John Ritenbaugh continues his appraisal of the startling state of affairs in which states such as California, Illinois, and Minnesota, all levying confiscatory taxes for wasteful liberal fiscal programs, are hemorrhaging productive taxpayers to more fiscally responsible states such as Texas, North Carolina, Utah, and South Dakota. Because of the hopelessly irresponsible fiscal policies of Illinois, the exodus from this hapless state has drained enough productive taxpayers to populate its four largest cities (exclusive of Chicago). Leftist enclave states such as California, Illinois, Washington and Oregon have figuratively shot themselves in the foot by (1.) making employment increasingly difficult to find, (2.) fostering an oppressive attitudinal personality, (3.) causing a prohibitive high cost of living, (4.) obfuscating and falsifying government statistics, and (5.) harboring hardened criminals through the vehicle of "sanctuary" states and cities. The failure of liberal 'progressive' policy can be seen most dramatically on the "left coast" extending from California to Washington. Sadly, the modern-day descendants of Manasseh will evidently continue to vote for irresponsibility while simultaneously rejecting common sense.
John Ritenbaugh examines an enigmatic phenomenon of productive, middle-class Americans emigrating from highly taxed, nearly bankrupt states, such as New York, Illinois, and California, to more tax-friendly and fiscally responsible venues such as Texas, North Carolina, and South Dakota. Corrupt and profligate politicians waste precious revenue, confiscating wealth from the industrious and giving the fruits of their labor to the indolent. Consequently, locales that were formerly cash cows, such as Detroit, are turning into ghettos whose poverty rivals areas of the third-world. California is a case in point. In the 1950s the world's fifth largest economic power, the Golden State is experiencing the deleterious loss of tax-paying middle-class citizens, all the while absorbing hordes of welfare-seeking illegal aliens. Since the economic bloom came off the rose in 1995, California has lost 2 million tax-paying workers and, forecasters aver, will lose another 800,000 in 2018 to more fiscally-accountable states.
Martin Collins, continuing the "Money has Failed" series, contends that the move to a cashless society, in which the "bankster" elites have greedily commenced stealing the true physical wealth of society, replacing it with relatively worthless Federal Reserve Notes ('promissory' I.O.U.'s), will drastically drive up inflation, causing bankruptcies and foreclosures on a massive scale.The price of food has risen 8% annually, making it impossible to fill up a grocery cart for under $100 today. For example, the price of ground beef has risen 45%, a loaf of bread 39%, apples 36%, salt 34%, and vegetables 33.7%. Today, the inflated Federal Reserve Note is worth about 3 cents on the dollar since the establishment of the Federal Reserve System. Because of the disastrous process of quantitative easing (the continuous frenetic printing of valueless paper notes), the resultant damage appears beyond repair. National debt, hyperinflation, and negative interest rates for savings have burgeoned worldwide. God's people need to prepare for this impending disaster by getting out of debt as quickly as possible, and put effort into obeying God, valuing spiritual satisfaction above physical satisfaction.
