Thursday, 27 October 2011

Speaking in Tongues Gets You in the Flow

I've noticed that people who spend time speaking in an unknown tongue, are more likely to speak by the Spirit when they speak with their understanding too. They are more likely to be led supernaturally by the Spirit - in the way they run a meeting, and in their life and ministry. They are more likely to facilitate the manifestation of the Spirit in a meeting.

When we spend time speaking in an unknown tongue, it becomes easier to speak in the Spirit with our understanding - and it becomes easier to move in the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit.

Speaking in an unknown tongue exercises our spirit and yields our tongue to the Spirit. When you've been used to yielding your spirit to the Holy Spirit by praying in an unknown tongue, it feels more and more natural to yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit even when you're speaking with your understanding. It feels similar - only it's your known language that you are speaking rather than an unknown language. But it's a Holy Ghost thing you are saying.

Speaking in an unknown tongue places both your spirit and body (your tongue) in subjection to the perfect flow of the Holy Spirit. When your spirit becomes used to how that feels, you quickly notice the same flow of the Spirit even when He wants you to say something with your understanding. You quickly notice how it feels when the Spirit wants to move a certain way in a meeting - because you've learned to recognize the feeling of being perfectly yielded to the Spirit. Your spirit also notices it if something is outside the flow of the Spirit.

And the next step, after speaking by the Spirit, is to move in the Spirit or to be led by the Spirit - both in our lives or ministry, and in the way we run our meetings.

Spending time speaking in an unknown tongue gets our spirit used to being in the flow of the Spirit, used to being yielded to the Spirit, used to being in the employ of the Spirit. So the more used we are to flowing in the Spirit with our spirit in one sense (in an unknown tongue), the easier it will be for us to flow in the Spirit with our spirit in another sense (in a known tongue, or in the way we run a meeting).

Speaking in tongues therefore prepares your spirit to be able to speak by revelation with your understanding. Speaking in tongues makes it easier to yield to the flow - makes it easier to allow Him space to do what He wants to do in a meeting - to manifest the way He desires.

So get used to speaking with your spirit in an unknown tongue. Let it become as natural as thinking - as natural as breathing. Then it won't feel very different to speak in the Spirit with your understanding also. It will feel easier to yield to the way the Holy Spirit wants to manifest in a meeting. It will feel easier to yield to the way He wants to guide your ministry and your whole life.

"I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all," said Paul.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Australia is Ministry Preparation Ground

Australia is like a slingshot. Before you can shoot the stone forwards, you first have to pull it back - in the opposite direction. Once you've pulled it back far enough, you can then release it - and it will shoot outwards - forwards, where you want it to go, faster than you can imagine. It will hit the target with speed and accuracy.

Being in Australia can be good training-ground for a person's future ministry to the nations. Being in Australia might feel like a step backwards, like a step in the opposite direction to your desired destiny in ministry; it might feel like you're just biding your time - like you're not doing the kinds of things you want to be doing. But the purpose for this season of retreat might be only so that you can hit your target with the needed speed, force and accuracy.

The stone wouldn't achieve nearly as much if you throw it forward straightaway without first pulling it back in the sling - in the opposite direction - and then release it.

The Impact of One Holy Ghost Word

Last night at the prayer meeting, Pastor Jonas advised that sometimes, rather than preach a long, prepared sermon, it is better instead to just feel the Holy Ghost and speak only what He says, even if it's short - even if it's only a single sentence.

Pastor Jonas testified that one day when he was visiting the Philippines, a pastor approached him and told him that he had spoken a single sentence to him years ago. The pastor told Pastor Jonas that that one sentence impacted his life so much that many, many churches have since been planted as a result. And Pastor Jonas honestly doesn't even remember what the sentence was!

Another person told Pastor Jonas that he once told him, "Stealing is a sin." That one sentence had such an impact in the person's life, he told Pastor Jonas, that he became a pastor as a result. (The person had also had time to observe Pastor Jonas' life, and had also heard Pastor Jonas on TV - nevertheless it was that one sentence which he said impacted his life and which resulted in him becoming a pastor.)

Just one sentence, spoken by the Holy Ghost, can have such an impact!

"Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:" (Acts 1:2).

We too can speak through the Holy Ghost!

Short or long - Holy Ghost words sometimes make more impact than a well-structured, prepared lecture or sermon.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Quotes from Dr Rodney Howard-Browne

"People don't know about travailing prayer now."

"You are dispensers of the Holy Ghost".

"I'm not here to put the fire out - there are other preachers who can do that".

"Pentecost is real - I love its narrow way".

"If you don't get it on the inside, you're never going to get it on the outside".

"...the devil hates the Holy Ghost - because he knows about the Holy Ghost."

"The Holy Ghost will get you through".

Supplication in the Spirit

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Paul said to pray always.

Then he said to pray with all prayer. There are different types of prayer. One type of prayer Paul mentioned is 'supplication in the Spirit'.

There is such a thing as supplication in the Spirit. Supplication in the Spirit is when the Holy Spirit leads us into a special time of supplication, for a specific person, for a special purpose. Supplication in the Spirit is one form of prayer which we can make ourselves available for.

One way the Holy Spirit may lead us to make supplication, is in an unknown tongue. Another way is with our understanding. Another way is a combination of both. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for the saints with groanings that cannot be uttered. When we make ourself available, the Spirit, who knows the mind of God, helps us when we are humanly unable to know what to pray for as we ought.

One thing we can sometimes be led of the Spirit to supplicate for is that a certain person whom God has called into the ministry will be granted utterance.

Another thing we can be led of the Spirit to supplicate for is that a certain minister may speak as he ought - for example, that he may speak boldly.

We can be led by the Spirit - we can supplicate in and with the the Spirit - that God can enable a certain minister, or ministry or church to do what God wills for him to do as he ought to do it.

Examples: a small number of ladies prayed-in the 1879 revival which impacted Ireland; Evan Roberts prayed-in the 1904 revival. They were led of the Spirit, and prayed in the Spirit and with the Spirit for revival - and it happened.

Another lady prayed for a full-Gospel church to start in every town - and it came to pass.

Another thing we can supplicate for is all saints. The Spirit can lead us to pray with the Spirit - to pray-out a perfect plan of God - for any particular saint, or group of saints. Sometimes while we pray in the Spirit, He will impress upon our minds a knowledge of God's will. Other times, we may pray instead in an unknown tongue.

Then Paul said to watch unto the same with all perseverance. This kind of prayer may require watching and perseverance. There is another kind of prayer which does not.

For example, if you are believing something for yourself, something which you desire, and you ask and believe you have received it, then you shall receive it - there is no necessity for watching in the same thing. You just know that you've received it. That's the prayer of asking - for yourself - for something that you desire.

But 'supplication in the Spirit' for all saints - or for a specific minister or church - requires watching because there is more involved than just your own faith and your own ability to receive from God. You're dealing with another person or persons. They have their own will, struggles, trials, temptations and faith. They can have their ups and downs which you cannot control directly any more than you have the right to tell another person how he must arrange the furniture in his house.

When it's something you are asking for for yourself, you can pray and believe you receive it and you shall have it - no watching required. But when it comes to supplicating for others, we can't control what they do, therefore watching is required - an awareness of progress - even an awareness at times of the devil's schemes, is required.

And that takes perseverance. Sometimes the devil does hinder - through no fault of our own; and sometimes through no fault of the person we are praying for either. Sometimes it takes time before Satan is bruised underfoot of a certain Christian community. Nevertheless if we persevere in watching and persevere in all types and occasions of supplication in the Spirit for all saints, we can successfully partner with God in seeing His specific will accomplished - for, in and through one of His people whom we are supplicating for.

Make yourself available to the Spirit on-purpose for this type of prayer. You may even see the results with your own eyes!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Hand of the Lord

The hand of the Lord is with you. The hand of the Lord is the Holy Spirit. Therefore when you speak, the Lord will confirm your word with manifestations of the Spirit following. You will see!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Hunting as Sport

I understand - hunting can prove your prowess. Still, it would have been a fairer competition if the animal was armed with an automatic rifle too, don't you think?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

All These Things in This Generation?

