Letters

What Covenant?

Abraham believed God & God made a covenant with him. (Gen. 15:6 & 18) That covenant was based on the fact that Abe believed God. Now he’s God’s friend, as well as his covenant partner.

But in Genesis 12, Abe is afraid & lies about Sara. He was afraid the king would kill him to get his hands on his hot wife, so he says, “She’s my sister, not my wife!”

Abraham is giving in to a spirit of fear, and he’s a liar. Those are bad. But God backs him up, IN THE LIE! He defends Abraham (and his marriage) from the ignorant, horny kings.

Wait, what? God defends the liar? And defends the lie? Why would he do that?

It was hundreds of years later that Moses comes down the mountain with The Law, which includes “Don’t sleep with another man’s wife,” and “Don’t tell lies” and such. Now, with coming of The Law, adultery and lying (and several other things) become a sin.

The Law is a part of Moses’ covenant with God. It’s not part of Abraham’s covenant with God, or Noah’s.

In Abraham’s day, there was no rule that said “Don’t sleep with his wife,” and no rule that said, “Do not bear false testimony.” These rules didn’t show up until late in Moses’ life. They weren’t forbidden in Abraham’s day.

Were they still stupid things to do? Of course. And Abraham paid the price for that. But they weren’t “wrong” in Abe’s day and age.

So it’s not appropriate (or even meaningful) to judge Abraham or Noah by a covenant that didn’t exist in their day. In the same way, it’s not appropriate to judge a Peruvian farmer by Norway’s laws, or to judge a Mostho factory worker based on Peruvian law.

And The Law not actually part of our New Covenant either. Therefore, it’s completely inappropriate to judge New Covenant believers by Moses’ covenant. Or Noah’s covenant. Or any other covenant.

Are you a New Covenant believer? Then it’s completely inappropriate to judge yourself by Moses’ covenant either.


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Columns

Messy Patience in Leadership

Many of us live in a world surrounded by stuff that doesn't work—square pegs ordered for round holes they won't fit, things so disorganized not a flicker of hope shines an escape from chaos, people who just won't do a good job no matter how much extra work it creates for themselves and others. Such disorder requires patient leaders.

The temptation of any leader or foreseer is to push the process along and make life better. Don't be seduced by this. People's quality of life must be their own, not their leader's. Order can be taught, but not bestowed.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 15, 2018

It happened this week. The US finally said outright exactly what Cadence has been saying for years, the strategy in play. According to a Reuters article via Yahoo News, US security adviser John Bolton said, "If they're put back in the proper place they would be if they weren't allowed to steal our technology, their military capabilities would be substantially reduced. And a lot of the tensions we see caused by China would be reduced."

The US wants to put China "back in the proper place". If it weren't for one-sided trade deals over the last to decades and an accumulation of technology that China neither researched, conceptualized, nor paid for, Bolton thinks China would be as friendly as a cute, little house cat, not the bossy tiger it has grown into.

Specifically, the US would need to humble the diesel-powered aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, from which China's other aircraft carriers in the making were reverse-engineered. Taiwan held rehearsals against the Liaoning this week. In other areas, Taiwan isn't backing down, but announced 30 new international flight destinations this week.

Looking at things in this broader context, the escalating military conflict will not result from a trade war gone awry. Rather, the trade war was but a small part of a much larger scheme to provoke China into a military conflict sooner than it wanted. Tech and money has already been cut off. New weapons have been developed and prepared. Now, the US hopes to put China "back in the proper place". In Beijing culture, that means an attempt from the US to shame China on the seas.

We should be preparing for an insulted, post-defeat China and long-term strategists should being their review of the psychological atmosphere in pre-WWII Germany.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 15, 2018

Trump hosted several guests in the Oval Office this week, including Kanye West, Pastor Andrew Brunson, and Nikki Haley.

Haley is resigning from the United Nations. A likely successor could be Jared Kushner. If Jared is not named her successor, then he will continue to rise in respect behind the scenes elsewhere. Haley mentioned his effective negotiation work with the new NAFTA deal in her resignation.

Andrew Brunson was released from captivity in Turkey relating to imprisonment of Christians in a clash with Middle Eastern religion, law, and culture. His return home was thought to be a lost cause when Trump took office. The president mentioned that North Korea had also been a lost cause by the previous administration, with war being immanent. He pointed out that many supposed "lost causes" had turned around since he took office, Brunson's return being only one of them with many more yet to come.

Inviting Kanye West into the Oval Office gave Kanye a platform to be heard. Apparently he had many things to say that had only been distorted by the media. Being heard from across the desk of the president he supports allowed him to be heard clearly and accurately. He's not the only one with such a need.

