Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HOPE: The story of eternal life

By Kurt Koppetsch, Publisher
Shepherd News Trust, Inc.

A world without hope is hell on Earth and the future is contentious and grim.

Hope is divine medicine against insidious stress, as human stress is an acute spiritual problem. Hope laughs at stress, and stress flees the scene. God is laughing with us, for hope is of God, and so is laughter.

Young people need hope to spiritually mature in faith for quality of life--predicated by spiritual wholeness, health, food, shelter and freedom from stress. Hope also is a necessary spiritual diet for inner peace. Hope and peace are means of grace for making life spiritually whole. The spiritual application of hope is prayer and listening to the Word of God, as God is telling us over and over again, saying, "I love you!" It is my hope that this message of hope will inspire every reader to see how God may be working in our lives in the modern Era of Faith.

I believe that we are spiritual in character but secular by makeup. God created us whole beings for the purpose of serving him and people. God supports us in every task that brings glory to his name as we help family, friend and neighbor improve their quality of life; our service to God and people are relationships. I further believe that respect, trust and hope define the commonality of human beings.

I experienced trustworthy hope when my family and I were refugees at the end of World War II in 1945 and running for our lives. God showered us with hope when we were facing death in the ravages of war. I further experienced his gift of hope as a cancer survivor--God stood by me during my prostate surgery and two subsequent skin cancer operations. I know for certain that he continues to bless me with hope in every hardship.

I am writing this blog about the story of eternal life to encourage young people to nurture hope and the spiritual connection as their blessings from God, as hope is a continuing process of change for improving quality of life. These changes are From/to transformations, from chaos to harmony and from stress to inner peace. God saved me and now I pray for like blessings of inner peace for all people, especially for our young people who must battle life's tough choices. I experienced the God of grace and hope as true love, may they experience the same.

And he continues to bless me with his presence in my trials, as he did when I was a young boy on September 1, 1935--my fourth birthday--the infamous day that started World War II. And I now encourage all young people who face fear, stress, terror and uncertainties because of the conflicts in today's consuming world to learn all about hope. My testimony to the Word of God about hope in disaster and tragedy for a new beginning in the ERA OF FAITH is Gospel truth.

Spiritual Hope

Spiritual hope is an ongoing process of happenings and the wonders are always new. I learned that trustworthy hope is the soul's reward in the spiritual connection with God; therefore, sharing our life with him is indeed an exciting experience. Once a hope is fulfilled, God keeps reminding us over and over again, saying, "I love you." Consequently, new avenues of hope open up and wait to be explored. We rely on his promise and together we look forward to the spiritual wonders of the good and beautiful. Simply put, trustworthy hope--spiritual hope--makes us children of God.

Hope, indeed, brings out the child in us in all manner of adverse conditions. God lets our imagination run wild and vision and dreams are abundant. God is telling us that we can be what we want to be. Visions and dreams are his ways to enliven future prospects with the eyes of our soul; and hope is always there to make sure that these dreams and visions come true.

Whereas hopelessness is a muddy path of ruin, trustworthy hope is God's way for spiritual wholeness and abundant life.

Furthermore, trustworthy hope facilitates spiritual solutions to the world's physical ills. God leads us to his rainbow bridge of grace, and he invites us to go across into the future for a glimpse of Heaven. God walks with us and together we watch worldly troubles vanish. We now have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for friend and neighbor.

Biblical stories inspire us with faith to be bold in the hope that God provides. In every instance, he is speaking and assuring us "I love you" and things happen. Stories in conventional literature do not have similar inspirational value.

Secular Hope

Equally important but less dramatic is secular hope; but there are problems. We find legions of experts--academic, ecclesiastical, political, independent thinkers, unbelievers, doubters and skeptics--who are promoting mountains of theories about hope. Unfortunately, the majority of these proposals on secular hope are unfounded; they are full of controversy, small talk and empty promises. Such environment is not conducive for relief to innocent victims of terminating circumstances who desperately long for help from the burden of oppressive stress, anxiety, pain and even death. In their desperation, despairing souls will call for legislated remedies to social ills; but legislators, politicians and greedy leaders in the community are not always there to lend a helping hand or, very often, they get mired in political bickering and partisan politics. This makes secular hope the crisis in modern life.

Compounding the issue further are selfish passions, the outcomes of which are keyed to aspirations in search of human greatness. Individuals aspire for themselves the benefits of respect, recognition, honor and success. But such egocentric wishes are boorish endeavors whose sole objective is success at any cost. Individuals possessed by greed and lust for power will ultimately resort to extremes in behavior to have their dreams come true; for example, Cain killed Abel. The negative side of secular hope continues to be widespread: Politicians, economic and financial opportunists will manipulate the world's resources and use falsehood, cheap rhetoric and wicked party politics to seize control without considerations to solving social problems for the common good.

My challenge to activists of secular hope is to restore what has been squandered and lost and start building a new hopeful environment for future generations using integrity, ethics and justice.

Future glory

Future glory is the eternal life of souls as life in union with God in Heaven. We have lived the spiritual hope on Earth, and now we are prepared to cross the rainbow bridge of grace where God will welcome home his faithful pilgrims after their pilgrimage on Earth of 70 years, more or less. We have labored in faith and our Father in Heaven welcomes us home with open arms according to divine promise. But the laborers of secular hope are destined to wait at God's judgment seat for their final destination. When all is said and done, eternal life is peace. Saints will live the joy of God's glory where timeless relationships are praises of thanksgiving to God for letting us share his life. God has won the victory for the saints who are in Heaven; but those still remaining in the world must continue the struggles and strive to make it a better place for future generations.

Copyright (C) 2010 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust, Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I.D. CRISIS--Series 10 of 20--Government

Author: Kurt Koppetsch, Publisher, Shepherd News Trust

PURPOSE:
This blog is designed to examine the performance of Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judiciary in light of the Constitution of the United States. The "government by the people for the people" is charged to serve the present and future generations in a just and compassionate manner. Furthermore, government shares with all Americans the monumental task of defending freedom and justice as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States of America. Additionally, the leitmotiv in this blog is the spiritual connection as a timeless relationship of trust with the living God.

GOAL:
The goal of the Shepherd Blog is to help people secure quality of life as prefaced by truth, justice, peace, health, shelter, economic independence and by resolving human stress as the acute spiritual problem that overwhelms people and nations.

BACKGROUND:
The book I.D. Crisis by Kurt Koppetsch deals with the spiritual, intellectual, and social conflict in modern times. Confusion about the past and uncertainties in the present prevent us from knowing our true nature. As a direct consequence of such confusion, visions of the future are clouded. Some of the diversions that prevent us from realizing our true identity as children of God are philosophies, politics, economics and falsehood such as religious cults. The solution is remembering that human beings are dependent creatures of God.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
Each series of the book I.D. Crisis will conclude with the poem "Rays of Hope and Freedom" to assure readers that God cares about our lives and we are his children of hope. Hope is the From/to process at work in the modern Era of Faith repairing life and circumstance. Hope is making the impossible come true.

GOVERNMENT

1. The role of Government

"And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to entrap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, 'Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?' But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, 'Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it.' And they brought one. And he said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' They said to him, 'Caesar's.' Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' " (Mark 12:13-17)

And Jesus plainly told Pilate: "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world .... For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." (John 18:36,37)

Government is an institution of the world. It exists by authority of the people it represents. Its function is to preside over the affairs of society so that order is maintained through a system of law and justice. Government further administers the responsibility of the people and provides for public welfare for those in need.

The laws that government rules by are commonly derived by from experience of problem situations. These are mostly written to correct the shortcomings in social behavior. The intent of these laws is to project a better life for the future.

Laws are designed to give all people in a democratic society equal opportunity in the sharing of rights and obligations. Whereas the world depends on physical strength to make its system work, God's Commandments override human wisdom (Exodus 19-24).

For example, God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt has prompted Covenant and Law. Because of people's failure to live by God's standards, God intervened again. And the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are now part of humanity's history. Through them we also now have the model of the godly life before us. And the teaching about how believers are restored for sharing life with each other in God's presence (Romans 5:1-11) is God's message in the Gospel.

Through this knowledge of divine expectations and similar appreciation of civil laws, people within a given society can then adjust their behavior. An orderly people conforms to accepted norms and standards.

Enlightened government envisions a better way of life through the laws that it dictates. Its laws establish rules for relationships. They appropriate resources wisely. And they look protectively after the people, environment, and material blessings.

On the other hand, a bad government reacts to the matters at hand irrationally. Its laws reflect panic and confusion. In the following chaos, the most severe laws are selected as the instrument to rule people in tyranny. Confusion and chaos are the breeding grounds for conversions from democracy to autocracy.

A beneficent government knows how to maintain order through its laws by enforcing them justly. It recognizes the value of justice as a mechanism for controlling human behavior. Any enlightened society then becomes a dynamic force that establishes its own sphere of influence so that other societies will want to follow its model. When this happens, its status increases and the security of its people is strengthened.