Preterists claim that Jesus said everything He predicted (in Matthew 24) had to be fulfilled within the first-century generation.

"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34)

But does the text really say that?

Imagine if I told you that I intend to go to college, go on a world holiday, and then return and start a family business.

And you ask me, "When are you going to do all these things? And how are you going to advertise the new business?"

And I answer by telling you how I'm going to advertise the new business, and I tell you that before that, I'm going to college.

And then I say that before going to college, I'm first going to finish high school, get some part-time work, and enter an ameteur bodybuilding competition - I'm going to do all these things before this year is over.

It is obvious that when I say I'm going to do all these things this year, it doesn't refer to every topic I ever mentioned in my entire conversation with you - it refers only to the things I was discussing in that particular paragraph.

It didn't mean I'm going to complete high school, complete part-time work, complete college, return from an overseas holiday, and set-up the family business - all by the end of this year. More likely, it just meant all the things leading up to starting college - because that's what I was discussing with you in that particular paragraph.

Similarly, when Jesus said "this generation shall not pass away before all these things are fulfilled", I'm wondering whether the text really necessitates that He meant all things in the entire chapter - or could He just as well have meant only the things in His latest paragraph?

After all, the disciples had asked Him more than one question! And Jesus did chop and change between addressing the different questions.

If this is textually/linguistically allowable, could it then be possible that all of the things relevant to the disciples' first question (concerning the destruction of the Temple and the scattering of the Jews) indeed came to pass within the first-century generation - while the things relevant to the disciples' other questions (concerning the end of the world, and His coming) may not necessarily have had to be fulfilled within that generation?

Admittedly, the language in both Daniel and in the Olivet discourse doesn't seem to make too much of any potential time-span between the themes they were discussing. But does the text really necessitate that no time-span was possible?

I think there actually are indications - clauses in the texts (both the Lord's and Daniel's) - which could just as well indicate that an indefinite period of time could potentially span between some of the themes they were discussing. There are some clauses in the texts which might actually be indicative of that. I have examples in mind, but I won't mention them here and now.

This seems all the more possible when we remember that both the Lord Jesus and also the angel who spoke to Daniel, despite being able to give an approximate time-frame for certain themes which they'd been asked about, were not able to give as specific a time-frame for certain other themes they were asked about. Jesus actually admitted this. That means that even if in the Father's foreknowledge, there was to be a long span of time between some of the themes, Jesus and the angel could not have said very much to indicate exactly how long the time span would be. But the main things is: did they say anything in the text which precludes the possibility of a time span? That is something I'm personally investigating.

And as I've said above, while there are clauses in the texts which indicate that certain themes had to be fulfilled within a specific time frame, there also appear to be certain clauses in the texts which do seem to indicate a potential span of time between certain themes.

If this is linguistically allowable, then it might be possible that some things in Daniel and in the Olivet discourse are indeed exclusively now already fulfilled (as is claimed by preterism), while other clauses may hint at an ongoing state (as is claimed by historicism), and other things may be exclusively yet to happen in the future after all (as is claimed by futurism). But the entire chapter would not fit exclusively into just one of the classic categories. Rather, each part of the chapter would fit appropriately into its own time-frame category - past, ongoing or future - depending on the clause that qualifies it.

If so, this would allow us to accept that the siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple, and the scattering of the Jews are indeed now already fulfilled - while at the same time allow us to see that the second coming and the resurrection are indeed still future events - and that the preaching of the Gospel to all nations continues to span the period in-between (tribulations and persecutions also continue to span the period in between).

This could eliminate the modern problem of repeatedly failing end-times predictions - and maintain the orthodox hope of the future coming of the Lord and of the resurrection at the same time.

I'm still investigating whether the texts of Daniel and the Olivet discourse allows this linguistically. There are still some difficult passages. But so far the possibility still seems worth investigating.

Friday, 14 October 2011

How to Encourage Yourself

"David encouraged himself..."

There are ways to encourage ourself!

How did David do so? "David encouraged himself IN THE LORD HIS GOD."

We can encourage ourself too - in the Lord.

