“My body, my choice”?

There is such a thing as the smell of death. It’s a disagreeable an odor that for 34 years has been clinging to Canada from coast to coast to coast. But the stench grew increasingly strong just 7 years ago in February 2015 when our “activist-minded” Supreme Court in Ottawa decided for the good of us all that the then long established Criminal Code provisions that had made it a crime to help a person end his or her life violated the Canadian Charter right to “life, liberty, and security of the person.” This meant that euthanasia—euphemistically enshrined in Canadian law as “medical assistance in dying”—was okay according to the State. The legal reasoning behind this decision about euthanasia was previously used by our Supreme Court in 1988’s R v Morgentaler, which gave Canadian women access to totally unrestricted, unregulated abortion on demand.

However, a few of the 1988 Supreme Court justices found that the majority’s legal reasoning was fatally flawed. Justice J. McIntyre argued that there was no right to an abortion under section 7 of our Charter nor under other laws. McIntyre wrote that “the courts must not go about creating rights not explicitly found in the Charter nor interpret Charter rights to protect interests that the rights were not initially intending to protect.” He further observed that there was a complete absence of support for such a claimed right in our constitutional texts, history or legal philosophies. As a consequence, McIntyre foresaw that society would become increasingly divided, lacking consensus.

If a society starts down the slippery slope of moral degeneration can it reverse course and so avoid self-destruction? At first Canada’s euthanasia law only permitted “medical assistance in death” (MAiD) for sound-minded adults whose medical condition was terminal and that death was “foreseeably”in the near future. All sorts of additional precautions were added to the original MAiD law in order to avoid the possibility of unseemly pressure on the vulnerable by medical staff, or coercion by self-interested third parties, or agreed to in unreflective haste. But such unease about the State enacting a law hastening its citizens demise didn’t last for long.

 An activist Quebec court judge in 2019 ruled that confining euthanasia to only the end-of-life context violated the charter. So in 2021, Parliament dutifully broadened the euthanasia to encompass undefined “significant suffering” regardless of whether or not the adult was at death’s door. Also, in its enthusiasm, Parliament’s newly revised euthanasia law—”for the good of us all”—is being scheduled to allow the mentally ill to  enjoy along with their otherwise sane neighbours their full court-interpreted Charter right to suicide by doctor in 2023. And if the activist judges have their way  soon “mature” minors suffering from depression and elders with dementia will be able to also enjoy their “rights” as they, too, jump aboard the culture of death’s wild toboggon ride down a very real slippery slope… Whooie! … Fade to black. 

As National Post columnist Sabrina Maddeux recently wrote: A year from now, MAID could become an option for those who can’t afford needed therapy, medications, or care in a country that’d sooner approve euthanizing the mentally ill than provide accessible treatment options… Making access to death easier and cheaper than access to care renders the idea of real choice in the matter more twisted than a reflection in a fun-house mirror.”

Christians who are called according to God’s purpose should never say without serious qualifications “my body, my choice”—because we are not our own! We are not our own masters to do whatever we please with our bodies. As the Apostle Paul wrote to a group of believers who had failed to fully understand this crucial spiritual principle:  WHAT! Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which you have within you from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Coulter trans.)

This Christian teaching that applies to the euthanasia and abortion moral choices is indeed a hard teaching for many—whether believer or unbeliever. But unbelievers may deeply resent it.  The Apostle Paul also wrote this to both believer and unbeliever so they might understand that our choices have outcomes and consequences. Paul, of course, as a real servant of the Creator God wants us all to make the right choices:

“For we [the repentant] are Christ’s sweet perfume to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a stench of death unto death; but to those who are being saved, we are a fragrance of life unto life. And who is qualified for such things? For we are not like the many, who for their own profit are corrupting the Word of God; but we speak with sincerity, as from God, and before God and in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Bye Reality. Hello Illusion

During her confirmation hearings this week before the U.S. Senate judicial committee, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson refused to define what a woman was under questioning by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, saying she could not do so because she was “not a biologist.” The following day, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz resumed questioning nominee Jackson, “Let me ask you, as a judge, how would you determine if a plaintiff had Article III (legal) standing to challenge a gender-based rule, regulation, policy without being able to determine what a woman was?”

Ketanji Brown Jackson answered saying, “Senator, I know I am a woman and Sen. Blackburn is a woman and the woman I admire most in the world is in the room today, my mother,” Jackson responded.

But Sen. Cruz pressed his point, “Under the modern, leftist sensibilities, if I decide right now that I am a woman, then, apparently, I am a woman. Does that mean I would have Article III (legal) standing to challenge a gender-based restriction?” Jackson wouldn’t say.

One of the earliest foundational revelations of the Bible is that when God made human beings He created them in the image of God: “He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27)

Almost two thousand years later, the Apostle Paul additional stated that there would be the dire consequences for any people or society who preferred to live according to illusions rather than God’s truth, which the New Covenant Scriptures define broadly as reality.

“They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:19-20).

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas… As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools….So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness,…  They invent new ways of sinning(Romans 1:21-30).

When a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court prefers to say good-bye to Reality and hello to illusion, you can know the whole society is on the downward slippery slope to social disintegration.

 

 

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Caring vs Killing: the Choice is Ours

“The distinction between caring for a dying patient and killing a dying patient is not difficult to make, in principle, though occasionally it gets complicated in practice. The distinction between caring and killing, however, is just what euthanasia proponents are determined to erase,” according to Douglas Farrow, a professor of theology and ethics at McGill University. Farrow believes that “MAiD”—medical assistance in dying—has no place in palliative care.

But sadly in 2022 the British Columbia provincial government and its courts are willing to normalize the idea that killing the vulnerable should now be re-interpreted as “caring.” Additionally the provincial government and those who ideologically support its euthanasia agenda are also attempting to deny to those non-profits who want to hold on to traditional morality their ability to organize and deliver medical care according to biblical values.

This conflict of worldviews is set to play out in real-time on March 26 during an online Annual General Meeting of the Delta Hospice Society (DHS) in British Columbia, Canada. 

The conflict started to boil in 2019 when the B.C. provincial government ordered the DHS to provide MAiD at its 10-bed Irene Thomas hospice. Although this facility was built entirely from private donations—the society unfortunately built it on land provided by the government-funded health system. When the DHS board refused to budge from their pro-life, pro-palliative care policy by refusing to allow at their facility the Medical Assistance in Death protocols being mandated by the government’s health bureaucrats— DHS’s $1.5 million contract awarded by the public health authority to help operate their facility was terminated. The province’s health authorities then forcibly took control over the non-profit run hospice in March 2021 in order to initiate the euthanasia procedures.  

The harsh lesson for any pro-life, pro-biblically oriented medical NGO’s is to NEVER accept assistance from the State. Here in B.C. the State believes that if a non-profit accepts their material assistance in any substantial way, then that gives the State the right to call the shots—in this case literally.

After this hostile takeover of their facility, the DHS board was left with about $4 million in assets. So the society wanted to build a new facility in order to fulfill their society’s mission of providing palliative care to the terminally ill according to biblical pro-life ethics. But this time they would build on land that  DHS would buy for themselves.

But then the board of DHS found themselves being challenged by euthanasia activists for the control of the non-profit society and its assets. The DHS board tried to exclude those activists from their membership roll since they did not agree with their pro-life, pro-palliative care policy—but the B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals ruled that DHS’s membership rules couldn’t exclude the advocates for medically assisted suicide from joining the traditionally pro-life non-profit. Now those promoting the opposing MAiD/euthanasia position will vote in DHS’s up-coming March 26th AGM, and try to muster the votes to take over control of DHS and its assets.  

As current DHS president Angelina Ireland said, “We have the pro-life, pro-palliative care side versus the death squad. These are the woke pack who feel entitled to rip apart a 50-year medical discipline of palliative care orthodoxy because it’s more trendy to be able to kill vulnerable people in their sick beds.”

Prof. Douglas Farrow concludes that “the sustained assault on the Delta Hospice Society demonstrates that all this has nothing to do with compassion. To normalize killing as ‘caring’ is the goal. Deep down, that is a terrible act of despair. It is not the beginning but the end of any humane civilization. Unhappily, this is something courts are prepared to tolerate and governments to encourage.”

For people living in a time like ours the prophet Isaiah gave a strong warning:

“Judgment is coming to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Although the darkness of our present time only seems to be increasing, yet there remains hope. The New Covenant scriptures promise that a change for the good is coming for those who are willing to become a part of that good change:

“The people who were living in [spiritual] darkness have seen a great Light, And for those who were living in the land and shadow of [spiritual and moral] death, Upon them a Light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:16-17 Amplified Bible). 

The promised Kingdom of God is coming as certainly as the sun will rise tomorrow morning in the east. Don’t be part of the problem. Become a part of the solution like the people at DHS who are resisting today’s government approved mandates for euthanasia and medical assistance in death, which according to the Bible are spiritual darkness and not light. Do not be deceived!

Thanks to the Epoch Times newspaper and Lee Harding’s story “BC Hospice Society Opposed to MAiD in Palliative Care Faces Momentous Vote at AGM,” Mar. 13, 2022.

 

 

 

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The First Casualty of War is the Truth

Fifty years ago, Bruce Dyer made the point that The Truth about a conflict always takes a back seat to the propaganda being put forth by both sides while a war is raging. Both sides argue to their own select audiences that their reasons for fighting are sound and valid. Both sell their citizens  on the rightness of their cause. Sadly, most people will buy into what they are being told by their State rather than engaging in some critical thinking about the facts that may be known. The State, however, is not worthy of their trust and the sacrifices being demanded of them in blood and treasure.  Luther Burbank once observed: “The greatest torture in the world for most people is to think.”

The political history of States speaking with “forked tongue” to their people is a repetitively tiresome one. Paul Joseph Goebbels, the master propagandist for one of the world’s most despicable regimes, explained how a State can effectively manipulate its people with lies into doing its will:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for The State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for The Truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, The Truth is the greatest enemy of The State.”

The greatest source of moral Truth is the Judeo-Christian Bible. And it gets at what lies at the core of the current conflict in Eastern Europe with its many involved players who have both overt and hidden agendas.

