Monday, January 14, 2019

Free book excerpt #33 from Author & Web Minister Paul J. Bern: This time from, "Occupying America"

"Occupying America: We Shall Overcome",

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

 One of the most exhaustive, comprehensive books about the “Occupy Wall St.” and “We Are The 99%” Movements written so far, as well as why they are still relevant today (Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders, the Yellow Vests in France, etc.). Pro-Occupy; anti-government; very dissident. Watch the author's video at http://youtu.be/Z20l9ohORN4

 

Excerpt of chapter five, which forecasted the downfall of the Euro back in 2012, a process that has since gotten underway....


Overall, conditions are decidedly negative at a time financial markets are whistling past the graveyard. Expect reality to eventually outstrip hope. Continued wrongheaded policies assures train wreck unpleasantness and grief. For ordinary people, it means greater misery. Stronger economies will sink with weaker ones. In fact, world economies are now so interlinked that a shock in one spreads everywhere in short order, including among the strongest. It's coming but no one knows when. Today's economic fragility is a global event.



Eurozone, UK and US banks are broke but still operating, thanks to never ending loans from the Fed. However, any time they spend money or lend reserves, inflation is adversely affected. Now it's a matter of inflate or die. Decades of accumulated government debt approaches saturation. It's coming in a few years at most, possibly as soon as a few months. At issue is at-risk and unpayable government debt and zero interest rates benefiting bankers. As a result, expect greater crisis down the road. Since the early 1960's, financial excess assured crisis conditions too great to contain. It's been building for over 50 years. We are at the stage now that risk is growing exponentially, as central banks and governments aggressively intervene in markets, causing major distortions.



From inception, the Euro was doomed to fail. We just don't know when it will actually occur. It's been slowly disintegrating for years. Its demise will damage global economies in ways that may be nearly incalculable, not to mention inconceivable. Economic and financial dislocation is at hand. Delaying the inevitable only works so long. Reality eventually triumphs. Europe and America are sinking. Judgment day awaits. It could be 2012 or as late as 2016, but no later (2016 will be the year when China's economy surpasses America's if current growth rates remain the same). When disintegration arrives, expect harder than ever hard times. Ordinary people will be hurt most. Bankers and 1%'ers have stashed trillions in tax havens. Friendly governments infiltrated with 1%'ers do nothing to retrieve the money or help troubled households survive. Welcome to “Battleground America”, a class war of the have-it-all's versus the have-nothing's that could degenerate into a civil cold war, the likes of which has not been seen before. It's all downhill from here unless global protesters stay committed long-term against conditions too unacceptable to tolerate. That's the wild card world elites fear, and with good reason. It's because ordinary people can change the world. It's the only way beneficial social change ever comes!



People everywhere are coming to the same conclusion. A mass deduction is being formulated by the many disenfranchised, dispossessed and disillusioned American workers, the sum of which is that the 99% has been getting the shaft for entirely too long at the hands of the elitists who have enslaved us all by forcing us to work for bare subsistence wages while putting basic necessities and human rights such as access to health care and higher education financially out of reach. There are all kinds of ways that are legal and nonviolent methods to fight back against the rigged political and economic systems that stand in the way of our freedom. One such instance is detailed in the Web posting below.


Bank of America Gets Pad Locked After Homeowner Forecloses On It
Written by Kelly Heffernan-Tabor, CBS News, Jun 5, 2011

Collier County, Florida -- Have you heard the one about a homeowner foreclosing on a bank? Well, it has happened in Florida and involves a North Carolina based bank. Instead of Bank of America foreclosing on some Florida homeowner, the homeowners had sheriff's deputies foreclose on the bank. It started five months ago when Bank of America filed foreclosure papers on the home of a couple, who didn't owe a dime on their home. The couple said they paid cash for the house.

The case went to court and the homeowners were able to prove they didn't owe Bank of America anything on the house. In fact, it was proven that the couple never even had a mortgage bill to pay. A Collier County Judge agreed and after the hearing, Bank of America was ordered by the court to pay the legal fees of the homeowners. The Judge said the bank wrongfully tried to foreclose on their house.

So, how did it end?... After more than 5 months of the judge's ruling, the bank still hadn't paid the legal fees, and the homeowner's attorney did exactly what the bank tried to do to the homeowners. He seized the bank's assets. "They've ignored our calls, ignored our letters, legally this is the next step to get my clients compensated," attorney Todd Allen told CBS. Sheriff's deputies, movers, and the couple's attorney went to the bank and foreclosed on it. The attorney gave instructions to remove desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets and any cash in the teller's drawers. After about an hour of being locked out of the bank, the bank manager handed the attorney a check for the legal fees....”


In the wake of Occupy Wall Street's successes, it's time for some more serious, organized direct action around the issue of debt. When I talk to people about what we could do that would really compel Congress and Wall Street to meet our demands or really alter the current system, we inevitably start discussing what non-cooperation with our own oppression would look like. What does it mean to stop cooperating with the banks? What we inevitably end up describing is some variation of a debt strike, simply ending our own participation in a system that exploits us. Are debt strikes, then, the next logical step in the fight against Big Finance's domination of the 99 percent? Debt really does tie the 99 percent together, it's everyone's least common denominator, mathematically speaking. Everyone who is under the 99 percentile saw a major debt increase in the 2000's. You can talk about the richest 1 percent making too much money, but part of what they're making is derived from our debts. Their wealth is a claim on the future income of the remaining 99%, and it is an indicator of a predatory economic system that exists solely to serve the top 1%. That debt was for many years a substitute for wages in the pockets of many Americans. As incomes stagnated or even shrank, credit cards and home equity filled the gap—until the housing bubble popped, leaving millions underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their homes were worth, and unable to get more credit cards or even make the minimum payments on the ones they had. In short, everybody found themselves caught in a trap.



