Friday, June 29, 2012

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

My mayor's brother had a Baptist girlfriend in high school and  spent hours studying his Bible.  After they graduated, he and his girlfriend had an argument and ended their relationship.  Then, he went off to college.  After a while, he came back home for a few days.  He walked into the living room where his dad was reading the newspaper: "Dad," he said, "I've decided to become an atheist."  Dad looked up from his newspaper and said, "Whatever you are, son, be a good one!"  The son went back to college, and it wasn't long before he met a beautiful Catholic girl, and they decided to marry.  "Dad," the young man announced, "I've decided to become a Catholic."  "Well son," his dad replied, "I hope you make a better Catholic than you did an atheist."  Thirty years later, the mayor's brother still hasn't finished his confirmation classes.

Whatever you are, are you a good one?  If you are a student, are you a good student?  If you're a computer programmer or a welder, are you a good one?  If you're a blogger, are you a good blogger who posts promptly? (I'm feeling a bit of conviction ;) )  Colossians 3:23-25 says, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."  We need to do all our work as if we were doing it for Jesus.  We need to do our work with our whole hearts, so that our work glorifies God.

 If you are a Christian, are you a good one? Is God ashamed to be your God?  Or is He proud to call you His child?  Hebrews 11 says that "These...were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
  • Our eyes must be focused on desiring a better, heavenly country.  In this world, we will never see perfection.  Our country may continue to go down hill until it is destroys itself, but eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what good things God is preparing for those who love Him.  Lay up your treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust (nor inflation) doth corrupt, and where thieves cannot break in and steal (also, heavenly treasures cannot be taxed!), for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  There is no greater purpose in life than living for Christ.  He has prepared for us a city in glory (no evil, corrupt governments!); the New Jerusalem that will never pass away.  
 We must, as Hebrews 12 says, "Lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us and run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God."
  • Do not let anything distract you from your high calling, this race set before us.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.  Jesus kept His eye on the goal and did not pay attention to the shame and pain (and he went through much more suffering than we can imagine).  He did this because He loves us and wants to save us from sin and this evil world, and today He sits on the right hand of God.  Jesus died a painful death on the cross for you; you have no excuses for not giving your all for Him.
  1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
  • Athletes train vigorously for their races; they watch their diet carefully, and they give their all to receive the satisfaction of winning a race and the fleeting praise of men.  We are striving for an eternal reward, and the satisfaction of saying "I please God" and hearing God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"  If athletes can be good athletes, let's be good Christians!
                                         

If you want to be successful at anything in life, you must give your all.  If you want to please God and inherit an inheritance incorruptible, eternal in the heavens, that fadeth not away, you must give your all.  God does not want lukewarm, wishy-washy Christians.

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Don’t Sink with the Ship: Live Unconventionally

Tuvia Bielski was intelligent, handsome, tall…and unconventional. He was a Jew in the forest with a gun. He was a man on the run. It was 1941 in Belorussia, and Tuvia warned his brother-in-law Alter Ticktin about the need to plan for the future, but Alter would not listen. “There is no alternative,” Alter said, “We’ll have to go into the ghetto. It’s not too bad, somehow we’ll survive. Let’s not be smarter than the others. We will live just like the rest will.” “Don’t you see it may mean death?” Tuvia demanded. “They cannot kill all of us. What will be with the majority of the Jews will be with us,” Alter replied. Alter and his family packed their bags and moved into the ghetto. Tuvia Bielski could not talk his brother-in-law into escaping the ghetto until 5670 ghetto residents, including two of Ticktin’s family members, were killed. Tickten was sure that the course everyone else was following must be the right course. He didn’t realize he should take the unconventional way until it was almost too late. The Bielski brothers, whose story is told in Defiance, were unconventional. They not only survived the war, but they saved the lives of perhaps a thousand Jews. For them, freedom began with an act of defiance.