Now the Lord is that Spirit. We can get in the Lord by getting in the Spirit. One way we can get in the Spirit is by praying in the Spirit - and one way we can pray in the Spirit is by praying with our spirit in other tongues. When we pray with other tongues, our spirit prays as the Spirit gives utterance.

Therefore praying with tongues is one way we can encourage ourself in the Lord. You can encourage yourself by praying in tongues!

Fret Not

David wrote: "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD from them that walk uprightly."

Since the Lord withholds no good thing from them that walk uprightly, then if something has been withheld from an upright person, then it wasn't good - or the timing wasn't good.

Either way, it's a win for the upright! So don't fret. Just keep doing right.

Love-Based Conversation

"He that covereth a transgression SEEKETH LOVE".

In all our conversation, we can seek love. When love is both the source and objective of all that we say and do, it will guide our speech and action with a unique wisdom. Love provides a guiding-wisdom that knowledge alone does not provide - the wisdom of love; the ways of love; the tact and strategy of love.

And love never fails!


Paul wrote that the dead in Christ were awaiting the resurrection. That means they had not yet experienced the resurrection.

The dead in Christ had already experienced a spiritual resurrection before they died, during their life in Christ on earth; and after their death, they had already begun experiencing a spiritual resurrection in heaven - yet there was still a future resurrection awaiting them, wrote Paul.

Paul explained that Christ shall bring them with Him when He comes; then they shall rise; then we which are alive and remain shall be reunited with them and with the Lord forever.

We look forward to this event with all our hearts!

The Olivet Discourse and Subsequent History

The Olivet discourse includes details that were relevant to the questions which it addressed - but that does not mean that other things weren't also to happen, other things not necessarily mentioned in detail in the discourse.

For example, the discourse includes mention of natural calamities and persecutions - but that does not mean there could not also be seasons of relative calm and that the Church could not ever experience acceptance and enjoy positive influence, in certain places at certain times.

The scope of an answer needs to be understood by the scope of the question itself. The Olivet discourse answered a question which was prompted by the disciples' surprise at hearing that the Temple would be destroyed. It was a surprise to the disciples that the ensuing years could even include any real hardship at all. Their expectations of the kingdom were different. So Jesus sought to enhance their understanding of the nature of how things would transpire, which included telling them about calamity and persecution - but that didn't mean better things couldn't also be experienced to varying degrees in varying places at varying times.

Therefore the Gospel-message and the Christian-outlook is not one of Dominion-now hyper-optimism - but neither is it one of gnostic-type dis-attachment from the physical here and now.

Yes, there is going to be calamity and persecution this side of the second coming - but that doesn't mean that things like getting married, having a family, and wishing to prosper, do business, and govern nations are inconsistent with Gospel-living. Christian-living can overflow into these areas as well.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Financial Crisis and the End of the World

There's something you've gotta like about Alessio Rastani!

Indeed, a market downturn can be the greatest opportunity for someone who sees the right strategy. Hedging, government securities, perhaps derivatives too - but I especially concur with Rastani's advice to strengthen one's assets. It's refreshing when someone can see both sides, instead of seeing only the other side.

Several years ago, right before the Global Financial Crisis hit, many preachers were prophesying about a ''great wealth transfer" that was allegedly about to take place from the wicked to the righteous. But today some of those same preachers are preaching doomsday. I prefer it when someone doesn't merely reflect the mood of the media, but can see the possibilities more objectively.

So, good on Rastani! Some are calling him all sorts of bad names, but others are calling him sensible. He seems to have both eyes open - seeing Europe's problems with one eye, yet seeing the possibilities with the other. See video.

I know it's pretty boring not to make sensational claims - but I personally feel it's not possible to predict exactly what is going to happen. Everyone agrees America's economy has seen some serious downturns in recent years. But that doesn't mean America's economy is the worst in the world. Far from it! I do think America and Europe could be headed for some more difficult times ahead. But even if the worst-case scenario does end-up happening, it won't necessarily mean the end of the world. It could - or it might not.

History has seen worse than this before, yet human civilization went on. This is not even a real crisis, if you know what I mean. A real crisis is when the ground cannot produce - due to fire, flood, famine, drought, earthquake, or war. The current global financial crisis is not caused by any of those things - it ism't even affecting any of those things. It's only about credit. So even if worse comes to worst, people will still be able to grow food - especially in America.