Many have noted that what happened in 2007 and 2008, when the banks were handed billions in bailouts and secret ultra-low-interest loans, was essentially a capital strike. Finance essentially said that if they didn't get bailed out, they'd shut down the system — stop lending, jam up the works, and make life miserable for everyone. Yet those same banks, once bailed out, have flatly refused to do the same for a nation of borrowers thrown into crisis by their actions. Their argument seems simple — the borrowers knew what they were doing, it's their obligation to pay. Most borrowers agree, and struggle to make payments on credit cards with 20 percent interest rates, usurious student loans for educations that didn't help them find jobs, on homes that have plunged in value thanks to predatory lending, and on cars and trucks that often wear out before the owner can finish paying off the auto loan, keeping the “customer” locked into a never-ending string of upside-down auto loans. If someone wants to take an interrelation of violent extortion, sheer power and total domination, and then turn it into something moral, and most of all, make it seem like the victims are to blame, you turn it into a relation of debt.



There is power in numbers, and that's where the idea of an organized debt strike comes in. One person can be hounded, harassed, and scared into submission, but when enough of them work together, could the banks be pressed into backing down? I firmly believe that homeowners who are stuck with mortgages greater than the value of their homes should band together and refuse to pay their mortgages until the banks agree to negotiate. A kind of collective bargaining for homeowners whose wealth was wiped out by the financial crisis, those who cannot pay their bills, and those who can (for now) but still would benefit by spending that money elsewhere, would be an effective tool for us to use to retake control of our country and its government away from the New World Order elites. This would immediately cause a crisis for the banks, meaning they couldn't afford to ignore the issue and would then be forced to negotiate with homeowners.



There should be debt forgiveness, but these guys – the student loan profiteers – should eat it, not the government and taxpayers. The banks should pay because they destroyed the economy, they sucked 18-year-olds into predatory loans they are stuck with for life, accumulated well-meaning wage earners with mortgages they couldn't repay, and credit card debt whose interest accrues faster than the principal can be repaid, especially if you lose your job. Mother Jones magazine notes in a late 2011 issue that banks have already written off some $90 billion in credit card debt since 2008. Aside from the fact, of course, that we wound up with an $8 trillion housing bubble from just those sorts of bad loans, there is in the US one type of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, that follows you for life and that has the full power of the US government behind its collection. I'm speaking, of course, of student loans.



The student debt bubble is officially over $1 trillion as of 2012, largely consisting of loans made to teenagers under the premise that education will help them earn enough money to pay off their loans. Yet the job market is terrible (and nearly twice as terrible for young people as it is for everyone else) and meanwhile cuts to public education, both ideologically motivated, from conservatives, and because of state budget crises caused by the economic crisis the banks created, have made that education much more expensive. The student loan bubble may not burst with a bang, but it is slowly suffocating us. The problem is that student debt is literally debt you carry for life. It has no statute of limitations, cannot be discharged under bankruptcy and the government can literally deduct it from your Social Security check.



As credit card and housing debt become unbearable, there’s a point at which they get written down. That point is currently too high, not only for credit cards, housing and transportation, but especially for student loans. Because of poor legal choices we’ve made, student loans stay forever, they are virtually impossible to discharge under hardship, they generate an avalanche of fees when they go bad, and creditors can get to anything, including Social Security, to get it repaid. Meanwhile, we have a Great Depression-like event that is throwing college graduates into a labor market that is far too weak. And defaults are up anyway. According to a Wall Street Journal report in August 2011, 11.2 percent of student loans were more than 90 days past due — and if it kept rising, could pass credit card debt, which is at 12.2 percent but is on a decline. Obama's new plan to help students with their loans will provide some relief, but only for current students. Those who have already graduated — the majority of the student loan bubble — are ineligible. Thanks a lot, Mr. President.



Occupy Wall Street has proven that a sizable number of Americans are in a mood to do things for themselves rather than waiting for government action. So a student debt strike might actually be the most powerful statement to make, as there are literally no other options for those stuck with the burden — many of whom form the backbone of the occupations around the country. I think the people who would be the first to strike would be the people who have already defaulted. Once your credit is already tanked, the idea of giving it another hit doesn't seem nearly as threatening. In many ways, the combination of online/offline activism is the hallmark of the Occupy Wall Street movement, organized with the help of hacker groups like Anonymous and promoted through citizen media like live-streams, camera phone videos and Twitter, but solidly grounded in real-world action.



American homeowners who are stuck in a negative equity situation with their homes and their mortgages are finding ways to fight back against the rigged capitalist profit-driven economic system that has them locked into what amounts to legalized loan sharking. For example, delinquent borrowers facing foreclosure are learning that they can stay in their homes for years, as long as they're willing to put up a fight. Among the tactics: Challenging the bank's actions, waiting to file paperwork right up until the deadline, requesting the lender dig up original paperwork or, in some extreme cases, declaring bankruptcy. Nationwide, the average time it takes to process a foreclosure – from the first missed payment to the final foreclosure auction – has climbed to 674 days from 253 days just four years ago. And while some borrowers are looking for ways to make good with lenders and get their homes back, many aren't paying a dime. Nearly 40% of homeowners in default as of the end of 2011 have not made a payment in at least two years. Keep up the good work, everyone!



