Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Summons to a Higher Court

Arrogance Paternalism and Racism Rife in the UK Foreign Office

State parties all around the world have taken a fancy to claiming authority over the Bible.  For decades this has been happening indirectly.  State schools, for example, teach evolutionism as fact.  Whilst this is not a direct attack upon the Holy Scriptures per se, it indirectly runs a flag up the flagpole: the state and government parties hold the Bible to be a bunch of baloney.  

We Christians have got used to this and end up returning the "compliment": we hold that state parties are riddled with cant, ignorance, and are grossly prejudiced.  We end up handing them over to their fate on Judgement Day.

But things are ratcheting up somewhat.  In the UK a functionary of the Foreign Office has decided that it is time to rein in Christians in the Southern Hemisphere (by which they almost  certainly mean Africa, since the Church has been going from strength to strength in that continent).  The Barnabas Fund has exposed the latest egregious action by an organ of the UK state.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

NZ Government-Clinton Foundation Rort

The Clinton's Grubby Fingers Are Even in the Pockets of New Zealand Taxpayers


This piece is reproduced from the NZ Taxpayers Union newsletter



New Zealand Taxpayers' Union Inc.

Dear Supporter,

Another $2.4 million of our money goes to the Clinton Foundation

Clinton-Foundation-Conflict-of-Interest-cartoon.jpgBack in January, we exposed the $7.7 million NZ Aid had paid to the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” a subsidiary of the controversial Clinton Foundation. We hosted a petition calling for the funding to cease and our staff even took to the streets asking people whether there are better uses for taxpayers' money than a political charity.

After Murry McCully stood down, we wrote to the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee, asking him to veto further funding.

This morning we revealed that another $2.4 million has been paid this year.  Minister Brownlee says the payments will continue because, he claims, the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” is not a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation and that it is "independent". You can read the details here.

Gerry BrownleeYour humble Taxpayers’ Union has dug out the public charity filings of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. They show that far from being ‘independent’, the Clinton Foundation actually appoint the board of the Initiative – President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea are even on it.

We have written back to the Minister to point out that the power to appoint the board alone make the Initiative a subsidiary of the Foundation under both New Zealand law and international accounting standards. Either Gerry Brownlee is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes, or his officials have completely misled him (and $9.1 million of our money has been paid out on false pretences!).

The Australian Government has pulled the plug on funding the Clinton Health Access Initiative.  Apparently, it considers there are higher priorities closer to home.  Hear hear!

You can add your name to our petition calling for the funding to cease here, or perhaps call Minister Brownlee's office on (04) 817 6802 to let his staff know what you think about this use of your taxpayer money. Let us know by return email how you get on.

Daily Meditation

His Timing Is Perfect


Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help. (Hebrews 4:16)

John Piper


All ministry is in the future — a moment away, or a month, or a year, or a decade. We have ample time to fret about our inadequacy. When this happens, we must turn to prayer.  Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry. Timing is everything.

What if grace comes too early or comes too late? The traditional translation of Hebrews 4:16 hides from us a very precious promise in this regard. We need a more literal rendering to see it.  The more traditional wording goes like this: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The Greek original behind the phrase “grace to help in time of need” would be translated literally, “grace for a well-timed help.”

The point is that prayer is the way to find future grace for a well-timed help. This grace always arrives from the “throne of grace” on time. The phrase “throne of grace” means that future grace comes from the King of the Universe who sets the times by his own authority (Acts 1:8).

His timing is perfect, but it is rarely ours: “For a thousand years in [his] sight are but as yesterday when it is past” (Psalm 90:4). At the global level, he sets the times for nations to rise and fall (Acts 17:26). And at the personal level, “My times are in [his] hand” (Psalm 31:15).

When we wonder about the timing of future grace, we must think on the “throne of grace.” Nothing can hinder God’s plan to send grace when it will be best for us. Future grace is always well-timed.

Letter From Australia (About Victimhood, Grievance, and Entitlement)

"The Force is Strong in This One"

A politician in Australia has been caught out with her snout in the trough.  But because it's all to do with a PC cause, there is "nothing to see here.  Move along."  Nonetheless, voters have taken umbrage.
Here's a way to test your capacity for self-delusion.  If your child is too ill to go to school today, do you take her on a business trip at the taxpayer’s expense? A moral bind surely, even if it is within the so-called company rules.  But if you’re a warrior for Single Motherhood, that excuses everything.

You can attend, with a sick child in tow, an overnight jaunt to see a few whales and shuck oysters because you are simply doing your job.  In other words, tick, another problem solved in the tyranny of life known as Single Motherhood.  That is, of course, if you’re blindly entitled like the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young.

The Senator has this week been condemned nationwide for using a reported $3874.24 of taxpayers’ money to go whale watching with her daughter Kora last September in the Great Australian Bight.  Hanson-Young says she didn’t have an option and therefore had to take her unwell 11-year-old along on the trip to discuss BP’s plans to drill for oil in the marine reserve.  [Daily Telegraph]
 If anyone dare criticize this snout-in-trough behaviour, the good senator will face them down with masterful guilt manipulation.  How dare anyone persecute a single mother such as her!

Monday, 24 July 2017

"We the People" Are A Vanishing Species

Politicians Are Now Mere Figureheads

When a civil government extends its commands and controls over the realm, one immediate result is the growing size of the bureaucracy.  When governments reach forth their hands to regulate tiddlywinks, we end up with an ever growing cancer of tiddlywink monitors, data gatherers, inspectors, rule creators, and even prosecutors.

Eventually this rotten tree produces a collage of poisonous fruits.  The rules and regulations become self-perpetuating and self-propagating.  What began as an agency of one hundred eventually becomes a behemoth of thousands.  Secondly, the now behemoth agency begins to work more co-operatively and interlaces its functions with other behemoth agencies.  Before long the administrative state becomes both self-propagating and self-perpetuating.  Politicians--that is, those voted in two power--lose power.  They are made impotent, while the vast enterprise rolls on.  At this point the adjective, Byzantine becomes apt.