The ideal rule by government has yet to be demonstrated in the world. Daily struggles toward this goal make up the crucial difference between "should" and what is. Even the most advanced democratic state--where citizens enjoy freedom of expression and find appreciation for excellence--look at utopia as a far-out concept.

Nevertheless, good government should strive to provide order through justice according to laws that are an agglomeration of the best available knowledge. These must be considerate and protective of the future. Good laws should incorporate all experiences of human behavior to prevent undesirable repercussions.

The complement of good laws and good government is necessary for the future and growth of any society This comes about when laws are evolutionary. Stability and progress provide the foundation for closing the gap between what is ideal and current fact--progress transforms the "should" in government action to the reality of daily life.

Built into the laws, and standing behind the enforcing government, is the authority of the people. Government and law are inseparable. One is the other's disciplined complement. Both should be established for the sole purpose of serving the people. The definite function of government is to maintain order by providing justly for all people.

2. Public Trust and Definition of Purpose

Law, order, and justice are the prime functions of any government.

A government's strength rests in the pertinence of the laws to the problems at hand. As the responsible authority to provide order through justice, government must stay dynamic by virtue of evolution in its systems of laws.

But as society progresses to new norms of behavior and updates its laws, government must act to protect the fundamental rights that are basic to ensuring human dignity. Because these are God-given rights, any government that recognizes the authority of God as the fundamental responsibility of its people is ruling according to wisdom and will be blessed with power.

Inasmuch as people have the responsibility to submit themselves totally to the authority of God, government has no right to dictate to its people anything that will affect, or can influence, spiritual performance or eternal destiny. The Kingdom of God and human organizations in the world are two separate entities. They are not only separate, but they are diametrically opposed to each other. The spirit indeed has superiority over the flesh. And the immortal prevails over the mortal.

Law, order, and justice, as incorporated in government, are to the world what the grace of God is to the Kingdom of heaven. As an institution of the world, government is the instrument of people. The people are responsible for government. And the government is accountable to the people, for it has received their authority as a matter of public trust.

Because government is a dominant force in contemporary life, it will benefit everyone to study its role and our involvement in it. We soon will discover that common to both people and nations is self-preservation. Modern man is not exempt from basic animal instincts. And neither has humanity suffered throughout the ages from a shortage of greed and lust for power.

In writing to the Church at Rome, Saint Paul gives a cursory review of a Christian's duties toward state authorities (Romans 13).

Paul speaks about personal behavior in any orderly society. He deliberately avoids fixing a burden of proof--with regard to responsibility and accountability--on those who govern. Saint Paul points to the performance of people.

Paul discusses a Christian's involvement in government in terms of the consequences of good and evil behavior. But our compliance to his warning that we must "show respect and honor" toward those who govern suddenly shifts responsibility and accountability from a believer's role to a servant's status.

Saint Paul writes: "Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment, for rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore, one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience." (Romans 13:2-5)

Honor and respect extended by God's chosen people according to divine decree has suddenly turned into the "double-edged sword" over those in authority. What is freely given must be responsibly administered.

God complied with the wishes of Israel for a king (1 Samuel 8:22). Does this mean that God did not care any more? Far from it. God tolerates coexistence of good and bad people. But at the end of time all people must stand before God in judgment. Christ's parable about the Kingdom of Heaven exemplifies this point (Matthew 13:47-50)

Saul was an expert in the ways of the world. He knew what pleased people. For the sake of popularity, he sacrificed spiritual integrity and the authority of God's prophet (1 Samuel 13:7b-14). Saul's roller coaster performance met God's judgment as he and his sons died on Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:1-6).

By the example of Saul, we are again shown that God's interest is not embodied in the charisma of people, but in faithfulness and obedience to his will and purpose: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

The strength of any nation is the wisdom of its people. Governments are not made by wishful thinking or meaningless rhetoric. Never-ending promises seldom see the light of day.

People must learn to protect themselves from political theatrics and not become gullible to such trickery. We have been blessed with the truth about God through the Holy Spirit living in us for the purpose of doing the will of God. How, then, can we be faithful and obedient to God when we allow ourselves to be swayed by human nature? We must control human nature and not make it our master. For this very reason we have received newness of life in the Spirit to properly use the power of God.

The power of God is made available to us by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Christ said that the Holy Spirit "will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:14) The authority that we yield at the ballot box to elect our government is a definite part of this God-given power.

Our responsibility, then, definitely is to God. We are in no way accountable to man for something we have received from God. The right definition of authority in government then is authority by the people. When all realize this obligation, then government works on behalf of the people, doing exactly what they dictate.

3. Our Burden of Responsibility

Whenever people neglect their God-given responsibility, they similarly abdicate their authority to govern themselves. This change can take place through action or inaction at the ballot box, and the function of government can become changed from service to rule.

Our responsibility in the election process is just one part of our overall obligation as children of God. There are many lessons in the Bible to show how Israel's survival depended on loyalty to God, while disloyalty always led to disaster. The stories of Judges show the disaster that came when God's people turned away from him.

Let us review the instructions to the Israelites concerning the type of life God expected them to lead in the Promised Land: "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither you go, lest it become a snare in the midst of you. You shall tear down their altars, and break their pillars, and cut down their Ashe'rim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they play the harlot after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and one invites you, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their god and make your sons play the harlot after their gods." (Exodus 34:12-16)

But the people did not take their burden of responsibility seriously, and the beginning of disaster shows Israel's indictment. The angel of the LORD went from Gilgal to Bochim and said to the Israelites: "I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you into the land which I swore to give to your fathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.' But you have not obeyed my command." (Judges 2:1-2)

National disaster came upon the Israelites when they stopped worshipping God after the death of Joshua and began to serve local pagan gods. "So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them; and he sold them into the power of their enemies round about, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies." (Judges 2:14)

And the continuous story shows that Israel forgot God again and again. But in the same accounts we also read how the Israelites cried out to God and on every occasion "he sent a man who freed them." The writing in Judges gives valiant account about Othniel, Ehud, Deborah and Barak, and some more popular heroes like Gideon and Samson.

But the book of Judges also contains the dedicated efforts of eleven tribes and their fight against evil. The nation rightfully assumed the sexual abuse and murder of the Levite's wife as a national problem when they set out to rid the land of this evil and purified the faith. Commitment to God overshadowed their sorrow of having totally destroyed the tribe of Benjamin--save for 600 men--and it guided them in making provision so that the Benjaminites would not become extinct (Judges 19-21).

Today's Christians also know of their responsibility to God because of Christ's teaching, but we have an additional obligation to society because our freedom is based on a system of law which all people must uphold and support in order to benefit from this freedom.

The point that must be raised is whether individuals in a free society of God-fearing people have the right to abdicate their responsibility and give away their authority. As God-fearing people, do we have a right to deprive government leadership of best available talent and elect as leaders people who have many shortcomings? Let there not be any doubt, the burden and the responsibility is ours.

We have looked at the method by which government operates as a matter of public trust. Its nature is definitely a reflection of the character of its people. If the government looks sick, then the people surely require healing.

But we are too quick to explain our shortcoming by claiming that we were misled by false promises. Thus, we help set our own trap and then complain when we fall into it. Because we live in the world, we are wise to the world. Surely, we are familiar with the old tricks of stealing from Peter to pay Paul. But this is exactly the essence behind smooth-talking rhetoric that contains promises without any substance. It is our duty, therefore, to clamp down on any irresponsible actions, those in word as well as those in deed. But we don't. We overlook them, simply because by chance we may benefit by them.

Freedom degenerates as people wrongly think that they can afford it because they enjoy prosperity. But was we allow this to happen, government will claim credit for accomplishments, while at the same time flexing its muscle to show the world that it is in full charge. It alone has the authority and the power to rule. And the people will face very convincing arguments that a particular government should continue because it has all the necessary expertise in dealing with the wealth and the power of its people.

It is during these times of false prosperity that the nation will sink to its lowest level because power becomes abused. The consequence is that the poor in the land lose all support. The prosperous do not care, as long as they are taken care of. They do not suffer, although they wish some of the burdens to be lighter. Additionally, there is then no concern for future generations. Selfishness only strives to satisfy immediate demands.

Let us now clear up one of the greatest misconceptions since free society has been ruling itself. This is the notion that government is power and wealth. This is absolutely not true.

Government does not create power and wealth. If anything, it dilutes it.

Power and wealth are the resources of people. But because government is very arrogant, it wants to claim credit during times of prosperity. It readily reacts to praise. And it even more quickly responds when it comes to denying any responsibility for bad times. So we see politicians reacting whenever the floodlights are on problems.

Especially is this the case when these problems were created by the very acts of government and for which those in ruling authority should stand up as being responsible. It is easier to take credit than to accept blame. And the ruling body that once pretended to be so powerful now manufactures whimsical excuses as explanations why certain things happen the way they do.

Government is strong by virtue of the strength of the nation. But the strength of government is not at all a reason for its existence. Power and strength are only useful when wisdom to use them rightfully is present. It is a true saying that wisdom is power and knows how to handle it--but power without wisdom can bring about oppression and tyranny.