Many of these homeowners are staying in their homes based on a technicality. There is rarely any dispute over whether or not they have stopped paying their mortgage. They're not in technical default. They're in default because they're not paying. That's because American homeowners have gotten wise to what the banks and other mortgage lenders have been doing, and they are collectively realizing that two can play that same game. Ironically enough, the banks have given delinquent borrowers some of the ammunition they need to delay the foreclosure process. For example, during the "robo-signing" scandal in 2010, it was revealed that bank employees signed paperwork attesting to facts they had no personal knowledge of. The lender's paperwork included many different papers signed by the same employee. The problem was that the signatures didn't match. In such instances the courts dismiss the lender's case against the borrower, although it can be re-filed. Because of this, borrowers are now routinely challenging that paperwork. Those who are doing so will remain in their homes for some time to come, while not making any payments. Sometimes just asking the bank to produce the paperwork that shows it is the legal holder of the mortgage note can stall or even stop a repossession. Since mortgages are often transferred electronically, the official paperwork often gets misplaced. In some of the more extreme cases, borrowers will file for bankruptcy in order to block a foreclosure. In these instances, courts order creditors to cease their collection activities immediately. Home auctions can be postponed as the bankruptcy plays out, which can take months. What really needs to be done is for lenders to work harder to find solutions that allow delinquent borrowers who can afford to make reasonable mortgage payments to keep their homes. Speaking as a minister of the Gospel, simply throwing people and even whole families out in the street in the name of profit is absolutely barbaric and utterly immoral. The fact that such things have taken place is exactly why the Occupy and the “we are the 99%” Movements are so successful, and that success will be greatly magnified in the coming months, of that you can be sure. In the meantime, there are plenty of industrious Americans who are joining the swelling ranks of those who are boycotting their debts, as selected excerpts from the following Web posting point out in stark detail.


50 Ways to Leave Your Banker: What Happened When One Man Just Refused to Pay $80,000 in Credit Card Debt
By Kimberly Thorpe, Mother Jones
Posted on November 1, 2011


At last count, Steven Katz owed $80,000 on his six credit cards, and he has no intention of paying any of it off. In fact, he'd like to show you how to be like him—a "credit terrorist" in open revolt against the banking system. Debtorboards.com ("Sue Your Creditor and Win!"), a five-year-old online forum where he's collected countless tricks and tactics for evading and repelling persistent creditors. He's written how-to's on shielding your assets from seizure, luring collection agencies into expensive lawsuits, and frustrating private investigators looking for debtors on the run. He's even infiltrated the bill collectors' forums, where he's been tagged a "credit jihadist" and his site's been called a "credit terrorist training camp," a label he embraces. "Debtorboards is one of the biggest and most successful temper tantrums ever," the 59-year-old Katz boasts. The site has more than 10,000 members—double what it had in 2009....

Katz wants the millions of Americans buried in debt to stop feeling guilty about not honoring their obligations. "People are brainwashed to think that paying a credit card is more important than paying for the necessities of life," he says. "Business and morality have nothing to do with each other, according to the bankers." One of Katz's mottos is "No one ever went to hell for not paying a debt...."


Beside walking away from their debts, exasperated and infuriated Americans are in some cases walking away from the whole damned unfair economic system, having come to the realization that the so-called “work ethic” is a lie and always was. Working long, hard hours in a futile attempt to save up enough money for a home, college, and “retirement” (another myth) will only get you one thing – TIRED! That's where the underground economy comes into the picture as an alternative to the status quo. Also called the shadow or informal economy, it's not just illegal activity like selling drugs or doing sex work. It's all sorts of work that doesn't get regulated by the government or reported to the IRS, and it's a far bigger part of the economy than most of us are aware. In 2009, the underground economy was nearly 8 percent of the US GDP, somewhere around $1 trillion. (That makes the shadow GDP bigger than the entire GDP of Turkey or Austria.) This doesn’t include illegal activities in this count – only legal production of goods and services that are outside of tax and labor laws. And that shadow economy is growing as regular jobs continue to be hard to come by.



The Young Women's Empowerment Project describes the “street economy” as any way that girls make cash money without paying taxes or having to show identification. Sometimes this means the sex trade, but other times it means braiding hair, babysitting, selling CDs/DVDs, drugs or other skills like sewing and laundry. A good number operate websites online that yield an all-cash income, all one needs to succeed is a Paypal account or a smartphone. This underground economy goes far beyond the homeless collecting aluminum cans or clogging day labor halls. It includes the working poor getting cash for all forms of recycling: giving plasma, selling homemade tamales outside shopping plazas, holding yard sales, doing under-the-table work for friends and family, selling stuff at pawnshops, CD, book and used clothing stores, and even establishing tiny one-person businesses selling all kinds of dollar-store-type merchandise at flea markets and sidewalk kiosks.



Since so may of us have patronized or even operated these micro-businesses at some time in the past, that means nearly all of us have participated in some way in the underground economy. Yet little is known or discussed about this area of our lives, even though it touches many of us as we try to make ends meet. People enter such arrangements because of their difficulty finding formal employment. Think of undocumented immigrants that work as home or office cleaners or in the construction or hospitality industries. Employers or consumers who use workers in this way are doing so to boost profits or lower prices. Of course documented workers also can end up choosing to work in the underground economy but that choice, like the choice for the undocumented, has the same basic driver – the inability to find formal paid employment that meets a worker's needs. I would compare the growth of the underground economy to payday lending; a typically undesirable practice operating in a legal gray area that develops and thrives because it fills a need created by the failure of public policy to address societal needs. The informal economy, though, does not only consist of low-wage workers. There is also an informal economy of creative professionals. By keeping creative professional work informal, these workers avoid the corporatist rigidity of creative work, maintaining their freedom to be innovative and self-sufficient.



Without solutions coming from Washington or local governments, it continues to be up to working people to find a way to negotiate today's rough economy. People shouldn't have to give up fundamental human rights like access to income in retirement, paid sick days, or safety on the job because they need work. But in a society like ours, which tolerates high levels of unemployment (which is inexcusable in the richest country in the world), the underground economy is often the next best alternative to starving. While some have been able to flourish working underground, it's important to remember that most workers are not off the books to dodge paying taxes or because they prefer it that way. As we see more and more people dropping out of the formal labor market in despair, the informal economy will remain a destination of last resort – and will keep growing. That, in turn, is a signal that people are giving up on the system. Why obey laws that prevent us from succeeding?