Faith Goldy is running for mayor in Toronto. She is surrounded by opposition, including questions about advertising contracts that were not honored and possible lawsuit cases in her favor. She is up against a comfortable incumbent and an establishment comfortable with the incumbent's comfort. Being in the top three candidates she was still rejected from participating in an election debate.

From the look of things, along with the ever-swelling #WalkAway movement, it seems that an election fraud effort may be in effect and over-optimism from the Left is the attempt to persuade public opinion otherwise. Considering that Canada has similar issues, the effort against Trump seems to be part of something both greater and international.

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Columns

Killing Cockroaches

There are two ways to kill a cockroach, one way involves the same way to prevent its intrusion in the first place: starvation. If we don't have food or water sprinkled all over our floors and in the cracks of our sofas, they won't last more than a month and they probably won't move in to begin with. The second way is with poison.

Cockroaches poop and pee and make our houses stink. Outside, they keep the world clean because the rain cleans up after them. They'll only visit to clean up houses whose keepers don't clean up after themselves.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 8, 2018

China's political, socioeconomic worldview is that of a zero-sum game. It has played it's socioeconomic game that way for decades. Now, it must empty its reserve coffers to keep its zero-sum game strategy from sinking too fast. This means that it can't use those coffers if a military conflict arose. The United States knows this.

Don't be fooled. The US strategy is to provoke China into a conflict sooner than it wants. In the Western view, China has shown how it will behave by having shown how it has behaved more and more. This is enough to warrant preemptive agitation for the Western taxpayer. In China's view, the world has failed to bestow on China what China deserves; because China rightly deserves what it deserves, China can't lose.

Interpol has now gotten whatever international attention against China's favor that Hong Kong malcontents did not. With the disappearance of Interpol's president into China, whoever didn't care about so-called "Chinese aggression" does now. China's government thinks they sent a message to the world. They did, but the message received is probably not the message that was intended.

As the Pacific conflict escalates, the US-Taiwan aggravation strategy moves into more military cooperation. "Unprecedented" was the word of the week. And, everyone knows what it means just as much as everyone knows why.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 8, 2018

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh opens a new problem for Conservatives: supermajority. Any unchecked party is dangerous. Breyer and Ginsberg are aging. If one of them resigns or passes within the foreseeable election future, the Supreme Court would be packed with Conservative, Republican judges. Justice Kennedy had been a swing vote, a kind of wild card on the court. That time is gone. We live in a new era of a truly Republican court.

The path leading the country to this Republican control, however, was too bumpy to make Republican voters lazy. Had Democrats played friendly and kind, the coming wrath of the Republican voter wouldn't have become so big as we will see in November. With polls being reported as hopeful for Democrats, we could see even more Republicans provoked to vote in 2018 than in 2016. It almost seems as if Democrats and the media are in some kind of secret cooperation to push Republican voters.

With the economy clipping along and so many kept promises from Trump, who has a 50% job approval rating, Republican progress looks likely. There are many states reportedly in play, but that amounts to 44 Senate seats secure for Democrats and 48 secure for Republicans. The reported tossup is a steeper climb for Republicans than Democrats and, with the Kavanaugh turbulence, Republican voters won't be staying home.

In the minds of Democrat voters, a strong Republican court makes them paranoid that Republican police could come to their homes any minute now and burn them alive for flying rainbow flags. This kind of hysteria has been cultivated by Democratic propaganda, though never stated directly, being intended to get Democratic votes, though its effects will be dangerous when those votes aren't enough to win elections.

Republican strategy went correctly. By confirming Kavanaugh, Republicans acted like Republicans, which always brings out the Republican vote. Loss has always brought out Democratic demonstration. While we may be looking at an unusual mid-term victory for the president's party next month, we could also be looking at riots soon after. And, in America just as we see in the swelling #WalkAway movement, the aftermath of riots lead to one thing: repentance.

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Columns

God’s Perfect Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB-vB_OjXf0

God seems to like to wait until the last minute before solving our problems, but, He doesn't actually. He doesn't wait until the last minute anymore than He waits for the first minute; He waits for the perfect minute.

Baking a cake requires the perfect cooking time, neither too long nor too short. Our self-worry, wanting to fly while keeping both feet on the ground, causes us to perceive that God often waits until the last minute to come through. He doesn't. He does everything at just the perfect time.

It takes getting used to—acting at the perfect time.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 1, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ769JqU3xs

When China cancelled a meeting in Washington, the Chinese thought they were sending a message; Washington thought they wouldn't be sending any more messages at all. The Chinese government wants mutual respect, trade that results in equal numbers, and that countries not be bullied into taking sides in a China-US disagreement. Though China lobbed this new policy in a complaint against the US, there have yet to be steps or specific commitments on how China will hold up its side of this new policy. It will be difficult to get clarification without communication.