The end result is a soft, but extremely effective, transfer of political power has occurred.  The mere citizen, growing rhubarb in his hack yard, suddenly discovers that he is subject to fifty-three different, interlacing regulations promulgated by the Federal Vegetable Administration (FVA).  And he also discovers that his political representative (MP, Congressman, Assemblyman--whatever) can do absolutely nothing about it.

Daily Meditation

The Revelations of Affliction

The Lord our God hath shewed us his glory.  Deuteronomy 5:24

Charles H. Spurgeon


God's great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.

They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who "do business in great waters," these see his "wonders in the deep." Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God's greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by.

Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you.

Denying the Means of Grace to Homosexuals

The Church of England Genuflects to Baal

The Barnabas Fund has written:

The Church of England’s General Synod has just passed a motion calling on the UK government to ban what they term “conversion therapy”.

By this, they do not mean the sort of horrific medical treatments such as “chemical castration” that were sometimes forced on gay people half a century ago. Rather, what the General Synod voted to ask the government to ban was “prayer ministry”, i.e. praying for people who experience unwanted same-sex attraction to be set free from that. In other words, what the General Synod asked the government to ban was a particular form of prayer.

It is sad that the Church of England has done this.

The sadness is twofold.  Firstly, the General Synod has called for the State to exercise control over the content of prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In doing so, the Anglican Church has declared its belief that the UK government is a higher authority than King Jesus.  It also exposes the church's disbelief in liberty of conscience and religious faith.  The Anglican Church would rapidly move back to the days of state control of religion--that is, to the same kind of tyranny over conscience that held sway before the Toleration Act of 1689.

The second point of sadness is this: the General Synod, by this benighted action, would remove a means of grace from penitents seeking to overcome the sin of homosexuality.  In this case at least the Anglican Church has become the enemy of converted and repentant homosexuals, showering them with a thousand treacherous kisses.  "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."  Proverbs 27:6


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Minimum Wage Hikes Reduce the Demand for Labour

Magical Thinking about Minimum Wages

The laws of supply and demand apply to labor, too.


By Kevin D. Williamson
National Review Online

Thanks to a new study from economists at the University of Washington, American progressives have learned that the laws of supply and demand apply to the labor market. Everybody already knew that, except for professional economists.

The study, commissioned by the city government of Seattle and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that Seattle’s law incrementally raising its minimum wage — to $13 an hour last year, en route to $15 — resulted in low-wage workers’ earning less money rather than more. This surprised many in Seattle, who had been assured by all the best economists, including Paul Krugman, that such a thing would not come to pass.

So, what happened?

The short version is: You can pass a law saying you have to pay low-wage workers more, but you cannot pass a law that says you have to hire them in the first place, or that you cannot cut back on hours when the price of hourly labor goes up. As businesses responded to the new higher labor costs by reorganizing their processes in less labor-intensive ways (the classic examples here are the replacement of wait staff with computer screens in restaurants and the replacement of bank clerks with more sophisticated ATMs), the law that was supposed to increase low-wage workers’ incomes actually reduced them — substantially, by an average of $125 a month.

The first lecture in Economics 101 is that supply and demand interact through prices. (And a wage is a price — the price of labor.) Producers will produce more of any given product at a higher price, and consumers will consume less of it at a higher price. At some point, producers’ preferences coincide with those of consumers, and that is the market price that emerges. That’s a rough model, of course, but it describes the basic reality of how commercial transactions actually happen. . . .

Daily Meditation

The Rats Are Always There

C. S. Lewis


We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are.

This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth?

If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Force is Strong With This One

The New Model Socialist

Metiria Turei's sense of entitlement is infuriating and nauseating.  "You owe me, bigtime" seems to underlie much of her political persona.  Yet she, courtesy of the taxpayer's dime, is one of the most highly paid people in the country.

She cheated the taxpayer.  She broke the law.  But only because she thought she was entitled to do so. "I deserved to be treated better.  The cruel system was at fault.  More taxpayer's money should have been distributed to me."  It turns out that Turei's lawbreaking was not a "thing of the moment" so much as a deliberate, repeated policy.  As the Herald editorial writer put it:
Spread over three years however, Turei's lie of omission starts to look less like a one-off act of dishonesty and more like a systematic attempt to rort the system. Letter writers and talkback callers have voiced their anger over what they see as her sense of entitlement to public money - not helped by the fact that taxpayers are providing her with a huge salary today. [NZ Herald]
The deep sense of grievance and entitlement now risks her being hoist on her own petard, since she is now one of the rich and wealthy--courtesy of the taxpayer.

Friday, 21 July 2017

State Resistance to Government Theft in the US

Some Progress

The struggle against civil asset forfeiture in the United States is making some progress at a state by state level.
Last Monday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill to curb the state’s civil forfeiture laws. Under the new law, property confiscated via civil forfeiture may be permanently retained only if the property was seized through a lawful search and if the seizure ultimately leads to the suspect’s criminal conviction. Without a guilty verdict, the government must return all property to the rightful owner.

Prior to this new bill, Connecticut’s civil asset forfeiture policy made it legal for an individual’s property or cash to be seized and indefinitely retained by the state even if they have not been convicted or even accused of committing any crime.

According to the Institute for Justice, state civil asset forfeiture cases constituted 77 percent of all Connecticut forfeiture cases between 2009 and 2013. This indicates that that less than one-quarter of Connecticut’s forfeitures did not require proof that the property owner had committed any crime.  “Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on Americans’ private property rights,” said Institute for Justice Senior Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath.  [The Blaze]
Good news.  Roughly half a dozen states have already restricted the practice of civil forfeiture, or outlawed it altogether.

Daily Meditation

Energy for Today’s To-Dos

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)

John Piper


God is the decisive worker here. He wills and he works for his good pleasure. But believing this does not make Christians passive. It makes them hopeful and energetic and courageous.

Each day there is a work to be done in our special ministry. Paul commands us to work at doing it. But he tells us how to do it in the power of future grace: believe the promise that in this day God will be at work in you to will and work for his good pleasure.

It is God himself, graciously arriving each moment, that brings the future into the present. It is not the gratitude for past grace that Paul focuses on when explaining how he “worked harder than any of them.” It is fresh grace for every new conquest in his missionary labor.

