ahmadinejad cartoon

The Point of No Return


The phrase “point of no return” sounds ominous. And indeed it is. Among today’s financial analysts there are those speculating about just how much more money the U.S. Federal Reserve can create by digital keystrokes in order to buy the U.S. Treasury Bonds no one else in the world wants to buy before oil exporters of the Middle East and manufactured goods exporters of eastern Asia will refuse to accept U.S. dollars in payment for their stuff.

Truly the governors of the Fed are between a rock and a hard place. With the U.S. Fed’s second round of quantitative easing scheduled to end in three weeks from today, everyone is holding their breath to see what comes next. Will they raise interest rates to attract buyers to T-Bill auctions? Such a raise would push up the value of the dollar and push down commodity prices while probably pushing Main Street’s economy back into a full-blown recession. Or will they launch a third round of quantitative easing, QE3, weakening the value of the dollar (perhaps precipitously if they trigger a panic of lost confidence around the world), hastening the coming demise of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency while at the same time sending the price of stock equities and commodities including oil and gold skyrocketing.

Probably they’re going to end up trying both options “A” (save the dollar) and “B” (save the economy). When “A” works too well they’ll hurriedly switch to “B” when the howls of financial pain rise to a deafening roar and American cities start to burn!

The U.S. economic policymakers are going to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Their wildest dreams right now must be about discovering some magic way to just muddle through this astounding mess.

You ask, just exactly when will the U.S. dollar, the world’s reserve currency, pass the point of no return and become worthless for all practical intents and purposes? What is the tipping point? Well, there are quite a few financial analysts who are far more knowledgeable about the economy than I am who believe that we’ve already gone too far to return to “normalcy.”

Dear reader, you understand the future implications of this, don’t you? Most people stop considering information that makes them feel uncomfortable or insecure or fearful. Our human nature yearns for the deceptively comfortable, the reassuring voice that all’s well, over the disquieting, dissonant voice speaking the plain truth. But you aren’t like most people because you realize that allowing yourself to be willfully blind to what is coming will prove to be far more dangerous to you and your family’s future welfare. After all, being forewarned gives you a chance to be forearmed.

If this situation with the U.S. dollar weren’t enough, Gregory Jones, a U.S. weapons expert affiliated with the Pentagon-connected RAND Corporation think-tank said that Iran is just eight weeks away from producing enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Mr. Jones’ calculations are based on information release last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and are considered credible and were published last week by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Centre. Mr. Jones noted:


It is unclear what actions the U.S. or Israel could take (short of militarily occupying Iran) that could now prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. The reality is that both the U.S. and Israel have failed to prevent Iran from gaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons whenever Iran wishes to do so. It is time to recognize this policy failure and decide what to do next, based on a realistic assessment of Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts (Peter Goodspeed http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/06/07/goodspeed-iran-may-be-two-months-from-bomb-two-new-studies-say/).

So, we are fast approaching another point of no return. News like this doesn’t bode well for a peaceful future in the Middle East or the rest of the world. Remember Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not like the West’s old “honourable” Russian communist foes of the cold war era with whom we could work out a way to avoid mutually assured destruction. Ahmadinejad’s motivation is very different.

As a radical Shiite Muslim with a predilection for apocalyptic Madhi/Islamic Messiah prophecies, Ahmadinejad’s religious beliefs make him positively itch for the day when he can threaten Israel, the U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf area, and also Europe with nuclear annihilation if he doesn’t get his way. He has surrounded Israel on the north by his Hezbollah Lebanese and Syrian proxies and in the south by his Hamas Palestinian proxies and he supports his allies with money and weapons. Finally developing a nuke will just give Ahmadinejad that much more leverage on both his friends and enemies.

Both of these issues that I’ve written about in this blog just won’t go away without having some sort of significant affect on YOUR life at some point in the relatively near future. How are you going to cope when the bad news hits?

Some people are preparing for this future when our present assumptions can no longer be assumed by buying lots of gold, and stockpiling food and firearms. In their fear and anxiety they are only looking at the physical and are neglecting what is far more important. Consider these words of Jesus of Nazareth:


21 Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God. 22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things…. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready (Luke 12 New Living Translation).