The public trust as the authority that people give their elected representatives should be a matter of wisdom and should not be acquired on the basis of cheap rhetoric and empty promises. The authority that rules under the umbrella of wisdom rules also in humility. Wisdom and humility should be partners! Only when they are does representative government provide service that is beneficial to its people.

There is nothing magical about this. This is exactly the objective for electing the government in the first place: To serve its people!

It must not be otherwise. Election to public office is an honor to serve all people justly in the confidence of humility, thus not taking anything for granted in return. Election to public office is an honor that costs dearly. It carries the burden to serve wisely, for the decisions of government have far-reaching consequences into the future.

The government must protect all its people. Through its system of laws it provides order as it justly administers the behavior of people. But a government's responsibility does not extend outside its own society.

Neither does government have any authority to regulate, by law or suggestion, the important relationship of God and man. Government rules in the world. But God, as the Creator of heaven and earth, is ruler of all. All matter concerning the spirit come under the authority given to Christ. Our resurrected Lord clearly assumed all responsibility on behalf of believers: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18) was Christ's confirmation to instill hope in apostles and disciples. And Christ substantiated the words of hope with the promise to guide our lives: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:20)


RAYS OF HOPE AND FREEDOM

My life was in chaos.
Darkness clouded my senses.
My heart trembled in fear.

I prayed to God:
"Father, help me!"
And God transformed my life.

The world is still the same.
But I am now secure.
Christ is my Savior!

His love fills my heart,
His faith is my faith.
Rays of hope now light up my soul.

Rays of hope and freedom
Show me the way to God,
And where Christ lives I too will live.

Copyright (C) 2009 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust. All rights reserved.

(Excerpts from the books I.D. Crisis and Era of Faith by Kurt Koppetsch, published by Shepherd News Trust, Inc.--www.shepherdnewstrust.com




Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I.D. CRISIS--Series 9 of 20--God's Prophet Elijah and his challenge

Author: Kurt Koppetsch, Publisher, Shepherd News Trust

PURPOSE:
The purpose of this blog is shedding light, i.e. truth, on contemporary religious views.

The goal of the Shepherd Blog is to help people secure quality of life--as prefaced by truth, justice, peace, health, shelter, and economic independence--by resolving human stress as an acute spiritual problem that overwhelms people and nations.

BACKGROUND:
The book I.D. Crisis by Kurt Koppetsch deals with the spiritual, intellectual, and social conflict in modern times. Confusion about the past and uncertainties in the present prevent us from knowing our true nature. As a direct consequence of such confusion, visions of the future are clouded. Some of the diversions that prevent us from realizing our true identity as children of God are philosophies, politics, economics, and falsehood such as religious cults. The solution is remembering that human beings are dependent creatures of God.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
Each series of the book I.D. Crisis will conclude with the poem "Rays of Hope and Freedom" to assure readers that God cares about our lives and we are his children of hope. Hope is the From/to process at work in the modern Era of Faith repairing life and circumstance. Hope is making the impossible come true.

Topic for April 21 through April 28: GOD'S PROPHET ELIJAH AND HIS CHALLENGE

If our desire to overcome the current identity crisis is at all sincere, spiritual reawakening must become the order of the day. Good intentions alone never accomplish anything.

Newness of life and restored fellowship with God are based on God's righteousness. It is, therefore, important to thoroughly comprehend Old Testament writings.

Biblical stories are a distinct part of our Christian heritage. But Old Testament literature must be read and understood in terms of Cross and Gospel. The revealed meaning of these writings completes the total presentation of the truth about God.

We must recognize God's sacrifice on the Cross as the fulfillment of Law and Prophets. Christ's teaching confirmed this eternal truth. And through God's action on the Cross, we can now experience salvation by grace through faith.

This gift has its firm foundation established on the righteousness of God. Its reality in daily life is demonstrated through an intimate working relationship with the living God. Christianity details this opportunity from God for spiritually enslaved people to become free again through a life of union with Christ. Christ says, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32)

However, as a free people of God, we can choose the quality of our life. We have the option, for example, to seek or reject God's purpose for our life. We also have the freedom to receive God's blessing in Biblical literature as a matter of faith. Or, we can study the Word of God judicially from a strictly intellectual point of view, where critical scholarship is like an investigative tool.

Each approach has its own merits. But only when we commit ourselves to learn the truth about God with a dedication that demands faith will we benefit from God's blessing when reading the Bible.

The function of theology is to help faith appreciate what God through Christ has done.

God has demonstrated divine power in action for billions of years. Specifically we are forced to admit perfection in the movement of the planet Earth within the constellation of the heavenly bodies for over four-and-one-half billion years. New discoveries of scientifically documented facts serve as additional evidence that even the smallest particle is pertinent to the perfect motion of the universe.

With this knowledge, we have no choice but to suddenly feel humbled. Humility compels us to acknowledge our privileged status as redeemed people of God. We are blessed to know, worship, and serve the Almighty God of Creation, who, in His wisdom, also saw to it that every part of the human body is functional and unique.

Let there be no doubt, the eternal power of God is truly visible in the exactness that sustains the performance of the universe as well as in the perfection of grace that provides care for human beings on earth. The supplement of grace to the miraculous space-time continuum is beyond all descriptive language, even the words of Babylonian mythology. It requires faith to experience God in personal life and see God in all that exists. We must yield to eternal truth.

There is no theology in existence that can fathom God's eternal power. Nor are there adequate words in any language to fully describe the divine will that Christians know and witness to as the grace of God in Cross and Gospel.

Thus, full appreciation and revealed understanding of eternal truth and universal salvation is a matter of faith. All meaningful relationships with the living God are a matter of faith and dedication.

So we find that within this context of a faith relationship--though in the setting of the legalistic covenant--the prophet Elijah confronted Israelites in the Northern Kingdom: "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." (1Kings 18:21)

Let us explore some of the background leading up to this encounter. About 1,200 years before Elijah's challenge, the covenant of faith and promise with Abraham was the means by which God had chosen to make Himself known. God's offer to relate to people on earth was consummated when Abraham "believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6) Abraham had responded to God's expectation by giving up his old identity. Because of it, he subsequently found perfection through his new relationship to God. Abraham lived in God's presence.

As time went on divine promise was fulfilled some 400 years later when on Mount Sinai God declared a covenant with Abraham's progeny.

A nation was born!

All the reasons for everlasting celebration were contained in God's covenant that crowned Israel's miraculous rescue from bondage and slavery in Egypt. Though the conditions for sharing God's blessings were clearly defined, pride and outright rejection immediately separated God and people. The evil in human nature surfaced on so many occasions that God punished the evil generation of the newly formed nation by denying them the blessing of the promised land.

The historian of Deuteronomy framed the rocky start of Judaism in the words of God's unforgettable challenge. In it blessing and curse are equated to life and death: "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days...." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Life on earth is a matter of priorities. This message was explicitly given in Deuteronomy and again vociferously proclaimed by Elijah on Mount Carmel: "If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)

The ultimate question as to "how long will you go limping with two different opinions?" (1 Kings 18:21) culminated the three years of drought that Elijah had previously predicted. Starvation, physical as well as spiritual, produced the agony that set the stage for exposing apostasy in Northern Israel.

The prearranged marriage between King Ahab and the Tyrian princess Jezebel was but a minor detail in the long events of rampant faithlessness in Northern Israel. The marriage only served to magnify the ongoing problem of rebellion against God.

Through heinous manipulation of power, Jezebel returned idol worship, specifically the worship of the Phoenician fertility god Baal, to the land that God had previously destined for the Israelites because of the very fact that its earlier inhabitants had lavished in idol worship. Jezebel's vicious threats intimidated the residents of the urban centers. She had succeeded in imposing her version of Baal worship. Hindrances were solved by a very efficient process--which, unfortunately, has carried over into modern times in the form of character assassination. Jezebel was determined to destroy the Israelites' orthodox view of dependence on God. Death was the ultimate enforcer of her ambition.

But during the heat of conflict, God stood by His prophet. God answered Elijah's prayer for mercy on the people and the LORD sent fire down in approval of Elijah's sacrifice offering. The event on Mount Carmel was not intended to teach people conversion through fear, although this was precisely the result: "And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, 'The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God' " (1 Kings 18:39)

God's eternal lesson through this incident on Mount Carmel was to expose the futility of idol worship. The language used by Elijah to lead on the prophets of Baal excels satire and comedy, especially because of its Biblical setting: "At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, 'Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing, or he has gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.' " (1 Kings 18:27)

Now about 800 years later, roughly 2,000 years from the present time, the Elijah of Christianity was pointing to the Master we all must serve. John the Baptist opened the prelude to the Gospel. And Jesus Christ preached the Good News from God: "I have come in order that you might have life--life in all its fullness." (John 10:10)TEV

Christians have reason to bask in the promise of the resurrected Christ: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:20)

RAYS OF HOPE AND FREEDOM

My life was in chaos.
Darkness clouded my senses.
My heart trembled in fear.