The power of future grace is the power of the living Christ — always there to work for us at every future moment that we enter. So when Paul describes the effect of the grace of God that was with him, he says, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience — by word and deed” (Romans 15:18).

Therefore since he would not dare to speak of anything but what Christ accomplished through his ministry, and yet he did, in fact, speak of what grace accomplished through his ministry (1 Corinthians 15:10), this must mean that the power of grace is the power of Christ.

Which means that the power we need for tomorrow’s ministry is the future grace of the omnipotent Christ, who will always be there for us — ready to will and ready to work for his good pleasure.

Ignore the Stumbling Blocks: Paul Did

Preaching By Faith

Preaching a crucified Jesus to be the Lord of glory was indeed a stumbling block.  Paul was right on point when he declared, 
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  [I Corinthians 1: 22-25]
When the Jews demanded signs, they wanted miraculous confirmation that the claimant was indeed the Messiah.  They were given plenty of such confirmations, but chose to  "explain" them away.  For them--when they heard the Gospel preached- by the church-all that was left was the horror and humiliation of a public crucifixion.  It was a stumbling block because they had believed that Messiah would deliver them powerfully from Gentile oppression--even as David had delivered them from the Philistines centuries before.   A crucified Messiah was a mockery, a blasphemy.

For the Gentiles, following a crucified saviour was similarly the acme of foolishness.  Why?  Because the "rite" of crucifixion was the archetype of degradation.  Sarah Ruden carefully re-situates crucifixion in its ancient Greco-Roman setting.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (Abour our Pelagian World)

Straight and Narrow

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

INTRODUCTION

One of the hidden drivers in our public debates about homosexual lust and practice is that a widespread and presupposed Pelagianism has riddled the church. I am happy to explain myself here, but I would like to ask you to walk with me for a piece.

ABILITY AND OBLIGATION

Pelagianism holds, among other things, that a man cannot be blamed for what cannot be helped. In this system, sin is defined in accordance with our ability to meet the standard. If we cannot meet the standard, then it would obviously be unjust to hold us to the standard. Ability limits obligation. If I have no ability to jump over the ocean to Hawaii, then clearly I can have no moral obligation to do so. Makes sense, right?

Except that this muddles the difference between natural inability and moral inability. Natural inability answers every moral accusation that might be brought against a man. I can have no moral obligation to pick up rocks in my driveway and bounce them off the moon, because I have absolutely no physical ability to do so. This kind of inability really does limit obligation. I do not feel guilty for my inability to fly like a bird, or swim like a dolphin, or burrow like a mole. Neither do I feel guilty over my inability to publish in staid and responsible journals. The metaphorical adjectives have to go somewhere, and I can’t just keep them in my head. They just crowd in. Where was I?

But if my inability is a moral inability, then that inability excuses nothing. In fact, this kind of inability compounds the sin, making it worse. The Lord does not call the Pharisees a nest of vipers, but then go on to make the crucial point that vipers can’t help being what they are, having been “born that way” to viper parents. Not at all. Nor did the Lord hasten to add that we should be building bridges not walls. Little narrow snake bridges. See what I mean?

A man can have the natural ability to do something that he has no moral ability to do. For example, I have the physical ability to walk down to our main city square, and to stand on a bench, and yell slanderous and malicious accusations about my deceased mother. I have the feet, I have the lungs, I know the words, and no one has a gun pointed at me to prevent this from happening. But while I have the natural ability to do it, I do not have the moral capacity to do it. My point is considerably stronger than I would rather not. My point is that I couldn’t. Natural ability to do “this or that” and moral ability to do “this or that” are clearly two different things.

Daily Meditation

The Future of the Old Rattle Trap

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the resurrection of the body and of all creation; and on the goodness of the bodies we now have.

C. S. Lewis


26 November 1962

My stuff about animals came long ago in The Problem of Pain. I ventured the supposal—it could be nothing more—that as we are raised in Christ, so at least some animals are raised in us. Who knows, indeed, but that a great deal even of the inanimate creation is raised in the redeemed souls who have, during this life, taken its beauty into themselves? That may be the way in which the ‘new heaven and the new earth’30 are formed. Of course we can only guess and wonder.

But these particular guesses arise in me, I trust, from taking seriously the resurrection of the body: a doctrine which now-a- days is very soft pedalled by nearly all the faithful—to our great impoverishment. Not that you and I have now much reason to rejoice in having bodies! Like old automobiles, aren’t they? where all sorts of apparently different things keep going wrong, but what they add up to is the plain fact that the machine is wearing out. Well, it was not meant to last forever.

Still, I have a kindly feeling for the old rattle-trap. Through it God showed me that whole side of His beauty which is embodied in colour, sound, smell and size. No doubt it has often led me astray: but not half so often, I suspect, as my soul has led it astray. For the spiritual evils which we share with the devils (pride, spite) are far worse than what we share with the beasts: and sensuality really arises more from the imagination than from the appetites: which, if left merely to their own animal strength, and not elaborated by our imagination, would be fairly easily managed. But this is turning into a sermon!

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Will History Repeat?

"The Old B--- Likes It Narrow"

In 1951 a general election was held in the UK.  The Conservatives won; Winston Churchill was returned to power.  These were the days when large swathes of the working class supported and voted for the Conservatives.  Voting was not strictly along the lines of socio-economic class, despite very strong social class identity at the time.  

It took a long time to count the votes, and the final outcome was not known until the following morning.  In his book, Family Britain 1951-1957, David Kynaston quotes the writer Ronald Duncan's encounter with a train porter at Charing Cross.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Christian Confusion)

Gayer Than the Kiwi Queen of the Fire Island Fruit Festival

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

Every once in a while you run across something that is a few parsecs beyond the utter frozen limit. What do you do then? Tim Bayly recently posted a video of an offertory performance done at Redeemer Downtown in Manhattan, along with his comments, and I have reposted the video below. You can watch the whole thing, or if you have a medical condition, you can watch 30 seconds of it and still get the drift. If confusion were beans, this would be a 9-layer dip, suitable for Super Bowl parties.

So here it is. Brace yourself.

Life Together from Redeemer Video on Vimeo.