Are you ready to meet God? This coming weekend is Pentecost. I’ll be speaking on this subject on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Saving Time on http://cogwebcast.com/ Join us online and be prepared for what’s coming.

cheating

Cheators only cheat themselves


Cheating made the news this week. The fact that it still shocks us (at least somewhat) is an encouraging sign for our society because it indicates that we, the people, still understand that there is something called “right” and “wrong.”

Here in British Columbia two young men recently made the top of the news with a complex, high-tech scheme to cheat a MCAT medical school entrance exam held at the University of Victoria. The cheators used a pinhole camera and a miniaturized radio transmitter/receiver to send the test questions to a remote location at which a couple of unsuspecting University of British Columbia med school students, who thought they were being recruited for a job as a med school tutor, would give the answers. The correct answers were then relayed back to the cheating MCAT test-taker.

Of course, the fact that many students cheat in university or high school is not news. These days most English instructors, habitually, conduct Google key word searches on student-submitted essays to weed out the laziest cheats.

While a cheat who is discovered in high school usually earns only a lecture and a zero grade on the cheated assignment, a university-level cheat can actually have his or her academic career terminated. However, cheating in an educational setting almost never results in criminal charges leading to jail time and/or a fine.

So it made the news when the Province of British Columbia filed criminal charges for committing a fraud over $5,000 against MCAT cheats Housman Rezazadeh-Azarfor and J. Miguel Ruben. After all, a compromised MCAT med school entrance exam can no longer be used. Creating a replacement test costs about $200,000 to $400,000. Obviously cheating is not a crime without a cost. Besides, the very idea of allowing unqualified MCAT cheats to eventually become licensed medical doctors to whom we might in the future turn to for help with some sort of disease or medical emergency still gives most of us the willies, including our police and crown prosecutors.

Yes, the fact that incidents of cheating still have the capacity to arouse public indignation means that there’s still hope for us. And that’s why I continue to write!

At the WorldTomorrow.Ca we seek to shine the light of bibilically-based ethics and morality on what goes on in our society. We seek to persuade or to reaffirm to our readers that in the long run, a happy, productive, and successful life can only be found by actively pursuing and living the truth with integrity.

So, just what is the truth? And what role should the truth play in our lives? Jesus of Nazareth said:


17Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours (John 17:17 Contemporary English Version).

Older Bible translations say that this truth “sanctifies” us or makes us “holy.” These are words most 21st Century people don’t understand. A person who is sanctified or made holy to God is one who is set apart or devoted to God’s service. Believing and living God’s truth are the essential requirements for anyone who desires a never-ending life that will be overflowing with happiness, joy, and peace of mind.

Isn’t this what true success in life is all about? Stuff and status in the present world are meaningless in the big picture of the universe’s reality. There is a great deal of irony in the fact that cheators think cheating and fraudulent behaviour will open to them the doors to life’s real success. Consider this story told by Jesus about a cheat:

1-2Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a powerful CEO who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? You’re fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.’
3-4″The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do? I’ve lost my job as manager. I’m not strong enough for a laboring job, and I’m too proud to beg. . . . Ah, I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’ll do . . . then when I’m turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.’
5″Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his CEO’s agricultural commodities company. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my boss?’
6″He replied, ‘A hundred truckloads of olive oil.’
“The manager said, ‘Here, take your bill, sit down here—quick now— write fifty.’
7″To the next he said, ‘And you, what do you owe?’
“He answered, ‘A hundred train cars of wheat.’
“He said, ‘Take your bill, write in eighty.’
8-9″Now here’s a surprise: The CEO praised the cheat! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials [on God’s priorities], so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on clever cheats.”

10-13Jesus went on to make these comments:

If you’re honest in small things,
you’ll be honest in big things;
If you cheat in small things,
you’ll be a cheat in big things.
If you’re not honest in small jobs,
who will put you in charge of the store?
No worker can serve two bosses:
He’ll either hate the first and love the second
Or adore the first and despise the second.
You can’t serve both God and Selfish Materialism (Luke 16:1-13, mostly The Message translation, italicized portions by me).

Cheating, fraud, deception—sad to say—have become all too commonplace in our “progressive” society of the 21st Century. While our standards of ethical behaviour are truly and progressively degenerating, don’t you get caught up in this slide to self-destruction. Remember, cheats only cheat themselves out of what is the enduring best in life.