What leads to [the unending] quarrels and conflicts among you? Do they not come from your [hedonistic] desires that wage war in your [bodily] members [fighting for control over you]? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and [b]your lust goes unfulfilled; so you [c]murder. You are envious and cannot obtain [the object of your envy]; so you fight and battle. You do not have because you do not ask [it of God].(A)You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, because you ask [d]with wrong motives [out of selfishness or with an unrighteous agenda], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires. You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose [e]that the [human] spirit which He has made to dwell in us lusts with envy?? James 4:1-5 Amplified Bible

The Truth of God (John 17:17 — God’s Word is Truth) is the invaluable measure to help us to avoid being deceived by the State and its lies. We don’t have to wait for the consequences of the lie to become painfully manifest in our lives in order to smarten up. The Scriptures can point us in the right direction to avoid being used by those who want us to serve their purposes instead of what’s in our own best interest or that of our neighbours.

 

 

 

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The Courage to Speak against the Mighty

For Christians it is important to note that we are now in the middle of the 8-day festival of Hanukkah. “Oi vey!” You might say. Why should I be interested in a Jewish festival”? 

Well, for beginners, all humanity’s Saviour had to be born as—wait for it—a Jew in order to fulfill all the prophecies given about him in the Old Covenant scriptures. Sorry anti-Semites. This required that Jesus be born into an observant Jewish family who lived among at least a somewhat observant Jewish community who still thought it was important to worship at the Temple of the Bible’s God in Jerusalem, which would have to be in existence and functioning in a form approved by the Scriptures. 

In explaining his ministry’s tight connection with the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus emphasized: “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved,” (Matthew 5:17-18 New Living Translation).

It would have been impossible for the Bible’s prophesied sinless, holy Messiah to have been born into an unbelieving pagan family whose community worship service included sacrificing pigs in honour of the false Greek god, Zeus. 

That is why the Hanukkah story is perhaps so significant for Christians. The Hanukkah story is one of resistance and the survival of a believing Jewish community in the face of an attempted cultural/religious genocide by one of the leading global powers of that time, the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, which then ruled much of the Middle East. For truly without the resistance heroes of Hanukkah, men and women who we now call the Maccabees, a Bible-believing and Bible-practicing Jewish population in the Galilee, Judea and much of the Middle East would have ceased to exist.

During the Intertestamental period—that time period between the close of the Old Covenant canon in the 400s B.C. and the writing of the Gospels in the first century A.D., “the Jews in their public role as farmers, merchants, and soldiers were familiar figures around the shores of the eastern Mediterranean, throughout the Middle East and into Egypt—areas that had been conquered by Alexander the Great and his Greek-speaking armies in the 300s B.C. To the Greeks, the Jews were like all the other easterners except in their intransigent monotheism, and their claim to an extraordinary document—the Hebrew Bible—that provided an ideal and a norm for human behaviour. Although other peoples of the East had literature containing both origin legends and law, describing their own past and regulating the conduct of their society; the Jew’s sacred writings included both of those, and yet much more. The Hebrew Scriptures described a historical unfolding of the Creator God’s providential plan not only for his own people but also for all humanity” (mostly quoted from F.E. Peters, The Harvest of Hellenism, 1970, Simeon & Schuster, pp. 261-262). 

To the Hellenistic pagan Greek rulers then ruling the “Promised Land” the Scriptures of the Jews presented a very serious competing ideal to the way of life that their own culture—based as it was on Greek philosophy, polytheism, and political science could propose. Hanukkah is the story of the struggle between two competing ideals and the associated pragmatic issues revolving around what were appropriate or inappropriate human behaviours. It was a polarizing culture war that turned hot on steroids!

While we are separated from the Hanukkah events involving the Maccabees and the Seleucid Empire’s ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes by some 2,188 years, nevertheless the core issues of that time rhyme in a striking way with ours. Our 21st Century Western society in the United States and Canada is also similarly riven by a polarizing culture war in which there are also two clearly opposing sides with very different points of view on social ideals and human behaviour. In today’s news is an account about how Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) controversially warned the U.S.’s Supreme Court justices during her Nov. 29 press conference that if the justices overturn Roe v. Wade—the abortion issue—they will see a “revolution”! Chief Justice John Roberts condemned “threatening statements of this sort,” calling them “not only inappropriate” but “dangerous.”

Will our contemporary culture wars in North America turn hot—and become a latter day Hanukkah story? If you’d like to learn more about the real Hanukkah story and the spiritual stakes involved, click on these links:

https://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/festivals-of-light/

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/societies-mould-or-godly-loyalty-in-leadership/

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Your Freedom is hanging in the balance! Slavery is at your door!

Governments around the world, especially in Canada, have gone Covid-bat crazy, ignoring established constitutional/charter rights, issuing dictates like vaccine passports that are all aimed at pressuring  us to give up all sorts of freedoms including our right to bodily autonomy. And what is bodily autonomy? —that quality or state of being self-governing. In other words: my body my choice when it comes to medical treatments.

But through their “mandates,” despite denials, governments are in effect reducing us to a state of slavery. They issue dictates and we must comply or else! Throughout history slaves were deprived of their freedom. They had no right to make their own decisions about even their own body since they belonged to the master. And the master could coerce his slaves in any way he wanted. A slave is never asked for his or her freely given consent.

While Covid has been a deadly threat to certain elderly populations with serious health problems and impaired immune systems, it is however an extremely small risk to others. Less than 0.071 percent of the Canadian population has succumbed to the disease. That’s not even 1/10 of 1 percent! And yet this is supposed to be a pandemic? The Bubonic Plague a.k.a the Black Death that struck Europe in 1347 to 1353 killed an estimated 30% to 60% of the population—not less than 1/10 of 1 percent! 

The overwhelming majority of people have sufficiently healthy immune systems that allow them to beat the virus and recover without hospital care or ill effects. Nevertheless, governments are refusing to recognize that the people who have had a Covid infection have been gifted with a naturally acquired immunity—which may be stronger and longer-lasting than that conferred by vaccination!

While I am unaware of any government in the Western world that is now forcibly apprehending their vaccine hesitant citizens and holding them down in order to forcibly inject them with this experimental gene therapy, they are doing the next best thing. Governments are threatening unvaccinated people with the loss of their livelihood, the loss of their mobility, and the loss of their being able to fully participate in society. In essence, many Western governments have decided to create a two-tier social system, a sort of medical aparteid in which a compliant class is favoured by the State with perks while an unfavoured class is discriminated against and punished for having “wrong think.” The scapegoating of minorities has a long sordid history, and the unvaccinated are increasingly being reviled by politicians and the media as ignorant and selfish. Such scapegoating and punishment of those not eagerly embracing government dictates brings back memories to me of my experience behind the Iron Curtain in Communist Hungary in 1973. 

But now I wake up in the Canada of 2021 and discover many government and related entities have issued so-called mandates—really just dictatorial orders—to force people to be injected with an experimental gene therapy that is demonstrably causing an absolutely unprecedented amount of adverse reactions involving death and permanent disability when compared to the data about all the other vaccines over the last 30 years.  Employees who refuse to comply with employers’  mandates are being put on unpaid leave. In Canada unpaid leave means that your employer has tossed you out of work without paying severance, while at the same time depriving you of your ability to file for unemployment insurance payments. In essence, these pernicious Canadian employers are creating a financial crisis for those who do not wish to comply to the State’s orders.

This is straight-forward persecution for those whose religious faith or personal conscience tells them not to consent to the government’s heavy-handed vaccine “mandates.” The only response is prayer, heroic endurance, and resistance. If you’re in Canada check out the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. They can use your help to help fund the various law suits they’ve filed to ask the courts for relief from the federal and provincial governments overweening attacks on our Charter rights (www.jccf.ca). To understand the spiritual battle that’s going on and to find encouragement, I suggest you check out the Judeo-Christian Foundation at http://judeochristianfoundation.org/ or http://cogwebcast.com/  A time may be coming of a famine of the Word, but it is not yet.

 

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Do you trust your leaders to care for you?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires our governments here in Canada to demonstrate with evidence that restrictions on our freedom to move, travel, associate, assemble, and worship are “demonstrably justified.” The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms asked the provincial and federal governments of Canada for just such a cost/benefit justification analysis, but this NGO has been ignored. Perhaps our government leaders don’t think the deaths arising from cancelled surgeries, delayed medical diagnostics, increased suicides and drug overdoses, deteriorating mental health, unemployment, soaring public debt—caused by their COVID public policies— are worthy of their consideration because they’re off-narrative. However a charitable non-government organization called the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) has posted online just such a cost/benefit analysis—called Flying Blind—of the resultant harms and deaths arising from our government’s coercive COVID policies.

The results might shock you. Did you know that:

  • Deaths from all causes in Canada for the first 8 months of 2020 actually declined from those recorded in 2019 over the same time period?
  • Canadian governments attributed 10,295 fewer deaths due to cancer, heart diseases, lung diseases, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, while attributing 8,795 deaths to COVID during the same time period
  • At least 200,000 Canadians suffered the cancellation of their scheduled surgeries, including breast cancer surgery, due to lockdown measures.
  • At least 500,000 Canadians did not receive timely diagnostic procedures such as MRIs and CT scans for cancer and other deadly diseases.
  • As many as 18,000 Canadians have died or will die prematurely of cancer this year because their diagnosis or cancer treatment was delayed by lockdowns?
  • Or that unemployment and despair caused by lockdowns will likely increase Canada’s suicide rate by 17%—increasing deaths by suicide by about 680 people?
  • When the province of British Columbia’s final statistics are posted for 2020, we’ll probably see that more people died this year from opioid overdoses than COVID-19!
  • And what about the lower standard of living our younger generations will experience due to soaring public debt?

Politicians like Premier Doug Ford of Ontario tell Canadians not to travel. And yet hypocritically we discover that Ford’s Finance Minister Rod Phillips went to St. Barts in the Caribbean to soak up the sun for the winter holidays.  Those who have forced on us their ill-conceived public policies around COVID are flying blind and often they are flying hypocritically. They are not heroes. When it comes to leadership, they are not following the servant-leadership example set by Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to His disciples, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called [ironically] “benefactors,” that is ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:25-27 (NLT).

 

 

 

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The Little Known Good News about Christ’s Birth

Christ’s Miraculous Birth

Christ’s birth was a miraculous and foundational element of Christian belief. This historic event is not accurately portrayed among most traditional churches, as it most certainly did not happen December 25th. And typically, in the midst of the winter celebration, the story and import of Christ’s birth is obscured by useless traditions. So what really happened? And why is it important for people to understand the message that Christ’s birth conveys? The bible has stories that you may not know and answers that might surprise you.