What is the problem with this? Summed up, it is that this performance is gayer than the kiwi queen at the Fire Island Fruit Festival. This performance is gayer than an HR memo at Google headquarters. How gay was it? It was gayer than an NPR tote bag full of rainbows. It was gayer than a unicorn parade through the Castro District. It was gayer than a lavender sparkly pen.

And to top it all off, we live in an antinomian generation, where the only sins possible are those represented by something like the preceding paragraph. It is not okay to say “gayer than,” but it is beyond okay to be “gayer than.”

It is no sin to watch this video clip and not know what the particular problem is. Human self-deception can occupy the heart like a rabbit warren under a large meadow. The particular problems can be hard to identify and trace. But the general problem is screamingly obvious. If you can look at this clip and not know that there is a grievous problem somewhere, then the self-deception involved is truly profound.

I referred above to the problem of confusion.

Daily Meditation

Becoming Sure of One's Election

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.  1 Thessalonians 1:4

Charles H. Spurgeon


Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by "looking unto Jesus." If you desire to ascertain your own election;--after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Tell him that he has said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect.

If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God's chosen ones; but if you stop and say, "I want to know first whether I am elect," you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him."

Christ was at the everlasting council: he can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be--"I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.

"Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe."

Climate Change Update, Part IV

‘Nearly All’ Recent Global Warming Is Fabricated

James Delingpole
BreitbartLondon

[This represents the fourth article in a series exposing the fraudulent re-stating of data in the vain attempt to "prove" global warming and climate change.  This represents the biggest fraud we have seen in our lifetimes.  JT]

Much of recent global warming has been fabricated by climate scientists to make it look more frightening, a study by statisticians has found.

The peer-reviewed study by two scientists and a veteran statistician looked at the global average temperature datasets (GAST) which are used by climate alarmists to argue that recent years have been “the hottest evah” and that the warming of the last 120 years has been dramatic and unprecedented.

What they found is that these readings are “totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”  That is, the adjusted data used by alarmist organizations like NASA, NOAA, and the UK Met Office differs so markedly from the original raw data that it cannot be trusted.

This chart gives you a good idea of the direction of the adjustments.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Climate Change Update, Part III

The Rogue Train of Rising Electricity Prices in Australia

Something “seismic” has happened to our electricity prices.

JoNova

Paul McArdle of WattClarity goes through each state looking at quarterly trends and prices, and remarks that things are going “off the chart”. We had some electricity crises in Australia in the last 12 months, and 2016 was a significantly more expensive than all previous years bar the major drought year of 2007. But ominously, prices haven’t come down in what should be a “normal” quarter. In Tasmania there was a crisis last year when dams ran dry, and the undersea Bass cable broke. But this quarter, prices are only $3.20/MWh lower than the crisis levels of Q2 2016 despite water in dams and a working cable to Victoria. Something has gone seriously wrong with our electrical grid and market. In both Victoria and South Australia prices are higher on average than any previous April-June quarter in the 19 year history of the National Electricity Market. In Queensland and New South Wales, prices are at the “second highest”. {Emphasis, ours.]

McArdle goes to some length to explain that this is not “one factor”, which seems obvious and fair — It's the combination of the closure of Hazelwood and Port Augusta coal generators; the extremely high gas-prices; the lack of wind; the increase of intermittent renewables; and the way electricity generators game the market. But what McArdle doesn’t mention is that these factors are not independent. If there was more coal fired power there wouldn’t be such high gas prices, and if there weren’t intermittent, highly subsidized generators, there wouldn’t be as much room to “game” the market. If there is some ominous leap in electricity prices, we know from years of experience that a grid with a lower renewables input provides cheaper time-weighted average prices even though for some isolated, miraculous moments every day, using a cherry picked description, and ignoring costs of transmission lines and auxiliary services (like “stability”) we could say we are getting “free electricity”.

A grid is a complicated animal, and people studying small separate parts of it can make accurate but totally contradictory statements. What matters is the total cost of electricity over all, after the wash, the games, the crises and the subsidies are played out. The high gas prices have other causes beyond coal and renewables, but there’s no question that Australia had a cheap backup: it could always use coal, which would mean the high gas prices wouldn’t have to hurt so much. The renewables subsidies are pushing the cheapest electricity source out of business. There is an Easy and Obvious way to let the market fix this problem that the government hath engendered, but there is no easy and obvious way to run a grid off wind and solar and no easy way to control our climate in 2100 using electrical power stations in 2017.

Thanks to Paul McArdle for crunching these numbers. Even the ABC is paying attention now, writing both “Power prices are ‘off the chart‘ and there’s no relief in sight” and  “Victorian businesses struggling with power ‘train wreck’ as wholesale prices triple since 2015“. Go to his site for the gory details.

If spot price outcomes through Q2 2016 were “truly remarkable” then price outcomes for Q2 2017 were off the chart"


Paul McArdle,
Wattclarity

In Victoria, we see the average price for the Quarter break $100/MWh (up at $104.92/MWh) – a gut-wrenching level for the vast majority of energy users in what has traditionally been one of the more “boring” quarters.  In Victoria, we see that average Q2 prices have never been higher, across all 19 years of NEM history.

Saving (in this case) the worst for last, we then step over to South Australia where the time-weighted average price for the quarter reached a staggering $115.93/MWh, … it is clearly the highest Q2 average price South Australia has seen over the 19 year history of the NEM.

In the same vein as last year, the most important take-aways from this analysis should be:
1.  That the outcome for Q2 2017 was even more remarkable than Q2 2016; and
2.  That it appears that we’re entering a new environment that’s distinctly different from the years that preceded; and
3.  That this affects everyone, right across the NEM ; and finally that
4.  Those pre-disposed to draw overly simplistic  (“it was due to … [this one factor]”) conclusions are unlikely to be correct, and could be dangerously misleading.

Daily Meditation

If God Is For You . . .

When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. Psalm 56:9

Charles H. Spurgeon


It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this delightful phrase, "God is for me." He was "for us" before the worlds were made; he was "for us," or he would not have given his well-beloved son; he was "for us" when he smote the Only-begotten, and laid the full weight of his wrath upon him--he was "for us," though he was against him; he was "for us," when we were ruined in the fall--he loved us notwithstanding all; he was "for us," when we were rebels against him, and with a high hand were bidding him defiance; he was "for us," or he would not have brought us humbly to seek his face.