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Harold Camping and other Apocalyptic Imposters

As amazing as this lovely sunny Victoria Day weekend may seem, the American radio evangelist, Harold Camping and his followers, who are mostly evangelical Protestants, are adamantly expecting and vociferously announcing to the world that there will be a massive earthquake rolling around the planet through its various time zones on May 21st at about 6 p.m. The earthquake, according to these people, who strongly proclaim themselves to be Bible-believing Christians, will signal their Rapture to heaven as Christ’s true believers, and the beginning of Judgment Day upon the ungodly who are left behind. Or, so they think.

Camping, using a ton of money given to him by his “sheep,” has paid for more than 2,000 billboards, many full-page advertisements in major newspapers, and countless radio programs in order to broadcast and publicize this latest incarnation of an End of the World prediction addiction.

To the liberal media, people like Harold Camping are indeed made in heaven! Mostly secular and cynical, the press has long had a morbid fascination for people like Harold Camping They’re great for the “news” business! Besides, from their perspective, such weirdo prophecy bugs can serve as useful straw-men in the ideological political struggle between left and right over the role of Biblical morality in our society. After all, according to press’ logic, if someone like Harold Camping, who proclaims himself to be such a strong believer in the Bible, actually reveals himself to be a complete moron, then anyone else who believes what the Bible teaches must also be one. Thanks Harold for making their job so easy!

Harold Camping is ignorant of what the Bible teaches. He has loudly and widely misrepresented Scriptural teachings bringing disrepute onto the name of God, Jesus Christ, and the Church. Shame, shame, shame on him! Camping should have bothered to take the time to read Matthew 25:1-13:

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

These are trying times for all believers. People like Harold Camping—who are spouting pride, deception and doctrinal lies—are just making life difficult for both you and for me by bringing Christianity into disrepute. Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to his coworker Timothy about these times:

1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres [unbelievers] opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. 10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived (2 Timothy 3 New Living Translation).

Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by imposters like Harold Camping. Jesus actually warned His disciples about this!

As he [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray (Matthew 24:3-5 English Standard Version).

Most of today’s deceivers are not going about saying that they are the returning Messiah. Rather, they are saying they are Christians, and all that one needs to do is say, “I believe Jesus is the Christ.” This common verbal profession is camouflage or subterfuge. The real test to determine who is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ is not revealed by words but by actions.

The Apostle John explained this validity test in his first general circular letter to the Churches:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6 ESV).

You will be able to eliminate 99.9% of the so-called “Christians” with apocalyptic prediction addiction syndrome if you ask yourself: do they remember to keep holy the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath. Secularly this day is called Saturday and the commandment to keep it holy is stated in the 4th of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12. As the New Covenant’s book of Hebrews points out:

There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping [Greek: sabbatismos] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 Coulter Translation).

When Christ returns as prophecy foretells, He will give “rest” and bring peace to a war torn world, but meanwhile, followers of Christ will be honouring Him weekly by keeping His Sabbath rest. God only grants spiritual discernment and knowledge of future events to those who are willing to obey HIm. So, I dare say, neither the cynical secular press, nor the religious false prophets like Harold Camping— all of whom refuse to obey God’s commandments—are going to be able to clearly understand Scriptural prophecy before the actual Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Replacing brute force with the rule of law


Was the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the Navy SEALs, who were acting under the orders of President Barak Obama, justifiable? Or, as decorated WWII war veteran and sole surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg genocide trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, asks, was it a pre-meditated illegal assassination?

Ferencz, now 92, would like our world to be more humane and secure. His hope for a better future has led him to be a strong supporter of the work being carried out by today’s International Criminal Court. Ferencz wants to see the world’s present political ethos favouring the “rule of force” replaced by “the rule of law.” Consequently, the former Nuremburg prosecutor would have greatly preferred seeing Osama Bin Laden put on trial for mass murder rather than summarily dispatched with a couple of bullets to the head. He notes:

Nuremberg taught me that creating a world of tolerance and compassion would be a long and arduous task. And I also learned that if we did not devote ourselves to developing effective world law, the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust possible might one day destroy the entire human race. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/es/article.php?ModuleId=10007155

However, Michael Newton, a Vanderbilt University professor, argued in a CBC interview broadcast on May 12, 2011, that the killing of Bin Laden was both appropriate and justified under the International law and the customs of armed conflict, i.e. the Geneva Convention, etc. These laws of warfare hold that a party to an armed conflict can’t summarily execute prisoners of war in custody, but may kill opposing participants to the conflict in battle.