Unemployed Americans aren't the only ones who are giving up on this rigged economic system we are currently stuck with. A wave of discontent is beginning to build among those who work for the system designed to solidify the power and domination of the top 1%. In the past during uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, there are numerous documented cases of the police and the soldiers being sent to quell the demonstrations and quiet the protests, only to defect to the side of the protesters after being ordered by their government to fire upon unarmed civilians engaged in peaceful and nonviolent political and social activism. If you were a cop, a soldier or in the National Guard, and your commanding officer ordered you to kill innocent, unarmed civilians who posed no threat to anyone, would you do so? I sure as hell wouldn't, and I'm confident that there are multitudes more who would share my view if asked. The only remaining question to be answered has to do with the timing of the tipping point, and if the system will be totally upended by such an event, or will it be able to continue to function while repairs are made?


In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers. . . . They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.” — Howard Zinn, from “The Coming Revolt of the Guards,” A People’s History of the United States


For those of us who have demonstrated and marched in the Occupy movement as I did at Freedom Plaza in Washington in early October 2011 (while selling a few books on the side as I gleefully participated in the underground economy), it is obvious that the police and the corporate press serve as guards. They act as buffers between the vast majority of the American people and the ruling “corporatocracy” (the partnership of giant corporations, the wealthy elite, their collaborating politicians and their armies of lobbyists). In addition to the police and the corporate press, there are millions of other guards employed by the corporatocracy to keep people obedient and maintain the status quo. Most guards also perform duties besides “guard duty.” The police don’t just protect the elite from the 99 percent; they also provide people with roadside assistance. And mental health professionals also perform “non-guard duty” roles such as improving family relationships. Guards certainly can perform duties helpful for the non-elite, but the elite would be foolish to reward us guards if we didn’t serve to maintain their system. 

 

Even a partial “revolt of the guards” could increase the number of protesters on the streets from the thousands to the millions. For example, many teachers went into their profession because of their passion for education, but they soon discover that they are not being paid to educate young people for democracy, which would mean inspiring independent learning, critical thinking, and questioning authority. While teachers may help young children learn how to read, they are employed by the corporatocracy to socialize young people to fit into a system that was created by and for the corporatocracy. The corporatocracy needs its future employees to comply with their rules, to passively submit to authorities, and to perform meaningless activities for a paycheck.



If you are comfortably at the top of the hierarchy, you reward guards to make your system work. In addition to the police, the corporate press, mental health professionals, and teachers, there are clergy, bureaucrats, and many other guards in the system, all of whom are given small rewards to pacify and control the population. Some guards have rebelled from their pacification and control roles, but at least as many have not. I will go out on a limb just a little here and predict that the revolt of the guards will occur when guards recognize that they are expendable. So, law enforcement officers, beware. Cameras and other surveillance technology are becoming increasingly inexpensive, and law enforcement labor costs will increasingly be replaced by inexpensive Orwellian surveillance. You see, the 1% will eventually come for you too.



To accelerate the revolt of obedient guards, I recommend two strategies: (1) create unpleasant dissonance about their role as guards; in other words, put guards in some pain for their unquestioning obedience that maintains the system, and (2) offer encouragement for even small acts of rebellion against their guard role; small acts of rebellion may well be major financial risks. For example, if you have social contact with off-duty law enforcement officers, you might ask them “Wouldn’t it be more satisfying putting the handcuffs on some billionaire tax dodger than arresting some small-time pot user?” I’ve asked police officers if they’ve heard of Jonathan Swift’s quote, “Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.” On-duty police will respond with “no comment” or a blank stare, but some off-duty cops will smile and even agree. And should off-duty police ever tell you an anecdote in which they ignored a law designed to catch a small fly, give them encouragement. For guards, it is not easy coming out of denial of their role and their fate. As Upton Sinclair once observed, “It is difficult to make a man understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it....”

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Will America's Economy Really Collapse Like So Many Are Saying?

The Coming Economic Reset and the Bible
by Minister Paul J. Bern
For a website view, click here :-)





The profligate $22 trillion dollar deficit currently being foisted on the backs of scores of millions of hardworking Americans by their federal government is, based on observation, one of the greatest rip-offs in the history of humanity. The Federal Reserve, which everybody knows by now to be neither, is the primary player in this scam, and certain elements of the US government are its enablers. The root cause of this problem is the way our capitalist economic system operates, which is that it is based on debt as a way to create money. For hundreds of years our economic system has worked just fine just as it is, and many have benefited from its existence, including myself.


But more recently capitalism has become problematic due to one thing – population increase. Once the earth's population eclipsed 5 billion in 1987, there were too many people that wanted their fair share of capitalism's profits, and so all our fair shares have been dwindling ever since in the form of stagnant wages. Since then, humanity has passed the 7 billion mark back in 1999, and we will leap over the 8 billion mark sometime in the early 2020's. The end result, from capitalism's standpoint, is that too many people are competing for their chunk of the profits, while too few already have far more than their fair share. Our modern term for this is 'economic inequality', and the US in particular has a huge problem with this. Continental Europe (including Great Britain) is also experiencing increasing issues with inequality, as the “yellow vest” protests in France, as well as the civil unrest in Greece, Italy, Spain and elsewhere attest to.