In one sense the story of Christ’s birth begins in the book of Isaiah, during the reign of Ahaz. The prophet had told Ahaz to ask a sign from God. Ahaz was facing an implacable foe and fearful of defeat, and yet he refused to ask for a sign. The prophet then gave the prophecy of the Messiah, as a sign of the immediate deliverance of the nation from the Assyrian invaders. But it also promised a future fulfillment and greater deliverance. For a virgin would conceive and bear a child and he would be ‘Immanuel’ – God with us.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9

Isaiah’s Prophecy Fulfilled – Partially

This prophecy began to be fulfilled in the time of the gospel writers. Luke wrote about the angel who appeared to Zacharias promising the childless couple that they would have a son. This son, John, would be a Nazarite devoted to God’s service and filled with God’s spirit. He would prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. And, like Elijah, he would turn the hearts of the people back to serve the Lord God, rejecting the idolatry of the contemporary society. Zacharias had a hard time believing what he had heard and experienced. But soon, as promised his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant. It seemed to this elderly couple that anything was possible when God was involved, for there was nothing too hard for God.

Shortly thereafter, the angel appeared to Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. Mary was surprised when she was told that it was through her that the prophecy of Isaiah would be fulfilled. She, though a virgin, would conceive a son who would be ‘Immanuel’ – God with us. He would be named “Jesus/Yeshua” which means God is salvation. Mary did not doubt what the angel said, though she wondered how it would all take place. She understood that nothing was too hard for God. Even Joseph, when told the circumstances surrounding Mary’s pregnancy in a dream, believed in God’s ability to perform a miracle as he had promised.

Jeremiah and the Message of Messiah

In Judea, based on the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures, many people were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. They looked for the coming of a warrior king to save them from Roman domination. The people remembered Jeremiah’s prophecy of the return of Judah to the land of promise. They had seen these prophecies fulfilled when their forefathers were released from exile in Babylon and their land was restored to them. So they believed that there was nothing too hard for God.

The begettal and birth of the Messiah, Jesus, as the son of God was the fulfillment of prophecy. But, he was also the forerunner, being the first of many brothers and sisters, to be begotten of the Father. His coming gives every Christian hope for the future, as co-inheritors of the great promises of eternal life in the family of God. Just as Jeremiah obtained a title deed in hope of a future inheritance in the land of Israel, so the spirit of Christ in us is our “title deed” to a place in the spiritual promised land. But there is more. Jesus’ birth also gives hope to all of humanity, everyone who has suffered under the tyranny of human rule. For his birth opened up the possibility of the restoration of all things.

Daniel and the Son of Man

Daniel’s prophecy of the Son of Man and the Ancient of days provided a historical context for the second coming of the Messiah. There would be a time of restoration after the rise and fall of the great empires of the world: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Ancient of Days would send the Son of Man, the Messiah, to destroy human civilizations. And in their place the Messiah and the saints of God would establish the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, made possible by the birth and death and return of the Messiah, the Christ, will remain forever.

So when we consider the good news of Christ’s birth it has profound implications for humanity. There is nothing to hard for the Lord God. For when he returns, he will establish justice and the end result will be peace – something our world needs desperately.

Learn more about the Messiah from Handel’s Oratorio:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/authentic-gospel-messiah/

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Why is Hanukkah just as important to Christians as it is to Jews in the 21st Century?

Hanukkah begins tomorrow evening, December 10 and ends the evening of December 18. Why is the real story behind Hanukkah unknown to most Christians and even most Jews, who are limited in their understanding to superficial tropes of the 8-day festival. The authentic message of Hanukkah has an “Independence Day” theme because it recounts a moment in history when the people of the Lord God in ancient Judea and Galilee were able to throw off the tyranny of the elite of the Seleucid Empire. This political elite was composed not only of Greeks but also of apostate Jewish high priests and their supporters (collaborators who betrayed for their own people and their theocratic constitution, i.e. the Law of God).  The faithful leaders, the Jewish patriots of the day, were from a family of lower level priests who had to finally make a stand and refuse to compromise with God’s teachings. They were known as the  Maccabees. It was only after waging a hard fought guerrilla war against the Seleucid Empire, one of the major states of the ancient, that the Maccabees were able to cleanse the Jerusalem Temple of the Lord God of Creation of Greek idols and other various defilements in order to restore a biblically approved worship service. The Maccabees also deposed and replaced the corrupt apostate Jewish leadership that had betrayed the nation and their biblical constitution.

Hanukkah acknowledges the commitment of those Jewish patriots who gave their lives to restore their people’s religious liberties. It is also about the mysterious power of the Bible’s God and how He works through imperfect human instruments to deliver Hs people when the opposing forces were vastly superior in numbers and armaments. The real Hanukkah story did not end when the Jerusalem Temple was cleansed and biblical worship restored in 165 B.C. The struggle by the people of God for their religious freedom would be ongoing. In fact you could say that while the nature of the warfare has changed, the battle is still being fought with those who are hostile to the Bible’s God and His values.

This year the message of Hanukkah seems especially fitting in the USA where there are those who would use cunning, deceit, and a ‘mirage of superior numbers and overwhelming forces’ to—at the very least give the strong impression of—if not the act of stealing an election. Election fraud is an old tradition in the USA going back to the 1800s.

The Maccabees were eventually successful in their costly fight for biblical truth and religious freedom because they looked to the Lord God to deliver them in spite of difficult odds. And they fought valiantly knowing that their way of life and that of their children were at stake.

Psalm 82 bears some interesting relevance to the Hanukkah story for Christians especially.  While teaching in the Jerusalem Temple during Hanukkah, Jesus of Nazareth would quote Psalm 82 to a group of antagonistic “religious leaders” of His nation who were in fact collaborators with the then Roman overlords.  Psalm 82 was a prophecy that future leaders of the nation would all become corrupt and compromised. When those “religious leaders” attacked Jesus for saying he was the son of God, He merely quoted this Psalm as proof that all men are “gods”—i.e. children of God created in His image. And no this Psalm is definitely not talking about “gods” in a heavenly realm, but people on earth that will die like men for their sins.

God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods (judges). 2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah (Think about that). 3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. 7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations. Psalm 82

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Re Barbara Kay’s story “The Problems with Canada’s Bill C-6 and the Gender Affirmation Model

In the National Post, columnist Barbara Kay slammed Canadian Bill C-6, which passed second reading with a majority of the House of Commons and is now under review by the justice committee. This bill seeks to criminalize “conversion therapy.” But in her article, Kay argues that the bill’s proponents are being misleading using a bait-and-switch conflation of sexual orientation with gender dysphoria. In Bill C-6 conversion therapy has been extended to mean “any treatment that slows down or dissuades a youth from early medical gender transition. In reality, sexual orientation and gender dysphoria are separate phenomena.” The balance of Kay’s column argued, “Early affirmation of a teenager’s expressed sexual orientation does no harm. But early affirmation of a teenager’s expressed desire to change his or her sex through chemistry and mutilation can lead to quite serious harm, as becomes ever more clear from public attestations by “detransitioners.” These are former transmen and transwomen who have embraced their natal sex after years of rejection, but are forever stuck with permanent physical changes, often including infertility, that are now a source of anguish.” You can read Kay’s full article at https://nationalpost.com/opinion/barbara-kay-the-problems-with-bill-c-6-and-the-gender-affirmation-model

As you can imagine National Post’s comment section on Kay’s column was pretty lively. One of those comments deprecated the Biblical narrative’s teaching on the origin of human gender by calling it myth. So I added this observation to the conversation:

Interesting article by Barbara Kay. And what is the so-called “Origin myth,” as it was referred to by a previous post, that is relevant to this conversation? “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’…” (Genesis 1:27-28a). Strange, isn’t it, this statement written some 3,400 years ago purportedly by Moses makes a clear case that gender was “hard-wired” from the very beginning into our biology. And what did science discover in the late 20th Century so many years later? That indeed there is DNA found in every human cell that identifies us from birth as being in reality either male or female. Even secular evolutionists would have to say that anything that subverts the propagation of a species is unhelpful or counter-productive to that species survival and therefore would naturally be “unselected” over the course of time. It ought to be evident that individuals who wholeheartedly buy into transgender ideology and allow the medical profession to make permanent physical changes to their bodies will not be among the “ancestors” of future generations of humanity. Rationally speaking, transgenderism is a dead-end.

 

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What has changed? Why rising slaughter of strangers?

It is evident that something has changed in North America. Why this rising tide of mass murder and hateful speech?

This past week the headline stories in the media were packed with the details about the recent mass slaughter of random strangers by blood-thirsty perpetrators, who were all young men in their teens or early 20s. The El Paso, Texas killer was 21. The Dayton, Ohio killer was 24. The Northern B.C. killers were 18 and 19. All were young men, yet they shared no common ideology. One was apparently a white supremacist, while another was a radical leftist who support ANTIFA. The political leanings of the Northern B.C. killer-teens are unknown.  So what do they have in common? NONE of them were church-going Christians or synagogue-going Jews.

Evidently the parents of these killers made little to no effort to teach them the basics of the morality taught by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures with its admonitions: “Thou shalt not murder” and  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” The Bible passionately focuses on such family friendly values. Yet, it is now several generations since it was commonplace among Americans and Canadians to consistently raise our children with this foundational morality. I am such a dinosaur that I remember my 4th grade public school teacher regularly reading the Psalms to us during class.

But today it is commonplace for the social and political discourse to be full of venom and words of disrespect and even violence.We commonly bite and devour each other on the Twitterosphere. This is the new norm, and no one seems to know what to do about it except to censor it one way or another. And so the precious freedom of speech is gradually being eroded.  The idea that one should speak moderately, and practice kindness to one’s neighbours and strangers in word and deed seem alien to many today.

This rising tide of violence in word and deed is the natural consequence of our society  turning away from the Bible’s God and his teachings. And yet so many are still surprised by the increase in random murders. But perhaps they have never known the Judeo Christian ethic. As the Apostle Paul clearly pointed out a long time ago there is a natural cause and effect relationship of what happens when a society turns its back on biblical values.

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand [biblical truth], break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Romans 1:28-32 New Living Translation.

Gun control legislation will at best be only a poor and relatively ineffective remedy for what is in essence a spiritual sickness. Instead, if we want real social peace in our communities and the reversal of this rising tide of violence in both word and deed, then we need to blow the dust off our Bibles and begin to read them. We must practice what the Scriptures teach about loving our neighbours, and the strangers in our land. And of course, we should begin to teach the Bible’s message to our children and grandchildren at home and in the schools. That would heal our nations’ spiritual sickness, that is manifest in this rising tide of verbal violence and the outright cold-blooded mass murder of strangers.