Despite their differing opinions on the best way to have dealt with the al-Qaida terrorist mastermind, neither Ferencz nor Newton have any doubt about Bin Laden having the blood of innocents on his hands.

Osama Bin Laden kept a personal journal in which he contemplated how to kill as many Americans as possible, including possible terrorist attacks against Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., according to U.S. officials…. The official described the private journal as full of planning ideas and outlines of potential operations, aspirational guidance on how to kill the maximum number of people, rather than specific proposals or plots. Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett, Times Colonist, May 12, 2011.

Frankly, I don’t know what safeguards and legal procedures the United States security/intelligence/special ops services have to follow before they can authorize a “hit” of a major target. But from what I understand, Israel’s Mossad actually holds a clandestine trial to weigh the evidence before members of its legal department to determine guilt and sentence of specific high profile enemies. Only then, will a kill order be authorized. If I’m wrong about this, I’m willing to be corrected by someone who knows. But when it comes to hauling a 21st Century Terrorist Shadow War combatant into court to face a standard criminal trial like some garden variety of murderer, well, this war isn’t being fought on conventional battlefields by soldiers in uniform. And even in the Second World War there were plenty of spies and traitors who were quietly but fatally put to rest in dark places.

Nevertheless, the biggest problem with the Ferencz’s idea of replacing the “rule of force with the rule of law” is that there is no consensus, for instance, between the Muslim world and the Western world as to whose law should be supreme and authoritative.

For Osama Bin Laden and millions upon millions of similar-minded people only Islam’s Sharia law can be authoritative and morally righteous. For such people Western secular law is a joke with only immoral brute force to back it up. The fact is, the Islamic world looks at some of our “politically correct” social policies enshrined by our more recently enacted legislation and both the radical jihadis and the average religiously conservative Muslim can only feel disgust for such laws and the societies that pass them.

The liberal Western secular democracies and decent people like Benjamin Ferencz are going to have an ever more costly fight on their hands if they try to force the Islamic world to embrace what are seen as decadent Western legal codes as the authoritative worldwide standard of behaviour.

So who does have the right to authoritatively define what is right or wrong? Surprisingly, the ancient prophet Isaiah addressed the liberal Western secular democracies and the Islamic world about this very issue.

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil,
 that dark is light and light is dark, 
that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. 
What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes 
and think themselves so clever.
 What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine
 and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
They take bribes to let the wicked go free,
 and they punish the innocent. Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble 
and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot 
and their flowers wither.
 For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 5:20-24 NLT).

If we want to have a more peaceful and secure world, then we are going to have to return to the source of the true gold standard of justice as defined by the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Justice, one true justice for all humans and nations will eventually come to administered throughout the whole earth in the World Tomorrow. It will come neither through the International Criminal Court at the Hague, nor by Islam’s Sharia, nor by the brute force of the liberal Western secular democracies! But come it will by divine providence!

In the future, the mountain with the LORD’s temple
will be the highest of all. It will reach above the hills;
every nation will rush to it. Many people will come and say,
“Let’s go to the mountain of the LORD God of Jacob and worship in his temple.”
The LORD will teach us his Law from Jerusalem, and we will obey him.
He will settle arguments between nations. They will pound their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never make war
or attack one another (Isaiah 2:2-4 Contemporary English Version).

Picture this… the Second Coming of Osama Bin Laden

In a CBS News interview yesterday, U.S. President Barak Obama rejected releasing grisly death pictures of the al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, saying,

“We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies… The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don’t need to spike the football” (referring to the iconic athletic enthusiasm exhibited by American footballers when they score touchdown points).

Yes, Bin Laden was indeed worthy of the death penalty as he led the terrorist organization responsible for the massacre of many thousands of innocent people. As the Judeo-Christian scriptures explicitly teach in the Law:

However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death (Exodus 21:13 New Living Translation).

A few bullets to the head administered by a Navy SEAL, however, is just the beginning of the justice process for Osama Bin Laden.