He has been "for us" in many struggles; we have been summoned to encounter hosts of dangers; we have been assailed by temptations from without and within--how could we have remained unharmed to this hour if he had not been "for us"? He is "for us," with all the infinity of his being; with all the omnipotence of his love; with all the infallibility of his wisdom; arrayed in all his divine attributes, he is "for us,"--eternally and immutably "for us"; "for us" when yon blue skies shall be rolled up like a worn out vesture; "for us" throughout eternity.

And because he is "for us," the voice of prayer will always ensure his help. "When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies be turned back." This is no uncertain hope, but a well grounded assurance--"this I know." I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up for the answer, assured that it will come, and that mine enemies shall be defeated, "for God is for me."

O believer, how happy art thou with the King of kings on thy side! How safe with such a Protector! How sure thy cause pleaded by such an Advocate! If God be for thee, who can be against thee?



Lying is the New Greenist Truth

Hypocrisy and Mendacity on Steroids

Green Party Leader, Metiria Turei went all candid over the weekend.  In one of the most egregious appeals to pity yet seen in this radical left-wing party, Turei confessed that while she was attending law school she had been so poor, she lied and broke the law in order to survive.  At least, that's her telling of it.
Green Party Metiria Turei concedes she could still be charged with fraud after she admitted lying to authorities to keep her benefit.  In her biggest speech of the year, Turei made the extraordinary confession while announcing her party's plans to dramatically reform New Zealand's welfare system.

Speaking at the Green Party AGM in Auckland, she said that as a solo mother on a benefit she did not tell Work and Income NZ that she had extra flatmates who were paying rent.  At a press conference afterwards, Turei said she could still face consequences for her illegal behaviour 24 years ago.  [NZ Herald]
Her appeal to pity in a nutshell: "I was impecunious so I lied and broke the law".  But this was not an honest confession.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Baalism Amongst American Churches

Worshiping America

Rod Dreher
The American Conservative

Back home in the US, I finally had the chance to watch the full video of the obsequious paean that Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas gave extolling the virtues of Donald Trump. If you haven’t seen it, well, it’s jaw-dropping:




And:

Dr. Robert Jeffress @robertjeffress
Thank you @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for a powerful message at #CelebrateFreedom tonight! We thank God every day that you are our president!

Jeffress’s remarks came as part of an extraordinarily nationalistic performance by the choir and orchestra from First Dallas. You can watch the whole thing below. Go to around the 34 minute mark to hear them sing a new song, “Make America Great Again,” written by a music minister at the megachurch. It’s now being offered for, no kidding, “worship”. The lyrics include:

Make America great again
Make America great again
Lift the torch of freedom all across the land
Step into the future joining hand in hand
And make America great again
Yes make America great (again)

Watch it for yourself:

Daily Meditation

The Intolerable Compliment

C. S. Lewis


Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God— though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires.

We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.

From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Backwards to the Future

Nutty, Venal Politicians

National elections in New Zealand give us dyspepsia.  So often political parties approach the electorate as if voters were totally corrupt and up for accepting bribes.  Consequently, elections bring out the worst in politicians, policy proposals, and the community.  

The radically left wing Labour Party wants to return to its ideological core: tax and spend, then tax and spend some more, and when it can tax the living no more, it would tax future generations by racking up fiscal debt.  It comes as no surprise, then, to have its present leader announce that Labour, if elected, would cancel the forthcoming tax cuts, so it can spend more tax payers' money on its constituency.  It then announced one of the more complex benefit schemes yet seen.

The present (National Party) Treasurer, Steven Joyce hit the nail right on its head:

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Climate Change Update, Part II

Record Cold Data at Goldburn Airport Scrubbed Out
The BOM got caught this week auto-adjusting cold extremes to be less cold. Lance Pidgeon of the unofficial BOM audit team noticed that the thermometer at Goulburn airport recorded – 10.4°C at 6.17am on Sunday morning, but the official BOM climate records said it was -10.0°C. (What’s the point of that decimal place?) Either way this was a new record for Goulburn in July. (The previous  coldest ever July morning was -9.1°C. The oldest day in Goulburn was in August 1994 when it reached -10.9°C).
Apparently this was an automated event where the thermometer recorded something beyond a set limit, and the value put into the official database was the artificial limit. Since colder temperatures have already been recorded in Goulburn, who thought it was a good idea to trim all future minus-ten-point-somethings as if they were automatically “spurious”?
Yesterday, the BOM have acknowledged the error and at first deleted the -10.0 figure, replacing it with a blank space. Then today, after Jennifer Marohasy’s post, they’ve corrected it.
You might think a half degree between friends is not that significant, but this opens a whole can of worms in so many ways — what are these “limits”, do they apply equally to the high side records, who set them, how long has this being going on, and where are they published? Are the limits on the high temperatures set this close to previously recorded temperatures? How many times have raw records been automatically truncated?

Daily Meditation

Faith Expels Guilt, Greed and Fear

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

John Piper


Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder love.

If we feel guilty, we tend to wallow in self-centered depression and self-pity, unable to see, let alone care, about anyone else’s need. Or we play the hypocrite to cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships. Or we talk about other people’s faults to minimize the guilt of our own.

It’s the same with fear. If we feel fearful, we tend not to approach a stranger at church who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we may reject frontier missions for our lives, because it sounds too dangerous. Or we may waste money on excessive insurance, or get swallowed up in all manner of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to the needs of others.

If we are greedy, we may spend money on luxuries — money that ought to go to the spread of the gospel. We don’t undertake anything risky, lest our precious possessions and our financial future be jeopardized. We focus on things instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage.

Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out of the heart.

It pushes out guilt because it holds fast to the hope that the death of Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever (Hebrews 10:14).

It pushes out fear because it banks on the promise, “Fear not, for I am with you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

And it pushes out greed because it is confident that Christ is greater wealth than all the world can offer (Matthew 13:44).

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.