I prayed to God:
"Father, help me!"
And God transformed my life.

The world is still the same.
But I am now secure.
Christ is my Savior!

His love fills my heart,
His faith is my faith.
Rays of hope now light up my soul.

Rays of hope and freedom
Show me the way to God,
And where Christ lives I too will live.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust. All rights reserved.

(Excerpt from the books I.D. Crisis and Era of Faith by Kurt Koppetsch, published by Shepherd News Trust, Inc.--www.shepherdnewstrust.com)

This blog will be the primary text from April 21 through April 28, 2010.

Starting on April 29, 2010: Government

Monday, March 15, 2010

THE SERENE EXPANSE--A faith relationship special

Author: Kurt Koppetsch, Publisher, Shepherd News Trust

PURPOSE:
The purpose of this special Shepherd Blog is to help people appreciate the Serene Expanse as a gift from God for securing quality of life--as prefaced by truth, justice, peace, health, shelter, and economic independence--by resolving human stress as an acute spiritual problem that overwhelms people and nations.

This Shepherd Blog special will run from March 15, 2010, to April 19, 2010



The Serene Expanse

Everybody owns a Serene Expanse,
It is our gift from God for peace and tranquility.
Peace and tranquility are important as life itself,
They are essential for a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
The serene expanse serves as a refuge for spiritual renewal,
Against the stress and pressures of an uncertain world,
God is overly generous with gifts of the Serene Expanse.

Every person needs shelter for sorting out issues and facts,
Nature caters to human needs in all faith relationships.
Nature is a mighty fortress for reflective meditations--
Truly, nature is a reliable friend.
All people are offered this haven of security,
It is our birthplace of oneness with God.
The Serene Expanse is a birthright!

God is with us at the Serene Expanse,
And creation, evolution, creed, and enlightenment unfurl before us.
Centuries of human wisdom and controversy melt before our eyes,
As we come to realize that strength is in diversity and tolerance.
The Serene Expanse is more than an experience in time.
This earthly replica of a perfect form in Heaven
Is truly inspirational.

The Serene Expanse
Is grace in action,
For God meets his pilgrims face to face.
He inspires the faithful with faith,
And we appreciate spiritual freedom.
We thank God for the Serene Expanse,
Where the beauty of nature is ours and we are his.


Copyright (C) 2003 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust. All rights reserved.
(Excerpt from the book Era of Faith by Kurt Koppetsch, published by Shepherd News Trust, Inc.--www.shepherdnewstrust.com)

This special Shepherd Blog will run from March 15, 2010 to April 19, 2010

Starting on April 19, 2010, return to I.D. CRISIS, Series 9 of 20--God's Prophet Elijah and His Challenge.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I.D. CRISIS--Series 8 of 20--The Bible

Author: Kurt Koppetsch, Publisher, Shepherd News Trust

PURPOSE:
The purpose of this blog is shedding light, i.e. truth, on the contemporary view of the Bible.

The goal of the Shepherd Blog is to help people secure quality of life--as prefaced by truth, justice, peace, health, shelter, and economic independence--by resolving human stress as the acute spiritual problem that overwhelm people and nations.

BACKGROUND:
The book I.D. Crisis by Kurt Koppetsch deals with the spiritual, intellectual, and social conflict in modern times. Confusion about the past and uncertainties in the present prevent us from knowing our true nature. As a direct consequence of such confusion, visions of the future are clouded. Some of the diversions that prevent us from realizing our true identity as children of God are philosophies, politics, economics, and falsehood such as religious cults. The solution is remembering that human beings are dependent creatures of God.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
Each series of the book I.D. Crisis will conclude with the poem "Rays of Hope and Freedom" to assure readers that God cares about our lives and we are his children of hope. Hope is the From/to process at work in the modern Era of Faith repairing life and circumstance. Hope is making the impossible come true.

Topic for March 3 through March 14: THE BIBLE


Preface and contemporary assessment

The Bible in the Era of Faith is the story of relationships according to God's plan for human life. The mission is to fill spiritual needs by means of the connection with God. The goal is to experience the presence of God in all that we do.

Once spiritual needs are met, the physical needs will also be met. God is out in the world. Christ says: "Come and see!" (John 1:39) He wants us to see God in him. And God wants us to experience the spiritual connection as the permanent bond with the Creator of all that is and in whom we have our true being. The Era of Faith is God's gift of hope for a new beginning to make our life spiritually complete.

To know God as our Father in Heaven is to love, honor, and respect him on Earth with the same intensity and commitment that Jesus Christ demonstrated during his earthly life. Jesus gave the world a foretaste of spiritual things to come when he told the Samaritan woman: "God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) Within this context of spirituality, the Holy Spirit widens our horizons for the purpose of seeing God, whom we now love, honor, and respect.

God is providing ample time for reflection and study of all the aspects of our relationship with him. We search his will. We examine the purpose of our creation. And we plan our behavior around the purpose of our creation: As children of God we are his voice and his hands in the world. God initiates this process of learning about him by setting the stage for a new beginning. The Era of Faith is the new beginning. It is absolute reality in which God supports our lives with his presence. This new beginning is his permanent gift by the power of the Holy Spirit for all generations to come. We all have now the opportunity to see God. This was precisely what Job experienced about 3,500 years ago when God came to him personally. An awestruck Job experienced eternal truth as the presence of the all-powerful Creator: "I heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee." (Job 42:5) God was speaking with Job face to face.

This demonstrates that God calls each of us in person. He personally invites us to represent him and be "the salt of the Earth" and his "light of the world." Our light therefore must "so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Faithful believers heed his call and summarily yield to the authority of God and submit to his guidance. God subsequently empowers the faithful by the power of the Holy Spirit with faith, hope, and love. Together we then build fortresses of truth from which the light of God in Christ shines piercingly bright and penetrates even the farthest corners in the world of doubt and disbelief. The Era of Faith is God's way of helping us to make the world a better place. God invites us to work with him to take back what is his own by witnessing to the world that the transformation of life from imperfection to perfection is by grace in faith! The Word of God defines the perfect life as the spiritual life in union with God.

The Bible

The Bible details the pilgrimage of mankind as a life of choice between two opposing realities. As such, it demonstrates the ongoing conflict between the cosmic power of light and darkness.

As people of God living in the world, Christians are part of the continuous battles between good and evil. We are exposed to suffering and pain as we struggle to overcome the conflict within our lives.

Accordingly, Biblical literature serves to remind people that life in all its relationships--with God and with other people--is precious to God. Our behavior is important to spiritual survival.

The control of emotions and physical aggressiveness is so crucial to personal well-being that God is specifically reminding people through Biblical literature about imminent judgment. Individuals will be held accountable for all actions on earth. Our failure to honor the sanctity of human life will influence the outcome of Christ's judgment and determine spiritual destiny. Life in all its relationships is sacred to God.

Jesus Christ has demonstrated the model of the godly life for us. Believers will become disciples when they follow Christ's example of faithfulness and obedience to God the Father.

What will often appear like a seemingly confusing future of chaos and despair are nothing more than misleading impressions to discourage the uncommitted. Satan works to destroy the hope of those with little faith by keeping from them the penetrating rays of God's glory at the end of the tunnel of darkness. Discouragements are very effective tools of evil.

God has distinctly provided direction by means of the Bible's inspirational message. Its timeless truth is a matter of revelation through the Holy Spirit. But to make use of comfort and help from God requires that we accept God offer of guidance. We must keep our lives in harmony with God's objectives.

Under the guiding support of God's Holy Spirit, faithful believers may draw on God's never-ending power for finishing Christ's work in the world. This life-sustaining blessing is recorded in the Bible as Christ's promise.

The Bible shows that the will of God on earth is accomplished through people. Thus, the relationship between God and people demands that believers become fruitful in their work on behalf of God's Kingdom, for the mission of human life on earth is to bring glory to God.

Christ's prophetic declaration identifies Christians as the visible means of God's glory--we are "like light for the whole world."

Hence restored fellowship with God is a divine gift that is unique to Christianity. Through it Christians contribute to the Kingdom of God on earth. We are taught that restored fellowship is established for the purpose of sustaining a faithful witness. God's saving presence strengthens believers so that the will and purpose of God in creation can be properly fulfilled.

The Bible tells about relationships. It talks about rebellion, rejection, greed, anger, and hate. But the Bible also tells us about love, precisely the love of God for sinful people: "For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the LORD, your redeemer." (Isaiah 54:7-8) The Bible makes the hope which grows out of repentance meaningful and real.

Repentant sinners can count on this assurance, because God's grace is based on divine righteousness alone and made available as a gift in fulfillment of God's promise: "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10)

God has reached out to sinful people solely on the basis of grace. But this divine offer for salvation requires that believers have faith in Christ as God's anointed Savior. This faith in Christ is made real and visible when contrite hearts urgently want to learn the will of God and then follow up all good intentions with commitment and dedication.