In this, President Barak Obama, a self-professing Christian, seems to be ignorant. While acknowledging in the CBS interview that some people will indeed deny the certainty of Bin Laden’s execution without the release of convincing pictures, Obama asserted:

There is no doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is no doubt among al-Qaida members that he is dead…There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see Bin Laden walking on the Earth again (Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News, May 5, 2011).

Well, the real fact of the matter is, and this will be news to President Obama and perhaps many readers, Osama Bin Laden will yet again walk on the Earth! Yes, you read that correctly. There will be a “Second Coming” of this killer. And I’m not just talking metaphorically as when some other murderous Muslim fanatic commits similar crimes under the inspiration of Osama Bin Laden’s example.

How can I make such an assertion? Well, the fact of the matter is, as explained in multiple places in the Holy Scriptures, such a “Second Coming” is precisely what is going to happen to Osama Bin Laden. Notice this biblical prophecy foretelling what shall take place in the End Time:

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people [He is one of God’s archangels]. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-2 English Standard Version).

Even the New Covenant’s Apostle Paul asserted that bad men like Bin Laden will come to life again and walk on the Earth:

…there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust (Acts 25:15 ESV).

Why would God bother to bring back the bad guys? Well, God has a plan for every mortal human being including you, and me:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 King James Version).

Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God, taught there is indeed coming a time of reckoning for all who have ever lived, including wicked men like Osama Bin Laden and all his al-Qaida crew of cutthroats:

Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and they shall come out–those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence] (John 5:28-29 Amplified Version).

The fact of the matter is, the real judgment day is still to come when Bin Laden will stand in the docket to fully answer for his behaviour. I’m looking forward to having a courtroom seat to witness such an event. But in the meantime I’m making it my business to be among those whom God will call righteous rather than unrighteous. How about you?

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What’s your life worth?

This morning on the one-year anniversary of the world’s worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was listing to a CBC Radio 1 interview with Kenneth Fineberg, who is also known as the “pay czar” for British Petroleum’s US$20 billion compensation fund for those hurt by that environmental disaster. Fineberg, a legal specialist in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, was previously the Special Master of the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund a decade ago and wrote a book about his experience called “What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11.”

So, how does Mr. Fineberg place a value on a human life? Well, it’s all fairly cut and dried being mostly numbers and statistics: A) Determine how much the person was making at the time of his or her death B) Estimate how many more years could that person reasonably have been expected to continue earning such money. C) Multiply A x B + something for “pain and suffering,” and voilà, you get a sum printed off on a compensation cheque.

Of course, the party or parties who suffered the loss of their loved one can always sue and try to make the case for a higher figure. But you’re going to have to convince the judge and the jury, dollar-wise. For most people, the high legal costs for such a run through the “justice” system makes accepting the pay czar’s formula fixing the life-value of their loved one the only rational choice—even if the final figure seems low and cold.

So, have you ever stopped to figure out what YOUR life is worth? Or, maybe even, what is all human life on this entire planet worth? To most people the logical answer would have to be: “utterly priceless” or “more than the total sum of all the money and things of value in the world.” I mean, how else could you figure such enormous present and potential value?

Actually, someone once working in a capacity like a “pay czar” did put a value on all humanity’s redemptive value in monetary terms. The amount was equal to what it would cost to hire the average, full-time workingman for 120 days. In 2007 U.S. dollars this would be $22,560 in Canada or about $31,680 in the United States or $26,688 in Germany or only $16,992 in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. That was the value of 30 pieces of silver in A.D. 30.

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me” (Matthew 27:1-10 New King James Version).

The value of Jesus’ life to his Father was priceless. But for the lawyers and compensation specialists of 2,000 years ago, 30 pieces of silver was enough. So, what is YOUR life worth?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

So don’t place a low value on your life. You are worth more than any lawyer or accountant could imagine. As the Apostle Peter said,

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19-19 NKJV).

If you would like to hear more about your worth to God and the value of human life check out my messages “Preparing for the Passover” and “Spirit of Service” posted on http://cogwebcast.com/

wellwood moffat

Evil deserves Justice


How do we, as a society, effectively respond to evil? This week the B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston sentenced Kruse Hendrik Wellwood, 17, and Cameron Alexander Moffat, 18, to life in prison with no possibility for parole for 10 years. They were convicted by a large amount of grisly evidence and by the testimony of their own mouths.