So to come full circle, capitalism is a debt-based economic system, but debt is slavery because those who are repaying their debts are legally bound and obligated to them until they are repaid. So logic would then dictate this: Capitalism is a debt-based economic system; debt is slavery; therefore, capitalism is slavery, or more accurately has devolved into slavery in the 21st century. Realities change and paradigms change, and both by the force of human progress. Now, before any of my prosperity-loving readers become upset with me, I am certainly no Communist or Socialist – I will admit to being a bit of a hippie, but I say that with pride and enthusiasm. Both of those economic systems and/or ideologies have already been tried, and they have all ultimately failed miserably, such as Soviet Russia, Castro's Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela, to name a few.


But all of those who are capitalism's proponents are overlooking an important set of facts, and that is what the Bible says about indebtedness, debt repayment and debt forgiveness. That last one concerning the forgiveness of debt is what the die-hard capitalists have the biggest problem with. Yet strangely enough, nearly all of them self-identify as Christians. They seem to have forgotten the part of the Lord's prayer that says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”. Don't expect to be forgiven if you yourself refuse to forgive the wrongs of others, whether real or imagined. Based on that alone, it would be good if I could interject some relevant Scriptures over the next page or so, together with some background and explanation of how these ancient Scriptures still apply to modern life. All these truths come from the writing of Moses, so let me start with Leviticus.


8) “Count off seven sabbath years – seven times seven years – so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9) Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10) Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11) The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12) For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. 13) In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.” (Leviticus 25, verses 8-13)


Now, just to set the record straight, a “sabbath year” is defined earlier in this passage, in verses 3 through 5: “For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.” At first glance, this would not seem to apply to modern life. After all, we no longer live in an agrarian-based society. But this way of life could still be applicable to the times in which we live. Overpopulation has been a concern for the last generation or so, probably more. Yet one fourth of the world's population still does not have access to clean running water. So what if everybody took a whole year off and hooked up the entire world with clean water and sanitation? The world sure would be a lot better place, inhabited by a lot better caliber of people, than it is now. That could be one version of a modern Sabbath year.


Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.” In modern times, instead of crops in the field, we should be tending to one another since there are so many of us. Imagine having an entire year of paid family leave! That's just one way that these commandments of old can be renewed and their relevance refreshed, I'm sure you can think of some more. “For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.” Remember that slavery was still legal back in those days. Anyone who had sold themselves into slavery to repay a debt, which was common, was free to return home to their families. The same thing applied to mortgages, as we see in verse 13. It still does – which is why 30 year mortgages are sinful for both borrower and lender. Let that one sink in for a minute.


Now let me quote from a second example before tying this all together. “1) At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2) This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. 3) You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. 4) However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5) if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.” (Deuteronomy 15, verses 1-5)


By now all of you have noticed that our economic system, together with the mortgage and payday and vehicle title loan businesses, are not even in the ball park compared to God's instructions to Moses, which have been handed down to the rest of us. Some of you will be surprised to learn that any loan lasting longer than seven years runs contrary to the instructions contained in the Scriptures. Also, notice in verse 3, where the Lord Almighty says it's OK to lend to foreigners, which means 'non-Jews' in this context, but extends to everyone in modern times simply because there are so many of us. If this is starting to sound like it includes those who are applying to cross America's southern border, you are absolutely right.


However, there need be no poor people among you,...” If, says the Lord Almighty, we obey these commands, everyone will have enough, and there will be no one needy among us. But modern capitalism has devolved into a contest of “whoever takes the most wins”, which is exactly the opposite of what the above passages of Scripture tell us to do. Consequently, the western capitalist-based economies are in real danger of collapse for the first time in living memory for all but the oldest of Americans, who still remember the Great Depression. Debt has now reached unprecedented levels, and the interest on the deficits of the world's governments are accruing faster than the principals can be repaid. A financial implosion is on the horizon – not just America's, but the entire world's economies will soon crash. Once the federal reserve runs out of debt from which to create money (see fractional reserve lending), there will be no one left to lend to, and the world's finances will run dry. This will included the world's banking systems as well as the economies of entire countries. And all this will be occurring because some insanely selfish people can never get enough money, wealth and prestige, all of which are illusions.


So ultimately, the world's economies are going to have to be rebooted sooner or later. It will be the only way to stave off disaster. If anyone has money in the stock market, better get your money out of there before you lose it, and I'm not kidding. Anywhere is better than Wall Street's gambling casino. And, when the day finally comes when all the world's economies have to be reset, instead of gold and silver, I would invest in ammunition, nonperishable food, tools and barter items as a way to survive what's coming. A ton of gold will do you no good if there's no way to sell it. Our money could become worthless, or close to it. One dollar in 1913 is worth 4 cents today, which is why I say that hyperinflation isn't on the horizon. It's already here, and we've got it in spades. Four stinking cents? Just think about that and let it sink in for a minute, and you'll see how far we've fallen. And we're going to have to pick ourselves up, because the government will no longer be able to help us. Let that one sink in too.




Friday, January 11, 2019

Why the wall will actually work!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

So What's In Store for the USA in 2019? It May Already Be in Scripture

Is The USA In Biblical End Times Prophecy?
by Minister Paul J. Bern
For a website view, click here :-)



By now you all know or have heard and read the various arguments about America's role in Biblical prophecy, both pro and con. There are those who say the US isn't in the Bible, and many others who insist that it is. These folks have included everyone from master theologians to televangelists on the Christian TV channels to some pretty wild conspiracy theories posted on You-tube and other websites. I see no point in debating this or in blogging about it based on what has already been disseminated. Instead, as I always do, I'm going straight to the Word of God as my reference point. This is not about dogma, nor denominational exclusivity, nor is it about any particular version of the Bible being more “correct” than any or all others. This is based on a lot of research, study, prayer and meditation based on the Word of God, which surpasses the religious dogma of humankind.



So what will our starting point be? How can we make sense out of end times prophesy considering all the angles and points of view being discussed both within and outside of the Church? One good starting point is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter ten, verses 1-4, as it is written: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain.”