Martin Collins, reviewing the episode of Habakkuk's frustration that God would use an evil people to punish Israel, points us to the prophet's resolve to cease being a fretful worrier and to become a responsible watcher, determined to understand the purpose of God's dealing with His people. Only a faithful believer will ever stand acquitted before God's fearful judgment. While the taunt-song, dealing with the five woes, certainly applies to Babylon, it applies doubly to God's people Israel, who should have known better, but chose to become ignorant. The first two woes in Habakkuk 2:6-8 concerns the woe against greed, avarice, covetousness (a virulent form of idolatry), and selfish ambition, leading to the crime of usury, charging excessive interest on loans, making the debtor a virtual slave, totally against God's instructions in Deuteronomy 24:10-13. The earth metaphorically cries out against the oppressor who garners wealth by stealing from others and amassing fortunes by exploiting the poor. The third woe focuses on a nation's tyrannical oppression of captive peoples, building a city with bloodshed and establishing a town by violence, denuding forests, wantonly slaughtering animals in order to subjugate other defenseless peoples. The fourth woe results from a people corrupting others with drunkenness and lust, having both literal and metaphorical implications; today the intoxicating Babylonian system embraced by Jacob's descendants has caused our nation to resemble, both figuratively and literally, a drunk vomiting over itself, exposing its sins and folly to the entire world, after adamantly refusing to be governed by God's laws. The fifth woe leveled against the Chaldeans, and by extension to the modern descendants of Jacob, results from idolatry, the sin of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator, applying to literal idols of stone and wood as well as to pagan new age religious practices and including anything we might exalt over God Almighty, including our physical possessions, talents, abilities,
John Ritenbaugh, observing a gigantic chasm between conservative talk radio, alternative media, and the 'official' Federal Government's portrayal of the American economy, concludes that the Obama Administration's calculations of economic indicators are not only full of equivocation and sleight of hand, but also weighed down by shameless prevarication. The rosy 5% unemployment figure touted by the government is deceitfully achieved by counting a plethora of part-time entry-level jobs, enough to provide spending money for teenagers but not enough to support a family, under-employed workers compelled to make ends meet by cutting the neighbor's grass or driving Uber taxis, and tens of thousands of unemployed people who have given up looking. Government statisticians and economists smugly count people working 30 hours a week at a minimum wage as fully employed. The real statistics, suppressed by the government-controlled media, bare the truth that only 41percent are employed, with most people skimping by, succumbing to indebtedness. Not even considering the shameful national debt amassed by the current Administration, personal indebtedness is now in the trillions of dollars: College students owe one trillion dollars in accumulated tuition debt, while millions of Americans will never fully "catch up on the credit card debt. A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly exposed the fragility of the disappearing middle class, suggesting that most Americans, because of governmental economic policy, are so cash poor that they could not scrape $400 together for an unexpected bill unless they sold something or borrowed money from a friend or relative. 47% of the American citizenry are dependents of the Federal government, which sadly, because of gross incompetency, is also cash poor. Most of our citizenry is ignorant about the causes of this demise, failing to realize that God is plaguing this nation for its blatant, calloused sin.
Kim Myers, tracing ancient Israel's abject bondage to the Egyptians and their subsequent redemption and journey to their great gift (that is, the Promised Land), draws a parallel to the Israel of God. We have been in bondage to sin, enslaved to alcoholism, adultery, lying, and other carnal pulls. Like the ancient Israelites, we have a tendency to gripe and complain, wrongly thinking that the days before conversion were enjoyable, forgetting we were wallowing in slop and eating garbage. Like the ancient Israelites, we sometimes come to yearn for our previous bondage. Because God loved ancient Israel, He spoke to Moses 72 times, giving specific guidance; He has given us His Holy Spirit for the same purpose. The ancient Israelites grumbled when God gave them the land of the Amalekites, fearing God would not back them, even after the backdrop of witnessing many incontrovertible miracles. After the deaths of the recalcitrant first generation (a collection of rebels who preferred bondage to godly freedom), an emergent second generation entered the land of milk and honey, with God winning all their military victories for them. No other people in the world have been given a gift like that. If we understood God's divine purpose for us, we would live our lives entirely differently. God's ways from the world's point of view are strange; the world thinks we are nerds. But living God's ways will enrich us with the fruits of the Spirit. Most of us do not comprehend the magnitude of the gift God has given us, a trillion times better than the gift He gave to the ancient Israelites. Obedience to God's law is the key factor in growing toward God's Holiness.
Ronny H. Graham: Solomon declares in Proverbs 22:7, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." How true that is! ...