What was the crime Wellwood and Moffat committed? Judge Johnston said,
“It goes without saying first-degree murder with intent to kill is the most serious of offences. The circumstances of this murder as admitted by the young persons are so horrific that no words can adequately convey the inhumane cruelty these young men show Miss [Kimberly] Proctor. They planned in advance to sexually assault and kill Miss Proctor. They chose her because they thought she would be an easy target, not necessarily because either of them had any ill will towards her.”

After sentencing, outside the courtroom, Fred Proctor, the father of Kimberly Proctor, said of Wellwood and Moffat, “To me they’re just monsters and monsters are not rehabilitatable.” Mr. Proctor disputed the appropriateness of the judge’s sentence arguing that the murderers deserved the death penalty for their actions.

Wellwood and Moffat lured Kimberly Proctor to Wellwood’s home in a Victoria, B.C., suburb where they bound and gagged her, raped her, beat her to the point of breaking bones, strangled her, mutilated her body with a knife, performed necrophilia, put her body in the freezer and then dumped her body in a lonely public park, setting fire to the remains in an effort to destroy any evidence. Victoria’s Times-Colonist, April 5, 2011, reported:

“Psychiatric and psychological reports on the teens—who were 16 and 17 at the time of the murder—show they are at a high risk to re-offend violently and sexually. The reports also show there is little chance they can be rehabilitated.”

These two young men admitted deriving an overwhelming adrenalin rush from inflicting pain, suffering, and death on another human being. They exhibited a complete lack of conscience, empathy, and heart. Doing evil gave them pleasure. In fact, their blood lust was driving them to repeat their monstrous offense. When police finally caught up with them, the sadistic teen murderers had already identified their next victim.

So, ten years from now, should Wellwood and Moffat get their parole and be released at ages 27 and 28, respectively, would you like them living next to you? Talking to your daughter or granddaughter? That’s what our present legal system is planning. Is this justice? Or is this a perversion, a mockery of genuine justice?

What is the just thing to do with our “Wormwood and Malediction?” Well, if our society had not turned its back on the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures we would know exactly what to do with these monsters. We would know which laws should to be enacted and enforced to effectively produce a society of increasing peacefulness rather than the one Kimberly Proctor found herself living in.

But, of course, these days our mainstream media, as a general rule, mocks the Creator God and ignores His teachings. Our media’s gatekeepers shutout and marginalize as eccentrics and troglodites those social conservatives who would point us back to humanity’s original instruction book as the source for understanding the nature of justice and its administration.

But instead we see a secular society that is increasingly clueless about how to effectively “weed and feed” the ordinary garden variety type of human dandelions much less how to actually cut off by the roots the noxious giant hogweed sort of evil among us. Consequently what we see is a society where the value of human life is on sale and getting cheaper by the day as we degenerate.

You and I are stuck with a practically unaffordable big government legal system that spawns systemic injustices of all sorts leading inevitably to crowded, revolving door Club Feds from which people like Wormwood and Malediction walk out scot free after a few years of being fed, housed, and supervised at great public expense.

How long will this go on? I would guess until we learn our lessons.

The first lesson is that any society that cuts itself off from its Creator eventually becomes corrupt, filled with violence, brutal, and cruel, engendering many  individuals who lack natural human affection (cf. Genesis 6:11 & 2 Timothy 3:1-4).

The second lesson is that the “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7 New Living Translation).

Now when it comes to properly rewarding murderers, the Creator has something to say to those charged with administering justice:

And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image (Genesis 9:5-6 NLT).

As a society, we have a God-given responsibility to administer justice to cold-blooded murderers by executing them. This is the instruction of the Creator God who made man and woman in His image and breathed into them the breath of life. The consequences to our society for its failure to atone for the shedding of innocent blood by executing convicted murderers is to bring some measure of blood guilt upon our entire community (cf. Deuteronomy 19:13 and 21:8-9). As a direct result of our lack of motivation to see justice done as prescribed by the God of Justice, it will not go well with our communities. As it was written so long ago,

Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you (Deuteronomy 16:20 English Standard Version).

scott walker

Looking out for Wisconsin’s and Nanaimo’s best interest

On Friday, April 1, 2011, the Wisconsin state governor Scott Walker signed into law an immensely controversial bill passed by that state’s legislature the previous evening despite death threats, intimidation, and large demonstrations by organized labour supporters. The new law effectively puts this Midwestern state’s public-sector unions on a diet of low-fat cheese at a time when many American states and municipalities are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The consequences of such defaults on state and municipal financial obligations would be profound.