Who is it that makes unjust laws? Was this intended for groups of people, or races, or entire nations? First of all, discriminatory laws are based on all of the above. Laws that discriminate against people due to their race, nationality, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation or religion – and especially for class and financial status – have no place in any 21st century society. Here in the US, we have or have had institutionalized discrimination based on all of the above for as long as I can remember, and I was born in the 1950's. During WWII, America forcibly incarcerated several hundred thousand Japanese Americans based solely on their race and ancestry. Then there were the “Jim Crow” laws that openly oppressed all black Americans up until the 1960's. As you know, there are significant vestiges of this vitriol against our black brothers and sisters that continue to be active even as I write this. And let's not forget the genocide of Native Americans that has been ongoing for the last two hundred years.



Another form of discrimination still in force in modern times has been the enormously wasteful 'war on drugs', where punishment replaces treatment with predictable results. If you smoke or otherwise ingest marijuana, even for medical reasons, you're considered a criminal, but if you overdose on pills that you purchased legally, it's usually ruled to be accidental and it gets swept under the rug. As of 2017, 56% of all incarcerated inmates at the state and federal levels are locked up for nonviolent drug offenses – mainly simple possession cases – with well over 75% of these hapless individuals being people of color. Now there's a classic case of discrimination based on race, ethnicity and class. Last but not least, is the ticking time bomb of economic inequality. When you have a situation where 99% of any given country's wealth (not just America – but any country) is in the hands of 1% of the population, you have a recipe for class warfare and civil unrest throughout that country. All of these things are the result of unjust laws and oppressive decrees whose source is centralized government. And it is for this reason, among a few others, that I believe America is being judged, or is about to be judged, by God.



What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?” What was Isaiah talking about? “Days of disaster” from “afar” sounds a lot like a nuclear first strike. This has nothing to do with domestic terrorism. This is worded to look like anything from terrorism outside the US directed inward to a full amphibious military assault on American soil by way of external invasion. But, a nuclear first strike would be much quicker. Before moving on, allow me to share another related quote from the prophet Isaiah: “Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is within it, the world, and all the nations that come out of it! The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood (Isaiah chapter 34, verses 1-3).



How does this read to you? I see the total obliteration of all the armies of the world, apparently all at once, and the US will not escape unharmed. God is sick and tired of all the countless centuries of fighting among humankind. God is fed up to here with our militarism. He has had more than enough of those who are murderers, robbers, kidnappers, extortionists and rapists within and around the military. God is enraged with the world's armies who kill and pillage their neighbors and other countries due to extreme covetousness on the part of all the governments and multinational corporations, who forcefully put their profit margins ahead of the people they claim to be serving. So, God is going to wipe out all the world's armed services in one swift stroke, and what a horrible day that will be! God wins, and everybody who stands against him will lose, beginning with those for whom fighting has become a way to make a living.



Now that I have shared some quotes from the Old Testament, I will move on to the New Testament. As I do this, let me mention some related facts with regard to Bible prophecy. There are numerous examples of prophecy throughout the Bible that have to do with the end times that we are currently living in. In the overwhelming majority of these instances, these prophecies have to do with the fate of the nation of Israel, God's holy land. Much has been said about the fact that the United States doesn't seem to fit into Biblical prophecy, and that it is barely mentioned at all. By and large this is very true. But there is one place in the Bible where America is not only mentioned, but her fate is spelled out in stark and frightening detail. For that, we need to go all the way to the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, where we will focus on chapter 18.



Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth have committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. Then I heard another voice from heaven say, 'Come out of her, O my people, so that you may not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion of her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, 'I sit as a queen, I am not a widow, and I will never mourn'. Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'” (Revelation 18, verses 2-10)



What or who is Babylon the Great? Is this a person, a place or a thing? It has been taught in the past that this is a reference to the Babylonian Empire that conquered the nation of Israel and carried her into captivity around 880 BC. There is a famous quote from Iraq's now-deceased dictator Saddam Hussein that he was going to resurrect this ancient empire and make it into a world power as in days of old. As you all know, this didn't quite work out as Saddam Hussein had planned. So we can discount that possibility by process of elimination. Others have taught erroneously that this was symbolism for the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, or for the Roman Empire, Napoleon's France or Hitler's Germany. But when we compare these possibilities to the ancient prophets such as Jeremiah, Daniel, Zachariah, or Joel – to name a few – Babylon the Great as foretold in Revelation simply doesn't match up with those passages of Scripture. So we conclude that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. Since Babylon the Great is a world power based on what we have just read, that leaves only one possibility. What global powerhouse, both financial and military, fits this description? None other than the USA.



Let's examine this more closely, starting with verse two. “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit ... For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Has the US become a home for demons and evil spirits? We only need to look at today's news for the answer. There are mass shootings in our nation's schools, at military bases, and out in the streets. Mayhem is running rampant and it continues to get ever worse. America is devolving into a battlefield populated an assortment of psychotic murderers, armed robbers, rapists and thieves. People of all ages are being kidnapped, and people disappear every time you turn around, especially children. Sometimes their bodies are found, and more and more frequently their internal organs have been “harvested”. Other times, and especially concerning our children, people disappear never to be seen or heard from again. This is usually because they are either kidnapped and sold on the black market by human traffickers, or because they are being sacrificed in satanic rituals that are nothing short of revolting.



