Sunday, August 19, 2012


The difficulty of effective charity is a recurring theme in my thoughts.  Here is a comment I left on a Facebook post of the displayed image:

Let's not concede that "funding" = "helping." Very often giving money to people with money problems feeds the problem. Yes, there are people who have suffered unfortunate circumstances despite their best efforts, and they should be helped -- in fact, I would argue we are obligated to help fellow Christians in this condition. However, what most people need is encouragement to overcome their challenges in life, to gain the confidence that they do not have to rely on any man for anything.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


You probably learned in school about separation of powers, and how in our system of government the divisions between the federal legislative, executive, and judicial branches provide something called "checks and balances" in order to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful.

What was never explored, at least in my formal education, was whether the system actually performs as designed -- whether it is at least moderately effective in restraining abuses of power by the federal government. I contend that it has failed miserably, based on evidence far too voluminous to present here of intrusions upon freedom not imagined by the founders of our nation. It appears that, while in theory the separate branches are responsible for opposing each other in defense of the rule of law, they have no interest in doing so. This suggests that the separate branches are mutually interested in the concentration of power within the federal government in general, knowing that it will benefit each branch in particular.

There are perfectly legitimate instances of mutually interested action, for example when competing organizations join together to promote a product produced by their industry, as in the promotion of milk in a way that does not necessarily benefit a particular dairy producer. The problem with mutual interest is when it is used for fraudulent purposes, and becomes collusion.

Collusion, agreement between two or more persons to defraud persons or institutions of their legal rights, or to obtain an object forbidden by law. All acts effected by this means are considered void. (emphasis added)

Does this sound like anything happening in America today? Does it suggest a solution?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pondering the Kingdom

Some of my favorite scriptures with respect to my view of God and His intentions, with commentary:

Matthew 6:10
"...your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven."

(How is God's will done in heaven?)

Matthew 13:33
He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

(How much of the dough was leavened?)

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

(What happens to the government of Jesus?)

Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45
While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
"The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."

(What happened to the Rock?)

Isaiah 2:2-4
In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

(What happens to the mountain of the Lord's temple?)

Ezekiel 47:1-12
The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side.

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep.

He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?"

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea.

When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."

(What happens to the river as it progresses?)

Habakkuk 2:14
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.

(How much of the sea is covered by water?)

Isaiah 31:34
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.

(When will this happen?)

Revelation 11:15
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

(How did Jesus come to rule the worldly kingdom?)

John 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

Isaiah 55:11
So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

(Who is the word again?)

Final comments:
Jesus is the Word of God. This can be taken quite literally; Genesis records that God spoke everything into existence, while John tells us that everything was made through Jesus.
The Word brings forth the Kingdom; it does not fail, but is effective, accomplishing all that God intends.
The authority of the Kingdom is represented by the Mountain image.
The Church is represented by the House on the mountain. It is a subset of the Kingdom (God is working around and ahead of His people).
The life of the Kingdom is represented by the River / Seas image.
The Mountain and River continually increase in the earth until there is no place untouched, at which point God can honestly call the Church a victorious bride. He then switches from subversion by proxy (Jesus is currently seated, right?) to authoritative, visible, and final confrontation with the remaining rebellious outposts (swamps and marshes). He defeats them and we rule and reign with Him forever.

If any part of our theology is depressing or scary or results in God or His people failing, and the world getting worse and worse and everything going to hell in a handbasket, and the devil just having the run of things, maybe we've got it wrong. And if the way we believe prevents us from laying foundations, digging up hidden truths in the Word, having children and sending them out as reformers to every area and institution of culture, and generally investing in things that won't bear fruit for a generation or more, then maybe the devil has us just where he wants us.

If God says His kingdom continually increases, and everyone else says that the kingdom of darkness continually increases, who's telling the truth?