The Wisconsin Republican governor, arguing that he was elected in order to make the tough decisions needed by the times, successfully pushed this change in the law. Walker consistently said that both the state and its local governments needed it in order for them to balance their budgets. Without it, large numbers of public employees would have to be laid off, and/or taxes would be increased.

The new Wisconsin law effectively reduces the power of some public-sector labour unions. It limits future public employee pay raises to the inflation rate, requires public-sector unions to hold annual certification votes, and no longer allows those unions to collect their union dues directly from their member’s pay cheques. The revised law also requires public employees to make greater contributions to their pension and medical plans.

For decades now, public-sector labour unions have been the fastest growing part of the organized labour movement in North America. These unions have secured for their members high wages and pension benefits that are often far more generous than those accessible to the average joe in the private sector.

When the North American economy was significantly growing in girth by leaps and bounds such generosity to its public employees seemed affordable. But since the economic shock of 2008 and the accompanying severe decline in tax receipts, it has become inevitable that an obese public sector would have to start dieting for the long-term good of their communities.

While the Wisconsin legislators were bravely running the gauntlet of protesting, high-fat demanding, cheese-heads in their quest to skim the state’s milk, I was sitting in a non-descript Nanaimo high school meeting room listening to our local school district’s parent advisory council discuss the cuts that will have to be made in the district’s budget.

In Nanaimo, we don’t even have low-fat dairy creamer for DPAC representatives’ tea or coffee—just that phony white plastic-fat powder. Should we recommend that the school district charge parents for the privilege of allowing their kids to take the school buses? Maybe we should advocate charging teachers for their parking spaces in the school lots? Cuts to programs? Close schools? Two weeks for spring vacation instead of one? Even if we suggested selecting all of the above that still wouldn’t find us the necessary 3 to 4 million dollars in cuts our school district will need to make in 2011-2012 to balance our schools’ budget.

The problem is that of our $120 million annual school budget 93% is wages—most of which is negotiated by the Province of British Columbia with its educational public-sector unions and is untouchable. That leaves roughly 7% or $8.4 million to fund the district’s educational programs and to buy stuff like texts books for all students.

I pointed out at our DPAC meeting that, if our priority goal was really to educate young people, then budget cuts should come from the 93% of the budget going to public-sector employees rather than from the 7% needed to provide students with quality programming. Yet, most likely, the $3-4 million in cuts will come from this remaining 7% of the budget used for our students because this cut will cause the least amount of controversy among the arguing interested groups. But this means a devastating potential reduction of 35 to 47% in our ability, in dollar terms, to create effective and relevant educational programs for our young people!

But I’m sure when the open public meetings start on this problem next week in Nanaimo that we will have as many hard feelings and heated arguments expressed as have the people in Wisconsin.

It would seem that in our contemporary wrangling over public budget shortfalls that we could all use a reminder from the Apostle Paul about how we should approach working out what’s really in the best interest for our communities as a whole:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 New American Standard Bible).

dai ichi plant

When the Land of the Rising Sun coveted the Sun’s power

They’re called the Fukushima Fifty. This is a relatively small group of lower to mid-level managers, technicians, firemen, and electrical workers who are struggling to stop a nuclear disaster at the earthquake and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant. The Fukushima Fifty were left holding the bag for the political and economic elites who made the decision in the first place to use nuclear power to generate electricity.

However, the designation “Fukushima Fifty” is actually something of a misnomer. In reality there are about 200 men divided into four shifts of 50 who are actually engaged in the round-the-clock struggle to restore human control over four of the six damaged nuclear reactors as well as to re-establish safe storage for a vast quantity of spent reactor cores that are stored at the power plant.

Reliable information is sketchy. But already some of the original Fukushima Fifty, maybe five, have died. Another dozen or so have sustained injuries and have been replaced. Those still desperately trying to fix the Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant realize, however, that they are merely dead men walking due to the enormous quantities of radiation that their bodies are receiving. But in their quiet Japanese stoicism, the Fukushima Fifty carry on. Their duty is clear. Spare their nation and the rest of the world from the worst of the possible consequences of our collective human misjudgement, or die trying.

