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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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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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 17, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTzNYYL9Gg8

The US is not sending a contingency of Marines to Taiwan to protect it's envoy. This announcement came after reports that the US had such plans. After discussing the non-existence of the plans for deployment, the State Department also discussed that it does not discuss plans for security or other strategies. Perhaps the real strategy not being discussed is that the strategy is not being discussed.

At any rate, the announcement that an announcement has not been made about the discussion of not discussing security strategy and the non-discussion about Marines who will not be deployed should make heads in Beijing spin as they try to figure out just what the US is not doing about what it's not discussing. Fewer Marines in Taiwan would be more inviting for an invasion, if the discussion were under discussion, which it is not—reportedly.

One of the best kept secrets about the brewing trade war between the US and China is that US jobs departed to China. A trade war would move those jobs back to the US.

Consider a US company that set up shop in China. While the financial know-it-alls loose sleep over anything being less pleasant than an afternoon massage, including a US company in China being attacked hyena style as Chinese culture loves to do, the people in the US wouldn't care about that company. That's the company that forsook the American worker. In the mind of the average US working voter, the company that got in bed with China should stay around for the abusive marriage; so leave them to the hyenas! Any Americans who own shares in those companies would do well to keep that information secret from their working, voting neighbors.

The world doesn't work how so-called "financial experts" think it does. The trade war will not hurt the US economy because economies flourish from jobs, not consumption. Claiming that lower consumption of off-shore goods will harm a market would be to measure a farm's profitability based on how much the farming family eats other farmers' food. The real issue with the trade war is a real war.

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Symphony

Encore or Revival: America, September 17, 2018

Trump's sanctions about elections are about the election. Turn all eyes to Texas. The seat of Senator Ted Cruz should not be in jeopardy. Democrats have no reason to dump such large amounts of money into a Texas race where senators are trending Republican—unless they are either crazy or they happen to know about other plans that could affect the vote. They aren't campaigning against Cruz because they think he is weak, but because he is so powerful.

Without the additional sanctions on foreign interference, it would be much easier to meddle in your opponent's election by asking a foreign power to do the meddling. Americans know better than to meddle in American elections because they have nowhere to run. Off-shore meddlers are another story—at least they were until Trump ordered his sanctions.

This is a shot across the bow, not so much deterring foreign powers from meddling as much as making foreign powers—and any domestic cooperatives—aware that the White House is aware that there are attempts to meddle. Only a fool would think Trump's order is purely for the optics of pleasing his unusually loyal base, which cares more about jobs and walls than defusing accusations they have already decided are fraudulent. These sanctions from the White House could be what wins Cruz his second term. We'll see.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley lives in a unit in the famed Waldorf Astoria. She originally had the $135k/month unit occupied by Susan Rice during the Obama years. Rice had ordered $52k worth of drapes and motors to close them, but the furnishings didn't arrive until Haley had insisted on moving to a less-than-half-the-price unit of the lavish Obama ambassador, at only $58k/month. New York is an expensive place for everyone, but Haley also rejected the set of drapes. Of course, in New York newswriting, Obama's bad decision must be blamed on Trump. It's all Trump's fault what Obama did.

Senator Feinstein should be impeached and Judge Kavanaugh should be approved Monday rather than Thursday. After a long and—according to Democrats—interesting career in the White House, an uncorroborated claim from a supposed victim of a so-called assault—much less severe than anything Clinton was praised for by his base—came to Feinstein in July. The accuser didn't mention anything in all the other years of Kavanaugh's career, nor did Feinstein mention the accusations in July or August. Everyone waited until the last possible minute.