Biblical literature shows that the love of God has constantly reached out to people, independent of the many shortcoming of human nature. Repentant sinners can now share salvation through God's promise in Cross and Gospel, God's promise takes care of even the worst of sinners.

Consequently, the writer of the Gospel according to Saint John describes the love of God as the force that alone can propel the human spirit into eternity: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

And Christianity, as the one form of universal salvation, teaches that eternal life is ordained by God as spiritual union with Christ and communion with God through Christ. For in God's Kingdom, Christ commands the rightful place as the authority of beginning and end: " 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelations 1:8)

Contrary to popular notions, the Bible is not a book of magic for making people religious. Nor is the Bible a weapon of doctrine or traditions for controlling human behavior to make people conform to ecclesiastical policy.

If anything, the revealed message of Christ's teaching declares war, figuratively and in reality, on legions of people who are complacent with sinful traditions. Christ's prelude to the Gospel is a call for repentance: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)

Speaking by the authority of the Holy Spirit, Saint Peter set forth Cross and Gospel as the one eternal truth and the one universal salvation: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified ... And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 2:36, 4:12)

Long before Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross, God's call for repentance and spiritual renewal went out through the prophet Habakkuk. But the summons to a life of faith also contained God's message of hope: "Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)

This very same life-giving truth of the Word of God was picked up by Saint Paul. Christ's dedicated servant to Jews and Gentiles alike heralded God's eternal plan of salvation by grace through faith as the power of the Gospel: "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'He who through faith is righteous shall live.' " (Romans 1:17)

The Bible focuses on how people manipulate their spiritual similarity with God for personal gain. It exposes the sin caused by humanity's failure to use the power of God for establishing and advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. It declares the proper uses of God's power, the way God intended it to be used when divine power was made available as the great blessing for all human creation.

Christ told the Samaritan woman that "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) Renewed emphasis is directed toward spiritual oneness with God in preparation of a new type of covenant relationship between God and people. The center and cornerstone of this relationship is Jesus Christ. Its worldly manifestation is Cross and Gospel.

Through God's act of redemption in Jesus Christ, the Bible has suddenly changed from a lexicon of law to the encyclopedia of faith. In it we find information for spiritual growth. The lesson on truth starts with Abram, who "believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

Throughout the Bible's inspirational teaching, faith is presented within a covenant relationship of trust, justice, and love. Love is given priority as a mutual and reciprocal commitment of faithfulness between God and people. "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6)

This type of love is the direct result of true repentance, as God demanded through the prophet Amos: "Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." (Amos 5:23-24)

As the literature of faith, the many "context stories" in the Bible require objective examination. Cultural background and living conditions are always unique to specific environments in time and place. What may have been readily obvious to people in Biblical times may be totally unknown in the present age.

Thus, proper comprehension of the Bible's content requires thorough study with a dedication that is typical of critical scholarship. But the prime factor in learning the truth about God is faith.

The necessary commitment for Bible study is different from any of the commitments that people must make in the world, if they want to succeed in what they are doing. Though the logistics may be similar, the concern for the Kingdom of God is above everything else we may think of in the world. The effort spent in sorting and weighing of the many variables in Biblical literature--of which time, place, and method of presentation are but a few--is then part of the investment for discipleship.

When under the guidance of the Holy Spirit grace and faith combine, then the Word of God as a divine message in the Bible becomes active and alive in the believer's heart. The written word, indeed, is human, but its inspirational message is divine.

As we look at the humanity of Biblical literature, we find, first of all, that the written word revolves around oral tradition for long periods of time. Secondly, composition and authorship is a matter of scholarly debate.

For example, The Torah, or Pentateuch, is judged by many scholars to be the work of three, possibly four, literary traditions. The oldest of the documents may have originated about 1,000 years before Christ. Newer writings in the Hebrew canon may have been compiled around the fifth century B.C.

Yet independent of authorship and composition, Old Testament literature is credited as the single most important factor in the survival of Judaism. And its contribution to Christianity, and the quality of Western life per se, must be acknowledged in praises and thanksgiving to Almighty God.

Thus, all readers of Biblical literature should recognize that of ultimate importance to human life is God's inspirational message through revelation by the Holy Spirit. Revelation alone makes the Word of God become active and alive in people. The written word--whether executed by hand as in ancient times or mass-produced by printing machines--is but a vehicle, by means of which the Holy Spirit makes known to faithful believers the truth about God.

Eternal truth and universal salvation as the essence of Christianity is God's message in Biblical literature. The written word continues to preserve hope for all generations, because God's love for people is the eternal truth of Cross and Gospel.

Biblical literature is a blessing from God to strengthen and purify the faith, and the means by which the Holy Spirit inspires people. Its narrative must not be misused.

For example, the Bible is not a weapon to enforce doctrine or a tool to manipulate behavior in people for getting a certain response. The Bible does not relate to goal-oriented psychology and its many schemes and mechanisms to control people by playing on their emotions.

The truth about God is not enhanced even by the most noble of human intentions. Dedication to God must have Christ as its foundation. Our faithfulness and obedience alone will prove the pertinence of Biblical literature in the affairs of daily life.

The world's best effort is not good enough when we mix worldly ambitions with eternal truth, however sincere our intentions may be in creating dogmas, developing theological precepts, or even employing creative energies to speculate about the future. All human manipulation of the truth about God is evil, for the pertinence of Biblical literature in the affairs of daily life is a matter of revelation by the Holy Spirit.

God has always made his will known for any specific needs at hand. So let us live in faith and put the future in God's hands. The relationship between God and people requires faith, dedication, trust, but most of all love--love for God and people around us.

RAYS OF HOPE AND FREEDOM

My life was in chaos.
Darkness clouded my senses.
My heart trembled in fear.

I prayed to God:
"Father, help me!"
And God transformed my life.

The world is still the same.
But I am now secure.
Christ is my Savior!

His love fills my heart,
His faith is my faith.
Rays of hope now light up my soul.

Rays of hope and freedom
Show me the way to God,
And where Christ lives I too will live.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust. All rights reserved.
(Excerpt from the books I.D. Crisis and Era of Faith by Kurt Koppetsch, published by Shepherd News Trust, Inc.--www.shepherdnewstrust.com)
This blog will run from March 3 through March 14, 2010.
Starting on March 15, 2010: God's Prophet Elijah and his challenge


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I.D.CRISIS--Series 7 of 20--The Economy

Author: Kurt Koppetsch, Publisher, Shepherd News Trust
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PURPOSE:
The purpose of this blog is shedding light, i.e. truth, on the current economic dilemma and fixing it.

The goal of the Shepherd Blog is to help people secure quality of life--as prefaced by truth, justice, peace, health, shelter, and economic independence--by resolving the 2 major social concerns that overwhelm people and nations: (1) The economy and (2) human stress as the acute spiritual problem.

BACKGROUND:
The book I.D. Crisis by Kurt Koppetsch deals with the spiritual, intellectual, and social conflict in modern times. Confusion about the past and uncertainties in the present prevent us from knowing our true nature. As a direct consequence of such confusion, visions of the future are clouded. Some of the diversions that prevent us from realizing our true identity as children of God are philosophies, politics, economics, and falsehood such as religious cults. The solution is remembering that human beings are dependent creatures of God.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
Each series of the book I.D. Crisis will conclude with the poem "Rays of Hope and Freedom" to assure readers that God cares about our lives and we are his children of hope. Hope is the From/to process at work in the modern Era of Faith repairing life and circumstance. Hope is making the impossible come true.

Topic for the entire month of January 2010: THE ECONOMY


Preface

The economy is an integral part of God's domain. And economics is God's way of managing it. The spiritual treatment of the economy and economics, therefore, is essential for a clearer understanding about our involvement and is also critically important for the survival of humanity as spiritual beings in the image of God. The leitmotiv in this writing about the economy and economics is the spiritual connection.

There are six sections: (a) Preface, (b) The spiritual perspective on the economy and economics, (c) Modern economics, (d) Global economics, (e) The human side of economics, and (f) The spiritual renewal of America for economic independence and freedom from stress.

The Spiritual perspective on the economy and economics details the spiritual connection. It sheds light on our responsibility as God's faithful stewards of his resources on Earth.

In Modern Economics we look at the important three Ws central to all critical reviews: What, where, and when. What does the past tell us? Where do we stand in the present? When will we act to improve the human condition in the future?

In Global economics we take a critical look at this relatively new phenomenon. We will review economic justice in the context of helping underdeveloped countries secure their independence through economic freedom.

In The human side of economics we examine how the spiritual connection bears on modern economics in terms of the needs of the Kingdom of God on Earth. We will also review some of the major shortcomings in modern economics. We will focus on America. We will examine how political lobbyists influence the action of government and the creation of laws. We will further expose economic abuse by opportunists, manipulators, and self-styled "paper barons" who exploit the public trust for personal gain.

In The spiritual renewal of America for economic independence and freedom from stress we see a concerned public rising up to regain control of jobs in manufacturing. This action "by the people for the people" asks for God's help to recover what has been squandered and lost.