So we can now see clearly that the phrase “home for demons” is very accurate indeed. What is “the maddening wine of her adulteries”? This is far more than mere substance abuse or addiction, although those things do play a part. I think this represents all the espionage, cloak-and-dagger “black ops”, and political and military maneuvering behind the scenes both at home and abroad. From the Kennedy assassinations to Rev. Dr. King's brutal murder, from the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to incidents of government-initiated domestic terrorism such as Waco Texas, Ruby Ridge Idaho, Oklahoma City and the 9/11 attacks, America's “leadership” has been behind them all to one extent or another (they're called “false flag operations”). So as we translate this into 21st century English, the US government has been fooling around behind the scenes for decades as they engage in espionage in nearly every country in the world, playing both sides of the fence, pitting one opponent against another for the profit of the US military-industrial complex. Most recently, technology has allowed remote enforcement of America's military-industrial paradigm by drone warfare.



Come out of her, O my people, so that you may not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” There are at least two different explanations I have read about for this verse. The benign explanation comes from the apostle John (see 1st John 2, verses 15-17) that says we are to be “in the world but not of it”. There are still others, some Christian and some not, who have taken this passage literally by obtaining a passport and leaving the US for countries where the cost of living is lower (which is nearly everywhere else). Also, the “crimes” mentioned in this passage are everything I described above, and I regret to inform you that my country, the United States, is guilty of all the above, and there are times when I feel ashamed about America. Not its people – just those in charge. Although I have a passport, I haven't left yet, and I'm trying to hang on at least for the short term.



Mix her a double portion of her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.” Evidently the US will get all its bad karma thrown back in her face, meaning that things within US borders will become as bad or worse than most banana republics. Pandemonium will reign supreme across America's landscape, and only those who put their complete trust in God and his only Son will escape unharmed. “Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her.… She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'” What does it mean when it mentions “her plagues”? Some say it will be epidemics of various kinds, and I believe this is at least partially true, but I also think there is more to it than that.



It is a little-known fact that America has the world's largest stockpile of germ warfare weaponry. The ongoing civil war in Syria is just one example. By now nearly everyone has seen the international news broadcasts about the Syrian people who were killed by chemical weapons of mass destruction. If you believe everything you see on the news – and who does anymore – you were force-fed false information that it was the Syrian government who launched these weapons after their own people. Where did these Syrian rebels get these weapons? They most definitely didn't have the resources to go out and buy such awful weapons. That leaves only one other possibility – none other than the United States. Our own country supplied the rebels for these WMD's, and they had the CIA's fingerprints all over them. Now that's what I mean by a false flag attack! But, it's the last verse of this passage of Scripture that sends chills up and down my back: “In one hour your doom has come!'” This is not a typo, people. When America falls, it will happen quite literally in one hour, like turning off an electric light in slow motion. There is more to back this up further down in this same chapter of Revelation, so let's begin to conclude this Spiritual fact-finding mission by taking up where we left off at verse 11.



The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore – cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon, spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and carriages; and the bodies and souls of men .… Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all those who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'. Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: 'With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who had been killed on the earth.'” (Rev. 8, verses 11-13, verses 17-24)



“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore... “. I could end this commentary right here and simply say that this is a prediction and a prophecy regarding America for the near future, but that's only part of the explanation. As I write this, the US still has the world's largest economy, with Red China's economy running a close second place. But China's economy will not overtake that of the US until the US dollar will no longer be able to maintain its position as the world's reserve currency. When that inevitability finally occurs, the dollar will either have to be devalued or it will suffer a total crash – the likes of which no one has ever seen before (it will make the Great Depression of the 1930's look like child's play). This is the first two and the most palatable options for what will happen to the US economy in the next decade or so.



But what if it's not just the US that goes belly up? That leads me to the second and more likely conclusion, which would be a total collapse of Capitalism as an economic system. This would make the above passage of Scripture from Revelation something to be taken symbolically rather than literally. “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all those who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'.”



“The great city” could very well be New York City or Washington, DC. Then again, this could be symbolism for an entire economic system and not just one country – a truly terrifying possibility. Either scenario would create unimaginable chaos across our land as well as the other capitalist countries in Western Europe and Asia, and let's not forget Australia and Hong Kong while we're at it. But check out what the apostle John wrote further down: “Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!” There it is again; the prediction that the US and capitalism will not only fall, but that they will never rise again, and it will all be over with in just one hour. Of course, there will be some who dismiss this commentary straight out of hand, and they might say, “Who does Rev. Bern think he is? Why, he never even graduated from a seminary!” I will only respond that I have taken this straight out of the Scriptures. My word may be refutable to some, but the Word of God is irrefutable! Be careful that these dire predictions don't fall from out of the blue and hit you on top of your heads. There is no substitute for God's Word, which is truth, so there can be no argument about that unless one rejects the very possibility of God's existence. That is a separate argument that I have taken up previously.



Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'.” This implies that there will be religious persecution of Christians in North America and western Europe, something that has previously never happened. This is not a drill, people, this is the real deal. There is one last prophecy that needs to be mentioned here, and it reads as follows: “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: 'With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” This can only be explained as a meteor or comet strike upon the earth, most probably in either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. There is nothing else that fits this description. So, insofar as this is possible, it must be taken very seriously. Otherwise, like Babylon the Great, America will be obliterated. So there you have it: the United States is in Bible prophecy all right, but not in the way the majority of churches and denominations are anticipating – nowhere near, in fact. The time for all of us to get ready for these events – and they will occur, it's only a question of when – is today, while we still have time and while we still have a choice. So until next week at this same time, keep a close eye on current events globally, particularly in the US and the Middle East, keep on studying your Bible, and continue to look upward for any sign of our Lord's return. Shalom!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

President Trump, the Washington Shutdown, and the Bible

Unlike Trump and the Government,
the One True God Never Shuts Down
by Pastor Paul J. Bern
For a website view, click here :-)



It has happened again. Usually when the federal government shuts down, it's because Congress and the president can't pass a federal budget on time. This time around the shutdown is all about money all right, but never before has there been a shutdown inside the Beltway over a single item within the overall federal budget like there has been over president Trump's border wall. I have seen photos of the 4 “sample walls” president Trump has had constructed along side one another in the southern Arizona desert. You can't even see through them! Some drug cartel could be building a ramp or a ladder on the other side, and the Border Patrol wouldn't be able to see that until people were already coming over the top. This is idiotic!


