anyone he wants so well with words and phrases and expressions.  America is in bondage with him in the White House.  I don't care about Democrats vs. Republicans as much as I care about America having a person in the White House who is honest and can stand up to, and put a stop, to the Radical Islamic Tsunami that is slowly taking over the world.

But here is Charles K. on the Obama, Israel, and Iran issue.  It is most representative.  This is an article we need to pass on to all our friends and even those that disagree with us.  Please share it.

Charles Krauthammer : Obama ties Israel down with his policy on Iran | Full Comment | National Post


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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Obama not only messing America up, he's messing up the entire African continent.

It's funny that this administration generally has a "pull-out" or "pull-back" strategy when it comes to help nations fight dictatorships or regimes that are against human rights, but when it comes to promoting global gay rights, Mr. Obama wants America (or at least American money) to be right there front and center, controlling everything.  I at least I think that's odd.

But maybe not so, if one knows Obama's true agenda.  Anyway, read this fair and balanced account from that stalwart of magazines, The Atlantic, and judge for yourself.

The Obama Administration's Bold but Risky Plan to Make Africa Gay-Friendly - Robbie Corey-Boulet - International - The Atlantic



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