The spiritual perspective on the economy and economics

The economy and economics is not a free-for-all the way greedy people in the secular world would like to have it. The economy and economics are of God, and God is in control. God has definite expectations of people. He expects top performance according to his will and purpose. Indeed, there are obligations in economics, similar to other obligations that we experience in our relationship with God.

Economics is stewardship of God's wealth to a predestined end. God provides the means, and he defines the outcome. The means is the economy, and the predestined end is quality of life. Our performance, therefore, will determine our destinies. Ultimately we will be asked to give full account of our use of time, talents, and resources.

As citizens of the world we have the obligation to use God's wealth in ways that agree with his purpose for our creation. If we want to realize our hope of eternal life in the presence of God in Heaven, we must comply with God's way on Earth. Our independence on Earth is contingent upon the quality of our spiritual connection with God in Heaven. We are his children in the world to do our father's bidding.

Our father in Heaven is a loving God. And God trusts us to be faithful in managing his wealth on Earth. Economics and the economy are servant functions. Therefore, the role of faithful stewards over God's vast economic domain is precisely doing what God wants to get done. God trusts us with his wealth on Earth, and we have no choice but to respond to this trust with a commitment that love of God alone affords.

In this understanding, trust and faithfulness are words of spiritual importance. As citizens of the world we compliment these spiritual components with civility, honor, and respect; our behavior then identifies us as decent human beings in the secular world. As practitioners of the Golden Rule, therefore, we look to our partners in economic matters to have integrity, respect, honor, and commitments that are similar to what they expect of us.

Economics is faithful stewardship. We prioritize available resources to fulfill human needs in a fair, just, and equal manner. Faithful stewardship implies responsible management of God's resources. Responsible management means the preservation of materials and responsible maintenance of the quality of the environment for future generations. This is our obligation to our children.

The story of good economics in the Bible is the stewardship of Joseph at the court of the king of Egypt around 1600 B.C. (Genesis 41:25-47)

Bad economics, on the other hand, are multitudes of human aberrations of God's principles. Bad economics is driven by greed. Satan is the promoter of all kinds of greed.

The Bible indicts greed as the worst of human aberrations. God condemns the insatiable appetite of greedy people for the possessions of others. All types of greed are destructive. Greed kills relationships. Greed kills people in wars and in economic oppressions. Satanic greed will eventually consume the souls of greedy people. Wherever human aberrations of God's way promote greed, the consequences are chaos and human despair.

Singly against greed stands the Word of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is telling us in plain language to shape up, change our evil ways, and accept his Word as the sole authority on economics.


Modern economics

America's current economic difficulties are self-inflicted by a service economy that had its start in the early 1970s.

Low-paying service jobs make it difficult for American families to make ends meet. Two incomes are now essential to support a family. Often parents are forced to work two jobs. The constant loss of manufacturing jobs is wiping out any hope in the future for decent wages with associated benefits.

Whereas manufacturing jobs have a ripple effect on the economy of nations, a lopsided service economy consumes the wealth of nations. A service economy does not contribute to the building of highways, bridges, and schools. A service economy offers little support to pay for police and fire protection. And deficit spending in a service economy squanders the future of children.

Today's service economy favors the rich in a two-tier society of the have and the have-not. Two tier societies threaten community life.

Two-tier societies are impersonal and pose a threat to the survival of families and communities. Overworked parents have little time left to raise their children. Volunteer work in the community is almost nonexistent. And there is little time left to converse with a neighbor. Families in neighborhoods were once supportive of each other, and we could count on each other in times of need, but this has now become a dream world for many people. The good times when we could call on our next-door neighbor and borrow a cup of sugar are gone.

The modern impersonal lifestyle created by the service economy has replaced relationships with concerns about money. Money wields power. Money now speaks.

The need for money is ever increasing to support the family. The cost of housing is alarmingly high. Health care consumes a major portion of the family's income. Everywhere we look in the service economy, people are driven by money needs. The modern service economy is a quagmire of debts. We need money--lots of money--to pay for the basic needs in life.

Compounding the problems of the flimsy service economy is the lack of hope for a better future. Job security has become a foreign concept, but families need a dependable income to prepare their children for the future.

America's economic situation has taken a turn for the worse. Huge corporations continue to wipe out the local manufacturing base that once provided reliable income for many families. In its place we now find these same large corporations peddling foreign-made goods at high profits. They charge the consumer whatever the traffic will bear. In this modern dilemma, trade deficits and foreign investments threaten the future freedom of American children.

The well-being of individuals and families is at the mercy of corporate peddlers of foreign-made merchandise. The citizens of the once most prosperous nation in the world are now trapped in a silly numbers game played by financial manipulators. Financial gurus in control of huge corporations are mercenaries without mercy. Their sole compassion is money. "Paper barons" have replaced the visionary entrepreneur-managers.

"Paper barons" now run huge enterprises in insidiously hidden ways to make high profits for themselves at the expense of consumers. For example, while the contents of food packages are getting smaller, frequent increases in the price of these smaller-sized goods are quite common. While the weekly income of working families diminishes or remains flat, the salaries of "paper barons" are increasing at immoral rates.

The world revolves around economics. Therefore, we rightfully ask: "What is good economics?" This is the key economic question for the modern world, as good economics is the criterion for quality of life. Good economics is our statement of faithful stewardship.

A good economy respects the life, liberty, and happiness of each individual in his or her search for the way of God. Good economics recognizes that all resources on Earth belong to God, and we are but stewards of his creation. We honor God as supreme reality. And we love him for what he is, and for what he is doing for us in our short pilgrimage on Earth. Good economics is synonymous with a prosperous life on Earth.

Political meddling in economic matters is just a license for greedy people to do as they please. In these aberrations of God's way, the rich get richer, and the poor are being pushed into the bottomless pit. The children of America must pay in the future for the folly in leadership now.

Unscrupulous operators, in America and throughout the world, manipulate supply and demand to their advantage. We see this especially in Third-World nations that depend on goods and services from their more highly developed neighbors. For the residents of Third-World countries, like those in Africa, economic fairness is a matter of life or death. We see death from starvation in many African countries where opportunists have unfairly exploited a nation's natural resources without fair compensation. On top of this evil are power-hungry tyrannical rulers in underdeveloped nations who are in collusion with ruthless global conglomerates and their political cohorts to fill their own pockets.

Therefore, God condemns the evil antics of economic manipulators. God says: "The world is mine, and all that is therein is mine. Belief and trust in me is all my people need." And God continues: "I will take care of you. I will provide for your spiritual needs. And once your spiritual needs are met, your physical needs will also be met. Life is more than food. And your body is more than clothing. I care about your life. My Word alone can satisfy the needs of your soul. And my blessings shall be food for your soul and clothing for your body."

Despite God's support for less fortunate people, the exploitations by large international corporations keep growing, and the conflict of spirit over flesh seems like a losing battle, for God and people. It appears that the modern economic conflict is more severe than the plagues of the Dark Ages in which scores of innocent people died.

Huge corporations have created woes for innocent people as never before. To correct this great evil of huge corporations taking advantage of poor people in the modern world, God is encouraging each person to become self-sufficient. And, by the grace of God, "individual economies" will take root and grow.

In this new approach to economics, the presence of God will help each person in sundry ways to nurture individually owned enterprises, while economies of scale are doomed to failure as a direct result of uncontrollable size. Though the evil may always try to gain the upper hand in controlling the lives of people through large-scale economic oppression, God as the champion of ethics, justice, and faith will bless individual entrepreneurs who operate their business according to the Golden Rule.

God assures quality of life for workers and owners of local enterprises. God says: "The world is mine, and all that is therein is mine. Persevere in my way of life, and I will give you the Crown of Life in eternity! My faithful people will do extremely well in my presence, and I will let them bask in my glory. Therefore, choose life. Nurture your spiritual connection with me, and I will help you make good economics your quality of life."

Some of the tactics of ruthless governments and large corporations are not always obvious. The unsuspecting minds of trusting citizens are too innocent, and a gentle citizenry may not immediately come to grips with the antics of economic greed by politicians and their financial backers. Even though we feel the pain of the injustice and inequality in the distribution of the national wealth, often they are so overwhelming that we seem helpless and give up. Economic evildoers and their lobbyists seem more powerful than all the citizens of many nations combined.

When the American public needs replacement parts to fix the flimsy products, there are no replacement parts to be found in the large stores. The common reply to the search for replacement parts is that the new items are bigger and better than what is broken. The bigger and better, of course, refers to the peddler's profits; peddlers have little concern about the financial straits of their customers.

God expects us to clip the wings of powerful "paper barons" in the community, the nation, and the world. God sees our needs, and he wants us to bring about change and correct an evil situation. The masses of American consumers have greater power than all the powers of "paper barons" in the world combined.

Global economics
God demands first-class stewardship of time, talents, and resources.

In the modern concept of global economics, a few select nations control the rest of the world as a matter of greed. Global economics is colonization in disguise. The "paper barons" of international conglomerates and ruthless politicians may temporarily fool the public with their business glamor, but God expects our trust and faith through the spiritual connection with God in our consumption of his wealth on Earth.