It wouldn't necessarily mean that the Antichrist must emerge in our generation. He could - or he might not (assuming the futurist eschatological-model). There was once a time when America didn't even exist - yet believe it or not, the Antichrist didn't rise in those days. Europe also has seen worse times - yet the Antichrist did not emerge in those days. Previous generations have seen currency crashes, world wars and empires unite - but it came and went in cycles while human civilization went on. Human civilization could survive a worst-case scenario in our generation too.

Even in the futurist model of eschatology itself, Antichrist cannot actually arise until the restrainer is removed - and it seems futurists can't agree on who or what the restrainer is. So since they don't seem to know for sure whether the restrainer is currently being removed, it must be even more difficult for them to conclude that the Antichrist must already be alive.

Also in the futurist model, the rise of the beast is preceded by a few years of worldwide earthquakes, wars, and cosmic upheaval affecting a full third of the world's oceans and water. The rise of the beast was not preceded by mere credit crisis.

But it's possible those passages of Scripture could have a different application. The end of the world can happen only when God wills - and I don't think He's telling us when it will be.

That's why evangelists are out there getting souls ready - because the end could come even sooner than many end-times preachers may be thinking.

"The Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not," said Jesus.

Eschatology and Social Action

I agree that hyper-futurism can weaken a person's social vision. But I think part-preterism or part-futurism, and not full-preterism, is sufficient to restore a basis for social vision.

Full-preterism and dominionism sees social reform as the kingdom of God on earth, and doesn't look forward to any special future arrival of the kingdom. Hyper-futurism perceives very little of the kingdom in society, prior to the second coming, except for in the spirit of a believer and in the church.

But I feel both are extreme. I think it's wrong to say that there won't be a day when the kingdom and the King will come openly and in perfection. But I think it's also wrong to say that there is no expression of God's kingdom at all outside of believers' spirit and the church.

I think of it this way:

1) the kingdom is in believers (individually, and corporately in the church);

2) the kingdom is being expressed through believers (and to varying degrees is shaping family, tribe, nation, business, government and nation); and

3) one day the kingdom and King shall arrive literally, openly, perfectly.

I see all three.

Future Things

When it comes to future things and eschatology, I feel sure of some things, but still uncertain about others.

I'm sure there is existence after death. I'm sure everyone shall face judgment after death. And I'm sure judgment is eternal.

About other things, I might change my mind in future as I learn more, but this is where I'm leaning at the moment:

I feel that in Matthew 24, the disciples seem to have asked Jesus three questions, questions concerning: 1) the end of the world, 2) His coming and 3) "these things" ("these things" meaning, the destruction of the Temple and city).

In Matthew 24 Jesus proceeds to discuss the signs and timing of each of those three things. Jesus didn't seem to say that all three things would necessarily happen together. Jesus even used some clauses which seem to be bridging-statements which span the indefinite period of time between events.

His prediction about the destruction of the Temple and city appear now to be past; His coming and the end of the world it seems are still future - but in between, Jerusalem continues to be trodden under foot by Gentiles, the Gospel continues to be preached in all nations, and persecutions also continue.

I feel it could be a mistake therefore to place all events in Matthew 24 in the past; it could also be a mistake to place it all in the future - and it could also be a mistake to claim all events keep repeating themselves. In other words, the preterist, historicist and futurist dogma are each wrong.

Rather, I feel it may be better to say that some events are now past; that others are yet future - and that some things Jesus mentioned appear to span the period in-between.

Jesus Himself did not know how much time would span between events. Daniel didn't know either. Neither did the angel who spoke to Daniel. Only the Father knows.

Therefore Jesus was able to give some fairly definite signs concerning the destruction of the Temple - but He was unable to give an indication of how much time would elapse until His coming.

But both Jesus and Daniel were able to describe what happens in-between: namely, the preaching of the Gospel and trials - and then the end shall come, possibly including a general physical resurrection of all the dead.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs - Modern Capitalist Par Excellence

Whether one realizes it or not, everyone who feels gratitude in his or her heart today, worldwide, for Steve Jobs, feels gratitude for freedom, feels gratitude for capitalism par excellence - whether one cares to acknowledge it or not.