OK, so let's all visualize this for a minute. Two Border Patrol agents of the USDHS hypothetically spot several men climbing over the top of president Trump's 'wall'. But when they apprehend them, 25 or 50 more come over the top right behind them. The only sure way to stop all those people at once would be to shoot to wound a few, in the hopes of causing the rest to stop where they are out of pure fear of being shot themselves. Unfortunately for the Border Patrol, not to mention any Christian worth his or her salt, they're not allowed to do that unless they are fired on first by one of the migrants. As you may know, that rarely if ever happens.


Moreover, if I were a Border Patrol agent, I wouldn't be able to hold on to that job for very long, because I simply refuse to shoot anyone who presents no danger to myself, nor to anyone else. And I sure as hell couldn't shoot at children, nor could I allow a single one to die while in my custody like ICE and the Border Patrol have. And yet this is exactly what our government is doing. They're murdering children, and this has either got to stop or the American people will be forced to rise up against their own government. In that event, anyone who refuses to rise up against such evil make themselves complicit in these crimes against humanity.


The other aspect to Trump's government shutdown has been the 800,000 US government employees who have been left without a paycheck. Worse yet, some of them are compelled by law to work without pay in such circumstances as this. Imagine what this means to these federal workers! Employees are required by law to work without pay during a government shutdown. That means they can be arrested for not showing up to work unexcused, and the same goes for even trying to quit. So, it is quite evident based on these rather ugly facts that the federal government is not a very nice employer at all. On further thought, it makes me wonder why anyone else would want to work there in the first place. For the “benefits”? I find no 'benefit' whatsoever in being potentially complicit in the slaughter of innocent children who pose no threat to me.


What this means from the employees' point of view is their own government – their employer – can't be trusted to pay them on time because Uncle Sam can't keep his house in order. And, it's all because the government (allegedly) doesn't have enough money to go around. Maybe if the Pentagon wasn't spending all those trillions of dollars in all those clandestine wars being fought overseas, there would be money for a border wall. And even then, we don't want a wall, all we really need is a tall fence. We need border security, granted, but a $5 billion solid concrete wall really is way over the top. A fence made of aluminum bars 16 to 20 feet tall with razor wire at the top could be built for a fraction of the $5 billion president Trump is currently demanding, and I'm sure Trump knows that. He's holding out to see how much he can squeeze out of Congress, but I doubt that the Lord approves of the way the president is going about it.


By laying off 800,000 people, while causing another 400,000 to work uncompensated, Trump has essentially taken the country's workers and management hostage in an effort to gain a political advantage. To sum this up, then, president Trump is being unfaithful to those the government employs, and by extension to the rest of America. The Bible has a lot to say about unfaithfulness. Faithfulness is considered to be a virtue, as the prophet and Psalmist David wrote in Psalms 117:2 – “For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” In comparison, president Trump's faithfulness to pay his workers on time is conditional to his political demands being met. Now that it's been established that Mexico isn't going to pay for the wall at America's southern border, Trump is trying to force his employees to cover the tab instead. This has got to be the ultimate in unfairness in the workplace. Don't get me wrong, president Trump, I admire and respect some of the things you've done or are doing, such as your recent decision to pull out of Syria. But engineering a mass layoff for political advantage really is way too much.


Contrast the government shutdown to what God has said through his prophet David regarding this matter: “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 145:13) Unlike president Trump, who has to run again in 2020 if he wants 4 more years – and if he wins at the ballot box – God never has to run for reelection. He has ruled and reigned for all eternity, and always will. Only once did 1/3 of the angels challenge his authority, everyone knows what happened to them. Moreover, God remains faithful to each one of us on a personal basis, as the apostle Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinth. 10:13) The word 'you' in this context meant the entire church at Corinth, but it was also meant individually to each member as well.


Again it is written in 1st Thessalonians 5:23-24, “23) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24) The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” As of this writing, with the partial federal shutdown firmly in place, Donald Trump is the last man on the face of the earth who could be called blameless at this point. Not only is he being unfaithful to his employees first, and his constituency second, he has put the entirety of his trustworthiness as Chief Executive into question. What has the Bible said about this? The apostle Paul wrote, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Cor. 4:2) In its original context, the apostle Paul was writing about those in charge of churches being trustworthy people of good repute. These words were intended for what Paul called “bishops and overseers”. Interestingly enough, the titles 'pope', 'father' and 'pastor' aren't in the Bible anywhere, but that's another topic for another time.


Although I would be quick to agree that running a country's government is nothing at all like running a nonprofit, the person in charge of that charity – be it a church, a battered women's shelter, or whatever needs to be a faithful and trustworthy individual. This clearly extends to governments, which are supposed to be nonprofit entities but obviously are not (such as $21 trillion missing from the Pentagon, etc). One of the things that define faithfulness is those in charge being faithful to the positions they have been entrusted with by the electorate. This means, among other things, paying your employees on time. So this part of my weekly message is primarily directed at president Trump, but the shutdown in Washington is not all Trump's fault. The rest of the blame lands squarely in the laps of Congress, who have yet to show any willingness whatsoever to negotiate with president Trump in good faith. As of this writing, no such thing has happened, and the government will probably remain shuttered until after the first of the year. While resolve abounds in Washington DC, faithfulness is sorely lacking. Let everyone involved from the president on down get this country running again ASAP, and let's put an end to all this pointless posturing – on both sides!