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FAITH

12/20/2014

Link: about.me/gideonsword

 

hebrews-11-1

 

 

Faith

 

Author: William MacDonald
Source: Sermon Index

“There can be no true discipleship without profound and unquestioning faith in the living God. He who would do exploits for God must first trust Him implicitly. “All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.”Hudson Taylor

Now true faith is always based upon some promise of God, some portion of His Word. This is important. The believer first reads or hears some promise of the Lord. The Holy Spirit takes that promise and applies it to his heart and conscience in a very personal way. The Christian becomes aware that God has spoken to him directly. With utter confidence in the trustworthiness of the One Who has promised, he reckons the promise as sure as if it were already fulfilled, even though, humanly speaking, it is impossible.

Or perhaps it is a commandment rather than a promise. To faith, there is no difference. If God commands, He enables. If He bids Peter to walk on the water, Peter can be sure that the needed power will be given (Matthew 14:28). If He commands us to preach the gospel to every creature, we can be sure of the needed grace (Mark 16:15).

Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.

“The province of faith begins where probabilities cease and where sight and sense fail.”George Muller

Faith says, “If ‘impossible’ is the only objection, it can be done!”

“Faith brings God into the scene, and therefore it knows absolutely nothing of difficulties — yea, it laughs at impossibilities. In the judgment of faith, God is the grand answer to every question — the grand solution of every difficulty. It refers all to Him; and hence it matters not in the least to faith whether it be six hundred thousand (dollars) or six hundred million; it knows that God is all-sufficient. It finds all its resources in Him. Unbelief says, ‘ How can such and such things be?’ It is full of ‘Hows’; but faith has one great answer to ten thousand ‘hows,’ and that answer is, God.”C. H. Mackintosh

Humanly speaking, it was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a child. But God had promised, and to Abraham there was only one impossibility — that God could lie.

(He) against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, “So shall thy seed be.” And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform (Romans 4:18-21).

Faith, mighty faith the promise sees
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities
And cries, “It shall be done!”

Our God is the God Who specializes in impossibilities (Luke 1:37). There is nothing too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14). “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

Faith claims His promise, “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23), and exults with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

Doubt sees the obstacles–
Faith sees the way!
Doubt sees the darkest night–
Faith sees the day!
Doubt dreads to take a step–
Faith soars on high,
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
Faith answers, “I!”

Because faith deals with the supernatural and the divine, it does not always seem to be “reasonable.” It was not using “common sense” for Abraham to go out, not knowing where he was going, but simply obeying God’s command (Hebrews 11:8). It was not “shrewd” of Joshua to attack Jericho without death-dealing weapons (Joshua 6:1-20). Men of the world would scoff at such “insanity.” But it worked!

Actually, faith is most reasonable. What is more reasonable than that a creature should trust his Creator? Is it insane to believe in One Who can neither lie nor fail nor err? To trust God is the most sensible, sane, rational thing that a man can do. It is no leap in the dark. Faith demands the surest evidence and finds it in God’s unfailing Word. No one has ever trusted Him in vain; no one ever will. Faith in the Lord involves no risk whatever.

Faith truly glorifies God; it gives Him His proper place as the One Who is completely trustworthy. On the other hand, unbelief dishonors God; it charges Him with lying (1 John 5:10). It limits the Holy One of Israel (Psalm 78:41).

Faith gives man his proper place also — as a humble suppliant, bowed in the dust before the sovereign Lord of all.

Faith is opposed to sight. Paul reminded us that “we walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). To walk by sight means to have visible means of support, to have adequate reserves for the future, to employ human cleverness in insuring against unseen risks. The walk of faith is the very opposite; it is a moment by moment reliance on God alone. It is a perpetual crisis of dependence on the Lord. The flesh shrinks from a position of complete dependence on an unseen God. It seeks to provide a cushion against possible losses. If it cannot see where it is going, it is apt to suffer complete nervous collapse. But faith steps forward in obedience to the Word of God, rises above circumstances, and trusts the Lord for the supply of all needs.

Any disciple who determines to walk by faith can be sure that his faith will be tested. Sooner or later, he will be brought to the end of his human resources. In his extremity, he will be tempted to appeal to his fellow men. If he is really trusting the Lord, he will look to God alone.
[See Also: “Nor…the Smell of Fire…”]

“To make known my wants, directly or indirectly, to a human being, is departure from the life of faith, and a positive dishonor to God. It is actually betraying Him. It is tantamount to saying that God has failed me, and I must look to my fellow for help. It is forsaking the living fountain and turning to a broken cistern. It is placing the creature between my soul and God, thus robbing my soul of rich blessing, and God of the glory due to Him.”C. H. Mackintosh

The normal attitude of a disciple is to desire an increase in his faith (Luke 17:5). He has already trusted Christ for salvation. Now he seeks to extend the areas of his life which are submitted to the Lord’s control. As he faces sickness, trials, tragedies, and bereavements, he comes to know God in a new and more intimate way, and his faith is strengthened. He proves the truth of the promise, “Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). The more he finds God to be trustworthy, the more anxious he is to trust Him for greater things.

Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, the disciple’s desire should be to saturate himself in the Scriptures — to read them, study them, memorize them, meditate upon them day and night. They are his chart and compass, his guide and comfort, his lamp and light.

In the life of faith, there is always room for advancement. When we read of what has been accomplished through faith, we realize that we are like little children, playing at the edge of a boundless ocean. The exploits of faith are given in Hebrews 11. They rise to a magnificent crescendo in verses 32-40:

“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy): they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”

One final word! We have already mentioned that a disciple who walks by faith will doubtless be considered a dreamer or a fanatic by men of the world or even by other Christians.
But it is good to remember that “the faith that enables one to ‘walk with God’ enables him also to attach the proper values to the thoughts of men.”C. H. Mackintosh

 

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Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.

 

Faith Tested By Fire

12/18/2014
Link: about.me/gideonsword

 

 

“Nor…the Smell of Fire…”

 

Author/Pastor: T. Austin Sparks
Source: Sermon Index

 

Fiery Furnace


Reading: Daniel 3:16-27 and I Peter 1:6-8 (ASV)

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, “0 Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thine hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known unto thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

And he commanded certain mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their hosen, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste: he spake, and said unto his counsellors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said unto the king, “True, 0 king.” He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace: he spake and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come hither.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth out of the midst of the fire. And the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their hosen changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them.” (Dan. 3:16-27)

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (I Pet. 1:6-8)

“The trial of your faith.” Let us consider four things that are the outcome of the trial.


The Outcome of Trial

(1) The Self-Destruction of the Enemy
How wonderfully above the situation these three men were! With the prospect of the trial, with the threat over their heads, how utterly careless about answering the king! “We have no need to answer thee in this matter.” There was a settled confidence of heart, the outcome of an integrity of life and walk before God. Their concern was that they should not in any respect be found in compromise of their relationship to the Most High God. Threaten them with a fiery furnace – they are quite above it all. And the first effect of the bringing of these men into that trial justified their confidence, because the very means that were used of the enemy to compel them into the fire were consumed by the fire. If our lives are in an utter position in relation to the Lord Whom we confess and serve, we have no need to fear the fire. We shall certainly be wise not to invite the fire; but in the course of our life and our testimony, if and as the fire comes we have no need to fear. The very means that the enemy uses to bring about the fiery condition will be consumed. That is a very solemn word for any who would be found creating fiery conditions for the saints. The saints’ concern must be their relationship to the Lord.

(2) The Loosing of Bonds
Another outcome of the fire is the loosing of bonds. Are you in the fire? Have you got a satisfactory reason for being there? Here is one; it may apply to you; the fire is ordained of God for the very purpose of loosing you from bonds. Yes, the limitations that circumstances and conditions outside of us put upon us, the frustrations of which we are so conscious – they are dealt with in the fire.

But what about the limitations, the bonds, that are peculiarly ours, within us – the bonds of our makeup, the features of our temperaments? The same is true. Here is a loving God ordaining the fire and allowing the enemy to stoke it to a sevenfold heat, with the purpose, in the heart of God, of loosing us from bonds. Oh, is this happening with us? The fires are being heated to an intensity that we never thought possible for us to endure; are we being liberated by them? Are we coming into the glorious liberty of the children of God? Are we being rid of those things that have so marred our life, our testimony, our ministry?

Maybe you are feeling that you have not got any bonds. Well, some of us have, and some of us are satisfied that this is what God is doing in the fire. There is a loosing in the fire.

(3) Closer Fellowship with the Lord

Another thing that happens in the fire is that these three men are found with One with them in closer fellowship and company than they have ever known before. We know a little about that, do we not? – in the fire, coming to a knowledge of our Lord. We come through the phase of fire and say, ‘I would never have known the Lord in this way but for that; it was in the fire that I found Him in these terms. I knew all about the theory of it before, but I got hold of the reality there.’ One “like a son of the gods” – so says Nebuchadnezzar in his ignorance – but, as far as we are concerned, it is “the Son of God”; all through the fire, in fellowship with our beloved Lord. Well, the fire is justified.

(4) The Supreme Glory – No Smell of Fire, but Joy Unspeakable
But to me, the crown of this whole matter is what follows after, and it is this that is the real burden on my heart. They came out of the fire, and there was not even the smell of fire upon them. I think that is wonderful. Yes, greater knowledge of the Lord; yes, a liberation and an emancipating; yes, but not even the smell of burning! What is the interpretation of that? Well, I think there is no doubt that one very great effort of the adversary in the fiery furnace – if he cannot stop us getting out and cannot consume us in the fire – is so to leave the marks and smell upon us that for all succeeding days people will associate with us the matter of suffering and trial. You see what that does – it draws attention to us; and the devil does not mind that, because if attention is drawn to us, the Lord is hidden. Having a smell of burning about us means that the suffering and the trial that we have been through have beclouded the glory. To come out of the fiery trial of our faith without the smell of burning means, I think, the fulfilling of that word in Peter – “Whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet 1:8). That follows this word concerning the fiery trial of our faith – “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Here is the crown of a desperately dark time, of maybe years of suffering, of the testing of our faith – joy beyond speech, full of glory. The enemy ever seeks to rob us of our joy and frustrate the desire of the Lord that we should be radiators of His glory; and by the fiery trial all too often he succeeds.

I recently had occasion to see a brother who before the last war was on the Continent, and he was incarcerated for years in one of the big concentration camps. Without attempting to describe his harrowing experiences in detail, suffice to say that, by reason of the stand he took, at least three times he was trussed head downward over the bough of a tree and thrashed into unconsciousness. I was interested to see him and to note what were the effects of his suffering upon him. That man’s faith is undimmed; he has waxed strong; and the outstanding mark is not the suffering – though you can see the traces in his face; the outstanding mark is not the suffering, it is the glory. He is full of joy. Yes, I think he knows something about this “joy unspeakable.”

 

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The Need for Watchfulness

Now the enemy is making a very big effort to rob us of our joy. If he cannot keep us in the furnace, he will bring us out so smelling of the fire that everywhere we go people will say, ‘Poor So-and-so! He is having a terrible time; I don’t know how he goes through; I don’t know what he will do.’ You see what the smell of fire is doing – it is drawing attention to ourselves.

I have been quite impressed with the amount that there is of joy and gladness relating to the Anointing. We are so familiar with the thought that the Anointing brings power and the exercise of the authority of the Throne, but you know the word in Psalm 45:7 quoted in Hebrews 1:9“Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Here is the One Who is supremely standing true to God, committed to a way of trial, of suffering, to the fiery furnace; yes, but this One is outstanding in gladness and joy. Again, the Lord takes up the prophecy concerning Himself in Isaiah 61, and says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me….” Look at that prophecy, and see the amount of joy and gladness that follows that anointing; for mourning, the oil of joy; for ashes, beauty; for heaviness, praise. Because of the greatness of the pressure and adversity in which you are found, are you in danger of losing your joy? Are you as glad in the Lord now that you are well on the road as you were when you began?

Of course, we can disdainfully attribute the original joy to the superficiality of things at the beginning ‘These young believers,’ we say, ‘do not know what suffering and trial and testing mean. if they did they would not be so radiant.’ Ah, yes, but have we lost something? Have we ‘gone on with the Lord’ and lost the joy of the Lord? If we are conscious of having lost something of this, we must take steps to regain it. I was reading of an advertisement that had been put in the paper – “Wanted, Christian – cheerful, if possible.” Yes, we smile at that, but evidently the advertiser did not think there was much chance! True Godliness and glumness do not go together. We have got to watch, for the enemy is out to rob us and to keep us with the smell of fire upon us. Oh, that we can come through the darkest experiences and be those who are so full of what we have gained in the fire that the fire takes a secondary place, and all that meet us after the trial find us with “joy unspeakable and full of glory”!

 

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It may be that some to whom these words come do not know what we are talking about, this ‘trial of our faith.’ All I would say to such is, “Don’t worry about that. Just store up the Word, because if you are going on with the Lord, if you have any faith to purify, God will purify it, and somehow, some day, by some means, you will find yourself in the fire; you are not going to escape. It is not the experience of some special saints only. The Lord is after the purifying of the faith of all His people, and you will come to the day of the fire. When you do, remember the Lord wants these things to issue from it. Do not be too concerned about the enemy; he is not on top in the matter at all. In his fury and malice and hate he is doing certain things; but God is turning those things to account and using them to perfect that which concerns Him and concerns us, to bring about the end which He desires, even the glory of God in us.”

From “A Witness and a Testimony” July-August 1949; pages 86,87.

 

©2002-2014 SermonIndex.net – Audio Sermons
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.

Concerning Russell Brand

12/14/2014

Link: about.me/gideonsword

Russell Brand: Revolutionary, Prophet, and Prettyboy

 

Author: Paul Austin Murphy
Source: American Thinker – 12.13.2014

 

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The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what Russell Brand says about politics or about anything else.

As with pop music, his fame and notoriety rest almost entirely on the fact that a lot of young people (of both sexes) find him attractive; as well as stylish and hip. (Some older people may too.) In other words, he’s today’s version of the Che Guevara t-shirt. I don’t mean that he’s today’s version of Che Guevara. No way: Guevara was an intelligent and ruthless killer. Russell Brand is only today’s version of the Che Guevara t-shirt. In fact, he’s all t-shirt.

Think of it this way: how big would Russell Brand’s (as well as Che Guevara’s) fan-base be if he looked like Ed Miliband and had the body of Eric Pickles?

Brand History
Russell Brand makes a lot of his working-class credentials and claims that the reified Establishment is against him because of his “roots”.

He conveniently forgets that many members of the working-class have made into the Establishment; if not in very large numbers. Indeed they have even made it into the leading parts of the Conservative and Labour parties.

In any case, a lot of folks within Russell Brand’s Establishment — whether lawyers, rights/race activists, members of the Church of England, journalists, civil servants, and even members of the Conservative Party — actually believe many of the things he believes and also endorse and support many of his hip causes.

So when Brand talks about the Establishment, he must only be talking about those small sections of it which have the audacity not to uphold his own profound theories about the necessity of a Hip Revolution.

The other thing is that Brand isn’t particularly working-class anyway. And, no, I don’t have a complete least of necessary and sufficient conditions for what it is to be working class. “Class politics” only concerns me when people (disingenuously) grandstand their own working-class credentials in order to sell themselves politically.

And like the leaders of the SWP, Ed Miliband, Leftist lawyers, and many public-school boys in rock music, Russell Brand may be affecting (or simply exaggerating) a Mockney/Estuary English accent (“Parklife!”) in order to do so. (Though Brand is from Grays, a suburb east of London which he — rather that others — often classes as a “working-class area”.)

What Russell Brand appears to be doing is conflating being working-class with being from a dysfunctional background.

Brand’s parents split up when he was six months old. After that his father — who was a professional photographer — took his teenage son to use prostitutes. By the age of 16, however, Brand had attended Grays Media Arts School, the Italia Conti Academy, and a boarding school.

None of that seems particularly working-class; though, as I said, his background (on his own account) is clearly dysfunctional.

The Revolution
What drives Russell Brand’s recent conversion to The Revolution are the same three things which have always driven him: narcissism, hedonism, and exhibitionism.

Of course, I’m not being original when I call him a narcissist and an exhibitionist because countless other commentators have also done so. (Strangely enough, he’s also said the same about himself; if not in those precise words.)

Despite saying that, what has particularly annoyed me about the Russell Brand Phenomenon is the number of Leftist commentators and journalists who — having once classed him in the very same negative ways I’ve done — suddenly changed their minds about him. And they did so as soon as it became clear to them that he had thoroughly embraced The Revolution. Then he was no longer seen — by these same hypocritical Leftists — as a narcissist, exhibitionist, and a hedonist.

(This is especially true of certain Guardian journalists. Then again, literally anyone — whether that be Muslim misogynists, Islamic terrorists and Islamists — who can advance progressisocialism in any way whatsoever is fair game for Guardian patronization.)

Russell Brand is now, apparently, someone who “articulates the voice of youth” (do they all have the same voice?); who “speaks truth to power” (what a cliché!); as well as someone who’ll “reignite the people’s passion for politics”.

So when did Russell Brand convert to politics or, more specifically, to The Revolution?

Was it after or before he did transcendental meditation for a day (or Buddhism for a week)? He’s very much like Madonna in that, like her, he’s had almost weekly fashionable attachments to all sorts of different political and religious arcana. (Even Beyoncé, in her latest video, is Doing The Revolution; if dressed in a miniskirt and a niqab face-mask — so deep, man!)

I suppose it can be said that Russell Brand converted to politics — or to the platonic Revolution — roundabout 2009; though, at that time, in extremely peripheral ways. (E.g., as a typical mindless political fashionista Brand simply had to embrace the Palestinian cause; which is now as obligatory — for callow political hipsters — as the Che Guevara t-shirt.) This isn’t to say he didn’t mention politics in passing before 2009: sure he (probably) did. However, his commitment to Total Revolution dates later than that: it basically began in 2013, when he was 38.

Indeed even in his last book of 2010, Booky Wook 2, there are virtually no political references. There are some tangential references to political issues; though it’s all in very much in passing.

So what about Russell Brand’s Revolution?

In his own words:
“My relentless pontificating on revolution and a new social order came in for a lot of deserved abuse.”

As I said, Russell Brand is — or was — an exhibitionist and narcissist who got bored after twenty years of flagrant hedonism and then — when heading towards middle age — realized that he had to find another market (or niche). And that market is The Revolution.

That’s not strange at all.

The Revolution has always been marketed. Large parts of the hippie (post-1966) and punk (post-1976) movements, for example, succumbed to capitalism within a year. And, more contemporaneously, capitalism has even gained controlled of sizable elements of the anthropogenic-global-warming show.

Ego
The thing about Russell Brand is that he doesn’t hide his vanity and narcissism — at least he didn’t before his conversion to The Revolution.

What we have here is a 39-year-old who saying the things you’d expect to hear from 20-year-old (student) member of the SWP.

 

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Basically, Russell Brand has had his fun. Hedonism and flagrant exhibitionism must have begun to bore him a little. Thus he thought that The Revolution would titillate him a little instead. Thus Brand is a little like the party girl who suddenly realizes she no longer has the looks to party and therefore chooses to become a sanctimonious prude instead.

A lot of narcissistic and hedonistic pop and film starts have converted to politics in their thirties or later. I presume it’s when they too have become bored with partying. The thing about these beings is that they may become bored with politics too if something else comes along to titillate them (e.g., Islam or something).

Since Russell Brand himself says that he “was born to be famous”, perhaps we should take him at his word and see his commitment to The Revolution as yet another means to further himself. Indeed since he has said that everything he did he did because he “really wanted recognition”, then perhaps his commitment to The Revolution is another way of securing that recognition.

In any case, his YouTube loyalty to The Revolution has no doubt taken him out of that “penitentiary of anonymity” he has fought so hard against all his life.

And just as touring, being on chat shows, etc. secured him sex (they were, according to Brand himself, proxies for his “biological drive”), so The Revolution may be doing exactly the same thing.

The Victory of the Cross!

12/14/2014
Link: about.me/gideonsword


the_cross


The Victory of the Cross

 

 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

 

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)

“…the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3)

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Fanny Crosby, who wrote that joyful hymn, was truly blessed with an unwavering confidence in God’s loving grace! Born into a humble family in 1820, she became totally blind through a medical error six weeks later. But her overwhelming lifelong response was gratefulness, not bitterness or complaints. When only eight years old she wrote,

 

“O what a happy soul am I! Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be.

“How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t,
To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot and I won’t.”[1]


Fanny shared her joy through hundreds of hymns sung in churches throughout the English-speaking world. “I thank him for the dispensation [of blindness],” she wrote one day. “I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”[2]

Some years earlier, a young man in Prussia [part of the old German empire] was learning that same lesson.

From Prison to Praise
Few would have guessed that George Muller, a Prussian boy with a bent for trouble, would one day trust God to meet the needs of thousands of orphans. His early life showed no signs of such faith. Born in 1805, he made little effort to resist the temptations he faced during his first twenty years. He stole, lied, cheated, used forgery to prosper, and craved immoral thrills. Later he wrote in his diary:
“At the age of sixteen I became an inmate of a prison, dwelling with thieves and murderers.”[3]

After a year of confinement, he continued his “wild” depraved lifestyle for three more years. Then everything changed! A newly converted friend invited him to a “Christian meeting.” There God touched his heart, transformed his life, and began preparing him for a ministry of prayer, teaching, worldwide distribution of Bible courses, and loving care for orphans in poverty-stricken Bristol, England.

“I had once fully served Satan,” Muller wrote. “But now, drawn by the love of Christ, I was willing to suffer affliction for the sake of Jesus.”[3] And through the cross, God prepared him for that suffering:
“I came to England physically weakened and soon became very ill…. Yet the weaker I became in body, the happier I was in spirit. Every sin I had ever committed was brought to mind, but I realized that I was washed and made completely clean in the blood of Jesus. This realization brought me great peace….”[3]

God opened one door after another for His trusting, listening servant. And as He led Muller through each challenge, Muller gladly obeyed and grew strong in faith.
At the heart of every ministry was prayer. Muller would accept no salary from any ministry. Instead, he trusted God alone to meet all his needs — then his Shepherd would get all the glory! [4]

That wonderful Shepherd heard every cry and met every need. He would touch the hearts of caring people — beginning with the poor people in Bristol, who (like the poor widow Jesus commended) often gave all they had. Later, as word of his orphan ministry reached around the world, the large sums needed for land and construction began to pour in. Gratefully, Muller wrote:
“If I, a poor man, simply by payer and faith obtained, without asking any individual, the finances for establishing and carrying on an orphan house, this might strengthen the faith of the children of God.”[3]

Armed with this unshakable faith, he faced all kinds of tests: physical weakness, serious sickness, empty pantries at the orphanages, the loss of his little son, and the struggles of those he loved. Days — sometimes even weeks — would pass without any visible donations, but somehow the rent was paid and the children had food to eat.

One morning the concerned “matron” in one of the orphan houses rushed to Muller with bad news: “The children are all ready for breakfast,” she said, but “there’s nothing to eat.” Sure enough. As Muller came in and looked around, he saw three hundred children standing behind their chairs and empty plates, waiting for food and watching him.
Muller bent down and clasped the hand of a little girl. “Where’s the food?” she whispered.
“God will supply,” answered Muller gently. Then he asked them to join him in a simple prayer:
“Dear God, we thank you for what you are going to give us to eat. Amen.”

He smiled to the children. “You may be seated,” he said, confident that God would provide. And sure enough. As soon as they were all seated in front of their empty plates, they heard someone knocking at the door. It was a baker with a tray of fresh bread.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” he explained. “I kept thinking that you would need bread this morning…. So I got up at two o’clock and made three batches for you…. There are two more trays out in the cart.”

While they feasted on the bread, they heard another knock. There stood the milkman. “The wheel on my cart has been broken, right outside your establishment,” he said. “I’ll have to lighten my load before I can fix it. There’s ten full cans of milk on it. Could you use them?” Then looking at the orphans sitting in neat rows, he added. “Free of charge, of course….”[5]

Muller’s personal diary is full of similar stories, for His all-sufficient, all-seeing Father never failed to meet the urgent needs of the day:
– No money? A letter would come with the needed amount!
– No coal left for heating? “In our time of need,” wrote Muller, “our brother sent a load of coal.”[3]
– Need land for building three new, larger Orphan Homes? In the middle of the night, God awakened the owner of a perfect plot of land to prepare his heart to offer Muller an affordable price.

The Truth behind the Triumph
Trials and triumphs have always been part of the Christian life, and Jesus’ disciples faced spiritual warfare and experienced amazing miracles again and again. But that life of victory didn’t begin until after the cross. Before the cross, Peter had to come face to face with his own utter failure to follow His Lord. Ponder this conversation between Jesus and Peter:
Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…” (Luke 22:31-32)

Peter’s answer showed noble intentions but ignorance of his fallen nature: Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
But he was not ready! Well aware of coming failure, Jesus warned His friend, I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:32-34)

Peter did deny His precious Lord — three times! And the third time the rooster crowed his heart was broken. He mourned and repented, but his new life in Christ didn’t begin until after he received new life through the Holy Spirit. Finally he was ready. Like George Muller, he would count on all of God’s heavenly resources for daily triumph.

What did this victory cost our Lord? His agony and prayer in the garden of Gethsemane shows us a partial answer:
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’
“He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? ‘Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”
“…a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, ‘if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ ‘ And He came and found them asleep again…. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time… Then He came to His disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting?… Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
(Matthew 26:38-45)

Oswald Chambers helps us understand the initial agony of our sin-bearer who endured the judgment we deserve:
“The agony in Gethsemane is the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world. The veil is drawn aside to reveal all it cost Him to make it possible for us to become sons of God. His agony is the basis of the simplicity of our salvation. The Cross of Christ is a triumph for the son of Man…. Every human being can [if he will accept God’s gift] get through into the presence of God now because of what the Son of Man went through.”[6]

Having come to the cross and received new life in Christ, George Muller happily gave God the rest of his life. Like all of humanity, he faced his share of earthly trials and spiritual warfare, but he was freed from the chains of sin and Satan. In fact, the trials that he and Fanny Crosby had to face were nothing compared to the glory of walking with Jesus for all eternity!

 

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

easter-2014

 

Footnotes

1. [http://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/bcrosby5.html]
2. [http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/c/r/o/crosby_fj.htm]
3. The Autobiography of George Muller (Whitaker House, 1985), pps.12, 22, 26, 73, 124
4. Later, he would often share the various needs with his wife and one close ministry friend.
5. Janet and Geoff Benge, George Muller (YWAM Publisher, 1998), pps. 166-168.
6. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935), p.96. (April 5)

Fat Class Warfare

12/12/2014
Link: about.me/gideonsword

 

Fat Class Warfare

 

Author: Daniel Greenfield
Source: the Sultan Knish blog – 12.07.2014

There was a time when fat was in and thin was out. Obesity was the privilege of wealth and being thin meant being poor. In simpler societies, before slumming became a romantic pose, there was nothing attractive about not having enough to eat.

To be fat was to be part of the leisure class. Thin meant you were on the road to the poorhouse or to consumption, which meant your body was being consumed, not that you were the one doing the consuming.

Then agriculture was revolutionized and the values flipped. No one in the West was starving to death and the poorest man could still grow fat. By the time the social programs kicked in, weight no longer meant leisure.

With packaged foods widely available and jobs shifting from the factory to the desk, it was entirely possible to work hard and get fat.

 

FullPlate-Melih-Kesmen

 

On the other side of the aisle, exercise meant leisure time. The standard was set by movie stars who struggled to meet unrealistic standards because they had the time and disposable income to do it.

Fat no longer meant upper class gentry. Instead it meant lower class peasant. As with art, the widespread availability turned minimalism, and eventually the worthless and overpriced, into class signifiers. Conspicuous consumption of that which was widely available was lower class.

The overflowing table made way for micro portions and exotic but barely edible foods. Thin was in on the plate and the waistline.
In many Third World countries where feudalism never ended, the values never flipped. Instead of anorexia, teenage girls suffer from being force fed to make them more marriageable. The wealthy are fat and the feasts at the top never end.

In the West, weight stands in for class, at a time when explicit classism has become politically incorrect. When Europeans sneer at how fat Americans are, and American coastal elites sneer at the rest of the country for being fat, it’s a class putdown.

And no one traffics in class putdowns like the left.

Liberalism has become an engine of class repression, with the super-rich pushing down the rich and the rich liberal undermining the middle class. Its regulatory regime limits social mobility and locks in class privileges even while spewing rhetoric about these and income inequality.

Obesity is a classic moral crusade whose real purpose is to inflate the sense of moral superiority of a particular elite. With the moral codes of sex and drugs having been dismantled by that same elite, obesity is one of the few remaining class signifiers, aside from cigarettes, that it’s safe to hold a moral crusade about.

The War on Fat echoes the same old obsessions of Prohibitionism, a paranoid concern about the inability of the lower classes to care for themselves that verges on bigotry, an imaginary crisis blown out of all proportion in order to justify abuses of power and the self-congratulatory superiority lurking behind the curtain.

Their obesity concern trolling is a combination of classism and nanny statism that brings to mind the days when their ideological forebears thought that the way to deal with the poor was to sterilize those who seemed less capable than the rest to improve the breed. The breed being culled while the elites try to teach their less evolved cousins to survive by eating their arugula.

Finding moral failings in a manufactured underclass justifies endless abuses of power by demonstrating the inferiority and unfitness of those below. Obesity fits into that same template.

The solutions never work. Michelle Obama’s botched school lunch program and ObamaCare lawsuits over fitness rewards once again show that the technocratic nanny state can never achieve the goals of the moral crusade. But slimming down isn’t really the goal. Bloomberg’s soda ban wasn’t a serious solution. It was an expression of disdain and most of those on the receiving end understood that.

 

Michelle-Obama-eat-healthy-thumb-400xauto-12644

 

Barack and Michelle Obama lecture on food while gorging themselves at banquets. The lecture is the point. Cutting calories isn’t. It’s easier to oppress those who are manifestly inferior. Every elite needs these hypocritical justifications of their own superiority. The nanny state is not an act of concern.

It’s an act of contempt.

The nanny state is built on a technocratic confidence in the ability to create one size fits all solutions, overlaying that on a map of the current medical wisdom leads to the creation of single standards, which often have less to do with health than they do with the status symbols of the leisure class. 19th century popularized medicine created so many of these fads that some of them are still around today. The 20th century created even more of them. And the 21st century is only getting started.

Death though is not only inevitable, but it cannot be dodged with a one size fits all standard. Fitness guru Jim Fixx who helped kickstart the running craze died in his early fifties of a heart attack. Fixx had quit smoking and lost weight, and still died at an early age. Jackie Gleason who spent his life looking like a walking health attack, smoking and drinking, outlived him by nearly twenty years.

Medicine is individual and the collectivization of medicine is a technocratic solution that leads to broad stroke solutions, like adding calories to menus and other rats in a maze tactics designed to modify human behavior on a national level. The targeting of fast food restaurants, public school meals and food stamps reeks of the same elitist arrogance that drives the nanny state.

The politicization of food by the elites of the left always comes down to class, no matter how it may be disguised in liberal colors. From exotic to locally grown, the trajectory of food politics follows the upselling of food prices The only difference is that the dominance of the left has wrapped the added cost with no added value in their own politics. The more affordable food becomes, the more the left finds ways to add cost to food, without adding value.

But the politicization of food goes beyond the fair trade and locally grown fetishes of the politically correct elites, the more politics ends up on your plate, the more the elites are driven to involve everyone else in their food fights. What begins as a way of raising prices while diminishing value to assert wealth and privilege becomes imposed on everyone in the name of their political morality.

Once everyone else is paying more and getting less, then the classist left demands new ways to set its superior moral eating habits apart. Instead of everyone ending up with more food, everyone ends up with less.

Lefty culture practices conspicuous consumption, but the consumption has to be disguised with conspicuous political pieties. The food may cost twice as much, but it’s locally grown on a farm run by handicapped union workers who visit Cuba to receive free health care or by the indigenous peoples of Tuba-Tuba with the proceeds going to a complete sonic library of their chants and ceremonies. It’s a meaningfully meaningless hairshirt that disguises the consumption underneath.

Conspicuous consumption is now for the poor while conspicuous political consumption is for liberal elites. Al Gore may live in a mansion but he still has the carbon footprint of a mouse. The problem is the truck driver whose vehicular emissions are killing the planet. Whole Foods is just fine, but we need to do something about White Castle.

In a moment of horrifying tone deafness that makes Marie Antoinette seem enlightened, the left is cheering that fewer Americans are eating meat, without seeming to understand that it’s because fewer Americans are able to afford it because of the left’s economic policies.

What the left’s food police can’t accomplish with nudges and shaming, they can finish off with policies and regulations that raise the price of food or make it too difficult to sell. When the left fails to sell the public on conspicuous political consumption as a status symbol, it brings in the heavy bureaucratic artillery.

 

utne


It isn’t unusual for elites to use the legal system to enforce their own values on the general public, though it was the kind of thing that the universal franchise was supposed to put a leash on, but there is something grim about their growing preoccupation with the habits and mortality of the population. It’s the kind of concern that has a habit of ending in eugenics and the more medicine is universalized, the easier it is to start cutting off access to medical treatment for those who haven’t been nudged far enough in the right direction.

Social medicine politicizes food consumption and a globalized economy politicizes food production. And the politicized American plate has less on it and at a higher price. While the left obsessively pursues its mission of destroying fast food in the name of lowering socialized medicine costs, they are taking affordable and filling food off the shelves, as they have done with countless other products that they have targeted.

By the time the left was done with Russia, it had gone from a wheat producer to a wheat importer and many basic food staples were hard to come by even in a country filled with collective farms. Finding modern day examples of that isn’t hard. We only have to look as far south as Venezuela to see empty store shelves under the weight of government food policies.

But one day that may be the local grocery store if the left gets its way.

Beware of Systems Thinking!

12/11/2014

Link: about.me/gideonsword

There is a new way of thinking; a new thought process, which has been taught and is being taught in our public schools right now. It is designed to reprogram our children to begin thinking and viewing the world in a collective sense. It conditions children to embrace a One World system which must necessarily be a collective, groupthink, Comunitarian type of system.
The conditioning process really goes back to the work and influence of John Dewey in our school systems, and became a major, behind-the-scenes movement under the management of Bill/Hillary Clinton. It is now evident in the Common Core program, as well as various other educational initiatives. Interestingly, this ‘process of transformation’ is also being used in the corporate and business world to continue in the reprogramming of North America. There are a multitude of seminars, programs, initiatives, grants, and Federal/State guidelines all being implemented as we draw ever closer to the prophesied One World system. ‘The rights of the global collective must replace the old Western individual rights. To persuade the public, a new revolutionary way of thinking – often called holistic, integrated, or “systems thinking” — must replace the contrary old Western thoughts and ways.’

 

Slide1

 

 

Illustrations of the usage of this phrase:

 

 

 

Emphasis added in bold letters


Systems (General Systems Theory – GST): “GST was originally proposed by Hungarian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in 1928. He proposed that ‘a system is characterized by the interactions of its components….’ Kuhn (the originator of the “paradigm shift”) applied the GSP to culture and society, and he saw cultures as interlinking subsystems of a broader planetary society. In 1980, cosmologist Stephen Hawking then expanded systems thinking to the global platform by introducing the ‘Chaos Theory’ that claims the ‘interconnectedness of all things’— (i.e. the beating of a butterfly’s wings in Asia creates a breeze in America). As a result, GST becomes very esoteric when taken to its logical conclusions:
“GST is symptomatic of a change in our worldview. No longer do we see the world in a blind play of atoms, but rather a great organization.”
From “Outcome-Based Religions: Purpose-Driven Apostasy” by Mac Dominick.

From Spiritual Politics, co-authored by Corinne McLaughlin, the first task-force coordinator for President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development (New York: Ballantine Books, 1994), page 150.
“Seeing Whole Patterns. . . . It’s time for us to make the next leap in consciousness to wholistic thinking — to seeing whole patterns. In contrast with the prevailing linear paradigm, the New Paradigm sees everything as interconnected and interdependent . . . .Thus it is critical to keep the large picture—the whole system—in mind in order to create any kind of lasting solution and to avoid undue focus on effects, rather than dealing with causes that may be part of another system altogether.
“This is not really ‘new’ thinking. Many traditions of the Ageless Wisdom have taught wholistic thinking for centuries. For example, in the Native American teaching of the medicine wheel, each person begins life starting at a certain direction on the wheel…. To achieve wholeness, we have to move around the wheel, to see life from other perspectives, in order to understand the interconnection of all the parts. Native Americans resolved conflicts by sitting in council, in a circle of wholeness, where each voice could be heard in turn. Similarly, the Hindus and Buddhists have long used circular mandalas to teach about wholeness….
“Wholistic thinking or ecological thinking — seeing how everything affects everything else — is finally beginning to influence other national policies, such as economics, where piecemeal solutions never work, since all sectors of a nation’s economy are interrelated and interdependent with the world economy. The systems view sees the world in terms of relationships and integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units.”

Corinne McLaughlin’s Spiritual Politics is largely based on messages from spirit guide Djwhal Khul, the “Tibetan Master” channeled by theosophist Alice Bailey. She taught her mediation strategies at the Department of Education and the EPA. See “Celebration of the Spirit”

“Closing the Feedback Loop between Matter and Mind”
From the conversation with Dr. Peter M. Senge, MIT Center For Organizational Learning, 5-15-1996. [https://www.presencing.com/presencing/dol/Senge-1996.shtml]

Peter Senge:
“It seems to me that deep down the deepest questions for me have to do with the conscious evolution of human systems….
“Did you ever see David Bohm’s little book
Changing Consciousness? … It has David’s text about the way collective thought evolves, the role of culture in creating deep imprints in thought, and the effect this all has on our experience of life….
“To me, the essence of what systems thinking is all about is people beginning to consciously discover and conceptually explain and account for how their own patterns of thought and interaction…. Not “you,” not “them,” but we.
“The challenge, when you are dealing with larger-scale human systems, is that collectively people have to take some responsibility. … De Maree used this term sociotherapy. …
“The systems perspective is really fundamentally all about discovering the way we create our own reality. … It connects very directly to the particular philosophy of organizational learning… which is, at its root, a systemic philosophy. Now it had different tools. …
“We have been taught that one thing is more important than another. See? That’s fragmentation. … If you can convince someone that one thing is more important than another and if, secondly, the thing that’s more important is harder to achieve and you can convince them of those two premises, then you can make fear the dominant emotion, because then you will always be fearful of not having it, of losing it. …”

 

Eight skills

 

Senge’s research interest concerns the conscious evolution of human and systems and how to help people collectively tap into the reserves that exist for profound learning and change. The mind and matter story of Master Nan opened the space for rearticulating the essence of systems thinking as relinking matter and mind in the social world: to help people and organizations close feedback loops between collectively enacted behavior and the consciousness of those who act. Science, when performed from this deeper perspective, focuses on bringing forth new realities, for “you can’t understand a system unless you create it.” Likewise, leadership, when performed from the same perspective, is about accessing and operating from a “deeper force” related to the “capacity to live in the world you want to create” …. It’s about showing up and being present.”

Peter M. Senge is a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Founding Chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL). He authored The Fifth Discipline and co-authored The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, The Dance of Change, and Schools That Learn. Senge’s work articulates a cornerstone position of human values in the workplace; namely, that vision, purpose, reflectiveness, and systems thinking are essential if organizations are to realize their potentials.

Communities of Commitment: The Heart of Learning Organizations, by Fred Kofman and Peter M. Senge:
“Fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness are not problems to be solved–they are frozen patterns of thought to be dissolved. The solvent we propose is a new way of thinking, feeling, and being: a culture of systems. Fragmentary thinking becomes systemic when we recover ‘the memory of the whole,’ the awareness that wholes actually precede parts. Competition becomes cooperation when we discover the “community nature of the self’ …
“Together these changes represent a new “Galilean Shift.” Galileo’s heliocentric revolution moved us from looking at the earth as the center around which all else revolved to seeing our place in a broader pattern. In the new systems worldview, we move from the primacy of pieces to the primacy of the whole, from absolute truths to coherent interpretations, from self to community, from problem solving to creating.
Thus the nature of the commitment required to build learning organizations goes beyond people’s typical ‘commitment to their organizations.’ It encompasses commitment to changes needed in the larger world and to seeing our organizations as vehicles for bringing about such changes.
“But a systems view of life suggests that the self is never ‘given’ and is always in the process of transformation. …
“How those predisposed begin to know each other and to work together involves an ongoing cycle of community-building activities and practical experimentation. The former must be intense enough and open-ended enough to foster trusting personal relationships and to lay a foundation of knowledge and skills….
“Moreover, it is a journey that we are all taking together. There are no ‘teachers’ with correct answers…. Each of us gives up our own certainty and recognizes our interdependency within the larger community of practitioners. The honest, humble, and purposeful ‘I don’t know’ grounds our vision for learning organizations….
“Those not predisposed to systems thinking should not be excluded, but they may play less important roles at the outset. Over time, many people who are initially confused, threatened, or nonresponsive to systems thinking and learning often become the most enthusiastic supporters. If they are not included, because they raise difficult questions or disagree with certain ideas, what starts as a learning community can degenerate into a cult.”

The Spirituality of Systems Thinking by Lynn Stuter
“Whether we call it change or transformation, the two are the same. Our society is being transformed; we are in the midst of a ‘paradigm shift.’…”

In state and federal documents, the process to be used by business to achieve the sustainable global environment is made very clear. It’s called by several names: Total Quality Management (TQM), Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), the High Performance Work Organization (HPWO).
[See Reinventing the World and Re-Inventing the Church, Part 2 and “find” Senge]

Systems Thinking in the Twenty-First Century:
“…further development of systems thinking necessitates overcoming the contradictions between different schools and unifying them into a single systems conception. With this in mind, systems problems are examined in light of the theory of knowledge. It is suggested that the gnosiological definition of the notion ‘system’ should be used as a basis for a single approach.”
Note: Ervin Laszlo is the founder of the Club of Budapest and attended Gorbachev’s State of the World Forum in San Francisco in 1997.

Ervin Laszlo:
“We are transiting into a new kind of society…. What we are now living through is the transition from nationally based industrial societies to an interconnected and information-based global economic and social system. …
“In the past, our lives have been shaped mainly by information processed in human brains. … But in the course of the twentieth century, the information processed in human brains has been increasingly supplemented by information processed in technical systems.
“In the last decade of this century, we find ourselves not only in a social but also in an informational environment. Our societies have become more than social systems: They have turned into information-based sociotechnological ones. …time has telescoped…. Suddenly, standard values and beliefs became irrelevant — classical assumptions about the nature of the contemporary world have collapsed. This world is no longer an arena of the struggle between capitalism and communism led by two superpowers; it is a more complex world…”

New Thinking for a New Era:
“Ervin Laszlo time has telescoped. We are precariously poised in a present full of challenge and change; the future is upon us before we can look around and realize that the past has disappeared.

Who Is Ervin Laszlo?” by Lynn Stuter:
“Ervin Laszlo’s name comes up frequently in the context of systems thinking, systems theory, and general systems theory. Protégé of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, whose biology text books were used by Hitler, the following is appears on the back cover of Laszlo’s book, The Systems View of the World:
“A pioneer of systems thinking in philosophy, Ervin Laszlo is an interdisciplinarian and integrator…. Born in Budapest in 1932, he achieved international fame as a concert pianist in his early teens…. Currently he is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York’s College of Arts and Science at Genesco….
“Laszlo serves not only as President of the Club of Budapest and head of the General Evolution Research Group, which he founded, but is the former President of the International Society for Systems Sciences, an advisor of the UNESCO Director General, Ambassador of the International Delphic Council, member of the International Academy of Science, the World Academy of Arts and Science and the International Academy of Philosophy. He also held and holds positions as a board member or extraordinary member of numerous international associations, including, at one time, the Club of Rome.”

 

systems-thinking

 

 

Leading Congregational Change
by James H. Furr, Mike Bonem, Jim Herrington ( San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000)


This book, largely inspired by Saddleback’s success, gives us a detailed look at the change process itself. “This is a book you ought to read before you change anything,” said Rick Warren in his hearty endorsement.
[See Small Groups and the Dialectic Process]

“Congregational leaders can become more effective by mastering the learning disciplines of transformational leadership–creative tension, mental models, team learning and systems thinking.” [page 99]
“…our perspective is often incomplete. We take our experience with one part of the system and generalize it to the whole. In systems thinking (chpt 10), we learn that dealing with one part of the system gives an inadequate picture of the whole.
“The dilemma in overcoming our limited view is that we are often unwilling to learn from others who interact with other parts of the system…. When change leaders learn to listen empathically, they learn to see the world differently.”
[page 119]
“Self-awareness lead to an increased capacity for self-disclosure. A third key personal skill, the skill of dialogue, build on thee first two. Dialogue is also essential for team learning and is discussed in depth in the next chapter.” [page 120]
“Using critical thinking intentionally to challenge the mental models of an organization is a key skill. Critical thinking is the process of taking a fresh look at a problem by stripping away the assumptions and constraints that may have been imposed in the past.” [pages 120-121]
“We thank Rick Warren… for the opportunity to reach and refine our understanding of congregational transformation as part of Saddleback Valley Church’s Purpose-Driven Church Conference. We are also grateful to Bob Buford…. and others at Leadership Network for the many ways in which they have stimulated and facilitated our work.”

 

Chapter outline for the accompanying Workbook:

 

Spiritual and Relational Vitality: The Driving Force of Transformational Change (Four Disciplines)
– Generating and Sustaining Creative Tension
– Harnessing the Power of Mental Models
– Enabling Team Learning
– Practicing Systems Thinking

The Eight-Stage Change Process
– Making Personal Preparation
– Creating Urgency
– Establishing the Vision Community
– Discerning the Vision and Determining the Vision Path
– Communicating the Vision
– Empowering Change Leaders
– Implementing the Vision
– Reinforcing Momentum Through Alignment


From “World Heritage ‘Protection: UNESCO’s War Against National Sovereignty“:

In the eyes of UNESCO, private owners can’t be trusted to guard “a World Heritage which belongs to all humanity” any more than parents can be trusted to raise their own children. The rights of the global collective must replace the old Western individual rights. To persuade the public, a new revolutionary way of thinking – often called holistic, integrated, or “systems thinking” — must replace the contrary old Western thoughts and ways.
“The real enemy is a dysfunctional way of thinking,” said Al Gore in Earth in the Balance. His solution? “A worldwide education program… We should actively search for ways to promote a new way of thinking about the current relationship between human civilization and the earth….” UNESCO is leading the way….
Joe Baylis’ gold mine was outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. It fulfilled all state and federal environmental requirements. But those facts didn’t stop UNESCO from exercising its authority over Baylis’ land. According to new holistic interpretations of the World Heritage treaty, UN jurisdiction now also includes “critical buffer zones.” So when World Heritage Committee members from Europe and Asia appeared in Wyoming in 1995 to help radical environmentalist fight the environmentally friendly mining company, they claimed — and won — the right to censure human activity within the entire ecosystem. In other words, “systems thinking” rather than scientific facts and logic prevailed….
To gain control, it added new meaning to the agreement. In the seventies, the World Heritage Convention had defined “natural heritage” as “precisely delineated areas….” For Yellowstone, that “precise” delineation was a site measuring 2.2 million acres. Now the World Heritage leaders were claiming the right to “protect” what environmentalist considered an entire ecosystem of 14 to 18 million acres.
World Heritage Committee Chairman Adul Wichiencharoen of Thailand explained the new terms. He suggested that Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being prepared by the US Forest Service was taking a “fragmented” rather than a more “holistic approach” to the Yellowstone ecosystem.
“It’s a bit too much piecemeal, doesn’t speak to the biological interactions outside park boundaries,”added Executive Director Bernd Von Droat, of Germany.

Forum for the Future – The Forum’s mission and values:
Co-operation and learning. We believe that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. We strive to build a mutually supportive and creative environment in which we foster each other’s development, and share our skills, knowledge and experiences. Partnership, participation, consultation and dialogue are core to the way in which we operate.

 

Im-769

Hillary in 2016? Think again….

12/09/2014

Link: about.me/gideonsword

 

Hillary in 2016? Not so Fast

 

Author: Melanie Kowalski
Source: American Thinker – 12.05.2014

 

 

 

2014-06-11t155415z1813105711gm1ea6b1uc101rtrmadp3usa-politics-clinton

It was not such a long time ago that former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton was viewed by the Democratic poobahs and her worshiping public minions as a shoe-in for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, and ultimately the White House. But life happens, and life has found Hillary Clinton.

In a recent Politico article, “Delay of Game“, we’re getting another read-between-the lines indication that Clinton, Inc. a.k.a. “Billary” (Bill Hillary = Billary) is in rethink/regroup mode. This run for the presidency is as much Bill’s as it is Hillary. And she will need him in full campaign/strategy mode if she has any shot at all for the presidency. But are “they” running?

It’s been common knowledge since the media began profiling the public Hillary all the way back to her Wellesley days that she was considered to have the necessary bona fides and moxie to become the first female President of the United States. Now in the waning days of 2014, Hillary’s early 2015 announcement for the upcoming bid for the White House is changing from a bullet train into a heavily laden freight train which may yet derail.

The Clintons have numerous problems, chief among them, the Democratic Party itself. During the 2012 election cycle, Obama no doubt crafted a Faustian bargain with Bill which led to the latter’s rousing convention speech. However, that speech spoke to a core demographic of the Party that in the 2014 midterms either left the party for the Republicans or stayed home. It is this voting bloc — white middle class, working class, Blacks — that propelled Clinton to the governorship of Arkansas, the White House, and stood steadfastly by the Clintons from Whitewater to Monica, and for whom there is still strong appeal. Today, the Democratic Party is perceived as the Obamacare Party, synonymous with Socialism and other forms of more radical-leaning groups. In other words, today’s Democratic Party is not the Party of Tip O’Neill, Richard J. Daley, or even Joe Manchin.

The second major problem for Clinton, Inc. is the president. Now nearing the end of his game, Obama is taking provocative executive actions whose consequences may roil Hillary’s campaign. And Obama has given no clear indication other than the 2012 nationally televised Kumbaya moment, that he will lift a finger to support the Clinton candidacy. Senator Reid was able to spare the president a veto moment over Keystone XL, however, for Mrs. Clinton, she has thus far refused to take a position on Keystone, which is hurting her. She needs the fund-raising and backing of the powerful environmentalist lobbies on her side, yet her noncommittal stance is placing her within the cross-hairs of the aforementioned voting bloc who desperately want the pipeline and see it as a jobs creator.

Allies and supporters are attempting to create an opening for Hillary to distance herself from the president. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) recently spoke at the National Press Club about the mistake of pushing Obamacare at the expense of the middle class when the populace was more concerned about jobs and the economy. Next, Michele Flournoy, another Clinton acolyte considered a front-runner for the Secretary of Defense position, took herself out of the running with the speculation that she didn’t want to be a “doormat.”

Clinton problem number three is the Republicans. Should she decide to run, candidate Hillary will be Reagan’s age (70) if she reaches the White House in 2017. While that may not be of consequence to many voters, it could be a factor with others, especially if she is up against a Chris Christie or Scott Walker, or another Republican governor who has a demonstrable record to run on. Mrs. Clinton’s record, on the other hand, is not that strong. Up until the White House, she rode on Bill’s coattails. Afterwards, she carpetbagged her way into the New York Senate seat against a more qualified candidate. Her record in the Senate was hardly noticeable; except for her Iraq war vote, because she was already prepping for the presidential run in 2008.

 

hillary-we-struggled

 

And finally, there is Mrs. Clinton herself, who is proving to be her own worst enemy. She’s gaffe-prone when away from her handlers, as in the “we left the White House broke” remark. There’s no doubt in conventional wisdom circles that her histrionics before the Benghazi Committee will come back to haunt her should she decide to run. A sagacious Republican strategist can take that moment and project it onto a split screen with photos of service members. As the words are spoken, “what difference does it make,” people can visualize those words spoken about their family members.

Additionally, Hillary is not Bill. One either likes her or can’t stand her. There’s no middle ground. From her initial “baking cookies” comment and her first “stand by your man” performance, to the soft, warm and fuzzy, dressed in pink attempt trying to explain her role in Whitewater and as cattle futures queen, to her second stand by her man in a “vast, right-wing conspiracy” meme, Hillary can be seen as one calculating politician.

And so back to Bill and Hill. Will they make a run for 2016? The Clinton campaign machine, while still formidable in many respects, is not as daunting as it once was because of the shifting demographics and loyalties. They may very well have reached the conclusion that a White House run is not in the offing, and it’s better to be kingmaker than another bruising run at their ages and health. They’ll still be visible and rake in the cash, but odds could be that they’re using their time right now to scour the innards of the Democratic Party in search of the next “Bill,” whose appeal will be more centrist, and who’ll be capable of returning to the fold the millions of voters who feel party-less and out in the cold.

If Bill and Hillary can do that, their greatest legacy will not be the White House, but saving the Democratic Party., .l9

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