Everyone who has ever had anything to do with Apple or Apple products, has done so voluntarily, profitably or happily - from inception to consumer, and everyone in between.

The amazing thing is no-one has ever been forced to have anything to do with Apple, at any level. Anyone who has ever chosen to have any involvement at any level with Apple has chosen so voluntarily. And everyone who chose so, has profited - or has perceived that they got what they wanted from the relationship - and mutually so. Everyone always feels delighted.

Without any coercion - in complete freedom - an intuitive quality product has been developed; a quality service is being provided - and everyone feels he has benefited - everyone feels happy. And today everyone is feeling the love.

America made this possible - Steve Jobs excelled at it - and we all know we've benefited from it.

That's Steve Job, that's Apple, that's capitalism, that's freedom, that's America.

And all of it is owed to Jesus Christ our Lord. To the glory of God our Father!

Can you say Amen.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Must American Debt Mean the End of the World?

A friend posted on Facebook:

"US Closes 2010-2011 Fiscal Year With $14,790,340,328,557.15 In Debt, $95 Billion Jump On The Day, $1.2 Trillion Increase In One Year & that is excluding the EU southern member states debt! Could we even count that many stars in the night sky".

Someone else said:

"Many are not prepared for what's coming."

"...the person the anti-Christ I believe he is living right now....."

Some of my thoughts:

Allow me to introduce some comparative figures which may help to bring some perspective to America's situation:

Yes, America's external debt is about $14.8 trillion. It sounds extremely high - but EU's isn't far behind at $13.7 trillion.

Remember also that America creates an enormous amount of wealth each year. America's total external debt is actually only about 99% of its GDP - but Norway's debt stands at 141% of GDP; Germany's at 142%; Britain's is 400%; and Luxembourg's is 3,443%.

Our own debt in Australia stands at 95% of our GDP. Therefore America's debt as a percentage of GDP is really not too different to Australia's (only 4% higher) and is far lower than much of Europe's.

I just did a quick calculation - America's debt per capita - although its debt sounds huge - is actually less than $48,000 per person. By comparison, Germany's debt per capita is higher at nearly $58,000. France's debt per capita stands at $75,000. Britain's is over $144,000 per capita; and Luxembourg's debt per capita stands at nearly $3.8million.

Australia's debt per capita is over $52,000. That means America's debt per capita is actually nearly $4,000 lower than Australia's and far lower than much of Europe's.

America's debt per capita is actually $700 lower than its GDP per capita. Australia's debt per capita is nearly $12,000 higher than its GDP per capita, and the disparity between per capita debt and per capita GDP in much of Europe is even greater.

America's external debt situation in and of itself is actually therefore better than Australia's and siginificantly better than much of Europe's. It's just that the American media is more alarmist about its own situation than our media in Australia is about our situation - because that's the nature of free-speech in America. I love it that American society is so alert and so vocal about signs of potential danger - nevertheless, the reality is that America is still in a better position than most strong economies around the world.

The nature of free-speech in America means that much of the criticism of America comes from within America itself. But that's not necessarily a reflection of America's latent strength and unity.

Having said that, wisely managing debt of course is an important issue. Australia's situation was far better under the previous Coalition government than under Labor. America could experience consequences more serious than many are imagining if it doesn't return to more-conservative fiscal management - and perhaps experience another spiritual awakening. But the cause of the problem was not capitalism, and therefore the solution will not be socialism - and it wouldn't necessarily mean the end of the world.

Socialists and end-time pundits take note. And may God bless America.

US External Debt in Perspective

America's external debt has reached $14,825,308,000,000.

Some are saying America is in a worse predicament that Europe. Some are even predicting the end of the world.

But allow me to introduce some figures which may help to bring some perspective to America's situation:

America's external debt is indeed about $14.8 trillion - but EU's isn't far behind at $13.7 trillion.

America's external debt is only about 99% of its GDP - but Norway's debt stands at 141% of GDP; Germany's at 142%; Britain's is 400%; and Luxembourg's is 3,443%.