The self-sacrificing courage of the Fukushima Fifty is worthy of praise. These are brave men. They are heroes. Yet, the ability of some humans to muster great courage in the face of terrible danger is not the issue.

What lead us to believe in the first place: “We can control the Sun’s power of nuclear reaction. We can become rich from the energy that comes by splitting the building blocks of the universe! Indeed, aren’t we Homo sapiens, wise men? If we can think it, we can most certainly do it!” The real issue of our time is our human pride. Far too many of us think we can take to ourselves the prerogatives of God without reaping the awful, horrendous consequences that come from such arrogance.

Still, for some time now people in a variety of nations have argued against the wisdom of employing nuclear energy to fuel our economic growth and comfortable lifestyles. But these voices of caution have been largely ignored and a massive new construction program for greatly enlarging nuclear power generation is being planned in many nations.

Yet for the Land of the Rising Sun in particular, their embrace of nuclear energy to generate massive quantities of electricity was always a bargain with the Devil. They should have known better. After all, they had first experienced the pointy edge of the Sun’s nuclear power at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. And haven’t the Japanese always known that their homeland composed of islands on the Pacific Rim is a veritable supermarket of natural disasters?

Nevertheless, the Japanese like the Americans, Canadians, Brits, Russians, French, Germans, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, and all the rest have thought they could safely control this power of the Sun.

Humanity has long been disposed to thinking that we can be our own gods and decide for ourselves what is good or evil rather than accept divine revelation as our guide to morality as well as to economics.

“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…. And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it [guard it, i.e. protect it from despoliation or contamination so that it would continue to be life-supporting]. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden. But you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it in dying you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-17).

From the time of our earliest ancestors we have resisted the instructions given to us by the Creator God of the Universe. The land surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant probably cannot be safely inhabited for 10,000 years after the nuclear meltdown of 1986. While the human death count from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster varies widely according to different analyses (4,000 to 200,000 cancer deaths), the question remains how can the use of nuclear power be reconciled with the divine command to “dress and keep ” our life-sustaining earthly garden of Eden?

And what will be the toll in Japan? How much of Japan will become uninhabitable due to the contamination of nuclear radiation? How many people will die of cancers? The price for presumptuously taking to ourselves the prerogatives of God will be increasingly costly not only in Japan, but throughout the world.

Japanese tsunami hits

Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown—what’s next?


Japanese tsunami hits

Destroying everything in its path


Massive earthquake, monster tsunami, nuclear disaster! I was listening on the CBC Radio One to an interview with the Japanese ambassador to Canada. He said his country could be likened to a supermarket for disasters.

The posted online videos of these Japanese disasters are astounding. One such video taken by someone who had fled for safety to the high ground behind his village, captured the event and its emotion. There, setting up his video camera on a tripod, the videographer captured the onslaught of the tsunami as it relentlessly swallowed up his village below. The Japanese tend to be a reserved, stoic people. But even they were moved by the horror unfolding before their very eyes. The camera’s microphone captured their gasps and cries of astonishment and pain from the group of survivors, watching everything below them that they cherished being destroyed by the tsunami’s irresistible power. Their sense of loss must have been incalculable.

We, post-moderns, tend to take a lot for granted. We think tomorrow will be just like today—only better! As such, we tend to be a very self-confident, self-assured bunch. So when such a disaster befalls people who drive cars like we do, who dress like we dress, who enjoyed a prosperous Western life like we enjoy, somewhere in the backs of our minds we feel uneasy. We feel a bit unsettled. Maybe we even sense our own lack permanence or stability when faced with death and destruction on such a massive scale.

What should be our perspective on the uncertain, temporary nature of life on a planet made up of shifting tectonic plates? The Bible would encourage us to seriously reflect on the big picture—the true picture—about just what is important in life.

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16 New Living Translation).

The values being pushed by our mass media are almost entirely focused on acquiring physical stuff and physical pleasure. However, the present disaster in Japan ought to give you and me some pause to reflect on one of Jesus’ most important teachings directed at this generation:

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God” (Luke 12:21 NLT).