This week a friend drove me over to visit an older PBC brother who has severe back pain. He lives on the other side of Silicon Valley essentially. On the way we passed many, many huge office buildings with glass walls, (incredible) but the parking lots were all empty. Also many brand new condos and apartments — also all empty! It was ominous thinking about the before Covid in March 2020 and now 19 months later.
We had lunch at a small shopping center with a full parking lot, many customers, lots of friendly people! People at the mall very friendly and personable. Many friendly, young, store employees from Third World countries. Masks were not enforced. The gulf between the very rich and the working class was very obvious.
Silicon Valley is a huge ghost town now! Traffic light! Most Americans are surely living a delusion now!
The top echelons of very rich tycoons could not care less about the working class or the peasants! The middle class is comfy as long as their income is $100-200k. But their income could vanish overnight when the towers fall — Apple, Google, Amazon, Net Flix… The Bible favors the poor by a long shot! But judgment on the ultra rich is not going to happen right away as God judges the world. The first Seal Judgments in the book of Revelation show this.
"Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?" (James 2:5-7)
The greater San Francisco Bay Area is home now to about 8 million people. All this has happened in only 170 years, less than 5 generations (assuming a generation is 40 years). Large churches flourished in the city of San Francisco before the great earthquake of 1906, I've been told, but church attendance then and now has often been for social reasons and does not always reflect true faith. Otherwise why did the 1906 quake happen at all? Back in the '70's one could identify a dozen flourishing "live" churches in this area--all are now in virtual ruins--buildings intact, congregations zombified. But even in the good years, one could find only 1% (perhaps 5%) of area residents attending any church. Obviously this is very different than one sees in the Bible belt, or in the Deep South even today. If the United States was once "One Nation under God with Liberty and Justice for all"--we are not that any longer.
Great civilizations have risen and fallen down through history why should we be an exception to the rule? Here is a quick look at the rise and fall of a few "great civilizaions."
The Roman Civilization: 753 B.C. – 476 A.D. 277 years 7 generations
The Persian Civilization: 550 B.C. – 331 B.C. 219 years 5.5 generations
The Ancient Greek Civilization: 2700 B.C. – 479 B.C. 1654 years 41 generations
The Chinese Civilization: 1600 B.C. – 1046 B.C. 554 years 14 generations
The Mayan Civilization: 2600 B.C. – 900 A.D. 3500 years 88 generations
The Ancient Egyptian Civilization: 3150 B.C. – 30 B.C. 3100 years 78 generations
The Mesopotamian Civilization: 6,500 B.C. – 539 B.C. 5961 years 149 generations
The Indus Valley Civilization: 2600 B.C. – 1900 B.C. 700 years 18 generations
Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh. Mesopotamia was home to several powerful empires that came to rule almost the entire Middle East—particularly the Assyrian Empires of 1365–1076 BC and the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911–609 BC. From the early 7th century BC and onward, the Iranian Medes followed by the Achaemenid Empire and other subsequent Iranian states and empires dominated the region. In the 1st century BC, the expanding Roman Republic absorbed the whole Eastern Mediterranean, which included much of the Near East. The Eastern Roman Empire, today commonly known as the Byzantine Empire, ruling from the Balkans to the Euphrates, became increasingly defined by and dogmatic about Christianity, gradually creating religious rifts between the doctrines dictated by the establishment in Constantinople and believers in many parts of the Middle East. From the 3rd century up to the course of the 7th century AD, the entire Middle East was dominated by the Byzantines and the Sasanian Empire. From the 7th century, a new power was rising in the Middle East, that of Islam. The dominance of the Arabs came to a sudden end in the mid-11th century with the arrival of the Seljuq dynasty. In the early 13th century, a new wave of invaders, the armies of the Mongol Empire, mainly Turkic, swept through the region. By the early 15th century, a new power had arisen in western Anatolia, the Ottoman emirs, linguistically Turkic and religiously Islamic, who in 1453 captured the Christian Byzantine capital of Constantinople and made themselves sultans.
Large parts of the Middle East became a war ground between the Ottomans and the Iranian Safavid dynasty for centuries, starting in the early 16th century. By 1700, the Ottomans had been driven out of the Kingdom of Hungary and the balance of power along the frontier had shifted decisively in favor of the Western world. The British Empire also established effective control of the Persian Gulf, and the French colonial empire extended its influence into Lebanon and Syria. In 1912, the Kingdom of Italy seized Libya and the Dodecanese islands, just off the coast of the Ottoman heartland of Anatolia. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Middle Eastern rulers tried to modernize their states to compete more effectively with the European powers. A turning point in the history of the Middle East came when >oil was discovered, first in Persia in 1908 and later in Saudi Arabia (in 1938) and the other Persian Gulf states, and also in Libya and Algeria. A Western dependence on Middle Eastern oil and the decline of British influence led to a growing American interest in the region.