Australia's debt stands at 95% of GDP. Therefore America's debt as a percentage of GDP is comparable to Australia's (only 4% higher).

I just did a quick calculation - America's debt per capita is less than $48,000. Germany's is higher at nearly $58,000 per capita. France's debt per capita stands at $75,000 per capita. Britain's is over $144,000; Luxembourg's debt per capita stands at nearly $3.8million.

Australia's debt per capita is over $52,000. That means America's debt per capita is actually nearly $4,000 lower than Australia's.

America's debt per capita is actually $700 lower than its GDP per capita. Australia's debt per capita is nearly $12,000 higher than its GDP per capita.

America's situation is actually better than Australia's and siginificantly better than much of Europe's.

The American media is more alarmist about its own situation than our media in Australia is about our situation - because that's the nature of free-speech in America. America is still actually in a better position than most strong economies around the world.

Wisely managing debt however of course is an issue with important consequences. Australia's situation was far better under the previous Coalition govenrment than under Labor. Recent elections in Europe have seen a major swing back towards conservative parties.

Socialists and end-times pundits take note!

And may God bless America.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Five Questions For Atheists About Science

Every now and then we hear atheists accuse people of not being scientific in their methods, simply because they believe in God. Here are five questions to see if atheism is really any more scientific:

1. Is it true that the scientific-method cannot be cited as grounds for a conclusion about something that can neither be observed, measured, qualified nor quantified?

2. Is it true that mankind has not yet been able to observe the most-distant body in the universe?

3. Can it be asserted therefore that God cannot be sitting on the other side of that body?

4. Isn't it true then that the philosophy of atheism cannot cite the scientific method as its basis?

5. Seeing it is not possible to assert that God cannot exist, is it possible that you could experience Him?

Five Questions for Atheists About Reality

1. Is it impossible that there could be a non-physical reality?

2. Is it impossible that a non-physical reality could exist that you don't know about?

3. Is it impossible that someone else could experience one such reality?

4. Is it impossible that God could be one such reality?

5. Is it impossible that you could experience God?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Is the Antichrist Living Right Now?

A Facebook Post from Dr Rodney Howard-Browne:

"The Spirit of Anti-Christ has been operational in the from the time of the fall of Lucifer - as far as the person the anti-Christ I believe he is living right now and will be revealed.............He will come on the scene as a "Messiah' we have seen little smatterings of that over the last few years in the church and out - great deception - the masses will go along without questioning. Unfortunately religious leaders and Pastors will follow him. It will be that subtle! I will add one more statement - some might like this and some might not - however it's a fact - if anyone is against the Holy Spirit they are Anti-christ !!!!!!!!!!!!"

I wonder: how is it possible to know the Antichrist is living right now? Just wondering.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Does the Bible Teach Gays Must be Executed?

Someone asked:

"Leviticus 20:13: 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.'

Now the bible clearly says to kill gay people. Make no mistake about it. We know how fundies love to bag out on gay people. We see how the WBC loves to blame gay people for all of society's ills.

What I want to know is why do you fundies pay lip service to what god supposedly says? Why aren't you doing what god commands? Why aren't you killing gay people? What is your excuse?

My answer:

Let me answer the broader question which I think you are asking first, and then the case-specific question about gays next.

Christians don't enact Moses' Law to the letter, because the Bible itself explains that we are not meant to do so.

It needs to be understood that some of the early books in the Bible were written by Moses for the purpose of giving a civil law specifically to the nation of Israel and specifically for that time - his law was not intended for all people of all time. Later books in the Bible explain that Christians are not required to keep Moses' law to the letter. The Bible therefore is to be taken as a whole. It explains itself.

For example, in the book of Leviticus, Moses wrote for Israel a method of dealing with sin - they were to bring an offering and offer it on the altar. Moses intended this instruction for the citizens of Israel for that time - not for all people of all time. The New Testament, in the writings of Paul, explains that Moses' law of sin-offerings was only ever intended to be a temporary system, a system that was to be superseded once the true sacrifice for sin was made - which was the once-for-all sacrifice of God's own Son, for all of our sins, upon the cross. Christ's once-for-all offering for the sin of the whole world superseded the regular sin-offerings brought repeatedly by individuals under Moses' law.