If it is true that Democrats don't mention important facts until time is almost up, they should be expelled from Washington. Many voters in the #WalkAway movement seem to agree. But, this looks more like something made-up. By doing this at such a late hour, Democrats have implied that there is nothing more meaningful to discuss. Democrats are still angry that they can't read all the private memorandum that other people wrote to other people which Kavanaugh was the confidential delivery boy for. So, they pull an Anita Hill style accusation that looks fake in every time and manner they choose. The only credibility this accuser can gain at the bottom of this ninth inning would be for Feinstein to resign in disgrace for either trying to pull a fake "September surprise" or for exploiting a victim in doing so. Fat chance on a Democrat not exploiting the victims so desperately engineered into their voter base.

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Columns

Obedience Is Therapy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzCC9TwgWCE

We have so many identity-shaping experiences from our formative years, no book can be written long enough to list what kinds of events might make us act insane.

Even being asked to sit down might trigger a conditioned response that a scolding would soon follow and a beating after that. So, a friend asks you to sit down, you flip out, and you can't figure out what went wrong.

The golden rule from Jesus flags and cures all of these—love others as yourself, don't resist evil. By following his simple rules, you'll find whatever issues lurk beneath the surface.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 10, 2018

Right or wrong, the US-China tariff war was always coming. Stupid American companies flew into the campfire of Chinese manufacturing like moths into a flame. China was smart inasmuch as they did not become dependent on the outsourced labor, which was always going to ever-only be temporary. China has wasted no time, building infrastructure, such as the highway between Hong Kong and Macau and the silk road, now gaining income by the well marketed tourist attraction.

But, this tariff war was always coming. The political situation in the Pacific indicates that it's not about economics so much as it is about military. Pacific island nations grow more and more irritated by China. Little, small nations are speaking out, demanding China apologize for storming out of a PIF (Pacific Islands Forum) meeting when China's diplomatic representative was told to wait to speak until after heads of state from member nations had their turn. China is not a member, only an attendee. This is not any demonstration of leadership that the region will accept, no matter how much it may have been bestowed by the territorial gods at the universe's center, which is in China of course.

Then, there's Taiwan. If last week was a week of firing off blanks and papers across bows, this week, cannonballs started splashing. Taiwan introduced three different bills amending existing law, stiffening restrictions and penalties concerning anything that could even remotely be construed as interference between Taiwan and China. As if that wasn't enough, Taiwan is increasing its budget for both fighter jets and the navy. And, Taiwan's military even moved up an annual naval exercise to rehearse an attack from China at an earlier date than usual.

In all of this, the rain continues to fall in Taiwan, now flooding different parts of the island than saw torrents over three solid weeks of cloud cover. Not to worry, though. City governments are closely monitoring just how many millimeters of water can drain away how quickly, revamping any old sewer system that can't keep up. Taiwan just seems to have its hands full, as well as its rivers.

Then, there is the tsunami of US diplomacy. Trade wars often prelude military wars. While Taiwan's dwindling allies flip to support China, the US is breaking ties with any country that breaks ties with Taiwan, more or less. Solidarity with Taiwan seems to have bipartisan support in US Congress. With trade alliances shifting, when war breaks out, it will be a financial calculation as a convergence of China's revenue and US dependence on Chinese-made goods both bottom out.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 10, 2018

Assuming Jeff Sessions does not recuse himself again, if and when he investigates the mole undermining the will of the people now elected to the White House, he should look for someone akin to a spotless East Coast grad with a sense of personal duty, a history of "high grad" military status over real life, reverence for sailors like John McCain, little time in life to have acquired entrepreneurial startup bearings, and knowing how to correctly use the word "lodestar" along with a proper em dash—. In other words, they should look for someone similar to John Kelley.

As for the economy, it's the economy stupid. Republicans should win the midterm. Everything else is just excitement about excitement. Blue collar union workers usually vote blue, but don't count on it with them getting higher pay. As if that wasn't enough, this little maritime-savvy maverick hero from the White House just might bring out the vote enough to boost the republican electorate participation. Then, we also have all those #walkaway peeps, who are snowballing against the snowflakes.

The biggest mistake in Woodward's book was spelling Trump's name correctly. All press is good press, especially when the economy is clipping along.