In A Time of Peace . . .

The US Secretary of Defense and the High Schooler

This is an interesting story on a number of levels.  The first is to acknowledge that a high school reporter in the US managed to score  a personal interview with Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.  Another aspect is the apparently quirky way the mind of the Secretary works--that he would grant the time for an interview.  A third facet is the way Mattis does not talk down to the high school student, but answers in an adult fashion.  And, finally, there is the content itself.  

High School Reporter’s Interview With Secretary Of Defense James Mattis

Dana
Patterico

No matter how one feels about Donald Trump being elected president, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are pleased with his selection of James Mattis for Secretary of Defense.

With that, back in May when the Washington Post published a photo with James Mattis’s phone number on it, a motivated reporter called the number, and then texted Mattis to request an interview. To the young high school reporter’s surprise, Mattis said yes. Teddy Fisher is a reporter for the Mercer Island High School Islander newspaper.

The interview took place on Memorial Day, but did not appear in the school paper until late June. Here are a few excerpts from the excellent, content-rich and informative interview. Subjects covered, and providing much to chew over, include foreign policy, national policy, political ideologies, the Middle East, Iran, and advice for high schoolers. But if you think the interview is geared for high schoolers, think again: “I speak the same to high schoolers, college grads, or congressmen,” [Mattis] said. “I’ve found high schoolers to be plenty bright.”

Excerpts:

Friday, 14 July 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About our Postmodern Tundra)

The Creosote of Manifest Nonsense

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

I do not want to use Orwellian-the-world newspeak, but rather Orwellian-the-author plainspeak. But in a world of froth, babble, fustian, agitprop, bubble, and vain repetition, what I am about to say might come across like being slapped in the face with a cold, dead halibut. Some might even go so far as to say that I am guilty of “hate speech.” But I said I was going to try to stay away from the jargon of Orwell, and so wish me better luck.

Look, lords who walk the earth. You bought the tickets. You paid for them. You bundled us all onto the trains. We rattled along for many days and nights, across great chasms on trestles built out of semiotic arbitrariness, soaked in the creosote of manifest nonsense. The trains finally stopped, and we were all forced off. And my argument, such as it is, is this: “well, here we are!”

Daily Meditation

Crucify Our Tempers

God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?  Jonah 4:9

Charles H. Spurgeon


Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, "Doest thou well to be angry?"

It may be that we can answer, "YES." Very frequently anger is the madman's firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah's fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, "NO." Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature?

Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. "Yes," said he, "but the fruit will not be crabs." We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

Climate Change Update, Part I

Time to Invest in Freezing Weather Clothing Companies?

We are going to run a couple of updates on the climate change/global warming scam.  The first comes from the US, but focuses upon the authorities in Australia making up temperature data.



This is not isolated.  We will shortly republish and refer to some research completed in the US which demonstrates convincingly that a substantial conspiracy has been underway to "modify" actual temperature data so as to "prove" rising temperatures.  Government institutions are complicit.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

You Are Serving Somebody: Who Is It?

How Optional Is The Benedict Option?

Sean Johnson
Kuyperian


“It may be the devil,” one Nobel laureate has opined, “or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

There is an irony, then—and a difficulty—in the title of Rod Dreher’s latest book, The Benedict Option. He paints a bleak picture of Christianity’s future in a “Post-Christian” nation, barring a radical shift in the American Church’s self-understanding. “Is the Christianity we have been living out in our families, congregations, and communities a means of deeper conversion, or,” Dreher worries, “does it function as a vaccination against taking faith with the seriousness the Gospel demands?” (12). If the latter proves true—as Dreher suggests—then at many points the way of life he presents under the auspices of “the Benedict Option” seems like the only viable alternative to cultural and ecclesial death in America. That is to say, the Benedict Option is not, strictly speaking, optional. That fact is not so much a difficulty for Dreher, though, as for his critics.

Dreher really had little choice but to orient his book to the pre-existing scheme of a “Benedict Option,” since it was the tapestry of lively and controversial discussions around the “Option” that created the demand for the book in the first place. Meanwhile, his own understanding of the Option seems never to have been confined to the historical person of St. Benedict or his rule for monastic living.

Daily Meditation

Truth Is the Sanctifier

Sanctify them through thy truth.  John 17:17

Charles H. Spurgeon


Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God infuses into man that new living principle by which he becomes "a new creature" in Christ Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways--mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under; and vivification, by which the life which God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.

This is carried on every day in what is called "perseverance," by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state, and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection, in "glory," when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agency employed which must not be forgotten. "Sanctify them," said Jesus, "through thy truth: thy word is truth." The passages of Scripture which prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are very many. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth, and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear, and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do of God's good pleasure.

The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Do not say of any error, "It is a mere matter of opinion." No man indulges an error of judgment, without sooner or later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by so holding the truth shall you be sanctified by the Spirit of God.

The Great Lie

Believing Your Own Press . . . Or Not

What did the Enlightenment gurus really believe about human nature?  Remember that the philosophes of the period had faces set like flint against religion in general and Christianity in particular.  Virtually all that was evil in the world, they argued, could be traced back to religious superstition.  "Enlightenment" meant casting off the darkness inflicted upon to the West by the Church.  

But what would replace the Ten Commandments?  No problems at all.  Get rid of religion and mankind would return to his natural state of moral, spiritual, and intellectual innocence.  J. H. Huizinga summarises the Enlightenment world view:

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Another Court Victory

Court Dismisses Bogus Charges Against David Daleiden 

Exposing Planned Parenthood


Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.Com

In a huge victory, a California court has dismissed almost all of the criminal charges abortion activists filed against the pro-life advocates who recorded undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood selling the body parts from aborted babies.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Becerra is a longtime abortion advocate with financial connections to the Planned Parenthood abortion company that the two pro-life Advocates exposed in the videos for selling body parts such as fetal brains and livers.

At the time, pro-life advocates said Becerra’s 15 felony charges were bogus charges meant to belittle the expose’ campaign and to cast aspersions on Daleiden and the organization behind the videos. They said the attempt was about drawing attention away from Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby parts.

The San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed 14 of 15 criminal counts but the pair are still charged with one count of conspiracy to invade privacy.