The temporary system of law which Moses wrote for Israel was good. We can still learn a lot from its principles. And Christians will never break any of the underlying principles which it sought to convey. We fulfill the whole of Moses' law in principle, but we are not to express all of those principles using exactly the same outward forms that they used.

Comparing Moses' law with Jesus Himself and the lifestyle He creates in us, is like comparing a shadow of a person with the person Himself; like comparing a reflection of a person with the person Himself; like comparing a photo of a loved-one with the loved-one Himself. The reflection or the photo contains all the basics of what the person looks like - but when the loved-one Himself arrives, you don't keep admiring the reflection or the photo - you turn from it and turn to Him and embrace him. Similarly, Moses' law had the purpose of temporarily explaining certain important moral principles - but Jesus embodied it. Once He came, Israel was meant to turn from the outward rituals of Moses' law (rituals which illustrated Christ). By embracing Him, we embrace all that is good. Our lifestyle will then fulfill the same principles which Moses' law sought to teach - but we won't express those principles with precisely the same outward forms.

The basic rule, Jesus said, is love. If we always act in a loving way towards everyone, and embrace Jesus Christ as our Saviour, then our lifestyle will automatically fulfill the same underlying principles that were inherent in every point of Moses' law.

The New Testament explains this approach to Moses' law. If we don't take all of the books of the Bible into account, in regard to your question, it would be like reading a novel and after reading only two or three chapters, jumping to a conclusion about the plot. We have to read the whole novel to understand the novel. That's why Christians don't seek to enact Moses' law to the letter - because the overall teaching of the Bible explains otherwise. In principle, yes we do keep Moses' principles - but to the letter - in all of its outward forms - no we don't.

Now to the specific case of gays. Moses did stipulate the death penalty for sodomy. Why doesn't a Christian kill homosexuals, you ask. The reason is because while Christians believe homosexuality is unnatural, unfulfilling, morally wrong and not beneficial to the individual, to children, to families or to society, Christians believe (and Moses' law itself also taught this) that it is not an individual civilian's prerogative to take it into his own hands to punish wrong-doing. That role is vested exclusively with the civial authorities - with the society's judicial procedure - not with an individual. Vengeance belongs to God alone and to His appointed agents - it's not our place as individuals to punish wrongdoing. There must be a rule of law, not a system where individuals can go about taking vengeance according to their own whims and fancies.

So from a Christian, New Testament point of view, it would be out of place for me personally as an unelected, unappointed individual civilian to take it into my own hands to punish wrongdoing - wrongdoing such as murder, theft, adultery or sodomy.

But there is nothing wrong with Christians arguing for appropriate legislation to be put in place. And there is nothing wrong when the appropriate authorities punish wrongdoing appropriately.

Christians are united in their belief that wrong is wrong and that wrong should be legislated against and should be punishable by law. But some seem undecided concerning whether they see the death penalty as appropriate. My personal feeling is twofold: one, it can be argued that the death penalty is certainly deserved in some cases; and two, it is also a Biblical truth to say that mercy triumphs over judgment. So in regard to the question of capital punishment, I think there are a number of criteria which can be considered case-by-case without compromising both Mosaic law and Gospel truth. In other words, I think the death penalty needn't be considered inappropriate in some cases, and I also think there may be some cases where, if mercy is allowed to triumph over judgment, that also needn't be considered a breech of Biblical principle. I think it is possible to be consistent with the principles of Moses' law, and yet refrain from applying the death penalty in every case in which Moses' law stipulated it. There are cases where Moses' law stipulated the death penalty in which I think it would now be inappropriate to apply the death penalty and inconsistent with overall Biblical teaching. Then there are also cases where I think that to apply the death penalty needn't be considered inappropriate - but even in such cases, it sometimes mightn't be inappropriate to allow mercy to triumph over judgment. Perhaps we can discuss some of the criteria to be considered further some time. But I trust this suffices to answer your underlying question about how the Bible overall and different parts of it in particular were intended to be approached and applied.