US tariffs are unfair. It's so obvious that it doesn't need to be proven. China has a right, after all—and everyone should agree—to develop itself as a nation. China's right to have any and all resources given to it from everywhere in the world, to whatever extent is needed for development, is an entitlement China has by birth and is already universally accepted around the world. Those in the US who oppose this obvious consensus are a rogue fringe not deserving of academic mention.

But, Taiwan is being a big bully—a meanie-face. By not rebuking the US for considering a third of a billion dollar arms sale to Taiwan, the Taiwanese are spitting in Beijing's face once again. As if that bullying wasn't enough, Taiwan is also planning a new place to park its helicopters. Of all the audacity!

Hong Kong, however, stands no chance against the great and mighty China. By banning a pro-independence party, the Hong Kong government sure showed them! There's no possible hope for any kind of backlash or rise in sympathy, once the rightful leaders have made their all-powerful will known in the fully self-governed special administrative region of Hong Kong.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 1, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2JO17jPDyc

In the words of Tyrion Lannister, "Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts." Something is very wrong about the testimony against SCOTUS nominee Judge Kavanaugh. But, that doesn't matter. The odd smiles and giggles from both the witness and her attorney, the "crying" voice without shedding one single tear, many frequent flights from someone afraid to fly when it came time to testify in a matter she wanted investigated, refusing to be interviewed in her home state while demanding an investigation, heavy use of "attorney-client privilege" from an accuser who could prove her case better by not exercising that privilege on key questions whose answers could support her case, a lie detector test administered between flights after a funeral paid for by no one knows who—none of that matters.

For the attorney blocking a question about whether Dr. Ford was informed that she could be questioned per her request, in her own state, he should be subpoenaed or Dr. Ford, her attorney, and her allegations should be dismissed—since Democrats think unusually high standards are so vital. Even Republican Senator Lindsey "Gramnesty", who voted for Obama's justices, adamantly defends Kavanaugh, arguing that, as a former judge himself, not so much as a warrant could be issued with such little information Dr. Ford provided at this suspiciously and conveniently late hour.

When Kavanaugh admitted to drinking in high school, he lowered his odds of Republican favor more than any accusation could. If that doesn't take his name out, nothing will. Democrats don't oppose him because they have a shred of belief in the witness against him, but because they know he would vote as a supreme court justice in agreement with the Declaration of Independence—that life is an unalienable human right—because they don't want any judge who upholds the nation's founding documents. If Democrats wanted credibility for their emotional appeal in grandstanding, they would vow before the nation to approve the next pro-Life judge appointed before the November election. But, that is just what they hope to prevent.

Even if true, these accusations shouldn't matter. The "boys will be boys" defense is false and no one credible is making that argument, though Democrats rebut the wind. Kavanaugh has become a better person and done good and honest things since high school, so it seems anyway. He knows how to grow up. Bill Clinton doesn't. That's what matters. But, none of what matters seems to matter to Democrats. Where was Senator Feinstein during the Clinton years?

There could be some shred of truth to the allegations, but the manner and circumstances in which it has been presented has many predictable and craftable conveniences that just so happen to line up with Democrat party politics. If one single Democratic senator cared about these harassment charges, that senator would have voted to impeach Clinton. By Democrat standards—politician and voter alike—Kavanaugh almost qualifies as enough of a "bad boy" for the presidency.

Regardless of the senate committee's decision, Republican voters will be furious. This could trigger a cascade turnout in November that tips the Republican favor even more than speculated thus far.

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Columns

‘Thrive’ Coaching vs ‘Life’ Coaching

Anyone can refine and narrow-down a preferred recreation. Anyone can sit in a chair and ponder one's own life and what useless hobbies we each enjoy the most. But, profitability—the ability to make the money needed to do what you really want to do in your heart—that can't come from a psychologist or conversationalist.

Discovering your own profitability requires someone who has discovered his own. We need feedback from friends and family. These are useful. But even more, we also need information, facts, challenges, and someone to teach by example on how to quickly get to the point.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 24, 2018

Google has gone off the deep end. The level of insanity matches The Bridge over the River Kwai. Actually helping China spy—Are Google execs loopy? From a Chinese company inside China that would make sense. But, Google is American. As if helping a non-ally spy isn't enough, social media giants are already in trouble over censorship in the US. Google could be in bigger trouble with the White House than Wall Street is.

Taiwan hasn't wasted any time irritating China. Now, a temple that was bought seven years ago by a Taiwanese business man, which was then converted into a "shrine to Chinese communism", is having the lights and water turned off as the local government prepares to demolish the whole place. That won't wash over well for anyone hoping to court friendship with China.