 

 

 

 

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Canada’s leaders risk nation’s health in an “uncontrolled national experiment”

When I get up tomorrow, Wednesday morning, October 17th, recreational cannabis use will be legal throughout Canada. Curiously two days earlier on Monday, October 15th, the Canadian Medical Association Journal decided to play Cassandra warning in an editorial that marijuana’s legalization is nothing less than “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.”

Health Canada estimates we can expect that recreational cannabis use will cause problems for “nearly 1 in 3 adult users and an addiction in close to 1 in 10, with higher risks in youth.” Researchers all know that there are “many unanswered questions about the consequences that will arise from the short-term and long-term use of cannabis” (see CMAJ, editorial, accessed May 15, 2018, http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/41/E1218

In a classic case of hypocritical “double-speak” P.M. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals justified their legalization of recreational cannabis because they believed it would “protect public health and safety, by keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and enhancing public awareness of health risks associated with cannabis use.” (Language from Bill C-45). I’m not sure how removing any sort of stigma from using this drug would make youth less inclined to use it. The plain truth of the matter is that the Federal Liberal Party of Canada felt during the last election that a promise to legalize cannabis use would help propel them into power since about 1 in 7 Canadians (almost 5 million) were already using the drug.

So is this “uncontrolled national experiment” really in the best interests of the Canadian people? Just because the government makes something “legal” doesn’t mean it’s good for you—or righteous, moral, or even just plain healthful! Tobacco smoking, gambling, abortion, and assisted suicide are cases in point. Governments do what they think is in their best interests—not yours! Perhaps we all should reflect on this Proverb from the Bible before allowing ourselves to take advantage of some governmentally legalized, but perhaps personally harmful scheme:

“Wisdom rests [silently] in the heart of one who has understanding, But what is in the heart of [shortsighted] fools is made known. Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:33-34 Amplified Bible)

 

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The One and Only Way to Stop Mass Murders at School

All this past week most of the mainstream press has been pushing the idea that what is needed to stop today’s school shootings and other mass murders is to inaugurate effective, total gun control—which is to say, to confiscate all firearms from the American public. The idea is “no guns equals no murders.” President Trump, however, has called for arming teachers at schools, and to more tightly control the vetting process for buying guns. He would eliminate some types of firearms that facilitate a mass murder spree, and do a better job with handling the mentally ill. Will any of this work to really change the situation on the ground? Frankly, at this stage of the game, I have my doubts, because all those suggestions don’t get at the heart of the problem..

After all, as far as gun control goes, if would-be murderers can’t use guns they’ll use trucks — or knives, screwdrivers, hammers, poisons, and any other means that a bloody-minded individual can devise. When you think back on history, humanity has often resorted to some of the most basic, brutal tools in order to murder others. The root of the problem is not the fact that there is a stone, a baseball bat, or a gun in every American home. The root of the problem is the spirit of murder and lawlessness that is now stalking America. The problem of mass murder is a people problem, not a tool problem.

When I was a youth in the 1950s and 1960s, guns were readily available to practically anyone who wanted one. My Mom (a divorced woman) kept a holstered, loaded handgun hanging on her bedpost, which she took with her when out horseback riding by herself in the boonies—it was for shooting snakes or other varmits. Don’t you know that we boys never would have dreamed to touch much less play with Mom’s gun. It never would have entered our minds because we knew better—and we also knew how to use guns ourselves. Of course, my brother and I also never would have dreamed about telling any of our teachers to F— off or to ignore an instruction in class. We showed our teachers and school administrators respect and, our parents expected nothing less of us—or else!

Mom only had to use that pistol once when a would-be thief was trying to steal my motorcycle parked in the carport. The fella saw that Mom had spotted him and he took off to hide behind some bushes in our large backyard. Mom, who was a crack shot—Annie Oakley had taught her grandma to shoot and she in turn had taught Mom—put a few rounds into the ground at the base of those bushes where the guy was lurking. Immediately he leaped over the 6 ft. tall back fence in a single bound and took off like a bat out of hell down the alley. Mom didn’t want to hurt anyone, but she did want to communicate that she wasn’t fooling around. The thief never returned. I wonder why? Low-lifes figure out pretty quickly who to respect and who not to.

For $20.00 in the 1950s and 60s you could buy on demand without a background check a “Saturday night special” and a box of shells at the corner hardware. But I can’t remember any dreadful mass shootings at schools during that time period that even remotely approached today’s problem in Florida. It just didn’t happen. The problem is that the American people have changed—and not for the better. Why? What’s the root of the problem?

In a letter to the editor of my local paper last Saturday, a fellow wrote:  “While its consequence might manifest on the roads [or in schools], discourtesy is a much deeper problem in our civilization that has worsened during my lifetime. Whereas people detest each other as much today as at any other point in history, today’s citizens no longer feel a duty to be courteous to each other for the sake of the community.

“I blame the decline of our civilization’s traditional moral-reinforcing institutions. People might or might not like churches, but it’s hard to deny the role churches played in our society as sources of civil order, and as touchstones of right conduct.

“It is also hard not to correlate declining church attendance with rising aggression and apathy across the whole spectrum of our civilization… We need a politically independent moral industry today, more than ever” (D.S. Victoria, Times Colonist, Feb. 24, 2018.)

 

So dear reader please take to heart this warning from the Apostle Paul that we ourselves should not be caught up in the same spirit of violence and disregard for human life that is sweeping our society:

“Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men will be lovers of self, loves of money, braggarts, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self control, savage, despisers of those who are good, betrayers, reckless, egotistical, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having an outward appearance of godliness, but denying the power of true godliness [that transforms from the inside out an authentic believer’s life]. But as for you, turn away from all these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, The Holy Bible in its Original Order trans.)

As a society, we must return to teaching Judeo-Christian morality and ethics in our homes, in our schools, and in our churches and synagogues—day in and day out. America was built on and positively refined by Biblical values for close to 190 years. By abandoning these founding values and breaking faith with the God of our ancestors we risk destroying everything that once made America a shining city set on a hill—a good example to a world wallowing all too often in darkness and despair.

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Why the Messiah and Jerusalem are stumbling blocks to the world’s leaders

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how is it that after so many thousands of years you can still command the attention of a Postmodernist, unbelieving global elite in the 21st Century?  Could it be because the Biblical narrative that prophesies of something beyond the present world order scares the heck out of them?

President Donald Trump recently received an extraordinary rebuke from a curious assortment of America’s friends and foes at the U.N. Security Council—who though normally as harmonious as a bunch of feral cats and stray dogs in an alley—discovered that they could join hands in an effort to publicly humiliate not only Trump, but also all those presumptuous Israeli Jews who dare to call Jerusalem their eternal capital city? In reply to this slam, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defiantly said, “The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy!”

Ouch! Evidently some Americans can be as uppity as those stubborn Israeli Jews when it comes to standing up for a worldview that’s different from their own—and this angers their adversaries. It angers them a lot. Why?

Jerusalem is a stumbling block  to this world’s governing elite. Because, it occupies the centre stage for a host of biblical prophecies and teachings  that promise to completely overthrow not only their political authority, but also their ideology of political correctness. If you would like to understand some of the ways in which Jerusalem is so important to  believing Jews and Christians, click on this link to see my video Why the Messiah and Jerusalem are Stumbling Stones http://cogwebcast.com/

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What is the most painful, unintended consequence of Martin Luther’s rebellion again Rome?

Tomorrow, Halloween, is the ironic date the world typically marks as the anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation that shattered the Roman Universalist Church’s 1,000-year-long spiritual monopoly over Western Christianity. The man who launched that spiritual revolution is the fascinating, but not always loveable Martin Luther. Luther was courageous, intellectually energetic and sometimes even humorous. But he was also pig-headed, argumentative, egotistical, and an infamous anti-Semite. Luther ’s greatest theological legacy to Protestantism is his teaching that justification, being made right before a righteous God, is through faith alone. To Luther, salvation was an open-and-shut case: Believe and you are justified. Once justified you are saved. Once you are saved, you remain saved without any influence of works—good or bad.

Five hundred years on, the painful, unintended consequences of Luther’s justification theology include the failure of the Protestant Church—including most “born-again” evangelical organizations— to make a significant moral and ethical difference in the lives of those attending its worship services.

To discover the answer as to why this has happened and what can be done about it, see the link to my recent video about this shocking crisis in contemporary Christianity .

View Video

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No right to save the life of one’s own child

A distraught British Columbia father is pleading for the right and the power to force his drug addicted 15-year-old daughter into drug rehab so she doesn’t overdose another time and die. But the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, and it would seem the B.C. government, prefer less obtrusive ways, such as controlling the supply of addictive drugs and then handing them out to the addicts on a prescription basis.

The policy director of this civil liberties NGO, Michael Vonn said, “We are concerned about the notion that parents should be making health-care decisions for their mature minors.” He then suggested that forcing a minor into drug rehab is as much a non-starter as denying a “mature minor” (who they say might be just 12 years old) the right to access birth control without parental consent.

But citing what should be self-evident natural law, the father retorted: “It’s our responsibility as parents to take care of our children. And we can’t, if we can’t make them get the help they need.” Poor man. Didn’t he know that in B.C. parents no longer have the right to use “tough love” in a desperate effort to keep their children from ending up as a statistic in the morgue—a victim of the current, so-called “health crisis” of opioid overdose deaths.  Evidently in the 21st Century it’s the State that knows best—NOT father knows best!

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.

But when the wicked are in power, they groan (Proverbs 29:2 New Living Translation).

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Who is Undermining Our Western Civilization?

Recently Conrad Black wrote a “must read” opinion piece—which is fascinating for both its language and its conclusions.

Black argues that increasingly aggressive atheist banshees, who seized control over most of the Western world’s government, academic, and media institutions, are close to dangerously undermining the roots of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization. The implications of this worldview shift that has taken place among our leaders will have profound implications for everyone.

Up until now, the Judeo-Christian tradition has had a remarkable influence on the course of our history —promoting the role of conscience, free will, freedom of religion, the practice of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, along with intellectual curiosity and personal initiative.  The conceptual roots from which our 21st Century understanding of rights, freedoms, and political constitutions emerged from the teachings of the Judeo-Christians Scriptures about love, covenant, justice, and equality in law.

Surprising, Black noted, even the most militant of atheists feel obliged to swaddle themselves in commendable precepts that are generally rip-offs of the Golden Rule about loving your neighbour as yourself—which is found in both Old and New Covenant scriptures!