John Ritenbaugh, focusing on the Year of Release which falls on the Feast of Trumpets, relates that the Year of Release has ushered in major historical events, such as the September 11th attack and two financial collapses in 2001 and 2008. The Year of Release reminds us that God gives land as a gift to mankind to produce wealth. God is the Owner; we are the tenant as long as we exercise responsibility to dress and keep it. The Year of Release cancels, drops, and remits debts. The land continues to be God's. This year reminds us that God is the Creator, and we must trust God for sustenance every day. Man does not hold land in perpetuity, but only under the Eternal's trust. We own nothing until God entrusts us with His spiritual gifts. The Year of Release is a time lenders should forgive debts, mirroring God's forgiving our sins. The ancient Israelites had a difficult time forgiving debt. When we left spiritual Egypt, we were on death row, but all our sins were forgiven and the penalty dropped. The land Sabbath is a type of the weekly Sabbath wherein the land is given time to regenerate and restore its fertility. There was to be no sowing, no reaping, no pruning, and no storing, but the farmer, the animal, and the poor could glean the produce. The seventh year was also the time to release those who had fallen into servitude for monetary ineptitude.
Geoff Preston (1947-2013): Ours is a discontented world, and current events indicate that more unsettled times are just ahead, creating more anxiety and dissatisfaction. God's Word tells us, however, ...
With both the United States and Europe dealing with an impending financial disaster, the world today is full of economic news. Economic terms and philosophies are common knowledge to many. While many doubters think that the Bible is not sophisticated enough to comment on such modern ideas, Richard Ritenbaugh explains that God's Word does indeed factor economics into the end-time equation in its prophecies.
We live in a world based on the "get" principle; everyone is out to acquire as much as possible for himself. The tenth commandment, however, is intended to govern this proclivity of human nature, striking at man's heart. John Ritenbaugh exposes the essence of covetousness and its marked link to the first commandment.
John W. Ritenbaugh: My last essay addressed the fact that change is always present in every person's life. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: All the news that is fit to print these days seems to revolve around our hobbled economy. ...
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon escalating energy prices, urges caution and self-control in spending and taking on debt. If the supply of oil should be drastically cut, all vital services would shut down, and our quality of life would deteriorate. In 1971, the U.S. reached the state of "peak oil" (when supply could no longer keep up with demand), forcing it to become increasingly oil-dependent. As the world industrializes, the demand for oil will quickly outstrip the total available supply (possibly to occur in November 2005). The rising cost of this dwindling resource presages the destruction of Babylon, the hub of the world's economy (Revelation 18:8-20) Christians need to exercise diligence to "know the state of our flocks," acquiring economic stability by submitting to God's counsel, sacrificing now before outside forces usurp our economic substance. Responsible economists admonish us to 1) avoid new debt and 2) get liquid (save). We cannot afford to do nothing.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: All the overdone jollity of the season serves to hide the well-known fact that December is the most depressing time of the year for many people. It is a time that mainstream Christians are supposed to be celebrating a joyous event - the alleged birthday of the Savior, Jesus Christ - yet it leads the year in suicide, depression, and aggravation. Why?
Even though a Christian's potential in God's Kingdom is so wonderful, it is still necessary for God to motivate His children to reach it. John Ritenbaugh begins his series on Christian motivation by expounding the fear of God.
Most of us have heard the courtroom mantra, "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." John Reid, however, applies these criteria to our behavior, showing that many of us shy away from "nothing but the truth"!
John Ritenbaugh, soberly reflecting on the $19 trillion dollar national debt and with 25% of American private citizens two days away from bankruptcy, he warns that the prudent shouldn't continue to live in a fool's paradise, but should make common sense preparations, like the ant, (Proverbs 6:6-8) storing up provisions for at least a season. Prophetic warnings are given to motivate preparation. Both the watchman and the one who hears (Ezekiel 3:17) have a grave responsibility to make prudent economic and spiritual preparations for bad times, tightening belts, helping themselves and others through the tough times.