China seems to be taking the hint and finally getting offended. Beijing cancelled a trip to talk trade with Washington after figuring out that tariffs were set by imbalance and retaliation rather than rhetoric. As for the two steering factors—imbalance and retaliation—China shows no indication of making concessions. But, it's not the tariffs or trade talks that deserve the headlines as much as the insults mounting against China.

The US is going after Russia for selling weapons to China. That's even more irritation. And, China is even more angry. If we were to analyze the events of the past few months, even years more subtly, it could seem that angering China was an accident. But, the recent past makes more sense, just as events are more easily anticipated, if we consider that the US is irritating China on purpose. Expect more insults from the US, along with Taiwan.

And, Korea. Yes, the two nations are getting along. That won't work well for any nation or pundit hoping to argue that Trump doesn't know how to make a difference in the region.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 24, 2018

Things are looking bad for social media giants and for Democrats. Senator Feinstein really stuck her foot in it this time. Now, she questions the truthfulness of her own token "me too" witness. Questioning herself won't help her credibility when she sat on an accusation for two months.

Social media outreached as well. But, that's to be expected when a CEO is so wet behind the ears that the only leadership he remembers from his years of actually paying attention to politics were filled with Obama-topia. Zuckerberg hasn't lived long enough to have ever seen what went around actually come back around. Maybe Trump's response to his shenanigans will help him develop an attention span and it might lead to his own "red pill" moment, should he join #WalkAway himself, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

The bigger focus should be on Trump's strategy. For the first time since Reagan, as an election approaches, someone is actually acting more like a Republican. The Republicans would do well to follow Trump's lead. Republican voters only wake up and go vote when candidates act like Republicans, not political pansies. Two moderate, wishy-washy, failed Obama opponents proved that well enough. Expect more Republican activity from Republicans.

Times are changing. The #WalkAway movement is only growing. Now, dissing Democrats has become the way to get YouTube likes from Obama voters. If you make promises, you'd better deliver on them. That's what Trump is doing, anyway. And, his numbers don't seem so low.

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Letters

Angels Support the Values of the Kingdom


It was one of those days where it seemed there were more crazy people on the roads than usual: cars pulling out right in front of me, crowding me off the street, the guy turning right from the left lane right in front of me.
 
I was not amused.

Eventually I made my way to the freeway, and took a deep breath. “This feels like an attack,” I realized.

So I prayed. I invited angels to protect me as I made my way across town to my appointment.


And as soon as I prayed, I knew I was wrong: I didn’t need to invite them to protect me; they already were protecting me. They were the reason I hadn’t actually been hit by any of those crazies on the road. That green Volkswagen had stopped so suddenly was because an angel was stopping it from running into me.

So I thanked the angels for their effective service, and invited them to continue. And I went after any assignment against me, cancelling that. That felt better, and I encountered no more crazies that day.

And Father & I talked about this as we drove. I was thankful for the protection of his servants – our servants – on the roads, but if the angels are protecting me, why were there so many near misses if they were on duty? Why not just keep things safe and sane, why not stop the green Volkswagen five or six feet earlier so I didn’t jump out of my skin with that near miss?

This is the part I’d like to share with you, see what you think.

Angels are (essentially) employees of the Kingdom of God, serving those who will inherit salvation, right? So their actions will be consistent with the values of the Kingdom, yes?

It floated into my mind: “What is the currency of Heaven? What is it that moves His hand?”

Faith. Faith is the currency of Heaven. It’s the prayer of faith that changes things.

In fact, Romans goes so far as to declare, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” [11:6] More, that’s how this whole adventure began: “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” We enter the Kingdom by faith and ever after, the Kingdom continue to work by faith.

Then it hit me. The employees of the Kingdom of God won’t be working in such a way as to bypass God’s values, in such a way as to invalidate the currency of the Kingdom. That means that angels won’t be working in a way that removes the requirement for faith, for my trusting God.

In fact, it’s more likely that they would choose their actions in such a way as to increase the faith of those they minister to, to encourage me to trust God more, in this case, rather than trusting my own driving skills.

In fact, it appears that angels are aware of the level, the maturity of our faith, and treat us accordingly. Their actions will be different for a new believer than for one who has walked with God for several decades, because it takes more to grow the faith of the seasoned saint, while the babe in Christ is challenged by even the simplest things.

In some cases, God (perhaps through the ministry of angels) provides for us, but his provision might show up at the last second. (“God is never late, but he sure misses a lot of opportunities to be early!”)

Why? Because if the provision showed up early, we’d never have to exercise faith. We’d stroll along comfortably, content that our provision was in the bank, rather than trusting our Father.

Us trusting our Daddy. Yeah, that’s part of his goal for us. Us being comfortable? Nah, that’s not a priority.

And God’s work in our lives, angels’ work in our lives, will never work against the need for us to walk (or drive) in trust.



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