It is ironic that while the unbelieving, hyperactive philistines vociferously denounce the Judeo-Christian values, they nonetheless seem perfectly content to enjoy the benefits of Judeo-Christian civilization even while hypocritically denying its basic tenets.

Black warns that the Judeo-Christian influence on Western society is fast weakening. He wonders if the moral relativism substituted for biblical morality—which has resulted in a massive erosion of social cohesion and backbone among those buying the so-called “progressive,” politically correct ideology— could rally sufficient moral confidence to confront what Conrad Black calls “sociopathic Islam.”

If Black sounds harsh, well, would you, a liberal Westerner who despises our Judeo-Christian heritage, like to migrate on a raft (or even just get on a plane) to  a Muslim majority country like Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (which is 100% church and synagogue free), Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Libya because they’re such great places to live? Or even better yet, how about decamping to North Korea, which is an atheist’s paradise and totally free from any religious values, whether Judeo-Christian or even Muslim? I understand the North Koreans love to imprison “superstitious and subversive” Korean-Christian ministers who obviously threaten the state by providing a little material assistance to their starving neighbours. How despicable those with Judeo-Christian values! I jest!

Conrad Black, “I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West,” Apr. 7, 2017; http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conrad-black-i-put-this-as-simply-as-possible-many-atheists-are-excellent-but-atheism-itself-is-hurting-the-west

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The next PC idea about how to “improve” society: morality pills!

A CBC radio program called The Current, recently lent itself as a megaphone to the provocative idea that a pill is the next best thing to improve the “human animal.”— That’s the label Neil Levy, deputy director of psycho-babble at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, in the U.K. applies to you and me. He wants to formulate and administer a “morality pill” to targeted segments of the population.

To bolster his case, Levy cited research that shows drugs prescribed for anxiety, depression or even high blood pressure, “have been found to amplify characteristics such as empathy, self-control and increased trust; even an improvement in attitudes towards people of other races.” Neil Levy’s enthusiastic pill-pushing reminds me of the Jefferson Airplane hippie anthem “The White Rabbit” with its advocacy of the pharmaceutical lifestyle—or some of the stoner rants of Timothy O’Leary about LSD. I found Neil Levy’s advocacy of “morality pills” to be truly mind-blowing.

To the CBC’s credit they did balance Levy’s unbridled enthusiasm for mind-altering drugs with some sober second thoughts provided by Kerry Bowman of the The University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics. Bowman commented:

“It’s a very difficult, difficult concept because if you look at what occurs when a person has moral intuition … what they do with the moral intuition and the moral feelings and the space between that and moral action — meaning the decision that is made — that’s a very deep and powerful human experience.”

Bowman thinks there could be some serious push-back if the elite tries to increase its social control over the Canadian public by pushing such “morality pills.” One of the big reasons there might be some push back is that Levy’s idea denies the spiritual and even material importance of free will to humanity. When God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26), one of the most important features of His divine nature that He gave us was our ability to choose between obedience and disobedience, right and wrong.

When the Apostle Paul thought to accept a runaway slave named Onesimus into his service, he first wrote a letter to Philemon, Onesimus’ master. Paul wanted Philemon to give Onesimus his freedom to further the preaching of the Gospel. Paul said to Philemon:

“But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of obligation, but of your own free will,” (Philemon 1:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

To be virtuously moral of necessity requires, first of all, that one is capable of choice—and then through the exercise of free will one chooses to do the right rather than the wrong. There is nothing noble or Godly about someone being drugged into conformity with someone else’s idea of what is politically correct.

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When justice degenerates into injustice!

What happens when a justice system devolves and becomes unjust, and contemptible?

Christie Blatchford, a columnist with the National Post—which is the more conservative of Canada’s two national newspapers—has recently been running a series that have been probing the depths of the dysfunction that predominates throughout much of Canada’s family law system, especially in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The situation has gotten so bad that even insiders working within the system will admit to a newspaper columnist that it is “utterly broken,” “expensive,” and “convoluted.” Instead of being places of fairness—after all Lady Justice is supposed to operate with blind impartiality and fairness—far too many Canadian family courts have become depressing, “soul-crushing places.”

Child custody disputes now commonly drag on for 10, 12, even 18 years. Many of the custody disputes in Ontario will cost about $45,000 per litigant just to walk into court day 1. And that’s just the beginning of the financial hit. Many non-custodial parents—mostly men—end up in bankruptcy while being pursued for the rest of their lives by a provincial family maintenance and enforcement agency. Blatchford cited this sad comment made about one such man whose despair ended in suicide: “His bank accounts were locked, he lost his homes, his vehicle, his business, his pension. You emasculate a man and take away his ability to provide … he’s a human being. He has limits. Yet if he could have just seen his girls, he could have handled all this.”

Citing case after case, Blatchford carefully documents the perversion of justice being wrought by such “family” courts. And what are the results when a justice system degenerates into an injustice system?

One post in response to Blatchford’s articles says, “We have a whole generation scared of getting married. Was that the system’s plan to break the family unit? In my area the young men are going around having babies with different moms and collecting welfare. Neither party wants to get married. Single guys with money are afraid to get married. What a cesspool!”

Society is suffering under the unjust judges of Canada’s various provincial family court systems. But eventually there will be a turn about and those who have perverted justice will be called to account. As it is written:

Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil;

Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;

Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 Amplified Bible

Articles commented on by this blog: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/christie-blatchford-getting-to-the-root-of-ontarios-family-law-mess

And http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/christie-blatchford-b-c-man-blamed-cruelty-of-family-court-battle-for-driving-him-to-suicide

 

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Material progress without moral development equals….

Can the network of cellulose veins in a spinach leaf, when stripped of its plant cells and replaced with human heart tissue, someday be used to repair the damage caused by heart-attacks? Or can the cellulose structure of broccoli or cauliflower, when stripped of their plant cells, be used as growing platforms for replacement lungs? Though it sounds like pure science fiction, bioengineers at the Massachusett’s Worchester Polytechnic Institute and at other research centres are working feverishly to make such ideas a reality.

While the idea of repairing or replacing failing human organs by exploiting various species of the plant kingdoms for their tissues sounds infinitely preferable to hurrying the harvest of human organs from various classes of vulnerable people—the sick, the accident victims, the criminal, and the poor—the unanticipated consequences of such technological innovation can never be fully seen at its beginning. Who would have thought that  when our scientists first started studying physics to understand the nature of our physical world that such knowledge would eventually lead to the production of today’s horrific weapons of mass destruction?

The Scriptures recount that the Ultimate Bioengineer of the Universe once intervened in humanity’s technological development to slow us down. Why? Because He understood in observing our material “progress” that “Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (See Genesis 11:6). Until our moral and ethical development catches up with our materialistic abilities, unanticipated consequences will render our current civilization increasingly subject to problems and disasters.

The news story which is the basis for this commentary is at: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/scientists-convert-spinach-leaves-into-human-heart-tissue-that-beats

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Two Trees and Two Worldviews


When I got up this morning, after losing an hour’s sleep with the start of Daylight Saving Time, I turned on CBC’s Sunday Edition. While fixing breakfast, I began listening—but promptly turned it off. It was just too much to swallow, before I’d even had my morning cup of tea.

What is it about these liberal “thinkers” that so aggravates? Perhaps, it’s because they’ve fallen for the world’s oldest con, and I hate to see people deceived and used. Seemingly, the “leftie” pundits can only speak about those things that come from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This source of understanding is pollinated solely by human reason—”I make up for myself what is right or wrong.”  Sincere liberals think their “Tree” will only produce progressively good fruit. But this tree of good and evil produces a variety of fruit and some have not been good.

Our world’s increasing plague of promiscuity, impurity, indecency, hostility, strife, jealousy, violence, selfish ambition, envy, substance abuse, and riotous behaviour, are they not just the progressively rotten fruit of that old tree? It’s painful to listen to liberal commentators who’ve forgotten, or never knew, that if one just goes a little deeper into Eden’s Garden there is a much better source of understanding: the Tree of Life whose fruit is pollinated by Divine Revelation.

The Two Trees at Eden symbolically represented two completely different worldviews. The Tree of Life produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This good fruit is a stark contrast to the fruit of the other tree – The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. A recent survey by the Barna Research Groups says only 4 percent of North Americans know about the Tree of Life and its worldview that makes for a happy, fulfilling life.

If you’d like to learn more, follow this link: http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/a-biblical-worldview-where-many-christians-fail/

 

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Where is Personal Responsibility in all those “harm reduction” strategies?

man-with-headIn Canada, and in British Columbia, we’re being told there is a public health “crisis” or “emergency” over the perils of addiction, over-dosing, and death. Recently, intravenous drug users having been dropping dead in significant numbers in B.C.–about two a day due to the appearance on the streets over this past year of the drug fentanyl–a cheaper, far more powerful, artificial opioid. This cheaply manufactured drug is being smuggled into Canada from China.

To counter this “crisis” among those ensnared in opioid addiction, many of the so-called experts are calling for more “harm-reduction” strategies. The governing liberal elite wants more supervised safe injection sites–I think they’re asking for 4 or 5 just on Vancouver Island! And now some druggie activists are calling for the Government to supply free heroin to the addicts in order to cut down on the number of deaths due to the flood of cheap opioid knock-offs like fentanyl. But this “harm-reduction” approach begs the question–Is it perpetuating rather than solving the addictions problem? For some time the liberal media’s gatekeepers have bought into the harm reduction strategy as the best way to go, pushing anyone who might raise an objection to this strategy onto the digital sidelines of what’s being touted as “wisdom” and “compassion.”  However recently, some respected Canadian media commentators like Les Leyne are now having some doubts about whether this “harm reduction” ideology is, in fact, just perpetuating addictions and making things worse!

This past week, CBC radio aired a “compelling interview about two young women who sounded like seasoned and,  from the voice of one of them, mentally scarred veterans of the illicit-drug scene. One of them was in her mid-30s and gushing with enthusiasm about her drug use, whether this was at a “safe” injection site or not. The other was an 18 year-old doper whose only goal in life seemed to be “get high and relax.”

Commenting on these CBC interviewees, Les Leyne noted, “Safe sites or no, they’re both staring death in the face. The question is whether the latest effort to protect them from themselves by reducing some of the danger associated with routinely using drugs mogueamounts to just perpetuating behaviour that leads in only one direction–an inevitable trip to the morgue subsidized by the government and generous private individuals.