Hockey stick cowboys are the paper barons of global economics. They talk fast. They talk smooth to gain control.

More than in any other human discipline in the world, economics is full of wolves in sheep's clothing. Christ has warned us about greedy people whose modus operandi is the promotion of falsehoods through misleading statements or selfish business practices. Peers in commerce, industry, and financial institutions have coined the phrase "hockey stick cowboys" to identify co-workers whose ambition is rise to power through the promotion of falsehoods. Hockey stick cowboys are ruthless "paper barons." They talk fast. They talk smooth. They want full control of the global economy.

"Hockey stick cowboys" force themselves onto center stage by criticizing conservative management as not aggressive enough for growth. Their growth charts always start out flat to criticize past performance. But once they are in charge, their hockey stick theories of growth opportunities turn into projections, and the exponential growth opportunities that a hockey stick implies never materialize. Hockey stick cowboys take advantage of style without substance. Style without substance has ruined many established businesses, and the employees of defunct enterprises suffer the consequences of folly in leadership when the business fails.

Christ tells us how to identify "paper barons." Christ says: "Look at the fruit of their labor. Evil cannot grow good fruit."

The evil in economics is commonly the fruit of indifferent business leaders, whose prime qualification for dealing with God's wealth is not rooted in the wisdom of God but is based on a piece of paper that bestows on them the secular title of master in business administration. "Paper barons" arrogantly believe that a master's degree from a business school entitles them to rule over God's wealth.

God says: "Wisdom comes with experience. Wisdom is not book knowledge. Wise business leaders are entrepreneurs with vision. They build on their vision, and they know how to correct evil situations. They maintain what they built. On the other hand, book-smart business leaders tear things down. And they flee the scene to pursue other opportunities when chaos confronts them."

Inspired stewards of God work responsibly the stewardship role and provide justly for their co-workers in commerce, industry, and financial institutions according to the precepts of ethics, justice, and faith. Inspired stewards supply the needs of employees and customers as a matter of public trust, where justice and equality are prime movers for economic stability and growth.

Whereas "paper barons" fight for their power, God honors his inspired stewards with dignity and respect, and common people also honor and respect faithful stewards as they have demonstrated responsible leadership in commerce and industry for the well being of all.

While the majorities of business leaders are faithful stewards of God's wealth and deal honestly with his people in economic matters, "paper barons" take advantage of doubts and then step in to commandeer a marginal economic situation to their personal advantage and gain. Their modus operandi are promises of unlimited growth and high profits. God calls it style without substance. They are the politicians who will promise anything that the public wants to hear. God has been impatiently watching how "paper barons" have bartered away a strong manufacturing base and subsequently eroded the quality of life for peaceable families and diligent workers in modern America.

The global economy is the supply engine for food and medicine in underdeveloped countries. The pressure is now on inspired business leaders in successful economies to be compassionate and attend to the needs of starving and sick people. Any failure to meet the physical needs of suffering people spells disaster for the global economy--and the global supply engine will sputter or may even explode.


The mission of global economics is to fill physical needs.

The mission for the modern world is to fill needs--physical and spiritual. Economics is the business of filling physical needs. Life in the world revolves around basic needs. Global economics is a system driven by needs. Our way of filling these needs to God's satisfaction will determine destinies.

Selfish desires are as real as life itself. It is up to us to adjust our ambitions to God's satisfaction and his plan for creation. Any desires beyond the basics for quality of life are greed. Good economics is having enough resources for each day. Anything beyond that is evil. Therefore, we rely on God's wisdom to stop us when enough is enough.

As human beings in the modern world we desire spiritual satisfaction without having to give up physical pleasures. But this cannot be. We can't have both. It is now up to us to prioritize and find the high ground for quality of life. The choice is ours. But so are the consequences of our decision. While God carefully watches our actions in this conflict of spirit and flesh, he will not influence our decision.


The human side of economics


Cain's calculating view of his relationship with the living God had become formalized into a simple formula of economics.

We carry on as Adam did. He denied God's generosity of life in paradise. Adam rejected life in the presence of God. We too deny God in the modern world, though God made the world we live in. God beckons for an active role in our lives, but we refuse him entry.

Our failure to be grateful for the presence of God in daily life leads us astray. In the subsequent confusion, all uncommitted people, like Cain in Biblical times, are ideal candidates for God's concern.

Biblical literature has preserved divine truth to act as guidance and direction for life: "In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.' Cain said to Abel his brother, 'Let us go out to the field.' And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him." (Genesis 4:3-8)

In the Biblical legend, Cain had great ambition to prove his humanity. He wanted to make it on his own; his human aspirations overpowered his senses. Ambition and aspirations condemned Cain to commit murder.

In these modern times, we are even more blessed than Cain was. Yet many people reject God's offer of support. The Holy Spirit is our companion, counselor, and guide. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is our friend. God in Christ is generously sharing his life with us. We are humbled to invite him into our hearts. In our relationship with God all other things are superfluous. We are indeed the choice of God's creation. Why, then, do many of God's people reject the presence of God in their lives?

Despite God's assessment of the evil in envy and greed, there are legions in the world today who scorn knowledge and enlightenment through the truth of Christ's teaching. They continue a way of life similar to Cain's. Cain had chosen a life in total ignorance of his spiritual identity.

Cain's calculating view of his relationship with the living God had become formalized into a simple formula of economics.

Whereas Abel dedicated himself to God when he brought the first lamb born to one of his sheep, killed it, and gave the best parts of it as an offering, Cain considered some of his fruit harvest just fine for meeting the minimum requirement for assurance of God's blessing and favor. But God found only Abel's offering acceptable. Abel had truly presented himself and committed his entire future into God's hands.

The evidence indicates that Abel knew God as a matter of trust. Abel relied on God to provide for all his future needs. But we also learn from the demise of Abel that faithful and obedient people face danger whenever they make known their commitment. History has proven over and over again that the world has never suffered from a shortage of Cains.

We find modern Cains exploiting family, friends, co-workers, the community, and the nation by working the rule of getting the most for the least.

Greedy and envious people are in the world wherever we go. They are part of a Christian's challenge to make known the living God to all people in the world. This also includes bringing the witness of divine grace in equal measure even to the Cains of this world.

Thus, Christ is telling all followers to carry their own crosses when doing God's work in service to God and people. The instructions are clear: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Yet despite knowledge of Christ's commands to change the self-destructive ways of the past and believe in the Gospel, people continue to choose living in the curse of Cain. Selfishness is driving these possessed souls to the idol worship of accumulated wealth. In their self-assertion, people work themselves to death.

As a direct consequence of self-assertive obsession, greed makes people useless in doing the work of God, for there is not to be found among them even the slightest concern with the Kingdom of God and what he requires. In its stead we see ruthless wielding of power, whose foundation is not God but accumulated wealth.

We find these modern Cains exploiting family, friends, co-workers, and the community by working the rule of getting the most for the least. They will remind those associated with them that it is a privilege to be working together. They are generous with sweet talk. It does not cost them anything. Some even do it in full knowledge of any oppressive burdens they themselves have placed on others.

The poor and the destitute are relegated to subhuman levels of existence. There is little or no hope for the better way of life for the less fortunate simply because all opportunities for advancement are viciously guarded, even the ones that people of influence and power administer as a matter of public trust.

Yet, like Cain, these arrogant "benefactors" of society scowl whenever they see the grace of God uplifting downtrodden spirits. They are jealous of happiness in others whenever the power of God's love is seen active and real. The glow of genuine brotherhood among poor but inspired people is seen in their sharing and caring for each other.

As the love of God is real among the faithful and the obedient disciples of Christ, so is the anger of arrogant people, as they sense that their phony piety does not measure up to God's expectation that demands true love in return for Grace.

Christ's teaching is clear that only those who live in a state of sincere humility of the spirit will be able to share the Kingdom of Heaven as rightful heirs together with Christ.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ promises true happiness. Christ's promise is universal truth. It requires that we fully know our identity. We must recognize that the status of restored fellowship with God is based on the righteousness of God alone and handed to believers in Christ as a gift of grace. This eternal truth must be clearly established in our mind even before we attempt to refresh our memories about whose we truly are.

Only when Christians see each other as children of the true and living God can Christianity be acclaimed as containing the principles of the one eternal truth and the one universal salvation. Its followers are like "light for the whole world."

People who live according to worldly standards will want to push spiritual involvement aside. So we hear the scornful, though seemingly logical question: "What does the spirit have to do with the price of bananas?"

But as quickly as green bananas ripen and spoil, so will the short human pilgrimage on Earth come to a sudden end.

This sad result will come about because people have failed to realize their spiritual identity. They have failed to recognize God's purpose for their lives. What must we do? This question implies desperation. Seekers of truth will have their answer in the spiritual connection with God.


To realize God's blessing we must humble ourselves and, in the humility of our spirit, desire to put our lives in harmony with the will and purpose of God.