As for Elon Musk's fall in stock prices, that sure does fit with his goal of making the company private again. If prices fall below his promised $420/share, his offer would seem attractive.

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Columns

Doompossibles

Ignore them. You know who... The people who say, "It will never fail, but you always will."

These are the lecturer-types who are convinced that world empires never fail—as if they never heard about Rome or Greece. "It is the biggest and always will be." Such are the words of a man who does not believe things can be caused because he does not know how things are caused into being. So, he neither believes nor knows how things are caused into failing.

He's wrong. You can cause success as much as you can cause failure. Make smart choices.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 3, 2018

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

China is in trouble. We don't know why, but we know the indication: Trump will be absent from ASEAN. He was absent from a funeral this week and his support grew. He was absent from a Republican debate, then he won the Republican nomination. By not meeting Xi face to face, Xi won't be able to read his emotions. No one knows exactly what Trump has planned, only that he's spending a lot of time on the golf course—a luxury banned by China's Communist Party—a luxury that just so happens to be Trump's favorite place to mull things over and get new ideas.

In the rainy season of August, Taiwan enjoyed almost three weeks of cloud cover. Whatever went on in Taiwan, it was difficult to see from above, and China never likes not being able to see from above. There's nothing like a little conveniently bad weather to irritate the away team. But, that wasn't the end.

The US is looking at a contingency of Marines to defend its unofficial embassy in Taipei and a former chief suggests simulating attacks on China's Soviet made, diesel powered aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, if it gets close enough to Taiwan. Such a statement is purely provocative and no chief, former or sitting, would make such provocation without sitting in counsel. This all compares to the Scottish flashing each other before a battle of the kilts. This week, the Taipei Times published numerous insulting and blatantly disrespectful stories from Taiwanese politics, spitting at China. Taiwan wouldn't do without backing.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 3, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKaL5b75V3A

It's all seen in his funeral. John McCain's death, more and more, seems destined to symbolize the death of the Washington "establishment". Put less friendlily, the death of McCain was the death of the swamp. More respectfully, and how things out to be, we mourn the loss of a senator while we move on with our convictions.

The Trump electorate, finally gaining the cooperation of the GOP, is proving more and more to be a valid and clear and enduring majority. They wanted Obama's health care law repealed; only McCain—from their own political party—stopped them. They wanted to be descent and quiet at the funeral of the man who despised them. John McCain found Sarah Palin, then put her on a leash. She respected him and only spoke respectfully of him, then he put a muzzle on her. Now, he's dead and she continues to respect him in her silence. Meghan McCain had a right to say whatever she wanted and her words agreed with her father's sentiment; Trumpists didn't like her words, but she stayed right on topic. Thank you Meghan. Trump would not attend, but his daughter did, a most appropriate discretion. Trump had more respect in his absence than in Obama's venomous distraction toward the man who would not crash a funeral. Bush and Biden gave good and respectful speeches, celebrating and mourning him.

The Trump electorate lives on and they are growing in number. Now, with Kevin McCarthy calling an inquisition into the Silicon Valley tech giants, who have harassed the controlling votership for two years, Republicans are moving away from the maverick-moderate tactics of McCain—which did work in his day. Insulting and muffling public expression, including the Declaration of Independence, was a foolish error. If their defense is true—that they "didn't know"—then they should have at least studied the electorate rather than despised it and known their own history well enough not to flag key words from our nation's heritage. At least, Silicon Valley is guilty of not caring enough about what they should. They are already paying a punishment through the markets. Now, they will answer to Congress.

McCarthy's move will energize the base—the one thing that the losing moderates of 2014 feared—the one thing that helps Republicans win elections. The Republican base is energized and we are now no longer looking at a possible and unusual midterm victory for Republicans; we are now looking at a likely and unusual midterm victory for Republicans.

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Columns

Push Open

Victories never happen by themselves, including the Godly ones. Unless God decides the battle, fighting only wastes time. When God decides to whom the victory should go, the battle must still be fought. God avails opportunity and unlocks doors, but we must step forward, reach out, push open, and take what is offered to us—because victories never happen by themselves.

Sometimes, a gentle push means offering tokens of friendship or demonstrated charity. Sometimes it means showing the truth to someone who misunderstands you. Sometimes it means evicting bad, dangerous people. But, every victory needs taking; and taking means taking.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 27, 2018

The Pacific is heating up bigtime. Just after Kim Jong Un meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump calls off a cabinet member's visit to Pyongyang the day after the new North Korean envoy was announced. What was that all about? Consider China.

China has been moving in on Taiwan aggressively, both through marketing and through international relations. The TOEFL test given in Taiwan lists Taiwan as a province of China, using the controversial, "Taiwan, China" nomenclature. Taiwanese were furious because the US government requires tests such as the TOEFL, which is administered by ETS, a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey. How does a US government recognized US-based English testing organization come to list a testing market contrary to how the US State Department does? The answer is: pressure from China.

Companies around the world have been strong-armed by China into listing Taiwan as a province of China. In the past weeks and months, airlines were required to comply in order to continue flying to China, many waiting until the last possible moment. This week, a PhD candidate at the University of Salamanca in Spain Tweeted a letter from China last October essentially demanding that the university shut down "Taiwan Cultural Days".

Now, Taiwan ended ties with El Salvador for recognizing China instead of Taiwan. This came after Taiwan declined for a year to make a sizable investment in the Port of La Union. Taiwan was concerned about debt for both countries. Senator Marco Rubio wasn't happy and a bill has already been amended to cut US funding to El Salvador.

While North Korea doesn't seem to be making as big of strides as expected in denuclearization, China is cozying up to North Korea while soon-to-be-former US allies cozy up to China and while China and Taiwan exchange lobbing spit wads. The overall situation doesn't look good for the pro-US side. But, there's always more than meets the eye.

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Encore of Revival: America, August 27, 2018

Senator John McCain is dead, God rest his soul. So are three gamers in their 20s, killed by suicide gamer rage at a computer competition in Florida.

Trump was busy golfing on Sunday and only Tweeted about a media spin article, explaining how Obama was receiving credit for economics that developed under Trump policy. Ivanka Tweeted thoughts and prayers to the victims at the gamer event shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. The Left didn't like that because not grandstanding for seizure of guns means doing nothing. Trump is in a catch-22.

From the "Fake Right", Alex Jones and Oliver Stone continue to entertain Conservatives of the hyperactive, hermit niche, who feed on fear. Stone predicts that Don Jr. will be indited. We'll see. Both taking heads of the now-dubbed "Stone & Jones" show (courtesy PD Times) shriek about how the other got harassed, but not injured permanently because the show continues. If the Leftist rent-a-mobs ever stop gaggling Stone & Jones, their show could be over. Then what will keep us entertained?

The Mueller investigation seems to be going in such a doomed and distracted multi-direction that it could be re-labeled the "Mueller investigation", but for different reasons. So, at least the show will continue somewhere. The real question will be whether "Stone & Jones" show viewers hold Stone accountable to make accurate predictions. If he's right, they should be bored. If he's right and they are hysteric, it means they are fanatic. If he's wrong, and they don't drop viewership, they are either fanatic or bored.

We're all led to believe that Trump doesn't know exactly what he's doing. But, his image of incompetence must hold up if he is ever to endure through the battle of wits looming in the Pacific, particularly the Northwest Pacific.

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Columns

It Comes in Waves

Hard work, achievement, victory, and defeat all come in waves.

Consider how a sand castle gets knocked down. It doesn't happen slowly and evenly as the tide comes in. One wave after another gets closer and closer until a monster wave comes out of nowhere and washes over the sand castle how an army only dreams of.

Things turn for better just when they look worse and worse just when they look better, then back to better and then back to worse or even better. Progress and decline both swing and leap. They are never linear, but always rewarding foresight.

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