“The concept of personal responsibility seemed so distant that you feel like an old fuddy-duddy just thinking about it” (Les Leyne, “Are we perpetuating addictions,” TC, Nov. 16, 2016)

Responding to Leyne’s newspaper column, a 61-year-old self-confessed “addict enabler” with more than 300 years of addiction exposure among family and friends wrote in a letter to the editor:

“Whether heroin, cocaine, meth, or medical marijuana, all levels of government actively support the illicit drug industry. The city (of Victoria) and Province of British Columbia can’t afford to eradicate hard street drugs because addiction and its related services and products is very big business here, employing many. Truly, neither the addict, nor community at large is protected.”

“Counsellors I saw about the addiction issues of my family members, and friends recommended tough love: stop financing the addiction destruction by paying bills, buying groceries, providing clean needles–and other cheap drug equipment— providing free clothing, meds, housing, furniture, transportation–and soon a safe place to shoot up, too.”

rising-heroin-deaths“It’s time for something completely different and revolutionary that’ll give addicts the tools and desire to care about themselves. Pay addicts to get clean and to stay clean–instead of using ridiculous amounts of money to keep them addicted. If we care about addicts, we must motivate them to heal and discontinue the self-destructive habits whatever way we can.”

Our governing elite would never embrace such an idea that explicitly insists on druggies taking personal responsibility for their situation.  I dare say Mr. Leyne has been taking a certain amount of flak for his comments because they just aren’t politically correct.

The Scriptures point out there is a big difference between those who subscribe to the concept of personal responsibility and those who don’t.

Proverbs 9:7-9 (AMP) 7 He who corrects and instructs a scoffer gets dishonour for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man gets insults for himself. 8 Do not correct a scoffer [who foolishly ridicules and takes no responsibility for his error] or he will hate you; Correct a wise man [who takes responsibility and learns from his error], and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will become even wiser; Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.

If you’d like to hear more about this subject, click on the following link to take you to an in-depth message on this subject entitled PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY—God’s Perspective.

Personal Responsibility – God’s Perspective

 

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True confessions from a journalist as the plain people change history

trump-with-armsIn the aftermath of the unexpected electoral trump of Donald Trump, leftists all around the world are in shock. They were all assured by the mainstream press that Hillary Clinton would become the 45th president of the United States. How could they get it so wrong? Well, I’ve decide to quote at length from a professional journalist who confesses that the pride and arrogance of the elite and the loonie left rendered them blind to the facts. But, of course, that’s not all! Hope you enjoy this refreshingly honest look at what’s really been going on in the newsrooms of our Western media. Be sure to see my conclusion at the very bottom for the real reason why Mr. Trump prevailed last night.

Quotes from Rod DreherSenior editor, The American Conservative at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37924687 accessed Nov. 9, 2016.

During the decade-long debate over same-sex marriage, I often argued with other journalists about our openly slanted coverage of the issue, which amounted to cheerleading for the pro-gay side. Don’t we have a professional obligation to tell the other side of the story? I would ask. Well, came the reply, do you think the media had an obligation to be fair to the Ku Klux Klan during the Civil Rights struggle?

It was just that simple for so many journalists. We pride ourselves on being realists, but in fact media-arrogancewe have a fatal weakness for construing the world as crude morality plays. This left many of us in no position to understand why people might resent the Obama administration ordering public schools to open up locker rooms of the opposite sex to transgender students, or why white people might see the Black Lives Matter movement as a racist and illiberal response to the problem of police brutality.

The people who run newsrooms agonise over diversity. They will go to any length to increase racial, gender, and sexual diversity, but care nothing about viewpoint diversity. In one newsroom where I worked the only religious conservatives besides me were the African-American secretaries. Nobody there thought this was a problem. To the contrary, they believed that religious conservatives, among other undesirable demographic categories, were the problem.

hilarys-basket-of-deplorablesBut yesterday, these undesirables, Trump’s forgotten people, proved to be a majority of the electorate. If they believe that news coverage is – what’s the word? – rigged against people like them, well, they’re more right than wrong.

Will this catastrophic failure of the media cause soul-searching and, dare I say it, repentance? Forget it. To do so would require the press to face up to its worst prejudices, none more deeply held than the belief that its members are on the Right Side of History.

A confession

Yet I have to confess my own fault here. In the summer of 2015, I sat with my elderly, working-class parents at their rural house, watching Trump’s rally in Mobile, Alabama, carried live on Fox News. My folks watched it because they were eager to hear what he had to say. I watched it for laughs. Having worked for five years in the New York media, I was wise to Trump’s ways. It would take a while for the rest of America to catch on, but surely it would.

My folks thought Trump made a lot of sense. “Give it time,” I told them. “He’s going to destroy himself, just watch.”

On Election Night, after voting, I took my mother to dinner (my father died later in 2015). She voted enthusiastically for Trump, and said she thought he would win this thing. I did not cast a presidential vote, because I couldn’t bear either Trump or Hillary Clinton. But look, I told her, Clinton has this election won by a mile.

My mom is a widowed grandmother and former school bus driver who knows nothing about politics. Her son is a conservative pundit who writes about politics and culture for a Washington magazine. And yet – and yet! – the little old lady from the middle of nowhere got it right. For better or for worse, plain people like her just changed the history of the world.

Actually, Rod Dreher’s conclusion is only partly right. Again as I implied a few days ago, the liberals got it wrong because–shock of shock– God is not dead and He can and does intervene in history as it suits Him. He has the final word on any man or woman’s plans, including those of Hillary Clinton and everybody else. This is a bitter lesson for the lefties today.

Proverbs 19:21 (HCSB) Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.

 

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A Day of Decision

 

forkinroadProverbs 19:21 (HCSB) Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.

Last week a private Christian university  won a controversial victory over its enemies who have been trying to force out of the public sphere any institution that upholds Judeo-Christian morality. The Appeal Court of British Columbia, B.C.’s highest court, ruled unanimously, 5-0, in favour of Trinity Western University, describing efforts by the B.C. Law Society and sexual circus activists to deny the accreditation of the Christian university’s new law school as “unreasonable.” 

For years now, the dispute has revolved around the Christian university’s community covenant that bans its students from having sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage. The court held that to rule against Trinity Western would have a severe and negative effect on religious freedom that would far outweigh the minimal effect accreditation of the new law school would have on gay and lesbian rights, saying:

“A society that does not admit and accommodate differences”–in this case religious values that conflict with those of the politically correct sexual circus– “cannot be a free and democratic society: One in which its citizens are free to think, to disagree, to debate and to challenge the accepted view without fear of reprisal,” said the 66-page judgment.

“This case demonstrated that a ‘well-intentioned’ majority acting in the name of tolerance and liberalism can, if unchecked, impose its views on the minority in a manner that is in itself intolerant and illiberal,” (Geordon Omand, “Christian law school wins key legal victory,” Canadian Press, Nov. 2, 2016).

In a written reply, a disappointed B.C. Law Society spokeswoman, Vinnie Yuen, held that the Appeal Court decision added “another dimension” to an already complex issue. 

 “Lawyer and self-described queer activist barbara findlay, who doesn’t use capitals in her name,” was also disappointed by the Appeal Court’s conclusion, and takes issue with how the decision weighs religious liberties against freedom from discrimination. findlay retorted:

“In my view it is not acceptable to exclude gay and lesbian people from the discourse in that university”–a privately funded institution established on Christian principles–”by putting up a barrier of making them sign a discriminatory code” (Ibid).

The decision by any student to attend Trinity Western University is, of course, completely voluntary as is also agreeing to sign and abide by TWU’s community covenant. No one is forced or required to go to this private university. Yet it is certain that the enemies of Judeo-Christian morality will appeal this provincial appeals  court decision and take their arguments to Canada’s Supreme Court because they definitely want to impose their views on any institution or person who stands in the way of their activist agenda. Nevertheless, the inspired Word of God makes the point that while there are many contrary plans made in such people’s hearts, still it is the Lord’s decree that will prevail.

In two days there will be another day of decision. This time in the United States of America. The outcome of the elections on Tuesday will determine whether the pace of America’s degeneration will accelerate or perhaps, be slowed down somewhat. While I’m sure many have made many plans to push the outcome of these elections between Hilary Clinton and Donald valley-of-decisionTrump in the way they want, nevertheless, it will be the Lord’s decree that will prevail. Is destruction nigh or is the evil day to be delayed for mercy’s sake? We’ll soon find out. 

 

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Globalism= Trade Deals = Ceding National Sovereignty

trade with teethThe Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) that Canada has been negotiating with the European Union (EU) is about far more than just products and service.  It’s also about ceding sovereignty, making our mere national laws subordinate to those of the EU’s.

The way it seems to work these day is that when a single nation state like Canada with 36 million inhabitants wants to make a trade deal with the supranational EU power block with 743 million residents,  it comes with strings attached. More and more It seems the EU is pushing its political goals on its wanna-be trading partners. So, when a  deal hinges not, on tariffs or quotas, but rather a sovereign nation’s welfare or immigration policies , what was touted as a trade deal has really morphed into an unequal negotiation over the surrender of that small nation’s sovereignty as the quid pro quo payment demanded to gain access to the much bigger foreign power block’s single market. It’s merely the updated 21st Century version of the ancient practice of a weaker vassal state paying tribute to a stronger domineering Empire. First comes the gold, then comes the forced labour or slaves.

Recently, of course, the British electorate voted to quit the E.U. after being in it for almost 40 years. The British woke up to realize that they were fast losing the sovereign power to control their own destiny. They were having to dance to the tunes called by the faceless E.U.bureaucrats in Brussels. The new British Prime Minister, Theresa May said on October 1 that she is going to introduce a “Great Repeal Bill” intheresa-may the next Queen’s Speech to the British Parliament, which will overturn the act of submission which took the U.K. into the E.U. This bill, a renewed political affirmation of the U.K.’s independence, will remove the European Communities Act from the statute books and end the supremacy of EU law over British law..

 But money being money, in Canada’s CETA negotiations with the EU, our international trade minister, Chrystia Freeland, completely caved to the EU’s demands to surrender bits of our sovereignty. She promised the EU’s Brussels bureaucrats that the Liberal government in Ottawa will change our Canadian labour and environmental standards in order to make them conform to the EU’s standards. Our current Liberal government in Ottawa seems content to walk the path of appeasement, surrendering some of our national independence for the supposed material benefits of a trade deal with the EU.
But changing our business practices to satisfy the EU — for example by compromising our nation’s econombeligerant-cartoony with carbon taxes or a carbon market that the European left demands — will erode our ability to compete with the Americans who  are far more important than the E.U. in our trading volume.  And this might become extremely important to Canada if Donald Trump is elected the U.S.’s president in the upcoming election.