Because despair is an ultimate consequence of faithlessness, all hope for a better future has vanished. In their hopelessness people will see eternity fleeting by right before their eyes.

There is no such thing as a second chance for recapturing time. Nor can the entries in the Book of Life be rewritten or amended by human effort.

Past experiences--good and bad alike--are history. Time is God's way of giving people a new beginning in preparation for meeting Christ on the Day of Judgment. Christians are told to let bygones be bygones: "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

Some people are more interested in raising their self-esteem within the realm of worldly affairs than being concerned with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires. They will protest that words with spiritual connotations are meaningless to them.

People whose only intentions are worldly considerations want to see the power of the Word of God reduced to the level where it will serve them. This reasoning is the biggest excuse for not wanting to make a commitment of dedication to God through Christ.

Like all other self-serving approaches to life, so is this unwarranted demand to make religion understandable nothing more than a trick. It has been in existence ever since the church was formed; it wants to cheapen the grace of God by making religion worldlier. Yet there is no justification for lowering God's expectations of faithful witness to the Gospel. We must recognize that the Kingdom of God and the world are not meant to be reconciled and that the Spirit has authority and power of the physical and emotional being of man.

In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus warns that accumulated wealth cannot be transferred to Heaven (Luke 12:16-20). True wealth is the hope of eternal life. All faithful and obedient people will share with Christ in the glory of God.

If as Christians we fail to speak up and defend what is right, we are guilty of contributing to the tensions of others. For instance, this is the case when economic hardship is caused by deficit spending. We are involved and responsible when we approve the action of government to pay for any programs that may benefit us now but whose debentures have dire consequences on the livelihood of future generations.

We rob our children of their potential in the future by tapping this potential to pay our commitments. We are guilty of dragging future generations, not at all connected with our difficulties, into our predicaments.

Deficit spending and inflation are the two major economic burdens in modern times. Even when inflation is at a low level, it diminishes the value of fixed assets and set income.

People and institutions alike feel the effects of inflation. From 1953 to the 1970s people in America have seen the biggest inflation in its history. During this period creeping inflation of 1-6 percent per year--some years even higher--has raised havoc with the best of intentions in budgeting and planning. Grocery prices are constantly on the rise while the contents of packages are getting smaller. Families are hurting to keep up with the cost of living. The increasing cost of the market basket neutralizes raises in income, while those on fixed incomes see their purchasing power diminished.

How does the high cost of living create family problems? the issue goes beyond basic survival of the family.

We must look at the well being of children in households where both parents are forced to work in order to cover expenses. The immediate effect is a generation of youth that has to raise itself. Is it then any wonder that such children are full of frustration, because there is no family outlet for their adventures in life?

Even if children manage to keep their stories bottled up till evening, they seldom will be heard as exhausted parents return from a hard day's work--and even two jobs--and don't want to be bothered with matters so seemingly insignificant as a child's discovery.

We see the retired, whose savings have evaporated as inflation has reduced the value of money. We find homes being confiscated for taxes. People cannot afford to live in the residences they have legally paid for.

One of the greatest economic injustices occurs in industrialized society. It is not right to force a dedicated breadwinner in the prime of life into unemployment because reorganization has eliminated senior positions.

Why focus on hard-working individuals and families during times of economic hardship?

If we don't, no one else will. Hardworking individuals always are forced to carry the burden of bad decisions. In searching for causes of economic disasters we must always keep before us the tired faces of people who are hurting by the actions of "paper barons" or impulsive politicians and governments. Economics is not just a numbers game. The human side of economics is a story of the oppression of ordinary, hard-working people.


The spiritual renewal of America for economic independence and freedom from stress

God looks with compassion at modern America, and he suffers with the victims of economic abuse. With scorn he addresses the arrogant and seemingly invincible "paper barons" and impulsive politicians: "You have become too big for your breeches. All the world's resources are mine. Your greedy appetite and lust for power are wasting what belongs to me and all my people!"

And God continues: "I have made America the bastion of free enterprise. You have eliminated your competitors by swallowing them up one by one, not with your own money but at the expense of my people. You have borrowed money and then passed on the cost of your insatiable growth to the consumers. They carry the burden of your grandiose schemes through higher costs of the market basket or smaller food packages. In your grandiose plots you start new ventures with borrowed money and then fold them up when things do not work out. Who do you think is absorbing the loss? Surely it is not your financial backers. They are even greedier than you are. They are in business to make money no matter what. And look at your accounting schemes. Suddenly you play the fool, claiming that you do not know what is happening. You know how to give yourselves huge salaries, bonuses, and generous pensions. My people must pay for them by your denying jobs, health coverage, and pensions for my hard-working people."

God's voice now thunders: "By what rules do you gamble the hard-earned savings of my working people in 401(k) plans? Who decides that you have the right to declare a stock under value or encourage companies to dilute the number of shares? Who do you think is picking up the tab when your schemes fail? Unscrupulous institutional managers of the public trust are great evils in modern times. A lot of money is changing hands without control and without consideration of the needs of the owner."

God says: "You pay obnoxiously high salaries in professional sports. Whose money is it that you are wasting? You recover every penny through advertisements of the products my people must buy in order to live. But it is my people who must swallow with each spoon of food the bitterness of your schemes. I, the Lord, have spoken."

In the past, families envisioned great times as industries grew and so did employment, and the future was promising. Enlightened entrepreneurs looked protectively after workers; those leaders less inclined to share the wealth were obliged to sign labor contracts through unions. In either situation industry and the American workforce was a viable partnership, each partner benefiting through benevolent relationships. Even when work was slow during recessions or depressions, local employers cared for struggling families.

Unfortunately, it took wars to perk up sagging economies. Two world wars lifted industry out of the doldrums. During each national crisis the American workers were ready to pitch in and do their part. They did not debate. They simply helped. A job needed to be done, and they were there to do it.

Enlightened entrepreneurs remembered that each worker had to support a family, so they compensated their workers fairly. Quality of life in the early period of America's industrialization consisted of family, the church, and an unyielding faith in God. As the family enjoyed income security, they had time to share. And they shared laughter, often in the company of friends and neighbors. Because the employers were benevolent, there was great respect for business leaders. Business ethics were crowned with an unwritten commitment to look out for each other at all times. Accounting was simple and free of tricks. Honesty and fairness fostered respect in the workplace. God was happy because his people were satisfied.

Industrialization was conceived to make life simpler, more abundant, and more secure. America was producing things in large volumes to make them affordable. America had a sound manufacturing base, and America was making money. Sunrise and sunset defined the day for work and shopping. Evenings were for the family, and Sundays were days of rest for fun and laughter. God was the center of family life.

Subtle changes gradually appeared on the horizon. "Efficiency experts" entered the scene. There were shifts away from the personal relationships workers enjoyed with entrepreneurs. Professional managers appeared to run the business on a new and impersonal platform. The new focus was on the bottom line. Ethics was put into the back seat, and the once-vital work ethic slowly faded into oblivion. The 1960s saw the beginning of the end of manufacturing in America.

This shift broke the backbone of the American economy. Cheap labor overseas overpowered the American workforce with the approval of management. The American workforce in textiles, shoes, and eventually high technology was hung out to dry by its business leadership. Besides the loss of jobs, America is losing all rights to genuine American technology. Business leaders claim to need the technology transfer to manufacture their products overseas. God is troubled.

God says: "My wealth in America belongs to the American people. It is my gift to them." God admonishes America's leadership--business leaders and politicians alike--concerning job losses: "When you scorn the American workforce as an expense that is prohibitive, you are attacking the foundation of the American dream that I put in place for a bright future of job stability and family income. You are attacking the foundation of the American dream that I put in place for a bright future of job stability and family income. You are attacking me when you take work away from my people. Your cheap labor tactics are now the cause of many social ills in America. Your greedy appetite is placing the American family in jeopardy. Your greed is a monster that gnaws at the hope and dreams of my people. And that is not all. You now sell in America for dollars what you have manufactured offshore for cents. Your exploitation of cheap labor markets is slavery. Your greed is responsible for hatred and wars because exploited people feel the injustice done to them. You are fools if you think that I will let you get away with it. Beware of your greed. Greed is a killer. I will not stop your greed, for eventually your own greed will destroy you in due time. Repent therefore. I, the Lord, have spoken."


RAYS OF HOPE AND FREEDOM


My life was in chaos.
Darkness clouded my senses,
My heart trembled in fear.


I prayed to God:
"Father, help me!"
And God transformed my life.


The world is still the same.
But I am now secure:
Christ is my Savior!


His love fills my heart,
His faith is my faith.
Rays of hope now light up my soul.


Rays of hope and freedom
Show me the way to God,
And where Christ lives I too will live.

Copyright (C) 2009 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust. All rights reserved.

(Excerpt from the books I.D. Crisis and Era of Faith by Kurt Koppetsch, published by Shepherd News Trust, Inc.--www.shepherdnewstrust.com)

This blog will run the entire month of January 2010.

Starting in February 2010 Series 8 of 20:
The Bible