During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, Syria and Egypt made moves towards independence. The British, the French, and the Soviet Union departed from many parts of the Middle East during and after World War II (1939–1945). The Arab–Israeli conflict in Palestine culminated in the 1947 United Nations plan to partition Palestine. Later in the midst of Cold War tensions, the Arabic-speaking countries of Western Asia and Northern Africa saw the rise of pan-Arabism. The departure of the European powers from direct control of the region, the establishment of Israel, and the increasing importance of the petroleum industry, marked the creation of the modern Middle East. In most Middle Eastern countries, the growth of market economies was inhibited by political restrictions, corruption and cronyism, overspending on arms and prestige projects, and over-dependence on oil revenues. The wealthiest economies in the region per capita are the small oil-rich countries of Persian Gulf: Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. (Wikipedia)
The terrible current drought in the Western United States is evident to everyone with eyes to see but nearly everyone is living in denial! God owes us luxury living (and rain) —-most people are expecting life to get back to “normal.” That will surely never happen.
The economy world-wide will crash totally after the Rapture —as Revelation 18 says. But surely our nation is right now collapsing? If the actual rapture is delayed ten years we are in for far, far worse than a repeat of the Dust Bowl Days or the Great Depression? The U.S. is nowhere to be seen on a list of key players in the end time, for example in the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel which will probably right after the Rapture of the true Church.
Mr. Biden just gave away $85 billion in military gear to the Taliban to set up Afghanistan (aka Magog), to wipe out Israel and seize their oil and fertile lands. That decision surely does not sit well with our Jewish messiah? One of the ominous events on God's schedule is the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel by her surrounding neighbors.
It's naive to believe in linear time, in human progress, in the basic goodness of man, and the guaranteed advancement of man, with no interference from outside the system. There are great joints in history with the biggest disconnects yet to cone. Joints in Time.
My friend, retired Petroleum Industry leader, James Fielder noted: "I think what we have now is a "splitting" of the world/economy--we have hyper boom tech/gov't, and the middle class and poor are heading into deeper poverty. The gov'ts are pumping money into banks and their favorite Mr. Green Jeans climate stuff, this is making a selective "boom" in various parts, while the general people are just barely making it. I am expecting with the cut backs in shale/fracking/oil sands that we see huge amounts of cash flowing back into Middle East. If oil moves back to 100 or more, the Arabs will be ringing the cash register ever time the sun rises. In the US, they are going to have pump money into cities or they may lose the infrastructure due to Covid, remote working and rise of the gangs.
I keep trying hang on until rapture time, but America may go down soon, if Biden keeps up the current crazy stuff."
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.“ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
I found Wikipedia's Article on Compulsive Hoarding hits close to home:
|Other names||Hoarding disorder|
|Compulsive hoarding in an apartment|
|Usual onset||ages 11–15|
|Causes||not clear, possibly genetic, and stressful life experiences|
|Risk factors||Traumatic events|
|Diagnostic method||ICD-10-CM Code F42.3|
|Frequency||up to 6% (US)|
Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a behavioral pattern characterized by excessive acquisition of and an inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment. Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, workplace impairment, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space, enough so that it can limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also put the individual and others at risk of fires, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.
Compulsive hoarding in its worst forms can cause fires, unsanitary conditions such as rat and cockroach infestations and other health and safety hazards.
Listed below are possible symptoms hoarders may experience:
I have been a compulsive hoarder for many years though this is hard for me to admit. Every year I purge my small Eichler townhouse of all manner of purchased goods acquired over the preceding year and earlier. The high tech revolution has brought controlled obsolescence. I am still not parting with my tower computers, televisions, appliances and the like because they represent the state of the art just a few years ago. for me the ancient sin of covetousness is now obvious and it's a deadly sin! The point here is that we are all very poor stewards of the planet God entrusted to our forefather Adam and a day of reckoning lies just ahead. The waste and ruin we are leaving behind as a great debris trail is unacceptable to God. He created the planet and He's the owner.
With the above insights in mind, several of the Parables of our Lord Jesus now became clearer to me with greater brightness and relevancy. One of these is the parable of the landlord and his tenants:
"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." (Matthew 21:33-41, also in Mark 12:1-12 and Luke 20:9-19)
Jesus is indeed the Owner and Heir of all things. We are therefore only His temporary house guests, His tenants. The planet is not ours to do with as we please. Neither are our bodies for our own selfish pleasures--God created them to be temples for His Holy Spirit, not as shrines dedicated to pagan idols.