Curiously, the book of Revelation has a terrible end-time prophecy about the rise to prominence of a great economic power, whose core is composed of 10 nations or groups of nations. The bible calls this power block “Babylon the Great.” This revived Babylon’s strategy to dominant the world seems to focus on using trade as the means to suck away the sovereignty of the world’s nations,  and subsequently the freedom of all individuals in those nations. All who want to mystery-babylontrade with it and within its single market must submit to its authority and receive what the Scriptures call a “mark” on their hand or in their forehead in exchange for the opportunity to buy and sell. Might this be an implanted computer chip of some sort to facilitate digital transactions because there’s no longer a cash-based society? This is pure speculation on my part. But such a means of digital control over the world’s population is now possible,although it was unimaginable during the time of the original Babylonian or Roman empires. What a neat proposition “Babylon the Great” seems to make! You follow my rules and grow wealthy and secure. You don’t really prefer the economic uncertainties outside of my wonderful single market do you?  

Read about it and wonder in Revelation chapters 17 & 18.

The EU in its present form is not “Babylon the Great.” This organization has very serious problems and its not even sure it will exist 10 years from now. But will a failed EU morph into a “new and improved” economic powerhouse that will then turn into a global oppressor of all who love freedom? One thing is for sure, the Canadian government is willing to trade our national sovereignty in return for trade access to a major economic power’s market. However, the EU is in a crisis. It cannot continue for long with its current problems. Big changes are in the wind.

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Helpless at Fort Mac

ft mac truck burntThe CBC newscasters say that Fort McMurray, Alberta, looks like a war zone, a place that’s been burnt out and destroyed. Three days ago more than 80,000 people, the city’s entire population–were ordered out by the authorities. A RCMP “SWAT” team has been sent in to make sure the diehard laggards comply. The 25,000 residents who had to initially flee north of Fort Mac are now being herded south in tightly controlled convoys run by the police—no turning off the main evacuation route allowed.ft mac car lines

There is irony in this disaster story. While Canada just finished accepting 25,000 Syrian civil war refugees, we now have better than 3x this number of our own internal refugees.

While it is only a minority of houses and structures in Fort Mac that have burned, key parts of the infrastructure like hydro-electricity powerlines have been destroyed. The true cost of this fierce wildfire at Fort Mac will not be known for some time. Insurance companies are ft mac apartmentsbracing for a potential hit of $9 billion in claims—making this fire the most expensive disaster in Canadian history. Economists are saying they’ve revised down by 1 percent the entire Canadian economy’s GDP to just 0.5 percent for this second quarter due to oil production facility shutdowns, lowering production about 1 million barrels of oil per day. These are huge losses. This is a major hit to the nation.

Why did this happen? Lack of moisture always turns the spindly conifers surrounding Fort Mac into overgrown matchsticks waiting to be struck. And when a fire breaks out and the winds roar ft mac treesthe results always have the potential to be disastrous. Why didn’t the Fort Mac planning department insist on creating a 2 kilometre-wide belt of prairie grasslands around the city to protect it by having an effective firebreak?

The writer of the biblical book of Proverbs notes: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he (Proverbs 29:18 King James Version).

The “law” in this case can certainly include natural law. Some environments, like the conifer forests surrounding Fort Mac, are meant to burn from time to time. A lack of forethought and action got one of Canada’s most important economic hubs into its current problem.

But there’s more to say about why our leaders lack vision. Let’s look at how another Bible version renders Proverbs 29:18:

Where there is no ·word from God [L vision; prophecy], ·people are uncontrolled [T the people perish],
 but those who ·obey what they have been taught [L guard the law] are ·happy [blessed].

During the last few day of March this year my video production company had a contract to cover a conference put on by an Aboriginal group in the northern B.C. city of Prince George. We noticed how bone dry the north was. even though it was so early in Spring that many lakes were still partially frozen. (BTW: There are currently about 50 fires burning in N.E. British Columbia. My province, unfortunately, doesn’t have any firefighters to spare to help out our neighbours in Alberta, so they say.)

The keynote speaker at this conference made a remark about how public schools in Canada used to strengthen the moral character of their students by starting the day with a reading from one of the Psalms of the Bible to give the young people both vision and humility. On the other hand, the speaker remarked, the teachers also had a leather strap to discipline students who stepped beyond the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Sadly, the speaker noted, since our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect in 1982 Canadian young people have been deprived by our politically correct politicians of both this vision and discipline.

ft mac trudeauEveryone is agreed that the fierce wildfires of Fort McMurray will only be contained and then extinguished with rain. Who is it that causes drought or provides rain? You can find this answer in the Bible. Check out in the Old Covenant scriptures 1 Kings chapters 17 & 18. We don’t have to be helpless in the face of wildfires. Instead of egotistically turning our backs on the Bible’s God, maybe we should return to Him in humble prayer and ask for both forgiveness for our increasing sinfulness and, rain! Yet somehow, I don’t think our leaders in Canada could publicly humble themselves before the Bible’s God and actually do this. So I guessft mac fire at night we’re going continue to burn for a while.

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How You, too, Can Avoid All Taxes!

MossackThe media this week has been full of chatter about corporate inversions, the Panama papers, Mossack Fonseca, shell companies, and the mountains of $$$$ and other currency units that the world’s elite has anonymously stashed in some 70 to 92 swarmy tax havens worldwide. We’re talking about maybe $21 to $32 trillion according to the Tax Justice Network, an international research and advocacy organization.

Oh yeah, for years, governments have talked about cracking down on the elite tax cheats. The U.S. government famously requires all “U.S. persons” to report annually all their foreign-based financial accounts and assets and has conducted a high profile shakedown campaign against a variety of large overseas banks that had previously provided their American clientele with banking privacy, i.e. tax avoidance. But while Uncle Sam self-righteously collects $billions in fines from those cheating foreign banks, it overlooks the tax-avoiding shell game run by its own states of Delaware, Nevada, and South Dakota! Talk about hypocrisy.

Most nations’ governments realize that they just can’t keep up with the high-priced and highlysecreting cash creative “financial gunslingers” that the rich and infamous hire in order to keep their money safely beyond the reach of national revenue agents. So the tax man often resorts to making deals in order to collect even a token amount from the wealthy elite. As the CBC journalist Don Pettis noted:

“If you have enough money to move your funds overseas, you have enough money to retain lawyers and accountants and, rather than fight, because of a lack of resources the revenue agency folds like a cheap suit,” said PEI Senator Percy Downe in a CBC interview. Governments need revenue to go on operating. If corporate tax goes abroad and rich people’s taxes go abroad, who is left paying the taxes? Well, you and me, of course.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/inversions-panama-revenue-quandary-1.3521358

It’s painfully easy for governments to collect their taxes from us. We can’t hide our salaries, pensions, property, or the daily goods and services we need in order to live. For the most part, the ordinary citizen is pretty transparent, while the wealthy elite is mostly opaque to the government’s tax man. The core message about ubiquitous taxation in the Beatle’s 1960s song “Taxman” remains contemporary.

Anywise, we already knew that the rich and powerful elite who run this world — these One and Two Percenters who also own the majority of this world’s assets — avoid much of their lawful tax obligation. After all, they’re the aristocracy of this present society, and we’re just the peasants. We are made to pay the bills. This has been the story throughout the history of humanity. Kings and their ruling elite make ordinary “Joes” pay the taxes. Jesus of Nazareth understood this perfectly:

“After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax (a tax equal to two days’ work) came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”  “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offence, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours,” Matthew 17:24-27 (NIV).

Jesus’ point to Peter was that for now, in this world of darkness held captive by the Adversary and his collaborators, we, the people of God, pay taxes and put up with what is unfair. This is not our kingdom. And that’s a good sign because we’re looking for a new world in which righteousness dwells and a never-ending life of peace and prosperity that no amount of the ruling elite’s money could buy. Consider, once again, this updated story about Jesus and taxes:

Ben FranklinThe rich and the powerful of the world’s ruling elite sent some of their agents, along with some of the national government’s tax collectors and informants, to meet with Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favourites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus knew their evil motives [they were looking for grounds to accuse him]. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used to pay your tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, [like a U.S. $100 bill with Ben Franklin’s image on it]  he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”  “Caesar’s,” they replied.“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply amazed them, and they went away. Matthew 22:16-22 (my paraphrase).

There is a spiritual payoff for those who now give God His due. In the coming Kingdom of God they will become the children of God the Father, and brothers and sisters of the King of kings [Christ] and so will be far freer from the exaction of every debt and obligation than even this world’s elite is today from the tax man.

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Was St. Patrick a “good” Catholic?

green beer

Was St. Patrick a good Catholic? Most would say that you might as well say is the Pope Catholic! But often truth is indeed stranger than fiction, or even green beer.

Many of the tales and lore associated with St. Patrick come from Tirechán’s LIfe of Patrick, which was written about 700 A.D., or roughly 250 years after Patrick’s death. Unfortunately Tirechán’s book is not only completely revisionistic but also primarily fictitious. Tirechán’s work mostly reflects the priorities of an 8th century Catholic hierarchy who were at that point desperately trying to claim Patrick’s missionary legacy as their own in their campaign to pressure the remainder of the stubbornly independent Celtic Christian congregations in Ireland who were refusing to “enter into unity with Rome,”

Far from being a part of the Roman hierarchy, Patrick of Ireland ran a self-funded independent ministry. He never answered to Rome’s direction. Patrick was a part of the 5th to 7th century Celtic Christian movement in the British Isles, which followed a decentralized form of church organization. Deliberately maintaining isolation for over 150 years from the Catholic form of Christianity on the continent, the Celtic Christians of Britain and Ireland steadfastly refused to obey the Roman church’s hierarchy either administratively or doctrinally, according to York University professors Michael W. Herren and Shirley Ann Brown in their book Christ in Celtic Christianity.

It’s noteworthy that Patrick’s own grandfather, a married Christian priest, and his father, a married Christian deacon, did not buy into the Catholic Church’s Augustinian theology about original sin and infant baptism. Patrick’s family did not baptise him as a baby, according to Patrick’s own testimony. Rather Patrick’s family followed the theology of Pelagius, Augustine of Hippo’s theological nemesis. Pelagius taught that Adam’s sin at the Garden of Eden did not result in human nature becoming utterly depraved and, consequently, sexual intercouse did not transmit Augustine’s fictitious “original sin.” (This was the origin of the “sex is evil” idea in Catholicism.) Consequently,  baptism, according to Pelagian theology, was only for those with mature minds who could fully appreciate the level of commitment required from one who repents of a sinful lifestyle.

