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.
Bill Onisick reminds us that God never intended work to be a curse, but instead an exhilarating experience unleashing creativity. This inventiveness has led to the creation of the wheel and axle, compass, combustion engines, electricity, computerized technology, the internet, etc., placing us once again on the verge of erecting a new tower of Babel, with an exponential ability to commit sin on a greater scale than ever. No matter how advanced our technology becomes, mankind's genius is vastly inferior to God's capabilities. Mankind, from the time of Adam and Eve to the present, has always tried to prove itself better than God. The current focus of technology, fusing human brains with computerized intelligence, threatens to put applied science on a collision course with God's plan for mankind. Technocrats have plans to make work obsolete and perhaps render mankind irrelevant and obsolete through artificial intelligence, making it difficult to distinguish the created from the synthetic. Interestingly, the Beast of Daniel is composed entirely of metal—perhaps an emblem of mankind's idolatry with manufactured things. When humans start to worship the things they make instead of the Creator who gave them the ability to craft these things, they place their faith in destructible, perishable things. As God's called-out ones, we cannot love a decaying, perishable world; our confidence needs to be in the indestructible, imperishable Creator, who can give us abundant Eternal life.
John Ritenbaugh, asserting that God is a Creator who enjoys work and places a high value on it, urges us, those created in God's image, to embrace the work ethic and to diligently inculcate it into our children. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. God the Father and Jesus Christ have been working continually (having never gone on a vacation) and desire that the energetic, conscientious, focused pursuit of working and creating become a part of our character and the character of our offspring. Training a child to be industrious helps him to be successful, which in turn promotes a stable family, community, and nation and will transfer eternally into God's Kingdom, netting vast rewards as taught by the Parable of the Talents. Neglecting to train our children to be diligent promotes chaos, disorder, and chronic instability. Our industriousness, and that of our children, should be directed outwardly for the good of others and not turned in selfishly on ourselves.
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.
Bill Onisick describes the development of a robot having self-awareness, able to recombine knowledge, and generalize, providing an artificial intelligence which could make the human being obsolete. Some have concluded that artificial intelligence could be a greater threat to human existence than the atomic bomb or germ warfare. Human beings have never stopped falling for Satan's con of convincing them they could be like God, beginning with Adam and Eve and the abortive Tower of Babel. The system of Babylon is still hell-bent on ousting God, 'replacing' Him with human ingenuity, overpowering the scattering of languages with translating machines, replacing all forms of work, deemed a curse by liberal-progressives. Human workers can be replaced by general purpose robots for less than an annual salary of a human. China is working to replace every type of human career with a robot. Greed has replaced human labor with machine labor. One could speculate that much of the havoc wreaked upon humans in Revelation 9 and Matthew 24 may be carried out by autonomous weapons. Even the Beast could represent artificial intelligence which loathes humanity.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on Solomon's appraisal of money in Ecclesiastes 10:19, suggests that modern Israel seems to have great difficulty managing money because of an addiction to greed. Wealth, without a powerful character, is a destructive drug. Unfortunately, our people's greed has put them on the verge of the greatest depression of all time. There is a time when "less" is actually more and pain can be an effective teacher, yielding the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Mortgage foreclosures and job losses are becoming critical, testing the limits of our faith. We, as God"s called-out ones, need to place unconditional trust in God and His providence, the kind of trust David exemplified in Psalm 23. This particular psalm shows God's goodness in the midst of our affliction. God gives us pain as a preventative of something far worse. God is good because God corrects.
John Ritenbaugh emphasizes the necessity of work (dressing and keeping our life, our health, our possessions, our calling, etc.). God has called us to a lifetime of productive work. We cannot allow Satan to cause us to resent working or to feel victimized, slighted, bitter, or lazy, rejecting God's ordained purpose for us—creating obedient children who work as He does. It takes hard work to live up to the virtues of God; it does not happen automatically. Living by faith requires patience but certainly not passivity; it requires that we work toward a God-ordained purpose (of which we currently do not entirely see the outcome). Both spiritual and physical healing require us to work intensely, asking for God's merciful intervention while actively working toward a solution, exercising wisdom and common sense as we consider the array of possible procedures.
Martin Collins, reflecting upon the impatience demonstrated in the world's holidays, concludes that most of mankind has a serious patience deficit. Demonstrating or developing patience, a cardinal characteristic of God, in the face of trying events is a clear indication that we are developing genuine godliness. We must learn to turn trials into positive growth opportunities, as did Jacob, who had to develop patience in the midst of myriad, frustrating delays. We must learn to endure patiently, with the help of God's Spirit, waiting for God to accomplish His purpose in us. After identifying 18 negative consequences of impatience, the sermon offers five steps to developing patience: 1) staying focused on the goal, 2) learning to think before speaking, 3) looking for ways to give our service to others, 4) working out our conflicts with others, and 5) working with God through the Spirit to develop godly patience in us, developing a calm, positive attitude and peace of mind.
Richard Ritenbaugh contends that meddling or being a busybody is a sin, as serious as murder or robbery. We must learn as Christians to operate in our appointed spheres of responsibility and not to meddle in someone else's—taking the job or prerogative of another. Jesus and the apostle Paul give us sterling examples of refusing to assume responsibilities not expressly given to them. We must learn to exercise judgment in helping others, but not to judge them now, not yet being qualified for or appointed to that weighty responsibility. Idleness is a major contributory cause of meddling, and gossip and tale-bearing are frequent accomplices. Meddling in another's affairs may actually complicate or interfere with God's capable work in them, so we need to apply the Golden Rule when seeking to help another. In working out our own salvation, we have enough do to without trying to meddle in someone else's.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: It is beyond question that Christians should be compassionate. We are to give to the poor and aid the needy. We are to lend a helping hand to those who have stumbled and bear the burdens of the weak. It is sin to us if we know to do good and fail to do it. But how far does this go? ...
John Reid discusses two forms of patience, showing how we need it to build godly character.
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