Everything in history is moving rapidly to a grand climax in which this man Jesus will come to receive His kingdom, His inheritance. The return of the Landlord means that every last human being on earth will give account of themselves to Him, and every knee will bow, whether willingly and in gratitude--or by force. There are no other options.
"[Christ Jesus]...who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." (Philippians 2:5-16)
Jesus also said,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." (John 5:25-29)
Ready or not, all signs point to the soon-return of the King.
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth."
"You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.“ (James 5:1-8)
“...it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12)
Treasures on Earth / Treasures in Heaven
Evangelism by all Means
Stewards of the Mysteries of God
The Christian and his Possessions (5 messages)
What is Money For?
Get Smart with Money
The Cost of Riches
The Godly Use of Assets, Time and Money, by Paul Winslow
God or Mammon
Guidelines for Giving
Prodigality Without PressureThe Grass is always Greener over the Septic Tank
The Flesh, the World and the Devil
What is Money for Anyway
Treasures on Earth, Treasures in Heaven
Paradigm Shift 2020
The Exchanged Life | Christ in You | The Great Harlot
Bobby Schuller, grandson of Robert Schuller, wrote recently: "I really loved my Grandma and Grandpa Schuller, and I also really loved spending time at their house. In fact, some of my fondest memories revolve around family gatherings in that special place, and it was a source of major sadness when they both passed away and the property was sold. Worse yet, their belongings were listed in an online auction, so even family members had to pay for the things they wanted. As you can imagine, it felt strange to spend money buying back their stuff, but there were a couple items I knew I needed to have. One was a VHS tape of my grandpa giving a Christmas sermon in the Soviet Union, and since the ministry didn’t have a copy, I felt like obtaining it was the right thing to do. The other was a Horatio Alger statue that was bestowed on him in 1989 to recognize his rise from humble roots. I knew this particular award meant a lot to my dad, so I bought it and gave it to him for Christmas. And while I thought I wasn’t going to have anything tangible from their residence to keep for myself, unbeknownst to me, my friend Chad Blake bid on the knocker that once adorned their front door and surprised me with it. Of course, talking about this evokes a sense of melancholy, but I’m sharing these memories to emphasize that though the end of their earthly journey was bittersweet, my grandparents’ Heavenly home is far greater than anything I can fathom. Unlike worldly treasures that are fleeting, the unfading grandeur of God’s Kingdom is theirs — and ours — to enjoy for eternity. If we’ve called Jesus our Lord, we are the highest bidders, and by His blood, we’ve inherited the entire estate!"
I also liked what Bobby Schuller said this week about living in California in these last days: "A friend of mine sent me a video, and as is usual these days, it started with a commercial. The first shot was of a man and woman in their mid-thirties staring at a screen with saxophone music playing in the background, and it had a kind of salacious feel. When it came on, I was wondering if it was going to be appropriate, but it turns out it was an ad for Zillow, and the couple was drooling over houses they might buy if they lived somewhere more affordable. While to some, purchasing a home does not seem like a fantasy, to those of us who live in locations like California or New York, it can feel out of reach. Hannah and I rent our house, and we dream of owning one some day, but it’s difficult in Orange County. That said, I think that during COVID, a lot more people got in touch with a longing to have their own four walls, and that’s why so many uprooted and moved to places like Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. There’s an innate yearning in every human being to have a dwelling they can abide in without the worry of being displaced. In fact, I believe this desire is part of God’s design. We are made to crave peace and safety, and the Lord speaks of it frequently in the Old Testament. The Jews were always looking for a place to put down roots, yet every time they did, they were conquered, displaced, and forced to shift. You see, as much as we want security and sameness in this life, unexpected circumstances are certain. The earth is constantly in flux, and that’s why we must remember that Jesus has given us a home that can’t be shaken. In Him, we have a permanent inheritance, and one day, when we lay our earthly tent down, we will finally have our dream house!
My friend, if you’re feeling discouraged or discontent with where you live, your Savior beckons you to let Him be your true home. Wherever you are on this earth, He is with you, and His presence is a shelter from the storm. Though you may never dwell in a palace built by human hands, your good Father is the King of Creation, and He will be with you every hour of every day until He ushers you to the glorious estate He’s prepared for you on the other side of Heaven."
I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own;but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself." (Philippians 3:8-21)