Leslie Hardinge in his book The Celtic Church in Britain notes that unlike the strongly anti-Semitic leprechanattitudes held by the Roman church, the Celtic Christian churches strongly valued their faith’s Hebrew roots. Accordingly, the Celtic Christians held their Pascale (Passover) ceremony of taking the Lord’s Last Supper with the bread and the wine on “the 14th moon” (Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar) rather than following the Roman churches calculations based on the pagan Roman Julian calendar. The Celtic Christians continued to “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” on the 7th day of the week, which the Roman Christians did not.

Hardinge also writes, “Wherever Patrick established a church he was believed to have left a copy of the books of the Law and the Books of the Gospel. The Leber ex Lege Moisi is the only work surviving from Celtic sources which answers to the description “books of the Law.” Each of the four extant manuscripts of this work has an Irish provenance. The earliest has been dated about 800, and had apparently been copied from an earlier manuscript. It commences with the Decalogue and contains selections from the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which are filled with citations from the Old Latin.” (Hardinge, pp 49-50).

Such a practice clearly reveals that Patrick had a strong “Scripturalist” approach to his religious understanding. The Scriptures were his authority. According to Profs. Herren & Brown to be a Scripturalist was typical of the Celtic Christian movement but radically atypical of those who supported the bishops of Rome and their hierarchy.

patrick peopleIt would appear from the evidence that Patrick of Ireland would not have been considered by his early Medieval contemporaries to be a “good” Catholic. Even the foremost Catholic church historian of the British Isles of the early Medieval era, Bede, knew nothing about a “St. Patrick.” In this case, the truth is indeed stranger than fiction or even green beer. Cheers!

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2016: Beginning Badly

cologne fireworksWow! We’re just completing the first full week in 2016 and God help us, if this is merely a harbinger of more of the same to follow.

Let’s see, worldwide financial markets have sold off enough during this past week, due to the extreme volatility taking place in the Chinese markets, that some observers are saying we are now, officially, in a bear—that is declining—market. The Casey Research newsletter says that since Monday the world’s stock markets have lost US$2.5 trillion of their investors’ money! The newsletter quoted George Soros comment about what this first week in 2016 means:cartoon chinese stock

“I would say it amounts to a crisis. When I look at the financial markets there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008.”

Of course, it’s not just the stock markets that have been falling. Commodity prices have also been plunging for a while. According to Stephen Poloz, Canada’s central bank governor:

“Since mid-2014—when oil prices started to free-fall—Poloz said the country has lost more than $50 billion in national income or about $1,500 per Canadian.” Times-Colonist, Victoria, B.C., Jan. 8, 2016.

poloz diceSince Canada is a major commodity producer its currency, the Canadian dollar, has also been under strong downward pressure on currency exchange markets, dropping from parity with the U.S.dollar in 2013 to being worth less the 0.71 U.S. cents today. This is why I’m paying $3 per pound for California broccoli when its on sale. Otherwise, it costs $5 per pound! Of course, the rising price of all food is not just due to unfavourable exchange rates.

I went to my local health food store the other day to replenish my supply of organic soft white wheat, which is great for making pancakes, dumplings, biscuits, or pie crusts. A forty-pound sack cost me CDN$69.00. Back in the 1980s I remember paying maybe $25 per sack for the same wheat. Oh yes, we know there’s inflation. But when I asked the store manager, whom I’ve know for a long time, whether $69 was a good price, or should I wait until a new supply comes in, he said that it’s not just a question of how much, but whether it’s even available in the first place. He said his wholesalers have been shorting him on what they’ll actually deliver on his orders. The wholesale suppliers are informally rationing what they’ll actually deliver to their retail store customers giving them only half of what they’ve ordered or none at all for some items. I purchased the last sack at the store that day. In short, the weather has not be favourable as it was previously and there is not the supply. Climate change?

And what about what’s going on in the Middle East? The United States under the leadershipobama1 of one of its worst presidents ever is continuing to betray its allies and appease its enemies. The Pax Americana that kept the lid on much of this world’s proclivity to violence since the Second World War is obviously breaking down. America’s enemies don’t take much of what Barak Obama says seriously, because they now know he’s just a paper tiger.

And then there’s the massive wave of 1.1 million Islamic migrants last year into Europe, especially Germany, that has unnerved a whole continent. The New Year’s Eve sexual assaults and rapes of women by “Arabic and North African-looking” men in German public places before cologne held handshundreds or even thousands of witnesses have provided some facts to fuel European anti-immigrant sentiment. According to Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

“The fears and prejudices of people have thus been completely fulfilled, and much faster than expected. Those who have been skeptical feel themselves vindicated and those who have said ‘We can do it!’ [quoting Angela Merkel’s pro-immigrant sentiment] feel unnerved.”

And, of course, in France, Islamic terrorism keeps popping up as a North African immigrant shouting “Allah Akbar” tried to attack the guards in front of police station on the one-year anniversary of the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo.

All these problems are out of the control and beyond the influence of the likes of you or me and they merely add more stress to whatever our personal circumstances have already thrown on our shoulders. What is the solution to our stress? How can you and I remain productive and positive in 2016? I’d like to quote from R.T. Brooks about the secret of how to not only cope but thrive in a time like ours.

“The New Testament is clear that a stress-free life is no part of the Christian promise. What is offered is a way of bearing stress—a way that makes the experience creative without its ceasing to be painful. Physical suffering, family tension, and social insecurity were all part of what the disciples were told to expect. But they were also told that in those experiences they would discover the power of God’s Spirit. The yoke is a natural image of stress and strain, and yet, Jesus offers his yoke [of loving God with all your heart and of loving neighbour as oneself] to the heavy laden, saying, ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’”

The solution to this world’s problems are spiritual. Be part of the solution not part of the problem. Let’s all resolve to dig into the Bible to find not only a relief from stress, but also a plan of action for a dangerous time.

Anxiety & Fear: Good, Bad, Both

Be a Stress Survivor

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Santa Klaus, Islamic Jihadis, Western leaders and You? Make the Connection!

San-Bernardino-Terror-Victims“How much more needless blood must be spilled in the Western world before its leadership comes to its senses? When Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, walked into a Christmas party with Syed’s coworkers in San Bernardino, California, they didn’t bring along some egg nog and cookies. No, those joy sucking Grinches took automatic rifles, pistols, and pipe bombs. In cold blood they killed 14, and wounded another 17. They even took along a video camera to record their massacre for the Internet-viewing pleasure of their fellow jihadis.

Speaking to the media, Syed Farook’s father described his son as “very religious… He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.” Farook’s neighbor told a newspaper reporter that over the past two years, Farook exchanged his Western dress for Islamic robes bernardino-nightmare-20151203-001and grew a beard, while his wife pledged her loyalty  to the Islamic State on Facebook, under an assumed name.

But did Farook and his wife commit mass murder in the name of a so-called peaceful religion?

How about the coordinated series of terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13th, the deadliest in France since World War II in terms of the number of civilians slaughtered and wounded? Was this not also done in the name of that so-called peaceful religion? Wasn’t responsibility for this massacre claimed by the Islamic State (IS)… whose self-proclaimed Islamic caliph represents himself as the only true leader of all police scene isis flagMuslims in the world? And weren’t the February mass murder attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris  also done in the name of Islam? And what about the jihadi attacks at Fort Hood, Boston, and Chattanooga?

I’ve heard the Parisian attackers described in the media as native French speakers and Europeans by virtue of the fact that most of the identified, slain attackers were born there. But again, the attackers were all self-identifying Muslims whose ancestors came from Islamic world of the Middle East or North African and whose families had only immigrated into Western Europe during the recent past.

And yet our leaders stand practically shoulder-to-shoulder like a solid phalanx to vigorously obama wimpreassure us in the West that this mass murder of ordinary Americans, French, and others who were merely attending a party, or eating at a restaurant, or drawing cartoons, or buying groceries at a kosher supermarket, or attending a concert or sporting event, is not the result of any of the teachings of this so-called peaceful Islamic religion. Does anyone remember what George Orwell meant by “double-speak”? Shall we discuss what is meant by willful blindness?

trumpFox News’ O’Reilly asked U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, “Is there a Muslim problem in the World?” We all know Trump’s answer and the subsequent politically correct firestorm that is still rattling the media’s cage.

“But in America of December 2015, natural conclusions are considered irresponsible, at best….. Perhaps the shooters in San Bernardino were just mad at their boss. Maybe Farooq suffered from clinical depression or ADD, or PTSD, or something…. But if facts are to be taken seriously, then the fact is that in December 2015, the US is acting with pathological devotion to ideological narratives that bear no relationship to reality. ” Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, “America’s Pathological Denial of Reality,” http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-One-Americas-pathological-denial-of-reality-436278

The apostle Paul when writing about the guilt of this world’s ruling political and cultural elites, said this:

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 Holman Christian Standard Bible 

Paul, of course, composed this statement originally in Greek. The Greek word he used for truth was alétheia (pronounced al-ay’-thi-a). It meant what was “true to reality, true to fact.” The biblical definition of truth is, that which is reality, as opposed to illusion or deceit. There is truth and there are lies. Your leaders are willing to risk your life for an illusion. How about you?

santa cokeDon’t you be caught up in pathological devotion to clever illusions and deceitful ideological narratives that bear no relationship to reality. Around this time of year many people pay lip service to Jesus Christ. Yet the real Jesus of the Bible had no time for either supposedly “harmless illusions” told to children, nor the deliberate, willful lies told to subvert whole nations. Reality, according to Jesus requires a straightforward pursuit of the truth:

So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth [for example, about loving your neighbour, which does not include either murdering him or telling him lies], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin which is both physical and spiritual death].”  John 8:31-32 Amplified Bible

As terrorist attacks increase, we need to understand that we are truly living in dangerous times when our leaders are quite willing to put our lives at risk due to their “pathological devotion to ideological narratives that bear no relationship to reality,” as Caroline Glick says. funeralTherefore, I would encourage you to make sure to put your affairs in order and get your priorities straight. After all, the next moment of consciousness for the people recently killed in San Bernardino and Paris will be before the judgment seat of God. Be prepared, as Jesus would have you be, should evil touch your life or those whom you love.

About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” Luke 13:1-5 New Living Translation

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