Daily Meditation

Gradually Hardening Into Life or Death

C. S. Lewis


It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.

Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Exemplary Bi-Partisanship

How Politics and Government Are Supposed to Be

New Zealand is a small country with a concomitant population.  It is relatively easy for companies to achieve near monopoly market power.  In the past there have been instances of "big business" being far too cosy with politicians and bureaucrats.  In recent times, less so.  The New Zealand economy is now one of the most open in the world.  Most kiwi businesses are now competing against global or international competitors--on our home ground.  

But the risk remains of oligarchies or duopolies emerging over time.  The oil/gasoline industry is one example.  Market power is concentrated in the hands of just a few large corporates--most with huge multi-national "parents".  It is, therefore, salutary and encouraging to see the Energy and Resources Minister, Judith Collins take an interest in the industry.
Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said a report into the retail fuel market had found "features which may not be consistent with a workably competitive market."  The gross profit margin on fuel at the pump had doubled to about 30 cents a litre in Wellington and the South Island over the past four years, the report found.   Higher profit margins in the South Island and Wellington were also "not explained by higher costs in those areas", it found.  [Stuff]
Collins is one tough Minister of the Crown.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Romans 11: 31-32 In Action

Yeshua For Jews

Yet another example of the great things God is doing in our midst and in our times.


https://www.facebook.com/oneforIsrael/videos/1814579855226632/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

The  ContraCelsum team.

Daily Meditation

Good News: God Is Happy

“ . . . the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11)

John Piper


This is a beautiful phrase in 1 Timothy, buried beneath the too-familiar surface of Bible buzzwords. But after you dig it up, it sounds like this: “The good news of the glory of the happy God.”

A great part of God’s glory is his happiness.

It was inconceivable to the apostle Paul that God could be denied infinite joy and still be all glorious. To be infinitely glorious was to be infinitely happy. He used the phrase, “the glory of the happy God,” because it is a glorious thing for God to be as happy as he is.

God’s glory consists much in the fact that he is happy beyond our wildest imagination. As the great eighteenth-century preacher, Jonathan Edwards, said, “Part of God’s fullness which he communicates is his happiness. This happiness consists in enjoying and rejoicing in himself; so does also the creature’s happiness.”  And this is the gospel: “The gospel of the glory of the happy God.” It is good news that God is gloriously happy. No one would want to spend eternity with an unhappy God.

If God is unhappy, then the goal of the gospel is not a happy goal, and that means it would be no gospel at all. But, in fact, Jesus invites us to spend eternity with a happy God when he says, “Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23).

Jesus lived and died that his joy — God’s joy — might be in us and our joy might be full (John 15:11; 17:13). Therefore the gospel is “the gospel of the glory of the happy God.”

Beyond Doubt

A Case of State Failure

The stark, blackened image of Grenfell Tower is a picture more powerful than a thousand words.  But what does the picture tell us?  What's the message?  The reflexive Left has lost no time telling us its version of what Grenfell Tower represents.  It's greed.  It's capitalist rapacity.  It's profit ahead of people.  An example of the trope is provided by Workers World:
Capitalist greed is the root cause of the raging inferno that killed at least 79 residents of Grenfell Tower in London on June 14 and left hundreds homeless. It began and spread through unsafe building materials that even some capitalist countries have barred from use.

The British government is guilty of neglect and prioritizing cost-cutting above all in maintaining and renovating the high-rise building.  Of lesser — or no — importance to the British rulers was ensuring safe public housing for the multinational working-class and poor families, including many immigrants, who lived there.
Capitalist greed the root cause, eh?  As they say, never let the facts get in the way of a sensationalist story.  But similar views have been cascading down the mountain side from more "respectable" ideological positions.  The real blame for Grenfell Tower lies not with capitalist greed, but neoliberalism, whatever that might be conjured to be.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Letter From the UK (About Mind Distorting Drugs and Violent Crime)

Nothing to Do With Terrorism

Peter Hitchens
MailOnline

Far too often, we make the world worse than it is by imposing a pattern on it that has little or nothing to do with reality. I say this though I am a keen pessimist. I know the glass is half-empty unless someone is actually refilling it at the time.

But what a foolish mess we get into over so much of the violence that has recently ripped through our society. For instance, we have been marking the terrible death of Jo Cox, a young wife and mother and a delightful, beloved person missed terribly by all who knew her.  It is quite right that she should be remembered. This was a dreadful event. Yet the authorities and the media have decided to insist that her murder was political.  I think this is wrong. Her killer was quite obviously a deranged, muttering loner, with no serious understanding of politics.

We have been marking the terrible death of Jo Cox, pictured, a young wife and mother and a delightful, beloved person missed terribly by all who knew her. It is quite right that she should be remembered. This was a dreadful event. Yet the authorities and the media have decided to insist that her murder was political


Psychiatrists know that such people often latch on to political or religious movements to make themselves seem important.  Why help him magnify his wretched life, his twisted mind and his cruel violence? I have my own suspicions that, by classifying his act as terror, the authorities closed their minds to other possibilities.

Daily Meditation

The Saints Are People of Honour
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.  Psalm 24:4

Charles H. Spurgeon


Outward practical holiness is a very precious mark of grace. It is to be feared that many professors have perverted the doctrine of justification by faith in such a way as to treat good works with contempt; if so, they will receive everlasting contempt at the last great day. If our hands are not clean, let us wash them in Jesus' precious blood, and so let us lift up pure hands unto God. But "clean hands" will not suffice, unless they are connected with "a pure heart." True religion is heart-work. We may wash the outside of the cup and the platter as long as we please, but if the inward parts be filthy, we are filthy altogether in the sight of God, for our hearts are more truly ourselves than our hands are; the very life of our being lies in the inner nature, and hence the imperative need of purity within. The pure in heart shall see God, all others are but blind bats.

The man who is born for heaven "hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity." All men have their joys, by which their souls are lifted up; the worldling lifts up his soul in carnal delights, which are mere empty vanities; but the saint loves more substantial things; like Jehoshaphat, he is lifted up in the ways of the Lord. He who is content with husks, will be reckoned with the swine. Does the world satisfy thee? Then thou hast thy reward and portion in this life; make much of it, for thou shalt know no other joy.