Today, freedom for you should also begin with an act of defiancedefiance against the conventional way of thinking. The Bible says that broad is the road that leads to destruction and many people choose it, but strait is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it. The conventional view leads to an easy, slow decline. On that path essential liberty is exchanged for temporary safety. We must be strong enough to live and think for ourselves and brave enough to bear the consequences of our decisions. Eternal vigilance is the only way to preserve our freedom. Chains of debt are being forged and oppressive laws are being written for my people, the young people of America, who deserve liberty and justiceand many don’t even care or notice. Our minds must be liberated from conventional indifference and ignorance. Indifference is slumber! Ignorance is slavery! The conventional course is evil. And, as Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

While it is our duty to speak for what we believe is right and to try to awaken others from their sleep-walk to destruction, we must remember that chances are we won’t be listened to. If we are on a ship and realize it’s sinking, we tell everyone else on the ship “Hey! The ship is sinking! We should patch the hole in the ship!” If they tell us we are crazy and we should forget it, it would be wise for us to start making our own plans, so we don’t sink with the ship. Many people will tell us we should just blend in and do what everyone else does. Alter Ticktin found out differently.

If you think a country should have sound money, and should not spend prodigally and grow a multi-trillion dollar debt, you’re right. But if your country doesn’t happen to want your wise advice, what do you think will happen to the country? The economic system may collapse, many people will lose their savings, and there will be social unrest. But what will happen to you?

If you believe in individual liberty and value freedom more than life, if you hate the idea of naked body scans and pat-downs performed by the TSA; Big Brother watching you, monitoring your phone calls, emails, and Facebook posts; and the President having the authority to label you an enemy combatant, hold you indefinitely, and torture you (an American citizen) without trial; if you dislike the thought of having to have an identification number to basically buy or sell or do anythingwhat would you do if all this came true? Where would you be if “thought police” suddenly appeared? Or, per chance, are they already here, trying out their telepathic powers on those who commit “hate crimes” today? (Tomorrow will they become the characters from Orwell’s novel?)

If you think a country should not engage in needless, unjust, and unconstitutional wars, if you think unwise foreign policy could lead to blowback and perhaps eventually World War 3, and if your government continues to pursue an unwise foreign policy, where will you be if/when worse comes to worst?

I know where I don’t want to be…and that is complacently marching in line with everyone else toward an inevitable fate. That’s why I am researching the following ideas:

1. Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs set their own hours, make their own decisions, and are responsible for the results. If they make good decisions and work hard they will succeed; if not, they will fail. Being an entrepreneur is not as “safe and secure” as being an employee, but what am I looking for? A secure life, complacently climbing the ladder one rung at a timeand letting someone else make the decisions? Or am I looking for a life of liberty, free-thinking, and opportunity?

2. Diversification of assets. It may not be a good idea to have all one’s eggs in the same basket. Once a person has enough money to worry about, it may be wise to consider holding some in gold and silver (sound money!), and various other forms.

3. Internationalization. A second citizenship/passport is not a bad idea. This is the “don’t have all your eggs in one basket” idea again. If one country gets in trouble, you have a second country to turn to. Perhaps your second country would be in the southern hemisphere. As a recent International Man newsletter notes, the US, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and China all fall entirely within the northern hemisphere. If a nuclear war were to occur, the northern hemisphere would be affected heavily, as weather patterns would move fallout throughout the system. By contrast, the southern hemisphere is likely to be minimally affected, as the countries in that hemisphere are unlikely to be targeted. Additionally, if you live/work internationally, who cares if you have a Social Security Number?

Step out of line! And remember, you are not alone. Record numbers of Americans are going even farther and are expatriating because the United States is one of the few countries that impose tough taxes even on citizens living overseas. You can always ask others for advice. www.Internationalman.com is a great reference source if you want to learn more. But remember, you are solely responsible for your own decisions. Carefully do your own research and decide what is best for you. Liberty itself teaches us that there are many ways of living a free life. And living a life of liberty may not be for everyone; for some, living an unconventional life would…um, well... run against the grain. But remember, there are all sorts of things (education, banking, reading the news, etc.) that can be done in an unconventional, legal, and better way. There is so much more to learn. I am working on my foreign language skills though Im not learning one of the languages which many young people, as slaves shackled by a huge national debt, may soon need to learn to communicate better with their future masters.

We don’t need to be slaves. It’s time to plan for the future. You are young, strong, and intelligent, and if God is with you, you will defy all expectations. It’s time to live free and survive whatever comes.