Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Impossibility of You Getting Out of Debt

Do not be among those who give pledges, Among those who become guarantors for debts.

Proverbs 22:26

You've got your favorite financial guru.  You've bought his or her latest book.  Brother/Sister, I know this will be hard to swallow, but the reality is you cannot get out of debt, no matter how hard you try.  You are part of a system, and the system has got you under control. Nevertheless, hear me out because there is hope.

For most people, their concept of financial reality is built around a concept of individualism--their individual financial reality is the result of their individual actions alone.  Therefore, their individual debt is the result of their individual behavior alone.  This concept is easy to buy into because it is based on a fundamental truth, the truth that we are all individually accountable to our Creator.  This is the fundamental basis of responsibility and it is definitely real, but when it comes to financial debt, our situation is different.  It is different because our representative government has temporarily changed the rules of the game.  With the creation of the Federal Reserve Banking System and associated laws, our representatives have morphed us into a corporate body.  Now, like it or not, everyone's debt is your debt.  I give you the example of a house:

A house price is determined primarily by two things:  one, the demand for the house, and two, how much money the potential buyer is willing and able to spend.  How much money the potential buyer is willing and able to spend is generally determined by how much credit he or she can command and this is where the system comes into play: the term of the loan, the interest rate, the lending rules, and the ultimate backing of the loan--these are all being driven in unrighteous ways by government, with the risks being spread among all.  In a big way the cost of a house has been socialized--you will pay for your neighbor's default.  Therefore, the price you must pay for a house is the socialized price, and this makes all the difference in the world.  It is the difference between what the price of the house is with a 30-year, near-zero interest, government-backed loan and what the price would be if everyone had to either pay cash or get credit with bank lending based on individual character and individual risk and with lending discrimination uncoerced by federal law.  The same holds for every product you buy.  Even if you can manage to pay cash, you are still  paying the inflated socialized credit price.

The credit system of the U.S. is at the same time both mystifying and complex.  It is also perpetuated by a self-interested propaganda campaign--the system players who profit at your expense want to keep profiting at your expense.  They do not care about concepts such as justice and liberty, but God does.  Eventually the system will collapse.  There will be a day of reckoning. Just as our Creator's physical laws determine that what goes up must come down, His moral laws determine the same--what goes up against the Word of God, must come down.  Our system will eventually collapse because it is contrary to God's moral law, but there is hope on the other side.  God has a better plan, but we must acknowledge that our present system is a product of our popular support.  We have a system of our own design.  We must desire something better.  You cannot get out of debt no matter how hard you try because to do so would require drastic systemic change, something impossible for you. Nevertheless, "what is impossible with men is possible with God."  We have good reason to hope if we are willing to change.  To start, I encourage you to read the free e-book, Honest Money by Gary North.  It is only a click away.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Thang

My son just blessed me with a new iPad.  Not an iPad1 or iPad2, but the NEW iPad.  I'm told that's how Apple's marketing their latest addition to the world of tablet gadgets and I guess it should be obvious that Apple knows a little bit about successful marketing.  No doubt, their latest apple is sweet.  God made us to like new things - new car, new house, new furniture, new technology, new food.  I failed to mention new life.  Are you 93 and reading this blog?  I'm sure you'd appreciate new life, much more I'm sure than the twenty-something still a stranger to arthritic knees.  But then again, maybe you're a twenty-something that just discovered you have a terminal disease.  Or, maybe you're a forty-something that went in for a simple surgical procedure only to become the victim of a surgeon's bad day.  You can never get back what was lost - or so you think.

God making all things new is the very heart of what Christ came to do and is a central message of the Gospel or Good NEWs.  In the final book of our Bibles we are told that "He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' "  Making all things new is on the top of God's list of things to do, and His plans simply don't get interrupted.  In fact, His plans are already a reality.  In this sense we are the consumers and God the Divine Manufacturing Co.  Before any company releases a product, that product has already been produced.  Before you ever get your "New iPad", those iPads have been actively in the hands of design engineers, and many more sitting on warehouse shelves somewhere in Asia.  I've worked in enough engineering departments to know this is true.  New products to a consumer are practically old products to the ones cranking them out.

The New You - it's already a reality in God's heavenly bank, and you don't have to get to heaven to cash out.  That said, the Lord would have us to hope.  Speaking of our natural bodies as a "house", the apostle Paul tells us, "... in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven..."  "From heaven" refers to the big show that will be taking place on earth - that is, the earth of the new heaven and new earth.  Likewise, John in his heavenly vision saw the new city "...coming down out of heaven from God..."  It is a future transaction but a sure thang.  A new heaven, a new earth, a new body - it's coming to a planet near you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jesus Cursed Israel

Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.  Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.  He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.  
The Prophet Malachi 

The Scriptures close on a serious and conditional note.  The case for either optimism or pessimism hangs in the balance for future Israel, and from our perspective looking back, we can can see how things turned out.  Christ leaves us with no doubts as to which course the religious leaders of Israel chose.  Matthew's gospel gives us plenty of illustrations and in it he tells us on one occasion, "... some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders?  For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.' "  Christ's response was telling: "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far away from Me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "

It is obvious the religious leaders of Christ's day had not taken to heart the prophet Malachi's message from God about remembering the law of Moses.  Their concern was more about the propagation of a self-fabricated system, less about loving and honoring the Lord through His Law.  Later in Matthew's gospel we see Christ's lament over Israel's capitol city: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' "  Jesus effectively cursed Israel and it remains to be seen if the curse will ever be removed.

Nationally and personally, there is a lesson we can take away from this : "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!"  The Name of the Lord has to do with God's character, His morality.  Just as the laws of any nation reveal the character and morality of that people, the character of God is manifested through His statutes and judgments revealed by Him through the law of Moses.  We as a people would do well to take note.  Lip service is cheap, and our political leaders know it well.  Just like the religious leaders of Christ's day, our presidents and congressmen – Republican and Democrat alike - 
while promoting practices, policies and laws that practically slap God in His face, commonly end their speeches with the invocation "God Bless America".  We should not be proud, but fear.  Israel possessed favored nation status by God, and yet received a curse as the course of their actions.  As a nation, we should not expect anything less.