"Nor sworn deceitfully." The saints are men of honour still. The Christian man's word is his only oath; but that is as good as twenty oaths of other men. False speaking will shut any man out of heaven, for a liar shall not enter into God's house, whatever may be his professions or doings. Reader, does the text before us condemn thee, or dost thou hope to ascend into the hill of the Lord?

The Foolish Self-Made Saint

The Chameleon Who Inspired Robespierre

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a name to conjure with.  Many in our post-Christian world remain intensely loyal to him and his writings.  The irony is that Rousseau was in many ways a charlatan, a fraud.  He was an emotionally unstable man.  His biographer, J. H. Huizinga uses the phrase "weathercock nature" to characterize him--meaning, essentially, that Rousseau was a past master at sensing the way the wind was blowing, and setting his sails accordingly.

Consequently, much of his writing was (and remains) chaotically incoherent.  Choose any opinion or position about man and society you wish and somewhere in his writing Rousseau will agree with you, and somewhere else he will attack you.  Here are some of Rousseau's hypocritical behaviours:

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Another Win

The Supreme Court’s Religious-Freedom Message: There Are No Second-Class Citizens

Public programs must be open to all.


By David French
National Review Online

Daily Meditation

The Powerful Root of Practical Love

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. (1 John 3:14)

John Piper


The Bible sometimes makes love the condition of the ongoing and final experience of future grace. It does not mean that love must precede faith in the promise. On the contrary, it means that faith in the promise must be so real that the love it produces proves the reality of the faith.

Thus love for others is a condition of future grace in the sense that it confirms that the primary condition, faith, is genuine. We could call love for others a secondary condition, which confirms the authenticity of the primary condition of faith.

Faith perceives the glory of God in the promises of future grace and embraces all that the promises reveal of what God is for us in Jesus. This spiritual apprehension and delight in God is the self-authenticating evidence that God has called us to be a beneficiary of his grace. This evidence frees us to bank on the promise as our own. And this banking on the promise empowers us to love. Which in turn confirms that our faith is real.

The world is desperate for a faith that combines two things: awestruck apprehension of unshakable divine Truth, and utterly practical, round-the-clock power to make a liberating difference in life. That is what I want too. Which is why I am a Christian.

There is a great God of grace who magnifies his own infinite self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust him. And there is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook and cranny of life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.

When Power Lusts for Money

What Now, Red Cow

The NZ Labour Party is nostalgically wishing that it could enter a time machine and get back to the late sixties.  Those were the days when Rob Muldoon, leader of the National Party, ran campaign attack ads against the Labour Party festooned with dancing Cossacks and warnings about "Reds under the bed."  Nowadays, as another election approaches, the Labour Party is wishing that it could go back to its glory days and find a few beds to hide under.

The problem is that the Labour Party has dragged out a revolutionary Pancho Villa pistol and shot every red foot in sight.  There was no force involved, you understand.  This was a pure "home goal".

Labour's coffers are a bit on the empty side.  The unions  have successfully captured the party machine and caucus but are scroogish when it comes to dolling out the lucre.  Labour therefore needs an army of gullible unpaid volunteers to work the political campaign.  New Zealand kids are pretty smart, though.  They know full-well that they can sit comfortably on the dole and do virtually nothing.  So, the uber-smart NZ young people looked at the "bargain" the Labour Party was offering them.  Live on the dole, work your butts off as a volunteer at the dirty end of a political campaign (door knocking, phone calling, working eighteen hours a day)--and all for nothing.  Just live off your dole payments.  It was an offer they refused faster than you can say, "Dancing Cossacks".  

So, the Labour Party turned overseas.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Worship and Death

We Worship By Faith, Not By Fun

Bill Smith
Kuyperian

As you approach the outer court of the Tabernacle with an animal in tow, your journey has been filled with thoughts of what is about to happen. This little animal, an animal of which you may have grown fond, is about to be slaughtered in your place. There may even be some thoughts of turning back.

The priest meets you in the outer court somewhere around the bronze altar; this big, hollow box with four horns on the top in which a fire is constantly burning. You lay your hands on the head of the animal, ordaining it to stand in your place to be offered up. The knife is then taken in hand and the throat of the animal is cut. The blood that gushes from its throat, being pumped out by a heart taking its last beats, is caught in a basin so that it can be splashed on the sides of the altar. The smells of death fill your nostrils. The priest finishes filleting the animal, cutting it up into pieces, washing the parts, and then placing it in this bronze altar in a particular order.

Though after a while in a culture that practices this day-in and day-out you become somewhat accustomed to this, it is not really what you would consider fun. In fact, this is something of a chore. It is difficult at many levels. You can think of many other things that you would rather be doing with your time. So, why do you do it?

You do it because God commanded you to do it. You walk by faith, not by fun. You are created by God to be a worshiper, and this is what worshipers do.

Daily Meditation

On Sin

C. S. Lewis


[The demon Screwtape writes:] Even of his sins the Enemy does not want him to think too much: once they are repented, the sooner the man turns his attention outward, the better the Enemy is pleased.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in Words to Live By The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers

Euthanasia and the Love of Death

The Netherlands Recommissions the Ovens of Belsen

In Proverbs 8, Divine Wisdom is personified and calls out to human societies everywhere.

Does not wisdom call?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
    and my cry is to the children of man.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
    O fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
    and from my lips will come what is right,
for my mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips. [Proverbs 8: 1-7]

Wisdom, divine wisdom, is crying out every day to humanity.  But men are weak, stubborn, and foolish.  Men, in vast arrogance, think they can ignore the Living God and forge their own path and make up their own wisdom.  But the cry of Wisdom ends on a final, determinative climax:

For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favour from the Lord,
but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.

Those who shut their ears to God experience self-inflicted injury; those who hate God's wisdom love death.   At first glance some may advance the idea that "loving death" is a mere figure of speech, possibly an example of hyperbole.  But as humanism gains strength throughout the post-Christian West it is becoming literally true.  There is a growing love of death, as opposed to living and life.

Emma Elliott Freire writes: