Bible Teaching aimed at helping you enjoy the Scriptures which are the Word of GOD!
Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? – Romans 10:14
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16
Author: John Malone
Date: 1st November, 2013 @ 04:08:49 AM
In the middle of 2009, I noticed something interesting about this verse. It has to do with the italicized phrase above (KJV) “the assembling of ourselves together.” This is the translators’ rendering of the Greek compound word ”episunagoge” – higher synagogue – a word found only one other place in Scripture:
There’s more than just some language parallels between these verses. There is a contextual parallel in that each verse follows the presentation of this word with a reference to the Second coming of the Lord Jesus as, first, “the day approaching,” and, second, “the day of Christ is at hand.”
Therefore, the association of the “synagogue on high” with the “approaching day of Christ” is firmly established.
So what exactly is this “synagogue on high?”
In order to understand this well, we need to know that God’s view of synagogue and church has ever been about the assembling of His people and not about any physical structure. What became the synagogue to the Jews in their captivity was reminiscent of their assembling together in Jerusalem as a single congregation when they were free to do so, and had a temple. Therefore “synagogue” like “church” has a base meaning of “assembly,” just as the the translators above did catch, as “assembling … together” and “gathering together” intimate.
So what is in view here is not, as so many say, “go to church” (even though that is Biblically something to do), but is an admonition to not disregard an important doctrine that impacts our hope “as the manner of some is.”
You see, even the first century believers tended to lose the truth, contested but not lost on the Thessalonian church, and that truth was that we would be assembled in the heavens at the coming of the Lord Jesus, to be assessed at the judgment seat of Christ .
Historically, as it turns out, Christians DID abandon the truth of our assembling on high prior to the Lord’s return, and, although this truth was recovered in the early 19th century revival of it in Europe, the focus of it has remained something grasped by very few believers. Despite the fact that every believer dead or living will experience this assembly, unhappily so many will be surprised at what takes place, and perhaps even more ashamed during this time.
It is the case that Christians should have a faith that is future facing, as we learn in the following chapter , but that future-oriented view needs a focus, and that focus is the great assembly, and ensuing assize that attends it.
I wrote this in 1999 when Ron Brown spoke about homosexuality, and others tried to repress him, as they always do.
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
“Sissies” Clash With Cornhusker Coach
[The writer teaches Bible at Millard Community Church in Omaha, and in churches in East Africa. He was Student President/Regent from UNO in 1977.]
The University of Nebraska has sure fallen a long way in 25 years as a forum for freethinking, and free speech, not to mention free exercise. No sooner is there a complaint about Cornhusker coach Ron Brown - calling homosexuality the sin the Bible says it is – and politically correct sissies arise top-down from the university. They can’t even seem to assure us quickly enough of their readiness to repress free expression.
Regent Chairwoman Nancy O’Brien is an example: “I just can’t support taking advantage of one’s position at the university to preach their own ideas, regardless of what those ideas might be.” O’Brien said the line between Brown’s personal and professional activities “seems to be pretty thin and pretty unclear.”
Her remarks serve as a chilling effect on all university personnel who, like Brown, who make it their purpose in life that their voice be heard. University personnel will have to tread O’Brien’s thin and vague line ever so carefully, especially when voicing opinions about homosexual conduct, or anything else that may rankle someone.
Further, her criticism of “taking advantage of one’s position at the university” to “preach their [sic] own ideas” is the exact antithesis of what the university policy on free speech is. The people of the State of Nebraska want the university faculty to do EXACTLY that: it is the essence of teaching.
Similarly, UNL Chancellor Moeser comes off as a sissy. “I personally disagree with Coach Brown,” Moeser said concerning Brown’s broadcast on KGBI radio. Isn’t Moeser crossing O’Brien’s thin yellow line? Didn’t he “take advantage of his position at the university” to “preach his own idea” that is contrary to Brown’s?
Then Moeser offers this politically correct tidbit of repressive, and fascist policy: “He (Brown) has the right to state his opinion. I guess my concern is that we don’t want to create a climate in which any person feels that they’re being singled out or discriminated against on the basis of any personal characteristic, and that includes sexual orientation.”
Yet, the university is a climate where people with the personal characteristic of stupid or ignorant are discriminated against (or are they?). In the course of his work, Brown regularly discriminates against people with personal characteristics of short, thin, fat, slow, weak, clumsy, inattentive, nervous, and chicken. Some fans criticize him for not discriminating enough! Yet he gets paid to discriminate, AND to “create a climate” of discrimination.
Now, Bill Byrne, likewise a sissy, who wants us to know that he asked Brown to remove the word “Husker” from his show. Byrne further assures us: ”He (Brown) has to be aware of what our position is and make certain that he does not go into areas that are not representative of the institution.”
According to the Constitution (and the Bible) Ron Brown is under no obligation to censure his remarks according to “what our position” is. Ron Brown is free to express his faith in the Scripture and the Lord Jesus Christ. He is free to do it on recruiting trips, and on the practice field. He is free to do it at fundraisers, and on the radio. Neither does Brown need to avoid “areas not representative of the institution” in his speech. What Byrne should realize is that when he dictates such repression to Brown, he takes state action.
Byrne’s (and Moeser’s) attempts to repress or confine Brown in the free exercise of his faith and speech are possibly illegal, and if they are maybe Byrne and Moeser should be arrested and charged with civil rights violations. In any case, their acts of repression should be met with public opposition and correction. At the very least, university leaders should make it publicly clear that their attempts to repress free speech are not representative of the athletic department, the University of Nebraska, or the people of this state.
Moeser and Byrne speak as if Brown belongs to them due to his employment, and they lend him out to others – including God – “in his own time.” Better men of more sober and humbler minds would say something like, at the very least, “I thank God for Ron Brown, and for the great freedom we have here in Nebraska to speak our minds”
Finally, where are Brown’s peers? Why haven’t the other coaches come forward? Where is the “academic community”? Where is the ACLU? Indeed, where is the Nebraska press? Where is Tom Osborne?
Maybe we need the Attorney General on this one!
Preaching like Brown’s was the crucible of our First Amendment. After centuries of domination by the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, as well as the state church in England with its Court of the Star Chamber, those fleeing tyranny wanted their speech to be free, and especially their preachers’ to be free. The noble call of preaching has ever been that for which good men will be persecuted and arrested before they will be silenced.
When studying the subject of the First Amendment’s application in law, it is immediately recognizable is that its protections were often outlined according to the activity of Bible preachers in the public forum. The Bible teaches it is the practice of unrighteous men and women to suppress the truth, and close the public forum to God’s Word.
But sometimes the truth is suppressed by a bunch of sissies.
John J. Malone, Sr.
Author: John Malone
Date: 2nd February, 2011 @ 03:58:29 AM
When we look at Bible prophecy . . .
1. We do not see Egypt as an enemy of Israel.
2. Neither do we see an Israel of God, but an Israel in unbelief. This is why I am not a “Zionist.” The only Mount Zion that matters today is in heaven.
3. We also see a coming Man of Sin, called the “King of the North,” and “the beast,” and a “vile person,” who will be in conference with the worst of men – traitorous men – in Israel.
Now, while I do not see the conditions especially ripe for these matters to arise in the immediate sense, I do see all three of these conditions in formation.
Egypt, among Arab nations, is not an enemy of Israel, and hasn’t been since the last shooting war nearly 40 years ago, when Israeli tanks, until Nixon stopped them, were poised to overrun Cairo. I knew one of those tank commanders very well, and it was clear to him that Cairo was theirs to take.
Nevertheless, for reasons God Himself superintends, the détente relationship between Egypt and Israel is sanctified and will remain. Although tentative, and marked by personal resentments, and enmities, Egypt will be an opponent of the coming Beast, and his amalgamated Beast Empire, marked as it will be by ten kingdoms whose power reaches the entire world.
What that portends for the present situation is that Egypt will find its way to a correct relationship in the world, and to Israel. Despite the fact that the Israel today is one established against God, and is on its way to be, spiritually, “Sodom,” and “Egypt,” Egypt itself will find its way to at least a neutral stance, despite the fact that outside forces are doing their best to manipulate it some other way.
In fact, it appears that it will be Egypt that will first stand up to this coming Beast Empire, despite the fact that it will fail to stop him, and will thereby suffer greatly.
Now, while it’s true that Egypt will not be part with the coming Beast Empire, its neighboring countries will, including modern Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, and Sudan – along with, perhaps, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe – all ancient Ethiopia, and Libya (including Tunisia).
Next, Israel today is not the Israel of God. It is Israel in unbelief. It has been formed and led by the worst of men in Israel: murderers, terrorists, and men positively hostile to God, and intent instead on world power. It’s a sad thing, because in and around Israel are devout people, including devout Jews and Christians, who actually do have a looking to God’s will, albeit often ignorantly. And this admixture will remain until the time that this coming Beast will turn on and attack Jerusalem, causing the devout among the Jews to flee into the wilderness to be protected by God.
Before that time, Jerusalem will establish itself as the moral sinkhole of the world, becoming “Sodom,” and Egypt. God will not use the means of men, and the world, to establish His nation Israel. What we have today is the best men can engineer for an Israel. It’s a pathetic and weak imitation.
Finally, we do see the development of the underlying requirements for the Man of Sin and his Beast kingdom to arise in the world. Everywhere we look, we can see the development of the means he will use to establish his autocracy in enmity against God.
If I read Daniel Chapter 7 correctly, this Beast and his ten-fold beast-kingdom will arise as an amalgamation of the worldwide British-American establishment (Lion/Eagle), the Russian plutocracy (with its 3-fold extension) (Bear and ribs), and whatever 4-headed entity arises to dominate the Middle East prior to that time. That latter entity would seem to be some sort of Arabic/Islamic dominated governmental system, yet-to-be-formed, and springing rapidly into place (like a Leopard), and perhaps the next great world political development.
Following that last development in Gentile world power, will arise the Beast and his ten-fold kingdom.
I’m not looking forward to it in the pleasant anticipation sense, and i definitely won’t be here to see it. but as we see the dark clouds forming, the storm cannot be far off, and we are stimulated and admonished to work while it is yet day, for there is a night coming when no one can work.
Author: John Malone
Date: 1st February, 2011 @ 06:54:40 AM
Once you have seen it before, the overhauling of a government, such as is going on in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and perhaps several others (we’ll see) today is a little easier to figure out.
People live according to whom they listen. Vladimir Lenin listened to the “Classical Writers,” and became a monstrous autocrat.
Islamic leaders appear to listen whichever selective train of thought streams from the system of Islam through the “Ayatollahs that be,” or the “Mullahs on hand.” I was once in a system like that, whereby people with more or less strong attachment, were told what to do by bishops and priests. For instance, I was too young to figure out how they told everyone in our Roman Catholic parish to vote for Kennedy, but they did get that done.
Here in the West, people are listening to the unabashedly twisted renditions of freedom (now called “choices”) and liberty (now always labelled “democracy.”) Gone is the uniquely American concept of personal sovereignty, derived from God alone.
A democracy today is far more easily to foment and manipulate than the far slower, more careful forms of government that may have preceded it. A truly representative republic, such was once the United States – long ago, I’m afraid – is never going to be an important agenda in the times in which we live.
One thing we learn from the Book of Daniel is that there will be constant decline of authority in human government as time moves along. By time, more specifically, I mean the “times of the Gentles” which have gone on now for 2,500 years. These times are coming to a close, and we know something of the end to which the world now seems hurtling at a breakneck pace.
Many people enabling and carrying out this mad dash are oblivious to where it is ending. As a youth, I certainly was for awhile. I’d say six years. Any young man who has no Bible background by the time he is 18 will be swept away with the notions of the day. And there are very, very few young men with such backgrounds.
In Africa and the Middle East today, clearly the plasticized notions of choices and democracy are getting some sway. But what I think we are truly seeing is an engineered regime change largely from the outside. I’ve seen the pattern. In Kenya, the sparks were much sharper. The level of violence was higher. Yet it was contained. The military was never threatened to be out of containment.
True revolutions rarely happen. I recall my first political science class at the university. It was taught by a highly educated and rare man who worked very hard, and yet donated his time. He intoned in perhaps the very first class, and turned it into a mantra for a time: “Revolutions by definition are bloody. If it is not bloody, it is not a revolution.”
Well, we aren’t seeing any revolutions. What we are seeing are armed forces taking neutral positions from their national leaders, “feeling strongly both ways,” politically. What we have is unconsolidated power at the top of these governments. Some might argue that when authority is poorly organized, it is not power at all.
After all, these leaders, no matter their character, did not pay for their own military development, nor did they oversee the training of their armies, nor do they have a prosperous future ahead of their military leaders. Someone else did, and someone else did, and someone else does!
So what we will see in whichever of these countries are selected to undergo regime change are coalition governments formed by parties recognized outside these countries. These coalitions will be composed elements beholding to “the west,” elements acceptable to Russia and China, criminal elements, and factions sufficient to represent the power interests of the Middle East, which will be “Islamic.”
None of these new coalition governments will be built on principle, and none of them will have a firm hold on their own military institutions. We’ve seen it all in Kenya, just recently.
What we are seeing is the systematic development of transnational elites, all of which will one day easily and willingly fall into the hands of the coming Man of Sin. We see iniquity at work – we who have the eyes of our understanding (hearts) enlightened – and one day this world will see it embodied. As for now, we see the decay of God-ordained authority in the earth as Gentile Power moves into the “Halls of Belshazzar.” (Dan.5)
The Prophet Daniel was told many specific things about Egypt. Perhaps we will get to that.
In the example of Daniel, we will observe carefully, and look to God for our renewed directions on being salt and light.
Due to the controversy surrounding the faith of Barack Obama, a.k.a. Barry Soetoro, a.k.a. POTUS, the subject arises of how can we know if someone is a Christian or not.
Listening to the pundits, such as Rush Limbaugh, the matter becomes more confusing, not less. For instance, yesterday Limbaugh was citing a poll that fewer and fewer Americans believe Obama is a Christian, and more and more of them think he is a Muslim. Today, Limbaugh is claiming that President Clinton was very obviously a Christian. This coming from a guy that couldn’t tell you the second thing about “Christian,” and yet Christians listen to him far more than they do their own preachers.
I seem to remember that, during the campaign of 2008, the subject of Obama’s Christianity arose. Now, In American politics, the quality of someone’s Christian faith doesn’t really arise in large public discussions. All sorts of sectarian church memberships are accepted as Christian, and pretty much that is that. President Reagan ran as a Christian, and then stories emerged that he became one after he was shot. President Bush was accorded Christian standing on the basis of his Episcopalian church affiliation, and became better known when he claimed in the public debates that Jesus Christ was the most influential person to him because “He changed my life.” Nixon was a Quaker. Kennedy was Catholic. And so forth.
If I remember correctly, the question of Obama’s Christianity arose at the time of the Iowa caucuses, and our own Nebraska Senator former Governor Ben Nelson stepped up to certify to us that Obama was a Christian. Forget for the moment that Nelson’s Christian credentials in Nebraska come as a surprise to many of us. Among Christian circles in which I have moved in Omaha, Nelson has ridden in on the Christian coattails of politically and socially ambitious Christian women, one of whom has made her “Christian career” to accept Roman Catholics into Bible-teaching churches, even to the point of placing them occasionally in the pulpit.
So, from my view, Obama’s Christian testimony comes from someone – a US Senator! – whose Christian testimony comes from a woman that I know, and her friends, who will admit anyone that says, “I believe in God, and I am a Christian” to actually be a Christian.
Now my standard of Christian testimony is no narrower than the Bible’s. When Jesus asked his disciples who people said He was, and then who THEY said He was, Peter answered simply, and correctly. When Jesus told Martha, at the occasion of her brother Lazarus’ death and subsequent resurrection from the dead, that He is “the resurrection, and the life,” she correctly answered him , just as Peter did.
I have traveled Obama’s fatherland extensively, having been involved in Kenya as a business man and preacher for above 17 years now. During the campaign, while I was in Kenya, every man-Njoroge of them believed Obama was a Kenyan. They did not understand the unique provision in US constitutional law concerning natural birth. In fact, in public marketplaces, unknown Kenyans would come up to me, and simply shout “OBAMA!” into my face. They named large beers after him. In the US, you may run down to the nearby gas station or convenient mart for a “40.” In Kenyan bars, and slums, guys were knocking down “Obamas.” Beyond merely being Kenyan, Obama is regarded there as a Luo. In fact, after the US-supported (some even say sponsored) referendum to alter the Kenyan constitution – held on Obama’s birthday – Obama is qualified to be the President of Kenya. While there is no question about that, questions still linger whether he’s qualified by his birth, or even citizenship, to be President of the United States.
Obama is no doubt beholding to his Luo tribesmen, who at the very least can be expected to get his back if anyone besides Jerome Corsi travels there to investigate. Corsi was thrown out of the country. During the Kenyan elections, when the controversy arose concerning rigged results, it was the US that pressed Luo “cousin” Raila Odinga – a physically powerful man who loves race cars, was trained in Russia, and for years was rumored to be “KGB” – into a hastily created “Prime Minister” position in order to give the second largest tribe in Kenya a stake in the government, devolve the Kenyan presidency, and satisfy the militant Luo political forces which threatened to set the nation ablaze after Mwai Kibaki’s rigging-stained “election.”
Odinga’s supporters insist to this day he won the election. He was aided and abetted in his campaign not only by Obama visits, but by the political strategies designed by Dick Morris. Morris seems to pose these days as if conservative, but it puzzles me because he was a chief Clinton strategist. Well, he’s yesterday’s liberal, so I suppose now he IS a conservative.
It’s amazing to me that, in America, the most powerful nation on earth, we are being served up consecutive Democratic Presidents with questionable parentages. What a coincidence. What an anomaly. Who would have ever guessed?
But Obama’s US citizenship credentials are only disturbing at an earthly level. We who study the Scriptures understand that in the times we live, there will be all sorts of problematic people running about in our times, even including traitors in the list.
His credentials as a Christian are far, far more suspect, but much more easily sorted out. There must be some kind of profession of faith in Jesus Christ. That’s the credential, and the only credential. That profession is not about whether or not one is “Christian.” Other people called believers “Christians.” Christians professed the Lord Jesus Christ for Who He is. Historically, that is done in Christian baptism.
We know Obama was born to a Kenyan father. Reportedly, he was a Muslim, even if a nominal one. I was born to a Roman Catholic father, ad adult “convert” who had no faith, and joined that organization to make my mom and her family happy. That organization inducted me into its membership by way of infant christening, and from there I was indoctrinated in the Roman Catholic religion. I don’t know anything about Muslim rites at birth, but I understand if you’re born to a Muslim father, you’re accepted as a Muslim, at least by them. Then, Obama was reportedly later adopted as Barry Soetoro, and was indoctrinated in Islam. In my case, I became a Christian – by profession alone – in 1975. I was immersed in water a couple of years later, making a public statement of my faith before assembled witnesses.
Does Obama have a baptism record of any kind? Someone had to be watching his baptism, if indeed he was baptized. “Barack Obama, have you been baptized since you believed?” Obama’s home church, Trinity United Church of Christ, is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which has a relatively stringent view of adult baptism, requiring as they do the recitation and belief of the Apostle’s Creed. At Easter time, they ask their members to recite it. I understand Obama can recite in clear Arabic whatever one of the five “prayers” are that Muslims recite daily. I wonder if he would recite the Apostle’s Creed, like any good UCC member would do?
I find it very interesting that Obama’s home church is just now featuring former Omaha Salem Baptist Church pastor Maurice Watson on their web site. While I was not happy to learn of Watson’s Jesuit training at Creighton University, when I asked him directly about his faith not so many years ago, he was quick to tell me that, concerning salvation, he believed in “sola fide (faith alone)” and “sola scriptura (Scripture alone).” That’s not too far from the very solid “Grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone.” Watson conducted “revival” meetings at Obama’a former home church.
So Trinity (Chicago) UCC at least welcomes someone whose first thought is not “Liberation Theology,” which, by the way, has its roots in Jesuit teaching. Large churches like Chicago’s Trinity are a complex mix within their congregations. No black church in America can long even call itself “Christian,” and feature ONLY the kind of politically charged preaching of a Jeremiah Wright, or a Jesse Jackson, or a Martin Luther King, Jr. Nevertheless, this particular church, where, let’s face it, people like Barack Obama probably had only the most tangential attachment, is thoroughly imbued with eth leaven of Herod, and therefore has as its primary focus not the Scriptures of God, but the plans and political strategies of men.
Just like large churches that are predominately white, large black churches that appeal to the growing black middle and upper middle classes feature a jumbled mess of doctrine, and a thorny mix of saved and lost.
If Obama is Christian, he has something of the kind of experience of faith in Christ that all Christians have. “Once I was lost, now I’m found.” It would be nice to trace it out historically. People should ask him plainly when he first made a profession of faith in Christ, and if he was baptized, when and where. Simple questions, and easy answers for a Christian. But if that’s too complex, and he has fuzzy recollections, or lack of knowledge, that’s still no problem.
Someone should just ask him the simple question posed to Peter by Jesus Christ: “Who do YOU say that I am?” That will settle the whole issue.
Will someone ask him? I doubt it.
Author: John Malone
Date: 11th January, 2010 @ 09:21:49 AM
One thing my generations often overlooks, it seems, is what an incredibly optimistic time it was when we were being raised and coming to emancipation from our parents, “the greatest generation.”
We had Mickey Mantle. John Kennedy, the one who was the war hero. We had Cassius Clay who beat the Big Bear. Or did he? Yes, we had our Sonny Listons, the bad and sad men toward whom no one was really fair. As we grew, our sunny black and white world – composed of “Howdy Doody”, “Leave It to Beaver”, “Mickey Mouse,” and his club, Superman. Matt Dillon, Broderick Crawford (Highway Patrol) the best shot there ever was, Ben Casey, Fred MacMurray (My Three Sons) the bumbling-not-always-right-always-upright man – began taking on shades of gray, even before bursting upon us in full, living color.
And in all of that scene, we were very optimistic. Our dads were heroes who won the war. Now they were home and establishing their lives. Every man Jack of them, at least that is how I viewed it. People weren’t divorcing, just sometimes fighting. As children, we were on solid and definite tracks. The President said our country wanted us physically fit, and good at mathematics and science. I remember buying into that, as a child. I will become physically fit. I will work at mathematics and science. I will learn.
And I did. And so did a whole lot of us, but even when we struggled with one or both of those disciplines, we still all bought in.
In that formative period of mine, before the clouds rolled in, I formed the model and hope of a self-reliant man. I was quite certain they were out there, and could be modeled, and to become one was the best aspiration. They were portrayed on television, and written about in the literature, and talked about among people. It didn’t matter if he smoked a cigarette; it did matter if he was faithful to his wife. He found his own way in life, being himself. He was kind to men, but he answered to – was it himself? Yes, I think it was. He did believe in God. This self-reliant man, the model man, looked to God, but only sometimes. At least he was reverent.
I can say now, late in my life, that such an ambition stuck to me. Indeed, I bought in. I’m not sure it was a bad thing that I did. There is something deficient, I now think, in that buy-in, and most certainly in the optimism that it bought. But there is still something humanly noble in it. Perhaps just the degree of innocence of the buyer. Yes, that’s it.
So, if I may now just skip ahead from that background, and take you to my intellectually formative years – my middle and later post-secondary years – and to where I managed to get a first-rate university education despite the way I went about it. I continued on with a couple of my high school friends almost all the way through my university years. In retrospect, I think that was remarkable. My high school debate partner and I became bridge players together, and we honed our skills among university players. We became formidable in that arena, and we took our play to the local bridge club on occasion.
This is one place that I learned about Warren Buffett a bit, and I did actually play a couple of rounds against him, about which I have a very distinct memory. He also returned my phone call once after he took a financial interest in Newsweek magazine. That is all my personal contact, and I do not claim any special relationship with this great man, except that as he emerged in the financial world, right here in my home town, my economics training pretty much determined that I would more or less idolize the guy, as now everyone does, for his ability to use the capital placed in his trust.
Recall my optimism, and now throw in a pretty salty economics exposure, both philisophical and technical, with a leaning toward the growth and development of nations, and then put Warren Buffett on the screen, and I think you have perhaps your very best candidate for the self-reliant man. At least in my view. He doesn’t look anything like the Marlboro man, but his “body of work,” as the sports commentators now say, secures him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
So today, I hear the news that Warren Buffett is resorting to the public capital market for ten billion dollars some time soon. A placement of Berkshire shares.
This got me thinking, and reflecting on the fault of the viewpoint from my youth. The self-reliant man ideal is a complete myth. Indeed, if pursued with vigor, patience, endurance, and persistent hope, it certainly could be the greatest of all follies life has to offer.
Because the more one achieves, the more one really becomes MORE dependent on others, and not self-reliant whatsoever. Now remember, it’s just me who thought Buffett to be a model of self-reliance. I am very sure he makes no claim of it. In fact, he frequently speaks of his managers, and commends them often in public. He must rely on these men. They keep him from the morass of things that he likely could not handle.
And then there are his studied and often striking forays into the upper levels of the marketplace, where he buys only very big things. Lately, for instance, he bought lock, stock and barrel, America’s largest railroad, the Burlington Northern. THAT is a completely stunning purchase. Perhaps only Buffett had the cash-on-hand to take such a dramatic stroke.
So today he is in the capital market to gain liquidity by selling some shares. I don’t pretend to understand it all. I have no more facts. But I do wonder some about what it could be like to be in his shoes. He moves, no doubt, in a circle of extremely important contacts. We hear about Bill Gates. He talks about the Sultan of Brunei. I have seen a picture of him with the Terminator and Baron von Rothschild at the latter’s home, or one of them, anyway. I’m pretty sure he can get President Obama on the phone if he wants or needs to. He is able to chose anyone he wants to meet, I would suppose. People pay millions to have lunch with him.