The Tenth Commandment: You Shall Not Covet
Richard Ritenbaugh asserts that the fulfillment of the Day of Trumpets has the biggest immediate impact on us of all the Holy Days. This day depicts the time immediately before and after Christ's return, a time that if God would not intervene, no flesh would survive (Matthew 24:22). The Baby Boomers enabled us to annihilate life in many different ways many time over. The characteristics of their offspring - the Thirteenth Generation (or Generation X) provide a perfect match to the characteristics of II Timothy 3:1-3. These attitudes provide positive substantiation that we are living in the last days. Realizing these signposts should give us the urgent incentive to repent and overcome, preparing for the time fulfilled in the Day of Trumpets- the Day of the Lord.
How should a Christian approach vowing? John Reid shows that, although not forbidden, making vows is a risky business.
Having knowledge of God's law is not a guarantee of spiritual success or growth. Only those motivated to use the law will experience growth and produce fruit. The fear of God is the first element of motivation, ranging from reverential awe to stark terror. Fearing God leads to a determination not to bring shame on God's name or offending and hurting the relationship between God and us. We have to, like Nehemiah, who in his determination not to offend God, developed self control, refusing to conform to the corrupt practices of the world, unlike the procurator Felix, who cowardly capitulated to the tyranny of the majority.
John Reid focuses upon the dangerous trait of human nature of allowing familiarity or complacency to lure people into carelessly taking something for granted. It is particularly dangerous to take God and His purpose for us for granted. If we see God clearly, we will not. Contributing factors in not clearly seeing His purpose include 1) sloppy prayer and Bible study (I Timothy 4:14-16), 2) becoming entangled in the world's cares (Matthew 13:22), and 3) refusal to change or overcome. With a contrite heart, we need to love God zealously (Deuteronomy 6:5), never taking our eyes off the great purpose He has for us.
Most of us would like God to respond and instantly gratify our desires. Consequently, because we desire instant gratification, we find operating by faith extremely difficult. We think that God does not seem in all that big of a hurry. We look at time differently than God does because, like Abraham, Moses, and Gideon, we do not trust that He has things under control. As we encounter our own Red Seas, our faith gets exercised and toughened. In His infinite patience, God, as the Master Teacher, uses His time to instruct us so that, despite frequent failure, we will eventually grow in faith and get turned around. Faith is the quality that a person exercises between the time he becomes aware of a need he hopes for and its actual attainment. Like a muscle, the more we exercise faith, the more it grows. God will manipulate our experiences to make both our weakness and His power clear.
The world really hasn't the foggiest idea of what love really is. Of all God's spiritual gifts, love is the preserving agent preventing any of the other gifts such as prophecy, knowledge, or tongues to become corrupted. Love, an attribute of God Almighty, needs to be the driving force of everything we do. Without love, some normally positive attributes like drive, courage, and determination become brittle and self-seeking. God is the sole source of love; mankind by nature does not have it. It is only by knowing God that we can have this love. Love can be described as a cycle, which God initiates. As we give it back to Him, He gives more to us because we are growing and our love must be perfected. Love is not feeling but action. As God loves us, He expects us to reciprocate back to Him and out to our fellowman, and by so doing we become credible witnesses for God.
John Ritenbaugh studies the "Get way" or the "Keep up with the Joneses" (lust or coveting) principle with which advertisers and politicians shamelessly (and successfully) manipulate us. A commentator once remarked, "All public crime would cease if this [Tenth] Commandment were kept." Jesus taught that all outward sin stems from inner inordinate desire. What we desire or lust after automatically becomes our idol. If our imaginations are fed "dirt", our minds will become "dirty." We desperately need to learn to radically "amputate" or "mortify" the self-centered lusts and desires that will inevitably (if followed to completion) lead us to the lake of fire. The Tenth Commandment (like the First) serves as a "control" or "regulator," enabling us to successfully keep all the other commandments. Ardently desiring the Word of God and His Kingdom (realizing that happiness and joy come only from spirituality) serves as the most effective antidote to lust and covetousness.
Even with all the political, environmental and military problems hanging over us, Americans are most concerned about their personal finances. Herbert Armstrong shows from Scripture how your financial problems can be solved!
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