There are some who have written into this forum that I am somehow bitter and or jealous of Warren Buffett. I must honestly say, I am neither. I have my own extremely interesting life, and I don’t want his. His life, as I see it, would seriously scare me. Not so much because of the large tasks he is called to do, but because he faces them either alone, or with staff, or with a necessary treaty among acquaintances that some might call conspiracy, all of which relationships are extremely fragile.
I cannot speak specifically to that social sphere, I have never seen it up close, even though I have had dinner with the President of the United States. Yes, with perhaps 30 others, but that is how you have dinner with the POTUS. In fact, I have been further from that circle than Chase Daniel, the Missouri quarterback who could finally beat Nebraska, but who unfortunately had a hard time beating some of the others.
But you can bet your last ten billion that the sphere in which Buffett moves to do what he does is frought with the same kind of dramatic anxieties that arise in our own lives. Now here’s why I would never consider trading places with him, and also why I think the best that I can about Warren Buffett, as the Lord has told me to do. I know what it’s like to trust the most trustworthy staff. I have very trustworthy staff myself. They do the best they can. So do I. That does not leave me with warm, and fuzzy feelings, but with a certain anxiety and suspicion that things might somewhere somehow be terribly wrong.
And then there is the relying on oneself. One’s judgement of others, of subject matter, even of one’s own self. It happens to the best of us much more than to the worst of us. Have I done the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? And what if I am not?
Here’s where I cannot imagine something being more miserable or tortuous in such times, as not having God to turn to, through the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. As simple as that may sound to an unbelieving and skeptical reader, I will tell you if that thought doesn’t grip you somehow as you read, I pray that it will in a time of serious self-reflection on your own part.
I would hate to have to need or want $10 billion just now, without the complete assurance that God was directing me, so that He was also on the hook to provide for me.
Actually that assurance and trust goes for a great, great many things in my life. I would it went for everything. I cannot fathom being in the place of any man, but this morning specifically Warren Buffett, without my very clear relationship to God, wherein I can’t completely rely on His dispensing of grace to me at every turn, thereby deriving the kind of peace that is impossible without my Saviour.
Because everywhere today there is treachery, and lawlessness, and even there is treason. In such a cold world, I wish Buffett all the best. Because some times, especially from a distance, one cannot distinguish the best of men, from the worst of men. And because, without God in this world, all these men are around you, and you dare neither ignore the best of them, nor trust the worst, because sudden calamity is always there to leap upon you.
There are no self-reliant men. For my money, I’ll take the life of relying on God Who is gracious. And I hope that somehow Buffett – even so late in life – does the same.
Man has been so unfaithful to the covenant God made with him after the Deluge of Noah’s day that he no longer believes God will keep His end of the deal.
I’ve written here before about the Noahic Covenant God made with man after the great Deluge 1656 years after Adam.
That covenant provided assurance to man that God would not curse the ground as he had done under Adam, and neither would He ever again destroy every living as He did in the deluge.
Since that time, but especially in the last many years, all of mankind has failed to live up to its end of this covenant, which is, briefly comprehended : (1) eat meat, but not blood (don’t be or become a vegetarian) ; (2) execute murderers (capital punishment) ; and, (3) be fruitful and multiply (have plenty of children).
These provisions are not burdensome, and they are not optional.
The first is a change of diet. This no doubt altered the culture of man to a great extent. Because the Deluge was God’s judgment for man deeply involving himself with demon spirits, resulting in the corruption of the genetic code of the race, we suspect that the alteration of diet from herbs and grains to also include meat is significant on a number of levels.
For instance, it certainly reminds man that blood must be shed to give him life, and that is a reminder of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, Who is our life. Again, it likely has a relationship to the forbidden communion with demons that marked the era prior to the deluge. It is not mere coincident that vegetarianism – the forbidding of meat – travels as a companion with the demon religions of the east. Both Hinduism, which explicitly teaches the divinity of man , and Buddhism are obvious examples. These religions mark a departure from the covenant with Noah, and the rest of us, by God.
An addition to this alteration of diet was the forbidding of “bloods.”
The second is capital punishment. This provision forms the basis for human government, because “by man” was the murderers sentence to be carried out. Men needed to organize themselves civilly in order to carry out this sentence. This provision was an alteration from the time prior to the flood. In that era (dispensation), God marked Cain and forbade his execution. Nonetheless, violence filled the earth. Therefore, the change was needed in order for God to carry out his pledge.
The third final provision of this covenant was a carry-over from the previous dispensation, and that is a command to be fruitful, and multiply: to fill the earth.
Now man is obliged to hold and advance these three principles. It’s not a huge agenda. Nevertheless, we are seeing a constant and driven tendency to dismiss them all.
First, vegetarianism and dietary restrictions on meat-eating is a growing phenomenon. I have little doubt that this tendency is producing more and more illegal communion with demon spirits, even those who so commune may not realize it. When I was a college student, listening far, far too intently to my professors, I discovered late in my college years that I was accumulating, unthinkingly, a stash of demon-inspired literature, including the works of Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, and more contemporary successors, who likewise repackaged teachings of the demon-inspired, such as Madame Blavatsky and others.
For more than 25 years now, when I meet a vegetarian convert, I elucidate from them their views on capital punishment, abortion, and marriage. It’s nearly unanimous to them that abortion is up to the woman, that capital punishment should be outlawed, and that there is an over-population problem on earth. Even they become surprised when I can predict their views.
Why is this? Demon-inspired teaching. They don’t even realize it themselves, because to a one, they are ignorant of the Scriptures.
Second, capital punishment for first-degree murder has been under siege for a very long time. In the early 70′s the US Supreme Court banned it. Today, there are perhaps only 25% of nations that practice capital punishment for murder. Even then, many of these have laws on the books, but the practice is so infrequent as to be non-existent. There is no country in Europe that will execute a murderer.
In so doing, these states relinquish the God-given basis for their existence, and will reap accordingly. In our day we are seeing states come into existence and terminate at such a rapid pace that we cannot even track them. This entire scenario is due in a large part to ignoring the simple basis God has laid down for man’s self-rule.
People argue the value of execution to reduce murder, it’s effect on violent crime and so forth. But the base reason for the commandment to all nations from God is that man is in the image of God. So far gone are the western nations that once held the Bible as the standard of truth that to even discuss this premise is seen by them as folly.
Third, we have the hostility of modern man to everything related to being fruitful and multiplying, thus filling the earth. This hostility is shown in many ways: populations control, support and advancement of abortion, and the destruction of marriage.
The evidence is overwhelming that man has been hostile to the arrangements God made after the Deluge. God signified His side of the bargain by putting a rainbow in the sky, which rainbow can be seen from time to time throughout the world. In addition to the symbol of His promise to not destroy all life as He once did, God also promised the permanence of the seasons.
So unfaithful has man been to his side of these arrangements that now, he suspects God to be unfaithful to his own. “Professing to be wise,” man has become a complete fool, turning to serve the creation instead of the Creator, and running headlong into male and female homosexuality. It is as if man attributes his own unfaithfulness to God, and no longer trusts Him to superintend His own creation. It is so outrageous now, that the chief science adviser to the President of the United States announces that man must discharge metals into the atmosphere to ward off the destruction of the cycle of regular seasons!
Running headlong into national apostasy, the formerly Christianized Western world says to the Lord Jesus Christ, in effect, “We will not have this man to rule over us.”
Indeed, the fear of God is no longer upon the hearts of these nations, including our own. They rush to destruction. They fail to heed the long-standing counsel of God.
One might well ask if there is any hope. Well, that depends upon where you have placed your hope. If you have placed your hope in this world, you have trusted a shaking reed that will only pierce through your hand. Fear and trembling will come upon you like the labor pains of a delivering mother. On the other hand, if you have placed you hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who loved you while you were yet his enemy, and Who died for you, then look up, and be of good cheer, for you redemption draws near: the resurrection of your mortal body.
For the Lord Jesus will one day have his enemies in derision. He will break them into many pieces like a clay pot with a rod of iron that issues from his hand. Those broken clay vessels will be pieced together like Bizarro characters while those who have received Him and trusted Him will reign with him, gloriously fashioned like He is, in His glorious, resurrected body.
If Jesus Christ is not risen, we are of all men most foolish, having discarded the hopes of this present evil age, which exalts God’s enemies. But Jesus Christ IS risen out from the dead, declared by God in power to be the Son of God. This gives an otherwise disquieted heart the kind of peace which passes all understanding.